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.


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.


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:


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.









text editors – part I

If that title makes your eyes glaze over you probably won’t want to read this. It’s long, rambling, in several parts as i take you through my text editor journey. 🙂 I’ll try to keep each entry between short… ish.

TL;DR version: MS Visual Code

The very first computer I owned was an Apple ][+ clone built by a friend (Hi Steve). At the time it cost me $600 I wrote a few programs in Applesoft basic for it, but that was about the only typing I did on the computer

I used it before I was enticed by a Commodore 64. Someone I worked with (Eric, where  tf are you?) showed me a copy of a C=64 magazine called Run. The content of that magazine heavily influenced me to go buy one.

I actually went to a stereo store, where they had one. I’d paid $333 CAD (before taxes 🙂 ) I had no way of saving any programs I wrote. I bought it on a Sep and it isn’t until Christmas that I got what they called a dataset which was a proprietary cassette player to save and load programs.

By that point I’d gotten the computer bug, well I’d had it about two years before, but didn’t really recognize it at the time.

AND OMG it’s been over a year since I wrote a blog. Apologies to those who are actually following me.

I was finally able to take a computer program course at the local college, and was able to do a few assignments in Pascal (one of the languages we learned). The course was geared to programming. Basically if you learn to program, doesn’t really make any difference on what language you use, at that point it’s syntax and libraries that will let you write the software you want.

So, text editors.

We were taught, how to write programs in Karel, Pascal, and C. Karel taught us procedural programming, Pascal is just a good general purpose language to learn. and at the time Borland’s Turbo Pascal was probably the best compiler you could get at the time. Nowadays you’d use Python  (3, don’t listen to the v2 whining.)

First text editor I used was a vanilla Vi. Running on a VAX with MS Xenix (a Unix clone). I use a vim plugin for MS VSCode today. I have to laugh when I see people using their mouse to  cut and paste a line.  Only because they have to take their hands of the keyboard.

AT college the admins kept the nice levels painful (look that up if  you don’t know unix/linux)

Ok. Friends Don’t Lie. Vi is painful to learn. It’s a moded editor (look that up too) but is very powerful. Even plain  vanilla Vi. And it comes on every install of linux.

You have to install Emacs specifically if you want to use it on llinux. You’ll probably break your knuckles with key combos though.  Oh, and very extensible, all you have to do is learn Lisp and the Emacs lisp api.  But once I had Emacs wake me up, make my coffee and toast, get me dressed and showered, and send me off to work, and then I used vim to get actual work done. (insert snrk here)

I didn’t, but that’s the claim of Emacs fans who say it can do everything. It probably can, but I just need a good text editor.

A lot of people think that vim is primitive. With all the GUI editors you can get nowadays (ie 2020) then maybe it is. BUT, if you are a touch typist (and that means that not only do you can you find the home row on a keyboard without looking at it,  you can type on it without looking at it. That means you can type while looking at the screen, or not at the screen,  or copy (old term but it means a physical printout  of something) you can even type while someone is dictating to you. So vim for those who started touch typing but now code for a living, it’s a no-brainer.

The next text editor i used was called AEDIT (Ascii Edit). I hate to say this if your a millenial (I’ve ripped on you guys a lot), but when  you text you are actually texting in Ascii code (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

You can wiki but the standard was finally published in 1963.

AEDIT ran on an operating system called RMX (Realtime Multitasking eXecutive).

My teachers in college made a big deal out of this OS. I got the feeling that that thought it was the next big thing.  In our RMX lab there might have been 15 or 20 of these “Intel Workstations” as Intel called them. They ran on these huge boxes that contained 80186 motherboards that were the size of a vinyl album cover. Big.

I didn’t fail to notice this little $5000 machine in the corner. “Oh, that’s an IBM XT, it’s not going anywhere.”

Yeah. ’nuff said.

I think it’s safe for me to say I’ve read  well over 1000 computer magazines. Likely a lot more. I read them cover to cover including the ads. I was a sponge for computer information.

Out all the magazines I saw exactly 2 (count’em) references to RMX.  You can wiki it, but they are still trying to sell this stone wheel. You can’t even get a price on the website. A quick google will get you a $10k figure.

That is almost like paying that kind of price for a 360k floppy of DOS 3.2.

The difference being you could do more with the floppy.

The development language was PL/M (Programming Language for Machines). It looked a lot like Pascal, except it had no native IO. That’s right nothing like a simple print a character to a screen. Or to a disk.

We had X86 assembly libs that did the job.

AEDIT was written in this language.

I gave up a while ago putting links in blogs. I look at some of mine from 2002 and a lot of the links are long dead. That kind of thing frustrates me when I find old links while surfing.

So a link for AEDIT: Sepp’s homepage

That leads me to my first Rabbit hole. Next entry.


















the broken knuckle list gets longer

so the process goes something like this:

you break the knuckles of someone who has the authority to sign off on a particular tech or change in tech software. that way a stoopid decision can’t be made official and actually make it out to consumers.

mac osx is a perfect example of (and possibly near the top of the list) of stoopid decisions being made for the os and then actually implementing them, thus reducing the functionality of the os.

i’ve been subscribing to the internet only version of SiriusXM for a few years now, and the mobile  app has always had issues, but the other day there was an update to the app, taking away a major feature and making the app almost useless to use (i’m referring to the MYSXM feature).

on top of that the new version of the app features options for their new video content. you read that right, video content for an internet/satellite radio.

video for radio.

oh, and for the record i heard “Laurel” at the same time my wife heard “Yanni”. that was one of the freakier things that have happened to me.

Fitbit Versa – os update

over the weekend, the Fitbit Versa easily became the best smartwatch on the market.

why?  an os update gave android users the ability to reply with customized canned messages. And for what i was using the Pebble Time for, the Versa is now it’s equal.

i don’t think the capability will work on the Apple watch, but that’s ok, i think they can still send their heartbeat to other Apple watch users. <snrk>


as much as i like digitalocean and the blog i hosted there, it was a bit of a pain to maintain the server. that’s not a suprise with any diy site but my days of playing around with various tools are coming to an end. i’m very picky about the tech i play around with now, and i’ve decided that my blogging tools are not going to be one of them.

to that end, i’m moving my ventedspleen.ca domain over to my wordpress page. right now i’m typing this as a draft, but when this blog goes live, it should be available via ventedspleen.ca

it’s nice to be able to use Marsedit again, and probably time for me to upgrade.

an hour later: i upgraded Marsedit to v4. still waiting for my ISP to update their DNS. seems like everyone else on the internet has, but i can’t publish this until it’s updated:

dig ventedspleen.ca


ventedspleen.ca. 1140 IN A

but google knows:

dig @ ventedspleen.ca

ventedspleen.ca. 299 IN A
ventedspleen.ca. 299 IN A

so yeah, not as of two hours ago :/

24 hrs later: and my isp as rejoined the internet <snrk>