Hi there fellow 6502ers!

Introduce yourself and reminisce
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Hi there fellow 6502ers!

Post by g-man » Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:17 pm

In the early 70's I worked as a technician for a silicon valley company in CA who "saw the light" and switched their technology base from fixed analog HW to SW utilizing the Intel 4040 4 bit CPU for their first iteration of new products. Those of us in the technical and engineering departments had to come up to speed quickly on the new technology. To help, the company purchased 2 new minicomputers: an Intel Intellect, and DEC PDP-8E which could run 3K FOCAL. Long story short... I still remember the epiphany moment when I wrote my 1st FOCAL program to solve arbitrary triangles with 3 unknowns - it was a religious experience! I came up to speed quickly putting together my own SBC based on 4040 & 4089 chips, with 256 byte EPROM, and RAM and utilizing a switch & LED interface with parts that were, eh em, "borrowed" from work. I was in heaven... working all day in the lab on the new minicomputers developing company products, before retiring home each evening to my own lab (otherwise known as a kitchen table) where I happily flipped switches until the wee hours of the morning; completely unaware that I was becoming addicted for life!

This went on for a few years, while reading and learning everything I could about computers. Meanwhile Intel, Mot, and a few other's began offering newer 8 bit CPU's (albeit expensive) that were much easier to interface and use. There was no internet then and very few printed resources for hobbyists, but one day I saw an ad about a company in Hiram, OH called Ohio Scientific. They offered an SBC trainer you could purchase to learn the 6502 CPU, then trade it back + a few bucks to get a bare board CPU kit. I called OS and talked to Mike Cheiky, and after hearing my experience he suggested I get the trainer, learn the 6502, then trade it in and purchase a backplane, a 400 CPU board. a few 420 RAM boards, and a 440 video board. Taking his advice, I ordered and quickly completed the boards (including four 420 RAM boards). I also purchased a Sears cassette recorder for $30, and a cheap 12 inch mono TV which I modified by installing an RCA video jack bypassing the tuner and connecting directly to the video amp. Lastly, I built a wooden and aluminum sheet metal box to make everything neat and clean - at last, I had a real computer of my own.

I joined the Bay Area Homebrew Computer Club in the late 70's where I got to meet other enthusiasts, exchange ideas and code, and see demo's of various home made systems. In the time being, I left the company that got me started and took a position at Cromemco, an early Z80 microcomputer startup. I worked at Cromemco for 4 years working my way up to Systems Supervisor before leaving in 1981 to join Apple, eventually retiring in 1999. Today I still dabble, mostly with microcontrollers which have become very powerful. Sorry to be so long winded, but it's hard cramming a lifetime into a few paragraphs.

Dave, kudos for building this awesome site, and your spectacular repository! I only wish I had seen it sooner. -Gary

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Re: Hi there fellow 6502ers!

Post by dave » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:35 am

Welcome! What a great time that was, and what a great story!


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Re: Hi there fellow 6502ers!

Post by MK14HAK » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:13 pm

Welcome Gary.
Do you still have the 400 system? Must have been fascinating to be involved with those companies back then.
By the way, did Chromemco ever do any software for OSI systems ??. Dave sent me a CDOS Users Manual 1977. I have a CDOS/CP-M type patch for OSI 65D that Ive always attributed to Chromemco and referred to it as CDOS but never been sure of its origin.
SuperKit:502,540B,542B,CEGMON, 8" and 5" FDDs
Cards:PE IO,6522 D-A-D, AY3-8910,ProgramGraphics,Color,UK101
WIP:HexDOS,FDD Emulator

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