2022

A reproduction Amiga mouse for my A1000? Sure, why not 😆

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Schlepped the Amiga 1000 cross country in a checked suitcase. Happy to see it made it without any damage, still in working order. Now I need to sort out boot disks and peripherals…

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Ridiculously excited that a friend passed on an extra Amiga 1000 to me. Many hours of fun to come

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Re-shell attempt number two went a bit better. I managed to install the screen hinges correctly, and the quality of the shell is quite a bit higher. Maybe still not OEM level, but at least now it doesn’t feel awful to hold and use!

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My friend was kind enough to give back my first C64 after losing interest in it. Feels very sentimental

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2021

Whoops, I think I left my zx spectrum powered on for the last month…

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Finally got around to installing Mini vMac onto my iPad Pro. It defaults to 1x speed which feels like molasses on such a powerful device

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Making real boot disks for the Apple //c feels like falling in a time warp 💾

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Got a SCART to HDMI adapter, now I just need to figure out how to use the extra features of the ZX Spectrum Omni to start loading programs 😅

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Happy to report I was able to do some writing on my Mac Plus running System 6 without it crashing 😆

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Attempted to do some casual writing on Mac OS 9, and it crashed after a page. Guess it’s back to System 6 I go 😆

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Feels like it’s time to spend some time with my 8 bit machines after spending a year with my Macs. Started with the Vic 20 tonight and wasted 30 minutes on Spaceship Minus One. Easily one of my favorite games

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It’s fun to revisit Widget Workshop as an adult. I think this game is what laid the foundation for me being a software developer

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Using MacPaint is very strange. It’s largely the same as modern raster editors, but all the small details are different. For instance, cmd+s does not save, but makes text “shadow” style

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This weekend’s project: setting up a Raspberry Pi Zero W to act as a bridge to the modern internet for my retro computers. Ended up being more involved than I expected, the telnetd that Debian ships is incompatible with the WiModem232. Busybox’s telnetd was the solution

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With the help of a ton of dongles, I’ve connected my HP 100LX to my WiModem232. I did not expect it to be so slow when my Mac Plus handles terminal emulation like a champ

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Got the sequel to my favorite MS-DOS handheld. Really surprised how featureful Windows CE 1.0 is, this would’ve been a big upgrade back in the day

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2020

The quality of modern C64 games really blows me away

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Ordered a new battery and solid state drive for my touch wheel iPod. Should be a fun little project to do in the new year

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Sad times – my last gen PowerBook G4 cannot connect to our new WiFi router. No support for WPA 2 😕

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2019

Hmm, SD2IEC is mysteriously not seeing any of the files on its SD card. Probably a sign it’s too hot for retro computing today

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For anyone looking to replace the HDD in a PowerBook 150 with a Compact Flash card: you need an “industrial grade” card. The 150 will not recognize drives with their removable bit set to 1. Industrial grade cards are typically marked as unremovable

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The correct power supply and hard drive replacement for the PowerBook 150 arrived today. With any luck, I’ll have it up and running by the end of this week!

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Continuing my informal quest to own all of the portables I had growing up. This PowerBook 150 is mostly working. It needs a hard drive replacement and some floppy drive service, but otherwise seems to be in good shape. Can’t wait to play some Shufflepuck Cafe!

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Picked up a mouse for the //c. Didn’t expect it to come in its original box in like-new condition

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I rekajiggered the cables on my Commodore monitor so that my Apple //c video is in monochrome green phosphor. Takes me right back to having one as a kid, though the official monitor that goes with it has a much clearer picture 🤫

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Honestly a bit shocked that Executor still works more or less perfectly on Windows 10 when run as administrator

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Finally had a spare moment to figure out l the source of the strange plasticy odor coming from the VIC 20. Turns out it was from the penultimate cartridge. Not sure what to make of that

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Couldn’t resist trying to run GEOS on the //c. Unfortunately I don’t have a mouse or joystick right now, so there’s not much interactivity. Something to revisit in the future

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Got the Apple //c booting to a floppyemu! Unfortunately it cannot boot from most external drives natively, so I had to unplug the 5 1/4 inch internal floppy drive and run a cable out the back of the machine to the floppyemu. It works though!

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The Apple //c has alps switches, it is an absolute joy to type on ❤️

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I’m starting on an Apple //c adventure. I’ve got 2 now. The 1st unit I got turned out to not work. It boots to a screen full of colors, and that’s it. The 2nd unit works, and through it I was able to determine the 1st unit is booting into self test, and then crashing

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Got a little desk from IKEA to put my retro set up on. I forgot how difficult positioning a large CRT on a tiny desk is, what a nostalgic experience. I quite like the end result, feels very cozy

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A friend sent me his RetroTink 2x to try out. A bit disappointed in the image quality, it’s very smudgy. However, this is the first time I’ve played C64 games with no lag on a modern TV. I think something like this is in my future for after my Commodore monitor gives up the ghost.

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Guess it’s time to relive my childhood, bought an Apple //c

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Never would have imagined that there’s a vi clone for the C64, let alone that it would be so feature complete

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It absolutely blows my mind I can browse the modern web on a PPC-based Mac from 2005. TenFourFox is really an amazing project

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My long weekend project: getting music onto this 2nd gen iPod. Surprisingly difficult since I had to both find a software update package, and a version of iTunes that still works on OS X 10.4/PPC

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I forgot how much I love the keyboard on the PowerBook G4. I’m sure it’s in part that I have had this particular machine a long time, but it still feels super pleasant to type on, and I don’t make many mistakes

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Hmm, the Vic 20 is putting off a mysterious foul odor when in use. I should probably find the source of that before I use it more…

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Ordered some desolder braid. The power switch in my flat C64 is broken and needs to be replaced. This will be the first repair I’ve done with a soldering iron since my breadbin C64, hopefully it doesn’t end in disaster 😳

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2018

I thought this game – Rescuing Orc – didn’t work with the SD2IEC, but it just does not like the fastloader it comes with. I don’t even remember what this game is about, but I remember being fairly excited when I downloaded it…

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This is probably silly, but I recently picked up a C64 to use as my “daily driver.” Parts for the C128 are pricey, and it doesn’t have nearly as much documentation as the C64, so I want to reduce the number of hours I put on it. There was just one fault with the C64 I got, it was missing the 4 key cap. I found a very cheap replacement, but it does not match.

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There is just something so pleasant about the VIC-20. The primitive graphics and sound make using it feel very intimate in a way that modern technology can’t match.

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Got the WiModem working with the VIC-20. This is probably the oldest computer I’ve gotten online with to date. At least VICTERM emulates a 40 column display!

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Cheese and Onion is both technically impressive for a VIC-20 game, and a lot of fun. Really enjoying the penultimate+ cartridge so far

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Super excited to try out the Penultimate+ cartridge with the VIC-20!

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Put some replacement feet on the VIC-20. It feels like this project is now complete! Can’t wait for my Penultimate+ cartride to arrive 😃

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This is probably more window dressing than anything else, but I added heat sinks to the VIC-20’s hotter running chips. Still, 🤞🏽 it helps prolong the life of its expensive and hard to source components I also discovered the source of the video not working when I first plugged in this (the original) main board: one of the potentiometers for adjusting the video signal is broken. If you turn the machine upside-down, it causes it to lose contact with the main board and throws everything out of wack.

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I’ve set out to write a simple blackjack game in Basic with the goal of it running on the unexpanded VIC-20 eventually. I’m cheating a bit and writing it on the C128 – its coding environment is massively improved over the VIC-20 and C64. We’ll see how this goes…

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Picked up a dead test cartridge. The C128 has been acting a little odd lately, figured it’d be good to test that its parts are doing ok

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I think the VIC-20’s case came out well. I was able to scrub off most of the marker and paint. I wouldn’t say it’s like new, but I’m quite pleased with where it’s at

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I hit a bit of a snag in my plan. The “known good” VIC-20 main board I had turned out to be not so good. When I plugged it in to test it, the video output was garbled! Fortunately, the original main board turned out to be ok. Just had to adjust the potentiometers controlling the video signal

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The keys dried nicely over night, I was able to put them all back on this afternoon. I’m quite pleased with the result, they feel clean to the touch. I didn’t realize what a horrible sound the caps make when being reattached though, it sounds just like they’re snapping!

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Although I got this VIC-20 with the intention of putting my working main board in it, it seems there are signs of life in the one it came with. Might be worth attempting to fix 🤔

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Case is looking much better after a scrub with soapy water. This must have been a kid’s computer in its previous life. Need to get more cleaning supplies, and I’m hoping I can get this in like new condition again

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Washing the key caps in soapy water was extremely satisfying, the keys make the same noise as LEGO bricks. They’re now out to dry overnight

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Never realized how much effort it takes to get all the caps off of a keyboard. This is the first time I’m going to try individually cleaning key caps instead of doing a surface cleaning with the board fully assembled

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Inching ever closer to having a working VIC-20 system

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Tried out some new C64 games. Really digging Krakout and Uridium!

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New power supply arrived for my Commodore machines today. I was finally able to try out the Vic 20 motherboard I got a few months back – it works! Still need to get a keyboard and case for it heh

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Got a set of drawers and tidied up my retro corner. Still a work in progress, but most of my collection is now in one easy to access place. Thinking I need some theme appropriate stuff on the walls next 🤔

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Decidedly not the most aesthetically pleasing mod, but now I don’t have to deal with flaky double density floppies to use the ST

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Floppy extension cable arrived in the mail today, looks like I should be able to finish installing the gotek into my ST this weekend

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Finally got around to trying out the flashfloppy hacked gotek I ordered for my ST. It works! However the pin header is mounted upside-down, which means I won’t be able to finish installing it until I get an extension cable

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I’ve been thinking it might be a good idea to proactively replace the hard drive in my PowerBook 2400 with a solid state drive. I finally got around to looking at the repair manual, and nope – not going to happen until it absolutely has to! I’m very glad it’s the only moving part inside the machine

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I have 4 double density floppy disks. It seems that only two work reliably. One is questionable, and the last is completely broken. This will make getting software on the Atari ST challenging…

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Now that I have a permanent setup for retro computing, I think I will cycle through my wedges so that I can get quality time with each. I’ve put the Commodore 128 away for now, let’s see what interesting software the Atari ST has

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Ack! I know I haven’t really played since I was a kid, but I don’t remember being this bad at Q*BERT

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Thanks to Jan Beta’s YouTube series on repairing a C128, I was able to finally put the power LED back correctly after disassembling my machine to clean it several months ago. The light no longer intermittently goes out, and is flush with the case once again

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Reopened the ST, and managed to get the RF shield off this time. Turns out you just need to slide the board out. I opened it thinking I’d remove the Tweety stereo mod since there was some nasty feedback on the audio out. Turns out the mod is glued to the board! I found the source of the feedback at least, the cable that taps into the sound chip was falling off.

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There’s something very cathartic about cleaning old hardware at the end of a work week

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It’s amazing how different an experience gaming on a CRT monitor. It feels so much more nostalgic – like what it felt like to play video games growing up

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My Commodore setup is complete: it now has an authentic (1802) monitor. The picture is amazing, and best of all: no input lag!

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Welp. I think the 1040STF tops the metal TI 99/4a for my personal record of least serviceable machine. I couldn’t get the RF shield off the main board

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Great. The Atari ST’s monochrome output is compatible with the TV’s VGA input. No upscaler required for basic operation. Need to find a mouse though, a joystick barely moves the cursor

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Hello, Atari ST. You’re going to be an adventure

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After a relative searched through their old disks, a Discman driver has been found! If anyone happens to need a Mac driver for their Sony Discman, drop me a line 😆

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Does a machine with modern networking, but a dead architecture count as retro in any sense yet? 🤔

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Friday night? Time for some old school AppleTalk networking

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Stella sure likes to nap on my 8 bit micros

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Got a replacement power cord for the VCR, so I was finally able to check that my 8 bit machines survived the move. They did! But my cheapo modern joystick did not…

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I am super pleased to have a complete vintage PowerBook set up. This 2400c came with an Ethernet card, portable(!) SCSI CD-ROM, external floppy drive, 2 spare batteries, and assorted cables

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I have never seen rubber feet perish so thoroughly before. They are the consistency of caramel

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Good news: it looks like all but one of my antique computers survived moving coast to coast. Not sure that it’s really worth trying to replace the Z88 given how little software there is for it

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Here we go, got a VIC-20 mother board. Just need to find a broken donor machine I can harvest a keyboard and case from, and I’ll have a working system!

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It’s more a novelty than anything else, but there is a (sorta functional) Apple I emulator for the C64

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Photographed my collection for documentation purposes, and couldn’t resist getting a little artsy with my mobile stuff

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Finally got around to trying GEOS. It’s nuts that they got a pretty decently usable desktop environment working on such limited hardware

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Picked up a toolbox for the assorted stuff I have for working on retro hardware. Feels a bit like leveling up

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Got CP/M loaded up on the C128, and my goodness it is slow in 40 column mode!

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I suppose it’s not the most eco-friendly, but I really like having a printed copy of the documentation for my retro stuff. It makes it all feel that much more personal

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Finally get to try out one of the stranger bits of Windows 9x software I’ve long been interested in: Executor. It works surprisingly well, the included Lemmings demo runs nearly full speed

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Took some futzing, but Windows 95 is now running correctly with all required drivers on the Libretto 50ct. I am still kind of in awe of the fact that a company made a full computer this compact in the 90s

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Installing Windows 95 for what must be the first time since, gees, middle school maybe? Very nostalgic. And fairly zippy with a solid state hard disk

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Today I learned there’s an honest to goodness C64 Canabalt port!

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A upcoming long distance move is a good opportunity to rehome some of my extra systems

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Ideal setup achieved: Commodore 128 SD2IEC WiModem64 Now I can play all the games, and visit all the BBSes

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Huzzah, after putting a solid state hard drive in, the Libretto has jumped back to life. Now I need to figure out how to fashion a drive bay cover

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A Toshiba Libretto 50CT. It currently does not POST, but it does boot into the bios recovery screen. I’ve read that these machines require a hard disk to POST, so I guess we’ll see when one arrives in the mail tomorrow

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the start of a new project perhaps

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The C128 system guide I ordered arrived today! It seems the original owner never sent in for their Commodore magazines

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Debating whether or not to buy / make a serial cable for my Z88. It has a DB-9 port, but the pin out is proprietary 🙄. Might be nice to have a portable word processor without internet…

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Acquired a WiModem64 for my C128. Wasn’t expecting it to be this small, it’s the size of about two Apple Watches. Now I just need to wait for my SD2IEC to arrive from Eastern Europe, and I’ll be online. Sadly there are no terminal programs that run off tape!

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it seems the cats do not appreciate me noodling with the SID chip in my C128. they abstained from eating dinner until I finished

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oh no, the counter on my datasette seems to have started jamming! can’t say I am surprised though, I haven’t done any maintenance on it since I got it, and I am pretty sure it was stored in a barn before I picked it up at auction

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Cost of having the C128 System Guide printed and bound from a PDF: ~$60. Cost of buying an original used copy: $4.99. Well that’s a no brainer.

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The C128 seems to be working fine with the new fuse, so I put the RF shield/heatsink back on. Now I need to figure out how to repair the junked up F5 key, and the plastic on the power supply which was damaged during shipping

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I did not realize how yellowed my datasette is until I put it next to the C128. I might have to do something about this 🤔

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Plot twist: after replacing the fuse in the power supply, my C128 powers on. Used it for an hour without any weirdness, fingers crossed I don’t need to do any fixing for now

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The video cable for my Commodore 128 arrived today and… there’s no video output. Turns out the fuse in the power supply is blown. Guess I’ll have to replace that and see where I am at after

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The forces ridiculousness have caused me to install Windows 3.0a on my HP 100LX

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Now that my last project is done, time for something new! My Commodore 128 arrived today. It seems to be in decent shape overall, but no video over the RF modulator. Guess we’ll see what we get with a composite connection when the cable arrives…

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and so, my TI 99/4a repair saga comes to a close for now. I’ve installed a new old stock replacement keyboard, and I can finally use Basic! The new keyboard was too big, so I had to remove some of the shielding. Hopefully I don’t need it…

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Yesss, after trying for 3 months, I was able to purchase a Commodore 128 for an almost reasonable price

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Taking apart a compact Mac is vaguely terrifying

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while decidedly not authentic, or even good looking, relabeling the top keys on my TI 99/4a at least makes it so that programs telling me to press back or redo makes sense

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Quite pleased with my new acquisition, a Cambridge Computers Z88. It fits 3 criteria I’ve been looking for: 1) it has a Z80 processor; 2) it’s British – it has BBC Basic; 3) it’s an early “laptop.” On top of that, I got it for a good price. Now to take some silly meeting notes!

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got an Atari joystick adapter for my TI-99/4a. really enjoying the games on this platform – they’re just the right level of primitive

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maxed out my titanium PowerBook G4’s ram at 1GB! while I already had more than enough memory for retro Mac OS games – 768MB – this should hopefully make Leopard run Not Like Total Crap

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ahh I can’t wait for the joystick adapter for my TI-99/4a to arrive. I can’t imagine what possessed Texas Instruments to not use the “standard” Atari connector

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at the prompting of a friend, I found a shell program for my SE/30

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my first experience with using a modern flash memory adapter on a retro device – the FlashRom 99 for the TI-99/4a. it’s quite an upgrade from loading programs from tape! it seems I need to clean the cartridge port on my micro though 🤔

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Picked up a pair of TI-99/4A. There’s just something about that wedge form factor – I would say it’s overdue for a comeback!

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less esoteric, but more novel. running vim on the last PowerBook capable of booting Classic Mac OS

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My HP 95LX and HP 100LX after transferring my documents over IrDA. Getting the 100LX was a pretty big upgrade – unlike the 95LX, it’s PC/XT compatible!

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life is but the pursuit of running vim on increasingly esoteric hardware

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