Voja Antonić

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Voja Antonić
Voja Antonic.jpg
Born
Vojislav Antonić

(1952-07-12) 12 July 1952 (age 66)
Residence Belgrade, Serbia
NationalitySerbian
Other namesVoja
Known forDesign of Galaksija home computer
Website www.voja.rs

Vojislav "Voja" Antonić (Serbian Cyrillic : Воја Антонић, pronounced  [ˈʋɔja ˈantɔnitɕ] ) is a Serbian inventor, journalist and writer. He was also a magazine editor and contributed to a number of radio shows but he is best known for creating a build-it-yourself home computer Galaksija and originating a related "Build your own computer Galaksija" initiative with Dejan Ristanović. This initiative encouraged and enlightened thousands of computer enthusiasts during the 1980s in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Mr. Antonić donated many of his personally creations to the public domain, whenever they related to the common people or a fellow engineer.

The Serbian Cyrillic alphabet is an adaptation of the Cyrillic script for Serbo-Croatian, developed in 1818 by Serbian linguist Vuk Karadžić. It is one of the two alphabets used to write standard modern Serbian and Montenegrin, the other being Latin. In Croatian and Bosnian, only the Latin alphabet is used.

Galaksija (computer)

The Galaksija was a build-it-yourself computer designed by Voja Antonić. It was featured in the special edition Računari u vašoj kući of a popular eponymous science magazine, published late December 1983 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Kits were available but not required as it could be built entirely out of standard off-the-shelf parts. It was later also available in complete form.

Dejan Ristanović Serbian writer

Dejan Ristanović, is a well known Serbian writer and computer publicist.

Contents

Biography

While in school, Voja Antonić found a passion for HAM radios. He obtained a licence and a callsign to broadcast his own waves. One day, the state police seized all CB Band units known to operate in the country, creating a new trend for HAM radio units which bored Voja Antonić who decided to move on towards new digital technologies. [1]

His first creation with a microprocessor was Conway's Game of Life machine that shows its state using 16x16 matrix of red LEDs. Without a computer, Voja Antonić wrote the code on paper and operated the input in the system byte by byte using rotary switches. LEDs being expensive back then, it took him months to buy and install the last LEDs. A replica of his machine reportedly worked flawlessly almost continuously for 40 years. [1]

<i>Conways Game of Life</i> 2D cellular automaton devised by J. H. Conway in 1970

The Game of Life, also known simply as Life, is a cellular automaton devised by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970.

Light-emitting diode semiconductor light source

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor light source that emits light when current flows through it. Electrons in the semiconductor recombine with electron holes, releasing energy in the form of photons. This effect is called electroluminescence. The color of the light is determined by the energy required for electrons to cross the band gap of the semiconductor. White light is obtained by using multiple semiconductors or a layer of light-emitting phosphor on the semiconductor device.

When personal computers arrived on the market, they were not accessible in Yugoslavia. Voja Antonić asked a friend in the USA to disassemble a TRS-80 Model I and send it to him and received it labelled as "technical junk". He received it, reassembled it, and started his new computer passion. [1]

While studying at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in the late 1970s, he started to build computer systems capable of rendering animations. [1]

Prior to the Winter of 1981/1982 Skiing Federation of Serbia timed the competitors using regular stopwatches and hand signaling. The upcoming Balkan competition required this to be improved and more precise. In 1981, Antonić created a small, battery powered computer packed together with liquid crystal display, printer and keyboard in Samsonite suitcases. Over the years five different models were built, named from "Arbitar" to "Arbitar 5", and were used for many years. In 1982, he designed an alarm system for Elektronika inženjering.

Stopwatch handheld timepiece designed to measure an amount time

A stopwatch is a handheld timepiece designed to measure the amount of time that elapses between its activation and deactivation. A large digital version of a stopwatch designed for viewing at a distance, as in a sports stadium, is called a stopclock. In manual timing, the clock is started and stopped by a person pressing a button. In fully automatic time, both starting and stopping are triggered automatically, by sensors.

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Samsonite International S.A. is a luggage manufacturer and retailer, with products ranging from large suitcases to small toiletries bags and briefcases. The company was founded in Denver, Colorado, United States. Its registered office is in Luxembourg and it is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

In 1983, Antonić learned of the interesting way to have the CPU generate video signal, without the use of specialized video circuitry. He thought of this as a good idea for an inexpensive, build-it-yourself computer. Galaksija (pronounced Galaxiya, meaning Galaxy) was featured in the special edition Računari u vašoj kući (Computers in your home) of a popular science magazine of the same name, published late December 1983 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Voja Antonić essentially released Galaksija to public domain and never required any compensation for it. He wanted it to be a project anyone can undertake and received only the compensation for writing the magazine article itself, not the computer. At least 8,000 were built by do-it-yourself computer hackers. [1]

In 1983, his friend Zoran Modli launched a new section on his national radio show focused on microcomputers. Since data coding was performed in audio range (to fit the format of compact cassettes), Voja Antonić and his radio host friend started using the radio waves to transfer computer-generated data, their own online wireless technology of the predigital age. [1]

In 1991, when the war broke in Yugoslavia, Voja Antonić was taken to a remote quarter to be checked by the military. Confessing he was a computer engineer, he was asked to repare an old Apple II, which he did in a day. This earned him the favors of the military forces. During this period, he joined several anti-war and anti-Milosevic campaigns, writing articles against terror. [1]

In 1995, while going through a difficult slope of his life, he threw away almost all of his projects, including the documentation and five prototypes of the Galaksija microcomputer. [1]

In 1999, Voja Antonić created a logic analyzer, probe, serial interface receiver and frequency counter device based on Microchip Technology PIC16F84 microcontroller. It eventually became Microchip's Application Note 689 (AN689) but was subsequently removed. Microchip explained that Yugoslavia was facing an embargo from the USA, making it impossible to promote his technology worldwide. Although the work was published, the only compensation asked by Voja Antonić, a Microchip in-circuit emulator MPLAB-ICE 1000, was never sent to Antonić. [1]

In 2006, Microchip restored the Application Note 689 and delivered a In-Circuit Debuggers to Voja Antonić. [1]

He donated a copy of the Galaksija to the Muzej Nauke i Tehnike (Museum of Science and Technology) in Belgrade. [1]

Publications

Print books
Online books
Short stories

Voja Antonić wrote a number of short stories for his appearances in "Modulacije" (eng. Modulations) radio show hosted by Zoran Modli. He personally read them during live public broadcasts.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Voja Antonić (3 August 2015). "Hacking the digital and social system". Hackaday.com. Retrieved 6 May 2019.