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Hi, I'm Iljitsch van Beijnum. These are posts about retrocomputing and other old stuff.

→ The beauty of finished software

Finished software is software that’s not expected to change, and that’s a feature! You can rely on it to do some real work.

We need more of this.

But: how do you write software that will keep working for decades to come? Certainly don't look at Apple for this, they keep changing their CPU architectures every decade or so and after a transition period, the old stuff is dead.

Could WebAssembly be the solution? This is a pretty fast binary format that almost any programming language can be compiled to.

Permalink - posted 2023-11-01

SQLite: add a powerful database engine to any app

When I was 24, I decided to give up my job and go to college and study computer science. If I'd have known how many database classes that involved, maybe I would have reconsidered.

Back then, we had a big server that ran a RDBMS (relational database management system) that hundreds of students all used together. These systems were big, complex and expensive. (Oracle made its fortune selling RDBMSes.) MySQL and PostgresQL are somewhat more streamlined free and open source RDBMSes. Much better, but firewalling, user authentication and backups are still somewhat of a headache. But hey, if you need a database, you need a database.

Enter SQLite.

Full article / permalink - posted 2023-09-04

SDBox: a cheap SD card adapter for your Amiga

I was watching the videos on the BBC Master computer on the Adrian's Digital Basement Youtube channel. Adrian has cleaned up this old Acorn BBC Master, restored the keyboard to full functionality and then started to "Americanize" it by changing the power supply to use 120 V, and making the composite video NTSC rather PAL.

But what really peaked my interest is that he made a tiny little interface to hook up SD cards to the Master's user port. I think it only uses four wires. There's a very small circuit board, but that only has some resistors to adapt the user port's 5 V to the 3.3 V used by SD cards. Apparently, that's all the hardware you need for reading (and writing?) SD cards. Wow.

Could this also work on an Amiga?

Full article / permalink - posted 2023-08-21

Looking back on 50 years of Ethernet

On Geoff Huston wishes Happy 50th Birthday Ethernet.

Back in 2011 I wrote an Ars Technica feature about the history of Ethernet: Speed matters: How Ethernet went from 3Mbps to 100Gbps… and beyond.

Interesting to compare our different takes!

And of course Ethernet is still going strong. My oldest computers have the original 10 Mbps Ethernet adapters that I got almost 30 years ago, while my newest computer has 10 gigabit Ethernet, 1000 x faster.

Permalink - posted 2023-06-29

Local windmill in action

For the first time in a long while the Nieuwe Veenmolen, the local neighborhood windmill from 1654, is turning. Back in the day, it pumped away water to keep the area dry.

Permalink - posted 2023-01-30 - 🇳🇱 Nederlandse versie

An accordion made of two Commodore 64s plays Scott Joplin ragtime

In an infinite universe, everything that's possible does in fact exist. I've long held the position that the internet is pretty much an infinite universe.

So of course a Youtube video where someone created an accordion-like instrument consisting of two C64s with bellows made out of 5¼" floppy disks playing Scott Joplin ragtime classics does exist on the internet. Enjoy!

Permalink - posted 2022-10-23

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