QuickAssembler

At work we’ve been using a configuration management system called Ansible. Great software, but not that name. Unfortunately the name comes from a book I won’t name, because the author is a racist homophobe.

Yeah that guy.

Orson Scott Card.

Don’t take my word for it. Google it. I’m ashamed that he claims to be an SF author.  I will not ready anything he has written. Obviously his views will permeate the work.

As my friend, Julie would say… Onwards.

With Ansible, you  can configure Linux systems to your liking. You do ALL the work upfront. But, when you are done, you have an idempotent configuration “script” (YAML but close enough).  It’s exactly what you want, because you have to do  every step the way you want it. No shortcuts.

This brings me to assembly as a language.  You get to control every single thing your program does because you have to write every single step yourself. Logic errors are rare because you have to think at a much lower level. Sure syntax errors will happen. Worst case scenario, your compiler (in this case your assembler) will catch it. Middle case, your syntaxy highlighting editor will catch it. Best case YOU catch it. 🙂

So i’ve been wanting to get back into assembly. Way back when I bought a copy of  QuickC/QuickAssembler 2.51. But it was infected. I could never use it. It was expensive at the time, and getting it replaced was going to be more expensive.

After my dosbox experience, I thought  why not install it  under dosbox. QC251 wasn’t that hard to find.

the img files were not as bad to deal with as i’d been reading. Find a virtual floppy driver, mount an disk1.img as  A: copy disk1 files over, do the same thing for disk2.img, and disk3.img

mount that disk A: in dosbox, run the setup. Woila! you have QuickC/QuickAssembler ready to go after answering some questions.

I was so happy with results I had to write this. 🙂

Does this age me? Sure, don’t effing care. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Editors – Part II

I mentioned the Amiga, because of Commodore inept executives, everything Commodore went belly up.

’nuff said about that.

The editor I used to use on it was called Cygnus Ed. It’s probably considered primitive by today’s standards, but it was a lot better than the one that came stock on the Amiga OS.

ed.

Although you could do quite a bit with it if you took the time to learn it.

I was a Vi user, and by extension Vim. At first I used the ‘Z’ editor that came with the Manx C Compiler, but it was vanilla Vi. You get spoiled using Vim, but by the time it was usable on the Amiga, I’d already moved on to  OS/2 based computers.

I miss my Amiga though. I’ve wanted to dabble in WinUAE off and on over the last few years, but the effort doesn’t seem worth it.

One of the things that surprised me when the Amiga was going the way of the dodo is that Amiga users drifted to Windows 95 as opposed to OS/2. They were very vocal about how much better Amiga’s were than Microsoft’s OS. And then a good number of them turned into hypocrits.

I went with OS/2. I miss that OS too, but probably not as much as the Amiga.

Next up, digging into DOS editors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Editors – Rabbit Hole #3

All that talk about non-volatile ram, got me thinking about ramdisks again. I know friends of mine will groan if they read this. I was a big fan of ramdisks.

I can hear the whispers already (SSD’s dude!). I’ll let you guys do the benchmarking, but ramdisks are 10x faster.

Now that I had the ramdisk bug… again, I set out to look for one. There are some free ones, some paid. I wanted all the features possible so I  ended up going with Radeon’s RAMdisk.

I set the windows temp variables to my R: drive.  It’s set to save changes to it automatically in the background, and it loads on boot.

Almost the same as non-volatile ram.

The machine I’m typing this on as 32gb, so i put 10gb to the ram disk. a few things are running, Chrome, Blizzard client, Steam client, WordPress desktop, some background utils: Malwarebytes, Nvidia settings, Gaming mouse util. i have about 10gb free ram left.

I’ll test this baseline config and see where it goes. puttng ISO’s there temporarily sounds like a good use

[later]

I ended up putting the google chrome cache and code-cache into the ramdisk. Now that windows supports symlinks it was much easier to do.

Bottom line is it makes chrome lightning fast. and the ramdisk driver takes care of the issue of surviving a reboot.

I was happy enough with the results that I decided to do the same thing on the Linux side.

The process is Linux specific of course (create the ramdisk, add it to fstab, move the cache/code-cache/etc. to the ramdisk, create the symlinks, add a systemd service to call a bash file to do the save and restore on the ramdisk.

It’s even faster under Linux because that OS is just more efficient out of the box.

All this because I want to go on about the wonders of my  current favourite coding environment.

Stay tuned. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Editors – Rabbit Hole #2

There was a period when DOS based PC’s were still too  expensive for the average computer nerd.

By the time I’d actually bought a Commodore 64, I’d already had (and sold) an Apple ][+ and owned both a console model TI-99 (this computer was way ahead of it’s time). And an Timex-Sinclar ZX-81.

I no longer have the console model of the TI-99, but I still have the silver “toaster” model. With a few cartridges (thanks Jeff!)

I can’t quite give that one up yet.

I also still have the zx-81, 958 bytes of screaming ram. Although I did get a 16k memory pack from someone I worked with a long time ago.

The other computer I invested quite a bit of hardware and software in was an Amiga A500. with a BASEboard so 4.5meg of ram total.

Amiga is over 30 years old and it could do at least two things that still can’t be done with todays Windows PC’s

Oh? You ask. What would those be?

At least two different resolutions on the same monitor at the same time. So yes, a 640×200 and 640×400, a few others but that’s probably what was used the most. You could slide a screen of one resolution over another. Very cool at the time. The Amiga became the basic tool for a lot of video work.

The other was non-volatile ram. That’s right. You could reboot your Amiga, and contents of some of it’s ram would still be there.

Big deal! Sure, means if you had a ramdisk, where you saved something you were working on, it would still be there after a reboot. If you put a wee bit of thought into it, means you could put boostrap code there, and boot from your ramdisk. That was a great demo at Amiga user group meetings.

So speaknig of rabbit holes, this led me down another one…

 

 

 

 

Text Editors – Rabbit Hole #1

I posted the link to a working copy of AEDIT. That got me to thinking I should try it out again. I thought someone might have a RMX emulator. No. didn’t exactly want to put down $10k for a blog.

But when I found Sepp’s Homepage there was a dos copy there.  As long as you don’t use the extra 186 instructions, you can run something compiled on that platform on an 8088/86.

Unless of course you try to run on a Windows 10 pc. The have this cmd line, but it’s only really for cmd line programs written for Win10. I wanted to run an actual DOS program.

Also at some point Windows 10 stopped allowing 32-bit programs to run. Seems to me I read this some place but completely forgot about it.

That led me to DOSBox.

And that led me to a reminder that a dos box cmd line window at 640×480 on a 3840×2160 rez monitor, gives you a credit card size window with a really small font.

dosbox

About that size. Smaller rez’s will make that look bigger of course. Alt-Enter gets you full screen in 6480×480 glory. BUT, a program written for that looks just fine.

aedit

As I inserted that picture I’m reminded that sometimes old technology especially with software stays old. At one point I was looking at getting a PL/M compiler working. I had one working when I owned an XT clone, but it’s harder to do with current OS’s

Try to get Internet Explorer 3 working on a modern PC. There’s actually a page that breaks down what browsers will run on each version of windows.

For those of you who use Nano on a Linux box that might look vaguely familiar, but AEDIT is a much more powerful beast that Nano is.

That kind of interface reminds me of Ted an text editor written by Tom Kilhken  in x86 assmbly by published by PCMag. I couldnt find the original, but this is what TED v1.1 looked like:

ted11

I remember using the assembly source and modifying it a bit myself. If you want to learn how to write a text editor.  the ASM source for this should be your goto. I used this editor a lot. You can think about is as a Notepad for Windows or a TextEdit for MacOS.

Eventually even TED wasn’t fast enough for me so I wrote a TSR program (that means Terminate and Stay Resident. For DOS that was the only way you could “multitask”.

So full disclosure, I have every DOS and OS/2 program I’ve ever downloaded.

Yes, I’m going to go through all the text editors that I remember using.

I think I ran into another rabbit hole though.