[vcf-midatlantic] Steve Dompier's coding...

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Thu May 5 18:02:33 EDT 2016

On 05/05/2016 04:50 PM, Bill Sudbrink via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
>>> .... Mr. Dompier hand wrote that program
>>> LITERALLY (hand, pencil, paper), no editor, no assembler.
>>> He then toggled it in (or maybe raw keyed it in with a
>>> primitive ROM monitor) and [used paper tape to save/restore it]
>> I agree, it's informative to look at such code, to see methods of
>> coding. But that's normal activity, given the era.
> And I agree with you.  I did some myself.  I was trying to interest
> some of the people who might not be aware.  I've exhibited my IMSAIs
> and Altairs a number of times.  On numerous occasions, I've heard
> comments like "those front panels are pretty but you couldn't really
> do anything with them".  I'm pretty sure now that Mr. Dompier
> toggled Dazzlemation into the machine.  The recollection is that he
> didn't get a 4FDC until later, so he probably didn't have a monitor
> in ROM.

  Many years ago, in the mid-1970s, there was a construction article in,
I think, Popular Electronics magazine, for basically a blinking light
panel.  It had a field of LEDs that blinked randomly, nothing more.  The
article stated that the blinking lights on large computers of the day
were simply there to impress their owners, and that "a painted metal
panel would convey the same amount of useful information".  Since such
machines were prohibitively expensive for the hobbyist, there should be
a way for the average hobbyist to "get a decent set of blinking lights",
hence that construction project.

  The article's author was clearly completely (and dismissively!)
clueless about what computer front panels are really all about.


Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

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