Monday, April 27, 2015

Wir sind in den Nachrichten

That is, we are in the news, in German, in Germany.

Two fairly well known IT/computing magazines there have run stories on the MEGA65 / C65GS in the last couple of days:



and



I have been trying to respond to comments on the Heise.DE article, which has been stretching my limited German, but this is a good thing, because I am trying to improve my German :)

I'll try to summarise some of the recurring questions there and elsewhere here, for your convenience:

What will the case look like?

We are trying to make the case look as much like the original C65 prototypes as we can.

Will it have a real 3.5" floppy drive?

We hope so! We are certainly intending that this will be the case.

Do we have to choose between SD Card support and having a real floppy drive?

No, if we add floppy drive support, it will do both at the same time.  Probably how this will work in practice is that the hypervisor will read sectors from the floppy drive, and put them on the SD card, from where they will be read using our C65 F011 floppy drive controller compatible SD card controller.  Writing sectors to disk will do something similar in reverse, again using the hypervisor to trap the disk accesses.

Isn't all this going to cost a lot of money (just think of the injection moulds alone)?

Yes, it will.  This is why we are asking for donations on mega65.org.  Also, if you happen to have the skills and facilities to make injection moulding tools, and would like to volunteer to help us, we would love to hear from you, and probably even put your name on the inside of every case.

Isn't this whole project rather pointless?

This is a rather common question on forums and in comments to these articles.

The answer, of course, is that it rather insane. That's the point.  So now we can all move on happily: they can be right, and we will just keep making it anyway ;)

However, while it is rather pointless, it isn't completely pointless. It's like the difference between mostly dead and completely dead in The Princess Bride.  The MEGA65 will be fun for those for whom it is fun, which is one purpose.  Also, I intend to build and use a set of MEGA65 computers in teaching University and high-school students about "hardware intimate programming", to hopefully improve their understanding of computers and improve their future career prospects and enjoyment.

2 comments:

  1. Have you plan to add some connections with external world?
    It will be cool to have user port, expansion port, serial IEC, joysticks and - why not - cassette port.
    I think an optional daughter board to fit in the case will be a perfect solution for peoples that want to have the feeling of a real retrocomputer.
    Ciao! :)

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    Replies
    1. This is in fact exactly our plan. We will make two or three daugter PCBs that will each not be too big, and that all connect together around 3 sides of the FPGA board, and hopefully, have all of the ports of a real C64 or C65. The tape port is actually one of the easiest, although a real C65 doesn't have a tape port. Also, the cartridge port on the C65 is not compatible with the C64. We might instead give it a C64 cartridge port instead. It's all still a bit up in the air.

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