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Dell Computers can suck it

This has been dealt with at this point, so I am going to tell the story. I ordered $257 in laptop accessories to replace what was stolen. As a USPS PO Box holder, I avail myself of its "physical address service," which allows me to ship items to the Post Office's physical address. So now I can get my FedEx, UPS, USPS, and whatever in one convenient location.   FedEx "delivered" my package on November 1. However, by November 10, nobody in the PO knew where it was. The person whose name

OLD CS1

OLD CS1 in General

What is the best $20 you ever spent?

On an episode of "The People's Court" I recently watched, a viewer posed the question of the judges, "What is the best $20 you ever spent?"  I said something about John had better relate something to Marilyn, and my SO says, "Can you remember the best thing you spent $20 on?"  I thought about it for a few seconds... when you get to a certain age, you can drop a $20 on a lot of things, and sometimes the best expenditures are larger amounts or the value has a long temporal separation from the init

OLD CS1

OLD CS1 in General

TI BASIC: Search for a fast and easy input routine for games

TI BASIC built into the TI-99/4A console is slow.  Really slow.  This lack of speed hampers a lot of good game development for console BASIC.  Not impossible, mind you.  Many game makers working in TI BASIC have found ways to work with the lack of speed while still maintaining a functional game.  As well, players generally get used to knowing they have to hold a key down or joystick in the direction until the magical moment the program is able to run the detection.   For my purposes, I

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OLD CS1 in TI-99/4A

A/Rexx: Converting VGM to TI-99/4 ISR sound list

There is plenty of music and sound effects available for download in the VGM format for the SN76489 PSG (programmable sound generator,) a cousin of the TMS-9919 sound generator in the TI-99/4 and 4A computers.  For a while I have enjoyed working with the sound list format played by the 99/4's ISR (interrupt service routine) as defined in the Editor/Assembler manual.  It is a simple format defined in rows or frames, each containing a number of bytes sent directly to the 9919, and each row may hav

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Restoring program cassettes: CS1er vs. Classic99

I got hold of a neat little GGI Gear CT2DG tape-to-MP3 recorder, purchased from a fellow AtariAger, to see how it might replace my setup of a real tape deck and USB audio capture device.  The name is a misnomer as it shows up to Windows as a generic USB audio device, which means you can use your favorite audio capture software and are not relegated to a compressed capture.   I used my master tape of Laser Strike for TI BASIC as the test subject*, Audacity v2.3.2 to capture the input, a

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Restoring clouded panels of solar accent lights

Thanks to a Radio Shack solar project kit I owned in my youth, solar power and LEDs have always held my attention.  Solar accent lights are neat and handy for a number of reasons.  An entire industry of electronics parts exists just for these types of devices, not only simplifying the circuitry, but also lowering the prices to ridiculous levels -- motion-activated solar LED lights can be purchased for under $5!   The yard variety of these lights tend to suffer from a hazing of the resi

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Replacing the APC BP24BPG external battery with 870-2183 (RBC-33) harness

The APC BackUPS Pro 1500VA UPS, model BR1500G, has an external battery port on its back.  This port is interfaces with the BP24BPG, which is a 24V external battery pack holding four 9Ah or 7.5Ah 12V sealed lead-acid (SLA) batteries.  These batteries are identical to the two which are in the UPS, itself, but in 2x2 series-parallel configuration, giving 24V.   The external battery pack looks like, is the same size, and costs just as much as the UPS: $180 new from APC and most retailers.

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Migrating an iSCSI LUN from one Netgear ReadyNAS OS 6 device to another

It is shockingly easy to move an iSCSI LUN from one Netgear ReadyNAS OS 6 device to another.  This exercise is performed on version 6.7.2, the latest version at the time of writing.   Netgear's official method for migration is to create new new iSCSI LUN on the destination device and mount it in your operating system -- I am doing this in Windows.  Then use robocopy or your favorite mass copier to copy the data from the old LUN to the new LUN.  This could take a long time if you have a

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What is the value of a $40 power supply?

What is the value of a $40 power supply? To the guy who built it, that may be $20 in parts and some labor, plus the time to research the necessary parts and the recognition of the need for the product in the first place.  What about when he ships out the wrong power supply and then exchanges it, but through an eBay quirk the buyer winds up not paying for anything?   One of the first computers I touched with a GUI was my grandfather's Atari 520ST some 30 or-so years ago.  After his retirement

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Powershell to set clock on SonyEricsson phone via Bluetooth

SonyEricsson's PC Suite had a nice feature which would synchronize your phone's clock to your PC's clock when establishing a connection. I found more often than not my frequently-synchronized computer time differed by a minute or more from the Cingular/AT&T network time. (quick bitching about Sony) Since PC Companion no longer synchronizes my phone's clock with my PC, using the SonyEricsson AT Commands reference guide I wrote a Powershell script to take up the slack. The script open

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Bloody "Life Hacks"

I can be an asshole and sometimes a bit crotchety. It was a relief, therefore, to find that I am not the only one who finds the concept of "life hacks" cringe-worthy and often aggravating, if only for misusing the word "hack." You might come across some viral new "life hack" and think, "nothing special about that," since you or someone or some group of people you know have done this particularly amazing thing forever.   The latest one which grabbed me the wrong way was the whole "eating your h

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Florida State vs. Clemson: The Sleeper Must Awaken

I have held season tickets since earning my Criminology degree at Florida State University (FSU.) Before then I attended games as a student, and even before I was a student I attended games with friends who were students.   One thing to which we held firm was we always showed up on time for kick-off and we never left early. Of course, in the early days there was little reason to leave early unless, for pity's sake, you simply could not stomach watching our boys on the field win the game by e

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Spending some time with the THEC64 Mini

I pre-ordered my The C64 Mini from WalMart and it arrived on October 9, which I picked up a mere six hours before the store closed in preparation for Hurricane Michael which would arrive the next day. As a result, my time with the new goody was pushed back over a week.   But I have now had a chance to spend a few hours every day or so for the past week and a-half and am happy to present the results of my fun and hard work putting this all together.         (Use

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Resolutions for 2018?

How about 800x600? HAHAHAHAHA   No, but seriously. I will refrain from elaborating on my principle and philosophic aversion to New Year Resolutions (which nearly got me into trouble in third grade,) instead I want to make a short plan for 2018.   First part of my plan is to finally buckle down on my conversion of Arkanoid for the TI-99/4A. I have put a ton of work into the assets so not finishing the game will be a disastrous waste and let-down.   Secondly, I starte

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The Bad Black 99/4A Keyboard

The beige model of the TI-99/4A usually has the oft-maligned post action keyboard with a membrane contact system contained within which is prone to failure. In my first blog post I was both happy and disappointed to find a couple of variants of the beige keyboard which had, respectively, the spring-leaf style contact with full square action and a non-Mitsumi model with the hated membrane contact system.   Generally the black keyboards are the full square action with spring-lead contact

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Dell UltraSharp 2007FPb quick comparisons to 2001FP

I received the UltraSharp 2007FPb this week and tried it with both my Sega Nomad and TI-99/4A. There are some significant differences to the UltraSharp 2001FP which I covered before. Most importantly, as with the 2001FP the 2007FPb will sync properly to a 240p signal, though also samples it as a 480i signal.   Dell moved the power supply into the monitor so it only requires the single simple IEC power cable. It has the same inputs and outputs as the 2001FP with some additional features

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Spending some time with the Sega Genesis Flashback

Having an affinity for and owning Sega Genesis and Genesis 2 consoles, I found myself intrigued by AtGames' new Sega Genesis Flashback. I have experience with AtGames' Sega Genesis Classic and Portable which I found lacking to some degree though usable, but the promises of an updated emulation engine and built-in HDMI were a draw which I could not resist. I have spent some time since the November 10 release to give it a whirl and I am far more satisfied than most early reviewers.   Lea

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Dell UltraSharp 2001FP composite and S-Video capable monitor

This monitor sports composite and S-Video inputs in addition to the standard DVI and SVGA. It works well with the TI-99/4A with some minor limitations. I took a little time to figure out how to get the best picture from the TI and give some information on what to expect.     In 2006 I purchased two Dell UltraSharp 2001FP 20.1 inch monitors for the home office. Notably, these monitors not only have DVI and VGA inputs meaning I could switch between my Amiga 4000 and my Windows PC, b

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Minor Case Differences Between TI-99/4A Beige "QI" and Standard

I needed to swap around parts to build a beige TI-99/4A console using a standard main-board, "QI" power supply, and a keyboard which does not stick. The original standard board came in another beige console which at one point in its life lived in a smoking household, leaving the case stained yellow by, and with a sticky layer of, nicotine, and the keyboard suffering from the same ailments -- sadly as it is not one of the crappy post-and-membrane types usually found in the in the beige consoles.

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SuperSketch Tracing Pack for TI and ColecoVision

I do not have the time available yet to jump back into the forums as I have been cleaning up my home-office and integrating my former state office. Part of the process involves archiving items in storage for long-term safe-keeping.   While I am not certain how available these are, I figured mine are in good enough condition to go ahead and scan up.   Included are 300dpi PDF and black-and-white TIFF† scans of both the beginner pack included in an envelope in the box, and the loose quick refe

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"Bruce Lee" (C64) in TI-99 ISR format

After hearing a couple of remixes of "Bruce Lee" from the Commodore 64, I was compelled (distracted?) to make a quick conversion and my own little remix (not yet completed,) both in TI-99 ISR format. This particular piece is a good candidate for its own special player, being that the format of the song is roughly A-B-B-C-D-D-C-(E-F-G)-H. Nothing fancy in terms of a player, just one that can do repeats and patterns.   Original Commodore 64 SID: Bruce_Lee.sid Bruce_Lee(SID).mp3   I have pr

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Xevious start and in-game music for TI-99

I needed a short example to try out some of my Rexx script transforms. The main thing this demonstrates is taking a bass-line in tone channel three and changing it into a periodic noise bass-line. The transform command is "nb" so the files are named accordingly.   The script is still a work-in-progress missing some functions and sloppy as hell so I will not be showing it off just yet. Plus there is a major bug in the remove transform which removes a tone from a list, which instead winds up

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Arranging "Monty on the Run" in a TI-99/4A ISR Sound List

Vorticon asked me to provide the sound effects for his TI conversion of . I started working on them and at the same time picked back up on Rasmus' challenge to me to arrange "Monty on the Run." I have been bouncing between Jetpac and Monty, as well as my A/Rexx script to manipulate ISR sound list binaries. Tonight I was playing with the Monty bass-line, over-laying it with a SIDPlay export (Monty_on_the_Run.mp3) and I thought I would share part of my process for doing my conversions. It is

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A/Rexx PoC: using a compound variable as both associative and indexed

Actually, I am not really certain what to call what I am doing here. Essentially, I need a table of values which can be referenced both by number (ordinal) and the value itself (associative.)   I reach back to the TI-99 ISR (interrupt service routine) sound lists for a practical example. I want to create a transform which will increase or decrease tone values by semitones or octaves (12 semitones.) To do that, I have to load the channel sound command, which consists of two bytes, from the l

OLD CS1

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