Floppy disks are all but a memory for most. They have gone the way of the tape cassette and VHS tape. I can remember back in the late 80’s and early 90’s shopping Radio Shack for 5 1/2 disks to feed my Commodore 64 1541 disk drive. The only issue was the 1541 could only write one side of the disk, so the backs of the disks were wasted. Disks were expensive a 3 pack would run $15 or more!
As luck would have it, a creative person would develop a solution to alleviate some of the pain my 15 year old self was suffering due to my full allowance going to floppy disk procurement.
Growing up in the 1980’s I was exposed to various types of analog media. I did have a record player, but they were not “cool” at that moment and I only owned a few LP’s. I even had a chance to dabble with my parents 8 track tapes, however they were on the decline when I discovered music. The medium of choice for my generation was the cassette tape. (until the compact disk came out)
Remember the old days
I can remember heading over to the local mall to shop Sam Goody’s huge assortment of cassettes, and then stopping by my local Radio Shack to purchase blanks to make copies for my friends. That was another life, when we all had high speed dubbing Dolby tape decks and “piracy” was still on the seas!
I was reminiscing the other day about how far we have come with digital media and was wondering how I could combine my love for cassette tapes into a digital format. I started taking apart my old tapes and trying to merge a USB drive into them, but didn’t have much luck. Then I had an ah-ha moment and decided rather than convert a cassette into a USB drive, why not make a USB drive that looks like a cassette.
Cleaning out the basement yet again I stumbled on an old 20″ iMac. By today’s standards this thing is a huge piece of junk. 250GB hard drive, 1GB RAM, Core 2 processor. At 11 years old its better suited as a boat anchor then a functional computer. However the standard equipment iMac Keyboard does function as a blue tooth keyboard and can be used with other devices.
I happen to like the iMac keyboard, it feels a little small at first, however once you get accustomed to the feel it makes a great companion to any device.
The keyboard is relatively easy to pair to your device if you follow these simple steps.
Well folks here’s another retro gaming platform revitalized into a mini computer. The C=64 was and still is my all time favorite platform and this Mini version may be on my purchase list once its released in March. First we saw the NES Classic Editionhit stores before Christmas 2016 and it was an immediate sell out, followed by the Super NES was released last year for $199.99 at Amazon The next logical step was to release the Commodore 64 Mini!
Commodore 64 Mini – will be released with 64 games!
The technology world is continuously changing. Today’s awesome technology is tomorrows trash, its just a simple fact of life. I truly believe we should do what we can to reduce, reuse and recycle our old tech. Today while rummaging through the archive of stuff I came across an old Sony PRS-600.
The Sony PRS-600 was released in 2009 and by all standards ready for the trash heap. Before sending this device off to its finial resting place I decided to make a cute black and white picture frame.
Step 1 – Prepare the PRS-600
Using an old 2GB SD card, I loaded up around 300 of my favorite photos, inserted it into the unit. On the settings menu I configured the PRS-600 to never shut off, and run a perpetual slide show with a 60 second delay between images. Continue reading “Make a Sony E-Reader Picture Frame”
The retro hits just keep on coming! Nintendo has been banking on our love for nostalgia lately reviving tons of classic games and consoles. Late last year they released a limited production run of the NES classic that had about 30 installed classic NES games and included 1 retro controller. They were next to impossible to purchase selling out almost instantly everywhere and even bringing Amazon’s servers to a crawl. I guess the next console in the progression of things is the SNES Classic!
What did we do before MP3? I remember the early years using my Dolby high speed dubbing tape decks to make copies of the tapes my friends and I used to share. Not too soon after came the Compact Disc, and I ran out to buy a Pentium 60mhz with a 2x CD-Recorder to make my mix CD’s.
I was amazed that we could “rip” huge wav files off the CD’s and play them back on the PC. But disk space was at a premium in the 90’s, due to the limited capacity of hard drives.
There had to be a better way to store music! That’s when a friend introduced me to the MP3 format. Full length songs at decent quality only 3mb – 5mb! WOW this was amazing, think of the possibilities. There were no portable MP3 players yet, I found myself taking a laptop in the car hooked to an FM transmitter to listen to my music.
I even marketed a CD on eBay for $10 that had plans for a car MP3 Player Just imagine putting a computer in a pizza box in the trunk of your car, running a PS/2 cable to a numeric keypad and mounting a 40 character display to your dash board with a parallel cable. It was good business until the portable MP3 players began to arrive about a year later.
A BRIEF TRIP DOWN THE PORTABLE MP3 PLAYER MEMORY LANE
The Commodore 64 was not only one of my favorite computers it was my first computer. Over the life span of the C64 I broke quite a few of them due to the poor quality of early deigns. This may have been a good thing because it lead to taking them apart and attempting to repair the units insuring my life long love of computers and consumer electronics.
Sometimes I was successful at my repair endeavor and many times not so much. Repairing the Commodore 64 became as much a hobby as programming the computer.
If you still have one of these dinosaurs in your basement and want to fire it up to show the kids take a look at this great PDF file I found on the Internet. It could prove to be helpful.
The service manual is dated March 1992 and that was about the year the C64 went out of production. It is actually very complete with lots of hand drawn schematics and theory of circuit operation. Parts numbers and chip / port pin outs are also listed. Basically everything you need to troubleshoot and fix that old computer and fire up the BASIC V2 screen we all remember so well. Continue reading “Weekend Project – Repairing & Emulating the Commodore 64”