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Archaic Computer

Archaic Computer

on it to see it!

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This page was updated: April 2, 2018

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January 2018
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January 2018

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy New Year!


Back to the subject at hand.

Ok, so with billions, er hundreds of hires pictures and I mean hires -- 6000*4000 pixels, large ass mothers, time kinda becomes a matter. We recently took a once- in- a- lifetime family vacation. We took 18 days and went to Washington DC, and Colonial Williamsburg. Antony drove he, his little brothers and I to Salt Lake where we spent part of the night in a motel, then caught a train to Chicago, New York and finally DC. I had the small Canon, the iPad, iPod, and iPhone -- all of which take pictures. The Nikon traveled with the rest of the family. The girls went with Mia in the Big Van and that is where the Nikon D3400 DSLR rode.

There were five folders in the end, with around 1000 pictures in each. A few lowres pics, but mostly those huge 6kx4k buggers. After combing through them and deleting some duds, fixing some crooked, or underexposed, or distorted ones, sometimes saving a copy, sometime overwriting the original, they all fit on a 32Gig USB stick with 44Megs free. Zowie.

The first step is to open Dolpin, sort by date -- newest first, then open the folder and click on the first picture. This opens Gwenview. I can browse the images in order and decide several things from there. Hitting [f] shows the actual size, zooming in, larger than my window. I can then tell if an image really is in focus or if it is a soft focus or simply a blur. You'd be surprised at how sharp a picture this size can look when squeezed into a window less than a 1000 pixels wide.

One of the features of a modern OS, at least with KDE on Linux, is that you can customize your tool bar. For this project I realized I wanted things a bit different from default.

on it to see it!

on it to see it!

on it to see it!

In Gwenview I arranged the tools in a way that the ones I need the most access to in a way they are all together, to the left on the top line (since the bottom line disappears to be accessed via an arrow menu).

In GIMP, I opened preferences and went into the toolbox and added THRESHOLD, LEVELS, CONTRAST/BRIGHTNESS. I also changed their order and changed the width of the toolbox to make things go easier.

Once the PRGs are setup, I simply open the folder I am working from in Dolpin. Remember, I have Dolpin setup to sort by date, most recent first. This will let me click later on the first file in the list and Gwenview will open up on the most recent picture, placing me close to when I left off in the last session. When starting, of course I simply opened the first file in the series so that I can move through them chronologically from start to finish. Since there are so many pictures, it is nice to come back and basically, click on the last modified picture to get Gwenview to display the last picture I edited. Even if I've gone through several other photos, this is a quick way to get back to where I left off. Gwenview lets me browse pictures one at a time, in order of file name.

If I need to rotate a picture 90 degrees or any increment there of, I can simply use Gwenview. Cropping is also easier and faster with Gwenview. But if I need to change anything else, like rotation by 3.2 degrees, or brightness, or perspective, I can go to the "Open In" menu and open the image in GIMP.

I started the process of going through these pictures in Mid November and finished them a few weeks ago in late January. I deleted and altered many pictures, some I save alternate edits by adding "b" to the filename, but still in the end wound up with about the same number of pictures. Somewhere in the 5000 images range. They fill a 32Gig stick.

I plan to place select images in a slideshow. It should be quite interesting in the end.


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February 2018

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Search and Destroy.

I have been customizing several Kubuntu installs, including this one (de Berry). Placing PRGs on the GRUB boot page, custom login pictures etc. Now, you know I love Kubuntu. But the the default boot screen was not necessarily to my liking. The splash screen for KDE5 that comes with Kubuntu 16.04 is hidious.

The background is kinda interesting, but mostly dorky looking. I tried the usual channels, inside system preference, etc. There seemed to be no easy way to change it. I selected a new background picture, but it would't display it. So I finally started diggin around to find the offending image.

Some images are stored in .vgsz files or some variation of this container. But after some searching, I found mostly nuts and bolts to build parts of apps, and so forth. I then remembered that the system supported only specifically formed .jpgs, but favored the.png image format. After all, all the other custom pix I used are .png in flavor -- and I did nothing more than simply save the images as .png files and the system handled them with no problems.

Knowing this, I searched for .png files. Hmm, this one is called background.png. I opened it in Gwenview, and yes!, it was that eye sore that I was ready to exterminate!

OK, so it is never a good idea to just delete stuff the system uses. So I simply renamed it by adding HIDE to the file name, in case I needed to backtrack. I opened Dolpin via the terminal as superuser:

sudo Dolpin

This opened up a root controlled window. I clicked my way into the folder (I most likely cut the location from the Dolpin search I had done earlier then pasted it into the superuser location) renamed the offending file then dumped my pretty picture in, having already named it background.png.

Upon reboot, I saw the my picture slide into place, followed by KDE's cool translucent progress bar frame. Nice.

All's well that ends well.

And now, for something completely different:


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March 2018

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite



The C64 and C128D have not failed. Their RAMLinks have.


After the C64 stopped booting it sat a while before I got around to replacing it. After setting up the system refused to boot with the RAMLink plugged in. It was about this time, when the C128D stopped booting.

I think I would prefer the C128D problem be the PS, since I can affect repairs myself. If, how ever it is the RAMLink, then I have a problem.

RAMLink pulled

C128D powered up. I am bummed. No conclusive testing has been done yet, but I managed to pull the RAMLink out of the SuperCPU and the system powered up. However, when I first did it, nothing happened. So I powered down then powered up again. The system came right up. The RL has that damn timing cable -- or does it? On the C64 it has it, and I think it did on the 128, but not sure about when plugged into the SuperCPU.

The big test will have to be planned since the system is stuffed into a corner and the back is not easily accessed. This was not an oversight, but a space issue.

I'd really like to rearrange the room. Unfortunately, it seems to be rather difficult to come up with a better layout.

There are some major disadvantages to the present layout. Like, if that PDA falls behind the stereo. It would most likely sit there for years before I got around to pulling it out. Or worse, what happens if Isotope (our kitty) got stuck back there?

Nightmare image going, ok, back to here... The last major studio design was at the Amber House. The Amigas were back to back. There were lots more book cases. The Atari, Mac Plus, C65, plus/4, VIC-20 and C65 were all long one wall. The 2 C128Ds were long another wall. The Gameframe was in a closet, as was the stereo. There simply was more space. Both scanners were setup. Those suckers are huge.

To this day, the Amiga 500 and it's rather large plotter are still boxed. It would be nice to thin the extra out. Boxes have been staged for sorting, but time has buried them under more things to do and that need to be done. If I had taken more time to pack, and make sure that when went into the boxes all went together logically, perhaps the tossing out would go faster. I tore the most important equipment down last and by that time I was just, "get it packed," and was just throwing stuff in boxes to get it out.

That was a bad idea. Sure, it got it moved, but what a mess.

In retrospect what I should have done was pack only the things I really wanted setup and running first. Then Leave the rest for latter removal, like load the utility trailer up and haul it to the secondhand store.


I have re-installed VICE on deBerry and have also gotten VICE on Darth Vader (also a Linux Box).

Micro wave PRG

Early morning microwaving goes a bit like this: I punch in, [2][2][START] and the microwave counts down to 02 and I open it. Reason: I need to microwave my espresso to finish cooking it, as cheapy espresso makers don't cook the coffee enough. No biggie, I just microwave on high for 20 seconds. I do 22 seconds and stop at 2 so that there is less beeping, and therefore less noise.

Now I am standing there waiting for the count down to reach 2 so I don't miss it. While doing so I started counting 10, and , 9, and, 8, and, 7... it's the musician in me. Then my brain is doing the math. "so you take the even numbers only (ignore the odd -- they are rests) divide them in half, and subtract 1 from the number and it give you a nice logical count down from 10 to 0."

So next, schizo voice that kicks in is the programmer, "...and the code looks like this:


10 FOR I=22 TO 0 STEP -1
12 TH$=RIGHT$(TI$,2)
14 IF TH$=RIGHT$(TI$,2) THEN 14
20 IF INT(I/2)*2=I THEN MD$=STR$(I):C$=STR$(I/2-1)
30 IF LEN(MD$)=2 THEN MD$=" "+MD$
34 IF LEN(C$)=2 THEN C$=" "+C$


So running it looks like this:


 22                  10
 20                   9
 18                   8
 16                   7
 14                   6
 12                   5
 10                   4
  8                   3
  6                   2
  4                   1
  2                   0


File this in the annals of the diary of a programmer gone mad.


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April 2018

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


The new dilemma.

I went to put the CMD HD back on the C128D after having removed it to access files to upload awhile back. I can barely get the cables to reach to plug in. The space that holds 5 drives is so tight, it was a miracle that I got the HD out in the first place. It is time to take a hard look at the present configuration.

The grey table housed the Amiga 1000, CDTV and both Amiga 2000s before the last move. The C128D was on the big door table and had lots of room to access drives from the side and above. This was radially different and much better.

I have a Yamaha keyboard hooked up to an Atari Mega STe on the door along with an Atari 800, Arari 400 and both Amiga 2000s. It is kind of a squash was well. But it was all done to get things setup and to fit.

Setting it up to close to the way it was isn't really an option; the Yamaha is a full size keyboard. The biggest dilemma in the project is where to put the equipment when I pull it out (for rearranging to get the drive cables less tight). There really isn't much space to put anything without reeking havoc. Once I start the process of tearing down, ideally, it should be done fairly quickly to get everything back up and running in a day or less. But this is a major rearrange and I have only a small window of opportunity.

The Best bet is to stage everything in such away that, as monitors get moved, they can sit in an out of the wayish place for a week or two, since the only time I can devote to the project is Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning. And I can't really commit this time, since there are things that just have to get elsewhere sometimes.

I have looked online to see different configurations of other peoples setups in hopes for ideas and inspiration. I did see some good ones. The biggest thing is access. Either from the side or the top. Neither of which do I have here at preset. The solution I wish I could put in place is access to the back of the machine where I could walk in to get a straight on, full access to the backs of all the drives, cartridges, computers, etc.

This is where it remains -- unresolved.


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