The Return of the rainbow. Compucolor II




Fiction | The Return of the rainbow. Compucolor II

Compucolor II

In 1978, computers started to become increasingly like the devices that we know today. They are still far inferior to modern digital little ones in power, but gradually became not only fun, but also useful in everyday life things. At the end of 1977 was presented to the computer Compucolor II. It replaced Compucolor 8001 , which became famous for its color display. Over the entire period of sales of the computer, just bought a 2000 units.

Compucolor II

When Compucolor II entered the market accurate information. Historians high technology believe that it happened in May 1978. Depending on the configuration of the computer was worth 1 thousand 495 U.S. dollars to 2 thousand 395 U.S. dollars.

Yes, Timex Sinclair 1500 , which appeared five years later, was much cheaper. Progress even in those years was not standing still. Compared with the Sol-20 it has the advantage that not needed for a whole week to collect it and tested.

It was based on the 2-megahertz processor from Intel or AMD. His memory (RAM, RAM) ranged from 8 to 32 kilobytes. 13-inch monitor Compucolor II has a resolution of 128 x 128 pixels and two colors. In text mode, it displays 64 rows and 32 columns of text information.

Storage of information has performed 53-kilobyte floppy disk drive built-in. The role of the operating system and played FCS Compucolor BASIC (a special version of the programming language BASIC for Compucolor).

On the back of the Compucolor II is only three ports:

Connector for the keyboard
RS232C serial port
50-pin connector system bus

Compucolor II is the computer “all in one”. To the end of 1970 it was a rarity. It already had everything I needed for work: support for color graphics, built-in storage and the BASIC programming language as a software platform. In June 1978 at the Conference National Computer Conference in Anaheim, California was presented Compucolor model 3, the first model line Compucolor II.

Compucolor II

Developed Compucolor II forces Intecolor, and its sales were made ​​through Compucolor. This is the name of the corporation divisions Intelligent Systems Corporation (ISC). ISC is also engaged in the production of professional CRT (CRT, CRT) terminals for computer displays and communication needs.

If the first computer Compucolor 8001 has been designed for applications industry, Compucolor 8001 was intended for consumers. Historians do not exclude that Compucolor II was the first computer with support for color text, color graphics and built-in floppy drive for storing programs and data. It refers to a combination of useful properties. Individually, they could meet before.

At the time, Apple II was perhaps the only computer with color graphics. But the color is not supported by the text of them. Color in the product of two great Steve was just stingy set of colored graphic elements: dots and lines.

Compucolor II

The creators of the computer made sure to save money and precious time, so the display (and, at the same time, the system unit) computer Compucolor II served as the standard color television. Extracted from the TV receiver box and an analog circuit and in their place were put floppy disk drive and motherboard computer. History is not brought to us the information about the TV from any brand used in the manufacture of Compucolor II.

Buyers are three models available Compucolor II, which differed from each other RAM:

Model 3, 8 kilobytes, 1000 $ 495
Model 4, 16 KBytes, 1000 $ 795
Model 5, 32k, 2000 $ 395

Things are Compucolor Corporation went well and thanks to the large volume of production in February 1979, prices have been reduced:

On the Model 4 to 1 thousand 695 dollars
In Model 1 5 to 995 thousand dollars

Your computer might equipped with three types of keyboard: standard, extended and a suite (with colored buttons). Complemented by an enhanced version of the digital block and special function keys make it easy to difficult work of the programmer.

Keyboards of all types have a certain set of special keys:

«AUTO» boot from a floppy disk into the floppy disk drive built-in menu, which is a list of programs available
«CPU RESET» reboot the system in CRT-mode
«ATTN / BREAK» suspended the execution of the current BASIC program

Compucolor II can operate in three modes:

CRT-mode or Terminal. Interaction with other computer via the RS232 serial port
BASIC. Single-user mode that accept and execute programs in BASIC
FCS (File Control System, mode file system). Disk Operating System allows you to manage files on a floppy disk in the floppy drive built-in

Compucolor II

Default Compucolor II loaded in Basic mode, or more precisely the version of the programming language DISK BASIC 8001. In case of emergency, press the shortcut keys «SHIFT» «CONTROL» «CPU RESET» returned the computer to DISK BASIC 8001.

It is necessary to say a few words about the programming language, or as we would say today, the development environment. DISK BASIC was very powerful in their times. He knew how to manipulate files, vector graphics and floating point. He knew how to work with Boolean algebra, trigonometric functions, and string functions.

With this powerful BASIC programmers had access to the real time clock of the computer. According to rumors, DISK BASIC 8001 represented an modified and improved Microsoft BASIC. As you know, Microsoft’s BASIC for many years was the main programming language in many personal computers.

Disk Operating System was named FCS («File Control System», «control system files”). It was used to control the floppy disks, allowing the user to save the program, the state of the screen, and arrays.

Sign in FCS could be at the touch of a keyboard combination «ESC» «D». Return to Basic by pressing the «ESC» «E». Disk operating system has a set of commands:

COPY – Copy
DELETE – Delete
DEVICE – A device
DIRECTORY – Directory (directory, today it is called folders)
DUPLICATE – Duplicate
INITIALIZE – Initialize
LOAD – load
READ – Read
RENAME – Rename
RUN – Run
SAVE – Save
WRITE – Write

Please note that formatting (FORMAT) is not listed in these instructions. And this is no accident. The user was forced to buy pre-formatted floppy disk from the dealer for $ 20 per couple. In time, was officially released «Formatter» for Compucolor II. It would seem that formatting the disk an easy task. But even she was accompanied by difficulties, like almost all of those years, which was associated with computer technology.

Compucolor II does not automatically boot from the floppy disk at power on. The instructions to the computer even had a warning:

“Do not leave the floppy disk in the drive when you turn on or turn off your Compucolor II»

The magnetic field of a cathode ray tube display was only seven and a half inches from the floppy drive. This field may affect the integrity of the data on a floppy disk when you turn on or off the system.

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