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Interview with (Ojala Pasi) Albert of PU-239

I'm Albert of Pu-239 (Pasi Ojala). I got the handle Albert by accident, I didn't actually choose it myself. When I was in Finnish Lukio in 1985-88 (three years of high-school, 10th to 12th grade, whatever it is called elsewhere) we were to make a presentation about historical characters for a history class. I selected Albert Einstein and did the presentation. Because of this some of my school mates started calling me Alpo, which can be considered a Finnish version of Albert.

When Lukio ended in 1988 I started my studies in Tampere University of Technology. Me and a couple of my online friends decided to put together a demo group (January 1989), so I needed a cool handle for myself. So, my nickname Alpo was reverted back to its original form and I became Albert of Pu-239. I've been Albert ever since, even got my account changed in the university (from po87553 to

Back to the early days then. I was born in Viljakkala, Finland in the year 1969, 26th of August. As of 1997 I live in H„meenkyr”, Finland.

The first computer I got my hands on was a friend's Sinclair ZX-81, which had a whopping 1K of RAM memory and a 22x20-character screen (although I may remember that incorrectly). The funny thing was that the screen memory was RLE-compressed. If you wrote a program which printed too much stuff onto the screen, you run out of memory pretty quickly. This was probably before the 7th grade, i.e. before 1982.

My first computer was a Sinclair Spectrum 48K, but it had an unfortunate accident with its expansion port. I admit it, I was stupid and young then and tried something I shouldn't have. Anyway, after a year or so it was finally sent to be repaired, but didn't quite work right even after that.

I also played with another friend's VIC-20 trying to create games that I had done for the Spectrum.

Some years later (1986, or 1987?) I had enough money to buy a C64 and a disk drive for 5000 FIM (approx. 1000 US$ back then, I presume). Later I also purchased a tape drive, simply to be able to play Trollie Wallie.

Back in 1988 I was quite active in the small, but fun BBS scene in Tampere, Finland. I had my own BBS, running on a C64, with my own software. I started writing it in basic and then added bits and pieces of assembly code to make it tolerable. As my assembly-coding abilities increased, I started writing demos. I got a big push from a couple of acticles in the Finnish Commodore magazine, C=Lehti. Also, I found another demo coder (Karri Ranta-aho) from one of the BBS's and we just started to compete with each other.

The BBS community was our scene, and the founding members of Pu-239 met there and we first became online friends and later we met face to face (which always is a shock, small or big). Pu-239 was founded 10.1.1989. We were more a group of friends doing all kinds of crazy things together than a 'real' demo/cracker group.

I also wrote some C64 articles for C=Lehti, but it was killed off before any of them were published. I translated the articles to English and they have been published in the C=Hacking net magazine.

The group was never officially disbanded, but we just went our separate ways. I still try to keep my C64 (and lately also VIC20) skills (programming mainly) alive and well. Other things interfere though, and the last demo I have officially released was "Megademo 92" in 1992 (and it is already 1997). However, I have a couple of demo parts almost finished (for C64 and VIC20), so maybe they'll get release when the time is right.

I have two specialty effects I might be famous of. The first one is sprite stretching. The second one is 'copper' scrollers, where the screen is blanked. Everything you see on the screen is done using only the border color register.

I graduated (MSc degree) from the Tampere University of Technology ( in August 1996 (my Master of Science Thesis was: "A Pre-emptive Multitasking Operating System for an Embedded Emulation Tool", and worked in some of the TUT's research projects before and after my graduation.

Currently (1997) I'm a software engineer in a VLSI design company called VLSI Solution Oy ( This means that I'm doing both high-level (tool programs, development tools for e.g. digital signal processor cores) and low-level programming (device drivers, embedded system programming). I'm also continuing my studies (albeit slowly) for a Licenciate of Technology and/or a Doctor of Technology degree.

My hobbies (besides computers) mainly consists of science fiction in written, movie or television form. Babylon 5 is the highest ranking television series right now.

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