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Winston

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Take a look at https://gigatron.io/

Unfortunately, the orginal Gigatron kits are out of stock and won't be available in the future. Fortunately, someone else has picked up the kit for manufacture/sale, but it doesn't include the nifty wood case.
There are a number of videos about that, some of which I've watched. The 8-Bit Guy channel is especially good.


He's involved in this retro computer project:

CommanderX16

 

Winston

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Professional Forensic Analysis of a Sketchy ATMEGA328P MCU - is it (typical) counterfeit (Chinese crap)?


What inspired that investigation:

Sleep Mode breaks on cheap Pro-Mini? Testing ATMEGA328 - is it counterfeit?

 

Winston

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Skywater PDK
14 Sep 2020


We’ve seen incredible strides made in the last decade or so towards democratizing manufacturing. Things that it once took huge, vertically integrated industries with immense factories at their disposal are now commonly done on desktop CNC machines and 3D printers. Open-source software has harnessed the brainpower of millions of developers into tools that rival what industry uses, and oftentimes exceeds them. Using these tools and combining them with things like on-demand PCB production and contract assembly services, and you can easily turn yourself into a legit manufacturer.

This model of pushing manufacturing closer to the Regular Joe and Josephine only goes so far, though. Your designs have pretty much been restricted to chips made by one or the other big manufacturers, which means pretty much anyone else could come up with the same thing. That’s all changing now thanks to SkyWater PDK, the first manufacturable, open-source process-design kit. With the tools in the PDK, anyone can design a chip for the SkyWater foundry’s 130-nm process. And the best part? It’s free — as in beer. That’s right, you can get an open-source chip built for nothing during chip manufacturing runs that start as early as this November and go through 2021.

We’re sure this news will stir a bunch of questions, so Tim Ansell, a software engineer at Google who goes by the handle “mithro” will drop by the Hack Chat to discuss the particulars. He’ll be joined by Mohamed Kassem, CTO and co-founder of efabless.com, and Michael Gielda, VP of Business Development at Antmicro. Together they’ll field your questions about this exciting development, and they’ll walk us through just what it takes to turn your vision into silicon.
 

Winston

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URBAN EXPLORERS REVEAL A TREASURE TROVE OF SOVIET COMPUTING POWER
30 Nov 2020


Many photos at link. Look like Soviet clones of DEC minicomputers:

Cemetery of Soviet Minicomputers


Despite the twilight, the floor remained lifelessly dark. Somewhere in the depths, there was a dim glow of electric light, hardly penetrating through old glass blocks.

Inside the floor was empty and black, but not completely. Inside burned several fluorescent lamps, spotlighting dozens of silhouettes of tall cabinets.

Some of them were covered with darkened translucent film.

The surface of the floor, tables and enclosures covered with black spots of soot, sometimes diluted with white stains of dried extinguishing mixture.

The air felt a persistent, but not strong smell of burning. The fire walked here a few years ago but did not touch the equipment.

Part of the cabinets were antique electronic computers. Others served to measure signals, and computers controlled this process. Dozens of terminals froze on the tables with extinct screens.
 

Winston

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IBM Makes Tape Storage Better Than Ever
IBM just shattered previous records for magnetic tape’s data storage capabilities, ensuring it meets demand for the next decade
17 Dec 2020


Introduced by strains of the Strauss waltz that served as the soundtrack for “2001: A Space Odyssey,” IBM demonstrated a new world record in magnetic tape storage capabilities in a live presentation this week from its labs in Zurich, Switzerland.

A small group of journalists looked on virtually as IBM scientists showed off a 29-fold increase in the storage capability of its current data-tape cartridge, from 20 terabytes (TB) to 580 TB. That’s roughly 32-times the capacity of LTO-Ultrium (Linear Tape-Open, version 9), the latest industry-standard in magnetic tape products.

While these figures may sound quite impressive, some may wonder whether this story might have mistakenly come from a time capsule buried in the 1970s. But the fact is tape is back, by necessity.

This lack of HDD scaling has resulted in the price per gigabyte of HDD rising dramatically. Estimates put HDD bytes at four times the cost of tape bytes. This creates a troublesome imbalance at an extremely inopportune moment: just as the amount of data being produced is increasing exponentially, data centers can’t afford to store it.

Fortunately a large portion of the data being stored is what’s termed “cold,” meaning it hasn’t been accessed in a long time and is not needed frequently. These types of data can tolerate higher retrieval latencies, making magnetic tape well suited for the job.

Magnetic tape is also inherently more secure from cybercrime, requires less energy, provides long-term durability, and has a lower cost per gigabyte than HDD. Because of these factors IBM estimates that more than 345,000 exabytes (EB) of data already resides in tape storage systems. In the midst of these market realities for data storage, IBM’s believes that its record-setting demonstration will enable tape to meet its scaling roadmap for the next decade.




 

Winston

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29 Dec 2020
Intel’s Stacked Nanosheet Transistors Could Be the Next Step in Moore’s Law
Process that builds two transistors—one directly atop the other—will boost chip density


The scheme starts by using what’s widely agreed to be the next generation transistor structure, called variously nanosheet, nanoribbon, nanowire, or gate-all-around device depending on who’s involved. Instead of the main part of the transistor consisting of a vertical fin of silicon as it does today, the nanosheet’s channel region consists of multiple, horizontal, nanometers-thin sheets stacked atop one another.

Intel’s recipe for building stacked nanosheets is called a self-aligned process because it builds both devices in essentially the same step. That’s important because adding a second step—say, by building them on separate wafers and then bonding the wafers together—could lead to misalignments that would destroy any potential circuits.

NMOS and PMOS devices usually sit side-by-side on chips. Intel has found a way to build them atop one another, compressing circuit sizes.


 

Winston

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World's Most Powerful Visible Diode Laser


Project 450 - Building a High Power 7W NUBM44-V2 Blue Laser

 

Winston

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Quite a process.

Vintage 1950s-1960s : RCA COLOR Picture Tube Manufacturing

 

Winston

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A very high clock frequency relay computer made possible by using surplus USSR reed relays shown computing Pi using the BF language:


Basic design of the computer and the BF language it runs:


The advantage of this language is minimum required microcode, very important for a DIY relay computer:

Brainf*ck: code that was designed to hurt
One of the most frustrating programming languages was built that way on purpose

 

Winston

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What an incredible amateur IC fabrication lab!

MOS Capacitor Fabrication and Capacitance/Voltage (C-V) Measurement

 
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