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'[AD] The Maximite Computer'
2011\07\26@171444 by Don McKenzie

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Hi All,

Been some 18 months since I posted a message here.

In Australia we have an item that the rest of the world knows nothing about..

A Maximite SM1 prototype is being shown in the northern hemisphere for the first time at http://makerfaire.com/detroit/2011/ in Detroit at the end of this month, at Chuck Hellebuyck's stand.

What is a Maximite?
Remember the TRS80 computers from the late 1970's? What about programming in QBasic in the 90's? Well, this little computer will bring back some memories. Even if you don't remember those wonderful things from the early days of PC's, you will still find the Maximite interesting, and useful!

The Maximite is a hand sized computer based on the Pic32 processor. You can program it in MMBasic (very similar to QBasic), it runs on 9 volts or USB power, connects to a VGA screen (or TV) and standard PC keyboard, and has 20 I/O pins you can access with software. Uses an SD card for program loads and saves.

some useful URLs

Chuck Hellebuyck's Site:
http://www.elproducts.net/chips16.html

Geoff Graham's site:
http://geoffg.net/maximite.html

Support site:
http://www.thebackshed.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=16&PN=1

My sales site:
http://www.dontronics-shop.com/the-maximite-computer.html

My blog site for it:
http://www.themaximitecomputer.com/

Cheers Don...


-- Don McKenzie

Dontronics Site Map: http://www.dontronics.com/sitemap
E-Mail Contact Page: http://www.dontronics.com/email
Web Camera Page:     http://www.dontronics.com/webcam
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New MMBasic Computer http://www.TheMaximiteComputer.co

2011\07\27@045116 by Michael Watterson

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On 26/07/2011 22:14, Don McKenzie wrote:
> Remember the TRS80 computers from the late 1970's? What about programming in QBasic in the 90's? Well, this little
> computer will bring back some memories. Even if you don't remember those wonderful things from the early days of PC's,
> you will still find the Maximite interesting, and useful!
>

Qbasic was terrible.

In fact all BASIC was terrible till about VB5, when you could pretend it wasn't basic. A PIC32 ought to be able to run a JVM quite well

2011\07\27@062849 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: spam_OUTpiclist-bouncesTakeThisOuTspammit.edu [.....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam@spam@mit.edu] On
Behalf
> Of Michael Watterson
> Sent: 27 July 2011 09:50
> To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
> Subject: Re: [AD] The Maximite Computer
>
> On 26/07/2011 22:14, Don McKenzie wrote:
> > Remember the TRS80 computers from the late 1970's? What about
> programming in QBasic in the 90's? Well, this little
> > computer will bring back some memories. Even if you don't remember
those
> wonderful things from the early days of PC's,
> > you will still find the Maximite interesting, and useful!
> >
>
> Qbasic was terrible.
>
> In fact all BASIC was terrible till about VB5, when you could pretend
it
> wasn't basic.
I disagree.  The very early BASICs that didn't support any kind of
subroutines or functions were pretty nasty by todays standards,
requiring a most programs to have a complex mess of goto's.  The later
BASICs with functions, user defined types and even inline assembler is
some cases were (and still are) a perfectly useable language.

Mike

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2011\07\27@064636 by Michael Watterson

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On 27/07/2011 11:28, Michael Rigby-Jones wrote:
> those
>> >  wonderful things from the early days of PC's,
>>> >  >  you will still find the Maximite interesting, and useful!
>>> >  >
>> >  
>> >  Qbasic was terrible.
>> >  
>> >  In fact all BASIC was terrible till about VB5, when you could pretend
> it
>> >  wasn't basic.
> I disagree.  The very early BASICs that didn't support any kind of
> subroutines or functions were pretty nasty by todays standards,
> requiring a most programs to have a complex mess of goto's.  The later
> BASICs with functions, user defined types and even inline assembler is
> some cases were (and still are) a perfectly useable language.
>
> Mike

Are you really disagreeing? VB4 1995, VB5 1997.

I'm saying the Earlier BASICs was rubbish and the Later "enchanced" languages were not. I mentioned VB5 as a rough date. Possibly VB4 (and similar functionality BASICs of that era) was OK.

What I'm thinking of is ALWAYS having type checking/Declaration on, Functions/Procedures and no need to write in Pidgin style of Fortran, but more like Pidgin Pascal.
I've used Fortran and never want to again, nor had inclination to write programs in a crippled interpreted version of it.

2011\07\27@113105 by Bob Blick

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If you wish to hijack a thread, you must change the tag. Last I checked,
flame wars about Basic were [OT]

Bob


> In fact all BASIC was terrible till about
-- http://www.fastmail.fm - Faster than the air-speed velocity of an
                         unladen european swallow

2011\07\27@113918 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: piclist-bouncesspamKILLspammit.edu [.....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam.....mit.edu] On
Behalf
{Quote hidden}

later
> > BASICs with functions, user defined types and even inline assembler
is
> > some cases were (and still are) a perfectly useable language.
> >
> > Mike
>
> Are you really disagreeing? VB4 1995, VB5 1997.
>
> I'm saying the Earlier BASICs was rubbish and the Later "enchanced"
> languages were not. I mentioned VB5 as a rough date. Possibly VB4 (and
> similar functionality BASICs of that era) was OK.

I'm thinking BBC Basic era, way before Visual Basic was even thought of.

Mike

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not make any use of this information, or copy or show it to any
person. Please contact us immediately to tell us that you have
received this e-mail, and return the original to us. Any use,
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2011\07\27@115846 by Bob Blick

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On Wed, 27 Jul 2011 16:39 +0100, "Michael Rigby-Jones" wrote:

> I'm thinking BBC Basic era, way before Visual Basic was even thought of.

If replying to a hijacked thread, one must still change the tag! This is
[OT]!

Bob

-- http://www.fastmail.fm - The way an email service should be

2011\07\27@120038 by Tamas Rudnai

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On Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 9:50 AM, Michael Watterson <EraseMEmikespam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTradioway.org>wrote:

> On 26/07/2011 22:14, Don McKenzie wrote:
> > Remember the TRS80 computers from the late 1970's? What about programming
> in QBasic in the 90's? Well, this little
> > computer will bring back some memories. Even if you don't remember those
> wonderful things from the early days of PC's,
> > you will still find the Maximite interesting, and useful!
> >
>
> Qbasic was terrible.
>
> In fact all BASIC was terrible till about VB5, when you could pretend it
> wasn't basic. A PIC32 ought to be able to run a JVM quite well.
>

(rant  on)

Nah, BASIC is terrible in terms of doing anything serious thing on it. VB5
is *not* Basic -- it is like Pascal or Turbo Pascal -- you do not want to
programming in Pascal, that was only to learn structured programming while
Turbo Pascal was quite useful. Basic was only to have fun with the home
computers.

VB5 and other 'Basic' implementation that is not required line numbers and
stuff are like C# over C (except the fact that in C you still can do many
things and at some extent is better than C#). As the name implies VB5 is not
even Basic, that is 'Visual Basic', so no, Basic was and will never be a
good language, maybe only their successors like Visual Basic...

(rant off)

Tamas




>

2011\07\27@131741 by Bob Blick

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STOP posting off-topic in [AD]

If you hijack a thread, you MUST change the topic tag to match your
rant.

Bob

On Wed, 27 Jul 2011 17:00 +0100, "Tamas Rudnai"  wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 9:50 AM, Michael Watterson
> wrote:

-- http://www.fastmail.fm - Email service worth paying for. Try it for free

2011\07\27@175249 by William \Chops\ Westfield

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On Jul 27, 2011, at 3:45 AM, Michael Watterson wrote:

> VB4 1995, VB5 1997.
>
> I'm saying the Earlier BASICs was rubbish

There were structured BASICs available for PC/etc long before  Microsoft jumped on the bandwagon.  The TurboBASIC compiler for PC  appeared around 1985...

When the ibmPC first came out, it's "Advanced BASIC" (BASICA) has  better support for com port access than ... pretty much anything else  (other than writing your own drivers.) (Not that there was much  else.)  It was an odd state of affairs.

BillW

2011\07\27@175908 by Bob Blick

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[OT], guys.

Bob


On Wed, 27 Jul 2011 14:52 -0700, "William Chops Westfield" wrote:
>
> On Jul 27, 2011, at 3:45 AM, Michael Watterson wrote:

> When the ibmPC first came out, it's "Advanced BASIC" (BASICA)
-- http://www.fastmail.fm - A fast, anti-spam email service.

2011\07\27@183922 by Don McKenzie

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Thanks Bob,

I had hoped that a piclister may actually have a look at the device I am talking about and comment on it, as opposed to starting a BASIC war thread.

One Electronic kit builder in Perth Australia produced 500 kits of Maximites, and sold out straight away. Locals are now waiting months for a new supply.

Perhaps QBasic was an inappropriate description. Some liken it to TRS-80 Model One, level II basic on steroids, but with additional commands such as I2C etc. Loads and saves are done using the SD card.

Works straight to a PC via the USB port and a Terminal program, or attach a VGA monitor and keyboard to write programs.

We have geared up and placed it on the Arduino Sheild bus system.

Cheers Don...

===============

-- Don McKenzie

Dontronics Site Map: http://www.dontronics.com/sitemap
E-Mail Contact Page: http://www.dontronics.com/email
Web Camera Page:     http://www.dontronics.com/webcam
No More Damn Spam:   http://www.dontronics.com/spam

New MMBasic Computer http://www.TheMaximiteComputer.co

2011\07\27@222349 by M. Adam Davis
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This is one of the many projects on my list of backburner "if I had
time" projects.  It's more than powerful enough to host its own OS and
programming environment.

I'm excited that someone is pursuing this not only because it means I
won't have to do it, but also because it should provide a popular
standardized hardware platform for further experiments.

My intention was to go with LUA and a premptive real time OS.  I got
as far as a hardware platform and test routines to verify the
hardware, but had to put it away due to other projects.

The functionality provided is actually very, very good - the
peripheral access and routines are compelling.  The only drawbacks I
see right now are the editor and line number requirement, and the lack
of real functions and subroutines (ie, it still uses gosub and goto
line number, rather than named functions with arguments and a return
value).  I haven't looked into whether it allows one program to
execute functions in another BAS file, but that would be the next step
so libraries would be easy

While the author initially discarded the idea of giving assembly
access to the programs, suggesting instead that one simply add such
routines to the firmware, it makes high performance programs
non-portable without forcing one to reload the firmware.  I hope he
re-evaluates that position.  Yes, it's true that most people who want
really good performance will do everything in C, but there are many,
many programmers getting into electronics as a hobby, and they would
be keen on having a little low level access for a few routines while
still programming most of the system in basic.

All that being said, it does appeal to me, especially the arduino
connectivity you've incorporated into the expansion connector.  This
may well cause quite a splash in the market.

As tempted as I am to get one, it's a bit out my price range, though.
I can see going another $10 beyond the arduino, but not doubling the
price.

I'm going to be at the Detroit Maker Faire, so I'll make it a point to
stop by Chuck's and see it in person.  I'm doing a pressure sensitive
switch make-and-take project, so I'll bring one by and see if he wants
to hook it up as part of his demonstration.

Thanks for the heads up!

-Adam

On Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 6:39 PM, Don McKenzie
<support2011spamspam_OUTdontronics.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2011\07\28@001555 by Don McKenzie

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On 28-Jul-11 12:23 PM, M. Adam Davis wrote:

snip---

{Quote hidden}

Thanks Adam,

It is a work in progress, and the BASIC Language has been built from the ground floor up. It isn't a clone of anybody elses work.

See:
http://geoffg.net/Maximite_Story.html
and:
http://geoffg.net/MaximiteBasic.html

The nice part about it is that our group is interacting with the author Geoff Graham, and adding ourselves what we want-need, or getting Geoff to add these functions for us. The I2C routines were written by a Forum member, and incorporated into the latest build, as the full source code is available.

We then get the latest hex file, and download it to the PIC32.

I have set up a polling system on my bog site:
www.themaximitecomputer.com/category/polls/
and if you have a look at the age demographic poll, you will find most members over over 40 up to 69. In fact I think I am the oldest.

We hope to get some of the kids off iPhones, iPads, and iBetterer gadgets before we end up with colonies of game players, waiting for a bus or train to arrive.

Sure Basic is old, but you don't need a compiler, or a burner, you only need a PC, any PC that runs a terminal program and a USB port. If you don't have that, then just a VGA monitor, any monitor, and a PS2 keyboard will do. You can run in either mode, or both modes.

Prices will get cheaper. I am working on ways of doing this, but we have to start somewhere.

And people have built industries out of the BASIC computers of 30 years ago..

Companies such as Parallax, mELABS, and Picaxe, are still turning a living from knowledge gathered from these years.

Yes, have a chat with Chuck, and see how keen he is on them.

Cheers Don...


-- Don McKenzie
http://www.dontronics-shop.com/maximite-sm1.htm

2011\07\28@053522 by Michael Watterson

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On 28/07/2011 05:15, Don McKenzie wrote:
> Sure Basic is old, but you don't need a compiler, or a burner, you only need a PC, any PC that runs a terminal program
> and a USB port. If you don't have that, then just a VGA monitor, any monitor, and a PS2 keyboard will do. You can run in
> either mode, or both modes.
>
> Prices will get cheaper. I am working on ways of doing this, but we have to start somewhere.
>
> And people have built industries out of the BASIC computers of 30 years ago.
Most went bust pretty quick.
> Companies such as Parallax, mELABS, and Picaxe, are still turning a living from knowledge gathered from these years.
>

Nice HW concept. Really pointless backward SW concept.

It's a MIPs core. Absolutely no shortage of free programming environments, free OS, free compilers etc etc... Even if you want it to be "terminal" based or self contained.

I used TRS80s, Apple II, BBC micro, Pet etc back in the day. I don't want an environment described as one of those on Steroids. I want one that takes advantage of all the developments of SW engineering in the last 20 years. Something that leverages the power of the MIPS core and all the really good SW available. Otherwise this might as well be using an 18F.

If I'm going for more than an 18F, I want a MIPS or ARM core and a decent real time OS and ability to port existing SW. Linux isn't really Real time, but if you don't have QNX, or some other Real time OS, a suitable Linux distribution is nice. I have a cheap MIPS based router with PCMCIA slot. It runs Linux but the limitations  are limited I/O, no video and runs out of Flash for programs.

This is a nice selection of HW and I/O to showcase the Microchip MIPS core, but it's 2011, not 1981. Put some decent OS and SW environment. Don't be afraid of "advanced" tools that need to run on a PC. A "self contained" only terminal programming mode limits flexibility and means you need two of them to develop changes while it's running. You should have ability to develop off line in an IDE.


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