August 4, 2018
After a long haitus induced by scanning burnout, progress is being made once again.
ebay turned up something quite rare -- a Wang 2200 COBOL coding form. COBOL? Yes! COBOL was developed for the 2200 MVP along with an advanced dialect of Wang BASIC called BASIC-3, but it didn't get past early beta testing.
The coding form is sizable -- 14"x12" (35.5cm x 30.5cm).
I've updated the links page to include an excellent article by Ernie Smith about the rise and fall of Wang Computers.
For the first time in about five years, I've added something to the Stupid Tricks page. Specifically, the new ones start at trick #24. Some of them are specific to BASIC-2, and some of them are actually good and clever ideas. Those are designated by light bulb off to the side of the entry. The most interesting trick was contributed by Elio Fernandez of Argentina. It is quite labor intensive, but he found a bug in BASIC-2 which allowed him to recover the source code from a program which was saved in scrambled mode.
I've added a section to the floating point number page which describes the exact algorithm used by BASIC-2 when computing the RND(1) pseudo-random number sequence.
Likewise, I've added a section to the floating point number page which describes the algorithm BASIC-2 uses for performing matrix inversion. It isn't described in detail; instead it just links to the document where it is described.
That previous document is a goldmine. Since I was there anyway, I drew attention to an article about 2200 math precision and rounding issues. Go here.
I added another entry to the bottom of the performance page. It summarizes a 1981 Computerworld article comparing the 2200SVP performance against a variety of other systems on a compute job and an accounts receivable job. The 2200SVP fares well.
The section on Wang BASIC-3 and 2200 COBOL was updated to a more complete narrative and to link to some of the related documents which were added after this section was originally written.