Site hosted by Build your free website today!
Archaic Computer

Archaic Computer

on it to see it!

Noesis Creation:

Enter the Archives here.

? ? ? Archaic Computer Q & A ! ! !
The Archaic Computer Gallery
dieHard Back Issues!!!! commodore 8-bit support
Back to NC Home Page

This page was updated: April 30, 2017

Jump to month:

January 2017
February 2017
March 2017
April 2017
May 2017

January 2017

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy New Year!


Audacity. The DAK audio suite is amazing and has lots of really cool things. However there are problems. Not necessarily bugs, but well, let me illucidate.

The audio tagger works well. However, you have to type everything in. In cantrast, Audio Tag Tool, reads the file name and fill in lots of the info automatically. Anything I have to type I can do in a fairly repetitive way with cutting and pasting, and re-pasting; it is easy. Whereas the cutting and pasting in DAK's is a bit of a pain since it opens up one window per track.

I recently moved the the DAK suite over to Dampier (where I think it started). The Depopper was well configured on the other computer, through much trail and error. The defaults make a weird "tubular sound" sort of like listening to the audio through a long pipe. It sounds weird. But I tweaked it and all was well. But when I moved over to Dampier, I had forgotten about the weird sound. Before I got a chance to mess with settings, I started playing with Audacity. Using noise reduction, I can sample the noise I want removed, then remove it. I can use the click removeal and sometimes noise reduction again and the sound is really good and clear. So I tried recording in Audacity. Audacity on Win2000 (I'm running 1.3 beta) eats up drive space, perhaps it is writing a .wav file. DAK's editor, however, does not use loads of space. I like the control of Audacity during editing, but the recording in DAK is a must on my small system.

DAK's timer record works well. When you are done you can save as .wav or .mp3. The save diolgue is querky; you have to press the button twice, although it may save on one pressing and the second closes the box.

I have recently gone to the pages of old issues of Famous Monsters of Filmland to re-browse the Captain Co ads for records I had wanted to purchase long ago, but didn't. Arch Olbler's Drop Dead, King Kong, Planet of the Apes, to name a few. I then searched eBay for copies since most are probably out of print and Captain Co, no longer carries them.

I have a very nice digitized version of King Kong now. I didn't even clean the record (some thing I used to do religiously upon the arrival of a used record. I did zero Stat it and Silicon Cloth it before placing the needle on it. The copy I received was in good condition, but was used and there were a few crackling sounds. Audacity removed them completely.

I haven't looked into the documentation for Audacity, so there are many things I don't really know about it. So this warrants further investigation.

A Tagging Mystery.

I went to put The Firesign Theatre's Nick Danger and the Case of the Missing Shoe on my playlist. I saved it via Audacity 2.1.2 on my Linux boxer. I used Audio Tag Tool (also on Linux). I made tags with names like "A_Case of the Missing Shoe," "B_Case..." so that my player would sort the files in A, then B, etc, so when I played the files in the playlist I'd get one part of the story, then music, maybe some more music, then another part of the story and so on, to spread the episodes out through out the playlist.

I got to the first file and it played (I hadn't noticed the name), then right away the next file played, so I looked and all the tags said "Case of the Missing Shoe." Hmm. Opened them in Audacity on the PC (win2k) and my new tag names with the "A," "B," "C" designators were there. What?!? Opened the files in Audio Tag Tool and sure enough, my new tag was still there. WTF?!?!

I finally figured out that the 2.1.2 or perhaps the Linux version tags a bit differently. So I opened up the files one at a time on the Linux box and re-saved them with my new names. Now I looked on Audacity's web site and found that the metadata edits are done using FFMpeg's frame works. And I know that Ubuntu no longer officially supports FFMpeg, in fact on my last install to 16.04, I had to re-install FFMpeg by hand as it wasn't even in the 3rd party stuff. So there might be something there. I have changed my procedures for tagging audio saved on this box. I do not fill out the metadata and only use Audio Tag Tool and have had no problems.

I find it interesting, that all my players saw the tags that the Linux 2.1.2 Audacity used. The players would see the other tags only if I didn't fill out the 2.1.2 box at save. So perhaps all the rest of my tagging softs are behind the curve.


Back to top.

February 2017

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


The Room.

Voyageur Studios was born from, well a GE cassette recorder. I was gonna say a commodore 64, but that is when this evolution got it's name. It was one of those 10 second decisions. I knew that during the early, pre-coloney days, before the US was colonized there were French settlers who took (potential) trappers into the wilderness to trap.

Trapping is where you set snares and other small traps to capture small animals for the fir trade. These Frenchmen were called Voyageurs. They new the territory and where to trap. They knew how to traverse the land, especially through the snow. So they not only would lead the trappers and teach them, they did so at great cost. They new the hazards. They knew how to get about safely.

When I decided to give the Studio a name, it just popped in there. Kinda like Voyager the space craft, and yet perhaps more, or at least different.

The light switch requires a decision, one Google was promoting for a while, Light Side or Dark Side. Light Side turns the light on and Dark Side turns the light off.

Next to the light switch is the second lightsaber I ever owned, Mace Windu's purple blade. The first lightsaber I ever owned I made out of a heavy cardboard tube, about the size of a lightsaber turned off, for it has no "blade." I made it by drawing on it. All fight sounds were made by way of mouth.

Mace's lights up and makes battle noises when swung, clashing sounds when struck and the hum when at the ready. Kinda cool.

Just a note.

For me there are two Star Wars realities, as far as film and series goes. The original three, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Those movies I have on wide screen VHS as I saw them for the first time in the theaters. In the titles there is no Episode names and the first was Star Wars and not A New Hope. The other Star Wars is the Episode series, and much to my disdain they ruined lots of stuff, no need to get into here as you either know what those are, can't see them or are very forgiving of script whole in general and don't care. Or you're like, "Star Wars, what's that?"


There are various lightsabers on the walls either on hooks ranging from picture frame hooks to the custom hook I devised for my spring loaded Darth Vader lightsaber. I also hang a couple with clips designed to hold flashlights. Those are the coolest since you can just grab a saber off the wall and start fighting.

The studio also has a Rolling Stone poster featuring Princes Leia and other Star Wars entities. This poster came free with the issue that sported the same photo on it's cover, in fact, it is just a blow up of the cover. Somehow I wound up with two of these.

There is a Tron poster from the original movie, the from Scholastic's Dynamite or Bananas magazines. There are other oddities around. A Native American baby that my Mom drew in charcoal when she was 12. At least that's what I recall her saying. She really could draw well. There is a Saturn V rocket (yes, you can pull the stages apart), a shelf full of Famous Monsters of Filmland, several Universal Movie Monster Aurora models and a couple of the Disney's Haunted Mansion series models. Lot's of other things like, the winged creature from, I think it was, Aliens. Lots of fun stuff. I used to have the Honey Combs glow in the dark post of the Creature of the Black Lagoon and several Gortraits put up, but they were scary and the adopted kids don't need scary so there were covered or moved out to a closet.

But the heart of the Studio, are several pieces of equipment set up in strategic places. There is a Yamaha keyboard (with nice pressure sensitive keyboard), hooked via MIDI to an Atari Mega STe4 and a Realistic Phono/Mic/Line Mixer that runs to an IBM A21p ThinkPad. A VHS VCR, a commodore SX64, and open lines running to a switchbox making a stereo audio and video connection to an IBM R50 ThinkPad. A commodore 128D (20MHz accelerated, with MIDI to a Casio 540 keyboard) hooked to an HP ML4 laser printer. Another C128D with both audio and video digitizers and an IBM thermal printer for printing banners. There are also a C64, VIC-20, Amiga 1200 (accelerated to 49MHz and 52Megs of RAM) hooked to an HP ScanJet IIc and a Sony stereo with Betamax VCR.

A recent unpacking and setting up is the Optonica Linear Tracking Turntable. I needed to a cable set to reach around to the mixer. I set it up with the boom box used to be. So the cables need to run around the PET4000, C128D, R50p, A21p and R50. A good 18 feet. It's only about 4 feet from the Optonica to the mixer, but my chair is there ;)

I got a 20ft audio video cable with male RCA connectors at both ends. I crimped on a opened circular connection on the ground wire of the Optonica. I then crimped a closed circular on one end and an open circular on the other of the yellow video part of the cable set. This way I have right and left stereo audio wires of the right color. I then put a double ended female RCA connector in the the stereo cables on the same end as the closed loop connection. I got a small screw and nut with a couple of washers and connected the closed loop to the Optonica's grown wire and plugged in the audio cables into the newly adapted connection of this audio video cable. I carefully ran the wire around said equipment and hooked it up to the turntable connections on the mixer.

I was ready to test it all out.

I got my next project loaded (I an currently digitizing records as I collect them). Turn on the machine. Pressed the play button and the turn table didn't spin. Ahhh! I need to lube the time. The same thing happened to my GPX. I oiled it, and got it to running, but even that didn't last long. I really need to clean and lube with a decent turntable lube. More to add to that over the top list of stuff needing done.


Back to top.

March 2017

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy PI Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


I have been slowly collecting the Super 8mm movies from the Universal Cannon. I love film, but decided not to go crazy with collecting. I have all the basic Frankenstein titles. I would like to add Doom of Dracula (scenes from The House Of Frankenstein) and Frankenstein's Trial (from Ghost of Frankenstein) to this set. I hope to eventually add The Wolfman, The Mummy, and possibly The Invisible Man, and silent versions of the Creature of the Black Lagoon and Dracula. I have sound variations of the last two, the creature in a 400ft 3-D version!

I have also been acquiring what I have considered holes in my Halloween Record collection. These are records that are not necessarily Halloween Records, but have old radio shows and such on them. Many of these were found in adds in the back of Famous Monsters of Filmland. I had actually bought all the once I got until this past year I bought locally. Many were at grocery stores in the 70s when they had their Halloween stuff out. I actually got Famous Monsters Speak from Sears.

I stumbled upon Halloween Records on eBay.

I think I was looking for a particular Gortrait and started finding Halloween Records. So I started searching for them. I soon found many of the records I was searching for. That was a no brainer!

I have no idea why it hadn't occurred to me to search eBay, or even the iNet. I used to have time now and then to go to thrift shops and that is really where the bulk of my post 70s/80s finding Halloween Records took place. I have recently found an unopened Suspense! Bela Lugosi album! This is indeed a rare find.

Now, One of the albums I started looking for was An Evening With Boris Karloff and His Friends. Many postings have it for $80! -- are you kidding me?!?!?! These posting are still there. I suspect they will be until the sellers give up. I found one without the original jacket for $4 and then later found another for $8 that has the jacket.

This has prompted me into getting the linear tracking turntable going. Although the Fisher turntable works perfectly well.

The big problem is the glass door. I run a headphones line from the headphones jack on the front of the stereo out to the mixer. The jack is on the left side and the door swings to the left. The open door is basically swung open into the middle of where I sit. I can move around it, but it is in the way. :/

A 90 deg angle plug end would help. I could place the platter drawer in before placing the needle down. So that would be nice.

Linear Tracker.

The linear tracking turntable would give me an easy was to slip the record in and start record on the computer and start play on the turntable. But I have yet to service it.

A set up of lone ago.

When I first got my Fisher stereo back in the 80s. I lived in an apartment. and most floors were wood and susceptible to vibration. I was thinking in terms more of the stereo at higher volumes (what I call Concert Level) vibrating the floor, skidding the needle cross the record, and you know it would be AC/DC or Scorpions that would do it. So I mounted the tr=urn table on the very bottom as low in the cabinet as possible, thus reducing any possible intensified movement from the cabinet moving (think of the bottom moving little and the top swaying more freely and thus moving more). Any way it has worked out well.

I use DAK's Wave and MP3 recording software for one simple reason. It take very little disk space and very little memory. WAVE Recorder records a .WAV right to disk which is nice, but I is a wave file and takes up drive space. Audacity uses drive space as well. All three softs have many cool features, but the DAK softs do the job in less space.

The DAK softs can only do a timer recording after a fresh software start. Small anoiance, but not a deal breaker. I usually record timers set at around 20 minutes since most record sides are less than 20 mins. I can walk away from a timer recording and even forget I'm doing it and everything is ok. I can later trim off extra silence. If I happen to be there when the record ends I can just hit stop to stop recording and make my file save smaller. .MP3s save relatively small. I use a standard of 44000/128 as many softs default to that and most .MP3s come in that sample-rate/bitrate.

I use the DePopper to remove pops and any 60Hz background sound. Then finish with Audacity. Now, if I have multiple tracks I will use the Holy Grail Song Splitter, also of DAK fame. It will load a simple side of a record in and (hopefully) split the file into the proper tracks. There is an editor that lets me make adjustments to the tracking splitting. I can move splits, and can add splits or take them out as needed. There are a couple of things that are annoying about the softs, but not to back if you have clear splits visually. The editor lets you zoom in to see better if needed. You do have to grab the splits to move and that can get tedious as the pointer changes and does not appear to be in the right state when you grab a split, then you can only move it on screen, you can't just grab it to move, say to the beginning and have the display scroll. You move it as far as you can, then you drop it and manually scroll the display, grab again and move as far as you can.

To add a split, it plops it dead center then you have to manually move it to the spot you want it, rather than simply mark the spot then pop it in. To remove a split you have to count from the first split (1) to the number of the split you want to remove, then you select that number from a list in a dialogue box. Kinda tedious but not too bad. I don't recommend doing the whole file this way. HGSS works where as VINYL never worked and the trackers, as they are called in DAKs Wave and MP3 Editor, that mostly don't work.

The Holy Grail also lets you edit names of all the tracks in a window, that is really nice. I open a text file with all the track names in it (I get on Google and get a track list, when I can, and cut and paste it into a text doc, edit it then copy. Open the tag window and the copied text appears and you close and it's in place! When I save the safe window lets me put album info in as well as a graphic, like album cover, and save. It asks to make folders too, if I'd like them.

What's in a Name?

I used to hate the folders my old ripping software made when it ripped a CD. I preferred to have all the information in the file name. I tended to go back and forth on this over time. Here are some examples:

05 - The Edgar Winter Group - They Only Come Out At Night - Frankenstein.mp3

Great file name. I can search it by album and all the files in the album will come up, I can search by Artist and all of that artist's songs come up, or I can search by song title and the song I'm looking for will come up. Sounds great, right?

But, I can do the save searches with folders and have shortened file names and get the same results. Here is a fake list of folders with the aforementioned album's folder open (listing only a couple of the tracks):

Crosby Stills Nash and Young
Pink Floyd
The Edgar Winter Group
  They Only Come Out At Night
ZZ Top

When I started ripping, I was not doing all the same artist or my thoughts would differed on the matter since it makes since to me know to do it the latter way. I can go to a folder by a given artist and look for things more efficiently, if say I was just manually browsing.

I usually tag with track numbers, even records. I do not usually designate side one or side 2 (or 3,4,etc) I just continue as if the numbers continues onto the next record. So track 2 from side two might become track 8 as it is the eighth track in the program. Sometimes I put track numbers before song titles -- sometimes not. It depends on the recording. Stories or audio books I'll number, it just makes things easier later.

I do only use the order above for the long names, that being:

Track number, space dash space (I separate all info with space dash space), Artist, space dash space, Album, space dash space, Track Title, dot, exstention (.wav, .mp3, etc).

1x CD

The powerhouse Amiga (Amiga Escom 1200, 49Mhz) has a Blizzard 1230 which is a SCSI interface. Plugged into it is a 1xCD ROM/AudioCD reader. It can play AudioCD and has a headphones out and volume control on it that has as of late, caught my attention....


Back to top.

April 2017

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


I have yet to find out what has happened to Zoul, the commodore 128D. I have a hypothesis and that is it might be the RAMLink and not the PS. I'd rather it be the PS, since I can't get the other RAMLink working, but it would be easier to deal with.

The last thing I was able to do was way back when I published string math. I unplugged the HD and hooked it up to the C64 to access the tools and files needed for the project. Since then, the C128D has sat idle with no diagnosis done on it. If my hypothesis is correct, all I have to do is pop out the RAMLink and witch in the on-board JiffyDOS chips and off I go. Not quite, I'll be RAMLinkless and all that will entail.

If it is the PS then I'll have to tear the system down and that will not be pretty, not that a failed RAMLink is pretty. I'd rather has it be the PS that has failed since I can affect repairs myself and have lots of experience doing so on this system. The biggest roadblock of course, is time. It will take time that I don't have. Hence the system sitting. I have had the longest down time on this machine ever.

I have been digitally recording LPs and that is where some of the little time I have had has gone, but even that has slowed way down. Much of the slow pace is apathy perhaps. I an usually tired midday when I has traditionally done this work. It a quiet restful work, but having these kids, who are healing, slowly, but they are healing, takes a lot out of us and I have lost a lot of energy I associate with motivation.


It is time to clear out the projects. I have these piles that are projects. The piles have become those piles I never wanted to have in the studio. The piles are breaking the No Crap policy I have. For instance, over by the C64 are several shoe boxes that contain disks that need to be gone through. This should have been a one year project. But! Something came up, then something else, then I started another project, and something got set on the boxes and they became a nice place to set stuff that, "I'll get to later."

Let's see, what projects have piles? And not just up and coming, or even half finished projects, but finished projects. I made us all Autopia licences, by scanning Autopia cards, then getting into GIMP filled in the info on the backs and pasted pictures in place on the front. Then printed them the right size, with multiple on one sheet to save paper (not easy) then laminating them. There is a pile of rough drafts and misprints where the scale got messed up, kinda messing with my plan to not waste paper or ink for that matter. Well, lets see...

It would be nice to get the projects done (defining done as in a state where goals are met and all the post project debris gone.

With several fix projects waiting, the laptop rebuild, the PS replacement (C128D), investigating the C64/RAMLink situation, these crap piles in the way; I think it is time to eradicate them.


Back to top.

May 2017

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


It was bad enough when Google changed their logo from a beautiful Times Roman font to a Stupefied Version of Helvetica, but the new SSL came along and got implemented. Unfortunately the Amiga community got left behind. At least I did. Major freaking bummer.

But what does this mean? Well, I use Image FX and the HP Scanjet IIc+ to scan things for just about all our scanning. It has become less, though, since you can get a fair enough representation of, say checks, with an iPhone. But I would scan, open iBrowse log into Gmail and email the scans to what ever account they needed to go to. Pretty simple, and relatively quick. Well, with the newer SSL that is no more.

Now the older browsers on Windows work with TTL, but this trick appears not to work with Google. (perhaps more investigation can happen here, since I can get into places like YouTube on Windows 2000. That is not logged in, but loading pages and the like. But there is a solution, albeit, not a quick one.

A while back a friend gave me some old PC software that included Norton's PC Anywhere. PC Anywhere is very similar to Teamviewer. I can remote control computers as well as move files. The Amiga, is set up with PC Link software and hardware. This lets me place my scans (or an other file) found on the Amiga on to an IBM 760ED ThinkPad on the other end of the PC Link cable. I can actually save right to the ThinkPad's HD from Image FX.

Once on the IBM's HD, I can get on the IBM A21p ThinkPad and access the files on the 760ED, and thus move them over to that computer's HD. The 760ED has a keyboard that is fairly choppy as it most likely needs cleaning and running Windows 98 isn't setup for much since the SSL change. But, I can get through to it via the A21p. Once these files are on the A21p, I now have the option of emailing or sending via Teamviewer to another machine for printing, etc.

I have scanned a couple of children' books on the Amiga, moved them over all the way to a 3rd computer (this one, the X41t) and made them into PDFs. Now we can read them electronically.

This reminds me of the Amiga laptop project. I had set up a Linux box that boots to UAE (Ubiquitous Amiga Emulator) as it's only GUI. It was going well. It was basically up and running. I it had some drawbacks, like there was no SCSI port, no Amiga joystick/mouse post, etc. But it had a great display and was portable! I think I may have inadvertently wiped the drive and installed something else on it as I was looking for this install a couple of months ago and never found it. Not I didn't look in the 760ED drives; it is possible it was that long ago. I have a couple 760 series machines I could use to look among those drives.


Back to top.

The following are for archival purposes :

Archaic Archive | Archaic Archive 1997| Archaic Archive 1998| Archaic Archive 1999| Archaic Archive 2000| Archaic Archive 2001| Archaic Archive 2002| Archaic Archive 2003| Archaic Archive 2004| Archaic Archive 2005| Archaic Archive 2006| Archaic Archive 2007| Archaic Archive 2008| Archaic Archive 2009| Archaic Archive 2010| Archaic Archive 2011| Archaic Archive 2012| Archaic Archive 2013| Archaic Archive 2014| Archaic Archive 2015| Archaic Archive 2016

Copyright 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Noesis Creation All Rights Reserved.