Commodore Web Browsers

From: Cameron Kaiser <>
Date: Fri Apr 21 12:47:31 2000

::> Cameron what is an ACIA cartridge?
::I know what one is but not where to get one. The ACIA is a particular
::variety of UART. IIRC, it stands for Advanced Communications Interface
::Adapter or something similar. Should be a variant of 6550 chip in there.
::Since I have a small drawer of 6550s (stripped from some 1970s 6502-based
::dumb terminals), I'm wondering if there are plans on the net (
::to build one.

The chip the cartridge is based on is the 6551 ACIA. I'm using a CMD SwiftLink
cartridge for the I/O. You can definitely still buy them (they're now called
Turbo232s) and they're under $40. If you're serious about using a Commodore for
any kind of telecommunications, an SL or T232 is REQUIRED. Best money I spent
on my Commodore (excepting the $100 for the 1581 :-). Order from or call +1 800 6383 CMD. The SKU# is "TURBO232" and
the current list price is $39.95.

They go up to 57.6kbps on the stock machine, and SuperCPU-equipped systems can
max out at 384 (IIRC). I use a US Robotics 28.8 Sportster PC external modem.
There is lots of software out there that supports it, including NovaTerm, a
version of Columbia University Kermit, and others.

::I happen to already have an IDE interface for the C-64 (and a 1.3" KittyHawk
::drive to go with it); I'd love to stick a browser on there and go. If
::possible, I'd probably try to retrofit an ACIA to a recycled C-64 game cart
::with some creative wiring. Presumably at low speeds, DMA is not required.

All the cart does is map the ACIA into the $de00 addressing space and the
software applications are responsible for talking to it.

I do have some plans for a BYO ACIA cart, but I have not myself used them,
so it's at your own risk. Look at

HyperLink will run at 1200 baud with a user port interface. This is supported
so that all systems can browse the web, but I can assure you, it's unpleasant

::As they say, it's not how well the bear dances, but that the bear can dance
::at all.

Actually, I think it doesn't dance too badly. There are no inline images,
but you can view them seamlessly -- it will furnish you with faux URLs that
interface to its built-in image processor. I see .jpegs and .gifs with no
trouble, and at 26.4kbps they appear in around 15-20 seconds (they're dithered
down to 2 colour, but it still looks good). The text portion of the browser
is colour, and it supports font sizes and most of HTML 1.0. Think of it as
Mosaic for the 64. :-)

All of this is on the stock machine.

Screenshots of some earlier builds are at

----------------------------- personal page: --
     Cameron Kaiser * Point Loma Nazarene University *
-- He hadn't a single redeeming vice. -- Oscar Wilde --------------------------
Received on Fri Apr 21 2000 - 12:47:31 BST

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