It’s been a while since my last post but it’s been all go here: I’ve been working on a toy I’ve dubbed The FluxEngine, which is a floppy disk controller based around a $15 (sometimes $10) off-the-shelf microcontroller with no additional parts. Literally, solder on 17 pins in a row and you’re done.
I’ve just taken my traditional Christmas holiday: each year I spend a week before Christmas somewhere really bleak and miserable, before joining family in Glasgow. This year I spent a few days in a shepherd’s hut on the island of Rùm, before moving to Inverie in Knoydart — the most remote village on the UK mainland; you have to get there by ferry.
I’ve been working on a CP/M port to the Amstrad NC200 Z80 laptop, using my reverse engineering of the floppy disk boot sequence; it runs CP/M really well, although the screen’s pretty small.
I’ve just released version 0.7.2 of WordGrinder, my minimal word processor for writing first drafts. This is mostly a bugfix rollup release, but there are some serious which have been fixed which could cause data loss incidents (I have one confirmed report of this). So, everybody please upgrade.
I picked up what appears to be an internationalised IBM WheelWriter 6 for five francs at a local Zürich junk shop; originally I wanted it for the keyboard but it turns out to be in perfect working order. (Curses.) I made a video. (Now in full HD 60fps — I have a new camera!)
I recently came into the possession of a couple of Psion 3a organisers; 8086-based handheld computers from about 1995. Really interesting devices, except one of them had a broken screen. As the working one had less memory than the broken one, I swapped motherboards (successfully!). And I did it on video.
I made a video demonstrating live coding on a 37-year old ZX81: I write a playable but terrible game in BASIC, on a machine with 1kB of memory.