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  • Using modems without phone lines

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

    Ever since I did BBS Week on RetroBattlestations , I’ve been wondering if there’s a way to use a modem without having to use a land line. It seemed like it should be possible since modems work with T1 lines, and T1 lines are digital. However when I experimented with it during BBS week, I didn’t have a PBX that I could use to interface to an analog line, and I didn’t have any modems with an acoustic coupler. I decided to setup an Asterisk PBX and get the cheapest card...

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  • Static Sticker Shock

    04 Aug | 14
    • in Electronics • 
    • in Vinyl Cutter • 
    • by Chris Osborn

    Yesterday I went to cut out some new stickers in preparation for the next them week on RetroBattlestations. I loaded the design into the program, repeated it a few times on the page, and told it to cut. After it was done I cut the stickers apart and started to weed them but found it hadn't cut all the way through. And there were also a lot of scrape marks on the vinyl where the knife moved from one path to another. It only took a moment to realize what had happened, the cutter head...

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  • I’m not an expert on these things, just buy it already

    28 Jul | 14
    • in TRS-80 • 
    • by Chris Osborn

    A lot of the auctions I win on eBay are for items that are listed as “untested, as-is, for parts or repair.” While the sellers will post lots of pictures, they often won’t do any kind of research or investigation of what they are selling. This is great for me because 9 times out of 10, the thing I bought actually turns out to work just fine and doesn’t need any repair at all. And with computers it’s not unusual to find some nice upgrades have been installed that...

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  • Lighting Up the Fireworks

    06 Jul | 14
    • in Fireworks • 
    • in Woodworking • 
    • by Chris Osborn

    Back when I first started doing fireworks at my house, we need a place to stack all the fireworks and sort through them to decide what should be lit and when. I cobbled something temporary together out of scrap wood I had around. Over the years it has evolved to make setting it up and taking it down easier. Instead of screwing supports together, they are now hinged. Pieces of wood that had been intended to be re-used in real projects later have now become permanent parts of the stand. A few...

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  • You’re not missing USB drivers, Linux hates your keyboard

    23 Jun | 14
    • in Computers • 
    • by Chris Osborn

    Many years ago I decided that I wanted to build my own Linux kernel in order to make my own mini PXE boot kernel. I’ve done lots of kernel compiles over the years in order to enable and disable certain things, but had never built a kernel with my own empty config file. I also wanted to see if I could embed an initial filesystem right into the kernel so that I would have just a single file to work with instead of a separate initrd. Starting with an empty config file was pretty scary since...

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