Looking for a small fast VAX development machine

Jerome H. Fine jhfinedp3k at compsys.to
Sun Feb 28 07:02:18 CST 2016

 >On Saturday, February 27th, 2016 at 21:24:12 -0500, Mouse wrote:

>And then there's the adjustment time.  CRTs typically adjust to a
>resolution change in a matter of a few vertical blanking intervals.
>Flatscreens generally take multiple seconds, sometimes even a second or
>so before they display _anything_.
>I don't miss the weight, the power consumption, or the X-ray levels,
>admitted.  But I can't help feeling that this much functionality loss
>is an awfully high price to pay for those benefits.
When I switched to a flat screen (after the CRT monitor died), the
adjustment time was also the biggest disappointment.  As you mention,
it usually takes 1, often even 2,  seconds to recover after the blanking

What I can't understand is what causes the blanking interval.  It can't
be the software which is controlling the display.  I describe below
what happens.

I almost always run in FULL  SCREEN mode with either 80 column
lines or 132 columns lines.  When I shift from one job to the next, it
does seem like the software produces a blanking interval as the old
screen is discarded and the selected screen is displayed.  BUT,  NOT
ALWAYS!!!!  It actually seems almost random.  Before I switched to
a flatscreen, I was always able to visually inspect the screen output of
the two jobs and actually determine where there was a change from
the screen output between the two jobs.  It often took up to a dozen
times before I was able to pinpoint the few specific characters which
had changed, but the adjustment time was so short that my eyes were
easily able to retain the old image and watch for any changes.

What is very frustrating is that about 10% of the time, the adjustment
time is very close to just a few milliseconds and it is still possible to
note the few (if any) differences between the screen output for the
two jobs.  But because it happens so rarely, I no longer find it to
be useful to visually compare the two screen outputs.  What I can't
figure out is why the adjustment time is so long most of the time - often
up to 1 or even 2 seconds.  But on rare occasions (10% of the time
or less), the new screen output for the new job displays with an
adjustment time in the range of a few milliseconds.

Of course, that is when both screens are using the same number of
columns.  If the number of columns differ, then the adjustment time
is always 1 or 2 seconds, as is the adjustment time within any given
job when I switch the number of columns.  This is especially noticeable
in KED since the HELP screens always use an 80 column display.
I almost always use a 132 column display for the regular screen
output since MACRO-11 listings require that output for efficient
viewing.  Whenever I request HELP screen output, I must always
wait that extra 1 or 2 seconds before the display output appears
after the adjustment time.  Since it is not a major part of any editing
session, it is reasonable to accept the delay.  But it is disappointing.

Note that these delays only occur when I use displays with FULL
SCREEN mode.  If I am using regular screens under Windows,
as I do when I send and receive e-mail, then there is never any
adjustment delay.  But the adjustment delays also occur when I
switch between FULL  SCREEN mode and how Windows usually
displays screen output - and back again, of course.  It is rare that
I need to switch from Ersatz-11 to other activity under Windows,
but there are a few occasions when that is required.

One of the VERY difficult problems which I have never been able
to find a solution for is if I make a mistake and attempt to switch
from Ersatz-11 when a screen is in FULL  SCREEN mode at
132 column output TO standard Windows output displays.  In
that case under Windows 98SE, the operating system freezes
and the ONLY solution is to turn off the power bar since even
the power-off button no longer works.  This also happens by
accident about one a month when I accidentally hit the WINDOWS
key (between the CTRL and ALT keys) while I am using a screen
with 132 columns.  Over the years, I have become mush more
careful and rarely touch the WINDOWS key by accident any
more.  And even if I could disable the WINDOWS key, on the
few occasions I need to use it, that would be even more of an
inconvenience.  So disabling the WINDOWS key is not an

Jerome Fine

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