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[ale] hex

John Mills wrote:
> I was startled to find about two years ago, that versions of M$
> Developers' Studio at my previous employer did _not_ provide an assembler,
> nor were there more than veiled references to such arcana in the
> developers' database. Instead one was encouraged to embed
> assembly-language sequences in the higher-level [C] code. What a
> maintenance and portability nightmare!
> It seems to be getting harder to learn this stuff than when some of us
> 'long in the tooth' specimens got started. (I also walked five miles
> through the snow to school every day and it was uphill both ways!)

Too true. I'm a little young to remember the "pure hex" days; my
first machine was a TRS-80 Model 1, which probably was less
powerful than the TI SR52 my dad carried with him everywhere about
the same time.

Anyway, I recently started to seriously investigate the Linux kernel,
embedded systems, robotics, and such like, and found accessible
literature on low-level machine details very hard to come by. I
remember that hardware and software details were easily available and
explained at an intelligent-beginner level back in the early 80's, in
magazine articles especially, but they're nowhere to be found today.
It's the manufacturer's databook or nothing, usually.

One really excellent online resource IMO is Randall Hyde's
"The Art of Assembly Language Programming", at


When I finally got down to doing some semi-serious coding, I
was able to pretty much pick up x86 assembly from scratch using
that site. (The result was a bootloader and Forth(ish) interpreter
for an old 8088-based laptop I had rotting away in a closet. It's
available at <http://home.earthlink.net/~jknapka/jkf.html> in
the unlikely event that anyone is interested).

-- Joe

-- Joseph A Knapka
"If I ever get reincarnated... let me make certain I don't come back
 as a paperclip." -- protagonist, H Murakami's "Hard-boiled Wonderland"
// Linux MM Documentation in progress:
// http://home.earthlink.net/~jknapka/linux-mm/vmoutline.html
* Evolution is an "unproven theory" in the same sense that gravity is. *
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