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Microcomputers Interview Questions & Answers - Learning Mode
COOLINTERVIEW.COM COMPUTERS INTERVIEW QUESTIONS MICROCOMPUTERS INTERVIEW QUESTIONS QUESTIONS & ANSWERS - LEARNING MODE

Microcomputers Interview Questions & Answers - Learning Mode

A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer with a microprocessor as its central processing unit (CPU). It includes a microprocessor, memory, and minimal input/output (I/O) circuitry mounted on a single printed circuit board. A microcomputer contains a microprocessor (a central processing unit on a microchip ), memory in the form of read-only memory and random access memory , I/O ports and a bus or system of interconnecting wires, housed in a unit that is usually called a motherboard.

Try Microcomputers Interview Questions & Answers - Exam Mode

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Microcomputers Interview Questions & Answers - Learning Mode
Try Microcomputers Interview Questions & Answers - Exam Mode
Question: No bugs in the monitor program?


Answer:
No bugs in the first, smaller, version of the software (256 bytes of code blown into PROM by Nick Toop?s PROM blower). There were a couple of problems with the cassette interface software because I got the order of bits the wrong way round (from the CUTS? standard). But hey, it was only 512 bytes: you can?t make any mistakes in that even when you write it by hand, hand assemble it and hand enter it into the PROM blower! Besides, it could debug itself to a fair extent (given that it basically Source: CoolInterview.com
Question: What else do you remember about the Acorn System 1?



Answer:
Packing them in boxes (upstairs at 4a Market Hill): the whole company would stand around tables (a production square) and put in the right components (me, Hermann, Hermann?s then fianc? Stephen, Chris). We all did pretty much anything: I ended up as Hermann?s secretary before we could afford one!

There used to be problems with answering the phone: one chap would ring up and say ?I have got an Acorn, it does not work? often enough for it to become a legend. We got very tired of kits Source: CoolInterview.com
Question: # When did you build the prototype?




Answer:
Summer holidays, 1978. Then I went home and drew circuit boards on the dining room table (and floor!) and wrote the manual. All by hand, of course.

Christmas 1978 I must have written System BASIC. Source: CoolInterview.com
Question: # Why did you use the RAM I/O chip, instead of a UART or something similar, when the machine had separate RAM?



Answer:
Because Hermann had them around: Science of Cambridge used 8154s on its MK14 kit (National SC/MP based) and so they were available when we needed something for the 6502. They were fairly cheap and the extra RAM was a bonus, even though it meant converting from 6502 clock/write to the read strobe/write strobe that they used.
Source: CoolInterview.com
Question: When did you first show it to Hermann Hauser?


Answer:
During the time it was built! Hermann was very interested in it. It certainly worked before I went back to Yorkshire before the start of the term. Source: CoolInterview.com
Question: Was the design based on/derived from an earlier machine? Kim-1, Apple I, etc.?


Answer:
Not exactly based on anything. Most of its heritage was from an automated cow feeder that I?d designed for a Harrogate company the previous summer (1977). Quite an advanced thing, really ? it had a (waterproof) number pad, big 7 segment LEDs, OS in non-volatile EEPROM, and the trademark 6502. Both were from my own designs for something for myself, and they came from the aether.

The most hair-raising thing was the cow-feeder?s programme. I didn?t own a PROM blower, so I had to write th Source: CoolInterview.com
Question: # You were an undergraduate student at Cambridge then. What were you studying?




Answer: Maths, followed by Computer Science.
Source: CoolInterview.com
Question: Hermann Hauser (from Kings College, Cambridge University) had recently founded Acorn Computers Limited in Cambridge, with Chris Curry, correct?


Answer:
Actually, that came later. The initial work was done for Hermann?s own company ?Cambridge Processor Unit? (that?s an Austrian?s idea of a joke). Hermann went for the System One and came up somehow with the Acorn name, then Clive and Chris had an argument and Chris left Science of Cambridge and joined Hermann at Acorn: the first thing that we worked on with Chris was the Atom.

At the start, CPU had consultancy contracts for fruit machines. Initially these had been SC/MP based, but they Source: CoolInterview.com
Question: When was the last Acorn System x shipped?


Answer:
We designed the BBC machine using System 3s (I did a lot of character design work with a prototype System 80 column video card) and still had System 4/5 stuff going on in 1982 ? perhaps then. Source: CoolInterview.com
Question: How did the Acorn Microcomputer get started?


Answer:
I had designed something similar for myself, and was in the process of helping Hermann [Hauser] with his ideas for an ?electronic pocket book? (what we might nowadays call a PDA). In the course of showing that my designs for it would work, I showed him my schematics for my own machine and was challenged to build it. So I did? With my own white ceramic 6502, too. That was ?just? the equivalent of the CPU board of the System 1 with LEDs and keyboard (all on the same bit of Veroboard) ? the cas Source: CoolInterview.com
Question: # Who designed the hardware?





Answer: Me for the bottom board. Me, Stephen Furber and maybe Kim Spence-Jones for the top board (cassette interface). (Hmmm ? maybe KSJ was a little later ? he certainly did some of the work on the analogue bits of the BBC machine cassette interface.) Source: CoolInterview.com
Question: Why did you choose to design the computer around the MOS Technologies 6502 microprocessor?



Answer: Because it was there. Because it was new. Because a few of the other members of the Cambridge University Processor Group [CUPG] were going on about it being easier to interface to circuits. I guess I don?t really know precisely why I chose the 6502 ? maybe we just had an affinity!

It cost quite a lot back in 1977/78 when I bought mine ? which was a wonderful white ceramic part with gold (coloured?) legs and lid. Source: CoolInterview.com

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