ACNews #69
07 апреля 2018

News - Info Guide #12 was finally released, LVD is soldering a new version of ZXNetUSB, Yerzmyey has released an interactive novel.

                        by Alone Coder

Several months disappeared without trace. Info Guide #12 was
finally released, then so much job fell upon me that I still
can't get free. I act for two programmers (initially even
three), although I'm more of an engineer.
I glad to see more responses on this issue (more than before).
So maybe I'll grow for another one if I had some free time :)
In fact, there were14 issues, not 12 (because of fractional
#2.5 and#4.5 ). If we count in Inferno (at least #3 and #4, 
where I prepared texts and music), the history is longer than
that of Adventurer diskzine - but not than Spectrofon with24
official issues. And ACNews has outrun the legendary Body
electronic newspaper :) Now we have somewhere far ahead the
classic editions of On-Line (85 issues) and Nicron ( 132
issues), and also Fantastic e-paper that sadly missed anything
Spectrum-ish :)

Apart from the e-zine, I only released patches for Evo SDK and
NedoLang - mostly because of a Turbo Sound bug in AYFX player. I 
tried to start a new demo, wrote one effect, but the demo
haven't taken shape. Then I wanted to make a scripting engine
based on Lisp and Forth, but I still don't like all the

BTW, it is possible to invent a language effective for both FPGA
and CPU. The idea was to break the program in blocks with vector
inputs and vector outputs, and also multiplexers and
demultiplexers. I dropped the idea before because of a problem
with asynchronous connections (for example, setup lines for
distant blocks). This works well for CPU but ruins the integrity
of data in pipeline in FPGA. There is a solution: free the
pipeline before sending data by this asynchronous connection.
For this, we need to return a sygnal "input is ready" somehow.
All in all, this can be solved, but for this, I need to drop
everything and gather a group for this project that is unlikely.
Nowadays, reconfigurable computing systems are world popular,
and there are international symposia with grave sponsors like
Intel and Microsoft. Maybe somebody is writing this just now,
but there are no news. The main thing is to switch for
asynchronous (self-synchronous) data transfer in FPGA (for
example, with well-known Null Convention Logic), but it lacks
good utilities for ddevelopment and debugging.

Demoparties are multiplying:Tygrys invites for Party
in Warsaw,14th of April, 2018 (press"2" ).
That's simultaneous with Cosmonaut Day organized byLVD.
Maksagor even called me yesterday, inviting there :)

John Silver promised to come for the first time for many years,
but still haven't appeared. In 2017, he started one more new
song, still unfinished. He composes in my presence. I once
recorded the process on video using a cellphone, by I'm bad a
cameraman, so the video is rotated 90 degrees. I put the video
on my channel at YouTube(blkpntr). Long time ago I had a lot of
videos and a playlist on the channel but Google has deleted
everything. Today only this video and a long realtime coding
session remained, where I was writing a multicolor scroll.

LVD is soldering a new version of ZXNetUSB - network card for a
real Speccy. The first version was released in early2013.
DimkaM made an TCP/IP level emulator based on Unreal Speccy,
available for people willing to write software for the board.
Before that, all the software (IRC client, FTP server, and few
small things) was written by DimkaM. And now he made a
web-server allowing for uploading files via HTTP:

Hippiman, with two children, is writing a new game for Speccy.
The engine even contains his own script compiler! :)

Yerzmyey has released an interactive novel:

Jerri/AF also contacted me, he started to write a new game.

One comrade (let me hide him for now) from Atari 8-bit scene
tries to adapt Wolf 48K for his platform. His process is as
First I want to disassemble the code, that I can compile it
myself in EmuZWin.
Then describe it, basis on your sources, marks places that will
have to be changed - eg remove stores to the attribute memory,
The next step is contextual translation, i.e. the translation of
entire procedures and not mnemonics-mnemonics.
If it succeeds and the speed will be satisfactory (that's why
I've asked you for several versions in different screen sizes),
I'll back to the sprites version ...
This way we can also convert from Atari 8-bit to Speccy. Who
will convert Numen demo? :)

Sand/mHm sent me a version of Fast Tracker with tone phase fix
(see Info Guide #7 ):
Unfortunately, nobody has found yet, if the tone bit is reset
with RESET signal.

Dart Alver released several new versions of BGE graphics editor,
including diamond shaded spray:
(this is the constant link to new versions)
So we finally can DRAW with spray :)

AmoNik started to write an article about running sports, and in
the middle he produced memories about arcades. Some other people
also added their memories - I publish all them here.

Utz sent me interesting information about electronics in GDR:

I've got a new two-page newspaper article about microprocessor 
development in GDR.

Check it out with google translate. Some background information 
is here, btw:

The article tells much new for me. I didn't even know that small
GDR could beat whole USSR in electronic chips!
Weeeeell, you have to take this article with a grain of salt. jW 
is a very pro-GDR newspaper 
(, they
will defend the GDR even if the argument is at the expense of 
the "tall brother" USSR. 

Can you explain some details of GDR's economy?
How much money were borrowed from USSR and when they were
returned, if any?
Disclaimer: I know very little about this, so this is all bits 
and pieces and would need further verification. 

Anyway, first we have to consider that GDR was obliged to war 
reparation payments to the USSR. This amounts to 99,1 billion 
(West-)German Marks at market value in 1953 (which is 98% of the 
reparation obligations of all of Germany - west Germans didn't 
pay a damn). It was partially paid in goods (mostly demontage of 
industrial equipment and infrastructure - for example almost 
half of all train tracks were demontaged and shipped to USSR). 
Reparation obligations ended in 1953. We can see also see a 
general shift in USSR tactics after the June 17th uprising. For 
example the bill for the occupation costs was cut in half (from 
1.6 to 0.8 billion East German Marks per year, at this time 
we're probably talking 1 Ruble = 3 Marks). Also, USSR started to 
lend money to GDR in 1956, about 1 billion rubles in total, to 
be paid back until 1961. I have no information about the era 
from beginning 60s to end of 70s, but it is likely that there 
were no further loans, because in this time the trade balance 
shifted significantly in favour of the GDR and GDR started 
lending money to other socialist countries. In 1980s for sure 
there were no more Soviet loans, and the GDR resorted to 
borrowing money from West Germany (2 Billion West German Marks). 
There is some indication that at the very end, after the fall of 
the wall, USSR actually borrowed from the GDR. 

What goods were imported and from where?
Mostly raw materials, mainly from USSR (oil, gas, metals) and 
Poland (coal). 

What was the difference between: 1.pre-1963 planning,
2."Neues Oekonomisches System", 3."Einheit von Wirtschafts- und
Sozialpolitik", planning?
Pre-63 planning is characterized by a very high degree of 
centralization. The NOS was a set of reforms aimed at reducing 
centralization by giving more autonomy to manufacturers. It's 
basically the GDR version of the НЭП). Later it was renamed to 
"Oekonomisches System des Sozialismus". The reforms were 
economically successful, but the increased autonomy was seen as 
a threat to the party. Hence, post-70s the reforms were 
reversed, and focus was shifted from technological development 
to improving the social situation, under the maxime of "Einheit 
von Wirtschafts- und Sozialpolitik". And that's the critical 
point: Under the leadership of Ulbricht (1950-71) GDR became 
technologically very advanced, to the point that for example in 
the field of computers they were ahead of West Germany by 
large). But when Honecker came to power, these efforts were 
abandoned completely (because Honecker hated technology, unlike 
Ulbricht who was a science freak) so over the course of the 70s, 
no advances were made in the field of computers, causing the GDR 
to fall totally behind by 1980 (as you can see the article 
"kindly" omits this fact). Only then they woke up and tried to 
save the day, but it was too late. 

What other highly integrated chips were produced? Were there ROM
chips, FDD controllers, DAC, ADC? Were they exported? Any export
outside Eastern Bloc?
I will have to research more to give a good answer to this. 
Generally I can say that yes, all these things were produced in 
GDR (especially stuff cloned from Zilog), and no, there was no 
export. Not even the internal demand of the apparatus could be 
satisfied, let alone consumer demand. What did get exported was 
mostly the analogue stuff: radios, TVs, typewriters, etc. 

There are rumors that T34VM1 (made in 1991) is in fact a U880.
(And other rumors that it is a native Russian clone.) Maybe
Russians bought the schemes, or maybe whole technological line,
or just unpacked chips? When it was? However there was also a
VM3 that doesn't match any other chip.
Most people here think that it is a clone of U880 because 
supposedly it has the same quirks (e.g. carry not set by OUTI). 

I think all of this should be published. People know little
about macroeconomics.
Btw English is so poor:
/на картинке Google Translate переводит фразу:
Die Volkswirtschaftslehre (auch Nationaloekonomie,
Wirtschaftliche Staatswissenschaften oder Sozialoekonomie, kurz
VWL), ist ein Teilgebiet der Wirtschaftswissenschaft.
The economics of economics (including economics, economics,
economics, economics, economics, economics) is a part of
economics. /

Hahaha that translation is gold indeed! (You've probably figured 
it out by now, but just to be sure: VWL is economics from the 
perspective of the state, as opposed to 
'Betriebswirtschaftslehre' (BWL) which is economics from the 
perspective of business.) 

Sadly here in Germany we have the additional problem that there 
was a hostile take-over, and the current system is doing it's 
best to erase the legacy of the GDR. An exemplary case of this 
process you can see here:,_Berlin
which is now demolished and will be replaced with a replica of 
the Prussian castle that stood there before. In any case it 
means it's very difficult to get reliable and objective 
information about the past. 

I found a big article in Russian about GDR computing factories:
It links to 4 German sites:
I have been using a Robotron 5.25" disk drive - it is of great
read-write quality and undestroyable. And it has 87 tracks :)

Yes, Robotron = the best! Along with RFT, another synonym for 
"indestructability" :D 
I used to own a Robotron CM1910 
(, but
it was partially broken (ehem) and missing some equipment. So 
some years ago I gave it away to a friend who's been working on 
restoring the machine ever since :o 

I know most of those German sites, except the article in the Die 
Welt. Especially the is very very good, one 
of the most comprehensive sources of information on GDR 
computing (not only Robotron). 

The efb-1 one is not so good, mostly personal ramblings of a 
collector which are of questionable origin. Take for example 
"Robotron KC 85" - KC 85/2-4 which this page talks about are not 
Robotron machines. They were made by VEB Mikroelektronik 
Muhlhausen, a different company. Only KC 85/1 aka Z9001 aka KC 
87, which is a totally different machine, was made by Robotron. 
Then it continues "Die KC Reihe 85/2 bis 85/4 waren neben dem KC 
87 die Homecomputer der DDR" (The KC series 85/2 through 85/4 
were, along with the KC 87, the homecomputers of the GDR). Errm 
no, they weren't. KC85 were almost exclusively used in 
administration and education. Originally it was the idea to 
market it as a home computer (hence the 85/2 was originally 
called HC900 - HeimComputer 900), but it never happened. GDR 
home computer users were using C64, Atari, Spectrum clones, or 
home-made machines like everybody else in the Eastern blok. 

The MDR article (MDR = Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, a regional, 
state-owned broadcasters that serves Saxony, Thuringia, and 
Saxony-Anhalt, so roughly the southern half of the former GDR) 
is somewhat typical of the way the GDR history is commonly 
presented nowadays. As you can see by comparing with the 
information on, the article virtually ignores 
the first 15 years of computing in GDR (compare
htm). In regards to the R300, it also generously omits the fact
that actually several hundreds of this machine were built, a 
quantity that not even the power players in West Germany 
(Nixdorf, Siemens) would match until the 70s. Still, I 
appreciate the article because hey, at least they tried. 

Some more sites, of varying quality:

Другие статьи номера:

Новости - Наконец доделан Info Guide #12, LVD паяет новую версию ZXNetUSB, Sand прислал версию Fast Tracker с фазировкой тональника.

News - Info Guide #12 was finally released, LVD is soldering a new version of ZXNetUSB, Yerzmyey has released an interactive novel. Party 2018.1 - invitation and rules

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Memories about arcade machines - from russia Leningrad and Saint-Petersburg

Темы: Игры, Программное обеспечение, Пресса, Аппаратное обеспечение, Сеть, Демосцена, Люди, Программирование

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