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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thick As A Brick

Without our fearless leader, Darcie and I are left floundering in the dark. Onwards (see what I did there? 🙂

 

A  long time ago, for some reason, I was looking for some new music (to me) that was keyboard heavy. What I was looking for at the time, and didn’t realize it until recently was a group that had what I like to call the “heavy organ” sound. That’s not an original phrase. I got that from Virgil Fox.

I went down to my favourite record store, and found an album where one of the instruments used on it was a “mellotron” I knew that was a keyboard of some type so I thought I’d give the album a try.

I also knew the album wasn’t going to be a total wash because it was Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung” I liked that particular song. Albums back then had the unique quality of having more than one good song (that was the release single). I could get lucky and the whole album was good.

And it, was, but not my favourite Tull album.

The second Jethro Tull album I picked up was “Thick As A Brick”. My copy pictured below:

tab1-folded

If it looks like the top half a a folded newspaper, that’s because it is. Sort of. It’s a clever take on a gatefold  album cover, if you open it up, un-fold it, it looks like this:

tab1-unfolded

And if you, open it up like a newspaper it looks like this (this is page 1 and 2):

tab1-openp1

 

And this is page the last page:

tab1-lastpage11

You’d have to zoom in to the top right hand corner of the right hand page. But it says “11”

(ok that was weird. I’ve written two 11 references today, totally unintentional)

This was a parody of concept albums at the time. But ended up being one of the best selling concept albums of 1972. And I’m guessing the irony is not lost on the genius that is Ian Anderson.

It’s one continuous piece of music over two sides of a vinyl album. Of course on CD and live it plays much better.

In 2012 a “sequel” was released by Ian Anderson, called “Thick As A Brick 2”. I’m not sure if it was ever released on vinyl, BUT:

tab1+2

From left to right (top row): The box of this box set, “Thick As A Brick” original album, but non-gatefold sleeve.

Bottom row: “Thick As A Brick 2” (in vinyl!), hard cover booklet (which happens to contain all the text of the original “newspaper” from the gatefold version, plus notes, photos, etc. As far a i know you can’t get this anymore. (Amazon, etc.)

When  Jethro Tull toured for this album, they played the in its entirety. That would have been some show to see. They are one of the few bands that can duplicate their album sound (other’s include Yes, Deep Purple)

After TAAB2 was released, Ian Anderson did at least one show of the contents of both albums:

tab-ice

This is, of course, is the 3 album set on vinyl of the concert, 2, cd’s (that were included in the numbered copy (mine is 475 of 3000), and I also picked up the Blu-ray of it.

I haven’t listened to it yet. Saving it for a rainy day. 🙂

 

oblivious dragonfly

This week I had to wrack my brain to find something in the house that people ask about when they come over.

first problem is that we have very few people actually come over. so, nobody to ask about anything.

so kind of a twist, something we have hanging on the wall, and i think it was my brother-in-law (who’s an artist/art teacher) pointed it out to me:

Copy ink

so excuse the glare/reflection. i wasn’t taking it down off the wall, or out of it’s frame.

this is an india ink drawing of another painting, i don’t know who the original artist is so can’t credit them, but this drawing is a copy of that original and  was done by my sister.

looking at this photo, it’s obvious now, but when you look at it on the wall it’s not (well to me anyway). it was hanging there for years before i was told there was a  dragon fly “hidden” in the drawing. going over to the wall now it’s not nearly as obvious as it is in this image (which is an HDR shot).

zooming in shows there’s quite a bit of detail. but i was oblivious to it.

this one is asked about also. My sister was in Bangor, Maine, and took a photo of Stephen King’s house (apparently everybody does it).

this is a free hand  india ink drawing of that photo (ignore the bad shot, the detail is there.)

King

She also did a pencil drawing  of the “Changes One” Bowie album cover, that you’d be hard pressed to tell from the original.

Chromebooks

I have been using a chromebook off and on for a few years now. Part of a “cloud” initiative for work.

I didn’t use it exclusively, of course.  There’s still a few things I need to do on a regular computer.

One of the things I’ve tried to do, is get my workflow “cloud oriented”.

Ok, quick aside: this will be useful to most people, especially millennials  (you spell cloud this way: c   l   o  u   d). I think it’s about 15 years ago, I started seeing “internet” related diagrams, using a cloud graphic to designate “the internet” somewhere along the line, an executive who hadn’t had his knuckles broken probably thought it was clever to call the internet, “the cloud”. seems to have stuck, because in the corporate world that’s all you effing hear.

there  are cloud books, cloud apps,  could initiatives (HELLO!), cloud recipes, cloud targets, cloud backups, cloud infrastructure, private clouds, on premises clouds, clouds as a service,  cloud projects, cloud-op ((dolphin laugh, Julie, Darcie,  I can explain it later)  in-joke to my Canadian military friends)).

The reason (for me anyway) to be as “cloud oriented” as possible, was I had a number of internet connected devices: phone, tablet, work computer, home computer, etc.)

Knowing that I could get at my internet content was very empowering. All I needed was an  internet connected device (millenials: AND the internet).

To help me with this I already had a Gmail account with Google Drive, but subscribed to Dropbox,  Roboform, Outlook and Onenote (free so far), WordPress, twitter, facebook, instragram.

With the exception of some photo/video  processing I do on my Macbook Pro (a now ancient model that will remain that way), I can do almost everything on a chromebook.

So, this is a few years ago, my boss wanted me to get a chromebook for evaluation purposes.  If our department (a tech oriented networking department) could make it work, then surely a good part of the rest of the company could also.

After some research, I found a Samsung 11″ chromebook,  The lists of the things I couldn’t do was much smaller than the list of things I could do. Some very specific networking software, and obviously gaming excluded of course. For a very reasonable price.

For a chromebook, the only real thing wrong was  that keyboard. If I had to guess, I’d say it was designed by a millenial (huh? the millenial said with the finger  their finger stuck up to  third knuckle in their  their nose)

(Darcie, you  know you are excluded from this)

I don’t want to get into GUI or hardware design, but the “Enter”  key needs to be wide from side to side not tall from up and down)

One of my bosses ( I have 5) complained about the same thing.

At the beginning of June (milennials: Google “months”)

I started using the Samsung chromebook almost exclusively, making changes to my workflow as needed.

Full disclosure, I mean my home workflow.

I found I could do almost everything. There were a few issues.

I needed a bigger screen, and a much better keyboard.

I already knew about the ASUS touchscreen chromebook, I wanted a 14″ screen if I could get it.

I found the HP touchscreen 14.

Why do you need a touchscreen?

For the Android apps. (iphone users: that’s  the phone you really want, but Steve says you can’t have)

I was impressed enough with the specs and the reviews to buy one.  Kind of a jaw dropper to use your favourite android apps on a “laptop”  type device.

It’s almost easier to tap the icon for your favourite service rather than going to the web page. For something like The Weather Network and Onenote it’s much better. There’s probably dozen’s of other examples,

[Later]

I let the battery get down to 6%. After (all told) 9 hours of using it, and 72 hours of standby (closing the lid). the 72 hours were over 4 days, and using it about 2 to 3 hours each day.

As I type this, I’ve been using it for a little over 2 hours, and the battery says I have another 11 hours to go. For me the battery life is a little better than advertised.

I’ve already recommended it to three people already. I would’t even hesitate to buy it again.