RE: NY Times article

From: Bo Zimmerman (
Date: 1999-07-23 17:04:02

> Okay, it's a pretty good article, but the reason I think that 8-bit
> computers are so cool is because the current computer industry is so
> bland. There's virtually no diversity. In the beginning-very early 90's,
> there were a great many different platforms to choose from. They all
> pretty much had their varying degrees of strengths and weaknesses (with
> some having no redeeming value whatsoever), but it was fun. Now the PC is
> on top. I don't care if you have a 486DX-66 with 16MB RAM and a 500 MB
> hard disk, it operates much the same as a PIII-500MHz machine with 128MB
> RAM and a 10GB hard drive. Sure, the 486 is slower, but they generally
> have the same capabilities. What fun is that?
> Computers may have gotten faster and more standardized, but since the
> death of Commodore, computers have lost their soul. It's sad.

> *Geoff!*

   Well said.  Personally, I sympathized with the comments Doug Cotton made
in the article about his graphics programming.  Here at work I can whip up
some MFC socket-based server (what I'm doing at the moment), and never have
to worry about how memory is mapped, the cost in processing time between one
algorithm or another (readability is job 1), or pretty much ANYTHING about
the hardware beyond the fact that some Windows kernal is running on it.  But
I write a dinky GUI app in GEOS and suddenly the world is somehow both
smaller and larger at once.  Smaller in the sense of resources, but larger
in the sense of all that's added in the way of concerns to the project.
Programming on a C64 is WORK!  But then the familiarity of a platform thats
been unchanged for 17 years clicks in; the C64 is a platform one can
reasonably and practically *KNOW*, down to the byte, down to the twitch of
some raster interrupt, and suddenly you realize that the intimate knowledge
only possible on small platforms is both a power and a pleasure unmatched on
todays big monsters....

	Ahem.  Pardon me while I review the API to some DLL twelve layers removed
from the hardware I'm trying to control.

	- Bo

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