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Archive: 2009

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Updated: March 7, 2020

January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009

January, 2009

Happy New Year!

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20081204: Hardware Madness. That's madness as in anger -- not wild and crazy. I recently purchased an IBM USB DVD-RW Burner. Totally portable, fits in those ThinkPad pouches, full featured burner -- the cream of the crop -- the cat's meow. A drive that retailed for over $600. I got it for 17.

So what's with the anger?


USB cable not included. No biggie I've got USB cables. Ah, not this one. I go online. I found the cable. $350.

For a cable!

I find this cable in many places and the cheapest I could find was $335.

The cable is a two cable configuration. One cable is a USB port to power in on the drive. You can also use a PS. The other cable is the data cable. Non-standard. It appears to have a box that most likely has some sort of logic stuff in it then what appears to be 10 lines out to pins on the drive.

USB has only five lines in it, I just don't know the pin configuration on the drive end. Sierra Hotel India Tango.

STARDATE: 20081222: I'm free!

The iMac is this wonderful fast machine that blows DVDs. When I needed a dual layer disc I was kinda in a hurry so I went to Walgreen's and blew $10 on two DVD-DL discs. Well, the iMac blew the first disc. See comment above on the in regards to the cable.

I blew two more DLs then quit using the damn machine. I broke down and finally bought that DVD-RW drive for the R30 and A21p. I have since tested and am currently using CDburnerXP and DVDCopy3.

I have freed myself from that blasted machine. I feel like my data, my blank disks and my sanity are safe. It is also nice to back stuff up in my own time and space; the iMac is a family machine and it gets used during most of the day.

My solution to the DVD cable problem was basically to bail by simply getting another DVD burner. Now, I'd love to have the cable for the drive as that unit is way cool.

No Key Time.

My Mom has been on hospice since early November. It is now two days before Christmas and we are all exhausted. I am only doing email (not regularly) and occasional net stuff. Nothing else. I am tired.

STARDATE: 20090101: On December 26, 2008 at 12:45pm, my Mom, Peggy S. Crosthwaite let out her last breath and passed. She was 89.


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February, 2009

Happy Valentine's!

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20090206:

The Future? or a New Move

Key time has been sparse. I have, however, been at they keys of both an emulated 64 and a real 128D.

It seems a lifetime ago that I went to Monastery of the Ascension. It was only a couple of weeks ago. I spent most of the time there doing something I have little time to do -- absolutely nothing.

It was really nice. The two months prior were rather intense and stressful. My Mom's meds had to be constantly monitored, recorded and adjusted. Her decline was seemingly slow but it had a pace to it and it took a toll on the whole family.

Upon her death, a new set of todos popped up. There have been a constant flow of new things to deal with. The escape to the Monastery gave me energy I hadn't had since October.

I slept in -- an unusual thing for me. I did have the A21p with me running the A22m's HD with Win2k on it and WinVICE. I booted GEOS and, using a piece of paper that I had put notes on and geoPaint, I reconstructed the floor plans of my Dad's office. I then cut and pasted and tweaked the furniture from my own office floor-plans.

It was a bit like a meditative exercise. Upon placing furniture in the room I discovered many things. No. 1, I'd have more floor space, No. 2, I'd loose many bookcases and I'd loose many machines set up.

STARDATE: 20090214: This requires some discernment. I need to look at the equipment I have that I planned to hook up one day and see if that is even possible.

The whole Annex will simply cease to exist. I look at it now and it has become a speedy place to stow stuff out of the way -- hardly an efficient us of space. The Ataris and Apple are in there. The PET 4032 is in there. All machines that, at present are forced to lie dormant because of the stalled eBays -- the stuff was moved in the Annex to simply get it out of the way.

There are things in that room I don't even want that prevent us from using the space. Just crap.

STARDATE: 20090215: The playroom will remain the play room, with the Gameframe tucked away in the closet like it is now. There is a special closet. Double doors, one set that opens up into the play room. The very same closet also opens up to the room behind that will be Voyageur Studios' new location. A secret passage!

Our present house has a secret passage of sorts. It leads from the laundry room to under the stairs out into the Annex. At present we duck through the passage to access certain items in the Annex. Despite the mess the Annex is in it, it will be missed.

The Fall.

I feel like I'm planning the demise of NC. I will loose so much space and now need to either ditch or sell the machines that I will no longer have access to. Here is the grim reality -- I haven't had access to them for a long time.

Is it a repeat of the playroom taken over by the PET system fiasco all over again? This time, it is an iMac sitting on the floor of the Annex and things get piled around. It's box is on top of the pile of empty boxes in the barn -- where the iMac should and will be. It'll be there until a space to open it, coinciding with me having time to work on it, happens.

Perhaps the move will open things up for me. I have recently readied the Apple IIs and the garage for a mass exodus via eBay. I pray that the move enhances those efforts, rather than thwarts them. Only time will tell. Time is one thing, I feel, I no longer will have.

It feels like the end of an era and perhaps the end of my part with computers that have become archaic. Computers I still support because they are my machine of choice. Perhaps those will be the remaining legacy and I'll keep the C128D running while the others slip quietly away.


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March, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite


Days of Future Passed.

Yet another AC from the Tréo. The future looked grim for a while there, but that vision is clearing as I realize that I haven't envisioned what the future holds. I still walk in the fog of having a parent on hospice pass. My life was busy and very intensely so, monitoring meds and constantly adjusting and watching the slow decline of my Mom. It took an enormous pile of energy.

Then there were all the things that followed, funeral home. death certificates, letters and all the follow through. It just seems to go on and on. My Brother and I had a very intense 4 daze of doing the final go through of everything -- this entailed going through several things that hadn't even been previously noticed, let alone looked at.

Burned out? Yes.

But what now?

Big sigh. Well, there are things like the gorilla shelves that were a major innovation for the studio -- back to the drawing board.



DVD boast fine picture quality, great sound, and all those extra features and bonus materials.

DVD offers scene selection, language selection, subtitle/language selections. So many pluses! But at what cost?

Well, your DVD player probably will never eat your DVD and mangle the disc, like a VHS might. But should you get a scratch, the DVD might come to a halt. Ok, move to the next section then rewind until you reach a point close to the freeze. Oops! Too far! Try again. And again. Once more. Give up.

Oh wait it's a tape, just let it play through the rolling picture will pass and you hardly even notice. Oh, a bad mangle, lets just fast forward a bit and -- bam! -- you're watching and virtually nothing is missed.

With VHS you don't get that once in a while frame freeze where the picture just stops and the sound just stops. You don't get those artifacts -- especially in dark scenes. VHS picture quality is not that bad. Want a better tape? Beta!

With a population that can support new technology that steps up in both quality and price, it makes it hard on those who have chosen a technology and expanded in that technology when the industry decides to leave that technology behind, forcing the consumer to switch.

We have a VCR up stairs -- bought new and one downstairs -- bought for $10 second hand. Both are very good quality. I have collected VHS movies for around 20 years or so. Now we collect movies on DVD. I also have movies on Beta.

Blu-Ray is all the rage as the new technology and with a population reaching epic proportions, there is probably a large amount of people who will buy units and movies as they want the latest and the greatest technologies, even though they are a very small percentage of the populace, there is enough to make the sales of units very, very successful. Add to that group, people entering the market -- young people just growing up as it were, and you have even more potential buyers of the new technology.

This makes the new technology a better sell for movie companies releasing films for public consumption. Soon the tides turn and DVD goes the way of VHS and VHS goes the way of Beta. Remember records? 8-tracks? Cassettes? Audio-CDs?

So, one day we decided to get a DVD player.


My camcorder can film in 4:3 or wide screen modes. I won Intervideo's DVDCopy3 from a raffle at a PC user group meeting a couple of years ago.

The software got tried, tested and put on a shelf. That was prior to the acquisition of a digital camcorder.

DVDCopy lets you copy DVDs, merge DVDs to one disk and make DVDs from video files. It also lets you output to VCD, MP4 and WMV disks. You can also output to your HD. This last part is great if you are not brave enough to endure the time your computer will be tied up to render the DVD files and burn the DVD. It will be tied up and should anything go wrong or you abort, your DVD will be a coaster.

DVDCopy supports single and dual layer disks and a number of burn speeds. The options, for the most par,t are fairly limited in what you can do. But, it is usable.

Now, DVDCopy3 only outputs to full screen. So the wide screen video is tall and stretched. That sucks.

Not being one to accept such atrocities as viewing WS as FS I had to do some tweaking. Having the video in .avi form helped and this is what came about. It might not be the best solution, but for my situation it worked...

Using's ( Free AVI to MP4 Converter, convert the file to an MP4 file. Then run the resulting file through NCH Software's ( Prism Video Converter and save it as an .avi.

This process takes a looooonnnnng time, especially on older machines like an R30 ThinkPad and the like. It will also make a FS video that appears as WS by doing the letter box thing. I don't know what this does on a WS display since I do not have access to one. The resulting file is then put in the make- DVD- from- files option of DVDCopy. I have it output to my HD and then use CDBurnerXP to put the DVD folders on a DVD. That only takes 30 minutes or an hour for a dual layer on the 850 MHz A21p.

STARDATE:20090411: Ok, sometimes the audio can go bye-bye on certain files, depending upon the original .avi. Also SUPER from eRightSoft (just Google it) will convert many, many file types to many other file types. I found it good for moving 3g2 files from my PDA to .avi. It can also make DVD ready files -- all but standard in size. You might want to get yourself a cheat sheet before conversion if you have a non-standard file to convert, as SUPER will make the file what it thinks it should be (as far as frame rate, res, etc.) rather than what it should be.

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April, 2009

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Archaic computing. Hm. Think I've reflected on this before. I used the AC term as a sort of tongue- in- cheek term of endearment. It seemed at the time that the entire computing world at large had forgot of the very existence of the commodore 64.

It was an arcane machine. But it really wasn't, it was the computer I used for everything. I didn't even have a 128 back then. I had considered a 128 as a machine I wanted, but not as a replacement, upgrade, or improvement on, or over, the C64. It was another commodore and therefore another cool machine.

Do people still call their computers their machine? How about cars? Seeing some pop cult stuff, now and then, you'd think if it did happen, I might hear someone say it. Remember "mean machine?"

Wow, maybe I'm the antiquated one -- not my 64. I have two 64s setup and one gets occasional use -- enough to leave the computer and it's vast library accessible.

Enough hooby wahby!

Mulling over the layout, as I've done off and on -- mostly off -- I've found that more discernment is needed in the lines of furniture. Much of the furniture in the studio and surrounding area at present, was acquired for the area based on shape and function.

Is a new set of custom shelves in store? Perhaps. The current furniture was not custom made, but it was custom fitted. Fitted by chance and circumstance. My Mom would have a shelf she'd ask me about or Rex had a computer desk that was in need of repair. It turned out on many occasions that what was offered, fit.

In the case of the table, I saw that at the shop and said "that's what I need!" It was half the size of the card table I had the 1200 on in the middle of the room. It was exactly what was needed.

Of course, to follow this approach, I'd need to scrap the current furniture, or at least be ready to move stuff around.

This may happen on a small scale, but all in all, the studio may get set up time permitting.

This posting is late as my life is still so full of things that require my immediate and full attention that there is not enough time for them, much less anything else.

At present, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.


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May, 2009

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

The Quiet.

There is a saying regarding the quiet before the storm, implying that there is a stillness before things start happening. It is a tradition that when my family goes on vacation, or camping, I rise before, or with the sun and fire up VICE on some Linux or Win box and work on a commodore PRG for LOADSTAR.

It seems like forever since I've had the opportunity to do so. The current LS PRG has been in limbo for quite awhile. It is the all on a Tro with Frodo. I'm on Strider under WinUAE running Wordworth. I'm across I-5, on the opposite side from Disneyland. I have been here for several days, but have done no programming.

I have however typed up a story about three kids that find themselves on a haunted adventure. My life has change so much in the past six months. Writing is something I'd like to spend more time doing. And writing Ghost Mystery Stories is a passion of mine. I have been at it since around 1980 or even earlier.

I never knew I was a story teller. One late evening I found myself telling a story to a group that had gathered in the dorm -- one of my first collage experiences at BSU. When I had spun the tail, just about everyone was in awe of this frightening tail. It still does hold a high place as one of my most frightening tales. I usually prefer calm subtle hauntings -- but not always.

The future of is totally unclear. I have sketches and slight visions, but nothing concrete. I still use the commodores and Ataris and TRS-80s and such. But there are major changes still on the horizon.

Moving Day is set for the 15th and the studio is only one element. There may be some time before the next AC posting. Who knows what may blow in, in the next storm.

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While right now (September 5th 2009) I am on the Amiga 1200, the following was written on the Tréo 700p (most of the HTML was done on the Amiga):

June, 2009

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

News from the Tréo.

STARDATE: 20090508:

I have the C64, C128, and VIC-20 software parts of the library packed and moved into the basement shop as well as most of the books and things from under the workbench and the boxes from under the stairs at the Crosthwaite House On Churchill. CHOC for short -- it looks like the abbreviation for -- Chocolate!

Lots of the garage is moved over and all the printers from the back patio along with the leaves and spiders have been moved.

I will need to move things around after we move. The eBays are a bit mixed up now. However, the Apples, I hope to put in the garage on shelves. I hope to get pictures....

STARDATE: 20090509: Looks like I -- might -- be able to keep the Apples together as we move. Most are easily accessible and are at the new house....

STARDATE: 20090510: The commodore station came down this morning. I am realizing just how much crap I have. There is an enormous amount of things to pack. Things have been slow where the dust is thick. I am now at the point where I can skip most of the dusting and simply put it in a box.

If it will be setup immediately, it simply goes in a box. If it is for storage for a while or movers will move it, it gets packed. I have been at this for almost a week. Albeit, I have also cleared out a garage and installed a water softener, filter, faucet, disposal, etc, along with some leaks that couldn't simply be fixed or a gel that was not known to be needed all the while taking care of kids.

Now it's a dead heat and I am going to put it in a box and sto it or move it.

STARDATE: 20090516: Moving day was yesterday and it went as well as could be expected. Early start -- late finish.... There are all kinds of things that need to be done in conjunction with this move, many involving plumbing, flooring and Home Depot.

I got most of NC packed, and left the music room (a sort of cubby) with the surf station Amiga 1200 060 and Atari Mega STe as well as the entire annex at what is now known as the Amber House.

Crosthwaite House Upon Churchill.

I have iNet -- that transition was smooth. Cableone gave us a discount coupon toward the purchase of a new cable modem -- we were renting the last one. I took the old modem offline the day before yesterday around 10 at night and by 2 or so the day of the move we had the iNet back up.

The cable guy came around 1 and had to put in new lines as the old were in not so great shape.

I found the eLOADSTAR forums. I was looking for LOADSTAR's web presents and that was all I could find. It has been since last year that any postings have appeared. I saw no one online.

3000 tons of stuff.

Stuff is not the word, but we're keeping it clean here. I can see that the local thrift stores are going to get some stuff soon. I have too many C64s and such and selling on eBay has gone down hill.

At the moment, there seems to be a huge pause. I have done nothing with these systems yet. They are all packed, however, the remaining machines are the ones I use or have used recently in the name of Noesis Creation.


When we were in the planning process for the move we decided a change in ISP might be in order. I backed up everything on the, ABUG and TV/BUG sites, i.e., everything hosted in my personal web space by c1.

This was good, since it forced me to get a current backup. In the end though, we stayed with c1 and I am glad as it is fast and the tech is great.

I have boxes with stuff from the once cluttered VCR cart that had a scanner then Hawking and Strider then Hawking and Dampier. It became the spot in the studio that was used the most since I could do email and Franklin Covey planning from Dampier. Dampier had inherited BlackDragon's HD. BlackDragon shuts off out of the blue. A major bummer when you are in the middle of something.

On the gray table were two A2ks, one A1k, a CDTV, and a TRS-80 Model I. This is a combo I need to look at. Underneath here was a scanner and Strider. The A1.2k does scanning as well as iNet and just about everything the CDTV did. It seems to be a replacement for four machines. I'm thinking CDTV in the Gameframe. That way there is still CDTV support available.

STARDATE: 20090517: No news.

STARDATE: 20090519: The Other Side of the Wall.

As the days go by, we are slowly getting furniture in place and books and things unpacked at Crosthwaite on Churchill. Octavia, who is dual enrolled at Koelsch Elementary, needed to be driven into town to school for Orchestra. Antony drives the minivan in and parks at the Amber house then catches the bus as usual. That solves downtown parking and me having to run two errands a day.

But I still have the one. That time would be good for me to write, had I gotten the music room and annex packed. So in that time I've been working toward getting the Amiga system torn down as well as finishing up the studio part of the basement. Today, I got the rat's nest of cables that are for just about everything in the studio sans the A3k and the two 128Ds.

STARDATE: 20090527: Unearthed Treasure.

I posed a question to myself a year or two ago: "Where is the IBM Convertible?" A pretty, straight forward question. I had gone through the garage, organizing and reorganizing things to where I knew where they were after years of stowing stuff away. I did this on three different occasions at the Amber House and not once had I run across the IBM Convertible.

The other day I pulled stuff out from the test bench to move and I pulled out a box labeled "Convert." The side had the full word and I knew I had unearthed a treasure.

Another, I found was the Toshiba. It has a plasma display in orange-red. It has yet to power up in my presence.

Now the bad news. When it rains in droves, that old garage lets water in through under the door. Not deep and it doesn't flood in, but just by the door, a small wet spot will appear. A low spot on the patio fills up then it moves under the door. This would have been no big deal since there was only a little water and it evaporated after the storm(s). But, there was a rug by the door that pulled the water passed where it used to stop and the water got into the box on top of the rug and it went from there.

What I found was a stack of boxes that had toppled over. The box at the bottom was half crushed as it lost it's structural integrity when the water seeped into the box. Many boxes were affected. My tool box got wet on the bottom and the leather tool belt now has a forest of fungi growing on it. :(

But let's not count casualties yet, as the move is not done and the boxes not opened. The Convertible was on the floor.

ABUG lost a box that had magazines in it. Many are warped really badly and others seem ok. The last magazine was stuck to the now dry box. I had thought of a way to undo rosin coated paper. You re-soak the article and carefully pull the pages apart while it's still wet. This is only an idea at this point.


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July, 2009

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

News from the Tréo.

STARDATE: 20090604: More change.... We have replaced the Dell 2.0 GHz XP machine with a slightly smaller one, a MacMini. At present it is the Big Kahuna around here. It is bigger than the Portfolio but smaller than the 760ED.

It is hooked up to an Apple flat screen. In order to use the monitor, a power and video adapter box is used. This box is as big as the mini. :/

At present, the studio (full of bookcases and a couple desks and tons of boxes) is home to two ThinkPads and the Dell w/the 20inch monitor.

The A21p is in the closet that will house the Gameframe, sitting on the home entertainment center.


I had vaguely recalled putting the thumb drives and other really important stuff in a disk storage box box (the box that the disk box came in). But, for the life me, I could not remember where I put it. I was looking for something in the hall closet and I found it! Actually there were two. I must have put them there while packing getting ready to move to keep them safe. But between working all the time and Xaby staying awake four nights in a row, I lost track of things.

Still There.

The Annex is still intact with all machines still set up at the Amber House. It is still inaccessible.

The garage was finally cleared yesterday of the remaining things, gardening and part of TV/BUG's library. All that remains are packing boxes, things that stay with the house and trash.

I finally moved the monitors off the picnic table that had been there since last spring when I sorted things in the garage. They got moved with that library.

Once I get the patio and shed stuff moved, I'll work on striking the Annex. I hope to have the studio up by then and most of the garage reorganized as well as the shop that will turn into a library and canning room. There is also a closet under the stairs where the Magic Cabinet and Halloween things will get stowed.

Meanwhile I have been installing deadbolts and blinds and facets and working at the Amber House on flooring and dozens of other tasks. Life is too busy.

STARDATE: 20090613: As I go out to the Amber house to do many of the "getting ready to sell" things, I have also started on evacuating the Annex. I look at how it was set up and I see that, like the Studio and Music Room, it was really well set up. Unfortunately, it was the biggest deposition point for that Quick Sto.

The room has a passage that leads under the stairs and into the laundry room. We called it the secret passage. Halloween decorations were stowed near and around the enterence so it had a powerful Ghost Mystery element to it. However most of the last two years since the Annex was a storage closet, neither the machines (including the Wang and Atari 800, a Mac Classic, Commodore Colt, Xerox 820 II, and an Atari STf to name a few - a commodore 4032 and TRS-80 Color Computer III to name a few more) nor the secret passage got much use.

A pile of boxes brought out the remembrance of projects on hold, a VCR and an Ami3k and a forgotten Colt. It has been nice to find the stuff amongst the crap. The crap being office and sewing stuff that will finally have a home of it's own. Unfortunately, the Annex is basically getting disassembled due to a lack of a place to put it.

This whole move has been weird. I'd rather live at the Amber House and go visit my folks rather than not have them and live in my old home. I have lived in the Amber House about as long I had lived at Crosthwaite Upon Churchill, perhaps a little longer.

I moved the stuff out of the shop, mopped the floors and vacuumed, moved the stove and other things that are in the way of the bookcases, swept and mopped where that stuff was and am now ready to move the bookcases out of the New Studio. Once those are out I'll get everything else out, arrange the furniture for the studio and start setting it all up.

Once that is done I can clear out the room called the Magic Room and put the Magic Cabinet and Halloween stuff in there. The Magic Room is a closet under the stair.

Hopefully, I'll get the empty boxes and music and Gameframe as well as the studio stuff out of the garage and can get some of the Annex setup out there. I want to set up shelves for storage of things like cloths etc and clean off the gunked up, built in garage shelves to put hardware on and set up an eBay station.

I had no idea of the amazing amount of really good eBays I have. Mint systems in boxes, and the like. Perhaps one day I'll save up and get an R50 or Amiga 4000 -- both machines on my Ethereal List. ;)

STARDATE: 20090614:

Decisions, Decisions.

I could scrap all but three computers (C128D, Amiga 1200 and IBM ThinkPad A21p) and use the remainder of the room dedicated to photography or a Haunted Room for performing magic in. I have an opportunity to, in the words of Billy Idol, "Start again."

STARDATE: 20090619: Yesterday, I moved the final bits and pieces from the Annex. Noesis Creation is officially out of the Amber House. I sit at the table in the trailer up at Dog Creek. We've gone camping of all things and I'm still typing from the Tréo. This morning I didn't even fire up Strider. Partly because I want to conserve power and partly because I didn't sleep well because Anastasia kept having sleep terrors all night and I got up late -- about 6am. Xaby slept remarkably well, but got up around 4.

This morning was spent mulling over floor plans of the new studio, trying to decide what goes where and shuffle things around to make it all work. One rule I'm instituting is No Crap.

No Crap.

The No Crap Rule specifically states that there must be room for a project to occupy until it's completion. If I want to start another project the current one is either finished first, packed away in storage or abandoned (as in donated, eBayed, junked, etc).

I do not want anything occupying the space where my feet go. I do not want crap pilling up on my work bench. I want easy access to all my records, cassettes, 8-tracks, Open Reels videos, DVDs etc. No Crap.

I have found more used computers than one person should be able to see and I have moved them all. I think, as part of this No Crap Policy, I shall eBay one, donate three. There is just so much to go through and I simply don't want it all.

I do want a new computer, however. One with USB 2.0 x2 or more. One with at least 1.7 GHz cpu. 15 UXGA screen. And most importantly, built in WiFi.

The Ethereal R50 has become something that I think I'd like to own. But do I NEED it?

At any rate, selling off all the old unwanted stuff would help finance it, should I decide to actually get one.

Back to the Subject at Hand.

I have solved a couple of miner problems, but feel I am still not quite ready to proceed. Once this is done, it is done and there is going to be little chance for change. I must choose wisely.

There is the problem of the new record cabinet and a bookcase with glass doors. The question is where to put them. They are both nice pieces of furniture and I really don't want them in the shop -- the shop has no ceiling, but the house has been laid out and there is little hope for change.

There are also problems like how to set the Gameframe up, do I want to use the Atari 800's TV instead of the RCA? And how do I go about arranging game machines on the new shelving structure?

I have machines I'd like to setup that were not set up before. I arranged (as best I could) things in the move to restore the studio as it was before. And right now the goal is to get it out of the Shop so I can get stuff out of the garage. Perhaps I'll get things setup as planned and hope the missing ideas solve themselves. At least, then I'll be able to get stuff out of the way. The movers did a good job of mixing everything all up, but I moved all the studio so at least I know where it is.

I really want to have the little problems that have held me up solved before I lock in and proceed.

In the earliest A.M.

Well, it appears that I've actually worked out most of the problems. At least, in theory. The record case might fit behind the old stereo cabinet as well as the fisher cabinet with the phono mixer on top. This will place most peripherals around each other. Perhaps a TP can sit in the old stereo where I can digitize my records.

The only major factors remaining are the glass faced bookcase and the fact that the shop has no ceiling and is under the kitchen. Granted, the water damage in the Annex was due to things being directly under leaky fridge lines and faucets. None of those things lie directly above.

It was a productive morning. I was able to look at what needed to be done and figure most of it out. But, the actual carrying it out remains to seen if this will work.

I see many old systems still up and some new ones as well: Apple IIGS, Atari 800, the DarkTower as well as the IvoryTower.

STARDATE: 20090621:

Another early AM. Sleep Terrors have plagued the Babies the past three nights and I have been doing my sleeping during the day, or so it seems. Mostly just walking around dog tired. Last night was the least numbers of wakings. One Baby sets off the other and off they both go. I figured out that Victoria was the key. Get her to stop long enough and the cycle ends.

This was my only early morning on this trip. I came hardly prepared: I couldn't find my folder with current works on any USB drives and one drive is missing and I suspected the folder was there. I did manage to pack my clip board with stories I'm writing and the work sheets to figure out the studio.

I have had a good discernment time here and have jotted down many ideas. I feel confident that it's gonna work out now. Before, I was not so sure.

Yesterday I managed to use Personal Paint to make a work sheet to layout the new Garage Annex -- and eBay station. I also found the missing folder on Strider. I couldn't even remember what computer went to Anaheim with me.

I didn't get to work on anything from the folder. I went to revise the PNG of the GA and Strider powered off while editing. It would seem that all the ThinkPad batteries are now in need of replacement.

Dampier's battery, relatively new has been lasting only an hour and a half and when last used lasted only 50 min or so. I swapped out for BlackDragon's and it almost immediately died. Gandalf's has been under 30 minutes for a long time -- it seems to have taken the longest time to slowly die out. Strider was around 59% when I started thinking about powering down. I was in the emulator and actually went on working for a while. It started at 93% yesterday in the morning and was at 89 by the time the system was fully booted. I must have worked between 40 minutes and an hour and a half. I am not sure.

STARDATE: 20090623: Yesterday I got most of the New Studio's furniture laid out. The Magic Cabinet is in the place of where the MegaSTe would go for the moment as there is no other place to put it since the Magic Room is full of other stuff.

I plan to put the Ste on the door table along with the A2k and music keyboards. The big stereo as well new stereo will be in the studio. The sound element is back.

These will be some of the last machines set up as they will need to wait for the window cleaners tomorrow. After that, they're clear to go.


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August, 2009

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

News from the Tréo.

STARDATE: 20090702 (from the other side of 47): Been slowly getting the 128D together. I am setting it up a bit different this time. I hope to make things easier to access. I still have a strip on the under side of the L table but it will be interesting to see how things pan out. It looks like I have 6 power blocks to deal with. I don't know where my Woods six plug outlet conversion is. It got packed last, but I failed to track it....

I hope to get the bulk of the 128D set up today. That is the most complicated system by far.

STARDATE: 20090706: Got out tons of hap haphazardly packed away stuff from barn, along with old boxes full of dirt and dust to free up some space. I then put things back in an orderly way along with stuff from under the stairs. There is plenty of room to sort the stuff that is all mixed up in the garage to basically clear that out. Blinds are today's priority -- right after the Magic Cabinet gets put in the Magic Room (under the stair).

Perhaps by August, I can write this on a commodore or Amiga. Perhaps. Hopefully I'll get these off my PDA and post them soon.

STARDATE: 20090708: Crying baby and twins w/night terrors. I got up at 8am. Kinda late for me. But, I did eventually manage a story beginning. I forgot my writing pages with the edits to retype. :/

STARDATE: 20090709: More story. Did I mention I do have Frodo and my LS PRG on here?

Yet to even look at it....

STARDATE 20090710: Wow. I had a few moments with Frodo yesterday and did some tidying up of the latest LS PRG! I actually got it close to done, but then for some reason the image on the card did not get updated.:/ major bummer!

More Night Terrors.

This trip has been plagued by night terrors. Thus leading to a serious lack of sleep.

Frodo (the Tréo) is at half battery and it is day four. I got two mornings out of Strider and I watched this morning, the battery go from 52% rapidly, while booting, to 51% then 50% and it slipped off into standby mode.

I did bring Dampier w/win2k, but between fighting with the sleep switch and the long boot time, I figured I haven't the time to get it running. All the other HDs are still packed. I only get about 40 minutes on the battery. It is time to acquire new batteries.

It looks as if I may permanently retire BlackDragon. I need to look at the situation in depth.

I look foreword to sorting the garage. That means eBays and donations packed into the barn for later sorting (donations removed as found). Garage stuff packed in the barn (I have a spot in the front). Big storage boxes in the very back, and studio either in the shop (down stairs), in the studio, set aside in the garage or last-in in the barn to get to it first.

I hope to get to this tomorrow. I would like to start work in the early am. This would be ideal, however, I would be out of Xaby Baby range. Not to mention the potential for noise. So I am reserved to do the work during the day, which is hard, as I have all the normal stuff to do, plus many things that I need to do like installing the blinds downstairs as well as other stuff.

Despite the fact this will be posted after the fact, it is something I look forward to.

Everyone has left canoeing, except Octavia and I. We are meeting everyone down stream at a picnic area. Perhaps if I have time I can hook Strider up to DC and power him down.

Project point.

The studio at this moment only has three laptops and the DarkTower setup. Zoul is almost hooked up sans monitors and printers. Oh and no mouse yet, but there are joysticks!


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September, 2009

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

News from the Tréo.

STARDATE: 20090714: Ok, time to turn the page....

So the Mega STe is complete -- sans the monitor cable. I haven't a clue how I'm doing sound on the Gameframe. The library was supposed to be unpacked "zz" to "a" and it was done backwards. It would appear that bugging out like I did was not the way to go about it. The systematic packing I did the previous move worked much better. Things are in utter chaos.

STARDATE: 20090720:

Awe, Order.

I got the first Official Vintage system hookup up yesterday. The PET 4032!

I also got the top-ends to the upstairs blinds installed. The first row of boxes in the garage (affectionately referred to as the forward warehouse) have been moved out. Either put in eBay, storage, new Annex holding, downstairs, or set up.

There are many boxes of cables in the new studio and a new sprinkler controller has been put in. Oh, the yard sprinkler control box for Crosthwaite Upon Churchill is located on the wall in the studio.

Busy, busy, busy. I'm off to clean the dressing room and master bath....

STARDATE: 20090725:

Plans change.

We were set to go to SolWest in Oregon. Plans made, set in motion. Then Mia's phone rang. Grandpa Vernnie had passed away. Grandma Orr had passed along a few years back and Verrnie, as he was called by Grandma, was ready to join her. He was my wife's Step Grandfather and died at the age of 98.

He will be dearly missed.


I suppose my first portable commodore PRGing happened via the the Epson PX-8. It was a matter of translating to commodore later. Despite having an SX-64, I was never in a place where I had ac -- camping wise. It really started when I needed to write an article. I grabbed the PX as I was heading out. I recall it rained and we all climbed into Grampa's pop up tent. That was the opportunity to type it up. That was the moment that true portable computing started in my life.

I had obtained a DELL NL-25. A 386 that ran DOS5 at light speed. I installed GO64 on it and never quite got things working on it. I moved and knew there was to be serious downtime, so I tried to get a working notebook computer with 64 emulation on it. It just didn't come together.

Then I broke down and spent a couple a hundred dollars to acquire an IBM 760ED ThinkPad. This ran ViCE really well and with a floppy I could easily x-fer 1581 disks right onto the HD. We even used MediaPlayer to watch VCDs on while camping.

Next, I moved to the 770 and we started watching DVDs on it's huge 14inch screen and running a newer flavor of VICE. Next came the 770z. A faster version of the 770. I started using a Kyocera Smartphone with Hotpaws BASIC to write code that'd translate to 64 later as well as VICE on various ThinkPads. When the Kyocera died, I found the 700p with Frodo.

Now, I've been taking both the ThinkPad and the Palm, but the bag to hold the laptop(s) is big as the laptops are also big, especially ones with 15inch screens. ViCE looks really nice on those displays. I have no viable batteries anymore. 45 minutes max, so I figured I'd take the Portfolio along with the Palm to SolWest. Then when plans changed, plans changed. I decided since I'd only have one morning I'd use the Palm both for writing and for programming since both my PRG and text files are both here. Well PRG time didn't really happen, but AC time did. Plans change.


October 2009

The Lonely Specter


Brian Crosthwaite

It is a cold rainy might, the kind that gives you goose bumps; the temperature is just on the verge of being cold, but not quite. Then there is that old house, not much of a house really; it's just a shack. You and your friends had made it your "secret hide out."

It sits in a field surrounded by tall grass, next to a couple of old, dwarf trees. You remember, it was a childhood fear that you never quite got over. You were nine, almost ten, when you and your friends decided it was a clubhouse. But do you recall what you thought when you were six? Four?

You didn't look at it. It was not to meet your glance if you could help it. There was something out there. Something that was no longer there and yet something that lingered.

Think back -- when you were three you saw someone in the window of the house. Your parents told you that no one lived there and yet every evening you'd see someone in the window. An old lady, perhaps. One evening before bed, you could have sworn she turned her empty gaze upon you giving you the strangest feeling, of someone watching, someone who caught you. Caught you looking!

Well that was long ago. When you were ten, you and your group of friends would meet there and play secret spy games and plan things, or simply hang out. Do remember that Halloween night when you had planned to make a haunted house?

Was that such a bad idea? Perhaps the old lady enjoyed your company. She may have even liked the idea of a Halloween party with you and your friends. But you never did quite put it together did you?

The Halloween when you were nine wasn't spent there and yet the neighbors had complained about you and your friends making such a racket. Yes, as far as secret hideouts go, every one in the neighborhood knew where you were -- but that's ok. Sure, you had meet there that day, early on, but you were out Trick or Treating. It was the Halloween -- Mrs. Cobble gave out candied apples.

Yet, there were complaints about the other kids, the ones who were not at home. But how could they tell, their kids were at home, they just assumed that the rest were at the old house. They said they saw lights and heard screams and the sound of a harp. "How could the sound of a harp be so loud", they'd said.

But you and all your friends were home, eating candy, getting ready for bed or already there. Something that lingered was not in bed. Nor did the sounds stop until long after the phones stopped ringing and the complaints stopped coming and going out.

The Halloween party was going to be fun. Apparently the eerie chilled feeling that the house once cast upon you had passed. Everything was going well, the Halloween music was playing on Sammie's boom box and the decorating was going smoothly.

It must have been the cadaver. Made from stuffed cloths and the mask of a witch. Soaked in fake blood placed at the foot of the stairs, yes that must have been it. You had all stood back to admire the scene when it happened. The lights all flickered, yes flashlights and lanterns, grew dim then bright. Twice. Then came a shriek like none other you had ever heard before. At first, there were giggles and fun screams and even clapping. But when the lights flickered again and the sound continued it slowly dawned on all of you that this was unearthly in nature and form. Something dark was on the stairs.

That was all that you stood for, because as it came down the steps a strange harp-like sound began to emanate from the upper part of the old house and everyone ran! Do you remember that?

Yes, I think you do. So why, after all these years do you look back over to this old house. Do you want to come visit? Is it as lonely for you as it is for me? I have had no visitors since that night.

The End

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

News from the Tréo.

STARDATE: 20090805: I have been out of circulation for a while. I had been moving fence posts and firewood when it hit. Dehydration occurred and my back gave out. I have since been drinking water and recovering. Because of this the garden work crashed to a stop and then it resumed with Antony doing the loading of the trailer. Girls home school had started so it was Antony and I loading.

Today is a torrential rain, so I have to go to the Amber House and close it up.

STARDATE: 20090808:

Diatamasious Earth.

Big black, not quite, ant-looking critters living in the bottom of an old box. Saw dist looking stuff -- action needed to be taken. There were bugs in the barn.

We have re-slated the garage pull and reload for tomorrow as we have had mass amounts of rain this August. Not quite what I'm used to here in the desert. The barn is ready to accept things from the garage, stuff that goes back in the garage (annex), stuff that goes in the barn (eBay), and stuff that goes down stairs and stuff that will require further sorting.

I am concerned as I am only directing this time. Last time I directed then moved much into place myself. We shall see how well it goes.

STARDATE: 20090814: The other day I found the monitor cable for the Atari Mega STe. Yesterday we finally got the Gameframe to the point we can play games. I have spent the last week drilling and wiring and setting up the Colicovision, Atari 5200, Atari Jaguar and Commodore CD32. There are lights and power to an all enclosed closet with ceiling and shelves for games and stuff. Kids have already started playing. I destroyed and enemy power plant in Hover Strike and read an article written about something called the CDTV in Insight Technology. Just to be sure everything was working. Get this -- after being unplugged since mid May, the RCA tv still had it's programming 3 months later!

The C128D is up and running, the PET4032, and once I actually attach the monitor cable so will the Mega STe be.

Finally found the Amiga 1200's drives -- I hope the power stripe/monitor stand are in the box as well...

Still writing on the Tréo. Almost typed Kyocera. I'm at the dump (for, what? the forth time). Hope to be getting the GF finished today and work on the commodore station soon.

STARDATE: 20090819:

The Magic Box.

The Magic Box was found a couple of weeks ago. It contained the Sony stereo that goes with the A1.2k and it also contained several key components to the A1.2k -- the switch box with the Digi-View, Perfect Sound, and VidiAmiga, and the power block/monitor riser.

These are all the remaining peripherals for the A1.2k. That makes five complete systems: 1. the PET4032, 2. the C128D, 3. the Atari Mega STe, 4. the IBM ThinkPad 570, and 5. The Amiga 1200 Escom AG -- once I get it all hooked up. Ok, 9, if you count the other three TPs and the Dell Tower.

This ends the Tréo text.

Back to top.

November, 2009

Archaic Computer


Brian Crosthwaite

Despite the Amiga being setup, this is written on the Tréo. I have managed to have moved most of Noesis Creation's .org site from geoCities to The geoCities site is still intact as of this writing (October 11, 2009). I edited the web pages so the URLs are relative or they are simply the .org addy. I have fixed img links and the like.

The DL is however still on geocities. I need to figure out where to serve the binaries as it appears that 000Free will not allow them. More on this, should it occur to me to mention it when it happens.

The site is maintained 90 to 95% via Amiga computers with 10-5% commodore and Linux. I used Kate, for instance, to fix the aforementioned URLs.

Same with this site.

The 1200 appears to be WiFi only now since I don't have a 10-base-T line setup and since household things are all we do when not HSing, there is little hope of getting that done soon.

The location of the A800, IvoryTower (AMD Linux boxer), and the Apple IIGS is, as of yet, unknown.

STARDATE: 20091020: The studio lay in ruin. Piles of cables and misc litter the place, the stereo has components in place without having anything hooked up. It is truly a disaster area.

I have gotten the Gameframe up to par with new ideas on how to add things. Bits and pieces of the library are emerging.

But, over all, it is simply chaos. Outdoor work (fence around chicken coop, planing an orchard, harvesting walnuts, felling trees, chipping wood, clearing the field and garden, etc) has taken precedence.

There is still much to do, but surely there is an end in sight to the outside work, as far as major projects go. Yesterday, I had another stump grinding session, and yes, it was grueling. There are holes to fill and a tree to chop up, a driveway full of stuff that needs putting/throwing away, and a field to plow. I think those are the most pressing. Once that hump is passed then other work can begin. I have wood trim to cut and install, and other indoor type adventures.

The chickens have their home in the orchard, walnuts are swept, but not all gathered, and we have amassed a sizable pile of firewood. Halloween is upon us and much of our Haunted House decor is in place.

STARDATE: 20091101: Ethereal...

The R50p finds the network under Knoppix as well as Ubuntu. I finally realized that C in the MAC addy was a 0 with part rubbed off. I'm online! This is a pieced together machine, albeit not as much as others have been and this one has the UXGA (IBM made one that has QXGA) and is supper fast 1.68 GHz processor.

STARDATE: 20091115: The Naming of a Machine.

So far this machine looks to be very promising. I have been running Feisty Fawn (Ubuntu) on it and while I'm not a big Gnome fan, it works right out of the gate with sound and screen resolution all the Fn controls I have tried work well. WiFi is a dream. I only have 1Gig RAM installed as of yet, but a 500 Gig Travelstar is on it's way. You'd better sit down and read that again. It was only about 10 bux more to go from the 320Gig to 500, so I went for it. I have been pondering along time the possibilities of a 160Gig drive, but things just happened....

STARDATE: 20091118: I really need to move things (AC) over to the 1200....

STARDATE: 20091119: I was going to move (AC) over to the 1200, but sick kids are keeping me upstairs.


Serial ATA is a bit different from IDE/ATA. The 500Gig HD is not the standard Travelstar HD I thought it was. Rather it is an SATA drive and it does not plug in to the R50p. I recall seeing 2nd HD encloses that took SATA drives. I looked at the one I ordered and it is not one. So I found one that is and ordered it.

The latter could take up to 4 weeks to get here. It would appear that the project has either gone completely amiss, or one hell of a machine is going to emerge from all this. I am hoping for the second. After all, this is an ethereal machine....

I managed to find my Linux DVD library. But now the question arises -- where are the HDs? I thought I stuffed them into the R30/570 bag. I looked and found none. I have several drives set up with various Linux installs. I am really feeling motivated to clearing out the shop.

I am upstairs, so I simply have to recall that good things come to those that wait.

I got an email from Duane and he is making room for a new laptop. That entails moving some commodore equipment to me and or donation. He is, to my relief, keeping his C64 since he has programmed that more that the C128. I can see how people move on.

I feel the need to thin stuff out. I am, however, in a place, where even if it is a mixed up mess, I can still go through stuff one box at a time. I hope to really get eBaying soon. I have a catalog I sold recently to ship off and I have a pile more that I plan to do one at a time while I start moving from outdoor to indoor projects.

All in all, there are several factors that bring the R50p into the realm of vintage machines:

1. The fact that IBM no longer makes ThinkPads.

2. The whole SATA ATA thing.


3. The machine moving down the timeline further into the past.


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December, 2009

A r c h a i c _ C o m p u t e r


Brian Crosthwaite

STARDATE: 20091203: The studio really is coming together -- and it has leg room!

In the past few days I've gotten the C64 and VIC-20 set up with monitors, drives, etc. The wires to the stereo have been untangled and for the most part the monster stereo is set up and the dubbing station is set up ready to rip LPs and cassettes to mp3.

I have had things on my list for months and have managed to actually get them done. It is a nice feeling.

There have been new acquisitions pressing me to get on with the major job of sorting stuff out in an effort to rid my space of things I don't want.

I have a new machine. It was not to be a project. But there is no way to acquire such a machine without a large capital output, so I'm building it (see last month's AC).

I was not sure I wanted to get this machine. I set my standard high as to make it one of those, "well I bought this, but it does all these things"- kind- of- an- affair. Meaning, if it has to occupy space it should be really useful or perhaps if it was an awesome machine, having it just might be cool.

STARDATE: 20091205: Wow. 2009 is almost cahput. This year had a very fuzzy beginning for me. There was a break line in the fog when we went to Disneyland in the spring, but the fog swirled around that too, making a haze of that as well.

2010. "The Year We Make Contact." That was an interesting idea of where we would be as seen from the not too distant past. We don't appear to have had our stuff together as perhaps we should. Arthor C. Clark thought we'd have cured every illness be 2001, but 2010 is almost here and people like me, still have no healthcare. Let alone being a world where illness has been decades old history.

I am slowly seeing through parts of the fog. I may never see it all clearly, as it now seems so long ago.

When fellow cronies bring me equipment I am thankful it is extra and that they still have all their main stuff setup. I have considered throwing in the towel on these older machines, but then I updated the database and it went so fast, I was reminded of the "not as fun, takes longer to do" on a Mac or PC and I am cured.

The Domino Effect. Or Quitting While You're Ahead....

I didn't really want to use Ubuntu. For several reasons. One, Gnome. Two, the last thing I want is the crippled functionality of MacOS and Gnome mimics that.

But it recognized the Graphics, the sound and the builtin WiFi. Something I found Mandriva couldn't do. So I used the Live distro and the Flash plug-in installed flawlessly.

I got XP installed and DLed the drivers and installed them via 2000 on Dampier. The self-scan on Leveno's site was little help, but by the time I got the 4th WiFi driver installed, it was it. And no, Ubuntu couldn't tell me about the hardware. That's Gnome.

Ok. Flash needs a library that didn't install off the CD. Hm. Installed when I was running off the DVD, no problem, and yet when I try to install from the OS installed on the HD I now need some damn library that was on the DVD but not installed from said DVD. This is reason THREE why I don't like Ubuntu.

So I found the lib. Nope, wrong version. Ok, I'll uninstall. Ok, it is still in memory. Reboot.

Now this is a Mozilla library, mind you. It was not installed before, but after I removed it and reset the friggen User Interface lets me login and the boot backdrop comes up and that is the end. The machine simply sits there -- with a stupid look on it's face!

After much ado, I finally had to reinstall the entire OS. This looses the Kubuntu I had installed and now the Desktop effects don't let me setting up 4 desktops with a cube switch. Not to mention it thinks the new install of Kubuntu is on an ext2 when it is on an ext3 and who the furk cares? - it isn't even it's own partition -- it drops me to a diagnostic shell that has no commands to do what it tells you you need to do!!!!!


Just before Christmas, Dampier displayed a CRC2 error. It is basically a checksum mismatch. Either caused by a faulty component or the known powering off right after powering on bug. This is a corruption of the checksum itself or possibly what reads it, not sure there. In case one, it is a replacement of the mother board. In case two, it is a $75 fix to those who can fix such matters.

Now this machine has a dying battery (This is the transition to the 1200 (aside from most of the HTML I just added).) So it was crashing the computer, much like BlackDragon would stop charging, only on Dampier it simply froze. Restarting with the power unplugged, then plugging in after boot seemed to fix the problem. This could have been a coincidence with the battery going bye-bye and been a component failing. I was doing something, then for some reason, broke out Dampier's (original) drive -- Dampier was originally a Linux Boxer -- and I got to mess around, just a little, in that environment again before Dampier died. It was a nice walk down memory lane. I used Dampier as my at-home school computer since it has a faulty screen off switch (ThinkPads only douse the panel lights when they close, as the TFT still has an image going to it, but you can't really see it easily).

I looked into the costs of fixing the machine and new boards are available, but the cheapest I found were $50 and it would have been a lot of work. So I looked at getting a scabbed board and found one that had a cracked DC jack.

Now, I got BlackDragon for a song because of this same malady. It came with a solution, using a dock to charge the battery. It may have been that same dock in conjunction with my using the trackstick that lead to it popping off the power, I'll never know. But I've managed to power up the new machine and despite the fact it was missing a screw and was popping open. I replaced (borrowed from BlackDragon) the screw, re-seated the Kb and borrowed two RAM sticks from BlackDragon. I had an extra CD drive, but I moved the DVD/RW over to it and BlackDragon's HD and have even burned a couple of DVDs on it.

Now, it was the R50 that lead me to BlackDragon in the first place. I saw that these computers that were not as new that had the resolution the R50 had. I found A22s too be pricey (for me) and when I found BlackDragon (an A22m) that was totally disassembled I thought it was the way to go. The kids even though building your own Laptop from the bottom up was cool.

BlackDragon served me well, and we even used it for homeschooling somewhat. But it didn't have the things that caught my eye that the R50 did. It only has 1023*768 resolution, it only had 800MHz, I was hoping at the time to get a 1GHz flavor. No builtin WiFi, although there were models that offered it. And worst of all no Video in/out.

Enter Dampier. I knew from it's description what was wrong (on a guess) and got it too for a song (a shorter song even, more like all I did was hum). Dampier is an A21p, with more video RAM w/resolution of 1600*1200, 850Mhz, and the video in/out I wanted. No WiFi, however.

The new mother board is the last of the A series, the A22p, with the same specs as the A21p but it's CPU is that 1GHz that turned my head. At present, Dampier Hotsyncs with Frodo (Tréo 700p), and that was the biggest stresser when Dampier had died (not to mention the Franklin data that become corrupt and wouldn't sync, but that's another story). It also seems to do the other tasks as well. At present, it is running BlackDragon's 128Megs memory, so I'm thinking I should try Dampier's Memory as it is more and maybe has a faster bus speed, I don't recall. Time will tell!

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