* Posts by IrkedOne

4 posts • joined 16 Apr 2010

Design guru: Windows 8 is 'a monster' and 'a tortured soul'


Re: .....

Actually, when the OS is idle, it puts the CPU into a wait state so effectively the CPU is in a deep C state and not actually doing anything. So if you have lots of busy tiles being animated, the CPU has to wake up from a deep C state (activated by a timer interrupt), do some work, and then drop back to a deep C state again. So if you consider all the context switches and GPU activity (wake up, render, go to sleep) required to antimate tiles you do get reduction in battery life compared to a purely idle state with no animation.

The Commodore 64 is 30

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C64 was an excellent tool for learning low level bit twiddling

The lack of a powerful BASIC interpreter directed my attention to learning 6502 assembler so I could start writing 3D wire frame vector graphics. I learned how to write cycle accurate timing code to drive the VIC II to make side borders disappear and with raster interrupts to make the the top and bottom borders disappear too. I also wedged in my own BASIC tokenizer and interpreter to extend the BASIC to provide better structured programming (while/wend, procedures, repeat/until) and sound, graphics and disk support - all this taught me how to structure large projects in assembler and how to write compact and efficient code.

I spent hours pouring over the disassembled C64 BASIC and Kernal ROMs and learned the art of reverse engineering from the object code. I figured out the tape format, analyzed the read/write characteristics of the tape drive head and re-wrote my own tape turbo loaders.

With the aid of an annotated ROM disassembly of the 1541 floppy drive I figured out how to write disk turbos and I hacked up my own fast formatting tools and my own file system.

By the time I was 17 I had acquired the the Super C Compiler and I learned how to write C on a system that had a 15 minute edit-compile-link-run turnaround cycle(!).

All this 1MHz 8 bit goodness taught me valuable lessons in programming efficient code and the trade-off between compact code and fast code. I learned how to twiddle hardware, bit bang data down wires and push a system to squeeze a little more performance out of it.

I was fortunate to have the time and energy and the right hardware available in my formative years, so I am grateful for Commodore for producing the quirky and hackable C64.


Schoolkids learn coding at GCSE level in curriculum trial


O Level Computer Science

My O Level Computer Science project included a load of 6502 assembler to do graphics work on a Commodore 64 back in 1995/1996. I ended up as a Linux kernel bit twiddler. Nowadays kids have no notion of how to programme a computer and hence it leaves out IT industry short of many good quality low level engineers. Bring back challenging qualifications!

Google in talks to re-admit Android to Linux kernel

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Google need to upstream their code

I was at Chris Dibonas presentation and it seemed that Google is under pressure to hack the kernel to get it work as the #1 priority rather than push acceptable code into the upstream kernel. GregKH was right to pull the Android kernel code out of the kernel since Google wasn't playing ball in putting effort into the upstreaming of their code in a timely manner.

You cannot just dump code into the kernel and run away. Google needs to wise up and play the open source kernel game correctly - otherwise they will get lots of enemies. As it was, Chris was keen to give out loads of shirts and free Nexus One google mobile phones - is this a reflection of Google's arrogant position that they have loads of money and think they can buy good will. Good will in the Linux community is won by doing things right.


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