YouTube / zek0mac
YouTube / zek0mac

Using Your New Commodore 64 (in 1982)

YouTube / zek0mac
YouTube / zek0mac

In past weeks, I've brought you lots of retro videos about computers, but this one is a little different. Here we have a full two-hour video explaining in near-excruciating depth the inner workings of the Commodore 64. If you actually sit through this video, Jim Butterfield shows a variety of programming techniques and even explains what the primary chips on the motherboard do. If you had just purchased a Commodore 64 in 1982 and sat down to watch this video, it would give you a surprisingly thorough grounding in how to use the computer, including plenty of programming principles. On the other hand, I'm really glad we don't have to deal with this stuff today.

I really don't think you'll want to watch the whole thing, unless you're preparing for time travel back to 1982. Here are a few fun places to jump in:

1:00 - Unboxing. Yep, computer users have been doing this for decades.

9:53 - What's Inside Your Commodore 64? Butterfield cracks the case and explains the major components.

49:32 - Storing Data! An explanation of how to store data on a floppy disk or tape.

1:19:30 - How to Use CP/M. CP/M was one of many operating systems you could run on the C64. This was a common way to use a home computer in 1982, y'all.

1:40:16 - Music. How to use the C64's Sound Interface Device (SID) to create basic music.

1:50:12 - Games. Butterfield shows off the gaming capabilities of the C64. (At 1:51:40 we see "Benji Discovery"...a game with "a high educational content.")

2:00:00 - Computer Chronicles segment. An exploration of the Ghostbusters game, beginning with questions about whether computer gaming is a passing fad.

Enjoy this relic of computing history, and keep an eye out for vintage Commodore ads between the segments.

Arthur Shi, iFixit // CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
The New MacBook Has a Crumb-Resistant Keyboard
Arthur Shi, iFixit // CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Arthur Shi, iFixit // CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Soon, you won’t have to worry about ruining your Macbook’s keyboard with muffin crumbs. The 2018 MacBook Pro will feature keys specifically designed to withstand the dust and debris that are bound to get underneath them, according to Digital Trends. The keyboard will also be quieter than previous versions, the company promises.

The latter feature is actually the reasoning Apple gives for the new design, which features a thin piece of silicon stretching across where the keycaps attach to the laptop, but internal documents initially obtained by MacRumors show that the membrane is designed to keep debris from getting into the butterfly switch design that secures the keycaps.

Introduced in 2015, Apple’s butterfly keys—a change from the traditional scissor-style mechanism that the company’s previous keyboards used—allow the MacBook keyboards to be much thinner, but are notoriously delicate. They can easily become inoperable if they’re exposed to dirt and debris, as any laptop is bound to be, and are known for becoming permanently jammed. In fact, the company has been hit with multiple lawsuits alleging that it has known about the persistent problem for years but continued using the design. As a result, Apple now offers free keyboard replacements and repairs for those laptop models.

This new keyboard design (you can see how it works in iFixit's very thorough teardown), however, doesn’t appear to be the liquid-proof keyboard Apple patented in early 2018. So while your new laptop might be safe to eat around, you still have to worry about the inevitable coffee spills.

[h/t Digital Trends]

Finally! Windows Notepad Is Getting an Update for the First Time in Years

While some of Window's core programs have evolved dramatically over the years, or disappeared all together, Notepad has remained pretty basic. But as The Verge reports, the text-editing app is about to get a little fancier: Microsoft is updating it for the first time in years.

Since it debuted in 1985, Notepad has become a popular platform for writing out code. One common complaint from programmers working in non-Windows coding language is that Notepad doesn't format line breaks properly, resulting in jumbled, messy text. Now, both Unix/Linux line endings (LF) and Macintosh line endings (CR) are supported in Notepad, making it even more accessible to developers.

For the first time, users can zoom text by holding ctrl and scrolling the mouse wheel. They can also delete the last word in their document by pressing ctrl+backspace. On top of all that, the new update comes with a wrap-around find-and-replace feature, a default status bar with line and column numbers, and improved performance when handling large files.

The arrow keys will be easier to navigate as well. You can now use the arrow keys to deselect text before moving the cursor. And if you ever want to look up a word online, Microsoft will allow you to connect directly to Bing through the app.

The new Notepad update will be made available first to Windows Insiders through Windows 10 Insider Preview, then to everyone on the forthcoming update, codenamed Redstone 5, likely later this year.

[h/t The Verge]


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