Wednesday, February 23, 2022

KIMdle: Sorta-Wordle for the KIM-1

UPDATE: I'm trying to solve a debouncing bug for someone who reported it, though I can't reproduce it. If you have a similar issue on real hardware, please try the version up now.

Wordle mania (trademark, probably, of the New York Times) continues. My wife and I, who bonded over word games and later got married because that's how you pick a good life partner, play daily on a private instance, except that she's 19 hours ahead so she has to be careful not to give out spoilers. Retro has gotten into the action. There are Wordle ports for Windows 3.1, Palm Pilots, Game Boys and at least three versions for the Commodore 64, such as this, this and this poop themed one called Turdle, ha ha ha.

Still, however, while these ports ditch dependence on JavaScript and HTML, they still rely on other modern conveniences such as, you know, a screen, a keyboard, and multiple kilobytes of RAM.

You see where I'm going with this.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Refurb weekend: Texas Instruments Silent 700 Model 745 teletype

The first terminal I ever used was a teletype. Somehow my buddy when we were in high school got a hold of this weird "printer typewriter" which was none other than one of the famous Texas Instruments Silent 700 series.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Overbite Android 0.2.6

UPDATE: I've received a couple reports the .apk doesn't install. The actual reason is that the keys, and thus the author signature, have changed and Android doesn't let you replace an app with another app signed by "someone else." Delete the old version and install this one fresh rather than installing it over the old one. Sorry about the inconvenience.

Overbite Android 0.2.6 is available, the (persistently alpha-quality) native Gopher client for Android. This is merely a maintenance update for version 0.2.5 to fix visual issues with dark mode and Android 12, and a couple edge crashes. The screenshot is from my Pixel 6 Pro (the camera still crashes on it, Google, damn your eyes) running Android 12 but this release will still work with and is tested all the way back to 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich). After all, this is a retrocomputing blog! Source code for Android Studio (built with Bumblebee) is available under the BSD license.

Unfortunately, it is likely that 0.2.x will be the last release of Overbite Android to support OS versions prior to 9.0 (Pie). This is because right now I'm running Android Studio on an M1 Mac (hoping to get it working properly on my Talos II, but not there yet) and it is apparently not possible to run API 27 or earlier under the emulator. (I tried myself and it just dies immediately. There should be a way to make it run within a full system emulator, but it doesn't.) For testing purposes I dug out an Intel MacBook Air with a previous version of Android Studio, booted up a emulated Galaxy Nexus with 4.0.3 and checked the APK installs and runs, but this is rather inconvenient to test with for obvious reasons, and Google doesn't make it easy for you to keep working with old Android versions if you're trying to also support new ones. For the time being, though, I still think supporting a 10+ year old release of a mobile operating system is pretty darn good, and if I do any other 0.2.x bugfixes I will at least test them to the extent I can on Android 4 before release.

Yes, I know Overbite Android still doesn't do downloads yet. This is largely laziness on my part, since I'm only scratching the itches I personally have, and I haven't needed to download files via Gopher to any of my Android devices so far. But that's probably the major feature I plan to introduce in 0.3 when I get some time to sit down and actually write the support.

Old releases compatible back to Android 1.5 (Cupcake) are still available, including source code.