[Self-interest] slow systems (was: OurSelf trial now without invite!)

Jecel Assumpcao Jr jecel at merlintec.com
Wed Nov 25 21:47:29 UTC 2020

David Ungar wrote on Wed, 25 Nov 2020 10:57:35 -0800
> Impressive persistence!
> Reminds me a bit of the first time I brought up Berkeley
> Smalltalk at UC. It was on an AED bitmapped display
> connected over a 9600 baud serial line to a shared VAX.
>  The first thing that happened was the whole screen was
> painted maybe black pixel by pixel which took about 20
> seconds. Then the whole screen was painted maybe white,
> or maybe halftone which took another 20 seconds then
> each window was painted about three times it was extremely
> slow. Plus a bug in my font code in BitBLT which caused
> it to say Welcome to SnailTalk.

Great story!

The Tektronix guys described nearly the exact same thing in their
chapter in the Smalltalk "green book"[1]. Their 68000 prototype board
didn't have any graphics of its own, so they connected it via a serial
port to one of their commercial graphics terminals.

> You and I must have some character trait in common for
> us to both be willing to put up with that kind of performance!

Putting up with it once is a very educational experience. On the other
hand I find unacceptable things that other people think is normal, which
is why I keep designing replacements for them.

A friend once asked about buying a mini clone of the Altair. I told him
it would be very interesting to actually toggle in a whole program using
the front panel switched. But he might not want to do it a second time,
and certainly not a third. So it would not be a good use of his money.

I can imagine sitting in front of a terminal watching the pixels slowly
coming in and dreaming of a Smalltalk On A RISC chip (sorry, RISC-III is
the politically correct name now ;-)

-- Jecel

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