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A Twitter Client For the Commodore 64

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the welcome-aboard-commodore dept.

Hardware Hacking 177

An anonymous reader writes "Johan Van den Brande has developed a Twitter client for the Commodore 64, allowing 140-character messages to be posted directly from this TV-connected 1982 home computer. This YouTube video shows how the Twitter client is — slowly! — loaded from a 5.25" floppy disk, how the latest Twitter messages are downloaded and shown on the TV screen, and how this tweet is posted. All that is needed is a C64, a TV, and a C64 Ethernet card. The Twitter client is implemented with the Contiki operating system, which otherwise is used for connecting tiny embedded systems to the Internet."

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fp ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325397)

Wow my first first post !

Re:fp ! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325987)

i have 9 fp's

btw, suck my dick fag

FW (0, Troll)

chip_s_ahoy (318689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325405)

First "Why"

Re:FW (2, Interesting)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325417)

Maybe a Commodore 64's 800 baud modem can handle the size of a single tweet transmission if you strip out the HTML.

Re:FW (0, Flamebait)

bigblacknigger (1440657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325419)

Because fuck you.

Re:FW (2, Insightful)

Heytunk (1559837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325421)

Why not?

Im sending this to my dad in the hopes he will revive the ole 64 back home.

Re:FW (5, Funny)

friendofthenite (1226310) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325461)

To enable you to Tweet in between games of Attack of the Mutant Camels.

Re:FW (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326203)

"Attack of the Mutant Camels" refers to completely different games (both by Jeff Minter, mind) in Europe and America.

In Europe, "Attack of the Mutant Camels" was a little bit like defender (with giant radioactive space camels). In America, the game released as "Attack of the Mutant Camels" was what the Europeans call "Gridrunner".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_of_the_Mutant_Camels [wikipedia.org]
C64 AMC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhKf3DcPk08 [youtube.com]
C64 Gridrunner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRq6e1f85KY [youtube.com]

Jeff's "Revenge of the Mutant Camels" was completely insane...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenge_of_the_Mutant_Camels [wikipedia.org]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymVvsPczrwk [youtube.com]

The More You Know...

Re:FW (2, Funny)

mrstrano (1381875) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325563)

You are on Slashdot and you need explanation to see that implementing a Twitter client on a C64 is totally cool?

Sir, you are requested to leave this room please.

Re:FW (4, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325699)

How can anything to do with Twitter be cool?

Re:FW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325749)

its not, but anything involving the C64 is.

Re:FW (4, Insightful)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325813)

Is this a new fucking meme? Are all these guys asking "why" kidding or what? It's been a hacker/geek tradition since the very first days after the world has been created to pull off amazingly weird hacks just for the sake of the fun involved. What's wrong with /., god damn!

Re:FW (4, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326095)

It's barely a hack. Each of the pieces is pretty much being used for its intended purpose (the C64 is being used as a general computing device, the network card is being used as a network card, there is some software, etc.).

Wrong why? (2, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325963)

You are on Slashdot and you need explanation to see that implementing a Twitter client on a C64 is totally cool?

I think the question isn't "Why are they implementing a Twitter client on a C64?". I think it's the same question I had: Why are they loading this from 5.25" floppies?

Re:Wrong why? (1)

badpazzword (991691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326183)

Because it's the way Real Men(TM) do it.

Re:FW (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325769)

Just for fun?

Re:FW (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325945)

I don't think you meant to come to this site.

Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (4, Insightful)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325423)

Friend at Intel corp said once - that software we are running will be really impressive once they catch up to the hardware. I think the Commodore 64 really goes to show what can be done on a really minimal environment.

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (5, Funny)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325471)

The old quote: "Every time Andy gives me more horsepower, Bill takes it away."

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (5, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325597)

Wrong, you decide to give it to Bill. I decide to give it to Linus and he asks for a lot less.

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325637)

or you could ask jobs how much power you can have and he will give you the same as bill but more usable and pricer

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (5, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325705)

I decide to give it to Linus and he asks for a lot less.

Care to count how many layers of abstraction there are between a typical GUI application and the bare metal on a modern *nix?

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (4, Funny)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325835)

42.

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326185)

Yep, the trick is: what base?

Just remember, nobody jokes in base 13.

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325711)

Wrong, you decide to give it to Bill. I decide to give it to Linus and he asks for a lot less.

Actually, he pays Bill to take all of the hardware performance improvement away.
Linus only takes about half of it in cumulative updates, and does not charge.

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325925)

Wrong. You give it to RMS, and demands your soul. :o)

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (2, Interesting)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326245)

Both running in VirtualBox. Both have been tweaked to start with as little as possible without special hardware tools.

Win XP:

30 second boot time

88.9 Megs Loaded from HD

16 processes

95.5 Megs Ram Used

HD footprint: 6.23gig

----------------------

Ubuntu 9.04:

42 second boot time

137.4 Megs Loaded from HD

106 processes

93 Megs Ram Used

HD Footprint: 2.80gig

Of course, you can compile your own stripped down kernel and use a desktop environment that rivals Windows 3.1 for "XP beating" speed, but it's amazing how wrong people's assumptions about Linux really are.

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326351)

amen brother!

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325537)

Hardware has different fundamental constraints from software.

A given hardware process permits a certain amount of computing capacity and the designers have the task of using that capacity in the most effective way. The primary form of their inherent limitations are physical constraints.

Software has the task of taking what the hardware provides, and adapting it to human needs, which are much more difficult to understand.

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (5, Insightful)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325583)

True, but... if we can reach such achievements on a C64, it’s also because we can use nice development tools, running on much beefier machines, programmed using cycles-eating high level languages, with the comforts of a contemporary operating system. I don’t think Contiki was programmed on a C64 monitor cartridge, in 6510 assembly.

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (4, Interesting)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325641)

Not all companies back then developed directly on the C64 either.

There were dev tools for the PC for the C64 for example.

I don't think its cheating to use a bigger PC to develop a complex app for a smaller machine ;).

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326123)

And because on a C64, you do not expect all the little features, grapics, etc. Like a spell checker, an animated mouse cursor semi-transparent high-color smooth-moving windows. many of them. An MP3 stream playing it he background, with an OSD poppig up. An instant messenger for 5 different networks running in the background. Sub-pixel-anti-aliased beautiful vector fonts, with different styles, intelligent breaking on the field end, full HTML+CSS+JavaScript+DOM+flash rendering/interpreting, automatic error checks for wrong data in I/O, a firewall and other tools protecting us, etc. And the convenience of a high-level language.

That stuff adds up.

Sure, I would love to see us all programming and even scripting in Haskell, with some extensions, and a compiler producing smaller files. And efficient use of data (like not using an array of 64-bit fields for single bit variables. [flag-fields where are you?]).

But, well...

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325745)

In this case both software AND hardware need to catch up about 27 years.

Re:Software really has yet to catch up to hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326433)

Twitter sucks. The C64 sucks. This project sucks.

OH SURE, it's all cool, but it sucks.

i can feel a tv series comming (-1, Offtopic)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325425)

"Nerds that never get laid"

Re:i can feel a tv series comming (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325459)

"Nerds that never get laid"

You mean like "Desert that never gets wet" or "Rock that never gets hungry"

Re:i can feel a tv series comming (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325469)

And the documentary series that followed: "Things that should never have been done"

Re:i can feel a tv series comming (4, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325531)

"Nerds that never get laid"

At least we know there'll never be a Nerds that Never get Laid TNG.

Re:i can feel a tv series comming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325553)

We heard you the first time. No need to repeat yourself.

Trying to change history (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325439)

By releasing a client in the past Twitter will have become an integral part of our lives in the future. The only solution is to send a robot back in time to kill Jack Dorsey before he is born.

Re:Trying to change history (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325529)

Yeah, but this [xkcd.com] will happen... and the chance will be wasted

I admire the fact that a guy could be bothered to do this though

Contiki? (2, Funny)

kwark (512736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325441)

But will it run on LUnix [sourceforge.net]

Wait wait wait... (2, Funny)

Osmosis_Garett (712648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325451)

Are you telling me this works without an internet connection?!

Re:Wait wait wait... (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325455)

Where does it say this? Read the article - he's using a standard ethernet connection.

Sure (1)

SlothDead (1251206) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325507)

The tweets are generated algorithmically inside the C64. As good as the real thing. ;) No, serious, why do you ask that? Even without reading the article it should be obvious (especially to a slashdotter) that in order to read what's on twitter you have to get it from there.

Re:Wait wait wait... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325555)

Are you telling me this works without an internet connection?!

Correct. The ethernet peripheral that's required uses 80's sub-etha technology.

Probably came from here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325453)

http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1268047&cid=28324013 [slashdot.org]

I'm sick of hearing about twitter. When will it end?

Re:Probably came from here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325481)

so... why do you keep talking about it then?

I call "cheating" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325485)

The ethernet card is not original C64 equipment. He should be bit banging an rs232 link to a 300 baud modem in order to get a net connection.

Re:I call "cheating" (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325539)

That would be cheating, too, because the Commodore 64 does not have an RS-232 port.

Re:I call "cheating" (3, Insightful)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325545)

To do that you'd have to have a serial adapter as well - so where do you draw the line?

By definition even - the 1541 (to load the program for those who don't know) isn't original C64 equipment (I couldn't even get one when I bought my C64 new - had to use tapes :)).

Yeah - a completely stock C64 is pretty hard to use...

Re:I call "cheating" (1)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325687)

True, but a 1541 is at least original Commodore equipment.

Re:I call "cheating" (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326007)

And Commodore never made an rs232 adapter either ;).

Re:I call "cheating" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326077)

actually they did, its called a vic 1011a and it plugs into the user port.

Twitter isn't exactly an intensive application (4, Insightful)

rugger (61955) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325495)

The hardest parts of doing this will be the TCP/IP stack and drivers to connect to the internet.

The messages are not long/require lots of screen realestate or memory.

It certainly scores *cool* points for making exceptionally OLD hardware do very new things, but it doesn't score points for difficulty or complexity.

But if someone finds it useful, then it wasn't a waste of time.

Re:Twitter isn't exactly an intensive application (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325753)

What sort of caveman could possible have a use for it?

Should I use my phone that fits in my pocket or a big heavy commodore64 plus tv plus mains power supply?

Re:Twitter isn't exactly an intensive application (3, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325953)

What sort of caveman could possible have a use for it?

Og tweet about playing Ultima III:
Og swallowed by whirlpool.
Og now mad and smash phone.

Re:Twitter isn't exactly an intensive application (3, Informative)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326341)

Actually, if you RTFA, he didn't develop the TCP/IP interface.

This project uses an "MMC replay" C64 expansion box with an RR-net ethernet daughterboard installed. He wrote the Twitter client to run on the Contiki OS, which comes with a built-in TCP/IP stack and a driver for the RR-card. Credit for Contiki and it's uIP TCP/IP stack go primarily to Adam Dunkels:

http://www.sics.se/~adam/ [www.sics.se]

The accomplishment of the C64 Twitter client's author is really more about writing a Twitter client with one hand tied behind your back rather than really being C64 specific. He wrote it in C (CC65 6502 compiler) on Contiki, so the fact that it happens to be running on a C64 as opposed to any other environment that supports Contiki is somewhat irrelevant.

Whether it scores any points for complexity really depends on your level of experience. Given that the ./ readership has become less and less hard core over the years, I think there are many people here who should be avoiding this guy's front lawn. At least, if you've never written any networking code in your life, how about firing up Linux, or installing MinGW (maybe roughly comparable to installing Contiki and CC65 on a C64), then writing your own Twitter client... It certainly won't be a waste of time if you learn how to do socket programming as a result.

Re:Twitter isn't exactly an intensive application (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326405)

The guy who made the video of it in action loaded from the menu of the 5 1/4" disk by cursoring up to the filename, typing the equivalent of load in front of the filename, and ,8,1: after the filename to indicate:

by ,8 that it was the first disk drive attached, by ,1 that it was supposed to run in immediate mode, and by :, that it was supposed to ignore the characters after the 1 in interpreting the load command.

But if I remember, I think the : was redundant. I think ,8,1 also ignores characters after the 1. So I think he could've omitted the :

It's a slow Sunday.

Much Faster Floppy Drive for the C64 (4, Informative)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325509)

There is a Commodore IEEE-bus floppy drive that works great with a C64 with the right adapter. It takes 1.2 Mb floppies and it makes a 1541 look really sad. It was radically expensive at the time and I remember how annoyed my boss was when I told him the price.

We actually had it pretty good even back then. We had a Kontron 6510 ICE so we could go in and figure out exactly what was going on with that weird video hardware, and it was great for finding those odd bugs.

I still cannot believe how badly those 1541 floppy drives sucked. They are the most miserable pieces of computer gear I have ever encountered. It is just beyond belief that someone has managed to keep one working after all these years!

I liked the Atari 800 much better. The video hardware had a much cleaner design and it was a lot easier to code for.

Re:Much Faster Floppy Drive for the C64 (3, Interesting)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325585)

The drives your talking about are probably the 8050 quad density drive series (and the SFD-1001 - which was for the C64)) - 1 megabyte as I recall. Two problems with them - a) they were hard to buy and b) quad density disks are impossible to find (you can't even use pc high density disks with them). Still the one I saw demo'd was incredibly quick.

1541 used a 300 baud serial interface to the pc itself. In non burst mode programs took forever and a day to load or save - it wasn't entirely uncommon for a 15-20 minute load time.

Still it was light years faster than tape (which was less than 50 baud).

Yup - C64 was a complete hack, but you couldn't beat it for the price. For about 800-900 dollars you could have the PC and the 1541, where Apple ][ of the same vintage was 1500$+ with no accessories at all.

Re:Much Faster Floppy Drive for the C64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325819)

ABC turbo dude

Re:Much Faster Floppy Drive for the C64 (2, Informative)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326015)

1541 used a 300 baud serial interface to the pc itself.

That did not sound right. According to Wikipedia, it used a proprietary serial version of IEEE-488. "Without hardware modifications, some "fast loader" utilities managed to achieve speeds of up to 4 kB/s."

Re:Much Faster Floppy Drive for the C64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326161)

...some "fast loader" utilities managed to achieve speeds of up to 4 kB/s.

Compute's Gazette published a program called 'Turbodisk' that did exactly that. It even shut off the display chip while loading so the system could keep up with the incoming data. Really handy.

Re:Much Faster Floppy Drive for the C64 (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325635)

There are also harddrives for the C64, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone has built an flash-based storage device for them.

Re:Much Faster Floppy Drive for the C64 (3, Informative)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325673)

I wouldn't be surprised if someone has built an flash-based storage device for them.

Yep, there's plenty of flash-storage solutions for the C64. I'm using MMC replay (http://www.c64-wiki.com/index.php/MMC_Replay [c64-wiki.com] ) and uIEC (http://www.c64-wiki.com/index.php/uIEC [c64-wiki.com] )

Re:Much Faster Floppy Drive for the C64 (3, Informative)

A Life in Hell (6303) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325927)

you mean like the 1541 ultimate ( http://www.1541ultimate.net/ [1541ultimate.net] )?

Re:Much Faster Floppy Drive for the C64 (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326297)

"I still cannot believe how badly those 1541 floppy drives sucked."

Their death rattle [youtube.com] produced during formatting and seek errors still haunts my nightmares.

Before anyone asks... (4, Insightful)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325603)

Before anyone asks why someone bothered to do this, I'll answer it - because they can. Simple as that.

It has no practical use, that's for sure, but not everyone needs to be done to have a practical use. Some stuff is just cool. That's why we have these things called hobbies. I certainly wouldn't have invested my time into getting something like this to work, but I can't disparage anyone who does. It's a hobby. I would even argue that it does not reflect one way or another on a person's ability to get laid. :)

Re:Before anyone asks... (0, Flamebait)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325759)

Then why is it on /.?

Re:Before anyone asks... (1, Insightful)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325815)

It's not news, so it must be stuff that matters. I think it is.

Re:Before anyone asks... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326355)

Programming the C64 is very much like programming a small microcontroller. The PIC and Atmel 8-bit microcontrollers are faster, but they often have even less memory. If you can write a twitter client for a C64, you can write one for a $1 IC which is connected to the same Ethernet controller (or Bluetooth, WLAN, etc). That means you could build a complete "hardware" twitter client the size of a match box for less than $10 (much less in quantity). If that thought causes you nightmares, relax: It's a demonstration. In actual use the protocol would be something less braindead, for example you could use the same hardware to connect appliances to a home network.

Small microcontrollers are everywhere and they need to be programmed. An 8bit microcontroller will always be cheaper and use much less energy than a 32bit CPU with a lot of memory. We're talking about a few milliwatts under load and microwatts in standby here.

Speccy vs. C64 slugfest - start here! (2, Funny)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325609)

The first, and obvious, salvo into the Speccy camp: your rubbery toy didn't have a decent keyboard, a decent GPU, sound processor or disk drive, and now... you guys miss out on the 21st century, too ;o)

Slug away, have at it!

(P.S. this is all tongue-in-cheek. I actually wish I had a Speccy - there was a ton of great software for that little beast)

Re:Speccy vs. C64 slugfest - start here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325639)

There is actually an ethernet card for the speccy too now, with a working irc client
AND you can load the software over the ethernet connection rather than using horribly slow disk drives :p

Re:Speccy vs. C64 slugfest - start here! (3, Informative)

biscuitlover (1306893) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325805)

After having to slog through a million and one boring PS3/Xbox360 fanboy wars on pretty much every forum out there, is there anyone else who finds the prospect of a spectrum/C64 slugfest actually quite appealing?

And have I been spending too much time on the Internet?

Re:Speccy vs. C64 slugfest - start here! (3, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325847)

The C64 vs. Spectrum slugfests on usenet are legendary, and used to happen once or twice a year. And they were always hilarious! I mean, we're all grown ups with the wit of a child, and nobody is stupid there - it's really done for the fun of it. It does get deeply technical at times, but the humor is always present.

Slashdot has nothing on those long-winded usenet threads where we cudgel each other good!

Re:Speccy vs. C64 slugfest - start here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325879)

Losers. BBC Micro FTW!!!!!

Re:Speccy vs. C64 slugfest - start here! (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326107)

"(P.S. this is all tongue-in-cheek. I actually wish I had a Speccy - there was a ton of great software for that little beast)"

You can still enjoy it even without the hardware.

http://www.spectaculator.com/ [spectaculator.com]

http://www.worldofspectrum.org/ [worldofspectrum.org]

http://www.tzxvault.org/ [tzxvault.org]

A new target market for Dell! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325611)

This is great news for Dell, who have moved into the Twitter marketing area [slashdot.org] . Hordes of upgrade-hungry Commodore 64 users now have access to all the Dell special offers!

So does this mean.. (1)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325695)

So Juno can now also finally start twittering?

Re:So does this mean.. (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325853)

Nah, Junis is probably still busy downloading the first Baywatch season.

Goog Things Cum with Age... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325793)

My old c64 isn't as hot as these Hardcore MILFs [mymilfspace.com] !

Camel what? (2, Funny)

caliburngreywolf (1218464) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325797)

Hey now, every COOL C64 user ran f-15 strike eagle or arctic fox. Now GEOS just made me scratch my head until we got an actual PC. I jsut wish I'd had a modem and used the BBSs back then.

Not necessarily so funny (2, Interesting)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325809)

Any success in developing resource-efficient software is to be celebrated, IMHO. There is far too much of a trend these days of writing bloated, horribly inefficient crap, simply because in hardware terms we can get away with it.

The Windows refugees desperately need to stop being listened to. All they care about is superficial usability. They don't care about design quality, code quality, robustness, security, or resource (RAM/cpu/power) efficiency. The only important thing is that whatever they want to do is, "easy," and also, preferably, that it includes pretty lights.

We need software that is resource efficient, and well designed. We need it because we're not always in scenarios where we've got access to a 4 Ghz processor, 32 odd GB of ram, and a terrabyte hard drive. Such machines tend to be expensive, and also to require a lot of power.

If the world underwent some sort of disaster next week which included a loss of mains power, the 4 Ghz desktops with KDE wouldn't be what people would be running, if they were using a computer at all; because they wouldn't have the electricity to be able to waste it on such hardware. It'd be iPods or other power-efficient ARM-based machines running NetBSD or minimalist Linux configurations, with something like Blackbox as a window manager.

There's a reason why I have Ratpoison as a window manager for daily use, despite having a gigabyte of ram at my disposal. It's because I've used a C64 with a tape drive, and a portable IBM XT with a 2400 baud modem, and I'm thus able to recognise a graphical user interface for exactly what it really is.

A convenience. Not a necessity. There's a very big difference.

Re:Not necessarily so funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326101)

Well it's a good thing you represent only 0.0001% of computer users on this planet, and as such, no one cares.

Re:Not necessarily so funny (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326189)

Yeah that Petrus guy is a grade A skitzo, his ranting makes no sense and he goes off on something about the end of the world in that all electricity will be lost so we will not be able to run our overpowered WIndows machines. It makes no fucking sense.

What a looney, thankfully he doesn't represent the market place.

But yeah, scary that there are people like that hanging around Slashot.

Re:Not necessarily so funny (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326111)

There is far too much of a trend these days of writing bloated, horribly inefficient crap, simply because in hardware terms we can get away with it.

I think you're wrong [slashdot.org] .

There's a reason why I have Ratpoison as a window manager for daily use, despite having a gigabyte of ram at my disposal. It's because I've used a C64 with a tape drive, and a portable IBM XT with a 2400 baud modem, and I'm thus able to recognise a graphical user interface for exactly what it really is.

No, it's not. I upgraded to a C64 from a TS-1000 (and an Atari 2600 with the "BASIC Programming" cartridge and 63 bytes of RAM before that), and I use KDE on my desktop and Netbook Remix on my Eee PC. You use Ratpoison because you want to, not because exposure to old computers automatically makes a person allergic to new systems.

If someone told me I was stuck at a text console from now on, I'd be OK (if grousy) about it. Until that day comes, I'd just as soon let this computer look pretty and provide nice (and, shock!, fun) features. I'm not too keen on bragging about how much of my computer's work that I do for it. I bought the thing; it can darn well work for me and not the other way around.

Re:Not necessarily so funny (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326391)

I think you're wrong.

I think you're wrong. If we were stuck with 1999 era hardware, we'd put a lot more work into optimization, and we'd get a lot more done with the same hardware. And, if you can find a carpenter who can build a timber frame [popularmechanics.com] house without nails, you're likely to get a much better quality house, but of course, more expensive.

If someone told me I was stuck at a text console from now on, I'd be OK (if grousy) about it. Until that day comes, I'd just as soon let this computer look pretty and provide nice (and, shock!, fun) features

See, here you're agreeing with the guy. A GUI is a convenience, and nothing more. You can get along without it, but would rather not. That's pretty much the definition of a convenience. A CLI on the other hand is a necessity if you want to use your computer as anything more than an appliance.

I'm not too keen on bragging about how much of my computer's work that I do for it.

I don't think anyone is. It's just not the case that not using a GUI == doing the computers work. Many times using a GUI creates more work. After all, you can't grep a GUI.

Re:Not necessarily so funny (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326197)

My not particularly efficient laptop uses less than 60 watts to power a 1.6 Ghz Core Duo processor and everything else inside it. Improvements on that would be valuable, but 60 watts is practically noise if you have enough generation to do something useful and well within what can be generated by a human when connected to the appropriate device.

Re:Not necessarily so funny (2, Insightful)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326379)

I'm thus able to recognise a graphical user interface for exactly what it really is. A convenience. Not a necessity. There's a very big difference.

If I had to edit my films and create my graphics in a text terminal, I'd have to kill somebody. Probably you. No offense.

As much as I enjoyed using Gopher and Lynx on my Atari, I've moved on to using a 100% necessary GUI for many of my computing needs.

Not good enough (4, Funny)

Prototerm (762512) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325839)

I want to know where the twitter client is for my VIC-20.

Re:Not good enough (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326167)

I guess you didn't write it yet.

Plaintext login? (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325857)

Did he just type his username and password in plaintext? Now be good everyone...

You. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28325899)

Will.
Never.
Get.
Laid.

But how will it handle the twitpocalypse? (1)

donatzsky (91033) | more than 5 years ago | (#28325933)

Cool and all, but is he prepared for The End?
http://www.twitpocalypse.com/ [twitpocalypse.com]

Contiki (3, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326181)

Thats cheating, really its not a C64, its an embedded machine that happens to have composite video output.

Running an embedded OS on an 8 bit processor is common place. REAL common place.

Re:Contiki (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326253)

Uhm, a Commodore 64 is just that: an embedded machine that happens to have a composite video output. Plus a bunch of other stuff, such as a sound chip and a joystick input port.

The Commodore as I/O Device- A dumb terminal (3, Insightful)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326231)

In schemes like this, the Commodore itself is just a thin layer of the user interface. There is definitely a more powerful processor than the 6502 on the Ethernet Card. Most of the processor intensive networking layers are 'contained' on the Ethernet Card, just as is/was the case with primitive processors like the 8088 communicating via Ethernet.

Almost any 'expansion' of the Commodore involves adding a 'peripheral' containing a co-processor at least, and sometimes significantly more powerful than the 6502 in the Commodore. The 1541 disk drive has a 6502 processor in it. A Commodore 'Hard Drive' has a processor more powerful than the C64 it attaches to. So, really, this is no different than attaching a dumb terminal to a proprietary PC and claiming it's 'A Twitter Client for a Dumb Terminal.'

Heck, I could attach a largish 44780-based LCD display and a P2/2 keyboard to one of the smaller PIC controllers and hang it off a linux box as a terminal and do about the same thing. Or, better yet, just attach a TDD terminal to the linux box. Wow! A Twitter Client for the TDD! Maybe I can get funding for 'facilitating' something to aid the handicapped!

Re:The Commodore as I/O Device- A dumb terminal (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326329)

Um. AFAIK in the specific case of c64 ethernet cards, they tend to use CS8900a chips (intended to run on an ISA bus, which is easily enough bridged to the C64) . Yes, some ethernet frame processing happens on chip, but the entire TCP/IP stack runs on the c64 (though a lot of enthusiasts have 20MHz SuperCPUs for their c64s...)

http://www.dunkels.com/adam/tfe/hardware.html [dunkels.com]
http://www.cirrus.com/en/products/pro/detail/P46.html [cirrus.com]

Cassette Tape, anyone? (1)

UziBeatle (695886) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326437)

  Damn it to hell. I don't have a disk drive, you insensitive clod developer
person you.

  I do have a Vic-20 with cassette tape though.

  Can I get a copy on cassette tape? Or perhaps at the least the sheet music
so I can peek and poke the code in via keyboard?

  Then I could hook up the old Vic-20 Commodore to my 46 inch Samsung big screen TeeVee
and leave my Twitter up 24/7.

  Oh, this Twitter client better fit on 8k RAM. I got the big RAM expansion doohickey cartridge thing plugged in the back.

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