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Reverse engineering the 76477 "Space Invaders" sound effect chip from die photos

Remember the old video game Space Invaders? Some of its sound effects were provided by a chip called the 76477 Complex Sound Generation chip. While the sound effects1 produced by this 1978 chip seem primitive today, it was used in many video games, pinball games. But what's inside this chip and how does it work internally? By reverse-engineering the chip from die photos, we can find out. (Photos courtesy of Sean Riddle.) In this article, I explain how the analog circuits of this chip works and show how the hundreds of transistors on the silicon die form the circuits of this complex chip.

❄️ Snowflake method for software projects

In software development, we have a lot of planning and design methods that should help us in creating a vision of a final product. However, as it usually is, they are designed with commercial products created by full and paid teams in mind. What if we are doing our personal project in spare time? We could try to employ those methods too, but they would usually be an overkill and even complicate things more. So, what instead?

Getting Started with Headless Chrome

Headless Chrome is a way to run the Chrome browser in a headless environment. Essentially, running Chrome without chrome! It brings all modern web platform features provided by Chromium and the Blink rendering engine to the command line.

Why Use Postgres

Five years ago I wrote a post that got some good attention on why you should use Postgres. Almost a year later I added a bunch of things I missed. Many of those items bear repeating, and I’ll recap a few of those in the latter half of this post. But in the last 4-5 years there’s been a lot of improvements and more reasons added to the list of why you should use Postgres. Here’s the rundown of the things that make Postgres a great database you should consider using.

Six programming paradigms that will change how you think about coding

Every now and then, I stumble across a programming language that does something so different that it changes how I think about coding. In this post, I want to share some of my favorite finds.

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