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  • Making the CauzCoin Challenge

    19 Sep | 16
    • in Retro • 
    • by Chris Osborn

    Because of how uncommon the Cauzin Softstrip reader was, I thought it would make a great starting point for another retro computing challenge . I don't think too many people still have them around. It also seemed like combining ancient 2D barcode technology with Bitcoin might be kind of interesting too. Encoding the private key directly into a Cauzin Softstrip was too obvious. I wanted to obscure the key in the barcode in some way that it could be solved, not necessarily with some kind of...

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  • Another Retro Challenge Has Arrived: CauzCoin!

    29 Aug | 16
    • in Retro • 
    • by Chris Osborn

    It's been a while since I did a retro challenge since they tend to be quite a bit of work to put together. The last two used modems and my BBS as the heart of the challenge, with the first one simply requiring dialing in with a real modem, and the second one requiring a little more work by decoding a secret message and running some special software. This time around the data won't be encoded as audio, but it will definitely be no less interesting with considerable effort involved. ...

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  • Encoding Software in Barcodes, the Eight-Bit Magazine Way

    14 Aug | 16
    • in Retro • 
    • by Chris Osborn

    On RetrBattlestations one of the most popular challenges is a recreation of the days when magazines used to publish their own programs. Back before the internet, and when dialup was still expensive, magazines would publish source code listings and the only way to get it into your computer was to type it in. Whenever I work on one of these challenges I come up with a BASIC program for people to type in on their computers. But I always think about how some magazines had also started...

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  • Adding Analog Support for the Apple II to ninepin

    17 Jul | 16
    • in Electronics • 
    • in Raspberry Pi • 
    • in Apple II • 
    • by Chris Osborn

    Game over man, game over A week ago I was craving some Apple II gaming, but my experience of jittery flakey analog joysticks on the Apple II kind of deterred me. Joystick reading tends to be very sensitive on the Apple II and often the joystick would suddenly jump back and forth between reading up or down. You might be tempted to blame dirty potentiometers, but even back then when the joysticks were brand new this was a problem. The Apple II was originally designed to use paddles as the...

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  • TRS-80 Model I Floppy Repair

    03 Jul | 16
    • in Electronics • 
    • in TRS-80 • 
    • by Chris Osborn

    Another repair project that I’ve had sitting around for quite a while is a TRS-80 floppy drive. It was another “untested” item that I got for a reasonable price off eBay. When it arrived I hooked it up and it didn’t work. A little bit of investigation and I found that the spindle motor wasn’t turning on. Again I got distracted with something else and put the project aside for another time. Precariously balancing I didn’t want to have to test the drive by...

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