Thursday, November 22, 2012

Stock Demo Program. Ten Minute Show and Tell Video


     This is the stock demo program bundled with original Visual 1050 software.  Most likely it was used to show the machines off as they sat on shelves at retail computer stores.

 This video is best seen full screen by clicking the box in the lower right corner of the image.

     This demo was coded by Keith Davison in Microsoft's MBasic/Bascom combo.  Keith's code is designed to read a script.  The code itself is compiled (with Bascom) and undocumented, as well as the script.  But once it is understood, the script can be customized.  

     The script does not take any input from the user once it gets going, so ultimately it's like a primitive Power Point presentation.  Some of the graphics are pictured generated from pre-made bitmaps.  About half the graphics are generated from a mastery of the "escape codes" that are described in detail in the Users Guide (UG).  

     The UG does not explicitly detail how to implement the escape codes, so it's up to the programmer to figure out how to incorporate them into a particular language.  I figured out how to wrap the escape codes in CBasic, greatly extending that languages control over the screen display. 

      I have run this demo program on both the original Visual 1050 hardware, as well as the  software emulator pictured in this video.  So i can say that the look and feel, right down to the speed of the presentation, is authentic, and truly represents the performance of Visual Technology's flagship personal computer.  This demo rambles on for ten minutes either in the emulator, or on the original hardware.  The presentation is slowed down by a lot of "sleep" commands in the script, allowing the viewer to digest the information.

     I've prepared a download package that gives you your own virtual Visual 1050 personal computer. It included diskette images of the software that came with my machine.  So you can run this demo or any other program that came with the Visual 1050.