It has been a while since I have written anything for this site. I haven’t stopped working on the Atari, The Ben Eater 6502 project, or anything else. I have just been busy with lots of it and haven’t found anything compelling to write.
On the Atari front, I have worked my way through the book: Atari Roots. This book was an excellent primer into the Atari system’s assembly language and understanding a bit about how it differs from typical 6502 programming. The book gives a pretty good overview of beginning assembly programming and Atari Memory mapping – but it will take more books and more study to master this topic (or even come close).
I also ran into some issues using the Atari 800XL that I have with the book. It seems that the cartridge version of Mac/65 that I have includes the DDT debugger – which is different than the book references (BUG/65). DDT uses space in the $600 memory area – thus forcing me to adapt the book’s code to use different memory locations. Additionally, the book covered utilizing object code with Atari Basic programs. This part wasn’t something I was able to figure out how to do with SpartaDos X, which is built into my Ultimate 1MB upgrade. I ended up needing to turn off the SpartaDos mode and boot into DOS 2.5 to get these programs to run.
But I was able to enter and understand most of the programs. I feel that the book was too fast-paced for a beginner, and, especially toward the end, I felt like I was merely typing in code from the pages that I didn’t completely understand. I am starting to read the Book Assembly Programming For The Atari Computers. I’m not sure it covers the material much differently – but I think that more repetition in this area is what I need to understand it better.
Similarly in the Ben Eater 6502 project – I am continuing to follow along with the videos. The latest video in the series, Binary to decimal can’t be that hard, right?, showed just how difficult it actually is. I admit my understanding of this material is limited. I got it as I was going through the videos but this, along with the Atari Assembly language (which is really the same thing) are going to take a lot more effort to fully grok. I am excited to see this project get into more complex coding. It is neat to think that something I built from IC level components is computing. I hope to have more on this project, for this blog soon.
Finally, I am, again, exploring the world of Linux. I recently bought an older model Intel NUC computer. I installed Manjaro Linux and have been customizing KDE Plasma on this system for the last several days. I expect it will be my my ‘daily driver’, as they say, for the next little while. For now I am holding on to, and continuing to use my Macbook Pro – but so far I like what I see with Manjaro (and KDE), and expect I may decide to make my next laptop a Dell or a Thinkpad instead of a Macbook. One area I am struggling with, having only used Debian back in the day, is Systemd. I need to find a good reference for that.
Well that is it for now – I hope to write more frequently about one of these (or perhaps other) topics soon.