Chips - Early years
The H112
H-112 Emulator
Blue Foot

The Spencer Family Web

The Colour Maximite

Back in the 1970's with my Honeywell H-112 computer and then into the 80's when I moved into Microprocessors it was a lot of fun to program the Sinclair ZX-81 and then the Sinclair Spectrum which was followed by my favourite 8 bit computer and arguably the best 8 bit computer ever built the MGT Sam Coupe. But in the computer world nothing remains the same and eventually I gave in and moved onto what is today simply called a PC running first DOS and then all the different flavours of Windows which we all know (and love ?) so well. Yes I still write programs for the PC but somehow it never feels the same. You are simply too far removed from the hardware. Sure you tell it do do something and it does it, well it does if the program was correctly written which isn't often the case but exactly what happens at the bit level inside the computer and peripherals is hidden from you. Unlike the old 8 bit computers where you understood everything that happened down to the last bit.

Onto the present day and low and behold 'THE COLOUR MAXIMITE', it's just like the old days it comes as a kit and you build it yourself and what do you have, well it's not an 8 bit micro but a 32 bit microcontroller. Everything basically in that one big black chip on the board and using some clever firmware balled MMBASIC v4.05C it does absolutely everything from creating the display for a standard VGA monitor in 8 colours to handling the standard PS2 keyboard, sound generation and storage on an SD card rather than old fashioned cassette tapes. But unlike a PC it boots up in seconds and is immediately ready to program in a very advanced version of BASIC just like the 8 bit micros of years gone by. It has 128KB of main memory shared between the video memory and your program and if that isn't enough you can chain programs, though that is rarely necessary. The SD card allows you to save and load programs really quickly, well almost instantly. What more could you ask for. I have enjoyed converting many of my programs from the old Honeywell 112 and Sam Coupe to the Colour Maximite. It suddenly made me feel 40 years younger. Can't be a bad thing.

If you buy a 'Colour Maximite' and yes if you don't want to build it you can get it ready buiilt. Here are a few programs you can download which I have converted to run on it. Some written by me some converted from old 70's programs found in Creative Computer and other computer magazines of the time and yes they are just text but that was the way programs were back in 60's and early 70's..


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