Peter's z80.eu site blog
Shame on me... didn't finish my CP/M Commander program, but now somebody else already did it... 
Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 12:24 PM
Posted by Administrator
I was looking for a german article about TCP/IP for CP/M and the progress this project made, and I saw there are some utilities like tftp and ping now available (still looking for a real FTP.COM...).
Then I was looking what the site offers also.
And I was surprised that somebody implemented already a two pane file copier/renamer/deleter/executer (= like the Norton Commander for DOS/Windows or later the Midnight Commander for Linux represents).
See http://susowa.homeftp.net
For download of the binary and source visit the download detail page.
It's implemented with the help of submit (it does not do everything by calling CP/M APIs, but it looks still awesome, also because of using colors for different info windows of course.
So shame on me that I didn't finish my own project :-(

But I will do it this year, with the help of longer holidays for sure.

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Predecessors of 8080 hardware.... almost forgotten - R2E Micral , a Intel 8008 based "PC" 
Thursday, February 19, 2009, 09:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
For many of us, they are not known or at least forgotten.... but 3 years before the Altair 8800, in January 1973, there was already a hardware available for computer enthusiasts:

The R2E Micral was one of the first, may be the first computer which can be called "Microcomputer", because it wasn't a cabinet sized hardware, it was in a similar size like an Altair, or even the first IBM PC.
Although it was based on an Intel 8008 Chip (running at a 500 Khz frequency), it provides additional instructions for interrupt handling and data manipulation. It was created from the "French National Institute for Agronomic Research" (I.N.R.A.) because of the lack of money for PDP-8 hardware.
It has a bus system similar to the S100 bus, called 'Pluribus', several I/O and memory cards were build. At least, 2KByte RAM was the standard design, but 16KByte could be used (14 bit address bus, 8 bit data bus) in total.
One year later a Two-Pass-Assembler was available, and also a high level control language.

For more information, please look at the following URLs:

http://www.old-computers.com/MUSEUM/computer.asp?c=352
http://www.feb-patrimoine.com/projet/micral/micral.htm
http://febcm.club.fr/systemes_ord/Micral_n.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micral
http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Micral
http://www.heise.de/newsticker/Vor-30-J ... dung/33686
http://www.avandor.net/micral.htm

A very interesting interview with the creator of that piece of computer history can be found at Wired.com: http://www.wired.com/science/discoverie ... 97/09/6850

To get an impression how it looked:

Also interesting... some Infos about a self-made (no kit, just plans and pcbs) computer in mid of 1973 - the Mark 8, also based on the 8008:
http://web.archive.org/web/200402160215 ... ark8b.html
http://www.bytecollector.com/mark_8.htm

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Cool ... an Apple II, a SD/MMC card for storage, a Z80 CPU, 80 columns card, all together implemented in an FPGA prototype 
Friday, January 30, 2009, 07:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
Amazing what is possible !
An Apple II and some peripheral stuff, fully equipped, and almost 100% compatible, but not running on old hardware - it can be done with a prototype board (Altera/Terrasic DE1 board).

Alex Freed did that ... his first steps began earlier with his FPGApple, Pseudodisk and other fine ideas, now he began to create an improved version.
See http://mirrow.com/FPGApple/revisited.html for more details.

Wonderful ! If he finishes his implementation of the Z80 part also (to use it with CP/M), for sure I am really interested.

Inspiration comes also from this site:
http://www1.cs.columbia.edu/~sedwards/apple2fpga/ so be curious and take a look also there.

The development board costs about $ 150, this is not too much if all planned functionality can be used.

URL has changed meanwhile, see link at the bottom.
Also, there is another site already offering a full blown Apple IIe in FPGA: http://www.applelogic.org/TheAppleIIE.html
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I managed it to downgrade a Turbo PASCAL (5.5) Source of a Z80 Assembler to a Turbo PASCAL 3.0 version...  
Saturday, January 24, 2009, 10:00 PM
Posted by Administrator
... and it can be compiled on DOS error free. Now I tried it on CP/M 3.0 and guess what happens ?

It was too big, over 50KB size was too much for the Compiler. So I was reminded on these days and the size limitations suddenly again :-(

I am sure it can be stripped from all comments, and also from unnecessary blanks inside the source file, and then it will work even with CP/M again.

Now somebody can ask for the reason I tried this. There are many Z80 Assembler available, and many are very useful and runs smooth.
But there are no source code version of these Assembler available, and even if so, they are written in assembler also, a few in C. But so far I didn't found any source code for Turbo Pascal 3.0, and so it was very exiting for me to get one.

I will try to publish a ready compiled version as soon as I get time to strip that source code down, under DOS (with TP 3.0) it runs already smooth.

Update: You can download the whole package from http://www.z80.eu/downloads/asmz80.zip

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Two interesting pages about the Olivetti M20 - one of the few computer which have a Z8000 and can run CP/M-8000 
Monday, December 15, 2008, 10:25 PM
Posted by Administrator
Full with additional links and infos, more than just a vintage computer museum entry:

http://retrocomputing.altervista.org/m20/m20.html
http://www.retrocomputing.serrantoni.co ... tim20.html

To get an impression from what I'm talking - here's an image from an M20 machine,
running CP/M-8000 (click on the picture to zoom):


The machine was selled in 1982 with PCOS (that's an operating system with cryptic commands, even more cryptic than CP/M was)...

There was an additonal 8086 card available to run MS-DOS, but that's another story.
The cpu was - to document it more accurately - a Zilog 8001, the cpu family is named 'Z8000'.

Still one of the most "rich" web pages about the Olivetti M20 can be found at
http://www.z80ne.com/m20/

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