TV Typewriter Cookbook

From: Lawrence Walker <>
Date: Sun Dec 20 14:10:00 1998

 A couple of good finds lately:

 A JDH Videomate a predecessor of TV cards. Which works with a VGA like
a VCR does with the 8-bits. Works but need a manual.

A Kraft KC-3 Joy-Stick ,swichable to work on an A-ll or PC with 9 and 15 pin
connector. Nicest J-S I've seen.

My main find tho was a "TV Typewriter Cookbook" from Sams by Don Lancaster, the
author of the TTL cookbook among others. Might be old hat to most members on
the list, but I find it's an amazing book. My apologies to those who've seen it
 Wozniac and others must have been influenced by it.
 A quote (long) from the end of the book is interesting.
                  WHERE TO FROM HERE?

   When this book was started, there was only one low-cost hobby microcomputer
(the Mark-8) and only one very dated tvt (the TVT-1). If you could get them,
2102's were $30 each and nonexistent microprocessor chips were advertised for
$300 to $400 each, without documentation, and the key interface and support
chips were a figment of the data-sheet writer's imagination. Peoples Computer
Company CC) and the Amateur Computer Society (ACS) were voices crying in the
An incredibly short time later, the hobbyist and experimenter are literally
swamped with microprocessor computers and CPU evaluation kits. Well-documented
and supported CPUs are now available for $20 each in single quantities. The
2102's are available as surplus for $1.50 each, only slightly over a tenth of a
cent per bit. PROMs have dramatically dropped in price to half a cent per bit
and less .
Computer and tvt-user clubs and groups exist by the dozens. Besides PCC
(Peoples Computer Company. Box 310 Menlo Park, CA 94025), and the numerous
smaller newsletters, major computer hobbyist magazines now exist with excellent
editorial materials, professional graphics, and wide distribution. These
include BYTE, Interface and Microtek. Universities, junior colleges,
industries, and even high schools now offer microprocessor courses. There are
now dozens of retail computer stores.
Now what? Where do we go from here? The answer literally changes by the minute.
In fact, if things continue at their present explosive rate, many of the basic
principles in this book may seem quaint or primitive by the time you read this.
Let's suppose that for an instant we could freeze time at November, 1975.
Suppose further that your main interest was not in experimenting with a CPU and
software like everyone else, but was aimed at bringing tvt's and other truly
low-cost peripherals as near to reality as possible, so that something useful
could be done cheaply with the CPUs everyone else was building. Here, as I see
it, are the major tvt-related questions that you can help answer at this
instant in time:

 * Can a basic low-cost tv typewriter with cursor and memory be
   built to retail at the hobbyist level for $39.95?
 * Can a miniature calculator-style ASCII keyboard and encoder with
    quality features (2KRO, choice of strobe, tactile response, two shot
    keys) be built to retail at the hobbyist level for $14.95?
 * What is the longest length and highest character quality that can be
    obtained with direct rf entry of an unmodified tv set?
 * Can you build a legal, universal, single-channel rf modulator to retail
   at the hobbyist level for $4.95?
 * What is the minimum possible cost for a snap-on Selectric base-plate
    adapter and converter? How fast will it operate? Can it be made to
    enter as well as print?
 * How do you add light-pen feedback to graphic and tvt displays?
 * Can a single microprocessor such as an MOS Technology 6502 provide all
    the timing and control for a stand-alone tvt?
 * What are the most effective software and algorithms needed for graphic
    display games and puzzles?
 * Can you design a simple CPU backup for a graphics tvt that will move
    chessmen following chess notation, e.g., Bishop to King's Rook 5?
 * Can you build a basic compiler on a chip or two?
 * What is the setup needed for a tvt-oriented wordprocessing system to
    be used for addressing, printing form letters, and so on? Can this be
    done without a CPU?
 * What is the simplest and cheapest dedicated "super front panel" tvt
    configuration you can come up with that will read out the entire memory
    contents of a microcomputer a page at a time? ? Can you make it
    sequentially read out locations in hex or octa1 instead of ASCII?
 * Can you come up with a simple and universal locking system for video
    titling and superposition on existing EIA sync programs, both for
    studio and home video-recording uses? Can you make it crawl, have
    variable character size and shape, etc.?
 * How do you use a tvt for printed-circuit and schematic layouts?
 * What is he best way a CPU and tvt can interact with an electronic
    music synthesis system?
 * What about video art synthesis? Can you build a super spirograph? Make
    it follow music?

 Where to from here? Get literature. Pour over trade journals. Join a club.
Subscribe to PCC, Interface and BYTE. Collect newsletters. Take some courses.
Read. Read. Read.

 Now that was excited enthusiasm you don't see any more.

ciao larry
Received on Sun Dec 20 1998 - 14:10:00 GMT

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