Expo Report

From: Dave R. (watson_at_enteract.com)
Date: 2000-09-25 10:36:06

Everyone else has pretty much spilled the beans about all the cool things 
at this year's SWRAP expo, so let me just offer up my thoughts before I 
head off to bed...

Jeri Ellsworth's video board was amazing.  All dreams of a one-chip 166mhz 
mega-C64 aside, this achievement alone working inside a breadbox 64 without 
even a SuperCPU or REU was drool-worthy.

Watching Maurice & Dale put the HD/Zip (a CMD HD converted to run an 
internal SCSI Zip 100mb removeable-media drive) together was 
breathtaking.  They made it look so easy and so professional!  I'm very 
tempted to hunt down a used HD to do it myself now.  Thanks, guys!

The Wave is nothing new to me, but it certainly got some oohs and aahs from 
the crowd.  Especially nice was seeing the 64 and 128 versions side by side 
to compare the screen resolution and the scrolling speed.  Although the 
speed of the 64 version is nice, I can't imagine running anything but Wave128.

Randy Harris's demo of GeoDOS was another ooh'er and ahh'er.  Randy turned 
me on to this program and it makes managing files & disks inside 
Geos/Wheels so easy.  Not to mention the fact that it looks so unlike any 
GEOS program I've ever seen.

What else...a version of the CLIPS OS for SuperCPU was shown....four 
windows on screen, each a separate task, with 8-10 child windows (each a 
separate thread within the task) in each showing a wireframe animation of a 
spinning paperclip and moving text with the performance of the 10th child 
of the 4th window being almost indistinguishable from the performance of 
the 1st child of the 1st window when the program first loaded.

I forget whose it was, but there was a demo of a Myst/Riven type engine 
that someone is putting together for the SuperCPU, allowing the user to 
walk through and interact with a world displayed as a series of static 
images with mouse commands to turn and interact with things on the screen.

Steve Judd pulled some stuff out from the back of his "fridge", including a 
BASIC extension for 64 mode on the SuperCPU that gave it graphics commands 
like the 128's but with insanely higher (800x or more) performance.

The V-Box composite to VGA converter was shown off, along with some PAL 
demos on an unexpanded PAL c64 that blew people away.  I'm thinking a 64C 
or a 128 with one of those flat-screen monitors that are so popular now 
would be one of the most beautiful-looking computers ever.

What expo would be complete without a c65?  This one had one, along with 
several additional c65 and Amiga prototype boards on display.  *drool*

Nate had his tower as usual.  His mp3 board is nearly done, but alas he 
wasn't able to demo it.  Still, this'll be an impressive piece of hardware 
when it's finished.

Eric Kudzin showed off his CD-audio player for the c128 & a CD-ROM attached 
to a CMD HD controller.

I hope I'm not forgetting anything.  There was just so much to see & do!

There is a theory popular in environmental circles called the Gaia theory, 
which describes everything in and on the Earth, organic and inorganic, as 
being part of a giant living organism.  Each part is in itself special, and 
each part of the whole, through interaction with the rest, contributes to 
the health and welfare of the planet as its own organism.

Looking at the enthusiasm and the outright joy of the people present, as 
well as the spectacular hardware and software proves that the Commodore 
8-bit platform is a very healthy organism.

Without even mentioning Jeri's amazing device and her vivid dreams, let's 
take a look at the composite of what a Commodore 64/128 is and does as 
evidenced by the expo:

It sits in a tower with a hard drive, 5 1/4" and 3 1/2" drives, a 4gb hard 
drive and/or a 100mb Zip drive, and a 16mb RAMdisk on steroids.  It has the 
ability to read & write MS-DOS formatted disks for cross-platform 
compatibility, even though the other platform can't handle the c64's native 
disk format.  It can play CD audio or mp3s, or can synthesize music from 
the on-board 3-voice SID chip or a DAC board.  It can surf the web or 
telnet at 115,200bps on a 56.7kbps modem.  It has 16mb of system RAM and 
runs at 20mhz even though most software is optimized to run quickly with 
only 64k and 1mhz.  It prints beautiful full-color pictures and sharp text 
on a Postscript printer.  It boasts a pretty solid and actively-developed 
GUI which is backwards-compatible with the old GEOS environment, and an OS 
in development which can do some heavy-duty multitasking and 
multithreading.  It can output video to a VGA monitor, giving a nice sharp 
display.  And most of all, it has people who are willing to travel not just 
across the US but from Canada, Mexico, and Sweden to gather and share with 
other people who have a common love of this platform, which first came 
about a little less than 20 years ago.

And yet some dare call it "outdated"!

- Dave Ross (Watson_)
   :::::      Dave Ross / Dr. Watson          "Yesterday's technology
::    ===  watson@enteract.com              today...for a better
::    ===                                    tomorrow!"
   :::::      http://www.enteract.com/~watson

This message was sent through the cbm-hackers mailing list.
To unsubscribe: echo unsubscribe | mail cbm-hackers-request@dot.tml.hut.fi.

Archive generated by hypermail 2.1.1.