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Who wrote this stuff?
This trivia was originally written by Jim Brain as part of the now long defunct C= Hacking Magazine, but happily Jim has kindly agreed to let me reproduce it in HTML-ized format for retro computing fans everywhere.

If you are interested in seeing the Commodore Trivia digests in their original form, take a look at this website.

For those who are interested, these pages were generated from the original text files using Perl and Velocity (and a nice template originally found here)

 
TRIVIA A9A

$080)
	During the days of the Commodore 64 and the VIC-20, Commodore
        produced at least two Commodore magazines.  What were their names?

	The magazines were originally called "Commodore Microcomputers" and
        "Power/Play: Commodore Home Computing". They never did seem to nail
        down the name of the latter as I see "Power/Play" and 
        "Commodore: Power/Play" used as the original names as well. Anyway,
        Commodore Microcomputers started its life in 1979, whereas 
        "Power/Play" started in 1981.  Both magazines were published until
        around 1987, when they were merged to form "Commodore Magazine".
        Then, around 1990, the magazine was sold to IDG Communications and
        was merged into RUN.  RUN was continued for a while, but was finally
        pulled out of circulation.  Creative Micro Designs purchased the
        rights to the magazine, and now Commodore World is being produced by
        CMD.  I am not sure how strong (if any) a link there is between
        RUN and CW, but some of the same authors write for the new
        publication.  Just for added info, here are the ISSN numbers:
        
        Commodore Microcomputers (Commodore Magazine)   0744-8724
        Power/Play:Commodore Home Computing             0739-8018
        RUN (Commodore/RUN)                             0741-4285
        
        "The Transactor" is also a correct answer, and info on it is below.
        

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$081)
	Back in the PET heyday, another magazine was produced by Commodore
        Canada.  This magazine was later sold and showed up as a hardware
        journal.  Name the magazine.

	The infamous "Tarnsactor".  One of the noted C64 hardware-hacking
        magazines, it was originally published by Commodore Canada, before
        being sold to an individual named Mr. Hilden.  Its ISSN number is
        0838-0163.  As far as I can tell, this magazine, died many deaths,
        but ceased to exist in 1989-90.  Its first issue is dated April 30,
        1978.  

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$082)
	The Commodore 128 has a VIC-II compatible chip inside it.  Can this
        chips be switched for a VIC-II from a Commodore 64?

	No!  The newer 128 compatible chip (VIC-IIe) has 8 extra pins to 
        perform timing functions specific for the 128.  In addition, some of 
        the registers have extra functions.  However, a suitable card
        to make it compatible can be made.
               

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$083)
	What does the video encoding standard PAL expand to?

	Phase Alternating Line is the answer I was looking for, which
        describes the video encoding used in Europe, but Programmable Array
        Logic is also correct, which describes the family of chips used as
        "glue" logic for the C64 I/O and processing chips.

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$084)
	How many buttons were present on the earliest of Commodore tape decks?

	5: Play, Rewind, Fast-Forward, Record, and Stop/Eject.  Later models
        separated the stop and eject functions into two buttons.

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$085)
	Earlier SID chips had a distinctive "clicking" sound that some demo
        coders used to an advantage.  Commodore subsequently removed the
        click, and then later reintroduced it.  When does the telltale click
        occur?

	When you change the volume of a voice.  The voice need not be 
        outputting anything.

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$086)
	What does CP/M stand for?

	Take your pick:
        Control Program/Monitor
        Control Program for Microprocessors
        Control Program for Microcomputers.
        The last one is considered by many to be most correct.

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$087)
	What is the highest line number allowed for a program line in
        Commodore BASIC V2?

	Normally, the user cannot enter a line number higher than 63999.
        If you want to be tricky, however, the numbers can be made to go up
        to 65535.

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$088)
	What symbol, clearly printed on the front of a key on the Commodore
        VIC, 64, and 128 keyboard, is not available when the lower case
        character set is switched in?

	The PI symbol.  It is [SHFT-UPARROW] in uppercase mode, but becomes
        a checkerboard-like character when in lower-case mode.  Unlike the
        graphics characters printed on the fronts of the keys, this one is
        positioned in the middle of the keycap, and should probably be
        accessible in both character sets.

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$089)
	How do you get the "checkmark" character ?

	In lowercase mode, type a shift-@

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$08A)
	On the PET computers, what memory location holds the Kernal ROM
        version?

	It is different from the 64/128.  It is 50003.  0 here indicates old
        ROMs, while 1 indicates new ROMs.

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$08B)
	The Commodore computers have 2 interrupts, called IRQ and NMI.
        What does IRQ stand for?

	Interrupt ReQuest.  This interrupt is used for things that should
        usually be allowed to interrupt the processor.  This interrupt can
        be masked off by the SEI instruction.

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$08C)
	What does NMI stand for?

	Non-Maskable Interrupt.  Unlike the IRQ, this interrupt cannot be
        masked by an instruction.  However, some tricks can be used to 
        mask it.

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$08D)
	The 6502 line of microprocessors has a number of flags that can be
        used to test for certain conditions.  One of then is the N flag.
        What does it stand for?

	'N' stands for Negative.  On instructions that change this flag, it
        is set to be equal to bit 7 of the result of the instruction.

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$08E)
	How about the D flag?

	It stands for decimal mode.  This mode causes certain instructions
        to treat a byte as 2 4 bit BCD-coded nybbles.

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$08F)
	The shorthand for the BASIC keyword PRINT is '?'.  What is the
        shorthand equivalent for PRINT#?

	pR is the way to abbreviate PRINT#.  Note that ?# will fail.


Jim Brain
j.brain@ieee.org
10710 Bruhn Avenue
Bennington, NE  68007
(402) 431-7754


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