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Updated: March 14, 2020

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January, 2007

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Happy 2007 Everybody!

Now there is a BBS term if ever I read one. Everybody. Not Everyone. Everybody. I don't recall the origin of how it got started or why, but when you see postings from old BBSers such as myself, the word "everybody" is used, even when we normally write or speak the word everyone. It must be a presents thing.

Body referring to a person being there, rather than "one" which is to most of us old hacks, a number.

Any who.

I had a tip last year centering on the Kyocera -- actually it was for anyone using Franklin Cover Planning softs on any PDA. It involved entering a task quickly so you didn't have to freeze it in your brain while you waited the amazingly long time it takes to redraw the list to add stuff. Well, here is a variation on it:

When you want to add to your PDTL, simply add the task to a visible line, right next to the task that is already on that line (choose the shortest you can see -- don't scroll!).

Then highlight the new task.

Cut the task.

This will leave a highlight on the line you were just on.

Tap the empty space between Details... and GoTo. This will unhighlight the previous item.

Now do a paste.

A new line will appear with the task already in it!

But wait there's more!

It should be highlighted. Hit that Details... button. Pick your priority letter and number. Add anything else you need to.

Hit OK.

You just added a task in what I've found to be the fastest possible way!!!!!

You got one? I'd love to read it!

The Shoe Horn II

Ok, I'm fairly sure I've used that title before. So II justifies it's usage once more.

I read in Linux Format magazine, (LF) how partitioning your HD can be the most nerve racking part of installing a new OS. I thought, "what's the big deal? I've done this dozens of times on multiple platforms. No big deal."

Red Hat. All felty tasting. I'm not eating a red hat, ok, but I found my self in a situation that started to bring about frustration.

I recently decided it was time to get a small experimental drive to mess around with Slackware 10 on the R30. 6gigs ought to be plenty big. And in the end it was. But Strider has SW10 as well as Kanotix on it.

What's that got to do with the R30?

Well, I got SW installed and it was awesome. It had sound! All the billions of games and stuff that comes on the LF distro! What a blast! That's when I remember Kanotix.

Humm, I DLed the latest and greatest of that a while back, but the WiFi didn't come up on Strider (the install on Strider does, since it was an earlier distro I got from LF).

Well, the CD booted fine and sound and WiFi were great.

Ok not really WiFi, since it is the Oronoco coming up as eth1:, but I was trying to spare you the explanation, and not ramble tooooooo muuuuch.

I had to resize since the install routine said there was not enough space in the swap for install (it kept saying 128Meg minimum, but it didn't register yet). Humm, Riser resize not yet supported on this version of QTParted.

So, after a few things I tried here and few more things I tried there, I started all over again. ext3.

Humm, still says not big enough. :/

What gives? I swear I typed 130Meg in cfdisk and should have plenty of room.

One more, one more time.

This time, I made the thing 600 Megs. Ok, now all is going well. Except Slackware didn't tell me there was not enough space to finish installing the kernel. Finally after going back and forth and resizing, that 128 Megs really was enough I stumbled upon a discrepancy between how QTParted counted bytes and cfdisk counted bytes.

I finally went back and used QTParted at the beginning since the install PRG used by Kanotix references and uses it anyway.

I got everything working, but the WiFi under Kanotix was a real pain. Pull the card, put in the card, reactivate, search for devices, on and on it went and it had to be done every time I booted up to get wireless going.

My solution?

I went back to the distro from LF. It was basically the same and the differences I decided I could live with out.

Live and learn.

Room for data on a 6gig drive? Not much after the installs!

Wild eBay tips for Amiga junkies.

Well, I'm back to scanning on the A2000 -- without any connection to anything. I had an EZ-Flyer hooked up to the 1200 that I used to pop the scan disk in to upload etc. But I have a bad cable and didn't have the resources to get a replacement. So I resorted to floppy.

The HD floppy does not work on the 2000, otherwise I could have plopped an MS-DOS disk in and read the files off via the 760ED's floppy since that is the server for the 1200. Here is how a scanning session works:

I sort magazines out via the date putting the latest on top. Lets say I'm doing commodore magazines from 1988. Since ImageFX does cannot find the scanner, I use Scan Center. I want a 75 dpi * 75 dpi scan done at 50% * 50%. This will save me time resizing later. The results are approximately an image 300*400 and ±32K in size.

I do a full page scan, then I resize the scan box and enter a file name.


Notice the file extension: .jpeg Scan Center doesn't support jpeg, but this is a time saver.

The scans will save to SyQuest0:, then ImageFX is set to auto launch. The a moment the image is automatically loaded, I hit save, scroll to and double click on JPEG. The requester is setup for SyQuest0: after the requester loads names I hit the scroll bar once, this updates the files so they are alphabetized (it's an Amiga Thing).

The file I just scanned will be on top (in this case it's the only one, so I didn't need to click on the scroll bar). A requester will open informing me the file exists and asks if it should be overwritten. I hit ok, then I select progressive (I only need to do this the first time since boot, as ImageFX will remember this). I also use 85% which is the default (I may have set this before -- I don't recall).

The file will replace the ILBM with an actual JPEG.

The next scan goes the same. Only this time there really will be a need to alphabetize the files. Actually they should appear in order quickly as long as there are not too many file on the disk. I name the November issues (we are scanning from newest to oldest to make these time savers work.

com198811.jpeg is the name I will use. I can simply click on the 2 in the file name, hit Delete, type 1 and off I go with the scan.

After ImageFX loads I save as I did before.

This works well. There is no rifling through file names to find the scan, I don't have to load it I just have to remember to put the next magazine on the scanner when it's time.

For bi-monthly issues I simply put the number of both months and they still appear at the top as long as I am scanning from newest to oldest. e.g. com19881112.jpeg


I edit things inside GoldED and spell check in Wordworth. I save from WW using "save as..." and "ASCII," and finally replace the existing file.

I then hit "open original" in GoldED and the newly spell checked file is loaded. I go to the BLOCK menu and "Mark All." I hit «Right Amiga Key»«Y» to copy to the clipboard. Yep, in GoldED 5 there are three text zones and Y (as opposed to C) is the short cut that is the zone the one the clip board uses (I have PowerSnap installed).

IBrowse gets opened. I have quick links in IBrowse that let me pop into eBay for posting items, looking up shipping on, and other things online.

A quick note about Java Script on the Amiga: The Java Script on IBrowse when it was made was what the IEEE or whomever decides what is and is not official in a given programming language (it may or may not be current I don't know). I do not use Java Script on eBay on the Amiga as it slows things down. It seems to work ok on the emulator as the computer has more horse power, but I only use it when I absolutely have to on the actual Amiga.

I hit the button for posting on eBay. I log in. Then I get the error from eBay telling me it can't find the page. I hit the button again and I'm ready to post.

Now there are lots of graphics on eBay, and I'm directly hitched to the router that goes to the cable modem via an Ethernet card. So things pop on this machine (it's also an 060 49MHz with 56+ Megs of RAM, just a little something to check my email on every Sunday afternoon ;)

I select the button for the list (it probably auto selects when you choose from the list under IE), then choose the category I want to post under then I scroll down and hit continue (or maybe it's submit).

After this page loads, I scroll down to the description window. Click the window and type «Right Amiga»«V» to paste the description I have all ready.

I then scroll up in this edit window and find my description title. I highlight it and type «Right Amiga»«C» to copy it. Scroll up to the top of the page and «Right Amiga»«V» to paste it in the title box. I remove any HTML and make sure everything fits. Then it's back down to the description box.

I scroll down to the graphics link (I usually have several pictures per posting) and highlight from after the http:// to the end of my link. Copy this into the clipboard.

Then it's off to the next page. I put all the price info in I need to and when I get to the free picture link I paste that link in (eBay provides the http:// part -- that's why I didn't copy it).

Everything works well doing this and it makes for about a three minute posting time, unless I really push to do things quickly -- I don't recommend that ;)

One More Antiquated OS!

Ok, now that Win2K is an Obsolete OS, I can tell you this (I've been keeping this a secret for three days!). I swapped CD-ROMs on the A22m and the R30 (don't recall why, just did it). Later, I went to back up the Amiga 1200's HD partitions to CD (by using the Amiga to PCLink stuff, moving it all to an archive HD on Samwise, to burn over the network onto CD). I put a blank CD-R into what I thought was a CD-RW drive.

Well, I kinda forgot it was there as I was doing other things like posting magazines, etc. I went to go to and that is what I typed in IE's address bar. It just sat there and did nothing. Except the little spinning earth thing was spinning.

It wasn't until later that I tried to do it again that I noticed the nic didn't flash it's light. It wasn't even looking on the iNet for a URL or anything (or so it appeared).

A day later I started to manually add the http:// to get the ball rolling on looking up stuff so I could do stuff on the iNet.

Meanwhile, I had shut the computer down a couple of times and when booting realising the system was trying (for a long time) to read the blank CD, I'd pop it out until the system was booted.

It was when I was going, once again, to, that it hit me. IE is looking for a directory that has that address and it can't find any info for the blank CD. It eventually loaded said web page on it's own. One time it did this after I had been surfing a while.

I popped out the blank CD and sleeved it until I was ready to burn and the system behaved as is should, no pauses, no apparent hanging.

There, now all you have to do is extrapolate the tip from the above text. No, no, no, I'm not rambling, you should have heard me last night....

DEMO compatible.

VISTA, that is... At the local users group meeting, the item selected didn't pop up like it was supposed to do. This simply means it is DEMO compatible. The DEMO never works as well as it did earlier that afternoon. That is all it was. It eventually popped up.

You know you have the latest of anything, when it runs nice and choppy.

Welcome to the PC world.

The old iMac plays the same games with better graphics, smoother scrolling and full screen with no hassle.

Somethings never change.


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February, 2007

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

(written in OpenOffice1.1 on an IBM R30 ThinkPad running Kanotix on Linux 2.6.11)

High Tech Schooling.

I recently returned to school after a 15 year or more hiatus.

15 years ago, I got a book with all the classes and other info it in, dug through it, and put together all the classes I needed. Then, I went to the gymnasium on campus. I waited in line for 10 to 30 minutes to get a seat in a given class. It was a basic, gather all the cards and hope you can get in your class, at the same time.

This time around, I browsed the catalogue online, I signed up for class seats online, I paid my fees online. Everything is online. I'm lovin' it!

Last semester I was in an Intro to Art class. It was a survey class. There were lots of media things, mostly photos of art presented in PowerPoint. The images were available online in .pdf form on BlackBoard. Test and paper scores were posted there, any announcements we had were online as well.

This semester, I have a math class that meets once a week, has a MathLab available with 70 computers with all the stuff -- including the text book, which is online! A major part of my home work is 50 or so problems all online. There are gadgets that let me form fractions, and squares and other math symbols. I get instant feed back, if I have trouble, I can see examples, videos, and other ways to find out how things are done. There are lectures, samples, TryIt and other options. There are also lectures on campus I can attend as well as Public Access TV lectures.

By contrast, I have a theatre class, and everything is more organic, so to speak. All interactive, but with the teacher. In a classroom (well, ok, we meet in a Black Box Theatre). Both are fun, both are full of content. But I'm writing about technology here!

The times, they have all ready changed!


(written in WordPerfect4.1 on an Atari MEGA STe 4 running GEM on TOS 2.5)

The Atari Mega STe is not quite, buried. I can access it, but, it's kind of a pain.

Until recently, the Miracle music keyboard was hooked up via MIDI. It was not used very much as a MIDI board, but it did get regular use as a keyboard for practising. But last Thursday, it died. Not completely, but it does not work. I even tried the MIDI to see if it was the keys themselves. Notta.

I have retired it.

In the meantime I've grabbed the MT-540 (a CX6000 clone) that was up above the C128D (I use it now and then to play Euphony files on it). It works well with the MEGA. I have not practiced piano or played a keyboard in probably a year. I picked up right were I left off and played a song I haven't even thought about in years.

It was a King Arthur sounding piece, I wrote in college (the earlier collage stint back in the 80s ;)

I've been experimenting and playing with Concerto with the KB. It's a blast!

Right now, I'm in WordPerfect4.1, typing this on the MEGA. This is nice!


(written in GoldED5 on an Amiga 1200 AG running Intuition on AmigaOS 3.1)

I spell checked, then popped the floppy into the 760, read the file into GoldED on the 1200 via the PCLink cable. I pasted it the file I wrote on the R30 and saved to the 570.

Now all this may seem weird, but there is more! I saved the file from OpenOffice 1.1 over the network. How? I mounted the 570 drive via Smb4k. OpenOffice didn't even know it was going via the network!


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March 2007

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

From Red to Blue.

What a trip! It started out in Red Had 6 on an IBM 760ED ThinkPad and has ended up on in Fedora Core 6 on an IBM R30 ThinkPad. So what has changed? More importantly -- how'd we get here!?

It all started when we were setting up a Linux server to do web hosting. Well, ok, it was after that. Things just weren't working out, so we sold the machine. I recall thinking a 200MHz machine was a colossal thing. High tech, state of the art, cutting edge. It was not, of course. It was slower (much slower) that the Amiga, and I think the iMac we used back then was faster. It was actually a modest speed computer and when we sold it, it was even to be considered not on the fast end -- even in the PC world. The MHz drop off was slower back then.

The OS was to be eBayed as well, but I was curious and got my hands on a second HD for the 760. I installed OS2 Warp v3x, Windows 3.1 and Red Hat 6. I installed several different times, in different orders to get the loader to see all three OSs as boot options. I look back, now at what I've acquired in the way of knowledge, and I realize I could have saved myself time by installing Win, Warp then Hat. No matter what was in the loader (Lilo), I could have edited the menu.lst file by hand. But back then I simply didn't know.

I was used to scripts for booting and the like, from the Amiga's startup-sequence and PC-DOS's batch files, but I don't think it would have occurred to me. Who knows, it was a long time ago in the order of things.

Favorite Linux Installs:

From there I installed RedHat 6.1 on an IBM 770 ThinkPad. Neither install had sound.

I came across Linux Format one day. Having read commodore Format, ST Format and Amiga Format, I had to get an issue. It had a DVD with Dyna:Bolic on it.

I was in love! I'd found a major cool version of Linux! Well, it didn't have sound and I could only boot it on my 770 as that was the only machine I had that could auto boot and the only machine that had a DVD.

Then I found Slackware. Also on Linux Format. It replaced RH6.1 on the 770.

After a time I acquired the 770Z.

I then got into the IPCUG and soon was attending the LinuxSIG. Mostly they were just looking at the latest distros of Linux. It has been hit and miss for me to get to meetings, but oh well. I went home one night and DLed Simply-Mepis and XandrOS. Well, I couldn't get XandrOS to boot to install, and I couldn't do the live version of Simply-Mepis.

I got my hands on a second HD for the 770Z, Mepis was able to install. I figure it was either the CD was flawed, and couldn't access the drivers needed for the HD or (more likely) the HD type itself was the problem. The 770 and 770Z uses RAID drives and are quick loaders -- something I wish the newer TPs I use had.

Well, Simply Mepis was great! It ran E-UAE and STeem.

I had gotten my hands on a still faster machine, an R30. It soon tried to fry it's self in New Orleans of all places. But it limped along.

In the meantime. My brother had sent me a load of TP peripherals and batteries. Many of which were for the 570. I looked on eBay and fount one offered for a song. So I sang. It had no HD, so Dyne:Bolic was a great choice since it booted entirely from CD.

It blew my mind when it came up. It played a song with a robot voice that sang "Dyne:Bolic!" Wow! I had never heard any Linux box make a peep before and this was music to my ears. Ok, it was music.

I sang again -- to get a hard drive. I installed XandrOS on it. I had also put Win98 on it and had borrowed the WiFi card form the 760. This, that and the other. The story is pretty muddle here and just goes on and on. But the WiFi card now worked.

I was trying to uninstall some XP patches when it stopped booting. I decided to install XandrOS on it. Pretty soon I had a network of TPs running (mostly) Linux.

But back to that soundless box running RedHat. I had found info on turning on the sound in RH6 on the 770. Well, I tried it on the 770 under Slackware, and it worked! I was able to turn on the sound! Now the install I have on the 770Z does not have sound, none of the Linuxs I've put on it do.

Ok, this is suppose to be a list.... I'm including the version numbers of what I use to make sense of why they are here, or to confuse, which ever the case may be:

and as of late....

I'm kinda liking, maybe just a little bit:

and now:

IE6 in Linux!

I had just figured out how to use my R30 (this is before major installs on several small HDs) with XandrOS on the BSU network. Then I get into Algebra and it uses EI6+ exclusive plug-ins. Crap. I'd rather use the R30, it's smaller, it's lighter, it's Linux(!).

So I Googled. Yep, there it was. A script file called Eis4Linux. It needs CABextract and Wine to work (web site has all the info). It installs IE 5, 5.5 and 6, along with desktop icons on your Linux machine. And yes I can do my homework on it. That's what got me looking in the first place.

Check it out!:

Time to install E-UAE!


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April 2007

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Well, here I am deleting files right and left, so much space opening up on my HD!

Ok, well, I backed the files up to CD. But I went to delete a file and I was told I did not have permission to delete it. Hmmm. I made the files on this machine. Knoppix! Same. :/

Hey, I know!

I got into the Amiga Emulator and selected the folders and bam! They were gone. It was a rather large mirror image of an older set of folders I used for the Amiga Emulator. Looking back it was a "no duh."

In the heat of things it hadn't occur to me. It would have hit me if I was in Linux, but I was in 2000.

What is the cure?

I've had case sensitive issues in Linux that have driven me to utter madness - that explains a lot ;)

I have fought with privileges under Linux. But it is just a matter of logging in as root and things seem to work for me.


Dyne:Bolic will not let me put a nest on the big Win2k machine upstairs. Beyond irritating. Perhaps there is a pointer issue or more likely, something I han't checked, the format of the HD. I'm not sure what it is, as I've never looked. Hmm. I got a minute before bed time.


Ok, time for renew education (isn't that what Flanders said, or was it reneducation ;)!


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May 2007

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20070508: I'm in Gnome on the Fedora Core 6 in Open Office 2.x

I've been (this is a mean while) playing around with Gnome under the Fedora Core 6. Tweaking this and tweaking that. Something to do. At any rate, the setup is easy, yet not quite enough. It really reminds me of the MacOS in that way. I'd like to have black menus with white fonts, but it is not to be, at least not without a major utility or some serious hacking (at my present understanding). I'm not sure of the x-connection on this. I started on Gnome back on RH6, and I really enjoyed the themes for it.

I've little time to DL or move utilities around (especially since they are on HDs that aren't even in a computer!

Above is the desktop on the R30 at the moment. Hmm, I just put this in OO and now the fan on this little celery is running full. There, it died down a bit.

Well, the time has come. I had planned to put the new Open Circulation of XandrOS on this drive along with the FC6, but I had not planned well, and resizing is out, and I've gotten way too far into the customizing and configuring of this setup to do a start over install. So now, the Amiga OS will be moved over first. Wish me luck....

Oops! I got distracted! I found a hack to get a dark blue w/white font in the menus. Go to Themes and select "High Contrast Inverse", then go to Theme Details and pick the "bluecurve classic." This gives a nice window that isn't that contrasting silver that don't work with the pirate motif ;)

Ok, back to moving Amiga Files. First step is to get into root, since I need to put files into /usr/ in order to have a good clean install. I do this by hand as it is easier to simply drop the folder I've already configured to run under Simply-Mepis.

I leave you now and hope to be back soon!

Upon inspection and retrospection, I found I had placed all of UAE in the user folder I use on that machine (yep, even the master of the network uses a user (as opposed to root account). The reason I did this is simple. Those permissions and the whole upper/lower case issue. Many Linux systems default to case sensitive file naming. And I was accessing stuff via the network. It just made everything as a whole go well in the end; even running two different Linuxes on the same box accessing the UAE files (as in the setup on Gandalf).

STEP 1: Move UAE folder to thumb drive. Or just dump it all via the network. I started to do the TD, as I was planning to do a lot of working in root to do this install, but I'll just jump to step 2....

STEP 2: Drop the UAE file into my default user account home folder straight off the network in this case ;)

Go via the TD, as 500+ Megs does not copy fast via 16 bit PCMCIA cards on SAMBA.

STEP 3: Edit the .UAERC file and make sure it is where UAE can find it. Do search and replace on it in an editor to replace all old user folder names with current user folder names. Be sure to save.

I am planning to get this going on a shell with only X so I won't be bothered with the problems of window frames and two cursors.

There and Back Again.

Wow! Fedora Core 6 has the option of booting into a failsafe terminal. This is perfect. I access the uae folder after a small term window that appears on screen (lower left Πof the screen) via

cd uae 

then I execute the uae PRG via


and it boots up with no windows. I am essentially using Intuition as my windowing system over X! 2Cool! Now the two cursor thing is still there. But that trick where I move to the top-left of the screen then all the way down to the lower right a couple of times takes care of it! Waycool.

Stability and SMB.

The first couple of times I booted there were absolute lockups. And the only way out was pressing the power button, which on this R30 tells Fedora to power down in the proper Linux fashion. The first lockup was upon opening IBrowse.

I've tried messing with the Amiga screen size by editing the .uaerc file, but the graphics became a bit choppy.

I also tried to add smb:/// to the list of HDs More on this....

STARDATE: 20070510: I'm inside UAE and Wordworth now. Disadvantages? Well, I don't have a Battery Meter, so I can't tell where I'm at battery-wise. I don't have a desktop clock at the moment. When I run UAE on Linux with KDE I can «alt»«tab» to the desktop to see the clock and battery. Not having any other desktop but Intuition, I need to set these things up.

The clock I can do. But I have yet to see an Amiga based battery state indicator. :/


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June 2007

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20070512: Early morning commodore hacking via a ThinkPad. I'm at Cascade Lake -- actually a reservoir -- and I have been cranking out on my latest LOADSTAR creation. This time it's a Grapher. A graphing calculator for the commodore 64.

The fun began at 5:40am. I powered on the 770Z and went off to make my espresso. When I came back to my machine, I had a full screen 64 up and running.

I set the disk image to load upon powering up the machine. Only the bare elements of Win98 loaded and I wasn't even logged in to my computer. I worked out a problem I was having getting my scale right and added another routine. When I was done for the morning (with VICE that is), I exited and logged into Win98 and saved the file to the thumb drive.

I'm doing only battery this trip out. The 770Z is now at 34%, so I may not have much time on it tomorrow morning. But I brought a spare -- The R30 is also packed in the same bag!



I've sent the submission off to LOADSTAR. I had one more camp trip to polish it up, adding the ability to use fractions.

Rather than rewrite the keyboard reader I have the commodore clear the screen, print the fraction or power or whatever other math that may have been entered for the value as:

a being the numeric entry. Then CONT is printed a few lines down, I poke a couple of 13s in the kB buffer along with the number of 13s I poked and then END.

When the program ends it looks to the kB buffer and finds there are 3 keypresses and it processes them, entering the Q(N)=Q$ along with the CONT (did I mention I HOMEd the cursor?) now the number is calculated as if I typed in the equation in in calculator mode and the program goes along on it's merry way!

The PRG will plot linear equations (entered as a=0 since it is really only dealing with ax^2+bx+c) and quadratic equations. I didn't use an option «8» from the menu, so there is room for one more input of some type. I was thinking about entering 3rd degree polynomials or perhaps nth degree. This PRG has room to grow. Although for the sake of memory I may have to remove some of the bells and whistles -- should they prove to be superfluous.

Those early morning coding sessions are nice. I have the peace of the morning, and the quiet of sleeping kids. I was able to hash out the story I had been working on (on and off) for several months now (with a break in the middle to write up another one that occurred to me the day it hit me). Both stories need to be proofed and honed but the basic hard outline of them is in place.

Once again, the emulators are buzzing away.

Back to this three machines concept.

Well, Strider used to have two batteries, but the original battery I bought for it went south in a big hurry and the twin (I bought it about the same time, maybe a couple of months sooner) went about the same time. This looked suspicious as I use IBM's 2nd battery adapter in I believe it was the 770Z (it may have been the 770) when they went flat. First one, then I was camping and needed long battery power, then the other on the next trip. Major bummer.

Gandalf went to New Orleans with me and that was a blast. It had fried itself in hibernation mode when the battery was low (may have not been related). I've since replaced the mother board and gone from Gandalf the Grey to Gandalf the White. (I was hoping to get a mother board from someone who could look at the chip and tell if it was a celeron or pentium. As my plan was to put the PIII 1 GHz in it rather than the Celery 900 MHz, but that didn't happen. I bid on a PIII and got a celery.

To make a long story even longer... I decided to get a new battery for it. It was supposed to last 3 or 4 hours and I only get about an hour 15 to 30 out of it (I use emulators and they chug power).

New discovery. Maybe. It would appear that my batteries last longer with the net card inserted and powered up. How can this be? This definitely warrants some investigation. Perhaps the power schemes set themselves up so radically different with the card in that -- well, any who.

BlackDragon is a monster machine I basically bought as parts and rebuilt or reassembled as I really didn't do any more than that. It has a 15 inch screen, a ThinkLite, and Windows 2000. A PIII 800 runs the Amiga emulator like faster than my fastest Amiga or close to. It's a bit big, but I get hmm, what do I get? 5 or 6 hours of battery time, maybe more. I have not yet been yelled at about plugging in as battery is running out. Maybe once. This is a great finish up machine.

So I start my camping coding with the 770Z and I can get two mornings in with it and no recharge. Gandalf comes in with Linux as a welcome relief. I have C64 emulation there and I can pop on the ThinkLite which is nice. But I usually only get about an hour 15 minutes with it, then it's save and power down asap as he'll shut down fast.

Lastly, I get power and speed, but no linux with BlackDragon (I could boot up via CD, but I haven't spent time at this box as Linux so there is no Amiga/Linux C64/Linux on it).

So, why not just recharge? Well, I can now. But our first trip out without power (self contained mode). I hadn't checked the batteries prior to leaving. So I packed well. It turned out one of the batteries was a dud. Glad I didn't charge my machine.

But what about charging?

I can charge the R30 as well as the 770Z via a Targus DC charger, but to charge the A22m, I need the docking station, as the power jack on this box was toast when I got it. It's not huge, but it is another thing I'd have to pack.

So why Gandalf?

Well, The only OS's I'm running on Gandalf are Linux. I have a couple of configurations that use E-UAE for the windowing system on top of Linux with X. So it is a very tempting machine to play with. Especially the portable Ami system. I can go to CLI and run Unix stuff, but having Intuition as an "OS" is really cool.

I need to pull the kB off Gandalf and see where it is not attaching, as it wiggles a bit in the cursor key area and that is truly annoying. Nothing like having pending hardware projects.

Speaking of projects, I have recently taken a hiatus from Academic life. I'm bummed, I was all ready for my next math class (pre-calc). Perhaps I'll get those Apple computer systems up on eBay. I've got a Mint PET I've been thinking about letting go. Plus there may be a few summer eBay surprises.

I'll never sell a car on eBay again! $50 to list it and I listed it twice and it didn't sell! What a waste of money. All that time I spent eBaying to help pay for a family vacation shot out by the listing fees for the Van. Which is still out front. :/

Enough editorial rambling!

Here is the source code of The Grapher. All the commodore specific characters are messed up, like capital letters and cursor key movement characters. But those are just for pretty and the basic list of the PRG is intact:

10 HI=192:POKEHI*256+63,0
20 SYS57812"GRAFSTAR C000",DV,0:POKE780,0:POKE781,0:POKE782,HI:SYS65493
23 IO=HI*256 :REM    OPEN
36 NQ$="F(X)=AX^2+BX+C":CS$="Y=A(X-H)^2+K"
40 XM=319:XC=160:OP=0:O=OP:SA=24576
41 YM=199:YC=100:Z=0002:PT=1:EA=SA+7999:DN=PEEK(186):CP=0:SN=99:FP=0:R=0:PC=0
42 ED$="                                                     .....END OF LINE."
44 ED$=ED$+"           "
45 X1=0:X2=0:X3=0:Y3=0:POKE53280,0
50 SYS57812"TOOLS 9A00",DV,0:POKE780,0
51 POKE781,0:POKE782,154:SYS65493
100 REM *** MAIN ***
110 GOSUB8000
120 REM *** MAINLOOP ***
130 E$="":PRINT" ";:GETE$:IFE$=""THEN130
140 GOSUB7000
150 GOTO120
255 E$="":GETE$:IFE$="^"THEN299
260 POKEI,255-PEEK(I)
290 GETC$:IFC$=""THEN290
300 REM *** INPUT A, B, AND C ***
301 POKE53280,5:R=1
310 FOR N = 0 TO 2
320 :IF N=0 THEN L$=" A"
330 :IF N=1 THEN L$=" B"
340 :IF N=2 THEN L$=" C"
350 :GOSUB60000:REM Q(N)=VAL(Q$)
360 :E$="":GETE$:IFE$="^"THEN1199
370 NEXT N:GOSUB12000
380 POKE53280,2
382 NA$=STR$(A):NB$=STR$(B):NC$=STR$(C)
384 IF A=-1 THEN NA$="-"
386 IF A=1 THEN NA$=""
391 IF B=-1 THEN NB$="-"
392 IF B=1 THEN NB$=""
393 IFMID$(NA$,1,1)=" "THEN NA$=MID$(NA$,2,LEN(NA$))
394 IFMID$(NB$,1,1)=" "THEN NB$="+"+MID$(NB$,2,LEN(NB$))
395 IFMID$(NC$,1,1)=" "THEN NC$="+"+MID$(NC$,2,LEN(NC$))
397 NQ$="F(X)="+NA$+"X^2"+NB$+"X"+NC$
398 GOSUB400
401 IF A=0 THEN 499
410 B=B/A:H=(B/2)^2:K=(A*-H)+C:H=(B/2)
412 NH$=STR$(H):NK$=STR$(K)
420 IFMID$(NH$,1,1)=" "THEN NH$="+"+MID$(NH$,2,LEN(NH$))
423 IFMID$(NK$,1,1)=" "THEN NK$="+"+MID$(NK$,2,LEN(NK$))
470 CS$="Y="+NA$+"(X"+NH$+")^2"+NK$
570 POKE646,PEEK(53281):PRINT"«HOME»":POKE53272,23
571 PRINT"«CLEAR SCRN»":POKE53272,23
590 PRINT"«CRSR DN»«CRSR DN»CONT:":POKE631,13:POKE632,13:POKE633,13:POKE198,3:END
999 END
1000 REM *** QUADRATIC EQ ***
1001 POKE53280,5
1130 GOSUB5000:SV=.1:IFABS(Q(0))>17THENSV=.01
1150 YV=Q(0)*XV^2+Q(1)*XV+Q(2):IFABS(YV)>YCTHEN 1180
1152 X=XV*10:Y=YV*10
1170 GOSUB4000
1172 E$="":GETE$:IFE$="^"THEN1199
1180 NEXT XV:POKE53280,2
1192 C$="":GETC$:IFC$=""THEN1192
1199 POKE53280,2:PC=PEEK(53280):RETURN
2000 REM *** BIG SCALE ***
2001 POKE53280,13
2130 GOSUB5000:SV=.1:IFABS(Q(0))>17THENSV=.01
2150 YV=Q(0)*XV^2+Q(1)*XV+Q(2):IFABS(YV)>YCTHEN 2180
2152 X=XV*1:Y=YV*1
2170 GOSUB4000
2172 E$="":GETE$:IFE$="^"THEN2199
2180 NEXT XV:POKE53280,6
2192 C$="":GETC$:IFC$=""THEN2192
2199 POKE53280,6:PC=PEEK(53280):RETURN
3000 REM *** DATA ***
3001 POKE53280,5
3012 PRINT"«CRSR DN»«CRSR DN»«CRSR DN»«CRSR DN»«CRSR DN»«CRSR DN»"PP$"                      "
3172 E$="":GETE$:IFE$="^"THEN2199
3190 REM
3191 POKE53280,2
3192 C$="":GETC$:IFC$=""THEN2192
4000 REM *** PLOT ***
4002 IF FP=0THENPT=1
4006 POKE53281,1:POKE53282,PT
4020 SYS PENC,1,0,0,0
5000 REM *** SETUP HIRES ***
5010 SYS IO,96,92:POKE53281,1:POKE53282,0:SYS PENC,1,0,0,0
5050 FOR X=0 TO XM STEP 10
5060 SYS PENC,1,0,0,0
5069 SYS PLOT,X,0,PT
5080 NEXT X
5082 SYS PLOT,X-1,0,PT
5090 FOR Y=0 TO YM STEP 10
5100 SYS PENC,1,0,0,0
5109 SYS PLOT,0,Y,PT
5120 NEXT Y
5122 SYS PLOT,0,Y-1,PT
6000 REM *** TEXT MODE ***
6010 SYS MODE,0
7000 REM *** READ KEYS *****
7010 IFE$="1"THENGOSUB1000
7020 IFE$="2"THENGOSUB2000
7030 IFE$="3"THENGOSUB12000:GOSUB3000
7040 IFE$="4"THENOP=1:GOSUB5000:OP=O:GOSUB200
7060 IFE$="6"THENOP=0:GOSUB5000:OP=O
7090 IFE$="9"THENGOSUB300
7100 IFE$="0"THENOP=1:POKE53280,PC:GOSUB5000:E$="":OP=O:GOTO7120
7104 IFE$="/"THENGOSUB30000
7106 IFE$="Q"THENPRINTED$:POKE788,49:GOTO40000
7108 IFE$="S"THENGOSUB10000
7109 IFE$="?"THENGOSUB50000
7110 GOSUB6000:GOSUB8000
8000 REM *** MENU ***
8008 POKE53281,0:POKE53280,11:POKE646,1
8010 PRINT"                         €€€€€"
8012 PRINT"                    THE  "
8013 PRINT"                  £££££"
8018 PRINT"                €€€€€€€€€"
8020 PRINT"                  GRAPHER "
8022 PRINT"                £££££££££"
8030 PRINT"          €€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€"
8032 PRINT"            BY BRIAN CROSTHWAITE  "
8034 PRINT"          ££££££££££££££££££££££"
8036 PRINT"                "TAB(20-(LEN(CS$)/2))CS$
8038 PRINT"                 "TAB(20-(LEN(NQ$)/2))NQ$
8040 PRINT"    €€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€"
8042 PRINT"    PRESS....                 ? TO WHAT "
8050 PRINT"     1  PLOT  FUNCTION         / DRIVE # "
8060 PRINT"     2  10X SCALE PLOT                   "
8062 PRINT"                                                  DN ="DN"  "
8070 PRINT"     3 ROOTS & VERTEX        S TO SAVE "
8080 PRINT"     4 REVERSE PLOT SCREEN             "
8090 PRINT"     5 TOGGLE OVER PLOT        OP ="OP"   "
8100 PRINT"     6 CLEAR PLOT SCREEN               "
8110 PRINT"     7 FALSE/TRUE PLOT                 "
8112 PRINT"                                                      FP ="FP"  "
8130 PRINT"     9 ENTER A, B, & C                 "
8140 PRINT"     0 VIEW        ^ MENU    Q TO QUIT "
8142 PRINT"   ££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££££"
9010 PRINT"                  €€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€"
9020 PRINT"              J & F PUBLISHING  "
9030 PRINT"            ££££££££££££££££££"
9040 PRINT"                   €€€"
9050 PRINT"                     &  "
9060 PRINT"                   £££"
9070 PRINT"           €€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€"
9080 PRINT"             NOESISCREATION.ORG  "
9090 PRINT"           ££££££££££££££££££££"
9100 PRINT"                €€€€€€€€€"
9110 PRINT"                  PRESENT  "
9120 PRINT"                £££££££££"
9130 PRINT"                  €€€€€"
9140 PRINT"                    THE  "
9150 PRINT"                  £££££"
9160 PRINT"                €€€€€€€€€"
9170 PRINT"                  GRAPHER  "
9180 PRINT"                £££££££££"
9190 PRINT"          €€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€"
9200 PRINT"            BY BRIAN CROSTHWAITE  "
9210 PRINT"          ££££££££££££££££££££££ "
9212 POKE53370,0
9214 FORTD=0TO1500
9215 C$="":GETC$:IFC$<>""THEN9218
9218 POKE53371,0
9220 PRINT"                        €€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€"
9230 PRINT"               COPYRIGHT 2007  "
9240 PRINT"             ££££££££££££££££"
9250 PRINT"          €€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€"
9260 PRINT"            BY BRIAN CROSTHWAITE  "
9270 PRINT"          ££££££££££££££££££££££"
9272 PRINT"                   €€€"
9274 PRINT"                     &  "
9276 PRINT"                   £££"
9280 PRINT"            €€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€"
9290 PRINT"              J & F PUBLISHING  "
9300 PRINT"            ££££££££££££££££££"
9310 PRINT"          €€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€"
9320 PRINT"            ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  "
9330 PRINT"          ££££££££££££££££££££££    "
9332 POKE53370,0
9334 FORTD=0TO2000
9335 C$="":GETC$:IFC$<>""THEN9338
9338 POKE53371,0
10000 REM *** SAVE DOODLE ***
10010 A1=INT(SA/256):A2=SA-256*A1
10012 S2=23552:CE=1023
10014 A3=INT(S2/256):A4=S2-256*A3
10021 PRINT"            SAVING ",F$
10022 IFF$=""THEN10110
10030 OPEN15,DN,15,"S0:"+F$
10040 OPEN1,DN,1,"0:"+F$+",P,W"
10050 PRINT#1,CHR$(A4);CHR$(A3);
10070 NEXTJ
10090 CLOSE1:
10100 INPUT#15,A$,B$:PRINT"            "A$,B$:CLOSE15
10106 C$="":GETC$:IFC$=""THEN10106
10110 RETURN
12000 REM *** MORE MATH ***
12002 A=Q(0):B=Q(1):C=Q(2)
12010 REM *** SOLVE FOR X ***
12020 PP$="":PP=B^2-4*A*C:IF PP<0 THEN PP$="NO SOLUTION":GOTO12040
12022 IFA=0THEN12070
12030 X1=((-B+SQR(PP))/(2*A))
12033 X2=((-B-SQR(PP))/(2*A))
12040 REM *** VERTEX ***
12050 X3=(-B/(2*A))
12060 Y3=(A*X3^2+B*X3+C)
12080 XD=X
12090 YD=Y
12999 RETURN
20000 REM *** KB INPUT ***
20010 REM A$="INKEY64.0000":SAVEA$,8:VERIFYA$,8
20020 A$="":K=0:F$="":REM PRINT"       ENTER FILE NAME TO SAVE: ";
20030 K$="":GETK$:IFK$=""THEN20030
20040 IFK$=CHR$(20)ANDF$<>""THENF$=LEFT$(F$,LEN(F$)-1):K=K-1:GOTO20130
20050 IFF$=""ANDK$=CHR$(13)THEN20190
20060 IFK$=CHR$(13)THEN20170
20070 IFK$="/"ORK$="*"ORK$="?"ORK$=CHR$(34)ORK$="$"THEN20030
20080 IFK$="@"ORK$="="THEN20030
20090 IFK$=" "ORK$=" "ORK$=" "ORK$=":"ORK$=" "THEN20030;rem these are crsr up, dn, etc
20100 IFK$=","ORK$=":"ORK$=";"ORK$=CHR$(147)ORK$=" "THEN20030
20110 IFK$=CHR$(148)THEN20030
20120 IFK$=CHR$(20)ANDF$=""THEN20030
20130 IFK>14THENK=14:GOTO20030
20140 IFK<14THENK=K+1:GOTO20150
20142 GOTO20030
20150 IFK<=14THENPRINTK$;:IFK$<>CHR$(20)THENF$=F$+K$
20160 GOTO20030
20170 IFF$=""THENGOTO20200
20180 IFF=0THENF$="DD"+F$
20190 IFF=1THENIFF$>="A"THEN20030
20200 RETURN
30000 REM *** LOGGED DRIVE ***
30010 REM DN=PEEK(186)
30030 E$="":GETE$:IFE$=""THEN30030
30040 IFE$<>"/"ANDE$<>CHR$(13)THEN30030
30050 IFE$=CHR$(13)THEN30120
30060 DN=DN+1
30070 IFDN>30THENDN=8
30080 OPEN15,DN,15,""
30090 CLOSE15
30100 IFST<>0THENPRINT"                            ( "DN" )":GOTO30060
30110 GOTO30020
40000 FORI=0TO21:POKE828+I,8+I:NEXT
40010 IFDV<8ORDV>29ORDV=8THEN40030
40020 A=PEEK(828):B=PEEK(828+DV-8):POKE828,B:POKE828+DV-8,A
40050 CLOSE15:OPEN15,I,15,"R0:"+A$+"="+A$:INPUT#15,ER:CLOSE15:IFER=63THEN40070
40060 NEXT:PRINT" ":POKE53272,23:POKE186,8:END
40070 Q$=CHR$(34):POKE646,PEEK(53281):PRINT"«HOME»":POKE53272,23
40090 PRINT"    RUN: ":POKE631,13:POKE632,13:POKE198,2:END
50010 PRINT"   WHAT?!?!??";CHR$(14)
50014 PRINT"                                     "
51001 PRINT" OPTION 9:"
51130 PRINT" FORM:
51140 PRINT"
51180 PRINT"     F(X)=AX^2+BX+C
51190 PRINT"
52180 PRINT"
52190 PRINT" I.E.  SCL=1:1
52192 PRINT"
53140 PRINT"
53180 PRINT"
53190 PRINT" I.E.  SCL=1:10";
59800 E$="":GETE$:IFE$=""THEN59800
59999 RETURN
60000 REM *** MATH INPUT *** K CHANGED 2 CK 20070517
60010 REM
60020 A$="":CK=0:Q$="":PRINT"       ENTER QUADRATIC VALUE "L$":";
60030 K$="":GETK$:IFK$=""THEN60030
60040 IFK$=CHR$(20)ANDQ$<>""THENQ$=LEFT$(Q$,LEN(Q$)-1):CK=CK-1:GOTO60130
60050 IFQ$=""ANDK$=CHR$(13)THEN60190
60060 IFK$=CHR$(13)THEN60170
60070 IFK$="?"ORK$=CHR$(34)ORK$="$"THEN60030
60080 IFK$="@"ORK$="="THEN60030
60090 IFK$=" "ORK$=" "ORK$=" "ORK$=":"ORK$=" "THEN60030:REM these are cursor key movements.
60100 IFK$=","ORK$=":"ORK$=";"ORK$=CHR$(147)ORK$=" "THEN60030
60110 IFK$=CHR$(148)THEN60030
60120 IFK$=CHR$(20)ANDF$=""THEN60030
60130 IFCK>35THENCK=35:GOTO60030
60140 IFCK<35THENCK=CK+1:GOTO60150
60142 GOTO60030
60160 GOTO60030
60170 GOSUB500:IFQ$=""THENGOTO60200
60190 IFF=1THENIFQ$>="A"THEN60030
60192 IFQ$=""THENQ$="0":REM Q DEFAULT IS 0
60200 RETURN


The plot routine's are from LOADSTAR's GRAFSTAR so if you type this up be sure to find a plotter routine. I use lines for the graph page, but all else is simple one point plotting.

If you'd rather not type it up, I'll let you know if, and when it gets on a LOADSTAR.


Well, on the 19 of May, expired. The URL that is. I couldn't afford the $10 per year for it to continue (when you add in my other URLs it's $50 per year). So I took it off auto renew and let it vanish into the night.


Back to Top

July 2007

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20070516: Well, all went well in the realm of battery only. I had the R30 running Linux with VICE for about an hour and 10 to 15 minutes. It was cool having that ThinkLite at 5am in the dark.

Later in the season that won't be much of an issue during summer months the light tends to come early.

I don't get up at four AM as often as I used to do, but camping I seem to always rise at 5am. I recall Patrick McManus writing about waking up in the tent and having to wait 23 hours until dawn. That's the way it's always been for me and camping.

But that's a good thing (at least now it is ;). I get to get my espresso going and crank out another LOADSTAR creation.

And now the Disturbing News.

Dick Estle, famed commodorean forwarded an email to me regarding the Write Stuff. The Disturbing part was where he mentioned he hadn't touched his commodore in the past five years.


This guy used to prod me this way and that with GEOS ideas and his name was ever present in the annals of commodoredom. It is sad to hear of yet another commodorean leaving (or having left) our diminishing realm.

Just for the record. The reason I bought my "fast" Laptop was to have a fast Portable Amiga to match my fast Portable C64.

This puppy is a Linux box (R30 -- several flavors of Linux, but no WinAnything!) and the first menu item in the list (added by moi), is a submenu called Emulators. Inside is a list of these items:

Mega STe 4
Amiga R30
commodore 64
commodore 128
Wheels 128

STARDATE: 20070610: Well, this morning's time at the keys was hacking the .uaerc file to get the USB ports on line. It has been successful, but not without confusion.

Seems that every time I save a file path for a non-floppy drive,


appears before the part the computer uses. Now this is ok for the ROM image (apparently), for whatever reason, however, the folders that are the drives are not found when that is there. I've also had to /home... before the folder to reset the path to the very beginning, rather than look from the path I'm working in. To ad to the confusion, (I'm working on the Fedora Core 6 install with the UAE from CLI with no other GUI) the configure file I had just edited was reported not found -- and yet all my drives I've hooked up this morning are here. Keep in mind I edited in a text editor and saved it to the file that is in the /home dir.

I've opened up this file on the Cruiser Micro right out of UAE in Wordworth, in fact, all I did was double click on the icon and here I am!

5 minutes later and a different computer.

Ok, I messed around for so long configuring this and that, plus I hit shut down rather than log out by accident; Gandalf's battery got used up. I did get a solid hour plus out of it. Linux does the clock thing on the CPU so much that it really bangs the metal. Add to that UAE, especially the AGA mode and power goes fast.

Back to the Past.

The backyard is looking really good, unfortunately, that has lead to painful hands. Blisters and the like from handling shovels, garden rakes and pavers. As a result of this self-inflicted pain, I've not started my next project.

At present I've got three stories to finish and some Nexae bubbling in the back of my brain. Who knows what the future may hold.


Back to Top

August 2007

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Incessant Ramblings -- Moi?!?!?

STARDATE: 20070607: Linux SIG tonight and we saw Fedora 7 -- not Core 7, but they've made a combination of the version and core (I believe based on the arrangement of people working the project, RedHat people and open people).

The presenter's computer's name was Aragorn. I had Gandalf and Strider there, so I had to introduce them. The SIG has gone long. Gandalf was in AmigaOS to mess with the backdrop for a desktop I'm working on for Strider.

Strider's Xandros is a new install and I'm working on installing the AmigaOS. Although, I've got it going, it is on top of KDE.

So how did Strider get Xandros?

I went to boot the experimental HD. The SimplyMepis install had gone south, then I booted into OS Warp and the sound didn't play. :/ Could be a left over from Linux probing that shut it off. I haven't checked to see if the modem was off in BIOS, also a possibility.

I found that the folder I moved from Samwise was only a backup that I had moved from this HD (I'm on Strider). It was after the SimplyMepis blowout that I found this out. I have found that /usr/share/uae/ is where I installed UAE on Samwise. Sam is still running SimplyMepis. I don't know how I got the emulator running on this box under SimplyMepis when I did. (Maybe I didn't).

Now it's installed and works well. I do prefer having it neatly tucked away in /use/share/ as it should be. Makes things easier. (That's what I said about /home/noesis0/, but oh well.)

I powered up at 6:30pm and it's now 8:13pm and I'm at 22%. Kinda cool. This machine is an oldie but a goody. I've been in and out of emulation, I moved a card full of high res pictures over to the thumb drive. In windows, I can't plug the thumb drive and the cs card in at the same time. Tonight I did it at one time. I was in XandrOS4 Open Circulation. I had a bog, however. I'm not sure if it was the high speed USB in a non HSUSB port.

I'm in geoWirte under PC-GEOS. I' think I'll try the BIOS to see if the modem is on or off.

STARDATE: 20070621: (In GeoWorks' geoWrite app). I have a song I ripped from a CD that I want to have the Install of XandrOS 4 on Gandalf play upon booting. The problem is, when I ripped it I saved it as a WMA file. This does not pose much of a problem on most platforms, X&R4 included. Except that I want KDE to play it at start.

Well, I tried Audacity first. The Debian packages had far too many dependencies, not included in the packages that installing was taking too much time. Normally, I use Xandros Networks to install and it'll tell me what's missing, I DL from the list of dependencies and install. Sometimes I need to do it again and install another then I can install the original package. However, there were far too many things missing and needed.

Enter RPM mode!

RPM's work also with the Xandros Networks, it makes a Debian package and installs that. But sometimes things go about the same as above.

This time, I DLed only the packages for older versions of a given Linux -- in this case, Fedora Core3 . It had all those files needed and I installed two RPMs and had a fully functional, Audacity on my semi-newly installed X&R4 set up.

It turns out that this version of Audacity doesn't import WMA files, so really wasn't much ahead of the game. I'm far too lazy to power down Strider and swap HDs to bootup my audio conversion filled Win98 system. So I Googled around and found PAC (Perl Audio Converter). All I needed for this was Perl. I did a find via the FIND menu item and Perl seemed to be on the machine, at least a fair amount of support should be there.

So I DLed an audio package. I think it was aimed at SUSI. I opened the archive and copied the folders into their respective locations.

I found a file that merely had a simply entry "install.pac." So I did the FIND thing again. I found the file in /usr/bin/, I believe. Anyway I menued to "RUN A Command."

In the line I cut and pasted the file location, I checked the box for run in shell, and checked the run as other user box and entered the root password (it defaults to the other user as root). I hit the «RUN» button. /sh shell opened up and started the process. Things looked good, Perl needed more stuff it installed more and was a chuggin' away when I had to leave.


This was the computer I wanted to take, but it was busy FTPing and testing and installing and so forth. Well, I'm going to save this as a simple .TXT file and see if I can't find it with X&R4 on this machine (Strider). And I never got PAC up and running on Gandalf.

Oh, in the mean time SUSI was down to a minimal install -- it was cool, but there was really no accessing anything on it except via Firefox. I could see the SMB folders, but I couldn't open them. I may have been able to hash something out but I never tried.

I went back to mess around with Mandriva and found if I leave out the office stuff I could install just about everything! Everything except the user interfaces. I put KDE on it but didn't check to see how much room the others would take up.

Well, it was a fairly simple install. The opening screen start-up thingie is way cool. They have one that looks like a hand print verify, but I could just see the kids putting their hands on top of it on the LCD screen.

Well, I let it install Lilo, thinking I could cut and paste the entry for X&Rs menu.lst file, but I had problems and did a rescue install from the X&R4 DVD. It went real well, said no to the two questions it asked me and it found Mandriva and put it in the menu all on it's own. That was nice.


I've been messing around with emulators on the A22m. Mostly the X128. I wanted to see how the LOADSTAR PRGs I wrote worked in emulation -- I'd never done it. At least I don't recall doing it. Full screen looks great, but X128 needs better support for full screen, since I was not able to swap from 40 to 80 in that mode. Maybe I'll try again soon.

STARTDATE: 20070620: Well, after all the changes happening here, there are yet more. We can see the house across the street! Yep, we finally sold that 1 Ton Ford Econoline Van. It was a great old vehicle and it has moved on to a new life as a shuttle for a day care in a town south west of Boise.

I've been in VICE 1.19 x128 on the Win2k machine. I was having troubles with f-keys. Then I finally figured out that the PC's F9 - F12 were the equivealent C128 f-keys.

Perhaps I should start reading now....


Back to Top

September 2007

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20070710: Well, the PX-8 floppy does not respond. It powers up, but there is no clicking open of the disk, and there is a BDOS error.

So I put in new batteries. Still notta. Made an attempt again -- still notta. So now I hope a capacitive circuit will charge under battery and I'll try again. If I still get notta, I'll put the PS on it and try once more.

I tried to open the case, but it was a very snug fit and I bailed on it. I really hope the capacitive idea is what works. I was looking for a battery on the control board, but I didn't get that good of a look inside.

On a side note, I was possessed with an urge to listen to Meat Loaf. Talk about stirring up some memories! Wow.

I'm on the Portfolio at the pool. I had to pay to get in despite the fact, I was not swimming. Hmm, should have brought my swimsuit.

I hadn't noticed, but Xandros File Manager is setup with a CD browser. I had tried Simply Mepis' and it didn't fair too well. Xandros File Manager did basically the same thing -- except that I was able to simply move a track off a CD simply picking it up and dragging it over to another window, as if I had simply copied a file. 2cool!

I also found that Fedora Core 6 opens CDs as files of the ogg flavor and I can hear the audio file (from HD) or CD by hovering the mouse over the icon. Waycool!

Back to the PX, rather the FD-10. I did some looking (read Googling) and found that the drive does indeed have a battery on it's control board. One source says it is a lead acid battery. But it is a standard battery, meaning it shouldn't be too hard to find.

The PS does nothing but charge those two batteries -- the nicad pac and the control board battery. So I will have to replace the internal battery in order to use the drive. That was a major draw back in the design. On the other hand, the FD lets you use either the nicad pack or store bought C cells.

I don't like hard to get to batteries, and what the heck does it need two batteries for?! It's a floppy -- not a RAM Disk!

After charging, in hopes to get the mother board battery charged (it didn't), I discovered my nicad pack that powers the rest of the drive still works!

Atari Portfolio

I tried to use the FT.COM software on the A22m. I hooked up the parallel cable to the port on the dock. It was a no go, did reset and checked to make sure parallel port was not off and that there wasn't a docked profile that turned it off. I gave up and moved this file over on the 770Z. No problem!

STARDATE: 20070824:

Power Off!

Well, the A22m powers off at the worst of times -- out of the blue! Ok, I was using the little joystick on the kB... I had discovered that I left the battery unlocked....but still! I mean come on, I was in the middle of something here! There. ;)

Power On!

Well, my school stuff is straightened out and I'm enrolled full time! This is exciting. I have piles of eBays awaiting, photographing, describing, packing, weighing, and posting. I may have to put them in the garage and just move on for now. School will be filling every nook and cranny of time. I hope I find enough of it (time, that is).

Another time grabber - I want to type up the stories that are constantly popping into my head.

I do hope to make some time at the keys in the name of LOADSTAR. This should lend itself to some of insights that wind up here. Wish me luck on that.


Back to Top

October 2007

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20070926: Whoda thought. Well, I've just finished an intense problem set for my PreCalc class. The problems are fairly easy, but the details are rich. That is, there's a lot of details.

Last night, I must have misplaced a sign or ALEKS got it wrong, but it lead to the kind of confusion paramount to none. I finally asked Mia for her help. I was correct in my assumption, what I was thinking was correct, I had just thrown it out the window, because either the ALEKS told me the wrong thing or I misunderstood. It was late and I should not have been doing math, especially when you have to put in 6 different, highly detailed answers. I called it a night.

Next day I went to the BSU library and worked some more. Went to class, then came here to the library again. I finished up and was congratulated on finishing before my deadline and, surprisingly, pulled no hair out.

Now to celebrate. Part by a quick bout in Armagatron, then the Amiga Emu, here on the Z machine, them I'm off to check out my first library booked ever, since 18 years ago: "Nailing Jelly to a Tree".

STARDATE: 20071001: Still breathlessly busy.

It's a thumb drive world.

Ok, I've got a class in technology this semester, where we save our stuff to a network drive that is only accessible via the network in the building it's in. So I copy everything I have to a thumb drive so I can take home my home work. I'm used to this, as it has been a preferred way to keep track of current computer projects that may wind up worked on by a variety of computers and platforms.

Having an R30 dedicated to experimentation is nice, but there are 4 HDs for it and each has two flavors of Linux on them. I set one distro up a certain way, experiment, change, etc. The R30 is a fairly small, lightweight machine. Ideal for packing off to school. So it goes. Most of the time. And a thumb drive is mandatory, or I'd loose track of where what is and then I'd be doomed.

There is a problem. ALEKS. ALEKS is an artificial intelligence program system for teaching math online. In my case, PreCalculas. They have a JAVA framework. It is supported on Mac and PC -- the PC being windows and IE. They say it supports Netscape. They also tell you how to set it up on a linux box. But it is officially not supported. It works most of the time, but stuff overlaps sometimes and you can't read it. Bummer.

On a new note BSU, at least recognizes Mac, Win and Linux on their campus wide wifi and the area called the quad -- totally out of doors -- is all covered! I may try an out door wifi session some gloomy, yet warm day. Kind of a waste on a sunny day when you can't see your screen :/

It is time, to trade HDs over on Gandalf (this is in WinUAE 1.2 via Win2K on BlackDragon), as I need the UAE and possibly X64 -- if I get time ;)


Live moble update via WinUAE! More, as time permits!

STARDATE: 20071002: Hmmm, enter an A21p... -- More to come!

Short Cut.


Brian Crosthwaite

The sound of the gulls and the rolling surf are what called Dr. Philcson and his wife to the slumbering seaside town of Rouge La Morgue. The beach side trail was old, but well maintained. Actually it was only maintained in the sense that nothing grew on it. You see, it is a popular path. Bike riders, walkers and joggers find it convenient as well as scenic, with a quaint little bridge crossing a canal that lets out into the bay and the hardwoods that grow opposite the most obvious sight -- the ocean.

It was the summer that Dr. Philcson happened upon it. He and his wife had recently moved there from a place that had no sea. The path was the most convenient passage from the end of town where they lived in to the part of town that was home to the cinema. The town's only movie cinema. He had gone to the showing of the foreign films alone.

His wife was tired and in need of rest so, the Universities newest teacher found himself alone for the evening. That was until the last film ended and upon leaving the cinema and entering the lobby, when he happened upon a college. They talked for a while, not more than a minute or two, then they parted company.

His old, but faithful Schwinn rolled along the sandy path with ease. The sun was setting and there was no one on the path along the way. He had just taken the turn that leaves the ocean, as the beach turns south at this point, to follow the path that leads through the old graveyard, when it dawned on him, he had forgotten his glasses!

He stopped his bike and pondered. Where could he have set them? Then he remembered he had taken them off while talking to his friend at the cinema. They must surely be back in the window sill where he had set them!

He lunged the bike forward. It slid off the path and into the barrow. He stood for only a moment, bent down and pulled it out. He remounted and started peddling into the dusk. It was strangely hard to do. He stopped to give the front tire a squeeze. It was flat.

It was time to park the bike. While it was a small town and most likely safe to just leave it, he didn't feel right leaving it unattended. He recalled seeing a wrought iron fence at the entrance to the graveyard.

He turned around and followed the now darkened path as it came up to the side of the old graveyard. The path, still well groomed by much use, rounded the now wild remains of a giant hedge, into the looming darkness. There was no one to be seen anywhere. There was a little moon light, giving the smallest vestige of visibility.

It seemed like things walked in shadows between the graves, deer perhaps. He made his way and finally found the open gate. He fumbled in the dark, his lack of eye glasses making it difficult to undo the combination lock. Finally his bike was safely moored. He headed back in the direction of the cinema.

He proceeded back through the graveyard on the path. The cool, moist air gave him goosebumps. The smell of the ocean, dead and salty, filled his nose as he breathed in the night air.

A strange feeling came over him like he had walked through some sort of portal to the past. In the dim moonlight the old graves, seemed new. The grass took on a kept look. It seemed as if it were another place, another time.

He stepped past the neatly trimmed hedge at the edge of the graveyard. A road that had not caught his eye previously, lay before him.

Why had he not taken it before? It went straight to the other side of town. It would save him time, so he took it.

He walked along the sidewalk and admired the neatly trimmed lawns as he went. Then he stopped dead in his tracks.

He remembered coming out of the cemetery before, seeing nothing but a wall of weeds towering over his head. There was no road where he had passed before.

All he saw past the wall was a field of weeds and an old, tattered, two story house. But the house before him was new. He turned and looked back. He could barely see the graveyard hedge he had come out of. That had to be the same place he had exited the graves before. He went on.

He stopped at the sidewalk leading to the tall house. Surely this was not the way. He needed to ask directions to the cinema and call his wife as she'd be worried by this time.

The walk and lawn were clear and well kept. The steps to the porch were firm under his feet. He lifted the brass knocker and let it fall, the sound filled the whole neighborhood. He hadn't found a bell. He raised it again, this time holding it he knocked.

A woman of undesernable age opened the door. She could have been anywhere between 30 to 40 years old. She looked like she belonged to a time of long ago, yet she greeted him with a welcoming smile.

His shock from dropping the knocker was relieved, and he embarrassingly asked if he could get directions and to barrow the phone.

The cinema was just up that very street and the telephone was in the hall.

Telephone. She called it "the telephone." He hadn't heard it called that for a very long time, not since he was a child.

He called his wife, let her know what was happening, and not to wait up for him. He'd get his glasses and walk his bike home. It would be late.

He thanked the woman, and went down the road to his destination. As he walked he felt a strange sense of walking through something. Something tall seemed to brush his cloths, his skin, his very soul. In his mind, there flashed the image of the row of tall weeds he had seen in the distance when he had rounded onto the trail leaving the graveyard.

It seemed that this is where he thought they must be. How could he have missed this wide open road? Had he missed some unseen turn that in the ever growing dark, simply turned a slightly different direction?

He soon reached the cinema. He had arrived much quicker than his sea-side, scenic route. Awe, but it was beautiful and well worth the extra time, even if he had not chosen it for that purpose. It was the only way. There was no other, short of going the long way round via some road off in the unseen distance.

But now it was dark and getting late. This newly discovered way was a God-send. He passed the house he had called from. It seemed a bit different now. It had the a feeling before. Now it felt cold. Dormant.

As he walked the road, the scene before him seemed to transform, the sidewalk slipped under the dirt and weeds of the yard to his left. It covered most of the walk until he was walking on dirt. There were weeds everywhere. Confused by the weeds now surrounding him, his pressed on until finally, before him stood an even still taller, wall of weeds.

Just beyond, over the tops, he saw the twisted, gnarled trees that lined the graveyard parameter. He looked for a passage through, but finally gave in to the impulse to simply push through.

On the other side he saw the old dilapidated graveyard as he saw it hours before, draped in shadowy darkness.

He sped his pace. The shadows danced in the moonlight as the wind from over the ocean pushed it's way through. He turned and looked back for just a moment.

From the center of the old graveyard, he could see in the moonlight the wall of weeds and the top of the old house. It was old and deserted. How strange to have made a call from there. Then he remembered his bike light!

He raced to the end of the graveyard and found it. He unstrapped the light, turning it on and off as a check, then he was off.

He raced in the dark graveyard, the graves flashing by, silent reminders of the calm night.

When he reached the turn, just outside the wall of the graveyard, the road was obscured by the wall of weeds. He flipped the light on and scanned the weeds. He saw the broken weeds he had trod through just minutes ago. He pushed his way through, on to the other side.

The light illuminated a sea of dry grass. The road was gone. The house was the only thing he could see above the endless weeds.

He stood motionless, but only for a moment, as the fires of curiosity billowed up inside -- he raced toward the house, surely the lady was still up, she could help solve this mystery of confusion!

When he stepped upon the porch, the light fell upon unpainted, dry wood. Not the sparkling new steps he had walked on only an hour before, was he lost? The steps creaked under his feet as he walked intrepidly towards the door.

He retraced the route in his mind. There was no other place he could have been. He turned and left the old gray porch, whose light must have been lit no less than 50 years ago. He ran back to the weed covered walk, turning toward the cinema.

He ran, then slowed to a trot and finally stopped. He could go no further. There before him, ran a canal. A chain link fence stretched before him. His light swept the other side, illuminating the other half of the road he had been on on his walk to the cinema! It was on the other side of the canal, and on the other side of yet another chain link fence!

He could see, that sometime ago the canal was put in, cutting the landscape, separating the old world from the present one.

A partial sidewalk ran up to the fence on the opposite side of the canal. His eyes searching down the road, he could just make out the lighted sign of the cinema.

As he turned he remembered the bridge by the ocean, that crossed a canal. He walked slowly back to his bike, thinking about the trip he had taken, the phone call he made. The lady he had met, her warm hospitality. Had it really happened?

He would definitely be asking his wife in the morning.

The End

Copyright 2007 Brian Crosthwaite All Rights Reserved.

I've Got The Key!


Brian Crosthwaite

Chapter I

She looked across the table with a maniacal grin and said, "I've got the keys!"

Now, perhaps I'm a bit ahead of myself here. You see the story actually started the year before. My friend Jenifer, my little sister Daniel, my Dad and I were trick or treating along the famous, at least, famous in my little home town, Hallow Lane. Hallow Lane has many big, old houses, and if a light was on, they were treating.

We'd already been down the street and we were on the last lit house and it was time to cross the street and head back up the other way.

The last lit house. There were always three or four that were humbugs who didn't do Halloween. But there was one house in particular where the lights were never on. It seemed that curiosity must have driven us. It was a gray house with Burgundy trim, and beautiful stained glass. I'd seen it before, but only as part of the Hallow Lane backdrop.

"Daddy, do you know who lives there?" was my nine year old intellect talking. After all, Dad's know everything.

"Well, Mark, that's the old Bellantii Place." Hasn't been anyone in that house since around 1947. Mr. Bellantii was killed during World War II and I think, Mrs. Bellantii..." there was a hesitation in his voice, "well, she left."

"Oh, I know!" Daniel jumped in, "she killed herself and the place is haunted!" My little sister never missed a rumor.

"Oh, yes," Daddy began in his sinister voice of the macabre -- after all, it was Halloween, "...and the house has been unoccupiable ever since."

"Did she really killer herself?" Jen asked.

"Well, I really don't know for sure. There were stories that I'd heard growing up, but that was long after the fact. I have never seen anyone living there."

That was the seed. It was what planted the whole cockamamy idea in Jen's head. She loves mysteries and a chance to see the inside could not be passed up -- not if this place was deserted -- and haunted!

We walked up the walk leading to the old house.

"It looks clean for such an old house," I started.

"Maybe it's on the Historic Register -- it might have been painted by some one who owns it."

Looking into the windows we saw it still had furniture, draped with sheets, giving an eerie aire about the room, awaiting someone to return and pick up their lives there. I could not help envisioning someone walking around the old dusty room before me, a dark figure filled my mind. I wanted to close my eyes, but there was nothing there.

We turned to go, when I heard the wheels in Jen's head began to turn,"...some one who owns it." She was repeating my Dad's words.

It was a few days later, our Halloween decorations and costumes put away and almost forgotten, when Jen had the inklings of an idea, possibly a plan.

I didn't mind the plans she came up with, at least I could count on a fun and exciting time. But this was one, I think I'd rather have passed on.

"You have that look," I began.

"It's just that, well, you know that old house?"

"What about it?" I knew exactly what she was talking about.

"I've heard two different people talking about it and they were both talking 'haunted house.'" She seemed a million miles away, but I knew where she was. The steps of that old house.

No further. But I knew she wanted to go in, she needed a cohort. Little did I know, what was in store.

We made several trips to the library's newspaper archives and combed through real estate listings, any articles we could find on the house, or the family. Especially the family.

In the end, all we knew about the Bellantii's was that Mr. Bellantii went to war, and they had one son who left for school. No more. Did he come back? Did he not? We had no more information. Except this. He did not live in the house, no one had since shortly after Mr. Bellantii's death.

"Why?" I could see the gears again. "Why would he not live in the house? It's a mansion! It's immaculate!"

"Do you suppose it was too much? I mean, maybe it was too big, or too fancy."

"Maybe. Maybe." But I knew she was getting ideas, sinister ideas of why no one had lived in it. I could hear my Dad's words, "...and the house has been unoccupiable ever since."

It was a cold December day and it was the last I'd heard of this not yet, made plan. School and Holidays had taken over our lives.

Chapter II

That summer had been fun, there was camp, music, and lots of swimming and reading. It had been hot. Fall came, school started, and it was still hot, lasting on into October.

I was using a malt to cool off, my preferred method. It was an especially hot October evening.

"I've got the keys!"

"What?" I was being pulled from a daydream. I was on a raft and I was heading for a waterfall that was about to engulf the entire raft, relieving me from this autumn heat.

"I've got the keys to the old house!" She looked at me, with a look designed to pull me back to reality to that precise place of her mindset.

Coming out of my dream I asked, "What house?"

"The old Bellantii Place."

It took a few moments for me to catch up with the old conversation, "Are you kidding me?"

"Lets go!"

"Right now!?"

"There is no time like the present."

Without another word, she hopped up from her stool and headed toward the open the gate of the shop.

"I'm not finished!" My malt was only half full. "It's too hot to leave it."

"Get a cup."

Lazily I started to take several long draws on the straw to pull the remainder of the malt into my stomach. That worked until my chest felt like it was going to freeze. Despite the pain, I finished. "I think I've got a chill," I said half in relief from the heat, half in pain.

The ice in my chest soon vanished, and by the time I really wanted it to come back the malt shop was a long way off in the opposite direction.

We came up to the door in no time. This seemed strange, it had always seemed so far away, removed from time, off in some distant, far away place.

She put the key into the lock, and....


I felt relief flow into my soul again, only to be broken by, "Oops," she turned to me sheepishly as she pulled another key out of her pocket, "that's my house key."

She put the other key in and there was a deathly, final, click! Followed by a creaking sound that echoed through the whole of the house. I was sure the neighbors fifty yards away could here it!

Before any thoughts could even enter my mind, she grabbed my arm and pulled me in. The door was closed and locked before I knew what was happening!

"Ah, you locked us in."

"I don't want anyone wandering in, and finding us. We'd be in big trouble."

"When you say big trouble, what exactly does that mean? Why would we be in big trouble? And where did you get the key? Come on, let's get out of here." I whispered.

"Not till we've looked around!" ignoring my questions, "No one has been here since World War II. Maybe we'll find out the secret of this place."

"What secret?"

"What happened to the people who lived here."

"What happens if we find them still here." I couldn't believe I had said that. It all happened at the time I noticed that twilight had come, and how strangely cool it felt in that old house. I should have felt relief from the heat, but my heart was pounding and we had only just entered the house.

We passed through a large room, the sheets that covered the furniture didn't make me feel any better about my last remark; I tried not to think of the image that had entered my head last Halloween when we had looked in. We walked toward what looked like a large dining room. It didn't seem that different from any other house in how the rooms flowed, except they were huge.

Jen pointed to a wide sprawling staircase that flowed down from above between the front room and the dinning room, "let go there first."

"Don't we want to look around down here first?" I suggested.

"No, it's getting dark and that looks too good."

I could just see the horror film playing in her head, but now I didn't want to. "Den."


"A den, shouldn't there be a den or a library or something? Don't these old, rich people have a room with a writing desk with a diary or something?" I shouldn't have said it. It was a last ditch effort in desperation to avoid going up that dark and sinister stairway. But when I said it, it just sorta hit me that it might be just what she was looking for. And I knew what she was really looking for -- Ghosts!

"That's right!" she latched right on to the idea and there was no pulling her out of this old house until she knew the 'secret.' She took my hand, she must have sensed that I was about to turn around to head back, or perhaps she too, was a little apprehensive.

It didn't take long there was a room, with a desk and a lot of books, "A library, Mark -- how'd you know?!"

"Lucky guess."

The roll-top was locked, or at least it appeared so. But Jen has this way. She pulled on the top, and what I had supposed was closed for over 60 years was now opening for the first time in a long time.

We were both in awe of the events that were unfolding, as the roll-top opened up. "It's so dark --"

Before I could get the words out, there was a click and the room was flooded with light from the flashlight in Jen's hands. I should have known. Jen planned every detail.

We carefully rummaged through the desk. We were ten, but we had an unspoken agreement that we'd treat all this stuff with respect, like how a kid walks around the graves in a cemetery. And after all it didn't belong to us. It was that 'who' that started tugging in the back of my mind. And it might have been that thought or perhaps the excitement of the possible answers we'd find, I hadn't realize it, but there was a sound in the other room.

We were looking in the slots and in the drawers and these letters and those papers, then it became more in the forefront of my senses. "Did you hear that?!" I spit as I whispered.

Jen froze and listened. In the faint reflected glow of the light that hit her face I could see she was concerned.

Had someone come into the house? Was someone still living here? Was there something -- that's when I decided to stop supposing and ask, "what is it?"

It sounded familiar in a way that you'd think someone was just doing something in the other room, and yet unfamiliar, like you didn't know what they were doing. My mind could piece together a thud and maybe a dragging or sliding sound. Maybe there were voices... The sounds were faint and the empty silence strained our ears as we listened.

"It must be outside, it's too faint, like it's going through the walls. I'll bet there is something outside..."

The fact that Jen also couldn't put her finger on it and the thought of 'something', something undefined, sent shivers down my spine. I had decided it was time for us to go. "Jen, I think we should leave."

"Naw, it's ok, no one knows we're here."

"Yeah, my folks are going to kill me. And your's?"

"My mom knows we're here."

"Really?" There was a logic to this, that I'd forgotten about Jen. She didn't do anything without parental consent. There was also the part I'd forgotten and still hadn't remembered. Such as her mom would know she was at the old house, but not inside the old house. Jen tended to not fill in all the details. At the time, it hadn't occurred to me. My Dad knew I was with Jen and that could be anywhere from the library to the park past our house. This house fell in between, but going in, I think was another story. I pushed the thought of the discovery of our bodies in this old house twenty years from now aside.

By this time, we'd given' up on the desk and were heading toward those stairs. They were solid. It may have been an old house, but it was really solid. In fact, only three steps at the top had creaked on the whole of the staircase. The sound of our feet echoed as we walked down the long corridor on the second floor.

I was listening to the sounds as they echoed. I held my arm out and stopped Jen. The footfalls that echoed down below continued!

Jen shot me a look of panic as if to ask, "should we hide?" I wasn't sure. We were guests, so to speak, and yet we had no real welcome there.

"It must just be an echo," Jen filled the silent house with a whisper. The footfalls had stopped. We continued. We came to a door to the right. It was the first of many. When it opened there seemed to be seal broken. A stuffy smell came out and the room felt colder than the hall.

Jen shined the light on the window. We could see it was open as there curtains fluttered in the breeze. "It must be cooling off out side." Jen quickly moved the light off the window. "Oops. I wasn't thinking." I realized what she meant. One of the neighbors might see the light. At that point, it didn't seem like a bad idea to me.

We turned to leave the room, when I heard the creeks of those top three steps. Someone, or something was at the top of the stairs!

Chapter III

As we emerged of from the room, Jen swept the light around the end of the hall over by the staircase. There was nothing there. We turned to proceed to the next door on down the hall.

"What do you think that was?" I asked.

"Just the house settling from us walking in it. No one has been in here for 60 years." She seem confident. It seemed reasonable. I wish she hadn't said the part about no one being here in 60 years. But the rest seemed comforting.

As we walked further down the hall there was a sound of someone coming up the hall toward us. Someone had come up the stairs and was now walking down the hall! They were not walking quietly as we were. The footfalls came closer, we turned to greet them head-on. The light from the flashlight covered the width of the hall. There was nothing there!

The footfalls had stopped. No one was there.

I was ready to call it a night, but Jen turned to continue. As we walked, I hoped she had a theory, "well?"


"What was it?"

"I don't know."

"Didn't you hear someone walking up the hall?"

"I'm not sure what I heard."

I wanted to call her on it, but I wasn't sure what good it would have done.

We passed most of the doors in the hall and we went for the last one.

Jen reached for the knob, "Master Bedroom." I nodded to the dark. She started turning the knob, then stopped. She tucked the flashlight under her arm and rubbed her hands together, "it's so cold." She put the bottom edge of her t-shirt between her hand and the knob and started to turn it again. The pin was disengaging when suddenly there was a voice from down the hall!

A woman's voice distinctly said, "Please, no." Jen and I looked at each other. The hallway had a strange coldness to it that hadn't been there before. We started to turn when the flashlight went out! I could here Jen banging it in her hand hoping to revive the light.

There was a strange cold, presence, and it was getting closer. The air felt crisp like a December morning. All I could see was the out line of the walls, the banister down the hall, and my breath.

We were trapped! We waited. Nothing happened. It was deathly, clammy, cold. My fingers were cold. Jen locked her arm around mine and we started walking back down the hall, through the frosty air to the banister. We reached the stairs and there was enough light left to see the steps and the next thing I knew, we were at the locked front door.

We must have been running all the way, as we were out before I realized what had happened.

The hot night air felt good for a change. We walked in silence for quite a while. Then I finally asked, "Where'd you get the key?"

She stopped and turned toward me and we both burst into laughter.

The End

Copyright 2007 Brian Crosthwaite All Rights Reserved.

Happy Halloween!


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November 2007

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20071114: Wow! I'm in the throws of an extremely busy semester. I've got one thing due after another (only because the classes happen at different times of the day -- it's a matter of keeping the order of classes in mind while working ;) tons of exams and a couple of huge papers to work on over the up coming break.

It'll be nice to have the week off. It gives me 2 and a half days to do homework, since kids don't get out of school until noonish Wednesday.

I've got some great stuff, but it seems buried at the moment. I recall thinking "That's some great Vintage Computer relevant stuff!" Now, I'm thinking, "What the heck was it?!"

I'm on Black Dragon inside WinUAE2.1 (one of my all-time faves!) Major portable 15inch LCD Amiga! The problem is I can't recall the information I was planning on imparting. It seems time is so tight, that I'm gonna have to do what I do in my Development of Theatre class during discussions -- jot notes down. We get in these discussions and lots of people have lots to say, and it may take a while, and between new ideas popping in my head and the conversations and allergies, I need a away to keep the extra stuff from pushing out the ideas I've got. So I jot down a note.

At the risk of blogging..... Gandalf's Xandos install went south -- X wouldn't pop up. Then I tried to fix it and it went almost all the way to the south poll. Luckily I have Simply Mepis installed on it and can access all the data and many of the PRGs -- I played the Same Game yesterday and it's on Xandros not Mepis. 2cool.

Well, now to school, and hopefully a note or too will pop up.

STARDATE: 20071116: Is it time to release the Disking Moors of Noesis Creation and pass the gauntlet to someone who can carry on? I had a great set of ideas for this month that have long slipped from my mind. I can't recall what they were. They were awesome! They were relevant! They were ideas that would fuel any Archaic Computer Users imagination! They are, alas, gone form my mind without a trace.

It has been over two months since I fired up the C128D. My Amiga 1200 sits dormant. The 760ED that is it the bridge from the 1200 to the wireless network is unconnected. It has made a couple of journeys to the BSU campus with me to work on Office Stuff for my EDTECH class.

This seems to be the norm in the commodore world. Someone gets a PC cos of work or email or modern tech ideas and they find it's been years since their commodore has been fired up. Or it gets boxed up as it's in the way.

Others go to school. That's what I'm afraid might happen to NC. I'm full time and have little time at the keys aside from anything for school. I have a one week break -- but I've been looking forward to that so I can work on a couple of large papers. So much for free time. It seems that vintage computing is at the mercy of free time.

Then there are those who have passed away. That is the noble way to go! I'm not there yet, so we'll look at number 2.

I first noticed that our number of camping trips has decreased. We didn't go to Bruneau this fall. Come to think of it, we didn't go at all. There is something about camping in a sand filled oasis with a large telescope and an emulated C64 that sparks the imagination and gets the coding juices flowing. My LOADSTAR project sits on some HD somewhere, reoccurring on my PDA as a task to get forwarded day after day as I have not had time to finish it. Dave must be wondering about me by now. Having been in several math classes the past year, I should have new ideas. And I do, but there is no time.

This is not the fall of an Empire: I shall never surrender! I have the finger it takes to press the power button and as soon as I find the time (I've seen it -- it is coming!) I shall prevail, and both hack out the final code and post the room of eBays that Octavia and I have amassed last summer! (Octavia has been my eBay helper for a while -- she loves detective stuff and we bought a second hand Discovery kit that had latex that was dry, so we took some of the eBay funds and bought her some new latex).

STARDATE: 20071121: I brought Dampier (you need names for computers on a network and I'm only in the thinking about it stage with this name, but what the heck -- right now it's localhost :/ ) up stairs this morning to see a thick snow fall floating down from the sky. It is indeed time to move the laptop to the fireside! Dampier is an IBM A21p ThinkPad acquired for less than a song. It was one of those "I'm buying parts for another computer turned out to be one in itself" kinda things.

The description said it would start up and then it wouldn't then it would. A total mystery. However reading the detail of events I surmised that it was the screen that was intermittent and that the computer itself was fine. Fortunately it was a low level gamble, because I need the floppy and the powerjack from it. However, since the machine now has an HD (albeit tinnny) and works well (ok I'm running Free 2007 Soaring Mandriva on it and it has never been what I would call stable), it shall remain a computer and not succumb to the pile of parts that it was originally sentenced to. It does need screws for the LCD as they are missing (the reason it appears not to be on?). When the screen was blank, it was only the backlights that didn't come on. It is weird, you can turn the screen at an angle and see that it really is showing something.

This TP has UXGA so it is a monster among old machines with 1600 x 1200 resolution and 16 Megs of video RAM (what we Amigans call graphics RAM ;) It has a sold feel and IBM specs say it has a titanium case, so it should be a fairly solid computer after it gets it's screws. Something I'm delaying in doing.

I've barrowed BlackDragon's battery, so I've got a 4 hour+ Linux box. 2cool.

STARDATE: 20071121: (To the sound of a deserted wind kinda thing.) Wow2. Well, the semester has finally ended. Talk about intense. If I wasn't doing Trig, I was writing. I had several papers to write and one turned into an 18 page monster! I look back at it and while I think it's a really great paper, it didn't need to be that long. Perhaps I could have taken a different angle of attack. Hmm. Perhaps not. I was really into it! I took hold of the paper chase the first chance I got and facts popped out of the pages at me and the next thing I knew I had 18 sources and 5 pages of footnotes!

ALEKS likes to hit you with assessments and they are intense, time consuming all involved mathematical journeys in their own right(s). I had finished my pie chart and got an assessment. I thought it might be the final pie chart completion one, but I wasn't sure. I did not have time to do both and if I blew some Qs (even by a minute thing), it would remove them from my pie chart. Then I'd have to redo them so that I could move on. Then take the final assessment. Even then I might loose topics. (ALEKS is an online artificial intelligence program to help teach algebra and pre-calculus and as you do your work mastering topics it fills in a pie chart to show what you have accomplished). It would have been too intense and take too much time and I had other finals. So after I completed my very last topic -- I stopped.

My brain is totally fried! I have not done anything this past day except try to get Pyle's Book of Pirates onto cassette and backup my school stuff to CD for prosperity's sake. Pyles book I DLed from Project Gutenberg and had Hawking (the 770) read it to mp3. I then put all the text and pictures and mp3 files (the pictures I DLed off the web and most are in the book and all are by Pyle) onto a data CD. I put the CD into Samwise's CD-ROM and opened the mp3s with MMX, plugged the headphone line to the mixer on my stereo and plopped in a cassette.

Well, Gandalf's Xandros3 install blew out and I could not recover as a file for my machine was not present (4 didn't have it either :/ ) And my Kyocera fell off my lap as I stood up from the Big Van. It's digitizer broke in several places. It works -- all except the digitizer.

I reinstalled Gandalf from scratch. My wonderful x64 install and E-UAE and it speeking and all my other utilites are gone.

My brother sent a replacement for the Kyocera. But it doesn't seem to be set up like we thought it was. He shipped it with the battery pulled and it seems to have lost it's memory. But, perhaps the softs are flashed. More here later. In the meantime I've been using the IBM WorkPad c505. An old, but color PDA I had picked up basically new. It has a bigger screen, PalmOS 4, and color. But it does not have a phone. I was hoping to activate the Kyocera this weekend or at least sometime really soon. Definatly more on this....


December 2007

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Etc!

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20071121: Here it is, the last day before everyone is home for 2 weeks. I have more on my list than one should have for a month and there is a party at the school that I'm heading off to here in a few minutes.

The last few weeks have been cold, but the mornings have been nice, sitting by the fire doing home work. It would be nice to get up early to do something else, so this morning I got up at 5:40 and wrote, and organized somethings on this HD (a Xandros 4 install).

We have most of the playroom cleared out, kids are wanting to play on the VIC20 and commodore 64 systems so I really should be working getting that cleared. I've spent the lst half an hour fighting with a sound file to get it to play so I can dub it to tape. It seems to be corrupt. Not only the one, but the two following are corrupt as well. I wonder how the ones I recorded before did. Based on the file length, and the tape I've used so far, it looks ok, but I should check to be sure.

This (would be if it went smoother) is a great way for the kids to experience a book as old as the house they live in (1949) without having to hold the book that may be falling apart.

"Pyle's Book of Pirates" was compiled and published in 1921 and re-released in 1949. Dover published a version of it. I've seen at least two versions of the old hard back -- a 9 inch and 11 inch version. apparently the 11 inch one has more pictures. Maybe not, perhaps the seller was mistaken.

This is a mixture of fantasy and fact, as it is stated (more or less) in the preface. The book I have was a library book once upon a time. It is in about the same shape as the one our local library has. I DLed the text files from Project Gutenberg and read them to mp3. I tried having Samwise play the files and it seems to have done well, until the lst three files. It played about 20 minutes of one, then 3 of the next and I don't know how much of the lst. I think it is the CD format. I've noticed my CD softs has an option for win and iso. I have not messed with setting it in the pasted and had no problems. But then I discovered this option and set it to iso and now I have a couple of CDs that only work on seemlying ramdom selections of Linux.

They seem to fair ok, under Win 98 on the system they came from. I wonder if either the PRG that burns the CDs has the option backwards or if there is just a bug in the code somewhere.

I continued recording on from Strider with his native Win 98 system, Now all the stories fit on 3 and a half cassettes and I filled the last CD up with random pirate music (mostly).


Well, yesterday, the Amiga 1200 got powered up as did the C128D. They have been up since yesterday morning. Come to think of it, the Amiga was powered up the day before that. It is so nice to get back to those keys!

There appears to be 3/4 of an inch of snow outside. Living here in the desert, snow really is a rarity. Traditionally in this area of Idaho, it snows in November and it used to get several inches, but mostly would dry up by early December. And it might snow again in January. I've noticed with Global Warming we just don't get that anymore.

None the less, my early, early mornings are gone, having spent them by the fire working on home work. I am back at the fire in WinUAE. But this is going to be the exception. Mythreal usually has a parallel cable that runs to Einstein so there is wireless access to several key folder on the network, but Strider has temporarily taken Einstien's place.

I hotsynced the new (to me) Kyocera. So far I seem to have all the stuff I had before.

The holidays may bring time, they may not. I'd like to get on the keys of those other machines myself. After all, that's what Classic Computing is all about ;)



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