Tech Rumors/Legends?

From: Chuck McManis <>
Date: Thu Jun 1 16:19:01 2000

At 01:33 PM 6/1/00 -0700, you wrote:
>Up for review:
>1. "The person that designed the Mindset PC later designed
>the Amiga." I realize that computers like the Amiga are not
>designed by just one person, but does anyone know anything
>about the people that helped design these computers?

I believe that would be Jay Miner.

>2. About 1982 I started hearing that it was possible to
>build a camera for your pc by "cooking" an EPROM under
>UV light for an extended period until the memory cells
>were still light sensitive but would no long hold a
>charge. Then by placing a len over the EPROM's window,
>you had a real time low-res video image mapped right into
>memory. Again this is one that quite a few people had
>heard about but no one knew anyone that had ever done it.

Nope, but you could remove the cover off a Dynamic RAM and do this. It was
the basis for the "cyclops" camera. I have a couple of RAMs I did this to
(they still work too!) The theory is that the photons knock the charge off
the capacitors turning 1 bits into zero bits. The way it was used most
effectively was to write all ones, then scan it about 16 times recording
the bit pattern each time. Bright light turned bits to zero immediately,
less light took longer. The resulting 16 scans could be converted into a 4
bit grey scale image. Check back issues in Byte for the Steve Ciarcia
article on this, and later the "OPTICRam" which was a commercialized version.

>3. This has probably been discussed here before, but ....
>I've heard that the old 8 inch 32 sector hard sector floppy
>diskettes, the ones with the sector holes around the outside
>edge of the diskette, and the big notch in one corner, is
>is an early version of the 8 inch floppy - maybe the first
>form the 8 inch floppies from IBM took.

Eric Smith has all the skinny on this one.

>4. I've heard somewhere, and the source is lost to age,
>that - the Altair for the January 1975 article was just
>a empty case and that no regular orders for the Altair
>8800 where filled until April 1, 1975.
>(Sure, I drooled on the magazine at the time, but it
> might as well costs a million dollars, I was a single
> sailor collecting $151.00 every two weeks, saving to
> get married at the end of April.)

My version goes that the Altair that was sent to Popular Electronics was
the only prototype and it got lost in the mail when it was returned. MITS
was forced to recreate large portions of the design from scratch and thus
delayed first shipments.

Received on Thu Jun 01 2000 - 16:19:01 BST

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