Archive for August, 2016


Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Introducing the Thortron-78

I read about the Z80 in the logs and decided to build a computer using one. I ended up constructing from basic components a 5V power supply, a computer consisting of a 4 Mhz clock, Z80 CPU, an eeprom, and a video board based on the TMS9118.

Here is the whole set up:

Here is the actual computer with the logic analyzer probe attached to the CPU:

Here is the computer displaying its name (sadly in gray scale because of an as yet unsolved issue with color loss):

Here is the HP logic analyzer that saved me a good deal of time, and which was according to some labeling on it once used at Fermilab:

The current state of the project is that the computer (I call it the Thortron-78) can drive a TMS9118 VDP well enough to display text on a TV via composite video. Next up is RAM, keyboard i/o, and then some type of storage.

Numbered Lists

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Against Numbered Lists

I am often exposed to “articles” in the form of numbered lists. I will not read them. A numbered list of lightly supported claims is in no way mnemonic, and in fact a sign of information to be quickly discarded. The only numbered lists I will read are ordered enumerations of menial tasks, or perhaps recipes.


Sunday, August 28th, 2016

English is a collection of once glittering but now dead moths and butterflies pinned and under glass.

If Greek seems to English speakers a dead language it is only because they’ve seen only that part of it that has been trapped in a jar, gassed, and impaled in an English dictionary.

English speakers are entomolgists, presenting their collection of Chloroformed specimens in various combinations mimicking the ecosystems from which they originated.