Posts Tagged ‘Pravetz’

30 years anniversary of the first mass produced portable computer COMPAQ Grid Compass 1011

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

2 min readGrid Notebook Big screen logo

Today it is considered the modern laptop (portable computers) are turning 30 years old. The notebook grandparent is a COMPAQGRiD Compass 1011 – a “mobile computer” with a electroluminescent display (ELD) screen supporting resolution of 320×240 pixels. The screen allowed the user to use the computer console in a text resolution of 80×24 chars. This portable high-tech gadget was equipped with magnesium alloy case, an Inten 8086 CPU (XT processor) at 8Mhz (like my old desktop pravetz pc 😉 ), 340 kilobyte (internal non-removable magnetic bubble memory and even a 1,200 bit/s modem!

COMPAQ Grid Compass considered first laptop / notebook on earthy 30 anniversary of the portable computer

The machine was uniquely compatible for its time as one could easily attach devices such as floppy 5.25 inch drives and external (10 Meg) hard disk via IEEE-488 I/O compatible protocol called GPiB (General Purpose instrumental Bus).

First mass prdocued portable computer laptop grid COMPAQ 11011 back side input peripherals

The laptop had also unique small weight of only 5 kg and a rechargable batteries with a power unit (like modern laptops) connectable to a normal (110/220 V) room plug.

First notebook in World ever the COMPAQ grid Compass 1101,br />
The machine was bundled with an own specificly written OS GRiD-OS. GRID-OS could only run a specialized software so this made the application available a bit limited.
Shortly after market introduction because of the incompitablity of GRID-OS, grid was shipped with MS-DOS v. 2.0.
This primitive laptop computer was developed for serve mainly the needs of business users and military purposes (NASA, U.S. military) etc.

GRID was even used on Space Shuttles during 1980 – 1990s.
The price of the machine in April 1982 when GriD Compass was introduced was the shockingly high – $8150 dollars.

The machine hardware design is quite elegant as you can see on below pic:

 COMPAQ grid laptop 1101 bubbles internal memory

As a computer history geek, I’ve researched further on GRID Compass and found a nice 1:30 hour video telling in detailed presentation retelling the history.

Shortly after COMPAQ’s Grid Compass 1011’s introduction, many other companies started producing similar sized computers; one example for this was the Epson HX-20 notebook. 30 years later, probably around 70% of citizens on the globe owns a laptop or some kind of portable computer device (smartphone, tablet, ultra-book etc.).

Most of computer users owning a desktop nowdays, owns a laptop too for mobility reasons. Interestengly even 30 years later the laptop as we know it is still in a shape (form) very similar to its original predecessor. Today the notebook sales are starting to be overshadowed by tablets and ultra-books (for second quarter laptop sales raised 5% but if compared with 2011, the sales rise is lesser 1.8% – according to data provided by Digital Research agency). There are estimations done by (Forrester Research) pointing until the end of year 2015, sales of notebook substitute portable devices will exceed the overall sales of notebooks. It is manifested today the market dynamics are changing in favour of tabets and the so called next generation laptopsULTRA-BOOKS. It is a mass hype and a marketing lie that Ultra-Books are somehow different from laptops. The difference between a classical laptop and Ultra-Books is the thinner size, less weight and often longer battery use time. Actually Ultra-Books are copying the design concept of Mac MacBook Air trying to resell under a lound name.
Even if in future Ipads, Android tablets, Ultra-Books or whatever kind of mambo-jambo portable devices flood the market, laptops will still be heavily used in future by programmers, office workers, company employees and any person who is in need to do a lot of regular text editting, email use and work with corporative apps. Hence we will see a COMPAC Grid Compass 1011 notebook likes to be dominant until end of the decade.

GPL Arcade Volleyball – DOS Volleyball oldschool game remake for GNU / Linux

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

2 min read

Do you remember that oldschool Arcade VolleyBall game which was so popular on 16 bit (8086 XT) computers.
I remember this game from the years I was 12 years old, back in the days where we the gamers distributed all the DOS games on 360 KB 5.25" diskettes

I was looking over the games available to install on my Debian GNU / Linux today just to be happily suprised to find GPL Arcade Volleyball an identical game remake of the old Arcade Volleyball 8086 classic freeware game.

I remember we spend many hours with friends playing on the old Manifactured in Bulgaria Pravetz 16! computers
During communism and post communism Pravetz was the only computer brand we could buy from the market, as there was limitations on the exported and imported tech equipment within the USSR union.
Pravetz computers are a literal remake of 16 bit IBM 8086 computers and the computer design and integrals was stolen from IBM 16 bit 8086 / 8088 PC architecture

Arcade Volleyball has set a mark on my generation and I believe many people will remember the times this game was a hit with a bit of Nostalgia 😉
In the Game GPL Arcade Volleyball Debian GNU / Linux

Besides being an identical remake of PC Arcade Volleyball , GPL Arcade Volleyball is even expanded as it includes extra features which the original game lacked. Game includes:

  • Network Volleyball client / server Game (up to 4 players)
  • 6 Game Themes which completely change the game look & feel to be modernistic

Here are few GAV screenshots of the different existing game Themes:

Screenshot GPL Arcade VolleyBall Yisus

GPL Arcade Volleyball Yisus theme gameplay GNU / Linux
Yisus GAV Theme gameplay screenshot

GPL Arcade Volleyball Unnamed Theme Screenshot

GPL Arcade Volleyball unnamed Gameplay Theme Debian
GAV – Unnamed Theme Gameplay

Screenshot GAV FABeach gameplay
GAV – FaBeach Theme Gameplay

GAV supports both Window and fullscreen modes. To enable Fullscreen mode, while inside the game use:

Extra -> Fullscreen (Yes)

Saving preferences is also something which I if I recall correctly the original game lacked. This is done by navigating to:

Extra -> Save Preferences

GAV is said to support Joystick in resemblance to the original DOS game, though I've never tested it with a joy.

One of the greatest GAV game (hacks) is the Inverted Theme. Selecting it inverts the order in the game, where the game player becomes the volleyball ball and the ball becomes the player 😉

GPL Arcade Volleyball Arcade Inverted Theme - remake of DOS Volleyball Arcade
GAV does not yet not have a Free / Open / Net BSD port as far as I currently see, anyways since the game is Free Software probably soon a port will be available for BSDs as well.
The default GAV game controls are a bit untraditional. By default the one player game starts you play Volleyball game player positioned on the left.

For left player the default control keys are:
 

  • z – move player left
  • c – move player right
  • left shift – jump

Right player controls are:
 

  • Left – left (arrow key)
  • right – right (arrow key)
  • jump – up cursor key

GAV supports also a shortcut key for switching between windowed and full screen game mode by pressing F10
Installing the game on Debian and Ubuntu Linuces is done with:

linux:~# apt-get --yes install gav

Unfortunately gav does not have a definition to be added to GNOME or KDE Applications menus, thus to start the game after installed one has to do it manually by typing either in gnome RUN (Alt+F2) or on command line:

linux:~$ gav

Happy playing 😉