Retro terminal on macOS

In the February 2017 issue of Linux Magazine (in the Linux Voice section), there was mention of Cool-Retro-Term. It gives you a terminal emulator that tries to duplicate the experience of using an old cathode ray tube monitor. But I also noticed that it comes with a dmg for installing on macOS.

And since I like a bit of retro technology, I couldn't resist trying it out. So I went a put a copy on my MacBook Pro. It really is quite cool looking, and visually reproduces an ancient monitor quite well. It even has the bend at the edge of the screen. Personally, I've turned off the glow line feature because I found it distracting. I have also made the font smaller, so that I can get more text on the screen - that's probably cheating - but it made the terminal more usable. Currently, I'm using the Apple II font from 1977.

Here I am using it to mess about with streaming radio from Madplay on one of my routers running OpenWrt:

It was really simple to install on macOS, and it really does faithfully reproduce the monitors from the old days. It's good nostalgic fun.

Messing about with Ncurses

For a long time I've been aware of Ncurses, but I've never actually used it. So when I accidentally wandered across this tutorial for using Ncurses in Xcode, I decided that it would be worth checking out.

But, when I found myself with a few spare minutes... I was sitting in front of a machine running Debian Linux rather than Mac OS X. So I experimented there instead. To get the snakey program to run I had to do the following:

  1. First of all, I had to get the ncurses stuff:
    sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev

  2. Then I had to compile the example code (I had renamed the program to box.c):
    gcc box.c -lncurses -o box

  3. Then finally, I could run it:

So that was pretty easy. Ncurses is one of those things that I'd like to mess about with some more, because I still like running stuff in a console window.

RT-11 with Basic-11

I have now managed to get a boot disk with RT-11 and BASIC-11 on it (thanks Mark for making *another* boot disk on your PC).  So now I can boot my PDP and write programs on it.  Progress indeed.  Here is something I captured running on my actual PDP-11/53: you can also see, I have also been busy experimenting with the best colours for my terminal emulator.  Today I am mostly programming with grey text on a blue background.  Getting this to work involved taking two 400k RX50 disk images and creating a single 1.2Mb RX33 image.  So I effectively merged the contents of the RT-11XM boot disk and the "Languages Master" disk into a single boot disk.  Works a treat.  This seems to boot much faster now, so I suppose the RX33 drive is much faster at reading 1.2Mb 5.25" floppy disks.