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This page was updated: June 1, 2018

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January 2018

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

Happy New Year!

STARDATE:2017.12.27:

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.

Click 
on it to see it!

Click 
on it to see it!

Click 
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.

...END OF LINE.

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February 2018

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE:2018.02.12:

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:

...END OF LINE.

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March 2018

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE:2018.02.14:

Hypothesis:

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

Basis:

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.

Enough!

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:

LOAD "MICROWAVETIMER",8
SEARCHING FOR MICROWAVETIMER
LOADING
READY.
LIST

1 REM A$="MICROWAVETIMER":SAVEA$,8:VERIFYA$,8
5 PRINT"[CLR]","[ORNG]MICROWAVE COUNT DOWN![CRSR DN][CRSR DN][CRSR DN][CRSR DN]"
8 PRINT"[BLK]MICRO DISP:","COUNT:"
10 FOR I=22 TO 0 STEP -1
12 TH$=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$
40 IF INT(I/2)*2=I THEN PRINT MD$,,C$
50 IF I=2 THEN PRINT"[L BLU]":END
60 NEXT I

READY."

So running it looks like this:

          MICROWAVE COUNT DOWN!




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


READY.

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

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April 2018

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE:2018.03.03:

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.

...END OF LINE.

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May 2018

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE:2018.05.05:

Happy Belated Mother's Day!

...and Happy Star Wars Day! You know, May the 4th. Be with. You.

Recently, the Amiga 1000 had a DF0: transplant. During that operation, I took some pictures of the inside top of the computer. The group of people's who brought the Amiga about signatures appear in the top of the case.

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Creator's Signatures.

Each are actually two shots sliced in half with slices swapped. I had hoped to get one image that was easier to see all the signatures, but well, you can see (especially if you click on the image).

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Creator's Signatures.

The plan is to re-stack or rearrange the C128D (Zoul), to make access to drives and cables easier. I have no concrete plans as of yet as to how things are to lay. I have setup the camcorder to timelaps it as I usually do, but I haven't really committed to the job.

Part of this procrastination is time, of course, but I really don't want to add the downtime the R50p will have to endure. So I have not started it.

Many times a project like this will start with a concrete plan and other times I fly by the seat of my pants. This one feels like it really needs a plan and I'm not coming up with one. Perhaps, if I change my attitude and just start in tearing things down....

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

The Amiga 1000 has not booted since the move. That move was along time ago. And it is high time I got going on the 1000. This is a bit different, since tearing the 1000 down will not cause must in the way of a crap pile. -- so I did it.

Not sure if the system has a different problem than a faulty drive, but DF0: only booted a reconfigure disk used to easily run PAL games (it has other stuff on it, but it really is about setting up the 1000 for loading certain softs). I also managed to get the HD boot floppy to boot once.

Normal boot (as I recall it): Turn on HD, turn on CPU wait for WB prompt. Insert boot floppy. System accesses boot floppy then boots off the HD. This is what I recall and may not be entirely accurate. It was not happening. The one time the boot floppy did work I had the HD control board (the whole box) unplugged and the system asked me to insert HD0: !

So drive extraction proceeded.

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Drive Transplant 2018.

I found I needed to swap mount brackets for the two drives I was swapping (I took the drive out of the external box and placed it in the internal). But the machine screw holes did not line up on the drives. All the rest of the holes lined up perfectly. The ground bolting from joy.mouse ports was lost as well as the one screw at the back of the drive mount. However, everything passed the test for continuity and appears to be grounded (let's hope so).

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Drive Transplant 2018.

Upon testing the newly installed drive, I found the boot pattern to have changed. This really does not make sense:

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Drive Transplant 2018.

My Memory: put in Workbench disk, it boots then swaps over to the HD and finishes booting off that drive.

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Drive Transplant 2018.

The New (Apparent) Reality: You put in the floppy and then it resets and then asks for the Workbench again then boots from HD. Now at the prompt I swapped to a known HD boot floppy.

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Drive Transplant 2018.

So now that all is back in place, the entire system works. Including the drive removed from the A1000 and placed in the external enclosure. Huh.

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Drive Transplant 2018.

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Drive Transplant 2018.

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Drive Transplant 2018.

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Drive Transplant 2018.

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Drive Transplant 2018.

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Drive Transplant 2018.

A1k Drive Transplant
The Amiga 1000 Drive Transplant 2018.

Here are some photos taken during the operation, and those fabulous signatures once again.

...END OF LINE.

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June 2018

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE:2018.04.11:

Victoria and I were fortunate to squeeze in the 2018 Boise Roadster Show into our lives. It was tight, but we manage to spend an hour or so at the show.

The 2018 Boise Roadster Show!

TTFN!

noesis0

...END OF LINE.

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July 2018

Archaic Computer

by

Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE:2018.06.04:

Noesis Creation Dot Org has gone through some major fixings. I went to link my Amiga DL page to an Amiga Facebook group and found some messed up links. Somewhere along the line 99% of the links that were hard links aimed to the now long gone GeoCities.

Upon inspecting the site, lines and dots were not displayed. (There were supposed to be graphics that were lines and dots separating and bulletting.) Things in general were messed up.

Many of the pictures were digitized via video camcorder or VHS tape. When many of those were saved 20 years ago, the aspect ratio was messed up, making the pictures look short and squat. I had adjust a couple, but they were too tall afterword. So, I got into ImageStudio and made a script that reduced the x dimension by 80% and ran the wide/swat pictures through it and corrected the ratio. Now it many not be perfect, but it looks a lot better.

I fixed the too tall ones and adjusted the color levels on some making them easier to see and not so dark.

Links were all made soft links, so if the site moves it will be an easy migration.

All in all things went well. I noticed one Franklin picture got messed up, so I went to the oldest archive I could find, and found that the file has been corrupt for a long, long time. I just never saw it because most browsers simply fill in the missing data. Probably by displaying information found next to the missing pixels.

The image, ACE1000P.GIF is a progressive GIF. That means is you could watch it load, say you had a low bandwidth iNet connection and an old machine, every 5th (not sure how many) line of the picture would show up first, then the next five (once again not sure of the exact number here) and so on until the image was completely loaded. Slowly "beaming the image in" on the screen. It looks cool, but most technology today is really to fast to see it.

The image has part of the information missing on the bottom 1/6th of the picture. It appears as every other line in the image missing.

Here is the image and you may or may not see any damage. There are highlights in the bottom part of the picture that are actually artifacts, but they look similar to a color reduced picture -- which this definitely is:

Old
The Photo in Question.

What to Do?

The first thing I attempted was loading in Personal Paint, grabbing color from the case and using the paint fill to fill in the empty space. This looked good on much of it, but strange on the parts where the color was really different. I zoomed in to see if I could edit it by hand, but decided that would take more time than it was worth; the photo really isn't that good.

In fact, most of the pictures on my sites are not so great resolution wise and many are just bad visually. This is due in part, by the compatibility with GIF64. I made the early pictures GIF files that you could DL and display on a commodore 64. Coupled with this, the crappy pictures are a result of using a VidiAmigaRT to digitize. Not that process per se, but I would setup my shot, and film 3 minutes of video to capture the image from. While the camcorder used was nice, the tapes were old recycle tapes from Cougar Mountain Software (When Mia worked there they's hand our tired old VHS tapes and Floppys).

Enter ImageFX.

The solution I hit upon, may not be the best one, but this is what I did:

Load the image into ImageFX. Resize by 1 pixel. It needs to be an even number of rows (y-axes). Open the hook option and after the file selector opens up, click on sys. Select "deinterlace." This will remove every other line along the y-axes. I got lucky, the missing parts fell into this range. Next resize the image back to it's original dimensions (I left it at the even number I changed it to). And here are the results (the new picture is the second one):

Old New
The Photo in Question.
The FIXED Photo.

The old photo is a better photo, however the new one does not have the flaw and thus should look about the same on any browser.

Now What?

Well, not sure when we all went WideBand iNet. And I'm not sure it need play a roll in the deciding to revamp the old site. I would like to re-take the pictures of many of these old machines. The setups of many have changed over the years, and sadly many are no longer setup, and some systems are now gone.

I have access to a rather nice Nikon 3400 DSLR camera. And I really love using it as seen on many of the pix and sideshows added as of late. I don't envision a massive onslaught of setting up machines and shots and spending a couple of intensive weeks getting it done. Perhaps, I could on my Tuesday pm and Wednesday am time plan on doing a machine. Maybe start with those setup,move on to those readily available, then finally as sorting time allows, those machines stored away.

Some of the machines, such as the Wang, are gone. So crappy pic like those will endure. Perhaps this was step one. I re-aspect ratioed many pictures, and altered some pictures that were dark. I managed to finally get a picture of the Timex/Sinclair 1000. I didn't really setup for a good picture, but it is still sitting on my workbench -- perhaps I'll start there should a photo re-shoot take place.

...END OF LINE.

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