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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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  • I Hear That Asteroids Machine Calling My Name

    22 Jun | 16
    • in Electronics • 
    • in Asteroids • 
    • by Chris Osborn

    I still remember the first time I ever touched an Asteroids machine. It was in a dark arcade in Vallejo, one of those ones that had popped up in an empty storefront in a shopping center. The machine was different than all the others in the arcade, it was a lone cocktail cabinet amid the uprights that were packed anywhere they could fit them. I dropped in a quarter to see if I could make sense of the game, and was amazed at how fun it was controlling the ship. Of course I died quickly because I...

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  • Doing Linux Sysadmin Tasks From Your 8-Bitter

    17 Jun | 16
    • in Raspberry Pi • 
    • in Retro • 
    • by Chris Osborn

    You decided to "work" from home and you're having a blast killing aliens, rescuing princesses, and finding buried treasure. And of course right while you're in the middle of solving the world's hardest puzzle an urgent call comes in from the office. Of course that means you’re going have to get up and go sit at another computer to ssh in and see what's going on. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to do that? Using a combination of tcpser and...

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