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[#] Mon Sep 08 2014 04:52:54 EDT from the_mgt

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3D goggles for the Vectrex machine, anyone?


More review:

I do not know the guy in the video, although he is german. But the guy building those "glasses" is a friend of mine. He is knee deep into this ancient gaming thing, building Atari roms (including DRM protection...) for the guys who are coding the games, etc. This is his homepage:

[#] Wed Sep 10 2014 00:44:13 EDT from ax25

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Comment to reviewer: Oh, this 3-d hurt my eyes....

Reviewer (Vectrex):  Listen carefully to me now... Stop that.  3-d is for real gamers, so don't be a pussy.

Ha.  I like him.  Quite descriptive, so you have to skip ahead, but a good review none the less.

So, will Madtronix be working on a replacement for the Vectrex console itself next?  They seem to sell for quite a bit.

[#] Thu Sep 11 2014 05:41:07 EDT from the_mgt

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Madtronix himself will definitely not rebuild a Vectrex (now). He repairs them and builds gadgets, etc. Maybe some one else might rebuild one, but I think they won't be cheap either. 

[#] Sat Sep 13 2014 02:28:04 EDT from ax25

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the_mgmt -

I was not suggesting he does, although he seems to have intimate knowledge of the system.  I just always thought of that as some unobtainable system growing up at a time when my friends had the VideoBrain and later the ColeCovison and other seemingly more advanced systems when we had to share the already ancient 2600 console, and later computing on a TS-1000 from Montgomery Wards for the cut rate of $35 when it was on close out.

I am more or less saying I enjoy his resourcefulness, and hopes he continues in his passion to extend an already obsolete system and even come up with a new theme for himself as well as he seems able to grock quite a bit.

I was able to play on teletypes on occasion and check out some fairly good books on the subject of building a computer back in the day, but it was still a rich mans game (or one where you had to know a mentor to build a system).  There were resources like Don Lancasters TV Teletype:

(Somebody should make a copy of that as Don is not getting any younger, and I don't think his wife will pay the hosting after he is gone - :-)  )

Good night all.

[#] Sun Oct 12 2014 23:50:45 EDT from ax25

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Bil Herd on the C116 back in 2011 - interesting design choices made back in the day to compete with Sinclair / Timex:

Fun to hear from the junior up and coming designers back in the day.  Quite frank about his background and apprehension about jumping in at Commodore.


[#] Mon Oct 13 2014 00:46:04 EDT from ax25

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Bil again.  More fun with Bil.

[#] Fri Dec 19 2014 18:59:31 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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I'm a nerd.

I'm logged into Uncensored right now using something resembling a Commodore 64 running Linux. Well, not quite.

I downloaded a Commodore 64 font onto my laptop and set the terminal program to run with that font at 40x24 screen dimensions (or was the C-64 40x25? I don't remember). It was totally unusable. 80x24 didn't look right either, because the width to height ratio of the font was designed for 40 columns.

So I set it to 80x48 to maintain the correct ratio. Despite the fact that it's four times as many characters on the screen than an actual C-64, it's got the same look.

(Except for the colors. There's no way I'm setting my terminal to cyan text on a blue background. I didn't like it 30 years ago either.)

[#] Fri Dec 19 2014 23:35:16 EST from vince-q

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I remember my '64! And the screen most often seen....

Welcome to the Jersey Devil Citadel.
Your sysop is vince-q.


Good memories.

[#] Tue Dec 23 2014 00:02:22 EST from ax25

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Geepers IG, just dig up the real thing from the attic, slap in TFE:

And boot up the original Contiki for the c64 disk image (or 1541 if the rubber band is still tracking ok).

Alternatively, give LUnix a spin with a slip connection to a Linux / whatever provides you a slip connection host:

Just wishing I had more powerful ancient hardware in the basement at the current time :-)  Would be fun to show the kids.

[#] Tue Dec 23 2014 00:03:23 EST from ax25

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Not to diss the emulator route (good on you).  Fun to dabble in the thought experiment in any case.

[#] Tue Dec 23 2014 08:12:00 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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I'm happy to say that I managed to sell my C-64 rig just before it became obsolete. And somehow I timed my exit from the Amiga just as perfectly.

[#] Wed Dec 24 2014 01:43:05 EST from ax25

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emulators are fun if you want to bang your head.  Of course you missed the release of the raycaster:


[#] Wed Feb 04 2015 01:01:29 EST from ax25

Subject: List of computers you have owned or used.

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Warning, TLDR and all that:  more boring stuff to come (and I hope from you, the reader as well).

Apple II - 4th grade (school owned) - it lived on a cart and was wheeled from room to room in the school back then.

Some sort of teletype in the middle school days (school owned).  I was allowed to be around when someone had it print snoopy in ascii.  Not impressed at all :-)

Older brother aquires a TS-1000 on closeout at Montgomery Wards for around $30.  He gives up on it and gives it to me.  Score!
.. - long bit of learning to code / hack it (db9 for joystick), expansion bus projects...   Much fun to be had there.  Still have that artifact and the shoe goo carved in to it db9 connector for a joystick port.

Apple II+ / IIe - High School (school owned).  Did some interesting programming on them with sprites and basic.  Was more fun, but not quite as fun as the TS-1000 as you only had so much time to hack away at them.

Heathkit ET-3400 trainer - High School electronics class (school owned)

Later, a TI-99/4a  - later high school (given by my grandfather).  Grandpa had moved on to an IBM PC and gave me his TI-99/4A.  Liked that thing for the extra bits that I could not buy (color, sound, etc)... Did some fine video and sound work on that thing.  Fun, but slow machine.

An Amstrad PC-20 (8086 Amiga A500 looking thing) - it did run an emulators well and got me through college.  An internal 3 1/2 720 and external 5 1/4 floppy.  Word processor with spell check on the other disk was quite nice.  It played Dead Smurf and Castle Wolfenstein quite well as I remember.  Quite a change in my computing world.  It became a workhorse, instead of an inspiration to do new stuff.  Kinda sucked the life out of me :-(

Mostly boring stuff from there (apart from the can it run Linux purchases) which are now ancient history.


[#] Wed Feb 04 2015 09:00:43 EST from fleeb

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Vic-20, C-64, and some Commodore business machine (the PET? I forget).

TI-99, which was infamous, I think, for its 'Can't do that error' message instead of 'syntax error'.

Apple II and variations.

MacIntosh variations.

Kaypro II with CP/M. Fun hardware, that.

Amiga 500, 2000.

TRS-80 Model I, II, and III. I did some assembly with this thing... fun stuff.

And of course, some really ancient PC clones, in the days when you had to fiddle with IRQ settings to get things to work well.

Oh, right, also the Tandy Color Computer (forget the model number). Remember that thing? It didn't go far.

I never had the chance to play with the Atari computer. A lot of people swore by them back in the day, though.

Oh, and the C-128 (which I should have included with the other Commodore stuff at the beginning of this post). I played with both the CP/M and C-128 side of the machine, as well as the C-64 side (if I recall). It was a bit like having three machines in one.

In college, I had a chance to fool around on a VAX. That's an interesting OS, although I didn't get into the bowels of it much. And those Sun Workstations were also kind of fun, if more generically unix.

I think, maybe, that covers everything I've touched from college to my first computer (the TRS-80 III was the first machine I used).

[#] Fri Feb 13 2015 10:49:26 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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The TI-99 came so close to being a decent machine.  I once met one of the engineers (Herb Taylor) and learned all sorts of interesting things about it.

Originally the computer was supposed to use the TMS 9985 processor, which was less expensive than the TMS 9900.  But supply and reliability issues caused them to change to the 9900 at the last minute, which led to a lot of the limitations of the machine.  

The speech synthesizer module was actually the same chipset at the TI "Speak & Spell" toy.


[#] Fri Feb 20 2015 21:57:01 EST from MJ

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I had a TI-99 as well but it basically sat in my closet. My uncle gave it to me, but I didn't know how to work it, so it just sat. I love retro computing now and so wish I still had it but I have no idea where it is. I think it was stolen but I really don't know. Sad too, just sat in the box.

[#] Sun Feb 22 2015 00:53:18 EST from ax25

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Well, if you have an Android phone, here ya go:

It looks like the website is down presently, or you could just fire up a browser and run one:


[#] Thu Feb 26 2015 11:58:27 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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My TI-99 was put to good use as parts which went into all sorts of other projects.
It had a surprisingly good power supply which fed various things well into the 1990's. The RF modulator was quite reusable. Various plugs and fittings were cannibalized as well. About the only thing that didn't get re-used was the motherboard.

[#] Sat Feb 28 2015 21:31:08 EST from ax25

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Agreed on the power supply and the RF modulator (that thing was solid NTSC on many other projects of mine as well)!

[#] Mon Mar 02 2015 12:36:52 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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The RF modulator has an interesting history. TI couldn't get their RF modulator design approved in time for the original TI-99 product launch. So they originally sold the machine with an included monitor -- basically a Sony television without a tuner. They eventually got the stamp of approval from the Federal Communications Communists, but the machine had already shipped, so they built the entire modulator into an outboard package.

It ended up being a bit more bulky compared to the Atari/Commodore onboard 75 ohm RF output, but it was so wonderfully reusable.

I always thought it was amusing to see that no one understood that the RF output of an Atari or Commodore computer was really just a 75 ohm antenna connection. Most people used an old television as a dedicated monitor, and they'd go from the computer to the "TV/Game" switchbox, then to a 300-to-75 ohm impedance transformer into the television. I simply bought an RCA-to-F-connector adapter (less than a dollar, even at ripoff shack) and went straight into the 75 ohm antenna input of the television. People looked at it and said "wait, you can *do* that?!"

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