Welcome on Rudolf's homepage!
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- Atari XL/XE 8bit computers: hardware and software: My projects from the past...
- BeOS (Be Operating System): applications and drivers: Projects in the present...
- Who am I: Rudolf's background.
Apart from my daughter, my cat and my girl-friend (or vice-versa) electronics and computers are my main interests. That is: building hardware and writing software, also writing software for my own hardware. Radio transmitters are also part of the electronics department though I have to admit that this part is being dorment for the time being...
When I try to build things, I try to do it without making mistakes. That is, I try to make things 'perfect'. Which, of course, never succeeds. What you do get this way are quite robust devices and software. This also explains why I am interested in BeOS and Linux, see 'current projects' below.
'Projects' from the past:
- Atari XL/XE 8bit computers: hardware and software. Hardware for this computer includes RAM and ROM extension cards, an EPROM programmer, a communication computer that forms the interface between the ATARI SIO interface and the industry standard RS232C and CENTRONICS interfaces. An external intelligent diskdrive was also partially created. Software included OS-updates for faster cassette interfacing (2400baud). ROM versions of communications software (AMTOR) and an assembler. Using this assembler, an ATARI version of smARTWORK was written. This is a printed circuit board artwork program. The original PC version was written by Wintek (http://www.wintek.com).
- Building and programming (machine code) single board computers based on 6502 (Rockwell) and 6802 (Motorola) microprocessors. Also programmed in Z80 machine code for a short time.
- Doing reverse engineering on hardware and software, purely to figure out how machines function. Very interesting was a Settop-box for VideoTex and teletext services for example. This machine contained a TV tuner with teletext and a simple DTMF modem. It was possible to dial in on a server to get information. The page requests were sent by modem, while the page itself was returned via teletext on a (local) TV station. Because these sets were used for a project which failed back in 1987 or so, thousands of sets were sold on the dump-market. The Videotex system still remained active in an altered form for several years, so I changed the software inside the settop-box so it would co-operate with the 'new' system. Apart from a few systems, I never released this changed software. But is was neat to get it to work! (Reverse engineering the hardware and main part of the software, in 32kb machine code, cost me about three months of fulltime work. Writing the patches and applying them was done in a few days.)
- Microchip PIC microcontrollers: 16CXX series and dsPIC series (http://www.microchip.com). Because of the RISC and HARVARD architecture these controllers are reasonable simple to program in machinecode. For microcontrollers and microprocessors my favorite programming lanquage was machine code originally. Later on, since microcontrollers became much more powerfull, I switched to using the 'C' language mostly. I used the 16-bit dsPIC controller series (with seperate math core) for several industrial applications. These controllers I program mostly in C, but sometimes also a bit in assembly still.
- BeOS (Be Operating System): applications and drivers:
The Be Operating System for PC hardware. The Media-OS. BeOS does not suffer (yet) from compatibility issues like other operating systems do. Therefore the programming API is straightforward and
clean. Also this OS is simple (and quick) to install and maintain. The stability lies somewhere in between Windows and Linux: at least if you use Intel CPU's on Intel chipset based motherboards ;-). BeOS runs on Pentium (and compatibles) and above processors, and supports SMP for every application which runs on
this OS. This OS has the advantages of both Windows and Linux in it, focused on Media (audio and video) and internet appliances.
Their latest version is R5.0.3, and it's free for private use. Be sold BeOS and BeIA to Palm in 2001. It looks like Palm won't continue the BeOS/BeIA development. Luckily a group of people (about a hunderd persons or so) is trying to re-create BeOS as an open source OS. From the looks of it they have a fair chance of succeeding... All kinds of replacement parts already exist more or less, and the Tracker and Desktop exist also because they were open-sourced a long time ago.
Have a look at one of my favorite BeOS sites at the moment: Haiku-OS.org.
(Site last updated on May 7, 2016)