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[Rant] Origin of the Boing BallANN.lu
Posted on 15-Oct-2004 23:13 GMT by Darth_X7 comments
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Did you know that the boing ball pre-dates the Amiga? From the book "Home Computer Wars" by Michael S. Tomczyk, here is a quote:

"Working against incredible deadlines, and under strong political pressures, Yannes spent a marathon week of all-night engineering sessions to put together a computer we could show at CES. The result was nicer-looking than most people expected, especially considering it was a Frankenstein monster thrown together from old spare parts and obsolete products that Yannes literally cut apart and put together in a different form.

The No-Name Computer (alias MicroPET) was a very simple system, assembled by hand and stuffed in an old Commodore desk-top calculator housing. The housing was two-tone plastic, cream-colored and black, and was shockingly compact: about five inches by nine inches, and about three inches thick. For a keyboard, the engineers used the cramped red-and-blue square metallic keys from the original PET computer. The keys were all squeezed together, even closer than the keys on a typical pocket calculator. Teachers liked the old PET keyboard because it was easy for children to use, although touch-typists hated it because there was no spacing between the keys. In any event, it was only a prototype.

At the heart of Yannes'prototype were MOS Technology's 6502 microprocessor and the Video Interface Chip (VIC). Although this was the first time the chip was used in a functioning computer, the VIC had been demonstrated in public before, way back in 1978. The original VIC chip was shown at the 1978 Consumer Electronics Show, with the intention of attracting a manufacturer who wanted to use it in a videogame or similar device. To show what it could do the chip was programmed to bounce a colored ball around TV screen. But no manufacturer wanted to use it. Now, two years later, the VIC chip resurfaced, this time not as a chip but as a computer. Jack's attitude was clear. If nobody wants to use the chip, we'll use it ourselves.

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