• TS1000 upgrade – log entry 4 — Oh the memories we’ll make with 16k!

    Part four already? Memory — that thing where the more you’ve got, the bet­ter things are for your com­puter? Yeah, that stuff. We’ll be upgrad­ing this vin­tage com­puter using a bit more mod­ern tech to get it up to a whop­ping 16K. Oh, and there’s a bit of gold in this story too… 

  • The Mood Mosaic

    The Mood Mosa­ic albums are a series of com­pil­a­tion albums that fea­ture a col­lec­tion of eclect­ic and diverse music from vari­ous genres and eras, often arranged around a cent­ral theme or mood. The first album in the series, titled “The Mood Mosa­ic — A Touch of Vel­vet, A Sting of Brass”, was released in 1996 […] 

  • Space Debris Precautions for Launch — Considerations for a Safe Mission

    Pre­cau­tions have been imple­men­ted to ensure safe space launches amidst the grow­ing threat of space debris. These meas­ures include advanced detec­tion and avoid­ance tech­no­logy, enhanced launch vehicle design, pre­cise launch win­dows, orbit­al cleanup, and emer­gency pro­to­cols. By imple­ment­ing these meas­ures, we can mit­ig­ate the risks asso­ci­ated with the Kessler Syn­drome and pro­tect valu­able assets in orbit. 

  • Lastpass security breach blog post — AI summarised

    Last­Pass suffered a secur­ity breach, but there’s been no activ­ity since Octo­ber 2022. The com­pany has enhanced secur­ity meas­ures, and we’ve got the details in this AI-sum­mar­ized blog post. Find out what happened, what Last­Pass has done, and how you can pro­tect yourself. 

  • Don’t want to install employer’s Multi-Function Authentication app on your phone? Five reasons to support your position.

    In case you are look­ing for a few reas­ons bey­ond ‘I just don’t want to’, which is fine, and a val­id reas­on on its own. Here’s more. 

  • TS1000 upgrade – log entry 3 — On The Big Screen!

    If you’ve been fol­low­ing along, you may recol­lect that this jour­ney to mod­ern­iz­ing my vin­tage Timex Sin­clair began when I watched this four-part video series by The Byte Attic, and decided ‘yeah, that looks like some­thing I could do’. If you’re jump­ing in at this point, well, I’ve done things and have more things to do. This post will look at con­vert­ing the video out­put of the com­puter from an RF sig­nal to a more mod­ern com­pos­ite video sig­nal with a simple hard­ware modification. 

  • I’m don’t have the knowledge, but ChatGPT does…

    I’m work­ing on a web­site, build­ing pages that have ran­dom pull-quotes on them. And I’m mak­ing mockup / place­hold­er pages. Many mockups. This gets old pretty quickly so I’m think­ing to myself, “Self? Let’s see if we can have some fun with these quotes”. But, rather than just do a search for quotes, I thought I’d […]

  • Made a thing: Compact Benchtop Power Control Switch Box

    What do you do when your benchtop power sup­ply does­n’t have a switch to ener­­­gize/de-ener­­­gize the cir­cuit, just a mas­ter power switch? You make one: https://www.printables.com/model/387401-compact-benchtop-power-control-with-this-switch-bo

  • TS1000 upgrade – log entry 2 — More Power!

    As I’d men­tioned in my pre­vi­ous post in this series, I’ve been pok­ing around my TS1000 a bit and doing some online dig­ging.  I found this series about refur­bish­ing and upgrad­ing a Sin­clair ZX81. And since I wrapped up my last post test­ing the that unit is still alive and kick­ing (I think. Video is still a thing to veri­fy with the MK One eye­balls, though it looks good in the mul­ti­meter), it’s best to jump on to the next stage. Upgrad­ing the power converter. 

  • Rogue One: A Masterpiece of Star Wars Storytelling

    Star Wars is a uni­verse of myths and legends, a place where the impossible becomes pos­sible, where dreams are made real, and where her­oes rise from humble begin­nings. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story con­tin­ues this tra­di­tion, weav­ing a new tale of hope, sac­ri­fice and cour­age into the fab­ric of the Star Wars uni­verse. The […] 

  • Using ChatGPT to generate Dungeons & Dragons adventure scenarios: Abandoned mineshaft near Oakdale

    I was play­ing around with the Chat­G­PT arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence recently, and decided to prompt it to see how well it could cre­ate a Dun­geons & Dragons adven­ture. Sur­pris­ingly well, it turns out. I’m temp­ted to run this some­time… Aban­doned mineshaft near Oak­dale Prompt: Using the 5th edi­tion Dun­geons & Dragons rules, cre­ate a small dungeon […] 

  • TS1000 upgrade – log entry 1

    #ret­ro­com­put­ing has been tak­ing up more of my atten­tion recently. Spe­cific­ally, I found this series about refur­bish­ing and upgrad­ing a Sin­clair ZX81. Since the Timex Sin­clair 1000 is essen­tially a ZX81 that jumped the pond (and doubled it’s nat­ive RAM in the pro­cess), I’ve got one. And it’s been sit­ting in a box for 20ish years, used heav­ily pre­vi­ous to that. Time to rec­ti­fy (ha!) that situation. 

  • A Virtual Parallel Printer for a Vintage Computer

    One of the neat things about using vin­tage com­put­ing equip­ment is fig­ur­ing out mod­ern ways to work with the older tech­no­logy. Why vir­tu­al print­ing? Recently, I wanted to explore prin­ted out­put from my NEC PC-8201a. For one thing, work­ing ‘on the hard­ware’ in this case has a dis­play lim­it of eight lines of forty characters […] 

  • I Made some RAM for my NEC PC-8201a — and it’ll work on a Tandy Model 100 too!

    Ori­gin­al expan­sion RAM for the NEC PC-8201a and Tandy Mod­el 100 is pretty hard to find these days — so I made some. 

  • How long will a NiMH battery pack last in a NEC PC-8201 or PC-8201a?

    As I was con­vert­ing NEC bat­tery packs to be rechareg­able, I wondered just what the run-time of a bat­tery pack would be. So I came up with is a simple BASIC pro­gram to run the com­puter bat­tery down, and record the time that it dies and cal­cu­late the run-time. This is the story… 

  • Vintage Computing: Saving data to an audio device

    Back when the early days of per­son­al com­put­ing, you did your work on your com­puter and either prin­ted out the fin­ished work, or stored it to work on later. Early on, cas­sette tapes were the stor­age medi­um of choice as they cas­sette tape record­ers were com­monly avail­able, and reas­on­ably afford­able. Some com­puter sys­tem did have […] 

  • Aloha to a Hawaiian TRS-80 Model 100

    Well, finally got a chunk of free time to get back to my ‘Mod­el 100 school’. My goal is to learn about these m100s through hands-on learn­ing. A new friend (Hi Larry) sent me his ail­ing m100 to fur­ther my edu­ca­tion. Who knows? Maybe I can get it run­ning again — it’s a nice looking […] 

  • Looks like we’re doomed

    Picked up Gloom­haven. Think of it as D&D as a boardgame. It’s the num­ber one game on BoardGameGeek, so it’ll likely be pretty good. Also, the reviews like it. We set up and star­ted get­ting famil­i­ar with it last night. Con­sider it Ses­sion Zero in D&D par­lance. Can­’t wait for Ses­sion One! 

  • NEC PC-8201a Adventures – Part Three: Getting Rid of the Dirty

    NEC PC-8201a Adventures – Part Three: Getting Rid of the Dirty

    Wel­come back to part three of my res­tor­a­tion and adven­tures with an NEC PC-8201a vin­tage com­puter circa. 1983. Let’s get to it! Strip­ping Down It’s actu­ally not that grungy to look at. Sure, a minor scuff or two, but from the looks of it, this unit is actu­ally quite clean. So, let’s get it apart and get […] 

  • NEC PC-8201a Adventures – Part Two: Rebuilding the NiCad Battery Pack

    NEC PC-8201a Adventures – Part Two: Rebuilding the NiCad Battery Pack

    These were great bat­ter­ies, 40 years ago. This was a good task to start on. It’d been years since I’ve done any ser­i­ous elec­tron­ics work, and my pre­vi­ous Ardu­ino pro­ject, while suc­cess­ful, reminded me just how much I’d for­got­ten about elec­tron­ics over the years. And my skills had mostly van­ished too. So a nice easy pro­ject was […] 

  • NEC PC-8201a Adventures — Part One: It’s here, now what?

    NEC PC-8201a Adventures — Part One: It’s here, now what?

    Back in the early-to-mid ’80s, per­son­al com­put­ing was find­ing it’s way. Desktop com­puters were becom­ing more vis­ible in smal­ler busi­nesses, but the work of com­put­ing still had to be done at the work­place. Port­able com­puters were really just shrunken down desktops — they were called lug­gables at the time. Then came the revolu­tion, as they say. […] 

  • Instructable: Arduino Keyboard Joystick Extender Box and Sound Controller Thing Using Deej

    Instructable: Arduino Keyboard Joystick Extender Box and Sound Controller Thing Using Deej

    Update Jan. 23, 2021: Looks like the Joy­stick cir­cuit has failed as it no longer toggles the Mute func­tion. Well, I wasn’t too happy with the ini­tial wir­ing job so this may be an oppor­tun­ity to update that. A while ago I developed an interest in Ardu­ino micro­con­trol­lers, and this is my first ‘actu­al’ project. […] 

  • The Waiting Followers

    The Waiting Followers

    (Char­ac­ter sketch and back­ground for a Dave Gross Call of Cthul­hu cam­paign: Hor­ror on the Ori­ent Express, 2016) The club was lively; a typ­ic­al Thursday even­ing at our usu­al retreat in Birm­ing­ham. When our sched­ules per­mit­ted, we traveled north to escape the din and bluster of Lon­don as the week ended. Benny Peyton’s Jazz Kings […] 

  • For 3d Printing, Levelling the Bed is Finicky

    So a week or so ago I tweaked some­thing on my print­er. Maybe it was ini­tial lay­er height. Maybe I adjus­ted a bed screw. Not sure, but all of a sud­den my prints would­n’t stick to the bed prop­erly. Using the ‘paper drag’ meth­od of bed lev­el­ling ‘sort of’ worked. But it really was trial […] 

  • 3d printing small board game accessories

    I’m really happy when I can com­bine two of my hob­bies. This time it’s Boardgam­ing and 3d Print­ing. Often, many games have tokens or chits that are pooled for play­ers to take at dif­fer­ent times dur­ing play.  Usu­ally, these sit in piles around the main game area. On Thingi­verse, swholmstead shared this neat design — which I […] 

  • 3d Printing Terrain for tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons

    Pretty cool what a little time, 3d Print­ing tech­no­logy, some cre­at­ive design work, and a spool of PLA will get you. I’ve been test­ing vari­ous dun­geon com­pon­ents to see how well they’ll work with our play style. And how good they’ll look once painted and fin­ished. The crates above have yet to be fin­ished. Usu­ally, I […] 

  • Meco — Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk: Star Wars (HD Vinyl Recording) — YouTube

    Meco — Star Wars and Oth­er Galactic Funk: Star Wars (HD Vinyl Record­ing) — YouTube. 

  • Giorgio Moroder — Battlestar Galactica — YouTube

    Gior­gio Moroder — Battle­star Galactica — YouTube. 

  • 3d Printing some feet to display photos on my desktop

    We had these ugly plate-stand style photo stands for some alu­min­um photo prints. Had that ‘wrought-iron’ look. Totally not suit­able for a very white shot of our dogs. 3d Print­ing to the res­cue. Then I found these simple ‘feet’ on Thingi­verse — a per­fect solu­tion. I prin­ted off one batch, but had a bit of a flashing […] 

  • Friday: Lander

    Friday: Lander

    Stand­ard Lun­ar Lander — because it’s Friday.