Last week I was day-dreaming about Forth and vintage computers again. Same old day-dreams. The TI-99/4A with TurboForth seems like the perfect place to start learning about both. TurboForth has lots of features and it runs in emulators and “on the metal”. Cool.
The best way to learn Forth is interactively. How do you do it with Org Mode, though? Can we have the same features you would expect with any other programming language even though it is running inside of an emulator? There must be an easy way to run at the command line, redirect input and output, or maybe telnet into the machine.
V9t9 is a Java-based and open-sourced emulator there on GitHub. If it doesn’t have telnet into it, then it can be added. That got me thinking (daydreaming?) again about the fun of simple computers. Whatever approach you use to access them, using Org seems like a great way to write new books about them.
They are simpler. They are a great place to start. There is tons of great literature out there already. Now add Emacs and Org-Mode to the mix to practice Literate Programming.
It seems like there is a huge opportunity for great new books about old computers and programming languages. Export to LaTeX and publish, and there you go. Very fun and very cool.
The desire to build my own personal computer has been growing. My requirements are non-existent. That has never stopped anyone before, right? Not going down to the silicon, it seemed the making it inexpensive and FORTH driven would be the best approach. Using nothing more than a television and a keyboard also seemed like a great idea. Everything else would be a distraction. Anything costing much would be a barrier. Tonight I came upon the FIGnition FUZE. This is my and surely your FORTH on a TV dream machine!
FIGnition FUZE is the definitive £20 educational DIY computer! It works like an 8-bit home Micro: outputting to composite video and ready to be interactively programmed from the moment you switch it on. FUZE now has bitmapped graphics; sprites, sound and audio saving/loading as well as 8Kb of RAM; 384Kb of storage; an 8-key keypad and runs a variant of FIG-Forth. It uses USB for power; firmware upgrades and program downloads.
Just read “What Can It Do?” and you will be drooling. Faster than every 80s box ever? Yes. External flash appears as re-usable disk? Yes. Graphics? Yes. Audio system for loading/saving data? Yes. The list goes on.
This is the vintage FORTH box that you have wanted to build all these years even though you didn’t know it!
Running TurboForth on a TI-99/4A seems like the best way to learn FORTH on a TV.
This is an interpreter for a really simple dynamically scoped Scheme dialect. It only runs with Gforth, because it uses Gforth’s structs to implement its data structures.
This is a detailed and frank conversations about one man’s journey with FORTH.
Over the last two years a few questions and ideas have visited me and the following is my attempt to piece them together…
In the comments of this post a commentor named b0b (sic) mentioned “algorithmic music”. I emailed him and he shared more information about it. That led to reading his bio that provides information both about the author and the composition.
b0b created music playing automatons each with the limitations that humans have. The whole thing is quite an expression of creativity!
You can listen to the record on the site and also purchase a cassette tape.
better, the FORTH source code is available here!
Seems like a fine excuse to learn more about the Atari ST and ForthMacs!