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Bob Bybee reports :

The CPU was a 2 MHz 8080A, running at 1.8432 MHz so that it could be easily divided to produce standard baud rate clocks.  The 8813 used 3KB of ROM, none was optional - in the original Poly-88, 1K was standard, 2K optional.  No sound output, though we occasionally added an S100 board for that.   I would debate the other statement that it "didn't have an OS" - it was quite sophisticated except for its disk allocation strategy, which as noted required a "pack" operation to recover space from deleted files.

For programmers, an outstanding feature was the "software front panel" which allowed modifying memory and single-stepping through a full-screen interface.  Years ahead of its time.

Poly programs were written in BASIC or 8080 assembly.  They had a macro assembler which supported source code spanning multiple files and disks.

In my opinion, the Poly was one of those "technically excellent, died of poor marketing" stories like some of the early Apple computers.


Paul Gittings reports :

I was given a Poly-88 kit in 1979.

The Poly-88 did have a graphics mode of sorts. Each character was divided into 6 rectangles (3 high by 2 wide). So on a 16 row by 64 columns display would translate to a 48 by 128 graphics mode.

The sample programs that came with the Poly-88 included "Graph" programs that would plot a sine wave. Also an early edition of Dr Dobbs magazine had a "Robots" game which utilised this graphics mode. They published the program source in Hex, which took me quite awhile to key in.

I made the mistake of buying a 64KB RAM card (CDN$400 when I bought it in 1980) to put in my poly only to discover the Assembler wouldn't work with the card; there may have been a problem with basic as well. The first thing the assembler did was search for the end of memory, it wrapped around back to zero, where the monitor was located and concluded that there was no RAM in the system. I had to disable the top bank of memory on the card to get the assembler to work so I ended up running it with 48K.

When I emigrated to Australia in 1988 I left the Poly with a neighbour to be donated to a hight school, don't know what became of it.



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