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[Nosc] toy workstation (composite reply)

on 09-12-2001 07:17, Myron Plichota at myron.plichota@xxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

> My interest in a big toy workstation is because I want to develop an
> integrated MIDI software synthesizer+audio multitrack recording studio.
 > The M68K family is known to be an excellent CISC target for a
> virtual Forth machine, and probably even better as a Machine/ColorForth
> target than the Pentium instruction for instruction, although running at much
> slower clock rates.
> As a cautionary, Motorola (and just about everyone else)
> has a bad reputation for not delivering promised parts and/or discontinuing
> "mature" parts. I like it and would use it if it met my requirements despite
> my reservations about longterm availability.
> Having an I/O coprocessor in the family would decouple the main processor
> from peripheral X and avoid turning the common serial I/O hardware subsystem
> into a monstrosity.

Ok, just to encourage/enthuse the goal, and what it might mean for others:

 I'm using and have been using such a thing since 1988, it's called an
Atari (in those days a  very popular 68k based computer in Europe).
For B M B con. , the performance group I work in, it's the main workhorse.
No reason to replace it with modern powerbooks and such as far realtime
sound processing is concerned (Video is something entirely different).

 Specially their last model the Atari Falcon, in which the company had
put a lot of their experience gained with their TransputerWorkstation.
CPU, FPU, DSP, Videochip, MIDI, SoundDMA to unburden the CPU, etc.etc.
Allthough running at a slow 16mhz rate, the integration of all these
seperate processors and peripherals into some kind of multiprocessor
machine, made they could easily compete with others having a lot faster

 I have allways programmed it in Forth only. A Forth from 1985, build
around the 68k, taking the 68k as point of departure, rather than im-
posing the prescribed VM from the 83-standard. Depending how one looks
upon Forth, it was a match well made. So far I never felt the urge to put
a machine- or colorForth on it.

 Portability? Great, wrap it in a towel, dump it in a dustliner, off to
work, carrying it under your arm, hoping there's a monitor around :0)

 Price? Off the shelf consumer products at a low price, no additions needed.
Poor man's Mac. Nowadays dump prices.

 Continuety? None, Atari doesn't excist anymore. We pick up second
hands, to be set for the future. Because they start to fall apart after
the harsh treatment they get from us.
 For upgrading the cpu, I think Motorola has discontinued the 68k
development, the Coldfire doesn't fit.

 The Atari is still remebered with a lot of fondness for its concept
around here, it even has gained a hype status in the electronic (dance)
music scene.
A lot of my collegues in the electro-accoustic music niche would be
very enthusiastic for a new dedicated machine which they could trust
and program as of old, there're quite some (ex-)Forth users out there!

 As for the word 'Toy', Ataris were associated in certain circles as toys,
and belittled cause of that.
It never withheld professionals, from Noble price winners in Chemistry
to obscure artists in the electronic arts world, to use them, not at all!

 I do hope I presented evidence that such a concept/idea actually has
worked and still works, and that a dormant demand might be satisfied
(This was _not_ an ad for Atari, but rather for the concept, please!).

 You probably need more practical support than lip services, I'm sorry.
I might be usefull in some way though.

-Roelf Toxopeus


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