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Archive: 2006

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Updated: April 13, 2020

January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
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August 2006
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October 2006
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January, 2006

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STAREDATE: 20060103

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone is getting quality time at the keys. Winter seems the time to snuggle in with a hot drink and a good bit of keying. Weather coding or just surfing, it is definitely the time of year to be inside, and at it.

This year I spend any and all extra energies getting our playroom enlarged before the holiday break.

I had set up a card table to work on some power supplies and computers a year or so ago. It blocked the VIC-20 and plus/4, and was a bit of a pain. I borrowed a computer table that was half that size from my Mom and she told me to keep it.

Well, the walkway was more navigable, but the computers were still inaccessible. I moved it over into the playroom area of the basement.

That's about the time the TV upstairs went kablooie. It was time for a new TV. Unfortunately the new TV was too big to fit on the old stereo cabinet, and the old cabinet had to go. The new cabinet has a lower profile and the TV sits on it just fine. I lost a couple of components, but the DVD player plays music CDs just fine, so all in all I only lost the tape deck. Since I use my old boombox a lot, that didn't pose a problem, the box can sit in front of the cabinet when we want to listen to tapes.

The old stereo cabinet with the CD player and cassette player went down into the playroom, next to the blue computer table.

An Amiga 3000 took up residency on the blue table along with The Tower of Terror -- a towered C128 and it's monitor. Well, it's monitor was actually the C65's monitor and it went over to the 65 and a USB printer quickly took it's place. The only time the printer was used before was when a friend borrowed it (and still does) every December.

Naturally, the R30 wound up on top of the stereo cabinet to run the printer and master the network. (Actually, it depends on which computer you ask who runs the network, one of them thinks it's the 570 ;)

This all plugged up the walk way and encroached upon the open spaces of the playroom. (I should explain that the playroom is one third of a long room in the basement that spans the length of the house.)

I have some antique toys for munchkins to play with down there, but things being so tight -- it was time do reclaim the room.

I pondered long and hard. I tried Home Designer 128 (a bear of an unusable PRG if ever there was one) and finally got into geoPaint, like I always do, and measured everything, quickly drew it up and did a print out. I cut the furniture out and glued them on a print out of the room with no furniture. I came up with a wonderful design that would take most of the computers off line for a very long time, take several months to carry out, and might not work. So I asked the kids.

Natasha said, "too bad you can't just put this there, then you can move this over here."

I raised an eyebrow at her and thought, "could it be that easy?"

Well, I put the A3000 on a table in the annex that was providing a home for an unused, not even hooked up, 128 and it's drive. I put the 128 in the garage. I moved out all the magazines and tapes and plotter that was also just sitting there, and put the Atari Mega STe onto the blue computer table, moved the table into position, and put the stereo cabinet beside it and I gained 4 feet of open space!

Now that was the priority, to open up the playroom. And I got it all done before the drop dead-deadline of the first day of our break!

The babies (now 4) were very excited, we took hot wheels down and played, put those away, got out two castles (one of which was one of those antiques). We have some great movie watching space.

Winter Keying.

I didn't get much keying of code in, but we have full access to the plus/4 and VIC-20 as well as the commodore 64.

One of Victoria's nicknames is VIC-20, so Anastasia asked me if the commodore 64 was the Anastasia Computer, so we've dubbed it the Anastasia Computer.

Having three computers filled up with kids is a blast. The computers are all hooked up to a CMD hard drive. I can navigate the drive using normal commodore DOS conventions to send the JiffyDOS commands via the plus/4's keyboard. Although, it's easier to use JiffyDOS via the C64 as there is a RAMLink hooked up to it, providing JiffyDOS to that system, as well as parallel access to the hard drive.

Much time was spent in just hanging out with everyone. We did many Mad Libs (Santa brought me some) and enjoying the 2 Lbs of Dark Fairtrade Chocolate Mia got me.

I actually had time to pull out my HP-75. On it I found a musical piece I wrote on it. I've presented it here as a type-in PRG for those who have an HP-75 to enjoy. This may work on other computers that use the BEEP command with these parameters:

BEEP note, duration



Sky Line


Brian Crosthwaite

10 FOR I=1 TO 4*21
50 DATA 100,.1,100,.1,200,.1,300,.1
51 DATA 100,.1,100,.1,200,.1,300,.1
52 DATA 100,.1,100,.1,200,.1,300,.1
53 DATA 100,.1,100,.1,200,.1,300,.1
54 DATA 100,.1,100,.1,200,.1,300,.1
55 DATA 100,.1,100,.1,200,.1,300,.1
56 DATA 100,.1,100,.1,200,.1,300,.1
57 DATA 400,.1,400,.1,200,.1,300,.1
58 DATA 400,.1,400,.1,300,.1,200,.1
59 DATA 400,.1,400,.1,300,.1,200,.1
60 DATA 100,.1,100,.1,200,.1,300,.1
61 DATA 100,.1,100,.1,200,.1,300,.1
62 DATA 400,.1,500,.1,200,.1,300,.1
63 DATA 300,.1,300,.1,200,.1,100,.1
64 DATA 200,.1,200,.1,200,.1,300,.1
65 DATA 300,.1,300,.1,200,.1,100,.1
66 DATA 700,.1,700,.1,600,.5,500,.5
67 DATA 700,.1,700,.1,600,.5,800,.5
68 DATA 700,.5,700,.5,500,.5,300,.5
69 DATA 700,.5,700,.5,600,.5,500,.5
70 DATA 1400,.5,1300,.5,100,.1,200,.1
90 RUN

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February, 2006

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Ok, just because one is a Vintage Computing Fanatic, does not mean one doesn't also have a passion for newer technologies.

Being a fan of the ThinkPad, I have access to Linux in various forms as well as various flavors of Windows. I also have access to MacOS X. These seem to be the OSes that are about this century. I still see references to to BeOS, Alpha, AmigaOS 4, and OS/2 to name a few. These references are for versions of software (usually freeware).

Well, back to the subject at hand - Armagetron. For fans of the movie Tron, here is a real treat. With the advent of Armagetron Advanced, some truly awesome features have emerged to an already exciting game.

A as well as AA, look basically alike and can be configured to work on many types of computers (read versions of a given chip set). For instance, the IvoryTower is an AMD6 running at 100MHz, while the DarkTower is a P4 running at 2GHz. Both can run the game at playable speeds, while the latter has much more detail and more features are turn-on-able. One feature found in AA are the Rubber, Speed and Break dials. These are needle displays with the numbers they represent floating near the ends of the needles as they "flick and rock," as the song goes.

The P4 Dell can also show things like a mirror reflection on the floor giving it that "expensive" look, as Homer Simpson said about the 3D universe he had stumbled into on one of the Simpson's Halloween Specials.

Ok, but what of the game itself?

Well, you normally see the game grid from above and slightly off to the side and off to the back. You see something that looks very similar to the light cycles in Tron. This is a 3D display and it is a 3D game. You drive your light cycle to close off opponents as well as avoid them doing the same to you.

Game play is arcade-fast and strategically-intriguing. This game puts you to a position where taking chances (if you survive) can give you a decided advantage. When you get close to the walls, your cycle will speed up. The closer you can get, the faster you will go - but beware - even on newer, faster computers, the frame rate can drop on you at the worst of times (4 players suddenly converge upon one area) and control slows down.

AI players are named after various nefarious characters such as Word, Excel, and Outlook. CyclesteD and Linux are just a few of the AI names. You can set up the AIs to have lower or higher IQs making game play more suitable for the rank a player may be at.

The game is highly configurable, for both playability on a given machine/platform, as well as the options like player names, and players cameras (screen area). This game can be played with up to 4 players on one machine, many players on a LAN or via the Internet. The list of options goes on and on.

You can press [s] for chat, or use F-Keys for instant chat. You can even define the instant chat keys that come with preassigned chat: LOL, :-) and others.

Lets go back to that camera- angle- thing. Like I said it starts off with an above view. You can pres c and the camera changes to stationary, above, or as if you are in the light cycle itself!

Needless to say this game is a rush!


A note on a possible bug in the Armagetron Advanced for Windows:

When you are in the innermost menu system in the player menu, if you set the name of the player it will reset to "Player 1." If you exit right after entering it, it sometimes takes, but the best fix is to simply enter the player name under the outer most player menu.

You'll just have to DL the PRG, install and explore the menus to see what I'm talking about here.


The URL of the Armagetron Advanced site, where lots of info can be found, as well as the game itself in many flavors, is:

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March, 2006

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Well, I suppose this would have been more appropriate before Lent started.... oh, well.

Bon Appetit!

Ce' Brian "Ode' to New Orleans" Pecan Pie

Scientific Fact: Organic ingredients make for a better pie all around.

Preheat: 350


3 eggs
2/3 cup cane sugar
dash salt
1 cup ribbon cane syrup
1/3 cup butter
1 cup pecans
pie crust (use your favorite)

Whisk eggs until smooth with a wire whisk. Add sugar and salt. Again, whisk till smooth.

Zap the cane syrup to warm it prior to adding it -- you want every drop -- add it. Add melted butter. Whisk till smooth.

Dump in the pecans and stir. The object here, is to cover them with the goo.

With your pie crust in a 9inch glass pie plate, pour mixture in. Be sure there are no holes in the crust as the mixture will seep under and the crust will rise up to the top, under the pecans.

Bake 350 deg 50 minutes. Cover w/inverted aluminum pie pan for the first 25 min. Uncover for the last 25 min.

Chill overnight -- eat for breakfast.

Ok. Back to the Future again.

Well, I've placed a 40 gig HD in the 570 and installed Simply Mepis. The install may move over to the R30, as I've blasted out the XP install there and placed Xandros and Simply Mepis on it (see next month). It still heads up the network, but it lost it's nic. It was an RTL8180, but it is 32bit (has the gold strip and wide end piece). I have yet to see 32bit wifi cards running on Linux laptops/notebooks.

I was moving some files over to the Dell P4 upstairs. WinUAE moved right over with one plop. So that gave me the idea to just plop the DH files over from the 770Z to the R30, so naturally I didn't stop there I moved it over to the new 570 install, along with UAE.

Then I got to thinking, is there a binary file of 28 yet? I googled and found one and it works well!

The binaries for e-uae-0.8.28 can be found here:

I was in IBrowse and it gave me a no bsdsocket or what have you error. Well in the Amiga folder is bsdsocket.library. So, I moved that into the Amiga Libs folder. The browser looked and looked, but no error.

Hacking around, I found the .uaerc file. Looking in kwrite I found:


I changed false to true, reset the emulator and voila! I was on the net. That was it. I had left WinUAE. I now have an emulator on Linux that lets me use all my tools. iNet, editors, graphics -- all of them. Now, E-UAE is not as stable as WinUAE, but it comes real close in this release.

Now, I've found a DEBIAN distro of VICE 1.18. Lets see if I can get that going next!


And now, for something completely different.

Ok, not the subject, the nic. I recently acquired a Uniden PCW-300 card. It looked different from the other two I have.

I had bought my RTL to run under Linux The seller provided a driver that would supposedly work under RedHat 7.x. I bought it for Linux and it was the only card I owned that would not work on any of my Linux systems.

Now, I've been hummin' and hawin' about getting XP back up on the R30. I finally decided I could live without it and got the new Uniden card to replace the RTL.

See that tiny v2 up there? That's the clincher. The Linux boxes look at the other 300s as Oninoco cards. This new card is an RTL8180. And no, it does not work under any of my Linux installs -- although the new install of Simply Mepis turns it on and can find the router by name. However, it just can't make the final connect inside the system to make it work -- who needs this! I can't use the card on the 760ED, even though it recognizes the driver and the card et al, it just does not jive.

It is indeed, a bummer that Uniden went that way. At least, until Linux catches up.

My recommendation would have been to get a PCW-300 for your Linux notebook, but beware the v2 -- it is indeed a different beast. The big visual earmark of the 32bit cards are the gold strip on the plug-end of the card. They also will not plug into some 16bit slots. They do plug into some though. :/

Sound within Linux on an IBM ThinkPad 770:

I had RedHat on three TPs at one time, none of which could access their modems, nor any wireless cards, nor did they have sound. These were the DSP and ASP devices of the Mwave and Crystal Audio family.

OS/2 mistakes the 770Z's snd device for a Sound Blaster 16 and it plays sound wonderfully. I installed IBM's sound drivers that are to make things work -- and nothing worked. Naturally, I uninstalled the drivers and went back to the default of the "mistaken drivers."

I run Simply Mepis on the 770Z now (silent as the system thinks the device is DSP and not ASP). The kernel for older systems has the correct driver in it, but alas, there is something I'm not getting put together right. It still does not load (i.e. it reports an error and then no sound).

I run Slackware on the 770 with, until recently, no sound. I came across a reference to Red Hat and the 770 at Dag Wieers' web site:

From the command line I entered:

modprobe cs4232 io=0x530 irq=5 dma=1 dma2=0 mpuio=0x330 mpuirq=5
modprobe opl3 io=0x388

It seems the only way to be in KDE and have sound was to enter the above then select auto from the sound options. The MIDI didn't appear as an option until after I typed this in from the CLI. I may have had to re-enter it in a shell from inside KDE, but I never verified this as the system has much headroom (as in full), and once I got it working I have yet to turn it off. Ok, I turned it off last night to test another live distro, but have yet to reboot in Slack.

I have sound, and flash files play on this thing. The OS is a bit of a bloat on this machine, however, but it is fun!

Dag, has some info on other ThinkPads as well.

Awe, the portable Amiga!

Well, I can't tell you the pleasure of using an Amiga that runs on batteries, with a 13.1 inch color LCD screen and a 40Gig hard drive. I have sound, and games play on this system fairly well. I can't say that I've truly left WinUAE, but it is quite different being in a totally hackitve system, where everything just seems to come together.

Happy Hacking!

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April, 2006

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20060321: Ok, how did I get XP, Xandros and Simply Mepis all on one HD? As you may know, Xandros allows for scooting files over on your HD to make room for it, making a new partition. It does this really well. That was how I got everything off the R30 when XP went south.

I could have simply used a Live Distro to access the HD, but I wanted speed and was willing to experiment.

I decided to install Simply Mepis after all was said and done. I like certain things about it on the R30, like it uses (and I can define) the ThinkPad keys. I decided I wanted to put Xandros back. But it wouldn't let me move the Linux install over. So I went back to Mepis, with an idea.

I made the Mepis partition the size I wanted it to be, leaving the system install partition for XP alone. The rest of the HD I made into a FAT32 partition, with the hope that Xandros would think it a Windows partition.

It did!

I had it take over that Partition and install there. Get this -- I put GRUB on the boot sector (don't do this if you have an OS that unpacks from your HD), and was afraid I'd have to later edit to get Mepis to appear in the boot list.

I didn't!

It came up in the list along with Xandros and MS-Win (that is the system install).

Now, I have three OSes on this HD, ok, well, only two, but the MS-Win very easily could be XP. That is what I may do, I guess I'm awaiting the Orinoco card to arrive that will become the R30's card, so I can map drives and net connections. I may simply dump XP altogether.

Perhaps not.

I really like XP, it's like Windows, finally come of age. Like the Nineties at any rate. At least the install on the R30 was rock solid.

Then why did it get blown out?

That was me. I did it. I was removing the numerous installs on the HD to make room.

Ok, maybe it is stable at the risk of it's own demise. The only time I ever saw Scan Disk was when I ran it. I never saw the Blue Screen of Death on that machine. Surely it must have had a crash, but I can't recall on this day it ever doing so.

Despite the fun I have had with XP, it seems ,I don't miss it that much. Hm.

I'd like to thank Windows for making me curious about Linux.

The Tools.

So, what are The Tools? Well, I used to use SimpleFTP for most of my FTP stuff on the Amiga (I don't FTP much anymore). Wordworth 4SE, ED, and IBrowse are more of The Tools of choice (see above -- as in many months ago -- for the integration -- it is too cool!). Photogenics SE, ImageFX, Personal Paint, and Image Studio are some faves. By default on the 2000, Scan Center opens Personal Paint (if it needs opening) and loads the scan. I often over-ride it with ImageFX (unfortunately IFX can't scan with that systems SCSI :(

Say, there is a tool I need to have access to from this machine (the Amiga 570 ThinkPad) -- Scan Center! Time to get the Parnet going on the network!

Pecan Bars

I messed up the prior posting of this recipe. I messed up the sugar, I hope no one tried it, at least, not if you don't have a sweet tooth ;)

Remember organic ingredients taste better.

pre heat oven to 375

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup glutin
1/2 bran
1 cup dark brown cane sugar (not the white beat stuff with molasses in it) packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raw walnuts or pecans
2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup butter

Mix dry ingredients. Don't worry about brown sugar clumping, you know you love those big melted chunks -- don't lie. Melt the butter and molasses. Mix everything sans the nuts. When everything is consistent, place in a 15 * 10inch pan. If you can spread it in the bottom by hand, more power to you -- I use a rolling pin with no handles. Press pecans into the top of mixture.

Bake 375 for 20 minutes.

While I love to eat cookies hot, these will tend to taste funky hot, so go for a long walk, or space the time on eBay until they are cool. I know they smell awesome, just don't give in, wait. The more people you share them with, the better off you'll be, 'cos I'll just sit down and eat them all. Hey, only a couple of the kids like pecans ;)

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May, 2006

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20060422: The Vast Reaching ParNet.

A few days ago, I was thinking about the net work here. All the wireless machines are on the SaMBa network and there is a fair amount of file sharing going on. The newer iMac is also on that network, even though it connects via 10-base-T.

So why not get the Amiga in on it!

After a little bit of surfing around, mostly Aminet, I found a couple of SaMBa packages for the Amiga. Woo who! I was jacked! Then I dug further into the subject and came to realize I'd have to manually setup everything, and while that in itself is not so bad, I wasn't prepared to put in the extra time on top of that to learn all the ins and outs of what I'd be doing. :/

A while ago I had acquired a ParNet cable and softs to hookup a PC (PCLINK) up to the Amiga. (Search eBay for AmiLink or Amiga to PC, or Amiga Network.) This let me set up Strider (IBM ThinkPad 770Z) to Mythreal (Amiga 1200) and use the computers HD for storage and such. The such being, I could plop an Amiga install disk in the 1200 and click on install and install directly to the 770Z's UAE drives!


So I was thinking....

How about a shortcut to a drive on the network? No, that only appears as a file in the file requester and is totally useless.

Then it hit me.

I powered everything down and hooked up Einstein -- a P1 IBM ThinkPad 760ED. I installed the softs on it and got it all turned back on. Then I went to the file browser for the network and started mapping drives on the network. I setup several drives including one that's a temp as Strider's Windows HD is in Hawking at the present.

A geek Moment!

<geek moment>

I'm messing around with new Linux installs on a strictly experimental HDD, so Strider's HDD is in Hawking at the moment. This morning I FTPed the eBay pics from the server I use to hold the eBay pix on via the Amiga 1200, sending them straight down the line via the ParNet cable to the IBM 760ED, then through the WiFi to the 770Z's HDD, now residing in the second HDD bay on the 770!

</geek moment>

Next project.

Well, I'm back at hoping to get the clock going in GEOS. I got the graphics plotting part done. I managed to pack the geoBASIC manual in the puter bag, so it's ready when I need it. I was working on it when I realized there was info I needed, but didn't have.

I've dedicated an 8.1 gig HD to the Z for experimenting with various flavors of Linux.

An old project come of light, I'm messing around with an IBM PS/2 Model L40SX portable. It has a dead battery and presumably a dead CMOS battery. The latter preventing booting from the HD. There does appear to be an HD, the HD led comes on and I can hear it spin up.

I'm currently (right between typing here ;) installing DOS 6.22 on a floppy and plan to put a text editor on it to type up the details of experimentation as they unfold. At least the ones that have power on and the keyboard attached ;)

I'm in KWrite at the moment, on the Z with Slackware on hda2 and Kanotix on hda3. Both work well, complete with WiFi, but alas, no sound. I've found much info of different setups working with various sound settings, including some fantasy land ones, where someone suggested booting window then Linux, hoping the sound server would continue running. Maybe it's possible, then auto in Linux would detect it all set up, but I doubt it as Linux would most likely try to set it up and get the same results. I may be wrong here, I am by no mean any sort of Linux guru in even the majorest of stretches. ;)

More as the stories develop.

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June, 2006

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20060528: Well, ok, now. Hmmm. How does one start? How does one justify? What am I on about?!

Ok, I guess I'll start with the series of discoveries, and then lead into the technical aspect, with a re-enforcement of an earlier idea. Ok, may be just a bit of a redo. Let's call it... ...The Affordable Power.

The Affordable Power.

I have some things on a wish list that I don't know if I want to have. Why would I have them on a wish list? Anyone recall the episode of Star Trek, where Mr. Spock is, ah, well, goes into heat? He has to get to Vulcan to mate, or he'll die? Pon farr. Ok, that one!

At the end of the show, he basically congratulated the newly weds on their well (logically) laid out plan to get Spock out of the picture so they were free to marry, and Spock said, "You may find that having is not the same as wanting."

That's what I call the ethereal part of my list. I have a short list of things I need, like a new battery for the R30 (it'll have to wait), a visor for the Lynx (not a priority, but it would be nice), and other things. The ethereal are things that I want, but I don't want to have. These are computers that are kind of the pinnacle of the computing ideology of what it means to be a total geek.

Here they are: Amiga 4000T, Altair, R50.

Now, why in the world would I not want to actually have an A4kT? I mean it would be the fastest, most awesome machine in the Studio! A towered AGA with 060/PPC 256Megs of RAM, OS3.9, Shapeshifter, 20 inch flatscreen -- you get the idea.

It's not that I feel I don't deserve such a machine, it's just that, as a collector (as Trudy called me so long ago -- I denied it then), it would be the ultimate computer. There would be nothing more to shoot for, nothing better to obtain.

Same with the Altair, it would be the Ultimate Vintage machine. The R50, the ultimate in high-tech (15inch screen, PIII 2.x GHz, 2 Gig RAM, DVD-RW, you get the idea).

So, what of it? I'm not going to refuse anyone giving me an Altair, or even refuse to buy one, should I ever be able to. But, I keep them in the ethereal part of the wishlist. Should I ever get one, it would be nice, but should I never get one I still can wont one.

Ok. I really wanted a fast computer to do home school work on K12 with the kids. I have my 570 running Linux and the 770Z set up for music under Win98, but opening the PDFs takes quite while, and running the Flash OLS (online school) maxxes the computer out. And having a 15 inch screen would be nice. But I could not ever justify spending upwards of a thousand dollars. And in this house, certainly not a windows machine (Albeit I'd most likely run Linux on it).

OK, I had fixed the R30 (a 900MHz Celeron machine) on...

Well, I was looking for a battery for the newly fixed R30 and came across the laptop finder on eBay. There seemed to be many laptops out there that have 15 inch screens. There were even older ones with a wide range of MHzs -- 500 to 1000. They were in the line of a model of ThinkPad known as the A22m. At least that is what caught my eye. Many of the slower ones were Celerons -- something I wanted to avoid. I have nothing against the chip, but I think it was something that was made to deceive buyers.

dissertation: Wow I've got a 900MHz processor in my, bus-bit-reduced-computer! 900MHz! It's got to be blazingly fast, even though it's only mildly so. Hmm, why is my friend's 800MHz PIII faster, I mean I have the new Celeron. (I recall a talk given by Frank Chan of the Atari Boise User Group on CPU speed and bus speed, he called it "IBM or I've Been Mislead.")

Well, I saw them going around the $250-300 mark, and thought maybe I could bid on one. I bid on several, but I didn't have $250-300. But, I bid anyway. I was constantly being out bid. Then I saw one that was a 500MHz and the screen was a bit dim and it have no RAM, no HD, no CD. I thought I might consider building one from it, it would be mostly plug in the components, and installing a new(er) screen. I basically had done a total disassembly of the R30 to fix it.

The kids seemed to think it would be funner to get a computer and have to build it first rather than have one work out of the box. But, I hummed and hawwed too long and the listing closed.

I bid my pitiful amount on more A22ms. They all got away.

Then, one morning....

I got on eBay to check my eBays (stuff I'm selling), and I got an email from my eBay searches for an A22m that had a broken power jack, torn floppy ribbon cable -- totally disassembled. It had just listed, perhaps only an hour or so before I got the email. It was a BuyItNow or BestOffer. Well, I learned my lesson on the whole hummin and hawwin thing. I read the listing carefully and it said the machine worked and you could power it via the port replicator (included), it just needed to be put back together. I did the BIN, and in 7 days I had a kit computer!

STARDATE: 20060628: Time to concede. I was working on the 770 and the Late June Sun simply was a visual force to contend with. Needless to say, it was hard to see the screen.

Well, I'd of packed my PX, but a map PRG for the palm occupied my late evening as of late, so the PX was not ready.

Fortunately, the Portfolio was. So I grabbed it.

Ahhh. It's almost like a defiance-thing. Bring in the sun light! The brighter, the better!

Modern Day computing.


How does one run Google Earth on an old machine?

I installed Google Earth on the PIII. It's a fast machine with lots of RAM. Google Earth runs slower than dog slow. It only has 4 Megs of VRAM. The Linux version uses OpenGL/emulation, and says it'll run really slow. On my PII 366 Linux box with only 2.5 Megs VRAM. it runs slow, but it works. The Celeron 900 has 8 Megs VRAM, but as it runs Linux, it works about as well as the PII.

On these machines, using the Google maps works well, via Firefox, so world exploration is possible on these computers.

Now, Google Earth on the PIV is an entirely different experience! The PIV has 512 Megs, runs at 1.2GHz and has 64Megs VRAM. This would be a reason to buy a modern day machine -- Google Earth.

You should try Google Earth before running out and getting a new machine. It is loads of fun, but not enough to buy a computer to run it on. Well, it might be....

.....end of line.

Back to Top

July, 2006

If the following text looks kinda funky, it's because you don't have Copperplate Gothic Light font installed. It's a cool font and I'll just leave it at that.

Archaic Computer




Brian Crosthwaite


Giving in, or simply Cheating?!?!?


I'm reminded of the dual between Capt. Jack Sparrow and Will Turner, in "Curse of the Black Pearl." The two have quite a swashbuckling dual until Turner gets the edge. That's when Sparrow pulls out his gun. Turner exclaims with his eyes, in dismay, "You cheated!" Sparrow replies in an informative, well, no dah, kinda way, "Pirate!"


I wouldn't go to that extreme, but lets face it. Transferring from my PX to my PC is a real pain. The old BBSes I used to frequent are gone. I never got that link to my commodore or PC to work well.


The story I'm writing, started on the commodore 128D, moved over to the IBM ThinkPad 760ED via geoWrite, then to the 770 via AbiWord under Dyne:Bolic Linux. I use 602Text to read things to me for proofing.


I can hear what it really says, rather than read what I think I it says. I catch more typos and such this way.


The Amiga can read the text, but it skips questions and uses the dash to change the reader settings. So I have to save the file as a separate file with no "-" or "?" characters in it. What a pain.


I just tell 602 what to read, if not all, and it just does it.


What of the summer sun thing? I can't get around that....


Well, I sort of can. Windows 98SE has some high contrast screen settings in varying sizes. I chose the Black Background with White Foreground, and did some font tweeking, and now, I can see the monitor better. Granted, I have to stay in the shade (better for my general heath anyway, right?) and the lighting still has to be right, but it is not as critical.


Hence, I'm cheating, at least until I can get access to the COLT. You see, the COLT is a 286 Commodore machine with a PRG that can read the PX-8 disks and it has WordStar for DOS on it and can convert the files from WS to TXT for me (Portable WS has a bug in that it saves TXT files as WS files).


To the accusation of cheating, I say -- "Stay at Home Parent: 5 kids!"



STARTDATE: 20060707: OK, I'm not at Pirates of the Caribbean with a Portfolio. I'm not even at POTC. But it is time to note.

Note what? Well, using the Franklin Covey Planning software on my Kyocera is really why I use the Kyocera. I really like the softs, however, the sort, especially when not displaying certain types of tasks, namely forwarded, deleted and completed tasks, is ssllloooooooooowwww....

It takes 26 seconds to put the checkmark, x, or arrow on screen and redraw. Now 26 seconds does not seem long. But if you are catching up on your day, checking all you've done off, it adds up.

Worse still, if you want to add something, you hit the new button and then wait. I'm not sure how long, I think it is more than 26 seconds, but I forget what I'm adding by the time, I can actually add something. Not practical by any means.

I've written before, you can add empty tasks, basically a dot, or some such character to add to later, but then you have less display of what you need to get done. Well, yesterday, the obvious hit me.

I simply enter what I want to add to an already filled line. Then, hit new. I can then cut and paste the newly entered text into the new empty line.

Or, more eloquently still, I can enter the text, cut it, then hit new, and paste it after the new line appears. Perhaps, in my busy world that isn't the way to go -- what happens if I forget I'm entering something altogether?

Just an idea. One that seems to be helping me get on with my day.

.....end of line.

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August, 2006

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

I am so not a Boy Scout!

Here I am, grabbed the 770, after all, I thought it had the AC consolidated on it. I recall after much hummin' and hawin,' finally getting a battery for the R30, then I moving the ACconsolidated file (a copy) from the 570 to the R30.

So here I sit, with blueberry scone, quad espresso, 770 booted and my August AC is not here to post.

Didn't I do this once before?

Take two! At home on the Amiga A22m:

August 2006

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

It's a Moxie day! I've absconded on the R30, and headed to the library and Moxie Java! I needed some time to just be. In this case, I suppose, an individual -- separate from the toils of the kids. I've squashed my summer notes (written mostly on the Atari Portfolio) into one file and present them here:


STARDATE: 20060612: Well, this little portfolio has given me the ability to write in places I would not normally have the chance. I can recall last year, going to the park and doing an AC write up, doing HS and staying through lunch. Now, I'm out and about once again.

I use the 128D for all the big data bases. I'd like to move the Computers dB (this is a geoCalc spreadsheet spanning two files, that house the historical archive of all the computers, game machines, and mother boards, I have ever owned. It contains serial numbers, model numbers and destiny of each machine. It is far from complete), over to OpenOffice. Mostly just for the fun of it. It's a geek thing.

Meanwhile over on BlackDragon, I have two configurations of WinUAE setup. WinUAE 0.8.1 and WinUAE 1.2.

Both work well. Each have things I like. 1.2 can boot up AGA fullscreen, on the 15inch screen, while booting -- rather than simply a window, or off to the top right, with large black space on the bottom and left. I assume part is the variation of WinUAE and part is the A22m internals both getting along well.


Meanwhile, I continue to forget, and wonder why I ever wanted to bring back XP. . . .

My current install boots xandros (default) or Simply-Mepis. The latter, does things like tell me I've turn on the ThinkLight on or I've adjusted the volume. I've setup the ThinkPad button to launch the terminal shell.

I am awaiting info on a new battery. I bid on, actually BuyItNow, an R30 battery that was supposed to be a 4460 MaH, and what I received was a 4000MaH battery. That's a 30minute time difference!

What hate, is I had put off buying the battery for so long, and was kinda back and forth about even getting it in the first place.

I finally decided, but now I can't even use it -- a brand spankin, new battery -- cos, I'm waiting to hear back about returning it. Crap. Well, there you go.


Well, I was looking for the sys call, when I remembered it was called SYSINFO -- something I could of hacked while camping (had I remembered it was SYSINFO), possibly finishing up the PRG. This is a lesson in double checking to make sure you are really ready (see last month's AC). It's a road warrior thing.

For instance, I just put a freshly changed battery in the tiny cam. Had I grabbed it, and popped the camera in my pocket, I could have snapped a picture of the portfolio seated in the steering wheel, as I type this now.

Now, in my defence, I had to get five kids ready and in the Van before 7:30am to get everyone off to the various music classes and such. I was lucky to grab the portfolio as an after thought.


Looking in the PS2/40SL, I seem to recall not finding.... Well, maybe I saw something -- was it a battery, or was it an HD? -- I am fairly certain there is an HD, as I can hear it spin up. The next step is to open it again in a more thorough manner.

The idea being, to get to the bottom of the mystery. Is it a dead CMOS battery preventing the HD from booting, or is it some other thing.

I can boot the system from disk, but I cannot find the HD. (I don't recall if I ever got into the bios). It seems like the system gave up on the HD before it spun up and when DOS came up, it didn't give any clues as to the status of the HD, as it was not then part of the system.


It seems to be PX and Portfolio weather again. The time of year computing moves outside or dies off. That big 15inch screen in all it's 32bit, color, glory, is useless in the sun. The PX-8's screen is wonderful in the light -- the brighter the day, the better! Whereas the darker, the better the modern day screens look.

The PX is nice, as I can backup and the move to tape. If I happen to run out of battery and loose the RAM drive, I will still have my file in perminate storage. Something I don't have on my TRS-80 model 100 (I have two floppies, but no cables : / ).

Programming the portable requires tools that go a bit beyond the norm. You see, if your goal is a text based PRG file, then an ASCII save, is all you really need. If a tokenized .bin type file is what you seek, then a converter needs to come into play.

On the C128 it is basically a PRG that reads the file, converts it to PETASCII, then put's it in the screen memory buffer and basically, hits «RETURN» entering it into the computer's BASIC memory area. Fortunately, there are many utilities that can do this so the wheel has already been invented.

Every summer I suppose I touch on the same thing, of screens and editors, but let's do one better this year and show how it's done.

The PRG I've used in the past is commodore's own on the 128 utility disk (it's either one of the disks that came with the 128 or 1571).

It is written in BASIC, using a reserved line number area, leaving anything entered through the screen editor room to simply be added to memory, adding them to the PRG.

The lines of the program need to be less than 60000 as those line above 60000 are reserved for the PRG that does the entering, itself. These lines need to be deleted when you are done. This is all done from a menu, if I recall correctly.

It simply reads your PETASCII file (SEQ or PRG), prints the lines on the screen and sneakily hits a «RETURN», entering them into memory. No mess or fuss. If you happen to enter a typo or some command that is not supported by the 128's BASIC, you can correct these later -- after the program is safely saved on disk.

STARDATE: 20060613: OK, that's better. I was having troubles booting Strider, Zonealarm kept having a hissy fit and scan disk came into play -- it's a Win98 thing. All during this the Portfolio's LCD kept firing up, but the machine didn't seem to boot up -- only garbage on the screen. Turning it off, did just that. I must have tuned it off half a dozen times. Anyway, I got the file off and it was not corrupt in anyway that I could tell.

This morning I went to write this, and it would not save. Fortunately I tried to save the file BEFORE I wrote anything.

This is a really good habit to have. I started it as it made things easier on editors, like AMOS Professional and TABWORDS, that auto save. I'm not prompted later -- when I'm in the throws of a writing frenzy, when I don't need my stream of conscience interrupted.

It also protects me from flukes on machines like the Portfolio. I have found a couple things I need to do with the Portfolio I use.

1. I have my PortfolioBASIC interpreter and compiler on a RAM card. This gives me more OS RAM and more room on C: I also store PRGs on another RAM card. One time, the batteries on the Portfolio died, and as I hadn't seen the machine for a couple of months, the RAM card's battery died also. This lead to data loss. Major Bummer!

So, I never leave the RAM cards in the Portfolio. This gives me a better long term solution.


2. I move stuff off the Portfolio to the 770Z so when I go to write a new article, like I did this morning and things go wrong, I already have my data backed up and off the Portfolio's C: drive, allowing me to reset the system and start over.

Oh, good. I just did a save. Swoow!


STARDATE: 20060717: Now, nothing works.

It seems there is a strange mystic cycle that happens to all the computers in my presence. They don't work right.

We've all heard of people who say they can't wear watches, because they stop running, or they break, or whatever. Spontaneous Human Combustion pops into mind. One of those, weird, unexplained events.

Well, I must have one of those things. It is a large cycle, but I've noticed periodically, my computers stop working the way I want them to.

For example, I recently got an EZ Flyer for the 1200AG. The idea being, I can scan or whatever on the 2000, save it to the 2000's EZ, pop the disk out and pop it in the 1200's, EZ and off I go.

Well, I set it all up. And it worked beautifully! The next day, the mouse moved fine, but nothing responded to clickings.

The whole system froze upon reboot.

The 760ED has been locking up periodically.

A couple of weeks ago the R30 wouldn't boot (more on that later).

I couldn't get the Z machine to play a DVD. It couldn't open the screen, which was already open....

Well, the Amiga 1200 has a Blizzard 1230 SCSI on it. And from all I've done so far, (removing the 2nd HDD's teminaitor, replacing it, refitting cable's etc) I've determined this to be a mystery.

The Z has a 14Gig HD. Well, there you go. It is the biggest drive I have for any 770 and it was totally full. I moved the Mediamatics DVDExpress from C:\My Programs to D:\My Programs. VCDs, of course, worked just fine. So I figured I was set.


So, I moved the player back and the DVDs play just fine.

As for the R30. Xandros 3.0, I believe has a horrible bug. A truly, nasty, nasty bug. It took out the OS on the 570 and I had to reformat and start all over again.

Or did I?

I put Dyne:Bolic 1.4.1 in and it booted just fine. I reset the machine and Xandros booted just fine. Did Dyne fix it? I don't know.

Hardware Hacking in the 0's.

Well, ok, maybe it's actually software. I have the Franklin Covey softs on the Kyocera Smartphone. I open the Appointment Calendar and set the alarm sounds to Sci-Fi under preferences. But when the alarms sound they are the systems default.

Bummer. Yet another buggy part of the FC softs.

Well, that was a while ago. 3 or 4 years ago. I got to thinking about it again and upon searching the system, I found another Appointment Calendar -- the original that came with the Kyocera. I opened it and went straight to the Prefs and set the alarm (that was still on it's default) to Si-Fi. Now I have Sci-Fi as my alarm!

It's a round about way to go. Perhaps removing the original softs would be better (can you do that?), but in the mean time, it works.


Back to Top

September 2006

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20060609: Well, here we are, downtown Boise. Ok, we're at Boise High School and it is the first day of Summer Music. Antony has the day off, Octavia and Natasha are in choir, and the Babies and I are sitting here in the Big Van.

I didn't know what to expect, so rather than carry my computer (I as thinkin', I should grab the 770Z with two batteries as it had rained this morning and it was a bit chilly), I've brought my Portfolio. I just grabbed it in hopes that it was ready to go. I did grab a regiment of batteries, just in case.

Pleasantly, I found it with power, ready to go.

Even though it hardly has a full size keyboard (really, now), I still want to use two hands to type -- that's just the way I am. I have set it in the valley of the steering wheel, and the screen gently rests on the center piece. Hmm, something to consider when buying a car -- will it's steering wheel hold an Atari Portfolio well? ;)

Last night's meeting of the PC user group left me feeling way behind the curve.

I showed off my A22m with VICE 1.19 and WinUAE 1.2 to a couple of friends, Dan and Clearance. That was cool.

I didn't get to talk to Duane until the break. I was jacked to tell him about the new acquisition, but he had just gotton a state- of- the- art 17inch screened HP, 2 GHz, w/2Gig RAM, just an awesome HP.

That's ok, I can email him (I'm surprised neither one of us emailed the other, we usually send forth an email when either of us discovers something, or any cool techno thing comes along.

But that's not what put me behind the curve.

It was Tim's talk on Intel chips. You see, Tim can't think of any names for his computers, so he calls them all Frankenputer, with a I, II, III, IV, etc, after the name. This, unfortunately, requires him to build the computer himself. I know this to be the case, having four computers of the same name.

He said six weeks ago, he knew Intel's complete line of chips. But, now he was overwhelmed with the possibilities. Basically, it was the what- you- need- to- do- to- build- a- new- computer that got me there.

Ok, I have a P IV 2Gig Dell Tower with 512 Meg, 64Meg video, etc.

I recently got my hands on an 800MHz P III ThinkPad w/256Meg RAM. Almost a current machine, and certainly a major geek-toy.

This is where I found I was not only around the corner, but way down the lane -- in order to use the new processors, you will need a new MB, as the socket will not work on the older one, then you'll need new RAM, as the sockets too, are different and the chips are different. Next, that new graphics card, as well as that sound card, most likely, will not fit as the PCI is not XPCI or some such. You can't even use your old PS (although being somewhat rebellious, I'd adapt one -- I've got to call the line some where!) will not even plug in.

The prices of the processors are ghastly. I bought my 800MHz TP for less than half the cost of one of the cheepest of the new processors.

So, there.

I guess I'll just have to face the facts, I'm stuck in Vintageland. Hey, it's what makes computing such a blast for me, anyway. The new PIII runs VICE and WinUAE at breathtaking speeds, and even if it's not a 128 bit, 4GHz, Alpha/Omega machine, it will still do those same things just as fast as it does now (I have to turn the speed down so I can type on those emulators, so I have more than I need ;)

All in all, I feel better, knowing things are best, in the past.

Of Pirates and Ponies.

It all started with a feeling bordering between respectable admiration and idle contempt.

I felt a bit forced into the Microsoft camp. A prison camp, that is. You see, BASIC came to the Microcomputer, via that once fledgling vessel called Microsoft. commodore used it. The Atari 8-bit cartridge, that was raved on, was MS BASIC. GW-BASIC was one of the many flavors, a left over reminder that was the mark of whence they came.

Now, MS is the splitting point for many PC users. This has become a point of contention for some users. IBM has all the drivers for OS2 and Windows, in it's various flavors. Linux, didn't get the support it needed on my platform (the 770Z), so the only drivers I could find from IBM were the WIN/OS2 drivers, and not everything I needed was there, at least in the OS2 camp (actually it's TCP/IP, I'm thinking of here).

Now, the best learning tool for me has been the Live Distros of LINUX, although, working with Linuxconf in Red Hat 6.1 was very informative -- but much of my thoughts were mere speculation, until I got the bird's eye lowdown from a self configuring Live Distro.

Then things became apparent. Things, like the RT8180, was 32 bit and 32bit isn't quite supported in the Linux WiFi world yet.

I have yet do a reinstall of RH on any of the computers I've learned so much on as of late.

This is the why of where I am with Linux: Xandros, Simply-Mepis, Ubuntu, Kanotix, and Slackware. These are the flavors I use on a regular basis, Xandros and Mepis, being the two I use most, followed by a close tie with Slackware, as I have sound on the 770 and I do my FTPing and moving stuff via the 770Z using Lisa and the file browser.

All in all, these older machines seem to fair better using that old OS Windows. At least I have sound and 32bit networking.

I think I know why IBM dumped the PC and Laptop line. There finally was a way to rid themselves of Microsoft.

I'm not a fan one way or another as far as MS goes. My roots extend back to a time when they made my BASIC, and despite itself, Windows does work. But I'd rather be free of it. As I've found myself drawn to other OSes. Mostly because of unfair marketing things.

While Bill's tricky contracting (where the PC producers found they had to ship all the machines they made with Windows installed), he has formed a legacy. And from that Legacy has risen the Gates Foundation.

He and his wife, Malinda, are using their wealth to better things all over the world -- outside of the computing world:

Support or not to support.

Well, I have a brand new battery in the HP-75D. Shortly after I posted the music PRG for that said machine, the computer refuses to power up. I fear the worst. As a result, I can not continue my exploration of this machine. This is a major bummer, as it is a great, out in full sun, portable machine. I'll investigate further as time permits.

I have not torn into the PS2, as of yet. So that's on the burner. I'm going back to school this fall. I fear the thing that I have seen all over the Net and with commodore people -- they go to school and they no longer have time to support the things they once did. And things vanish.

I can't say that wont happen, but since 99.9% of what I do is writing, and at least 70% involves portable computers, there's a possibility things will not change.

All the kids too, will be in school for the first time, as I have retired (at least for now) from home schooling.

We shall see, we shall see,


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October 2006

The Last Day Of October


Brian Crosthwaite

I can now recall the leaves crunching under my feet. The feel of the warm sun on my back. The air was crisp that October afternoon. School had been exceptional that day. Halloween decorations everywhere, 2 periods of Algebra (my favorite subject) and Melisa Anderson.

She was a girl after my own heart. Smart, witty, and she loved Algebra as much as I did. We hit it off like we had been old friends.

Let me go back to that morning....

I was walking down Dulcimer Lane as I did every morning. I was early, which, as anyone could tell you, was not the norm. I was walking slowly, caught in the moment, in some thought that now I do not recall.

I happened to stop in front the old Mansfield House. I used to be convinced that it was haunted. It loomed in the dark corners of all the children's nightmares. A dark, dreadful place to be avoided at all cost. I would have never set foot near the place when I was a little kid. But that particular morning, I was lost in a dream.

I thought I saw some sort of flash from inside the house, like maybe a back door opening, temporarily letting light in and closing again. The house had a strange warm welcoming feel to it. How odd, I recall myself thinking.

It was at the moment that I heard a voice, "Good morning!"

I turned and there she was. I didn't know who she was. She introduced herself, "I'm Melissa Anderson."

"Hi, I'm Kenny Brighton," I was not sure what was happening, girls usually didn't come up and introduce themselves to me.

"I'm new at school, in fact, this is my first day," she said in a nervous sort of way.

After what felt like an eternity, I managed to sputter, "It's Friday, so I have two periods of Algebra." Then I added, "It's my favorite subject."

I turned and smiled, she was smiling too.

"What kind of things do you like? In school I mean."

I felt more relaxed to talk than I normally did to strangers, "I like our library, I think I like all libraries, I like Science and I love Algebra, of course."

She seemed rather enthusiastic about Algebra and Math in general.

We talked all the way as we walked. We talked about nothing but school. It was as though she'd never been. Her enthusiasm seemed even greater than mine.

When I found she was in both my Physical Science and Algebra classes I couldn't help feeling happy.

She was smart, very witty, and we had similar likes. What was there not to be happy about? We hit it off wonderfully. It didn't even hit me until school had ended that I think I might even like her.

After school that day, I walked slowly, looking around, I didn't see her anywhere. I walked slower.

Then it occurred to me -- she might already have been ahead of me! What could I do? It was Friday, I didn't know where she lived, I would not see her until Monday! My heart sank.

Just then, I came to the front of the Mansfield House. The house did not look so warm and friendly as it had that morning. But it didn't have that dreadful look to it anymore, somehow.

Fifteen minutes later I walked upon the threshold of my own house.

"You seem a bit distracted. Everything alright at school? Let me guess, you either have the latest stomach flu or you have no homework." My dad always jested that I looked so glum whenever I had no homework.

It seems so surreal, as if in a dream, but I still recall that conversation I had with my folks.

"Dad, do we have any new neighbors?"

"None that I know of."

"I met the new girl on the way to school today, Melissa Anderson. Today was her first day of school. At least she has never been to Westmont -- she's in two of my classes, but I didn't see her after school."

"Kenny, I don't know of anyone new to the area. Maybe she's been sick and couldn't start until now...." Implying some moved in earlier.

"Hi Mom."

"Hi Kenny, anything exciting happen at school today?"

"I met a new kid."

"Oh, what's his name?"

"Her name -- Melissa Anderson. She's in two of my classes."

"How sweet."

"We walked to school together."

"She lives around here then?"

"I guess, I didn't see her after class."

"Melissa Anderson. Melissa Anderson. I knew a Melissa Anderson, she lived in the old Mansfield House. We were in Jr. High together, she got sick, real sick the last year. She was sick all summer and on through most of the fall. She was supposed to have gotten well, but two days before she was to return to school, she suddenly died. We visited her fairly often, and she really wanted to go to school, even just to visit. She had been so eager to go to high school. The poor dear, died well before her prime and never once set foot in Washington High School."

My mother let out a sigh, I could tell she was moved.

The following Monday I ran to class, I had to tell my new lab partner about the story my mom told me. Perhaps she lives in that very same house. I stopped out side the old house. As I walked the sidewalk to the door, I got the feeling that the house, was completely empty. I knocked and there came no answer.

I looked into the large front window. There was no furniture. The house as indeed empty. But as I walked away, I could have sworn I saw the curtain in the gable on the end close, as if someone had been there. I looked a moment, but there was no movement. Nothing.

It had been a long day, and long before I had gotten to math or science, I had long forgotten my excitement. I just couldn't wait to get home. "Perhaps Algebra will cheer me up," I recall thinking to myself.

Upon entering the math room, I found my energies returning. I remembered, how could I have forgotten my new partner?

As roll was called, I looked around, the seat next to me where she had sat only Friday, was empty. I listen intently to all the names as they were called. I answered when I heard mine. But the name of Melissa Anderson was not called. I started to raise my hand to ask about the oversight, but there was a disturbance with one of the other students. The oppertunity never presented itself again.

After that class, it had slipped from my mind.

In Physical Science, the same events seemed to unfold, as before in my Algebra Class. The seat Melissa had sat in was unoccupied. Her name was not called. This time, I asked.

"Mr. Jason, you forgot to call Melisa Anderson."


"Melissa Anderson."

Mr. Jensen, picked up his roll sheet and read from top to bottom, "I have no Melissa Anderson."

"But you must, did she drop your class?"

"I've had no drops this semester," came the answer with eyes looking over his spectacles at me. I felt every one in class looking at me.

"She sat right there, Friday and you called her name. We worked on our Lab together."

"Right there, in Tony Righly's seat?"

I had forgotten that Tony sits there. He was in Washington DC with the debate team. I'd forgotten this when Melisa was in his seat!

I never heard from, nor saw Melissa again. It was like a fantastic dream. But I know it had happened. And I surmised, over the years, that it was the Melisa Anderson my mother had known. She got to go to high school. She got to enjoy Algebra, and Science. At least, for one day.

While my family has since moved, and both my parents deceased, I still walk down that road, once in a while. Just to look at that house. Strangely it is still unoccupied, but it seems like a happy place. Kids don't shuffle quickly past it on their ways to school. No one looks at it over their shoulder. It's just a part of the neighborhood.

The End

Copyright 2006 Brian Crosthwaite All Rights Reserved.

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Wow. What a whorl wind of AC events unrolling....

Ok, I'm doing the PRGing thing on the 770 in VICE and I run out of battery!

I had used the main 770 battery as a secondary battery in the 770Z -- after the normal secondary had gone south. Hmmm. I wonder if it was the 770Z killing batteries?!?!?

Well, I had DC and my charger, but it wasn't handy, so I copied the files to the thumb drive (using the remaining power) and shut down the 770 and fired up the A22m.

I don't recall why I even brought the A22m, maybe it was the idea of being on DC only -- I like to not charge my computer camping if I don't have to, that's why I took the 770 rather than the Z.

Well, there I was in the early morning hours and VICE was before me on a 15 inch screen! I pressed the «Fn»«Home» key combo and the ThinkLight popped on. A portable C64, with 15 inch flat screen, and a lit keyboard -- it was beautiful!

I had tried the geoBASIC route for the Centering Clock PRG, but decided there were too many hurtles and there was too much time going into this project.

I reworked my graphics for the LOADSTAR shell on the 770 and wrote the remaining code on the A22m.

All went well and Dave had a disk image in the email box within a couple of days.

An Artful Beginning.

Well, my first assignment for the Art class I'm taking was to find works of art that are good examples certain elements. We broke into groups and started.

We made a simple plan to get started which was basically the three with cameras would grab some shots and we'd meet after the next class and go from there. Gathering more pictures than we may need, write stuff up etc.

I took the digital camera down to the Student Union Building and took some pictures.

Now most of the pictures were behind glass and many were in areas where the light was coming from light sources that put glare on the glass at just about every vantage point.

I took pictures at strange angles to avoid reflections.

I got better pictures as far as the ability to see the images went, but it was not necessarily a good picture of the art work.

Enter WinUAE1.2 and ImageFX3.3beta.

I used the 3d rotate to turn the images on the x, y and z plans to get the images looking like they should have with minimal glare. I changed the proportions of one as it was really at a bad angle by correcting the angle. Now the picture was really short. I manually changed the proportions by resizing with preserve aspect ratio off. It took a bit of guess work, but I was able to get back how the picture was supposed to be in only a couple of tries.

Over all, things came out pretty good (we'll see how we did on the Project ;)


Ok, I have three hours that I need to take notes. The R30 only runs for 1.5 hours on battery. Well, I timed it without the PCMCIA wireless and lo-and-behold, I got three hours! In this case it's ok, as I don't need iNet while taking notes. But that's all I get. Hmmm. Maybe I'll take notes within the Amiga realm....


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UPDATED: 20200306

November 2006

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20061109: Well now, time for AC from the bowels of the Boise Public Library.

Where is AC?! Where is the latest C64 project?!? What is noesis0 up to?!?!?!?!??!

Well, I get up at 6am every blazing day. I take Antony to his zero hour class, I run home, and I get myself and four girls ready for school. I run them to school, then -- then, I run home and study for about 2 hours. After that, I zip to get the babies, then it's lunch, nap and I'm off again.

Kids converge at home at around 3:30 and we clean the house, have snack, then we get ready for the evening, which includes many things, dependant upon what day it is. Honor Choir, Honor Orchestra, piano, IPCUG, Linux, a concert, the list goes on and on.

Saturday, ah, Saturday! Surely, I have time on Saturday morning! Nope. I have class at 8am and it ends around 11. By the time noon passes, I'm beat and I still have more to do.

By Sunday morning, I'm moving rather slow.

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

Today, I called to have our landline cancelled. My fax machine and all my modems became obsolete in that moment in history.

I still have iNet for the Amiga. It 10-base-Ts to the router on into the cable modem. All my other connections remain. But I do not have the ability to dial out. No BBS calling.

My C64 BBS.

The C64 with the BBS on the Lt. Kernel drive, never went live. It is a fading dream.

The Death of The Floppy.

"....since most computers don't come with a floppy any more...." To quote this evening's presenter.

Remember the 8inch disk? Not everyone had one, but they were around. By the time I got into the scene, it was the 5.25 inch floppy that was all the rage.

The 3.5inch drive was something new. The Mac had it and so did the ST and Amiga. But that wouldn't last. Could it? It was just a funny Mac thing.

The CD was kinda cool. I once wrote, "The hell with CD-ROM, I want CD-RAM!" Well, with drag and drop/re-writable CD-ROMs -- that's kinda here.

I have things I move via a 1 Gig Thumbdrive. It is quick, and it plugs into the Mac, the Linux box, and the Windows machine.


I still use my floppy. I move issues of LOADSTAR to the 770Z in the summer, so I can take LOADSTAR with me when we camp. The rest of the time, LS gets it's playtime at home in the dungeon on the 128D or the C64.

I need that drive!

I recall going to a department store that used to carry 3.5inch DD disks. They were one of the few places in Boise that carried them. HD was the going thing. I would assume the HD is now in that position with CDs taking the place they once had. I don't know. See above. I mostly shop online for DD disks.

Speaking of online.

With the holidays coming and the little time I have.... it'll be an online Christmas. As was last year, and most likely next year.


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UPDATED: 20200306

December 2006

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

H a p p y

H o l i d a y s !

Here we go again.

Ok, I see the horizon rising again. This time, it's not the early morning LOADSTAR project, but rather a chance to move the eBays onto, well, eBay.

I have a 4 week break, two weeks of which I will have to myself. Yes, I should stoke up the fire and read. But this is indeed a golden opportunity. (While the quite reading sounds nice.)

In preparation, I need to edit a database (in the form of a geoCalc spreadsheet) I have that lists lots of stuff; motherboards, boxes, actual machines, along with serial numbers. The db has every bit of hardware that ever entered the door -- where ever that may have been.

The trouble is, it has stuff I don't intend to sell, and stuff I've already sold or given away.

At first, I just moved it over to the 64 side of VICE, since I all ready had GEOS up and running there. I was in the db in no time. Full screen C64 on a beautiful 15inch flat screen, one can't help but feel a bit spoiled. Editing went fine. With VICE's warp mode, I found removing items quick and moving them up didn't take too long. The cut feature works with geoCalc 64, and that was nice (in the 128 version, it removes the text and sometimes does not make a text scrap -- in fact, you loose any scrap you had previously(!), so I simply copy then clear).

But there is a major bug and it didn't hit until I got into the second spreadsheet (yep, there was that much stuff in it). It got to the point where I couldn't scroll sideways. It would just freeze.


So I went back to the real McCoy. Under Wheels, the 128D had an ASCII text file exported in no time. I'd just plop the disk in the Amiga and read it onto my laptop and use OpenOffice. Hm. It doesn't want to format it correctly, wonder what that's all about. We'll try Excel. Still will not line things up right.

Turns out Wrong is Write striped the tabs.

Well, ok then.

I went searching for my Wheels Master disk maker Disk, a 1581 floppy. When I found it, I made an image using 1581copy on the 770Z and copied it over to the A22m (this is what I've been using a lot as of late, since the CD for my art class is a Windows only vice).

I opened VICE 128, got it set up with virtual drives and a huge REU. I attached the disk image and it started the Wheels setup process! After a moment or two I was in the Wheels environment. And you know where this text is being generated -- yep -- geoWrite 128 from inside Wheels.

That in itself is a blast. Now back to that database. A few minutes later I had geoCalc 128 up and running with the spreadsheet open and editing went fast.

The first step was to remove all the things that were gone. No point digging through the piles of ghosts from the past.

Next, I did a text export and edited in geoWrite 64. It was virtually seamless on one machine. I removed all the extra stuff that was not needed, model numbers, where it came from, etc.

To avoid the side to side flip-flop (tabs can make reformatting a bother if you use the cursor to navigate), I used the mouse. I didn't have a lot of time to work on it, but in a few minutes I did, I managed to get a document that was on two pages with one item per line.

Now and then, when time permits, I can open the new file and remove things I want to keep, like my C128D, machines I use, and machines like the Xerox 820-II that are just too cool to part company with.

What are limitations on the A22m?

This particular A22m, has a large 15inch screen, however it only has 2Megs Video RAM. It's largest resolution is 1024 * 768. I found many of VICE's ALT key processes froze that machine -- the A22m itself, not the virtual machine. I also found if I windowed the emulator, I could go back to full screen when I was done with things like attaching disks, etc. I can turn warp on and off in full screen. I tried to avoid turning off the mouse though. Also for some reason, the Detailshop would freeze in full mode, but seemed to work in windowed mode.

Opening the disks from the desktop usually required the pull down menu, unless it was an REU, in which case, it popped right open. That might all be tuneable in the Detailshop.

The screen redraw is a bit sluggish and annoying as my machine only runs VICE128 at 200% or so, nothing like the 20MHz 128D I'm used to. This may seem normal to those who have no SuperCPU. It looks like it does part of the redraw twice, but I can't be sure.

Other News From the Front.

Maurice Randel has done it again! (Again!?)

The pipe dream becomes reality -- JiffyDOS for the VIC-20. My order placed, and review to follow. (2020.04.13 FOLLOWUP: I did not receive JiffyDOS for the VIC-20.)

There are also JiffyDOS versions for two accelerators that are not the SuperCPU. Check out Click Here Software at

This month's article was done entirely on an IBM A22m ThinkPad, (using VICE128 running Wheels), in geoWrite 128 and geoSpell.


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