Windows 9 is now Windows 10

Alexia
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Sat 27 Aug, 2016 13.34

Anyone else have a VTECH PreComputer 1000 with its full Basic 1.0 function?
cwathen
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Sat 27 Aug, 2016 14.50

Alexia wrote:Anyone else have a VTECH PreComputer 1000 with its full Basic 1.0 function?
Never owned my own, but I had a friend with a Pre Computer 2000 that I played with (which I believe despite being '1000 higher' just had a slightly larger screen and was otherwise identical). I believe the BASIC in them was a pretty standard port of 1977 Microsoft BASIC and as such you could in theory do some pretty powerful stuff on it in considering it was only a toy computer (hampered of course by the screen) - I don't know what sort of storage capacity they had in them?
Alexia
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Sat 27 Aug, 2016 15.45

Could store large multi-line complex BASIC programs but of course as soon as you turned the computer off it was all lost.

Yes the 2000 had a two-line screen as opposed to the 1000's one-line screen and judging by this picture a lot more activities / functions. I never owned a 2000 but my 1000 lasted well into the 1990s until I broke the LCD screen and got my first laptop. Nostalgia made me get another one this year and I own a pristine working example from 1992 (my original one was a 1989 model). Takes 4xD batteries and runs as sweet as when it was new.

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bilky asko
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Sat 27 Aug, 2016 17.09

When I was at secondary school (2004-2009), we also did Excel macros and Access databases - both of which come in useful for me today - and we learned VB at Sixth Form (though Pascal was still an option to be taught).
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Nick Harvey
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Sat 27 Aug, 2016 23.47

cwathen wrote:So this was transcribed from the sheets straight onto paper tape? No punched cards in between with the individual statements on?

What did this program do Nick?

Out of interest, would you say computing was more interesting back then?
Machines in those days tended to have either a punched card reader or a paper tape reader. We had paper tape, so that's what the code was punched onto. It could equally well have gone onto punched cards instead, had we had punches and a reader.

This page of code was just a subroutine. I would photocopy the page and include it in whatever program I was writing at the time. In the early days of magnetic tape, there would often be dirt on either the tape or the read head. If you got a read error reported by the tape drive, you could often get over the problem by moving the tape back one block and trying the read instruction again. This bit of code did just that, eight times over, before giving up on a program halt instruction. In most cases the second or third try at the read instruction would be successful, at which point the subroutine simply exited back to the main program for it to carry on.

Yes, computing and programming was far more interesting in those days. Even if you were working in assembler, you had to know exactly what the processor was doing, down at the most basic level. Those machines could only do two things, move and compare; everything else was multiple repetitions of those two commands. For instance, if you wanted to add 2 to 3 in those days, you moved the character out of arithmatic table location 0023, which would contain a 5. Location 0066 would contain a B, which was a 2 with a carry bit. To subtract 2 from 5, you looked in location 0152, which would contain a 3.

Once you fully understood those kinds of basics, you were let loose on programming, so it was far more interesting back then.
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WillPS
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Sun 28 Aug, 2016 00.28

This really is a top notch bit of discussion. Thoroughly enjoying this.

I'm fascinated by vintage computers in general.
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cwathen
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Fri 09 Dec, 2016 12.53

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_GlGglbu1U
Microsoft have now released a preview of a special build of Windows 10 Enterprise running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor - as found in many mobile phones. Unlike other RISC-based versions like RT and the present versions of Windows Phone, this is not a cut down mobile offering but a full heavyweight version of WIndows 10 with full feature support including joining domains, the normal desktop/explorer interface and also includes full support to run x86 applications directly (although not x64).

So if this build was supplied with a phone (which would also need a lot more storage than the 16/32GB which is common atm), you would have a device which could directly run standard Windows applications.

Technically this is very interesting and may well have some utility (such as corporates being able to have a device which can run internal applications they would normally need to pull a laptop out for), but I'm not sure if this will save Windows phone as a platform. Last year I picked up an HP Stream 7 Windows tablet (ran 8.1 initially, then got updated to 10). This is an x86 Windows tablet running full Windows. It was an interesting novelty to have a tablet which could directly run the proper version of Excel and a full desktop web browser, along with browsing files using normal Windows explorer, but it quickly became disappointing as few pieces of 'normal' software are particularly usable on a small touchscreen device with no keyboard or separate pointing device, whilst apps actually designed for such hardware are disappointingly scare for Windows devices. An Android tablet would have been far more useful, even if it didn't have the initial wow factor.

I can't imagine the experience of full Windows on a phone will be any different - if that's what they're planning.

Although there may be some value in revisting what Motorola tried to do with the Atrix - release a phone alongside a separate docking station to turn it into a laptop so you can have everything in one place. Motorola's offering didn't really work as the docked system was running a cut down Linux that only ran a web browser and displayed the phone's screen in a window whilst the dock was just as expensive as a budget laptop which could do much more. Maybe a full Windows powered solution would have more success, maybe not.

Either way it's interesting from a technical perspective.
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dosxuk
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Fri 09 Dec, 2016 18.27

cwathen wrote:Last year I picked up an HP Stream 7 Windows tablet (ran 8.1 initially, then got updated to 10). This is an x86 Windows tablet running full Windows. It was an interesting novelty to have a tablet which could directly run the proper version of Excel and a full desktop web browser, along with browsing files using normal Windows explorer, but it quickly became disappointing as few pieces of 'normal' software are particularly usable on a small touchscreen device with no keyboard or separate pointing device, whilst apps actually designed for such hardware are disappointingly scare for Windows devices.
I have an HP X2 thing - tablet with detachable laptop style keyboard, and for the money (£220) its fantastic. Full Windows (if on this one annoyingly stuck on x32 despite having a x64 processor), usable as a tablet, and usable as a laptop. Basically lives in my bag and gets used for anything and everything, from watching films in hotels (android could do this) to configuring sound systems (android cant). I like it that much I'm thinking about getting the 12" version, which boosts the whole spec, but retains the concept.

Windows 10 also shines in this format, especially the automatic switching between tablet and desktop modes when you peel the screen off the keyboard (which always gets initial looks of horror from people when they first see you trying to rip your laptop on half).
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nidave
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Fri 09 Dec, 2016 19.12

MS are looking to have full x86 programs and the full version of Windows 10 running on ARM processers through emulation.
This is going to be massive if things work well as it will allow a load of energy efficient devices to be released and cause issues with intel in the low end market.
https://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-a ... le-devices
It should arrive by next year and they already have a demo running
cwathen
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Fri 09 Dec, 2016 23.09

nidave wrote:MS are looking to have full x86 programs and the full version of Windows 10 running on ARM processers through emulation.
This is going to be massive if things work well as it will allow a load of energy efficient devices to be released and cause issues with intel in the low end market.
https://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-a ... le-devices
It should arrive by next year and they already have a demo running
That TBH is the other thing I thought about. There are low end low energy Atom powered boxes around - things like the Intel Compute Stick and the NUC but they all carry quite high price tags compared to similar Android kit with an ARM architecture. Replace Windows 10 IOT Core with a proper ARM-based Windows release (especially if it's released for free to OEMs of low end hardware a la '8.1 with Bing') and it will be interesting to see where things end up.

All of that said though, if they go beyond mobile devices there is a possibility that the x86/x64 platform itself could ultimately fall from favour as hardware manufacturers go for cheaper ARM-based hardware - and I don't think that would be good for the PC market. One of the biggest draws to standard PC architecture it is essentially having 35 years of backwards compatibility (at least in basic hardware anyway - but still 64 bit Windows 10 will run pretty much all software designed at least for WIndows 95 and upwards). All the software that uses that platform won't just go away quietly and Microsoft would be increasingly judged on their ability to emulate the platform that currently WIndows natively runs on.

All interesting stuff though.
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nidave
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Sat 10 Dec, 2016 09.57

Windows 10 is free for deceives below a specific screen size - I would assume there would be a SKU with bing for compute sticks as they will end up on the larger screens.
MS look like they are pivoting to doing everything they can to get the devices out there and with the UWP store starting to gain a bit of momentum they seem like they are trying to replicate the google model - with asure and the enterprise funding it for the consumer side of the business until it starts picking up. If they can mange to pull it off remains to be seen - MS are still seen as the band guys due to a lot of historic practices (which Google seem to be following) - MS have slowly been chipping away at this image but there is a long way to go. Some general tech sites who cover all OS's for phone and computers... Apple can do no wrong and the bias is very obvious - this is probably because if they say something bad about apple.. they stop getting invited to events and given the kit to review, however with this missteps recently made by apple, even this is changing.
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