What features matter to you?

Nagging hardware related question? Post here!

Which features are you willing to lose?

QL-net
2
3%
RGB
1
2%
UHF
19
32%
Serial
0
No votes
Joystick
7
12%
ROM port
5
8%
Microdrives
13
22%
QL built-in sound
5
8%
Membrane keyboard
8
13%
 
Total votes: 60
Dave
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What features matter to you?

Postby Dave » Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:25 am

Which features are you willing to LOSE in a QL?

You can pick up to three, and you can change your mind. If you would explain your choices in a post and react to other peoples' reasons - changing your votes if necessary - I will try to incorporate it into the Issue 8 board.


Paul
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Re: What features matter to you?

Postby Paul » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:03 am

I find the topic irritating.
You ask what matters and we chose what we are willing to loose.
If we select what we really want to keep then the choice of three is ok.
On the other hand if we select about which features we don't care, why do you think we should restrict the choice to three? If I don't care it's hard to say about which i care least :shock:


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Derek_Stewart
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Re: What features matter to you?

Postby Derek_Stewart » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:48 am

Dave wrote:Which features are you willing to LOSE in a QL?

You can pick up to three, and you can change your mind. If you would explain your choices in a post and react to other peoples' reasons - changing your votes if necessary - I will try to incorporate it into the Issue 8 board.


Hi,

I can select any options, nothing I would like is on the list, they items on the list could be removed.

My 3 things are:

USB Keyboard and Mouse connection
VGA Graphics
SD Card storage

Extras:

More memory
Faster CPU
Ethernet Network
FPGA programming for hardware.


Regards,

Derek
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Re: What features matter to you?

Postby bixio60 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:21 pm

Derek_Stewart wrote:
Dave wrote:Which features are you willing to LOSE in a QL?

You can pick up to three, and you can change your mind. If you would explain your choices in a post and react to other peoples' reasons - changing your votes if necessary - I will try to incorporate it into the Issue 8 board.


Hi,

I can select any options, nothing I would like is on the list, they items on the list could be removed.

My 3 things are:

USB Keyboard and Mouse connection
VGA Graphics
SD Card storage

Extras:

More memory
Faster CPU
Ethernet Network
FPGA programming for hardware.


... what you want, exactly, already exist, but it is completely ignored... the answer is MIST : Wireless USB keyboard, HDMI, Ethernet, SD , FPGA , faster CPU, Minerva loaded...and it is cheap, it exist, you can buy it, it is not a prototype , last but not least ...a switch on/off button exist. Do we need more ? :D :o

Fabrizio


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Re: What features matter to you?

Postby Nasta » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:01 pm

I'm not really certain what the complaint is about, does the question not say 'WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO LOSE'?
I suspect, from the original QL setup as it was in 1983...


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tofro
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Re: What features matter to you?

Postby tofro » Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:21 pm

I'm fine to live without the Microdrives and the UHF support. Both I haven't used for at least 15 years anyhow...

I would like to see either the serial ports (doesn't hurt if they support higher baud rates, though ...) or a compatible network port.

I could probably live without the native sound system if it's been replaced with something that at least beeps, ideally, an SSS that could software-emulate the native sound, which shouldn't be rocket-science to implement.

A membrane keyboard connection I could very well live without (I'd expect you to supply us at least with [i]some [/] keyboard, though...)


Dave
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Re: What features matter to you?

Postby Dave » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:26 pm

The reason I asked what features you're willing to lose is because it's a very different question to which features do you want. We have talked at length about what we'd like to do to improve the QL, but we never really talked about what it is time to leave behind.

For me, dropping microdrive support is a simple choice. It's old and unreliable, slow, and the worst the QL has to offer. However, I don't personally use serial or the QL-net and I don't know how others use them. Best to ask. I also don't know if anyone still uses the UHF output. There's quite a lot of bulk in that and I'm eager to let it go.

Everyone is grateful for a new feature - people may have strong objections to losing a feature they find critical so it is only prudent for me to ask people where their pain point is.

As it stands right now, keyboard membrane, joystick, QL-net and serial look like they are staying. UHF looks like it's gone, which simplifies the output hardware a lot and makes it easier to experiment with. Microdrives seem to be gone too.

However, there's no rush to judgment here, and I will not make a final decision until there's a lot more votes.

Other things that are a fait accompli:

The internal ROM slot is changed to take a single 64K EPROM which will come with Minerva 2.0 and TK2. As there will ALWAYS be a ROM image in the ROM slot space, there will not be a ROM slot. Fast storage will be available, so no need to use clunky storage that uses that port anyway. You can burn your own EPROMs at will, if you do not want to use Minerva 2.0, and you can use a backplane that gives you the port if you wish - as it stands the board is too short

The power supply is completely re-done. You can retire that old QL PSU - I have seen a fun project that put a uQLx-running Raspberry Pi inside the PSU box with a 16x2 LCD and it looks GOOD. Now, you'll just use a regular 12V laptop power supply. The three 9V pins on the J1 connector will now have regulated 5V@2A available. Ground bounce and signal quality issues will be significantly improved.

So, in that context, where is your pain point? What are you prepared to give up?
Last edited by Dave on Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Dave
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Re: What features matter to you?

Postby Dave » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:00 pm

tofro wrote:I'm fine to live without the Microdrives and the UHF support. Both I haven't used for at least 15 years anyhow...

I would like to see either the serial ports (doesn't hurt if they support higher baud rates, though ...) or a compatible network port.


We're doing some investigating about a fast serial port, for other reasons. Retaining the QL-net ports is just a matter of putting the parts on - the logic is already there in the 8049, and the utility is apparent.

tofro wrote:I could probably live without the native sound system if it's been replaced with something that at least beeps, ideally, an SSS that could software-emulate the native sound, which shouldn't be rocket-science to implement.


Sound is built into the 8049 and only requires three external components totaling 22 cents. QL-Net is built into the 8302. Given there's nothing to replace it yet, it'll be there.

tofro wrote:A membrane keyboard connection I could very well live without (I'd expect you to supply us at least with [i]some [/] keyboard, though...)


I would LOVE to just have a PS/2 mini-DIN on there alongside the PS/2 mouse port. The mouse port work is done. I emailed Tony Firshman a long while ago asking if he was interested in releasing the Hermes code and schematics into the public domain, but I didn't receive a response. I know he still sells a few a year (I have sent him 8049s for this purpose) but I think its commercial life is done.

I know this will go into many re-cased (S)GC systems, but I wonder how many people will be willing to do a little bit of filing and snipping to change the hole sizes in their bottom cases slightly to accommodate all the port changes I have in mind.
Last edited by Dave on Thu Jun 29, 2017 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Derek_Stewart
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Re: What features matter to you?

Postby Derek_Stewart » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:07 pm

Hi,

We already have high resolution graphics on the Aurora. Could the Aurora garphics technology be integrated with a Cold Fire CPU.

A friend has integrated SGC, Aurora, Qubide in a QL case over 10 years ago.

DSC06267.JPG


Regards,

Derek
Dave
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Re: What features matter to you?

Postby Dave » Wed Jun 28, 2017 11:54 pm

That is a thing of beauty!

We will pass through that point but in a much less crowded fashion!

The plan is (since we're talking very small quantities, like maybe 20-30 of each version) to continually evolve the board through Issue 8, Issue 9 etc. Start with the basic QL mainboard replacement and evolve it into QL2. Some of that work was done before I fell ill, and it has been picked up. I carry on right where I left off - just now on a non-commercial basis.

My "paper" model has:

IDE behind the microdrives, leading up to two fast SD card slots in the MDV space
Wifi (antenna sticking out) microdrive expansion port
Power switch in the reset button hole
Net1/2 in a widened Net1 hole
12V in the Net2 hole
DVI in the combined Power and RGB holes (and gfx to make it useful)
PS/2 for mouse in widened UHF hole
PS/2 for keyboard to right of grille under MDV2_
Serial 1 in the usual spot (EU-US style DB-9)
Floppy and parallel where Serial 2, Joystick 1 & 2 go (Ser2, joysticks on internal header)
Wifi antenna sticking out the EPROM port
Membrane connector in usual spot
It goes without saying, >68020 and >16MB DRAM, in later versions

Expanded expansion port, fully 32-bit, and half the case still empty.

Two PCB versions - one for inside the QL case, and another with onboard mini-backplane for case mounting, after a while giving way to case mounting only, using the mATX connector area to good effect.

Possible OS changes:
Start using the QL IO area extensively, all fixed add-on hardware using internal IO area in map, but in fast RAM.
Full shadowing of internal RAM - especially for video reads
Deprecate ROM expansion area at 48-64K and allow the OS to grow (getting some kickback on this one! Apparently, dumping the microdrive code and moving IO for the battery backed clock/SPI into the QL IO area frees a lot of space!)... but I'd still like to see this so people can incorporate their own OS extensions and include them integral to the OS so they're available at boot-time - eg QL-SD and etc. Give the OS room to grow.

Desires:
A new filing system written from the ground up. We have incredibly fast storage available now - slave blocks are just not the best use of memory any more.
REAL modern video output system. We just got onto VGA when it was already on the way out. Let's get into DVI while it's on the way out too. Or, if nobody will report me for using it, how about some nice 1080P HDMI with intelligent upscaling and no blur? (Apparently, there is a loophole for prototypes, yeah, that's it!)
USB Human Interface Device (HID) support. It is a very small subset of USB, easy to implement relatively speaking, and the FTDI chips to do it are just hanging out in the component suppliers warehouses waiting for us to order them. This one would be huge. I offer a $250 bounty to anyone who does this well enough that it works with current model shop-bought Logitech mice and keyboards on a QL. They must release it as open source hardware and code, with good documentation, and active and willing support to implement it in this system or any other. (HINT: The FTDI Vinculum supports USB HID to parallel, and supports PS/2 mouse and keyboard built in.)



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