2.1  The first Hub

One of the groups from the Network Muse Festival, the duo of John Bischoff and Tim Perkis (original members of the League) called their performance "The Hub", because they were using a small microcomputer as a mailbox to post data used in controlling their individual music systems, which was then accessible to the other player to use in whatever way and at whatever time he chose. This was the beginning of the band, "The Hub": the other composers who joined to become The Hub were also performing on different nights in different groups using uniquely different network architectures. After the festival, the idea of using the standalone computer to serve as a mailbox for a group (which Tim Perkis had initiated) seemed like the best idea as a way to continue.

To quote from an early program note by Perkis:

"The Hub originally came about as a way to clean up a mess. John Bischoff, Jim Horton and myself played for several years in a group called The League of Automatic Music Composers, the first microcomputer network band. Every time we rehearsed, a complicated set of ad-hoc connections between computers had to be made. This made for a system with rich and varied behavior, but it was prone to failure, and bringing in other players was difficult. Later we sought a way to open the process up, to make it easier for other musicians to play in the network situation. The goal was to create a new way for people to make music together.

The solution hit upon had to be easy to use and provide a standard user interface, so that players could connect almost any type of computer. The Hub is a small computer dedicated to passing messages between players. It serves as a common memory, keeping information about each player's activity that is accessible to other players' computers."

Perkis and Bischoff's original Hub microcomputer was a Kim-1 microcomputer, a vintage 1976 product of Commodore, which later developed the Commodore 64 and then the Amiga. The original price of the Kim-1 was $250, It was a single board computer based on a 6502 8-bit microprocessor with 1K RAM, running at 1 MHz.

"The KIM-1 has 1152 bytes of RAM, 2048 bytes of ROM and 30 I/O-lines. Some of these lines are used to drive six 7-segment LED-displays and others are used to read the little hexadecimal keyboard....The KIM-1 has the ability to load and store programs on paper tape and/or cassette recorder."

The KIM-based Hub had four UARTS to allow four players to network using 300 BAUD serial connections. Perkis and Bischoff also used the Kim-Hub in a trio with Mark Trayle called "Zero Chat Chat".


The KIM-1 microcomputer, platform for the first Hub. For a great source of information about early microcomputers, see http://members.cox.net/obsoletetechnology/kim1.html

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