Electronics & Computer Technology
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- Current Items of Interest (to nerds and techies)
- vector processing
- gPhone, Android, handset alliance (from
ScienceFriday on NPR)
- The Memristor
- Other Miscellaneous Stuff
- Don Lancaster
- David L Jones (EE Video Blog)
- Chip Info & Embedded Development Tools
- Unix and Linux
- How UNIX on PDP and VAX started the
Perl, BASIC, etc.
- Open Source Projects
- *** Apple-2 Forever
- BASIC Interpreters and Compilers
- Miscellaneous Links
- Crypto & Stegano
- FFT, DSP, Compression, TV
My (Neil Rieck) Commercial Embedded Work (on this same
my (Neil Rieck) Computing Bio
Visit my (Neil Rieck)
stuff has been moved here
OpenVMS (VAX, Alpha, and Itanium) can be found
Current Items of Interest (most recent first; occasionally
Traditionally, processor technology was defined like this:
Then CISC and RISC vendors began to add vector processing instructions
to their processor chips which blurred everything
Putting hyper threading
aside for a moment, we first see true
SMP on the
desktop in 2005 with Intel's dual-core
Pentium-D. Since then,
the number of cores from all vendors has only gone up.
- Minicomputer / Workstation
DEC adds vector processing capabilities to their
DEC adds optional vector processing to
VAX-6000 model 400
(Visual Instruction Set) was introduced into
- 1996: MDMX (MIPS
Digital Media eXtension) is released by MIPS
MVI (Motion Video Extension) was implemented on Alpha 21164PC from
DEC/Compaq. MVI appears again in Alpha 21264 and Alpha 21364.
- Microcomputer / Desktop
was implemented on P55C (a.k.a. Pentium 1) from Intel
- the first Intel offering involved 57 MMX instructions
- 1998: 3DNow! was
implemented on AMD K-2
- 1999: AltiVec
(also called "VMX" by IBM and "Velocity Engine"
by Apple) was implemented on PowerPC 4 from Motorola
(Streaming SIMD Extensions) was implemented on Pentium 3 "Katmai"
- this technology employs 128-bit instructions
SSE was Intel's reply to AMD's
(both are SIMD but SSE uses its own floating point registers)
- 2001: SSE2 was implemented
on Pentium 4 from Intel
- 2004: SSE3 was implemented
on Pentium 4 Prescott on from Intel
- 2006: SSE4 was implemented
on Intel Core and AMD K10
AVX (Advanced Vector Instructions) proposed by Intel + AMD but
not seen until 2011
- many components extended to 256-bits
AVX2 (more components extended to 256-bits)
- 2015: AVX-512
(graphics programming units) take vector processing to a whole new level. Why?
A $200.00 graphics card now equip your system with
1500-2000 streaming processors and 2-4 GB of additional high speed memory.
I've been in the computer hardware-software business for a while now but can
confirm that computers have only started to get real interesting
again this side of 2007 with the releases of CUDA, OpenCL, etc.
from NPR's "Science Friday" program 2007-11-16: I hate
my cell phone. I have to admit it's not easy to use. I hate my cell phone
carrier because it locks me into a system: It doesn't let me choose the
cell phone I would like to use. It doesn't physically play nicely with my
computer's calendar or its address book or my other tools that, ideally,
would make my life easier. And if I want to change my situation, you know what
that's like, if I want to move to another carrier I have to buy a new phone
because that phone doesn't fit the next carrier. I have to get a new service
with the limitations that are all there.
It’s basically like
having to start all over again in many cases. And it makes you wonder
why can't they make a cell phone that lets me do what I want to do? Let
me choose a provider I want to pick. The cell phone I want to pick. Wouldn't
you like that too? Well we may be getting closer to that day because first Apple
introduced the iPhone that basically puts a small computer in your pocket and
that gives you a lot more flexibility. You're still locked into that one
carrier so that's not so great. And you're still locked into the goodies
that Apple wants to give you and lets you have on their [your] iPhone but last
week Google, the search engine king, brought us a step closer dipping its toe
into the cell phone world. And not with a full fledged gPhone
as they've been calling it, but by helping to develop a set of software
tools call Android that can run on many different hand sets with interchangeable
parts. And that could allow more flexibility for consumers.
- University of Michigan electrical engineer builds chip composed of 1
kilobit nanoscale memristors
How We (HP Labs) Found the Missing Memristor
IEEE claims "this is the greatest electronics invention of the last 25
Logic circuits that program themselves: memristors in
- The Software Developer's Rule:
Better, Cheaper." Pick any two but you can never have all three.
- Seven Mistakes
Made All the Time by Most Software Development Organizations from
Bell-Sygma (official IS/IT provider for some large
corporations in the 1990s which later morphed into CGI)
- HyperTransport is the
biggest thing in computer technology since the invention of the FSB (Front
Side Bus). Intel went their own way with
Interconnect (QPI). Both these technologies were derived from a
technology named Common System Interface (CSI) which was developed by DEC
engineers for the never-released
Alpha 21464 (EV8).
- Approximately 100 Alpha engineers were transferred from Compaq to Intel
in 2001. This technology can be found in their
Xeon processors (starting in
- Approximately 200 Itanium engineers were from HP to Intel in 2002
- Then more again in 2004
- Don Lancaster is the father of hardware/software
hacking and technical common sense
- the original meaning of "hacker" was once a complement; now
it usually is usually associated with some illegal
- This dude authored over 50 technical books which include:
- "TTL Cookbook", "CMOS Cookbook", "Active
Filter Cookbook" etc. which all can be found in the personal library
of every chip head and hardware hacker
- "Assembly Cookbook for the Apple II/IIe"
- Archives from his columns in magazines like "Radio Electronics"
and "Electronics Now" are online at his web site. Some column
names include: Tech Musings, Guru's Lair, Blatant Opportunist, Hardware
Hacker, Resource Bin, etc.
David L Jones (EE Video Blog)
- www.eevblog.com EE Video Blog
(high quality videos for electronics hobbyists and engineers)
Chip Info & Embedded Development Tools
Note: many site links on this page have been replaced with WebRing links
About My (Neil Rieck) Commercial Embedded Work:
Visit my (Neil Rieck) Computing
I designed the electronics and programmed the firmware for three different "ground-source
heat-pump applications" for two Canadian companies no longer in business
(fortunately for my ego, the demise of these companies had nothing to do with me
or my technological contributions).
Visit my (Neil Rieck)
- The first application (1989-1990) was based upon Motorola's
68HC11A8 for the precursor to ESI
- The firmware was written using a plain text editor in 6811 Macro
Assembler Notation on an Apple Macintosh
- The binaries were generated using the uAsm 6811 cross-assembler
from Micro Dialects
- The binaries were burned using a GTEK 7228 EPROM Programmer
- The printed circuit board layout was done manually (no autorouter) on
a computer using McCad from Vamp Inc.
- This was a concept product which never went into production
- At this same time, we also built a functional prototype controller
which could directly modulate refrigerant flow to the compressor. Unfortunately,
this feature never made it into production due to mechanical noise.
If the COP (coefficient of performance) of this heat
pump would have been 5.0 or higher, we would have tackled the noise
problem. However, other widgets like scroll compressors were easier
to include and maintain at that time.
- The second and third applications (1993-1996)
were 100 times better and based upon Motorola's 68HC11F1 (a really neat
52-pin quad pack chip)
- Second Application firmware (ESI: 1993-94) was
written using a plain text editor in 6811 Macro Assembler Notation
on an Apple Macintosh. Binaries were generated using uASM 6811 cross
assembler from Micro Dialects.
- Third Application firmware (GEI: 1995-96) was
written using Whitesmiths 68HC11 C Compiler/Assembler (see
COSMIC Software about 100 lines below) on an IBM PC.
Implementing startup and interrupt vectors was child's play with this package.
Although I loved programming in 6811 Macro,
was a much more productive tool.
- Many more ESI boards were produced than GEI boards. That said, the GEI
board was an improvement on the ESI board and could be used as replacement
provided the installed was willing to do a few wiring changes.
- Second and Third Application Hardware:
- PCB (printed circuit board) layout was done by a colleague using
McCad from Vamp Inc.
- we still couldn't get rid of those overpriced Macintosh Computers;
at a Motorola developer's conference in 1992, a show of hands revealed
that only 3 people out of 500 were developing products on the Mac platform
- at that time we also discovered that hardware engineering software
(PC layout tools, auto-routers, etc.) on the Mac was 10 times more expensive
than equivalent stuff for the IBM compatible PC
- 68HC11F1 subsystem assignments:
- Async Serial Communications Interface (UART) for serial communication
to/from the optional EnerStat thermostat
- SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface)
- output to a four character seven segment LED display (standard)
- output to an Optrex DMC 16117A LCD display (optional)
- input from an optional field maintenance test box (also used
during manufacturing). I borrowed this idea from a General Motors
who had just added an assembly line diagnostic interface
port to each car. This was before the OBD2 (on board diagnostics)
- Parallel Port
- output to the furnace replays (up to 16 depending on the rev)
- input from "passive conditioned" snap switches (high
pressure, low pressure, etc.)
- input from a standard multi-line AC or DC thermostat
- input from an AC Condensate sensor that I designed for detecting
water in a condensate tray
- output to an optional GE blower whose speed was controlled by
- input from the RPM sensor of the optional GE blower
- 8 bit A/D converter
- sampled domestic hot water temperature using a LM335 connected
through a single op amp (to double the resolution and translate
it down by 2 volts)
- the main power supply was a medium-efficiency non-switching type
(composed of discrete components) and was also "short circuit proof"
(limited to 900 mA) which meant that we never burned up a circuit board
due to manufacturing errors
- we used a digital communication thermostat from an Ottawa-based
EnerStat. The stat's measurements and settings were read via a single
(half duplex) serial line. I designed a "short circuit proof"
+20V power supply for the thermostat so that any bozo could install
or maintain the system without frying our electronics or blowing fuses.
- although the EnerStat stat was really neat technology, they were
unable to produced a consistent API. Every time they introduced a change,
we needed to add code to support it. After the third change we decided
to also support a standard multi-wire stat. You just need to disable
the DIP Switch labeled "CommStat" (communications stat).
(mostly) Software Links
(mostly) Hardware Links
- Motorola Microcontrollers (now known
as Freescale Semiconductor) contain lots
of freeware and product info about these chips: 6805, 6808, 6811, 6812, 6816,
68HC05, 68HC08, 68HC11, 68HC12, 68HC16, M68HC05, M68HC08, M68HC11, M68HC12,
M68HC16, M6833x, M-Core, Coldfire, DSP56xxx, DSP96xxx, and FLEX.
- Microchip Technology Inc. manufactures
the PIC uP line (as well as serial EEPROMs, 8-pin micro controllers, and lots
of other neat stuff). PICs are cheap and so easy to use they just might become
the universal solution for every small control problem. Lots of on-line documentation
in PDF format
- Maxim makes all those neat special
purpose devices like single chip RS-232 transceivers that work from a single
5 volt power supply. Lots of on-line documentation in PDF format.
- www.datasheetdir.com - A Datasheet
Search Engine for electronic designers. Includes: pinouts, circuits, etc.
- www.datasheets360.com - Another
datasheet lookup utility
- Parallax Inc manufactures BASIC
Stamps (based upon PICs) as well as PIC development tools.
- Analog Devices is chip manufacturer
that is another life line for chip heads
- IC Master (if you don't know what
IC Master is, then you shouldn't be here)
- Data I/O makes some neat device programmers
and also has a neat Engineering References links page
- DataMan also is a manufacturer of device
programmers. They also have a neat Other Links page
- BP Micro is yet another manufacturer
of device programmers
- GTEK produces a really affordable EPROM
- www.top500.org compare "super computer"
- Issues of Digital
Technical Journal (1993-1998) are now online at HP
- Compaq & DEC
Unix - Linux
on PDP" and "UNIX on VAX" helped start Internet
that helped promote 'UNIX on PDP' (which led to the Internet)
Internet Diagrams (to see the dominance of DEC hardware)
How "UNIX on VAX" helped promote TCP/IP
Quote: In November 1980, when Xerox introduced XNS to the market, as part of
the Xerox 8000 Network System, TCP/IP had been coded only to prove its viability,
not operational functionality. The intended cut over date for Arpanet, the most
important network of the day, was January 1, 1983, years away. The project timeline
was not without perils. First, BBN had to make Arpanet’s Subnet TCP/IP-compatible.
Then came the complicated issue of creating host TCP/IP code for all the essential
computers connected to Arpanet. There was no desire to let each host site create
its own version of TCP/IP, a painful lesson learned in creating the original
host software now to be replaced. In 1981, DARPA awarded seven contracts to
create computer host code. The contract to port TCP/IP to UNIX went to BBN.
(See Exhibit 9.5 TCP/IP Ports)
 BBN would then give its TCP/IP code to Bill Joy
at Berkeley to integrate into the upgraded version of UNIX Joy was developing
for the VAX computer. Creating host ports began once Postel posted the
TCP/IP standard as RFCs 791 and 702 in September 1981.
UDDI, HTML + CGI, Perl, BASIC, etc.
RFCs + Ports
XML, SOAP, UDDI
HTML + CGI
BASIC Compilers and Interpreters (the language
that never dies)
Mostly free, Vanilla (non GUI) BASIC sources:
- GWBASIC 3.23 (editor/interpreter)
- QBASIC 1.1 (Microsoft BASIC editor/interpreter)
- QBASIC 4.5 (Microsoft BASIC editor/interpreter)
- QuickBASIC 7.1 (Microsoft BASIC editor/interpreter/compiler)
Modern BASIC compilers for Windows + Linux:
www.runbasic.com - works on Windows, Mac OS-X, and Linux. Interfaces
directly to web servers without external CGI glue-files (CGI glue is built-in)
- PowerBASIC (console compiler) very cool but not free
Other BASIC Links:
Suggestions to people maintaining/reviving BASIC compilers
for smaller platforms:
According to Wikipedia, BASIC
was designed in 1964. The main problem with BASIC compilers nearly a half
century later is there are more differences than similarities. This is partly
due to the fact that this language never went through a standardization
process like COBOL, FORTRAN, C and C++. The following suggestions come from
HP BASIC for OpenVMS.
Here is a link to their documentation files:
Comment: To make matters worse, the largest vendor of BASIC languages
tools, Microsoft, made a very wise decision (IMHO) to modify Visual-BASIC-6
so it would be able to link to internet-aware software written in other
languages (like C++, Java, and C#) and vice-versa. This means that VB.net
now (wisely) starts every array with subscript zero; replaces BASIC's internal
string data-type with the string object (found in C++, Java, and C#), etc.
While this move "broke" a lot of VB6 code, most enterprising programmers
looked upon this transition as a business opportunity. But I think this
paradigm shift has moved the goal posts for BASIC compliers from other vendors.
Now those vendors need to decide to evolve or, like the dinosaurs, be left
All programs (applications) need a mechanism to signal "success/fail/whatever"
to the calling program or script. By default, many BASIC programs signal "0"
(if UNIX) or "1" (if OpenVMS) when the END statement is encountered.
Some BASIC compilers allows the programmer to exit with a signal like this:
END exit_code% ! this code is sent back to the caller
while HP-BASIC does it like this:
END PROGRAM exit_code% ! this code is sent back to the caller
Yep, HP-BASIC uses a similar syntax to exits all block-oriented statements
(END IF, END SELECT, END FUNCTION, END SUB, END WHEN, END PROGRAM, etc.)
Anyone who has used C++ will be familiar with the exception handling statements:
try, throw, catch. Anyone
who ever used BASIC would be familiar with the statement ON ERROR
GOTO. However, not many BASIC programmers know that some BASIC
compilers also support C++ style exception handling which
looks like this:
1000 on error goto common_trap ! old school exception handling
when error in ! works like try
input "input a number?", junk% !
if junk% = 999 then !
cause error 52 ! works like throw
end if !
status% = 0 ! all is well
use ! works like catch
status% = err !
end when !
select status !
case 0 ! no error
case 50 ! data format error
case 51 ! integer error of overflow
case 52 ! illegal number
case 151 ! EOF
case else !
end select !
print "error "+ str$(err)
print "line "+ str$(erl)
print "text "+ ert$(err)
input input "hit <enter> to exit"; junk$
All BASIC compilers should use a standard method to modify compiler action.
For example, HP BASIC uses the OPTION statement to require every variable
to be declared.
1000 option type=explicit ! all variables must be declared (catches programmer typos)
declare long i%, j% !
if i > 0 then ! this line will throw a compile-time error
end if !
All BASIC compilers need a standardized way to do
ISAM file i/o (sequential,
relative, indexed). While it is true that HP-BASIC requires a layered product
called Record Management Services (click
here to see some demos), UNIX offered
similar capabilities through products like:
Wouldn't it be cool if these BASIC's had built-in extensions for ISAM plug-ins
and/or relational products like
Open Source Projects
Museums + Emulators (except Apple-2)
- www.computerhistory.org computer
- www.blinkenlights.com computer
- Before Dilbert there was CPUWARS
- www.emulators.com has emulators for
Atari 8 bit, Atari ST, and Macintosh
- Enigma-E - software and electronic
- Briel Computers (manufacturers
of replica "Apple I" and "Altair 8800" computers")
Eagle Lander 3D to download a really
cool Apollo Lunar Lander simulator for Windows. The short Apollo 11
short mission is free but $25 will get you additional missions and much more
functionality. Features: authentic LM cockpit with 9 functional panel
switches; FDAI (8-ball) display; real LM landing computer displays; mission-specific
surface details and radio chatter; keyboard and joy-stick support.
- use replay mode to land Apollo 12 in the Ocean of Storms. Once
you're on the surface, hit the zero-key to begin an EVA. Use the arrow
keys to rotate 180 degrees then press the "X" key so you can back
out of the LM and crawl down the ladder. Use the right arrow key to turn
then hit "W" to walk forward a few steps. Hit the "F"
key to plant the flag (it will also be visible from the cockpit view by
pressing the "1" key; hit the "0" key to go back to
the EVA). Look around for a nearby crater and notice that Surveyor-3
is within 200 meters (650 feet). Use the "W" key to walk towards
- Once you're on the moon, punch V37EN12E into the AGC/DSKY console
to initiate an automatic launch. Click
Ascent Procedures for more details.
- Click here to
see a photo of Apollo-17 astronaut Gene Cernan flying the Eagle Lander
- Click "Eagle
Lander 3d" Activities for more information
Apple-2 Forever (8-bit forever)
- In 1977, I bought a new Apple ][ (this was not a
two plus) with
48K of RAM, 16K Language Card (w/UCSD Pascal), and two 5 1/4
inch floppy drives.
- My friends wondered what I was going to do with all that memory and
storage (today's modern printer driver can't run in a 64K footprint)
DOS 3.3 was so neat. It checked to see which BASIC ROMS were installed...
...then loaded what you didn't have into the language card which was nothing
more than a 16K memory card mapped (bank switched) over the same address
space as the BASIC ROMS + MONITOR)
- Booting other languages like UCSD Pascal or
Apple Fortran (which I purchased) loaded the desired language
into what appeared to be a 64k memory space.
- Sometime after that I purchased Apple's 6502 Macro assembler to
get back to my chip-head roots
- In 1984 I mistakenly sold all my Apple 2 stuff in order to buy a
Macintosh along with Apple's 32-bit macro assembler for the
Motorola 68000, TMS Pascal, and LightSpeed C. After that, I jumped through all the new Apple
Marketing hoops like upgrading to a Mac-512k, buying a Macintosh LC, then a
Macintosh 601, etc.
- In 2005-02-xx, I spent a few bucks on eBay to purchase an Apple
//e Platinum edition, 13 inch color monitor, two 5 1/4 inch floppy
drives, and an 80 column card with an additional 64K expansion. I also
bought an unopened original copy of Apple Fortran
($10) as well as an unopened copy of UCSD Pascal
1.2 ($20). I also purchased a genuine Microsoft Z-80
Softcard with CP/M ($20) and Microsoft's Fortran-80
compiler. Now don't think that I've given up on modern technology or have
retired; this is just a nerd's version of a 1962 Corvette
although I'm sure the rest of the world sees this as worthless junk
- www.woz.org is the home of uber-hacker
Steve Wozniak. Designer of: the Apple-1, Apple-2 (a.k.a. Apple-II, Apple-][,
Apple-//), Apple Disk-II Controller, Apple Integer BASIC, Apple DOS 3.0 to 3.3),
Sweet-16, The Apple Monitor (anyone remember "call -151"?)
- www.fusionio.com (Fusion
I/O) is the home of Wozniak's current employer. They design and
manufacture solid state drives (SSD) hosted on PCIe cards which means they
connect to a system's
bus (compare this to traditional modern systems were a PCI card sitting
on the south-bridge
bus uses a fiber channel to communicate with a RAID controller or SAN).
This technology will revolutionize certain computer applications like data
mining and data warehouse applications.
- I finally met Woz at a
Communitech breakfast in 2010. I got him to sign my copy of iWoz
with a dedication to "8-bit forever" (he looked at my like I was from
- Apple2 Index @ faqs.org -
28 major categories as of 2008-02-xx
- Apple2History.org is a
computer museum for the Apple-2, Apple-][, Apple-//e, Apple-//c, etc.
- A2Central.com - Your total source for Apple
- Apple Part Numbers
- Apple Floppy
Drive technical information (part of
- Apple ][
Emulator Resources Guide 1.3.5 (1/1) - FAQ
- The A2 Home Page for Apple
- Apple I Owners Club
- Apple-2 Emulators and Support Software
- Apple Disk Technology
- Look for these books on eBay. You'll never be able to understand
Apple's totally software controllable drive without it.
- "Beneath Apple DOS" (1984)
- "Beneath Apple ProDOS" (1985)
- Note: When the WOZ developed his 5-chip software controllable drive,
no one has seen anything like it before. At that time, many competing controller
cards employed between 35 to 70 chips. The five-chip design was later reduced
to a single chip for the Macintosh and was christened IWM (Integrated
Woz Machine). So even though the previous two "Beneath" books
seem quite old, the technology lives on.
- http://www.bootzero.com/ (modern
technology for retro toys)
Software Cracking Caveat:
I have always been opposed
to protection-cracking and piracy. However, we now need to learn the skills
of 1980 crackers in order to bypass and remove copy protection. This is
the only way that many 1980s-based software packages (including games and
compilers) will be able to run on these 30-year-old museum pieces.
No Form Of Magnetic
Recording Will Last Forever!
p.s. I don't own any of these cracker cards or software. However,
I've seen them all on eBay at one time or another. If you buy a card
without the required software, you might be able to use these binaries:
free Apple-2 software
- Apple-2 Software Cracking
- C and C++ Stuff
- electronics tutorials
- Collection of
Computer Science Bibliographies Karlsruhe, Germany
- Engineering Times for the latest technical
- Local essays on calendars,
Y2K problem, Y4K problem, time stamps, etc.
- www.archive.org (a.k.a. Way-Back-Machine)
- www.blinkenlights.com online
- www.oldcomputers.net pre-1990
- www.theapplemuseum.com all about
- www.woz.org is the home of uber-hacker
Steve Wozniak. Designer of: the Apple-1, Apple-2 (a.k.a. Apple-II, Apple-][,
Apple-//), Apple Disk-II Controller, Apple Integer BASIC, Apple DOS 3.0 (to
3.3), Sweet-16, The Apple Monitor (anyone remember "call -151"?)
- www.fusionio.com (Fusion
I/O) is the home of Wozniak's current employer. They design and
manufacture solid state drives (SSD) hosted on PCIe cards
- Historic Computer
- Wanderer-Werke / Nixdorf / Siemens-Nixdorf
Cryptography + Steganography
Moved to: OpenVMS Notes:
FFT, DSP, Compression + TV Links
E. Zonst is a retired aerospace engineer who authored two really good books
each covering DFT (Discrete Fourier Transform) and
FFT (Fast Fourier Transform).
- The first book is titled Understanding
the FFT (1995/2000)
- This book is subtitled "A Tutorial on the Algorithm &
Software for Laymen, Students, Technicians & Working Engineers"
and weighs in at 180 pages. I wish I would have owned a copy of this
book 10 years earlier because I would have saved considerable time and
- 4 chapters on DFT
- 6 chapters on FFT
- 10 appendices
second book is titled Understanding
FFT Applications (1997/2004)
- This first edition of this book (1997) is subtitled "A Tutorial
for Laymen, Students, Technicians, & Working Engineers",
weighs in at 415 pages.
- This second edition of this book (2004) is subtitled "A
Tutorial for Students, Technicians, & Working Engineers",
weighs in at 278 pages, and comes with a CD-ROM
- All books contain example programs written in GWBASIC so that Fourier
concepts can be more easily demonstrated. First edition books required purchasing
floppy disks at a nominal cost to cover shipping. Second edition books contained
a common CD-ROM
- Citrus Press has granted me permission
to redistribute their copyrighted BASIC source code.
- zip for floppy disk #1 (362k):
for Understanding the FFT (first edition)
- zip for floppy disk #2 (387k):
for Understanding FFT Applications (first edition)
- zip for CD-ROM folder #1 (928k):
for Understanding the FFT (second edition)
- zip for CD-ROM folder #2 (1.2m):
for Understanding FFT Applications (second edition)
- Click here to locate a free Vanilla (non GUI) BASIC
interpreter for your FFT experiments.
- www.dspguide.com is the home of "The
Scientist and Engineer's Guide to Digital Signal Processing"
- 40 example programs written in BASIC so that Fourier concepts can be
more easily understood
- very thorough; starts with signals, filtering, sampling, then continues
through DSP algorithms, DSP hardware, and DSP applications
- purchase the printed book or download a free PDF copy (but you should
buy the book; your printer will thank you for not abusing it)
- MPEG.org is a defacto starting off point
for MPEG info (according to IEEE Spectrum) with lots of good links to other
- Wavelet Digest at Lucent Technologies.
- DVD FAQ @ dvd demystified
I am always bewildered by the confusion intentionally
introduced by retail marketing of electronics equipment (including
information from the Consumer Electronics Association).
This is nothing new in retail electronics. Anyone who remembers the
transition of home entertainment audio gear from "vacuum tubes" to
"solid state" in the 1970s would be familiar with the terms: "RMS Power"
(the only true metric), "Peak Power", "Peak-to-Peak Power", "Music
Power" (which I recall was the maximum output power measured just before
the electronics caught on fire). How many times did a fast-talking
stereo salesman tell us about "Total Harmonic Distortion" with no real
understanding of the underlying numbers? I never met a single one who
could properly define "dB".
Currently, everyone is buzzing about 4k TV
when actually referencing
(Ultra High Definition).
Here are a few facts:
2048 (2^11) in the world of binary computers but
can sometimes mean 2000 colloquially (as in $2k)
- 4k means 4096 (2^12) in
the world of binary computers but can sometimes mean 4000
colloquially (as in $4k)
- HD TV is defined as:
- 1280 x 720 (aspect ratio: 16x9) but most consumers have never
heard of 1280 x 720 even though most el-cheapo flat-screen TVs
default to this resolution. Most consumers will have heard of it by
its other name: 720p.
- It is also defined as 1920 x 1080 (aspect ratio: 16x9) when
operated as in 1080i (interlaced) mode where only
540 lines are available per each frame. Non-technical people find
this second wrinkle too confusing until you break it down to
- 1280 x 720 = 921,600 pixels per second
- 1920 x 540 = 1,036,800 pixels per second (12% more detail
when content doesn't change too quickly)
- FHD TV (Full
High Definition) refers to a maximum screen resolution of 1920 x
1080 (aspect ratio: 16x9)
- The smaller number, 1080, represents the number of lines and
was previously marketed as 1080p
- The larger number, 1920, represents the number of pixels per
line. Notice that 1920 doesn't meet either definition of 2k
although retailers (including the Consumer Electronics
Association) refer to it as 2k
- In 2015, most cable providers do not transmit a signal with
this resolution so TV manufacturers provide built-in "signal
upscalers". We can also supply our own signals with "Blu-ray
players" and Game Consoles (PS3, PS4, XBOX-360, and XBOX-One)
- UHD (Ultra High Definition) doubles FHD to get
3840 x 2160 which many call 4k.
- If 1920 isn't 2K then 3840 certainly isn't 4k as this article confirms:
- In 2015, most cable providers are unable to transmit a
signal with this resolution so TV manufacturers provide built-in
"signal upscalers". We can also provide our own signals with
"4k-compatible Blu-ray players" (here, the Blu-ray player can
upscale so-called 2k content or play so-called 4k content) and
high-end PC-based gaming rigs with video-cards usually costing
more than game consoles
- UHD+ (Ultra High Definition Plus) increases
resolution to 5120 x 2880 which Apple correctly markets 5k (
Retina 5k )
- FUHD (Full Ultra High Definition) doubles UHD
to get 7680 x 4320 which some retailers are already calling 8k
(which it is not). Many people scoff at the idea of 8k technology
but here are some facts:
- The Las Vegas consumer electronics show is usually held
before Super Bowl for obvious marketing reasons. Some companies
previewed their so-called 8k sets this year (Jan-2015) while
dropping the prices of their so-called 4k sets which are now
flying off the shelves as Super Bowl approaches (Feb-1, 2015).
- Full UHD is necessary to fully reproduce IMAX-quality
content which is not yet available to the retail consumer
- Some vendors are already referring to 8k as QUHD (Quad Ultra
High Definition) because it is four times larger than FHD
- QHD (Quad Ultra High Definition) quadruples UHD to
get 15360 x 8640 and I am assuming retailers will call it 16k
(which it is not)
to see a more complete list of graphics display technologies which
include true 4k and true 8k formats
Question: Why Should Anyone Care?
- because true 2k (2048
x 1080) and
true 4k (4096 x 2160)
technologies were developed for commercial use as part of
Digital Cinema Initiatives (which is what you are viewing in
a traditional movie theatre. Many patrons are unaware of the
fact that celluloid film projectors have been gone for a long
- These aspect ratios are published 2.39:1 and 1.85:1
- Different screen geometries were chosen for commercial use in
order to combat piracy. Commercial interests did not want stolen
commercial content directly playable on retail equipment (since
16x9 = 1.78:1 then these other formats could not be properly
displayed without some preprocessing)
New Cable Confusion on the Horizon?
- Just as most consumers were getting comfortable
the move to UHD and above requires a shift to
(thankfully many retailers already sell HDMI-to-DisplayPort
- Your new laptop may already be configured with a
mini-DisplayPort ports but you just didn't know it (I
noticed one on my new Lenovo Laptop back in 2011)
latest "reality check" from our hero
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Kitchener - Waterloo - Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.