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Archaic Computer

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This page was updated: June 5, 2020

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January 2020

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy New Year!
Happy New Decade!

STARDATE: 20191028: I am on Strider (an IBM 770z ThinkPad) with the WiFi card pulled out so as not to connect. Mia has been having trouble with iNet speed, so I'm planning to stay offline until noon to see how her connection speed is. I have had no issues, except in the known dead zones.

It has been a long time since I have used Strider for writing. Strider usually sits in the shop, hooked up to a second monitor getting occasional use for looking things up for shop workbench stuff, like looking up wiring diagrams and manuals.

I have most all the IBM ThinkPad manuals on Strider. With two screens I can have a PDF open and a web browser (Opera -- last I used it, it was still fairly functional on the modern iNet, since I'm currently running Windows 98SE on this machine).

My old favorite Teamviewer is now being replaced. I will miss the over the iNet connecting to my computer at home while I'm off somewhere.

But why am I leaving Teamviewer?

They have totally dropped, not only support for version 7 (and other older versions) they basically turned off functionality. I kept getting messages to upgrade to the latest version. However since the heart of my day-to-day is on a Windows 2000 machine, version 7 was the very latest I could run.

Teamviewer would often crash, locking out part of the LAN. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. The only thing Teamviewer was doing in the end was displaying a message that whatever computer I was booting at the time was online.

The replacement?

FTP and VNC. I use SimpleFTP on the Amiga 1200, and FileZilla on MacOS, Linux and Windows machines. And yes, I can share on the Windows 2000 machine; TightVNC is running on Dampier (the IBM 21p ThinkPad).

I just removed Teamviewer versions 5 and 6 from Strider. Neither ever worked well, you had to be at Strider to accept the connection and then the whole machine crashed after the session. And that was a big "if" on getting an actual connection.

There are more of these to uninstall:

Einstein (v5 & 6 under Windows 98SE)
Batman (V7 under MacOS 10.5)
possibly Homer (v7 under MacOS 10.3)
Gandolph (v7 under Windows XP)
Blackbeard (v7 under Windows XP and Kubuntu)
Teach (v7 under Windows XP and Kubuntu)
Locutus (v7 under Windows XP abd Kubuntu)

That's all I can think of -- guess I should have copied the list from a version 7 install since it would list the machines in my account. I might be able to get online and check.

So why I am not working on the Amiga today?

It is F.A.C. (really cold), so I had to start a fire this morning and it requires monitoring. I suppose I could have run AmigaOS on this machine, but I didn't. Oh, well.

What's next? Well, there are loads of pictures to go through. I took some fall pictures yesterday, I have a Boy Scout camping trip I need to go through. I still have the second round of going through vacation pictures. There is lots of stuff.

I have residue from the barn clean out to work on, and a garage that has been so full of crap, it's hard to get to stuff I actually need. I am even more in- over- my- head, and there is no end in sight.

- -- Plus -- I need to get this file off of Strider and I can't simply email it to myself, since I am under radio silence. :/

There you go.


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February 2020

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


I was working on a posting a couple of weeks ago when I noticed lots and lots and lots of typos. :/ I ignored them as I couldn't corrected them when I saw them, despite the irritation they caused. Then I was looking on some of the AC Archives online and saw missing parts -- like the last 40 lines or more of the pages were missing! It must have happened during the renaming of the files (when I renamed them from aa1 to aa2007 and so forth). I decided it was time to proof the AC!

I have edited the 2019 and 2018 pages and am mostly through the 2017 page. It is a bit time consuming, but it really needs to be done. It is actually on the list! Woohoo!


Using SimpleFTP on the Amiga 1200 has helped move files to and from the Amiga. It is fast and convenient. However it does require me to be in the Studio at the Amiga. It would be nice to have an FTP server running on the Amiga. I could x-fer my current AC writings written in the morning to the Amiga to edit in the afternoon. I could then move the files to the X41 to work on in the following morning.

I found FTP4ALL on Aminet, but it has a typo in the script and I have no clue what to replace the word it does not understand with. It seems that the author would catch something like that since it prevents FTP4ALL from working.

Back to Aminet.


FTPD works well. It boots up with a nice GUI making set it up a breeze. However, the MimaiStack doesn't start for it, so upon booting (for now) I open iBrowse, then FTPD. iBrowse auto-links to my home page, thus initiating the WiFi (MiamiDX) and it's up!

I can then access the Amiga remotely from other computers and move files back and forth.

Another One Bits the Dust.

When I was configuring Chernobyl, the iMac, with Kubuntu, the Mac HD tool said the drive was gonna fail. Well, it did. :/

A very strange failure. MacOS will boot. It seems to have trouble with accessing the Linux partition (named by MacOS as Windows). The grub boot came up with my photo background, but dropped to cli after booting. The cli is useless as the file structure appears to be all virtual.

Booted A live Linux CD and couldn't find the partition. I tried again and did find the partition. It was then that I grabbed the files and backed them up. Basically the same thing I've done before; I grab everything off the partition in one mass to plop back in after reinstall. I have actually had several successes doing this with Windows and Linux systems.

The Big Stink-a-Roo

What a pain in the kiester-butt! I really don't care for working on Macs. But I really need this one up and running. Photo work goes fairly fast of this machine. GIMP really flies. I should max the RAM out on it while it's open since working on replacing the drive is gonna entail surgery at the brain surgery level of intensity.

I find this fail strange. I was able to reinstall Kubuntu on the machine, albeit after a failed install. The system rebooted just fine. Then Discover crashed. I had clicked multiple times to boot it thinking the system was not responding. I had to hold the button to power off. Upon the second booting, it failed. I saw my grub screen, but the OS dropped off at the same useless point.


I had done an install to a USB drive (I bought to replace the iMac's internal drive -- it too is an SATA drive). All was working on it and then there were strange failures and reinstalls that didn't always work. I thought there must be stray currents across the bus or something. I then figured out GRUB was using the internal drive for it's location, so things would sometimes work and then not.

Let me reitterate: Crap.


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March 2020

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Hold the Phone!

Studio XPS 1340 2 x Intel(R) CoreTM2 Duo CPU P8700 @ 2.53GHz 3.6 GiB of RAM

A Journey.

I came across a fully working StudioXPS on eBay for $20. You read that right. Don't ask me how or why. It was a bid situation.

It had no HD, and the feet were missing, but all else was intact. It had a Solid State SATA drive in it that was pulled prior to posting. The seller included the mounting hardware. And, thankfully it also included a power supply But that was it.

The seller didn't mention the lack of feet, but that might not have been noticed. I didn't notice until later. It was not well packed and after I was in possession of it for a week or so, I finally dumped the box out it came in and found two circular plates that cover the lights on the LCD hinge. Oh well. I pressed them back on and they seem to be holding.

The battery was dead, of course (I knew that upon bidding). But all else is fully functional.

It has a great cool keyboard that lights up around the keys as well as the symbols on the keys. When you put your hands on the keyboard, even without typing, the lights fade on. 2cool! I'm not quite used to typing on it, but am writing this at that local coffee shop my late cousin and I had frequented.

The install.

Ok, I usually get an HD going and eventually a new battery and get linux installed, along side any OS that is on the HD. I sometimes install a hack version of XP. But not this time.

Since it uses SATA drive tech, I didn't have a spare drive to plop in. So I really didn't have anything I could do with the laptop.

I did have a USB SATA drive I got for the iMac. But decided not to scab on that. Instead, I plopped in an empty 32Gig thumb drive. Grabbed the Kubuntu 18 install DVD and went live.

Hmm. It hung. Ah! To the shop! In the shop is a pile of DVDs that included 64bit install discs for Kubuntu 18 and 16. I grabbed 18. It booted!

The install might have crapped out at the boot setup part as is par for Kubuntu lately. Regardless, I got an install on the Thumb Drive.

It was nice. However since it is a serial 2.0 device, it would bog at times. Not often, but enough to know it was happening.

Online, I found a 320Gig SATA drive for less than the computer, and I found a battery. Once the battery was installed things really got interesting as I could do morning stuff by the fire (I was too lazy to deal with a three prong plug).

Next and new HD.

Ok, the new HD was the top. I opened the bottom up (10 screws or so and the bottom comes off). used the hardware that came with the computer -- the seller rocked that part. Got the drive in and ready for an install.

I cleaned the computer with Windex. Note: the computer has some touch sensors and it is possible that the eject for the DVD got wet and stayed wet a day or so...

Any who. I got to the last part of the install that does GRUB on multi OS systems, and perhaps on single OS installs, and the DVD popped out, the installer couldn't access the DVD and it took a dump. Shit. Retry.

DVD poppes out in mid install, I tried several more times and it just craps out left and right.

Time to make a Thumb Drive installer for Kubuntu!

I found an article online, like I do (this time it wasn't one of mine). The article had many possibles. I picked one and was off.

Ok, the application I choose wanted to make all USB devices boot drives and I couldn't un-select the one I had booted the sytem on. Next!

The next one makes a bootable Thumbdrive from an .iso. Actually, so did the first one. This second one didn't threaten my OS boot USB. I ran it and after a while I was ready. Powered down, pulled the OS Thumb Drive and booted off the new one. Kubuntu's Live distro booted and I did the install.

Rebooted, this time off the HD and there was Linux! Now it installed some stuff on the .iso (or Kubuntu recognized the installer and said ok, let's go, but I'm thinking the former.

It works well, and O.M.G. this system booted fast via USB but the speed of boot is not lost. It might actually be faster! Way cool.

Now the real fun.

Customizing everything!

One of the things I do is get my photos on any screens that appear, from GRUB (this install doesn't appear to use it), login, desktop, etc. They're just cooler. But I also install all the programs I need, in this case: GIMP, Imagination, Konqueror, Kdenlive, Audacity, FileZilla, EasyTag, Openshot, SoundKonverter, WinFF and some new ones: Entagged, and GTK Wave Cleaner, and for fun Kamoso -- this machine also has a WebCam!


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April 2020

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


I don't even know what day it is! This time, it's good.

Lots going on in the realm of new Kubuntu installs. But, right now I'm in Venice Beach, CA. Mia and I loaded the kids in the big van (after feverously packing) and headed out on a field trip.

We drove to Hood River. Spent the night in a nice (mid-end - cos you get breakfast) Hotel with the four littles. Got up next day, had breakfast, headed into Portland and went to Powels (big-ass-used-books book store).

I bought Agatha Christy's Murder on the Orient Express -- the oldest copy they had. Then we went and boarded the Amtrack Starlighter Coastal Train. (Yes, I read said book on that train.)

The sights were nice, but the kids were not so nice. They still need constant management. We spent the night on the train and the last section of the voyage was why we came -- the coast! Beautiful. The sunset was spectacular.

I really didn't get many pictures, a couple with the palm Treo and several with the Canon. But we were moving along, and at that speed there is no stationary angle to get clear pictures, not no mention the whole random stuff that pops up in the way of what you're aiming at.

The Nikon was in the big bag that we decided to check. Just as well, it was one less thing to worry about.

My morning keys the past two days have been devoted to proofing the the Archaic Archives. I am currently working on December 2009. It is interesting to go backward through time and re-read the history and see it unfold again.

Of course, while I do catch many things, there is no guarantee that I'm not reading what I meant to say and not what I actually wrote. I was dehydrated at the Hotel and things were confusing and I may have messed stuff up. Hopefully, not too much if any.


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May 2020

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


These are the events before and leading up to April 1, 2020.

For a while my phone had been cutting out. (Weird, for the longest time, I have refereed to Frodo, the Palm Treo 700p as my PDA and lately I have called it my phone.) Texts would chime, but not be downloaded. Any time I was in my chair by the fire, or in the chair by Dampier in the Studio, cell signal was slight. And the last couple of days it would say no connection at all.

I had been texting via WiFi on the iPad as I often do, using Verizon's messages+ app. I hadn't really noticed the lack of "my phone" informing me of texts. I get an audio notice every time a new text arrives. I went upstairs and the notifications chimed in like a peel of church bells. I heard seven or eight notifications, as the PDA caught up.

Well, as you may know/will recall the Great Pandemic is/was upon us. It is in full swing as I write this. Mia works at Corpus Christi House. It is a day shelter for the homeless, in Boise, ID. When the pandemic hit, they instituted new safety rules: social distancing, no one enters -- it's take food and go. Well, many were not following the rules. The situation was if not out of control, was close. They closed CCH.

Mia is concerned about me as a high risk since I have a mild asthma. I have a sports asthma, in the form of a cough. Most of the time it's kept in check, but if I'm exposed to allergens like hay -- and I am every day -- it triggers the cough. If my mouth gets dry -- and I'm prone to getting dehydrated as my brain doesn't say, "hey I need a drink of water," it genetic -- it gets triggered.

Any whoot. To drag this part of the story on, Mia has taken little girls and gone to the trailer for 14 days to be sure she wasn't exposed to Coronavirus in order to protect me. Mean while, my PDA as been failing as a phone. I really need to stay connected, so Mia suggested I get an iPhone (blah) and sent me some info on what Verizon had to offer.

In the end we opted for the iPhone 11.

I decided on the Black one with 128gigs.

It arrived yesterday, and of course, true to form, activation was a pain in the ass. Only because they messed something up. Might of been because of Corona-delays, and few staff onsite, they didn't get around to setting stuff online as in the phone net. I followed the instructions a couple of times. 3 actually. Got online with Apple as well. Tried a few more links. Mia sent me links. I finally called Verizon and got an automated voice that told me to do the same things I was already doing. So I did them once again and Ta Da! Nothing had changed, it still did not work.

Well, after a while I called Verizon again, hoping to hack the line to get a real human. I got the same automated voice. I was pressing zero at the time and didn't quite hear what she said. It was informing me that something about my phone wasn't something. Anyway, it wasn't going to let me continue so I hung up. I got to thinking, is my PDA no longer on network? Was that the Verizon operator I heard when trying my new phone? I called Walgreen's as I knew I'd only enter the phone tree and not bother anyone. Boy, back in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s I could pull all manner of phone numbers to call for things like auto call back, etc. out of my brain. No mater, I used Walgreen's.

I got the same female automated voice! My PDA was on network but no longer had a number assigned to it. So I grabbed the iPhone and turn off WiFi (didn't want to call over WiFI) and called Mia. Her phone rang! It was finally working.


R.I.P. P.D.A.?

Not quite. I feel kinda sad about no longer having it on network as a cell phone. But I still need the softs on it especially the Franklin Covey Planner softs.

I'm reminded of the path that led to the Treo. I had the Kyrocera and a cell phone as the E-911 thing came along when I was finally able to get the Kyrocera hooked up to Verizon. Alas, that PDA/smartphone didn't not have E-911, so I didn't get it hooked up. I eventually got the Treo and brought two devices into one. I would probably leave the Treo behind if I could run a Palm emulator that ran the FCP softs and such. But, Apple decided "no emulators."

So there you have it. The features of the phone are quite impressive: facial recognition, waycool animated animacons with voice, and a killer set of wide and ultra wide angle cameras, to name only a few. Sigh.

But it doesn't run any Amiga, Atari ST, or commodore software. My FCP software is not available for it. And I am most certain it will not sync with any computer that I own, even if it's running MacOS X.

I have been trying to get things to work that other's say will work. They don't. Oh, I can access the photos on the phone, but not the music. What a crock-o-shit. I just feel it is a dead end.

I can't even see what is on the iTunes' window. There are some words and every now and then I accidentally find a menu. But it is of no use. I can't see the iPhone when plugged in.

Yes, that means I installed the latest and greatest 64bit version of iTunes. I should also be able to access the iPhone from Rhythmbox. It is simply a No Go.


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June 2020

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Seems it's been a while since I posted a video. I've been making videos, but they are not for posting. I have several photography projects in the works. So there should be a dot dot dot coming...

A while back I acquired a Nikon D70s digital camera. It has a 6.1 megapixel sensor in it. I have also acquired a glass filter that cuts visible light to 700mn. The plan is to swap the IR block with this filter -- an IR pass -- to make a digital IR camera!

I have yet to cut the filter. Originally I was going to go with a plastic filter, but cutting the glass looks to be easier, and much less messy.

I also have a Zenit-E loaded with some old Seattle Filmworks ECN-II process film. I'm dying to work with this!


UPDATE: The Zenit shoot was a blast. I found a place that does mail in processing and they can do the ECN-II film! So that is what I shot. While you can actually buy new ECN-II film, I shot an ancient roll of Seattle Filmworks ISO 200. Unfortunately, I shot it at 320. :/

The Zenit-E has a built in meter. This camera, as many are, is a mercy 1.34volt cell era camera. It is not plagued by this at all. It uses a photocell! So it is a great out door camera. The meter appears to work, but I cannot attest to it's accuracy past that the exposure settings I was using seemed appropriate for the shoot.

Having stated the above, I was under the impression that the ISO was set to 200, when it was, in fact, set to 320. Isn't that a .8 shift? Not enough to push, but just wish I had double checked everything. It's a major detail that turned out to only be a minor detail.

I have yet to send the film in. They state on the order form that about 25% for the old ECN-IIs they process do not come out at all. Sigh.

Global Pandemic.

We went on a train trip in March, I believe. We drove from Boise to Hoodriver, OR. Stayed in a suite that slept all six of us for the night. Next day we headed into Portland and found and visited Powells, one of the largest Used Book Stores in the US. I got Agatha Chisty's Murder on the Orient Express for reading on the trip.

Next. we headed to the train depot and took the Amtrak to Venice Beach, CA. We road coach for the over night trip. Two days on a train!

We stayed 2 days in an Air BnB a five (or less) minute walk to the beach!

Then we hightailed it back to the depot to ride in a sleeper for the two days back.

At nap time I was dying. I felt like Jack in Family Man; if I fell asleep, I knew the ocean would be gone when I awoke.

It was a wonderful trip. Then the pandemic changed our lives.

We have a farm, so it was business as usual. We have, for the past 10 years or so, done our grocery shopping two months at a time. That is to say we shop for two months worth of things we need. Traditionally we have our large garden for fresh, shop the co-op regularly for fresh and we'd get stuff at the New Boise Farmers Market. We had just done our shopping before the Raid on Toilet Paper Bay episode. So we still have TP from then. It's a little disconcerting that Americans seem to only think of themselves.

Logically, the supply chain has a pace at which supply and demand unfold. The suppliers move things from manufacture to sales in an almost even flow. Kinda like a river. If you instantly pull the water from the reservoir, well, it takes a long time to get water back in enough for everybody. It's not just social conscience, it's a taking only your fair share.

So that part of the pandemic hasn't hit us much. We had recently closed down Feathers & Horns (our business, we used to sell at the New Boise Farmers Market, and The Boise Co-Ops), so we were already no longer doing that. We home school, so we had no kids at home, that weren't already there. On the upside, we found more time as the constant barrage of appointments that go with Fetal Alcohol Disorder Syndrome/R.A.D. kids. Some of these appointments returned in the form of Zoom.

My support structure for time to disconnect from the hard, constant pull on being "on" with these kids has collapsed. My weekly respite has gone, this happened prior to the pandemic. My back ups were gone. The twins work in grocery front-line, have to social distance, making it almost impossible to help. Plus they both do the same job and one of them is always working (sort of a good thing as they are recognized as responsible and trusted in their positions. So that has been really hard. As anyone with FADS and/or RAD kids knows, these breaks are vital to the healing of these kids, and the sanity of the parent.

Meanwhile, I have been working from the Amiga to Get Lothlorien online. The WiFi router seemed to be having severe problems. After careful diagnostics, I determined that the PS had failed. This was after some weird electrical things that were not quite brown outs, but devices randomly reset and lights flickered off and on again. I had kept our old cable modem and while it is not really useful in the real world, it has the same power spects, plus the PS is beefier. Nice. I hooked it up, reset the router, and started setting it up via Mythreal (the Amiga 1200AG). It's up and running!

Now, unfortunately the Amiga is situated in a low radio area, so even with the antenna extender, the WiFi isn't the greatest. So I pulled out the 10-Base-T card. It's been kinda fun reconfiguring MiamiDX.... no it hasn't -- anyone whose messed around with it knows it's a real pain in the ass to configure. Like throwing bait into a dark room to capture something that's in there, you don't know what it is and you don't know what bait works.....


Ok, I lost a major amount of writing this morning. I though I figured out why, then started to write of this messed up situation. But it just happened again!

Meanwhile, back at the F'n ranch...

I managed to get everything working, but forgot to save settings. After booting this morning, I got it in and set the settings again and saved them this time.

Things do work better on the WiFi, however. I can easily access all the FTP servers and those same computers can access the Amiga via FTP.

SimpleFTP is not a stable critter. If you can get a clean boot, or at least one that doesn't prompt the system to ask for a suspend or reboot situation, it does work and then is rock solid. Forget using ImageFX or IBrowse after SpimpleFTP. So I've gotten lazy grabbing files. I use IBrowse. Works good.

Until today, I have had no problems keeping what I've saved.

Let's see if I can actually keep this text this time.

BTW, I'm in GoldEd.

Since it is already June, I think I should get this posted and start writing July's posting! Dang! Summer's almost gone already! :(


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STARDATE: 2020.06.11:14:30 ish:

I am logged into Anglefire via IBrowse 2.5.3, editing live (as it were) from inside GoldED! Welcome to 2020 Mythreal!


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