Silly Venture 2021 Winter Edition

 

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It was the first time I went there alone and as a result, I got in touch with many new people I didn't talk to before. Thanks once more to Grey for making this event possible, it's so awesome to meet other Atari fans in person. Here are some personal notes, so I can remember all the people better...

  • It was great to see the excellent ZX Spectrum Possible Demo by Scorpion (Piotr Ejdys) and Acid Maker (Jakub Kruszona-Zawadzki). Piotr showed by how the demo was made, and that Python and especially the Pygame library can be very useful tools for prototyping effects. And Jakub presented his MEDUSA Retro SCANDOUBLER project which is meanwhile available in Lotherek's shop
  • I learned that their friend Xorcerer is really an expert in taping power cords to the floor ;-)
  • I met Mr. Beer and other Overlanders (OVR) guys from France. It was great to have a "real coder's" talk with you - and I'm truly sorry the kids destroyed your snowman :-)
  • Grzybson's dad and Grzybson made me drink rakija - which turned out a something I plan to avoid in the future...
  • I learned that our favorite X-mas reindeer Kasia is Sachy's wife.
  • Dalthon (Wojciech Zolkiewicz) who is the coder coder of Dalthonizm

And not to forget the two once-in-a-lifetime moments Grey made possible for us:

  • A live video call with Crispin Sinclar, the son of Sir Clive Sinclair - the inventor of the Sinclair ZX 81, the very first computer I've ever seen and later owned. Fun fact: I told home the story of how I bought an Atari back in the 80'ies because the ZX Spectrum I actually wanted to buy was simply sold-old. Ironically exactly that incident allowed me to talk to the son of the creator of the ZX Spectrum 33 years later.
  • A live video interview with Bill Mensch from Western Design Center (WDC) where we could ask all the nerd questions about the 6502 we've piled up in 40 years. Here are some of them I was able to ask and received excellent answers for. 
    • What was the primary reason for using unified memory? Cost? The ability for self-modifying code?
    • One reason why 1 Mhz Atari outperforms 4 Mhz Z80 is the pipelining. Was that a new idea then, or was it adapted from other existing CPUs?
    • What were the limiting factors for clock speed? RAM speed? Production cost?
    • I see a lot of similarities between 65x and ARM ideas, like using the zero page as a register set. Is this perception correct?
    • Has there between the idea of "licensing the design" rather than producing the chip? Did that idea exist at the time when 6502 was created?

Bill Mensch really was an impressive and very entertaining talker who remembered a lot of details from the past and gave a very good context of how/when/why something was done. Unfortunately, there is no recording of the interview available. Fun fact: After the call, Grey received feedback from Bill Mensch that he was really impressed by the depth of our questions.

It is very hard for me to remember people's names and faces if I see them only once a year. Therefore I decided to take pictures with them and the name badges from now on. Hove with the mouse to see who it is. Thank you all for being at this great party.

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