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=== The Archaic Archives ===

The Archaic Archives
Archive: 2001

This page was updated: June 16, 2020

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January 2001

2001 An Archaic Odyssey


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy New Year!

Well, the new millennium is in full swing and the 21st century well under way. Now some have been confused by all this; but consider this. You turned 1 on your 1st birthday -- one year after you were born. Technically you were starting on your first year right away. In whole number terms you were one right away (although I tell everyone my kids are zero until they have a first birthday, but that's just me).

Now a millennium is 1000 years, so the first Millennium was up to 1000 and the moment it was complete (1000 years) time was marching on in the second one -- same thing this time round. The new millennium started last year, the moment the other was reached. I had been going back and forth on this and stated the argument here for the case of 2001 being the new millennium, but then realized I was full of hooby waby. So there you have it.

I ran across INFO64's first issue (a mag I never had the privilege of reading). There was a new or news area where they mentioned a computer a company was making that would run Apple II, IBM and commodore software. The editor had received a call or note from someone and was hoping to get more info. Was it a joke? Did someone really have these plans? I'll post more as the story develops.

If you had such a machine, you could try out all the versions of a program in a given package -- such as the Hartware stuff that has Apple II, C64 and IBM in one box -- all on the same machine! Bet you could tell which one it was written on.

It's funny as, on my Amiga I can run C64, IBM, and Mac softs. I have a bazillion emulators and could possibly run more virtual machines, should I get them up and running. It is not uncommon for such things. But back then! According to one Bio; Gates (not handy at the moment), Bill and Allen wrote emulators for chips on the computer they used at school to do much of their early development (mainly a traffic counter).

Any who it was interesting to see someone was thinking in that direction. In one of the INFOs there was a Spartan review (big thing you plugged into the C64 to run Apple II+ stuff, problem was the IIe had become the standard.

Traditionally, around this time of year, we run Twisted Christmas, Twisted Christmas II, MCSC To You, as well as the old commodore store-front demo Don't Open Till Christmas. I used to have the SX64 setup in our living room at our old house.

Now the Studio and music room, as well as the playroom are all one big semi-open area filled with machines and plenty of room for kids. There are a couple Amiga music/graphic sets that I've inherited from John that have joined the repuetuar. I guess I should have called this posting, "Geeks, Christmas and Kids." Anyway the kids love these old programs.

Recommended stalking stuffers (for next year ;)? Any of the new Adventure games coming out -- guaranteed not to say, "I don't know how to ____ ." As they are of the graphical interface variety with a heavy intermix of arcade action.

Heroes & Cowards
It's Magic 2
Medal Dust (for the SuperCPU enhanced C64 running under CLiPs)

is how the list may start. But are they out yet? Things tend to move slowly in the commodore 8-bit world and I must admit I am behind on my reading. Perhaps a visit to CMD ( may provide some clues.

Oldies? How about:

Alien Destruction Set
Xevious (this one I want!)

But what if you are buying for someone who is a real fanatic? These days you really can't go wrong buying hardware. The FD2000, RAMLink, SuperCPU, even any piece of used equipment with the commodore logo on it is a wonderful item to give the commie fanatic (have you met one that wasn't a fanatic?).

My top two, come from the categories of commodore and Amiga:

GO64! ( Magazine


Amiga Active (sorry, url not handy, but you can go to and scroll down to Amibench; click there and they have a link) also a Magazine.

I bought Epic's Arcade Classix MK II for the Amiga and PC. Most of the games are PAL, but even on my 50Mhz Amiga they play well. There are a few that are too fast, there is a Loderunner Clone that was so fast the bob to bob collisions were not even detected, but the bob to background (the gold) works.

Games that don't like the speed of my processor do one of two things or both, they either run way too fast or the baddies don't have the ability to catch me (bob to bob, similar to sprite to sprite collision detection).

However, only a few games do this. There are some that don't load at all, but most work wonderfully!

There are hundreds of games on this CD. Many AGA games, many originals, many clones. I am a Pacman fanatic (I used to hate the game), and there are at least 10 different versions, including clones that are dead ringers for the original down to the way the ghosts act, and the patterns they take on each level.

It's a good thing they are on CD as it gives the kids a chance to get highscores (I tend to fill them up too high too fast -- hey, I've been playing arcade games since before there were home computers ;)

99.9% of the games can be played right off the CD, and many (more than I would have thought) exit back to the Workbench.

I have yet to check out the PC side and it may be a while before I do, if ever.

This CD rates 5 stars in my book (that's 100% in EuroMagazenese). I got mine from Turtle Lightning in Texas.



Follow up: That company making the Apple II/C64/IBM moved to Texas and vanished.... Bummer.

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February 2001

Archaic Computer, the Final Frontier


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy St. Valentine's!

Well, I had been planning a couple of upgrade/repairs to the 128D for quite sometime now, and we had planned to have it as part of a TV/BUG worknight meeting. One thing or another kept the event from happening. It would seem that these were to be plans that would come of not.

Well, I was determined to do it at the January worknight, but we had to reschedule -- we did it on a February morning. It was still the January worknight, as we still get to have one this month despite the fact that there was one already.

So, How'd it Go?

It went well. I had decided to hold off on the modifications to the power supply, as I am leaning toward amplifying it inline (e.g., a battery). The removal of the KeyDOS ROM from the 128 went well, as did the installation into the 128D. I love KeyDOS! I have it on my flat 128, but that system has been packed away for quite a while. I am slowly starting to get used to having it, if you know what I mean.

The drive fixed didn't take. I think the problem with the drive isn't related to the head spring, but rather a small dimple that serves as a stop that the drive moves the head passed (usually when booting without a disk). When I leave a disk in the drive for months at a time, the problem would eventually fix itself, all be it, temporarily.

I have the machine configured to where I once wanted it so long ago. I didn't want to pull the ROM out of the flat 128 as it is a system that is of special configuration that I just didn't want to tamper with. So when I acquired another flat 128 with the ROM installed, a great opportunity was at hand.

Other fixes in the works?

Well, I finally sent the RAMLink and FD4000 to CMD to get fixed. They have been successfully repaired and have returned home. Both are running well.

I have a RAMDrive that needs new nicads, that I hope to get to soon, this one will be home repair. I have started looking for replacement batteries for my HP75D and hope to get some batteries for my PX-8s -- as both units have totally died.

Well, aside from new batteries and that nasty brown-out we had about two years ago, all systems are go!

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March 2001

Archaic Computer, the New Adventure!


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wow, what a month! The weather is warming up and -- dual nubies! Having twins, particularly not our first child(ren, is rather nice. Our children have always loved babies and the wait to hold one is not so long ;)

I have acquired a second harddrive; a CMD HD40. I made a mirror of the partition that had the messed up pointers and then reformatted the partition. I used MCOPY to copy it back. It worked! Now all I have to do is replace a few programs that were corrupted.

How'd this all start? I had the SuperCPU in 20Mhz mode using FCOPY+. That was it. There must be something in the code that requires the 8bit instructions that the 16bit can't cover. Maybe more on this, should I solve the mystery. FCOPY+ works fine, otherwise (otherwise, being the SuperCPU not in 20Mhz mode).

I didn't feel brave enough to edit the BAM or any other hack, and I lost my wonderfully Organized SID collection (subdirectories by type and artist). But I can rebuild that in short order. The biggest loss was the IPaint pictures that I had. They are gone forever, as they never got copied to ED floppy as the HD had died before that was done.

All else, is either stuff I was getting rid of or easily replaced. Things will be mostly the same, but in the backing up process I managed to organize things better.

Now that I have KeyDOS installed, I plan to write a simple batch file to change subpartitions, zip to 64 mode and boot MENUETTE. The new adventure begins!

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April 2001

Archaic Computer, the Bold Frontier!


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy Easter!

I'm still ironing things out here, after our move almost two years ago. I should have it figured out by the time we decide to move again!

I have a Tandy MGA monitor I plan to put on the IBM tower (PS/2 Model 60 -- 286 ooooooo!) with an A/B switch to hook-up the Jameco cased Atari 1040STf via a small, but useful, adapter cable that allows VGA monitors to be used with the ST. This ST is housed in a case that opens like the hood of a big American car! It has an ICD SCSI controller hooked up to a monster 120Meg HD, builtin 3.5 inch floppy, 5.25 inch floppy and one open bay for a CD-ROM (yet to be found and installed). The PC Ditto board is in it for 386(?) emulation. It is indeed a fun machine!

The Harbour Lights Amiga 2000 is hooked up to a nice (old model) 1084S that sits on a small stand on the floor next to the Miracle (musical) keyboard. Composite out goes to the 1701 that sits on the Amiga 1000 and the (computer) keyboard is on the stand next to the scanner. This set up warrants a picture, so be ready to see that in the next 2 years or so! What can I say, I am slow! ;D

I've still got 3 monitors and a small TV awaiting being hooked up or stored. I'm trying to get the TV to the Atari -- shame on me -- it is still without a monitor after all this time (actually I have a Bentley TV for it, I just have to adapt the PS).

I really should get a photo shoot going one of these days. I have a pile of Compute!s that I'm integrating into my collection (basically, sorting through and getting the ones missing from my collection and adding them). So it'll be a future project.

Lost Treasures.

Perhaps this should be called Found Treasures. I was going through a pile of stuff I had gotten from someone who had jumped shipped and gone the way of the Clone. It was an item I saw listed, probably in the TENNEX catalogue. Software that was 128 specific. Something I wanted to use to make, in the words of Norm Abruhms, "a measured drawing" of our house. Although, it was probably my apartment, when I first saw it listed. I don't know what prompted me, just a project for my computer really.

This was an item I later thought would come in handy to have floor plans of our house, for rearranging the studio -- I could do it virtually, before I did it for real. Or making our annual haunted house for Halloween -- to take some of the guess work out of what might work and having everything premeasured would surely spare me some time.

Home Designer 128 is the title. After not having the money to buy it for many years (we all have our priorities, I was in college, I needed that food thing), after not being able to find it anywhere when I could afford it (lots of commodore support places were disappearing), after looking at yardsales in hope (I've had it written underneath wool blankets in my planner for as long as I can remember), it simply popped up one day.

Have I delved into it? Have I started measuring, and plotting? Have I put the manual in my huge reading pile? To answer all those questions -- no. Being a full- time- stay- at- home- parent, having twin babies, tends to suck up any free time, and when I do get a moment, I tend to just sit and stare at the walls a bit, or try to sleep.

But things are slowly settling down. I can put the babies in our twin snuggley and have my hands free for a while. Perhaps I'll get an afternoon off and remember that treasure awaits. Meantime.... well, we'll see, we'll see.

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May 2001

Archaic Computer, the eLectronic Frontier!


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy Mother's Day!

Well, the time of year is upon us, here in the Northwest, when BBQs get cleaned, lawn and garden work commences, the lawn chairs and hammocks get cleaned off and sun tea jars start appearing. Computing takes a back seat as warmer weather drives us out doors (this would be where a laptop would come in handy).

As I find myself wanting to write and wanting to go outside and stay, I feel the lack of my PX-8.

A couple of month's before we moved, my PX-8 batteries had had enough. It was a time when I really needed portable computing. Rather than get batteries, I decided it was time to get a 386 to do, not only html and writing, but to write programs and such for the commodore, via an emulator.

I was planning a time away from my normal computing areas and didn't want to give up my commodore for that period. But I did.

I bid on a laptop and won, then the company messed up (or so they say) and sent me a different one, and a non-working one at that. Prior to that, I had managed to get a lightning fast Dell NL25 -- a little 35Mhz job, but it had display problems.

Many emails and much time later, I never got a portable lightweight solution. Looking back, I should have gotten batteries for the PX-8, as I could have been programming it and doing all my writing from there. As you may recall, I did not for about for three months and then wrote everything from memory! 20 20 after sight.

So what's my portable solution? Well, I have the TRS-80 Model 100 for writing (I need to either fashion a modem cable or get one) and my HP75D now has new batteries(!). I really like the Model 100's battery pack. Four regular AAs. Cool, huh?

My HP had been down for sometime and I knew someone who worked at HP and asked him where batteries might be found. He steered me in the right direction and a couple weeks later I'm portable again! The old HP calculator and computer's power needs can be found here:

What Now?

Well, I think it's time I perused the annals of Archaic Computer and see what's left out. The bits of information promised that I've never gotten to. It's time to write a major follow-up for the faithful few who have been waiting in hope. I'll definitely need some major portable computing for that ;) I may see if I can barrow my wife's iBook as it has an Airport that can get me online in the backyard with no wires -- that's exciting -- and all in the name of Archaic Computing! ....well, maybe I'll get batteries for the PX, I like it's keyboard better....

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June 2001

Archaic Computer, the Bitstream of the Future!


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy Father's Day!

Well, where to begin? I had hoped it (my inspiration for this month) would come sooner, and it will come eventually, but I am still in shock from the recent events.

I was upstairs messing around with the iBook for whatever reason when I happened upon this page and click the CMD link. I started to browse their site when I saw that they were no longer taking orders for commodore stuff. I felt like I was kicked in the stomach. I had many things on my wish list from CMD and had just not gotten around to ordering them. Having 5 kids tends to make expendable cash a non-reality.

I knew they were gearing down, as a couple of months ago (had it really been that long) I read the open letter to the commodore community. I missed the Centsible Software buy out of CMD's software inventory. It seemed that only a week or two had gone by. Babies do that to your life.

I got an order in when they reopened the order page for the day or so that it was open. I put my order in for what I considered the single most important item on my list -- the EX2+1. I need a couple of more ports on my 128D system. I really need it on my C64 as well, but I will have to simply live in hope that a retailer somewhere will have one when I have the means.

I don't have a single 1541 drive with JiffyDOS : / Major Bummer! While my 64 remains a totally stock machine (and I plan to keep it that way), I want to have a drive which I can use the JiffyDOS in RAMLink when I need it. Most games the kids play are so heavily copy protected that I can't even snap shot a copy into the RAMLink.

I'm not a purist who believes it's not a commodore if I use 3rd party hardware as that, for me, is what the commodore is all about. While I hack out code and play games and write and many other standard things from the commodore -- I am a hardware hacker at heart. I love devices -- especially ones whose drivers are invisible (RAMLink, Hearsay 1000) or are automatic (Quick Brown Box). And yes, I must admit -- I hate printers ;)

Well, maybe more will come to me soon, right now I am in mourning. I don't have anything official from CMD, if they sent press releases they missed us (most do), but I'll keep my ears and eyes open and post any info that comes my way.

Just a note, I think the page updated date is an auto-date, asp-thing.

Noesis Creation now has an actual domain name -- No need to update your bookmarks as it's in the same place, here on Angelfire. There is no www sub-domain to it -- just Keep in mind it is a redirect and it uses a frame (this url no longer appears in a frame) and many other web sites don't pop out of the frame and when you hit a link here, the will still be the url in your browsers url line, so if you hit update, NC's index page will be loaded. The designation just makes it easier to get here if you don't have the long version bookmarked. I don't think the counter is affected, so use the one you feel most secure with.

Autumn & Sunset Technologies.

This seems to be where we old dieHard computerers (as opposed to computerists) are. Reminiscing of days of old, and yet still enjoying the technology that was new when it was new to us. I still look for VIC20 stuff and Atari 2600 stuff. I still use these machines. I like having a wide array of machines available. Should I run across a piece of equipment or software that fits a need I have, it matters not that is for an Atari 400 or Xerox 820. I simply use that machine.

I have been a long time TI99/4a owner, but the last couple of years, I haven't had them set up -- this I hope to change by redoing some of the equipment already setup. The answer to the mega challenge? Gorilla shelves. These are mega heavy duty garage type shelving systems that are 18 inches deep, and 4 feet wide. They can hold PET computers and other heavy equipment with ease, and have a relatively small foot print. I'll try to get a photo when they get set up. They will probably have to wait till mid or late summer, however, my brain is exploding on this one as this is very exciting. I can place many, many machines on these shelves.

Now, the 99/4a probably won't wind up there, but the Wang will, and that will free up space to put the 99. My 8-bit Ataris have waited long enough, and this will give me the freedom to hook them up as well (most of our arcade is Atari 8-bit!). I'll try to get some rough sketches posted. I have them drawn, just getting the time to scan them may be hard.

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July 2001

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

H a p p y I n d e p e n a n c e D a y ! !

Computing in the Forest.

Every now and then we take a trip. Having five children, it used to be more then, than now. Checking into a hotel room means two rooms and the smallest of the children get to be with my wife. Or at least, that's what she says. So it would be an overwhelming and costly experience.

Enter a Terry camp trailer and a 1 ton, 12 passenger van. Now we can travel in style!

The Van, an old car pool commuter ride unit, has 11 captains chairs with lights above them like in an airplane. I removed one seat, it was right by the double doors, to make getting babies in and out easier. It's V8 engine kinda scared me as far as mileage goes, but it actually does quite good.

The trailer comfortably sleeps six. The beds are rather long so the babies sleep at the foot of the bed that the older girls sleep in.

On a recent trip, I found myself waking up an hour or so before the rest. It was a quiet, peaceful time.

I needed to write a simple sort PRG that could help determine weather or not my idea for checking a grid for links in a row would work.

I had written the idea in my Franklin back in May and still hadn't gotten a chance to check my idea. It seemed simple enough. I had written a bubble sort back in college and figured rather than reinvent the wheel....

Well, I didn't take my notes camping, but no matter, I'd write it from scratch. One afternoon, equipped with a Jolt Cola and a TRS-80 model 100, I set out to write a bubble sort. I wound up with a simple replacement (not a sort) but it did put my test text in alphabetical order. I had babies with me, while everyone else had gone swimming. It was in the morning I had discovered that my alleged sort didn't work. Part of the problem was I was playing with a TRS-80 PC4 and spent more time hacking it than thinking what was going where in the sort. I quickly recovered the sort when everything was quiet.

Now many people don't know what the big deal is. But kids are brain waves all over the place. I was trying to figure out something relatively simple and the kids were being loud and were near by. They went about 10 feet from me at the same volume and instantly, I figured out what I couldn't before. But the mornings there, it was beyond quiet. I could hear kids breathing, and that was all. No cars on the connector, no fans cooling the house, no refrigerators or other things that run in the house.

Dawn was bright enough to see the keyboard and my fingers were in flight. The TRS-80 Model 100 has a great display for just about anywhere. And the algorithm worked this time. My idea for the grid was also going to work. I had figured out just what I needed to do to code the other parts of what seemed like an impossible task at home. Nothing like the quiet morning.

The Portable of Choice

Well, I still miss my PX-8s. Yes, I still have not gotten batteries for them. The Model T does a great job at what I need for the time being. I wonder what my attitude toward it would be if I had a modem cable? I might start writing AC on it. I don't know.

I spent $2 on batteries for the TRS-80 and never once did I have to change them the whole week we went camping, nor on the following 3 day trip we took. It has a great graphics display. I do miss my PX....

Bottom line? When in a packing situation, while the Model T does pack well, it's soft case provides little protection beyond dust and dirt. The PX has a hard case that covers the keyboard, but not the ports. The easiest solution for me has been to use a small case to protect the PX from dust as well. The same could be applied to the T, only a hard case and it may be easier to set up as there is no keyboard cover to deal with. Perhaps a run down is in order (this falls into the list of things to come ;)


Many people have written me about one thing or another -- I had seven or eight emails to answer when it happened. Iris has a rather nasty bug in it somewhere. Basically, it was saving a new signature to the HD when it reset the computer. To make a long story short I have been recovering info on my HD and getting it working again. The crash happened before the week we took our first excursion in our new trailer, so it remained idle until we got back. I managed to respond to a couple emails via my 2000. The 1200 is making a slow recovery, I ask that everyone be patient with me for a couple more weeks (that's fast for me ;) and I'll try to get everyone connected to where they need to be or get a response out to them with the needed info.

I am desperately seeking Disney's The Lion King, Disney Animation Studio, and Maverick. All for the Amiga. Although Lion King for the C64, Atari St or 8-bit would fill the bill.


Well, the news of old of CMD saddens me. Turtle Lightning Amiga Software is going out of Business, more sad news. Terry, the owner, is softening the blow by simply lowering his prices until it's all gone. -- Tell him, Brian at Noesis Creation sent you! That URL is:

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August 2001

Archaic Computer, A Backup Nightmare


Brian Crosthwaite

You gotta make backups. It's just part of using a computer and common sense. On the commodore I use my FD drive to back up my partitions, most are 1581 or smaller and they naturally fit onto a DD, HD or ED in numbers of 1, 2, or 4 respectively. Even the big partitions are backed up, as they are simply applications and games and the like -- stuff already on disk. Those I make the usual master and work/play copy if I need to have it on floppy. Any music files I have come from floppy.

The Amiga 1200 is a different critter. Much of what I install is from disk, but there are some -- what I'll call systems, as they incorporate many, many files of many kinds that come from the net. It is akin to an install from CD, but they came from the net and they are interlaced through out DH0: -- the systems only hard drive and partition. I know, I should have made at least two partitions and I plan to make three. Why? If something corrupts my apps partition, for instance, (this is to be my second partition for applications) that is the only volume that needs fixing. Data is the third and system will be the first. But I can't do that. At least, not yet.

This machine has a scsi card with 1230scsi.device in it's ROM. I can't rename it to make the system think it is scsi.device while renaming scsi.device to at.device to fool HDBackup into playing my little game. You see, I have a nice box for my ST (Thanks John!), that has a CD and a tape drive in it. I hooked it up in hopes of moving the big stuff to tape, but while I can SKIP, RET, and REW the tape (skip files, reset the tension, and rewind) via the CLI with the MAGTAPE command, the HDBackup blindly saves to a tape (not) on scsi.device. I had hoped issuing the MAGTAPE command to check the presence of the device would let HDBackup know where to look, but alas, it was a no go.

Now the system partition on my Amiga 2000 has enough room on it to put everything on the 1200's HD directly on it (930Megs free -- I was thinking!). But, it too, has some issues. It does not like to share the line with any other HD. Now in it's defense it came from a big box that housed 4 or 5 other HDs and may have some internal set up things I can't control or it is simply being snooty about the whole thing.

That drive is internally connected to the GVP card in the 2000, I turn it on and it sits, I turn on the 2000, then it spins up, the system boots from it while the 2000's internal HD spins up, but stays hidden. If I reset, I do the double mouse button thing and deselect the internal drive's partitions to keep that drive hidden. To use the internal I have to disconnect the external drive physically from the system. Not to confuse anyone more, the external HD is hooked up as an internal drive by a splitter cable on the GVP card. The scanner, if connected has to be on or the system will simply sit there and not boot. Where as with the external drive boot up, the scanner need not be on, unless I need to use it, then it needs to be on at bootup time. But I digress.

What I tried initially was moving files over to the iMac to burn to CD-ROM, something I'd like to do to some of the IFF sound files I have (upwards of 50 Megs each). That's the plan at tonight's meeting of the Treasure Valley/Boise User Group. I have a 10-base-T setup but nothing to send files to another computer, at least not a non-Amiga computer. Tonight's endeavour will be to see if the files I have already sent via a term PRG on both computers made it ok. I may do the modem thing for the rest, however, it is tedious work at best.

Floppy back up via HDBackup my be my only option. As the timing is not right for me to get a Parnet cable. The Parnet (or Sernet for that matter) will allow me to reformat the HD as I can move all the files to the 2000's internally hooked up external HD.

Did I mention that I have been plagued by this for almost a year? Every now and then my HD gets checksum errors and they stay in one spot until I do the fix volume thing with Quarterback Tools. Then it moves, but it's mostly in unused catalogues in the download partition. A virus? Maybe so. But none of the protection and detection software has uncovered anything. Anyway, when all is fixed and the drive is repartitioned I can move the files back and all should be well.

The 1200 boots again, I really think it was the 060.lib that needed to be replaced, but I am not certain, so many things have been happening to this poor machine. I pulled all the cards out and there is only one battery, but it's soldered in, welded more like it. Why? I'm guessing so it wouldn't fall out during shipping, the thing isn't even 10 years old and it needs replaced. Oh, well. More on this as the story develops.

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September 2001

Archaic Computer, A Backup Odyssey


Brian Crosthwaite

Wow, what a long trip. It seems like years now, that the HD on this Amiga 1200 has had checksum errors. The OS is the only thing that could detect them and they reeked havoc all over the drive.

The biggest problem, was the Libs drawer disappearing. It would simply go away when I'd use QuarterBack Tools to fix stuff. It did fix things, but a bunch of corrupted catalogues kept messing things up all over again.

I knew the answer lie in reformatting (or at least optimizing) the drive. Well, I finally found a decent backup utility -- ABackup. It had lots of features I needed to get the job done.

I did get the files moved to the 2000's boot drive (plugging it in directly had the same affect as it has on the 2000's internal HD), it took 100 floppies, many, many hours and tons of patients. I am happy to say the drive has not only been reformatted, but also partitioned to have a roomy, yet separate SYS: partition, a fairly hefty PRG: (apps) partition and a rather large DATA: partition -- not too big as to force me to save things to other mediums in order to make room.

Cyberpatch is in the WBStartup drawer and an integral part of the system. No crashes (OK, one over bloated website reset IBrowse, but it would have killed Netscape as well) and all runs soooooo smooooothly.

Well, there is a pile of email that I need to get to (and have been), so if you emailed me, it's probably there, I just haven't looked into it yet!

It has, indeed, been a long and winding road to find a solution (emailing didn't work -- many files too big, modemming direct to iMac took too long and was not good as the directories became hidden to the Amiga, all my modems hang-up and report "no dialtone" so Amiga to Amiga was out, no Parnet, no SerNet, et cetera, so on and so forth), but one was found and the iNet machine (Amiga Escom AG 1200 060 49Mhz, 52 Meg) is back online!

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October 2001

Archaic Computer, The Final Frontier (not really)


Brian Crosthwaite

Trick or Trick?

Getting up this morning was hard. I thought it must be the shift from or to (I can't keep track of these things) daylight saving time. But the sound that awoke me this morning was unnatural by any definition.

Can you imagine, for just a moment, a howl that sounded like a screaming knock? I know that sounds weird, but those are the only things I can use to describe the sound. It was like a knock, it was like a howl, and it was like a scream. It was only one sound. It was quite strange.

I bolted up out of bed, not knowing if I should call 911, or answer the door. Cat fight? The sound came again, my mind still confused at what my ears were sending it. I had to see what was out there. I ascended the long staircase that led to the main floor of the house. When I got to the kitchen, there was the sound again, only different somehow, but I could tell it was the same source. Like how a child might disguise their voice, it still sounds like the child, yet different.

As I entered the parlour, I heard another sound to the front of the house. It sounded like someone chopping on a stump or some large tree with an axe. It sounded.... ....moist.

I darted toward the door through the dark and hit someone or something on my way with my shoulder. I know this house -- there was nothing that could be there!

I reached for the light when a strange feeling hit me. It was like I knew if I turned on that light, whatever it was that was there, would somehow be harmed.

The chopping stopped and then there was silence. I hit the switch and the light strained as if I woke it and before the room could flood with light, it popped off! The bulb had burned out.

Still silent, feeling betrayed by the lights, I listened. I could hear a faint sound. A ticking? A heart beat! It was not my own! I needed light and the porch light should be on, so I quickly opened the door.

Light poured into the room like a welcome river of photonage, illuminating the area immediately around me. I turned to see what I had bumped into and there was -- nothing.

Nothing? How could this be? It had hit me and hard.



Outside there was silence. I looked. The old stump was there, just barely in the light of the porch. What I saw will haunt me for the rest of my life. There were claw marks, the size of grizzly's on the side, and blood on top, fresh, flowing down the side, as if an execution had been carried out only moments ago.

I felt nauseated. The world around me felt like it was spinning. I turned in my cloud of confusion, it was time I called the police. I felt dizzy. I don't recall making it to the phone. The next thing I knew it was morning and I was waking up in the comfort of my own bed.

It had been a dream! And a strange one at that. I was relieved. A little shaken still, but totally relieved.

I got up and started to dress, when my wife asked why I had gotten up in the middle of the night....

Happy Halloween Everybody!

Things have been truly chaotic here for the last 8 months. Hmm seems to coincide with the birth of the twin babies!

I have discovered a remarkable gem of science, in my own neck of the woods. The Bruneau Dunes' Observatory.

We live an hour and 20 minutes from a geological wonder called Bruneau Dunes.

There are several big sand dunes in the middle of a desert made up of only Basalt and Dirt. So where does the sand come from? There are two prevailing trade winds that cross. The air where they come together gains in pressure, slowing the speed and causing anything carried in it to simply drop. Over time, the dunes have gotten quite large.

This place is it located in one of the darkest regions in the US. I had never heard of the skyglow from cities referred to as Light Pollution until we went to the presentation (designed to inform, and let your eyes adjust to the dark) before the viewing was to commence. I am not unfamiliar with astronomy and it's terms. I had seen satellite pictures of the earth at night. They are wonderful. But they also tell a tragic story for ground based, telescope astronomy.

They showed one of these pictures from around 86 or so and there were loads of dark areas. The one they showed from the 90s showed more like dark spots, and only a few regions were dark.

The lights from cities light up the atmosphere above and around them making seeing things at night difficult through a telescope. It has reached epic proportions where it is a problem to find a good area of sky in which to look out into space.

Winter is the best time, or at least it used to be, for looking up. I recall the winter nights I'd look up out at my folk's house to see the Milkyway. Well, Boise has grown and the sky is brighter at night, so less can be seen from what once was out in the boonies.

While we were there, the International Space Station passed over us and we all went outside to see it.

The Dunes are in the dark. The telescope is a 25 inch reflector, and they had several smaller ones trained on various objects. I got to see a body of stars 125 light-years across that are all held in each others gravitational pull and orbit the Milkyway as one object. It was too cool. I hadn't seen the sky like that since I was in college and we ran out to the observation pad one dark winter night to look at Halley's Comet.

Bruneau Dunes is about 20 miles south of Mountain Home off I84, should you find yourself in the area. It is a wonderful, wonder filled place.

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November 2001

Happy Thanksgiving!

2001, an Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

My browser has a new transfer animation!

The cooler weather brings on the computing spirit. For me, this time is a time to reflect. I seem to recall a time when the year 2001 was in the far, far, far future and now, here it is, almost over.

In the seventies, it would have sounded like a Geek Dream -- that in the year 2001, there would be a new Star Trek series. Can you imagine? Definitely way out there. Well, 2001 came and low and behold -- a new series!

2001. 2001, it just doesn't seem possible. Is it just me? It was given a Mystique, by Arthur C. Clarke. I recall him saying like if anyone was alive in the year 2001, they would surely have the medical technology to live forever. Not quoting here, but that was the reason 2001, A Space Odyssey was staged in that year. This year. 2001. Wow.

What has 2001 brought into my computing world? Well, it was last year that I acquired a SuperCPU. A 128 Tower entered my presence, that I need to start assembling -- that will be a project and a half for 2002. A PowerBook 170 came this year. And I'm reminded of an old Friend missing from my computing reputuar. I was given a PX-8 for converting the files to MS-DOS -- I still have not bought the batteries mine needs to run. I've become reacquainted with the TRS-80 Model 100, taking it camping and out back whenever the moment strikes me.

But the biggest thing is, this is the year I got Wheels! It zips right along with the SuperCPU as if it were meant to be that way always. Is it worth it? I'd have to say, Yes. There are some things that you find make life a lot easier.

For instance, with Gateway and a CMD HD, you have to load the HD driver to access the native partitions, if you booted with the drivers for 1581 (or vis versa). To move files between the two -- I have no clue, as you have to install the given drivers for the given modes. With Wheels, I can access both using the native mode drivers and simply open a window for each partition and/or subdirectory and drag and drop to copy. Moving a file with the same name, but not sure which one you want to keep? You can copy it and rename it, overwrite it or simply abort the operation.

There are many things it brings to GEOS that most computer Users expect on other platforms. I can customize the colors of everything. I can edit the background pattern. And GEOS applications zip right along as there is no patch to install to utilize the SuperCPU. With a system this stable, I realize, I'm spoiled, but it still feels like my old commodore.

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December 2001

M e r r y C h r i s t m a s !

2001, the Year of Science Fiction


Brian Crosthwaite

1 2 - 2 2 - 2 0 0 1 : That was the date! I finally got the Commodore Amiga 1200 expanded and setup to do internet.

That was my plan a couple of years ago. I had this 2Meg RAM, stock A1200. John set me up with an awesome drive setup (the ps, the whole nine yards). I had gotten what turned out to be a nonstandard PCMCIA card as what I had hoped would be a cheap expansion as most stuff started in the $200 range for the 1200 -- it didn't work. I finally ran across a 1 Meg card being sold by an Amigan that he pulled from his 600 -- still not enough RAM.

Well, by chance I happened to be messing around with the iBook, updating a web page, when by a fluke I surfed over to eBay and found a 4Meg card (same brand even), bid on it several days before close and actually won it!

I had gotten the cheap expansion I once sought. Meanwhile, I had cheated and bought my ESCOM A1200 that was expanded to the kilt with more RAM and more speed than I really needed. Well, more RAM, speed is good and I know it's not too fast ;)

Any who, there I was, online with graphics and forms and the like, standing in front of the game station typing away... The Commodore Amiga 1200 has been assimilated into the gameframe collective, along with an Atari Jaguar, a CD32, an MD2500, a Colecovision, an NES, and possibly more.

I know it's a geek thing, but it was a moment in history....

Wow. 2001 is almost over. This was a landmark for many, due in part, to Kubrick/Clarke's 2001, A Space Odyssey. In an interview Clarke said he staged it in 2001, as he felt that if one was alive in that year, the medical technology would exist to live forever.

2001, the Year of Science Fiction -- That's what Dave Moorman, editor of LOADSTAR, called it.

When you look at technology, there have been many amazing things, but no sufficient changes in computers -- they pretty much function the same as they always have. Albeit, a lot faster. Even my commodore 128 screams compared to what it did out of the box (which wasn't that bad to begin with). Sure there are some cool add-ons, and some software improvements, but the CNS of it all remains basically the same.

I bought an IBM Thinkpad this year. It may not arrive until next year. Now, before anyone has a heart attack, it is an old P133 (a rather loaded one, more later ;), and certainly not my first PC and not my first IBM. As one who accumulates old computers, certainly I'd have some from one of the oldest computer companies around -- IBM is over 100 years old. Of course, they didn't make notebook computers 100 years ago, but, hey, they just may live forever....

Anyway, despite world affairs, this has been a rather special year for me, as it was the year we had two babies (instead of one). It took a little getting used to, I no longer look at new parents and wonder where the other one is. I have had little time to do much beyond family, and perhaps it has helped me keep my sanity, in light of current-day events. It has also been a long period of healing as last year we lost someone who was very dear to us. Add a bazillion camping trips in and this has been quite a whirlwind year. Maybe not the way I envisioned it, but such is life.

In the words of one Immortal, "What a long strange trip it's been."

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