TV Typewriter Cookbook

From: Chuck McManis <>
Date: Sun Dec 20 20:25:05 1998

>My main find tho was a "TV Typewriter Cookbook" from Sams by Don Lancaster,
>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
> Wozniac and others must have been influenced by it.
> A quote (long) from the end of the book is interesting.

Cool, I've got the follow-on book which is called the "Cheap Video
Cookbook" that uses a 6502 as a video processor. Some interesting notes :
> * Can a basic low-cost tv typewriter with cursor and memory be
> built to retail at the hobbyist level for $39.95?

A "bare bones" VGA card costs $9.95, If you can find a CGA card they are less.

> * 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?

A 101 key IBM PC compatible keyboard is now around $8.00 new, $1.00 surplus.

> * What is the longest length and highest character quality that can be
> obtained with direct rf entry of an unmodified tv set?

You can easily do 85 x 30 lines on a modern TV using the S-video input.

> * Can you build a legal, universal, single-channel rf modulator to retail
> at the hobbyist level for $4.95?

Yes, and from a surplus dealer they are $0.75

> * 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?

Don't know...

> * How do you add light-pen feedback to graphic and tvt displays?

Interrupts. Most mono-chrome PC cards had Light pen input.

> * Can a single microprocessor such as an MOS Technology 6502 provide all
> the timing and control for a stand-alone tvt?

Yes, and he goes on to prove it in the Cheap Video Cookbook. These days I'd
consider using a PIC.

> * What are the most effective software and algorithms needed for graphic
> display games and puzzles?

Turns out the bit-blt was pretty prevalent here.

> * 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?

Again, this is something Don does in the Cheap Video Cookbook.

> * Can you build a basic compiler on a chip or two?

Yes, witness the BASIC Stamp, the Phoenix, etc.

You can also build BASIC into a chip, vis-a-vis the 8052AH

> * 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?

Olivetti did it in 1988, there may have been others.

> * 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.?

Genloc chips from Motorola do this.

> * How do you use a tvt for printed-circuit and schematic layouts?

These days it is "How else would you do it?"

> * What is he best way a CPU and tvt can interact with an electronic
> music synthesis system?

Thru an LCD panel? Most keyboards these days come with 4 line or better
LCD panels. Then again, with a Monster Sound MX300 you've got a pretty
good synth inside your computer!

> * What about video art synthesis? Can you build a super spirograph? Make
> it follow music?

Seen homebrew versions, never a commercial one.

Received on Sun Dec 20 1998 - 20:25:05 GMT

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