ASCIIMath creating images

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Panasonic HHC Schematics by Tony Duell

(TL;DR version: the scans are here)

Some years ago, I picked up a Panasonic HHC, having had an interest in the small hand-held BASIC computers for a while.  As it turns out, the HHC does not use basic at all, and is by default not really "open" in any way - there was a BASIC ROM available, but generally the thing was used as a specialized calculator with custom ROMs.  Still, It's a cute little machine with the interesting feature of using a 6502 inside, and it came with a printer that uses regular paper, and even the internal batteries still work.

Recently, there was a discussion about it on the Classiccmp mailing list, and Tony Duell - known for his classic computer electronics acumen if not his take-no-prisoners approach to typing emails - mentioned that he had traced out the circuits of this little machine.  This got me (and several others) interested, and he offered to make these available to the general public if someone would scan them and place them somewhere on the web.  The physical pieces of paper from Tony were scanned by Dave Colver, who in turn sent me the images.  I did a bit of cleaning up (nothing more than adjusting levels to remove some JPG compression artifacts) and collated them into a PDF document and you can download them from here: Panasonic HHC RL-H1400 Schematics.

Unfortunately, my HHC is at this moment a couple of thousand kilometers away, in a box at a friend's house in Pointe-Claire, Canada.  However, once I live in a place where I have a workshop again, I will mess around with it, for sure.  Dumping the ROMs would be a good start!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Real life interference again, of the best kind

A short time ago, life has become quite overwhelming, but in a good way.   To announce the reason, I sent a little bit of creative writing to my friends; I'll post it here with the personally identifying information masked out.


     A child process with PID "------ ------ Thiemann" has been successfully
     spawned.  While the process is not yet ready for completely standalone 
     deployment, it operates within all expected parameters.
     On --- -- Aug 2012 --:-- CEST, a child process was successfully spawned
     from two parent processes.  The new process was given a PID of "------
     ------ Thiemann".  All parameters are within design specifications, as
     are the parameters of the parent processes.  Note that the new process
     is not functioning as a completely independent unit yet, but relies on
     I/O processing by the parent processes; in particular, the flushed 
     output functionality is not yet present, and instead uses buffered
     output where the buffers are emptied by the parent processes.  Input
     is taken exclusively from one of the parent processes.  Furthermore,
     the self-diagnosis functionality is currently limited to a one-bit sonic
     indicator; if this indicator is activated, it is left to the parent 
     processes to determine if I/O needs to be serviced or if the current
     operating environment is incompatible.
     When not performing I/O, the new process spends a considerable amount 
     of time in the sleep state.  A visualization of the process is appended
     to the report, showing the interaction of the new process with its
     parent processes.
     As of yet, no bugs have been found in the system that merit intervention
     by either the parent processes or the operating system.  However, it is
     expected as the process interacts with the greater system environment,
     some abnormal processing states may occur, but it is expected that the
     self-repair functions will be fully functional by that time.

I know the "thing to do" these days is to have a facebook page, twitter account, email address, etc. for a new kid set up.  Well, this kid's information will be off the net for as long as possible, until he is capable of understanding and deciding for himself.  But watch out world once he gets his hands on a soldering iron and/or a compiler!