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marc.hull

Chicago Faire redux.....

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I had a conversation with Hal a while back and got his take on what had and could happen in the future. Hal's desire is to have a whole days worth of activities that is culminated by the evening dinner. His fear is that if there is not something going on at all times then people will tend to drift off. This is why there was so much talky talk going on at all times even though some of it was questionable as to it's relevance (my opinion.)

 

I truly think Hal wants to put on an event enjoyable for most of the attendees and I feel he understands the need for a bit of change.

 

As far as Friday night goes......

 

He has no problems with having both a social gathering at the American Legion as well as a nerd fest at the Hotel, Different strokes for different folks. As far as that is concerned I am for hanging with the rest of you dorks at the Hotel until the wee hours of the night and have some ideas as to how to make that happen and how to get some extra gear there for those of us traveling by air so that is a non issue. There is no reason why someone couldn't do both.

 

As far as the faire goes... If we want the format to be a little more fast paced and have a little more variety of speakers etc then we need to stack the deck. By this I mean that at least six of us needs to #1 make a commitment to be there and #2 have a new and preferably completed TI project to demo and finally #3, have a brief presentation to deliver up front and in the dark ;-). None of us really had all three requirements met. Just how it was no fault intended. This shouldn't be hard for this group.

 

If you can do the above three then Hal needs to be informed at your earliest convenience so he can schedule and more importantly it gives him a reason to limit presentations (IE "stack the deck.")

 

I also ran the idea of a living web sight past Hal but I don't think I made myself clear. If there was a web site that had relevant and up to date info about hotels, flights, Who's passing through where etc then that may make it easier for some fence sitters to commit. I don't have the ability to do that but I am sure some of our brethren do. Additionally Hal would like a videographer to attend. That U stream crap simply does not work. So if there is someone who can manage that then that's a plus as well.

 

Hopefully the steam hasn't dissipated yet and there are plenty of us who will make the effort and participate. If we want a faire that is more to our liking then we have to be willing to make certain commitments and give a little if we expect a little.

 

Any thoughts or volunteers ?

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I don't think anything I do TI-wise is really presentation-worthy, although I'm hoping to bring some games next year. If no one more technically inclined can tackle a website, I'd be happy to do that. If you look at the link below, my Orphantech site is just a pretty basic Squarespace template with my content added, so I could throw something like that together and keep it updated easily.

 

If Hal would be interested in me doing that, you can have him contact me here, or pass along my email, [email protected] - or contact me through the OLUG.

 

K

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I don't think anything I do TI-wise is really presentation-worthy, although I'm hoping to bring some games next year. If no one more technically inclined can tackle a website, I'd be happy to do that. If you look at the link below, my Orphantech site is just a pretty basic Squarespace template with my content added, so I could throw something like that together and keep it updated easily.

 

If Hal would be interested in me doing that, you can have him contact me here, or pass along my email, [email protected] - or contact me through the OLUG.

 

K

 

 

Believe me... whatever you bring can be presentation worthy ;-)

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Aw, I thought I had all three - I worked on my presentation in advance as well as the project itself. Didn't realize I came off that badly - guess it's time to review my presentation book. ;)

 

I have already spoken with a videographer about coming to the Faire with me, so that we can get a proper recording of everything, though he can't commit till closer to Novemeber (friend of mine, so I just have to cover air and hotel). He has plenty of experience and his own professional gear. But since he can't commit this early we can consider it open, I guess.

 

For the living web site, why don't we just use the Ninerpedia wiki? We can all make updates and edits there. If we want a domain based site, I can always set up a redirect page from the domain to the Wiki page (that costs $10 a year though, if I donate the first year I expect help in the future ;) ). Of course any domain registration in the CTIUG name needs Hal's okay.

 

The one thing that doesn't seem addressed here is mingle time at the Faire itself. I agree that this is something I have wanted and not gotten two years in a row, due to the library kicking us out early. We need a little bit of time -- unless we decide that we're content with the night before. But then it hardly seems worth bringing stuff to the faire itself.

 

A possible solution to the fear of losing people might be to put the mingle time in the middle - say make lunch 90-120 minutes instead of 45 minutes, and use that time.

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His fear is that if there is not something going on at all times then people will tend to drift off. This is why there was so much talky talk going on at all times even though some of it was questionable as to it's relevance (my opinion.)

 

I think people walk in to a quiet dark room and see a bunch of old men, half of whom are sleeping, and a presenter taking about something they don't recognize. However, people walking around to tables, playing games, talking, taking stuff apart, etc. *IS* buzz, IMO. I would think that is what would attract people to come see what it going on.

 

Again, IMO, we need to change the location to someplace that does not have hours per se. Like a hotel conference room that we book for the whole day, or Friday and Saturday. Also, two spaces, one for tables and one for presentations. A lot of hotels even have rooms with dividers, which would make it easy to have the presentation vs. table spaces. I'd be willing to help find such a place, as well as pay an attendance fee to help cover the cost. I hate the idea of the Faire "ending" on Saturday just because the clock ticks to 5:00pm, or having to "be quite" in a dark room while someone talks about something I may not be interested in.

 

Matthew

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His fear is that if there is not something going on at all times then people will tend to drift off. This is why there was so much talky talk going on at all times even though some of it was questionable as to it's relevance (my opinion.)

 

I think people walk in to a quiet dark room and see a bunch of old men, half of whom are sleeping, and a presenter taking about something they don't recognize. However, people walking around to tables, playing games, talking, taking stuff apart, etc. *IS* buzz, IMO. I would think that is what would attract people to come see what it going on.

 

Again, IMO, we need to change the location to someplace that does not have hours per se. Like a hotel conference room that we book for the whole day, or Friday and Saturday. Also, two spaces, one for tables and one for presentations. A lot of hotels even have rooms with dividers, which would make it easy to have the presentation vs. table spaces. I'd be willing to help find such a place, as well as pay an attendance fee to help cover the cost. I hate the idea of the Faire "ending" on Saturday just because the clock ticks to 5:00pm, or having to "be quite" in a dark room while someone talks about something I may not be interested in.

 

Matthew

 

Until we get some currency in people, projects and commitment it's a moot point to try and make any changes much less wholesale ones so.... regardless of how it goes down next year are you in with a project, presentation and whatever else?

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His fear is that if there is not something going on at all times then people will tend to drift off. This is why there was so much talky talk going on at all times even though some of it was questionable as to it's relevance (my opinion.)

 

I think people walk in to a quiet dark room and see a bunch of old men, half of whom are sleeping, and a presenter taking about something they don't recognize. However, people walking around to tables, playing games, talking, taking stuff apart, etc. *IS* buzz, IMO. I would think that is what would attract people to come see what it going on.

 

Again, IMO, we need to change the location to someplace that does not have hours per se. Like a hotel conference room that we book for the whole day, or Friday and Saturday. Also, two spaces, one for tables and one for presentations. A lot of hotels even have rooms with dividers, which would make it easy to have the presentation vs. table spaces. I'd be willing to help find such a place, as well as pay an attendance fee to help cover the cost. I hate the idea of the Faire "ending" on Saturday just because the clock ticks to 5:00pm, or having to "be quite" in a dark room while someone talks about something I may not be interested in.

 

Matthew

 

they should check out the heron point convention center In lombard ,IL.

it's cheap enough for the ti-users group to use and has enough space for the fair now(back in the faire days at triton it was hugh, but I think it

shrank down some what about the same size as eccc is now)

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Until we get some currency in people, projects and commitment it's a moot point to try and make any changes much less wholesale ones so.... regardless of how it goes down next year are you in with a project, presentation and whatever else?

 

I had a project this year, but it made no difference... I'm down to give a presentation on something, but it would be nice to solicit what people might want to have presented instead of trying to make something up that puts people to sleep. I'll have the F18A for sale by the next show (at least I *HOPE* like hell it is done by then), and I may have something in the way of a 9900 VHDL model to show off. I can talk on anything assembly, games, VHDL, electronics, etc. Whatever. But I don't want to sit there and talk just to make buzz or prevent "silence" (which would never happen, but seems to be the fear.)

 

I would like to have a "discussion" about what features to add to the F18A, or what kind of mega-cart people want, what kind of modern media people would want for floppy / hard disk replacements, etc. Why not something like that? Some of us are working on hardware, and the Faire should be the place to really nail down community feedback and discuss details.

 

My biggest motivator for going to the Faire is community. I went in 2005 and was greeted with a room full of grumpy introverted old men. Half the room didn't want the other half there, and there was no one making any introductions. I met Ron Reuter and he was pretty cool, but other than that it sucked for me. I didn't go back until last year because Tursi said he was going and I got to meet him in person. This year I got to meet you and officially Tim as well, and that made all the difference (plus Tursi was there again.) I'll go as long as someone I know will be there who wants to do something besides drink, and who can talk code and hardware. I also think meeting people is what will help get other people to the show as well.

 

I'm all for some change though, but only because IMO it needs to happen. I don't want a quite dark room, regardless of what is being presented. Buzz and noise, people talking shop, etc. is what makes a conference cool. The presentation are secondary icing, not the focus. Again, IMO.

 

Matthew

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I will be there barring an unforeseen event, and should have the Ultimate Planet wargame completed by then. I have also just started exploring the possibility of hooking up a CC40 to the TI's PIO port and using the latter as a mass storage device, but it is still way too early for me to tell whether this will come to fruition or not.

I will likely attend both the social gathering at the Legion and then join up with the rest of the hackers at the hotel. It's good to have some balance guys ;)

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You know what I really liked from last year, Vorticon, was that presentation you did on the card reader! That was great. I would love to see a little project made out of that, something to sell on the CHC store or something!

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Marc, I think you were kidding up there, but it does sorta raise an interesting point. Given where I am as a programmer, I could do some sort of presentation that might appeal to less technical members in attendance, or to newbies poking their head in for the first time -- perhaps some lurkers from these forums who are warily checking out the 99/4A.

 

The thing is, from what I've gathered, these presentations tend to be pretty weighty, subject matter wise. The idea of doing more "entry level" presentations would work if we knew were gonna have more people, and a more diverse knowledge base, on hand, and not just the absolute cream of the TI techie crop in one room. Also, it'd help to have the presentation-and-tables setup we previously discussed, so the old hands could wander off and talk amongst themselves while a less technically intense production was being given.

 

I guess it's a chicken-and-egg thing -- a less heady, more BASIC level (pun intended) presentation might appeal to a different and expanded audience, but until that audience is there, such a presentation is gonna just bore the regulars.

Edited by InfernalKeith

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You know what I really liked from last year, Vorticon, was that presentation you did on the card reader! That was great. I would love to see a little project made out of that, something to sell on the CHC store or something!

 

I'm not sure I want to revisit the card reader project. That was a lot of fun to develop but it has only academic value, a hack basically. On the other hand, I am considering a real-time multiplayer game demo using several TI's connected via their PIO ports. I'm thinking initially of something relatively simple to code like a Tron Lighcycle contest with 4 players, each one on a separate console. We could easily set this up using CF7's instead of bulky PEB's. That would be kind of fun, and we could even have a mini-championship during the Faire :)

I just have to be careful not to steal too much time away from finishing Ultimate Planet!

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I've been wanting to do a "network" lib for the 99/4A for a while, but until we get some sort of network stack and hardware, it did not seem practical. The problem with serial ports is that they are point to point. How will you have more than two computer connected? I suppose you could require each machine to have two serial ports, and every machine receives and passes on the data in a loop - kind of like token ring. Otherwise you need a "server" machine with lots of serial ports that all the other machines connect to.

 

Matthew

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Walid, that would be amazing! What do you think of the prospects of a multi-player roguelike on a setup like that? Imagine being able to explore a dungeon and then battle the guy sitting across from you in real time, on a 99/4A!

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I've been wanting to do a "network" lib for the 99/4A for a while, but until we get some sort of network stack and hardware, it did not seem practical. The problem with serial ports is that they are point to point. How will you have more than two computer connected? I suppose you could require each machine to have two serial ports, and every machine receives and passes on the data in a loop - kind of like token ring. Otherwise you need a "server" machine with lots of serial ports that all the other machines connect to.

 

Matthew

I'm actually thinking of using the PIO (i.e. parallel) port, not the serial port (much faster). All the ports will be connected to a central hub akin to a common bus. Preliminary protocol:

1- Each machine is assigned an ID code

2- One machine will be the "server"

3- The server will query each connected machine in turn for current status. While all the consoles will receive the query, only the console with the matching ID will respond.

4- Once the server has collected all the updates from each machine, it will add its own update, and then send a general game update to all the consoles at once. We could use a special ID code to indicate this.

5- Go back to 3

 

Easier said than done of course, but I think it's feasible.

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Walid, that would be amazing! What do you think of the prospects of a multi-player roguelike on a setup like that? Imagine being able to explore a dungeon and then battle the guy sitting across from you in real time, on a 99/4A!

Once the network "protocols" have been established and tested, then it should not be too hard to create any game that takes advantage of this. It certainly does open a bunch of very interesting possibilities :)

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I'm still curious as to how, physically, you plan to connect the machines? Parallel ports are also point to point. Do you have a link to such a parallel port "hub"?

 

Matthew

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I'm still curious as to how, physically, you plan to connect the machines? Parallel ports are also point to point. Do you have a link to such a parallel port "hub"?

 

Matthew

Ahhh... Good question. The answer is no. However, what I envision is connecting the PIO ports of the slave consoles in parallel, with the terminus being the server PIO port. That terminal port is the "bus" which is read by all the other ports. So, we can have all the slave consoles continuously monitor the bus for a "data available" signal which could be signaled though the HANDSHAKE lines. Once the signal is received, all the consoles read the data on the bus, which will initially have the ID of a specific console. From there on, only the console with the matching ID will respond, while the others will sit idle. The selected console will acknowledge the server again via the HANDSHAKE lines, which will place the server in "listen" mode and start receiving the data from the console. We will likely need to also use the SPARE lines to corrall each data frame being sent and define a communication protocol.

The process will repeat for each slave console. At the end, the server will send again a "data avaialble" signal to all with a special ID code which will allow all the consoles to read the bus at the same time, and update the game.

The issue here is whether there will be interference between the different PIO ports, and this will need experimentation.

From an electronic standpoint, what kind of issues are you anticipating?

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You know, this is a fascinating idea.... They have parallel splitter boxes which can have up to 6 or 8 ports going to one "server". It's lo-tech, but the "dungeon master" could turn the dial each turn. :). It probably wouldn't work though. :)

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Parallel ports are not designed to be connected together. That's why network cards were invented. ;) Trying to work out the electrical details would be difficult, and in the end a one-off custom circuit. Parallel cables are also very limited in length.

 

Owen: those splitter boxes only connect one input to one output at a time.

 

IMO it would be better to use the serial port, and just use a serial to USB adapter, since USB *is* designed to have multiple devices plugged in to the same bus. Or, even better, use the serial port and a serial to Ethernet device, then you can use a TCP/IP network and a FreeBSD/Linux/Unix/MAC/Windows machine as the server (or even another 99/4A, or no "server" at all.) The serial to Ethernet adapters were expensive, but I think they are coming down in price.

 

Matthew

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Parallel ports are not designed to be connected together. That's why network cards were invented. ;) Trying to work out the electrical details would be difficult, and in the end a one-off custom circuit. Parallel cables are also very limited in length.

All true, however it is possible to work out. I'm not too worried about about generalization of the design because I frankly don't see a lot of people throwing a "LAN" party at someone's house too often with TI's ;) The project will really be a one off demonstration for the Faire which we could reuse subsequently at later Faires with different games. Besides, it should simple enough to replicate if needs be.

 

IMO it would be better to use the serial port, and just use a serial to USB adapter, since USB *is* designed to have multiple devices plugged in to the same bus. Or, even better, use the serial port and a serial to Ethernet device, then you can use a TCP/IP network and a FreeBSD/Linux/Unix/MAC/Windows machine as the server (or even another 99/4A, or no "server" at all.) The serial to Ethernet adapters were expensive, but I think they are coming down in price.

That's probably a great way to go but will likely require some pretty technical programming on modern machines which I am not up to. I think I have a hard enough time understanding the ins and outs of the PIO port as it is :lol:

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All right so that looks like 3-4 commits for next year. I'll definitely be there and plan on staying at the BW again. I'll have a game that might just melt your consoles down ;-) Only need a step up from Owen, Tim and others and we will be there ;-).

 

As far as kidding Keith...... Not hardly. Bring your warz and pile on (just don't balance your checkbook as your presentation and your golden.)

 

Matt will have perfected VDP's to offer. Mike will be selling his Omni-interface . I'll have SID cards for sale with FINISHED software. Walid will have his space/strategy game for sale. Keith will have the new controllers (that he has left) up for bids. And anyone I missed plus those who will commit should have something for the party. Sounds like an actual event ;-).

 

Perhaps all this organization is missing is a bit of organization......

 

I'll Give Hal a call this week with an update. Is it too early to get a faire boner ??? ;-)

 

 

Buwhahahahaha

 

 

The "Destroyer"........

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