My wife (Diane) and I arrived at AmiWest around noon, once we were in the hall I spotted Jeri at one of the middle tables setting up the C1.. after registering we went right over to say hi to Jeri, After a few more adjustments, she powered up the C1 (this is the first version with it booting from its flash memory), She was mentioning something about selecting the startup RAM partitions with the Fkeys on power-up, but presently only the 64 ROM was present.
Here's a Picture of it started up in 'Commodore BASIC'
(note the cartridge in the background. that I provided for size comparison, it's an Atari PacMan cartridge (same size as most other Commodore 64 cartridges around the world), keep reading for more about that cartridge….
Talking with Jeri; things have been stalled for the past couple weeks with moving and now looking for more permanent residence in Portland, during her trip to Oregon she made extra careful the C1 was safe as well as her other materials, so she didn't have much of her notes with her.
As I was getting oriented she was talking about the adjustments she has made to the prototype to fix glitches here and there (Anyone who has seen prototypes devices can attest to the jumper wires and what not), I was in awe as she picks up the bare board and shows it off while running, something all those basic electronics instructions told us not to do (what confidence!)… So part of the time was playing with the C1, trying to remember where the raster register is it's decimal value and how to properly read it… (D012, 53266) None of us could get it to work… Trying it at home, I discover yesterday we were just lousy BASIC programmers and it wasn't with the C1.
Picture of the attempt to get use the raster and BASIC to split the screen…
(note here Jeri has removed the PacMan card from the cartridge casing…)
The next part I had my camera away, Jeri tried the Pac Man cartridge in the slot, this is the first time she tried a cartridge and was unsure whether it would autoboot. First attempt yielded a blank screen (I noted the pins might have been misaligned from my viewpoint) she reseated the cartridge and tried again this time within seconds smoke was coming out from near the slots! Fortunately the C1 survived, thinking it may be a wiring error on the voltage line, it certainly did cook a circuit trace well.
To take a break I knew of a nearby Electronics parts store, so we went to our car, on the way out we had to stop and see and pose with the Amiga Limo It probably shuttled the Amiga developers from the airport. (oh, yeah, there was some Amiga stuff there, I guess the AmigaOne is starting shipping and the new Amiga OS is almost done.. but back to Jeri and the CommodoreOne)
We took Jeri a few blocks away over to HSC Electronics (they sell pulled components from electronic equipment, used equipment and new loose parts and components as well.) Was interesting to see Jeri in her element, picking up this or that thinking of what she could do with it. We also got a little education in a few odd bits and pieces… We got a larger keyboard to type on as the portable one was aggravating.
Back at the table the C1 was still working away, someone had left the German Focus Magazine with the interview with Jeri (see picture) and some weird Amiga promo thing that has a clear tube and an Amiga Ball floating in it (I think it was labeled the 'Boing Levitator'). (picture) Jeri started her informal demonstrations answering as many questions about the Commodore One's features as well as the intricacies of chip design using FPGA, VHDL, and other letters in the alphabet. (
While she was talking the unit people were typing small programs, during this time someone had decided to bring out a model RC dirigible, which was attacking random attendees including us (picture) I decided to try a little programming myself. During this The dirigible hit that levitator thing and sent it tumbling among all of us (what excitement!). While working on the C1, it felt a lot like the 64, though the keyboard lookup routine has a couple minor glitches when it comes to shift usage, it was pretty well mapped (similar to Power 64 on the Mac), the only other thing was the video mode defaulted to every other scanline was blank, but not too much of a distraction. Hunting for the symbols would be pretty difficult for novices so I promised to make printable keyfronts for her. Here's my program in progress, a simple character animation. (In the picture is I believe a German gentlemen who came to see the Amigas and the C1) several attempts I got it looking decent enough. (Just think, when the C1 is at it's maximum resolution you could have 160×128 CHARACTERS on the screen - enough to make an arcade quality game without having to use hi-res or even special characters, isn't that cool!)
Of the questions I had, I wanted to know what clock chip is planned currently for the C1 (so I could look up the specs), the clock chip is from Dallas Semiconductor she didn't have a specific number, maybe 5112 and wasn't not sure yet where it will be mapped yet either. Asking if Jeri needed anything, she did drop the hint some demos would be appreciated (you hear that, fellow coders?) Soon after that it was getting near time for the end of Saturday's expo and preparing for the banquet, so we bid our goodbyes (see Robert Bernardo's account of the banquet).
It was great to talk with Jeri without the long distance charges and she was hoping more folks could have come as well, next opportunity to see the C1 in California I believe is going to be during the Vintage Computer Festival in September http://www.vintage.org . I also met a few old friends from my days attending the Stockton Commodore Users Group (10+ years back) and also a past user on my BBS. For just a few hours it was really fun and informative.
Closeup of the custom chips that run most of the show
Picture of the C1 motherboard with the killer PacMan cartridge in a corner for size comparison.
Another C1 motherboard with a CommodoreOne Promo Button (2.25” diameter - if you are looking for measurements)