I said, “Wait a minute…” high-school physics, or anybody’s experience – you push something heavy, you know, a heavy wagon, and it goes faster, if you keep pushing the same it goes faster and faster, and then (you) slow it down. So I got this idea, why don’t I speed up the head that’s moving from track one to track two to track three… speed it up until it’s half-way to the destination – which I know – and then start slowing it down so that it doesn’t overshoot at the end. I made a little table (to calculate the distances) and I love the sound that my disk drive makes!
The disk drives in those days, when they went from track one to track twenty, you’d hear “ennnnnnnnnnnh” – this horrible sound like a buzz-saw. Mine went “shew, shew, shew.” Beautiful sounding, and it did it twice as fast.
Thanks to Paleotronic for this incredible interview.
I got (it) done one night, and Cliff Houston came over, and asked, “How many feed-through holes do you have” – that’s where you have to drill a hole to connect the top wire to the bottom (underside) of the board. Very common. A board that size might even have twenty or thirty of them. I had eight, because I had designed to lay out the chips in the exact optimal order. I might have had thirty if I’d done it otherwise, and nobody cares about it, because it’s just the way you do it.
So he said “Eight, huh?” I said, “Yeah, (but) I figured out that if I had designed the shift register to go left to right instead of right to left” – the shift register was that part that converted eight bits into one and vice-versa – “If I had only designed it the other way, I would’ve had three fewer crossovers,” and he said, “Steve, you mean you’re going to go with less than perfect?” Okay, so that’s a challenge! So what I did is I took it all apart, I ripped off all my little red tapes where the wires would go, thought it out – I redesigned it on paper to be the other way, and then I laid it out – I don’t even know if I ever built one and tested it – and then I laid it out like that and for the next week or two, every night until two to four in the morning.
Its so humbling to learn the ingenuity that went into simplifying a complex piece of hardware and ripping out all the fancy and unnecessary bloatware.