[Coco] Any news on the so called CoCo4 or Next CoCo project that Bjork was heading?

Frank Swygert farna at att.net
Thu Oct 21 20:57:58 EDT 2010

The FPGA solution ISN'T cheaper than an inexpensive generic P4 computer. 
Even a new small basic computer has everything needed and is no more 
than the Altera DE-1 board -- and it has everything needed including a 
hard drive, unlike the DE-1.  Actually I'd start with something like this:
or this:

I know, not complete systems. The only complete systems at NewEgg have 
the OS (Win7 Home) with them, but are still not much more than the DE-1 
and FPGA at $299 
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883114089, but 
for a little more $$ you get a lot more computer: 
Use a P4 that you already have in a compact case and it gets much 
cheaper. Of find one of the mini PCs without an OS.

The software side needs work! I agree that booting into an OS then 
running an emulator takes away from the experience, even if you do have 
a script that will take you straight to the emulator. Having the 
emulator and OS integrated and booting from an SD card or USB thumb 
drive (or the hard drive, but takes a bit longer) would eliminate most 
of that. Wouldn't quite be almost instantaneous like the DE-1, but would 
be much faster than the current emulators. The OS and emulator need to 
be as seamlessly integrated as possible, with an "escape" hot key 
sequence to get out of the emulator to a command line or simple OS 
utility interface. Something you have to go out of your way to do. Turn 
it on and it boots up straight into the emulator, and shuts down from 
there too. The only reason to go to the native OS would be for upgrades, 
some maintenance, and possibly modifications. Alas, I'm not a programmer 
and can't actually do this! Otherwise I'd have yet another project on my 
plate -- as if I don't have enough unfinished projects! I tell ya what 
though, I'll contribute $100 to get such a software integration project 

Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2010 14:55:48 -0400
From: Aaron Wolfe <aawolfe at gmail.com>

Personally, I see the FPGA solution the Gary Becker has created as the
best "CoCo 4" experience available.
It's hard to describe how amazing it is to use. I am not one to buy
into the "user experience" hype normally, but using the CoCo3FPGA on
and Altera DE1 feels "real". It feels like a real CoCo in a way that
no emulator ever has to me.
It turns on and offers the OK prompt instantly, just like a real CoCo.
It resets instantly with the push of a button, just like a real CoCo.
And.. there is more to it than just that... hard to put into words.
One example I can offer is that although I've had emulators running on
my PC for some years, I never bothered to mess around in BASIC like I
did as a kid. The very first time (and several times since) I turned
on the CoCo3FPGA, I was just draw to it.. started writing little BASIC
programs and experimenting, remembering the stuff I'd done as a kid.

Why use a general purpose PC, with all the extra overhead and
configuration needed for even the simplest emulator only
configuration, when FPGA hardware can be put together more cheaply and
can provide a better CoCo experience. I am not a hardware guy, but it
would seem creating adapters for connecting real coco peripherals to
an FPGA board would be simpler than some PCI or USB solution as well.


Frank Swygert
Publisher, "American Motors Cars"
Magazine (AMC)
For all AMC enthusiasts
(free download available!)

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