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My first blog!


Space Centurion

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Hi all, just wanted to become more of a member here and I thought starting a blog may be fun. I have a lot of retro computers and retro computer projects so there should be enough stuff to talk about here. My first computer was an Atari 400, which I gave to my brother when I got an Atari 800XL, eventually got the 1050 disk drive, then sold the lot to make way for a Commodore 64c as everyone else in the area had one, and nobody had the Atari! :-( My best friend’s dad gave me his cassette drive and cassettes as they went floppy disk (he bought them a MSD-2 dual drive). I eventually got a 1541 disk drive and really started to have fun! A friend of my mom's gave me a 1650 300 baud modem (as he bought a 1670 1200 baud) and I got hooked on the BBS experience. Almost failed grade 8 because of that...lol! I also started a BBS called “The Matrix” (based on the Transformers). A whole 170k total storage and 300 baud speed, those where the days!!

 

As time went on, I had to get a dos/windows based PC for high school, but kept the 64 as it became too much a part of me. Sadly over the years it died, but I just swapped the guts out with another one so I still have the original case and keyboard. I had one of the first 64c's (the newer white ones) and the keyboard looked like the original, just in white with the special functions listed on the front, not on the top like the later models. I just had to keep that keyboard!

 

Over the years, I've added to the collection, bought a few more 64's and 128's. More disk drives(8050’s 1571’s, 1581’s), etc. Bought a C128-D in the late 90's. Finally bought a SX-64 a few years ago. HEHE! I also started to make up for things I wanted as a child. I bought an Atari 800XL mainly for childhood nostalgia, and within the last decade have added these to the collection: Atari XEGS, Atari 1040 STfm, Apple IIGS, and last week a TI-99 4A with the PEB (Peripheral Expansion Box) system. I also have an Amiga 2000 that I somehow lost the keyboard and mouse for. ARGH.

 

So, my most recent work around here was cleaning up the basement and starting a small computer lab (made out of Ikea shelving). Having two boys (6 and 2) I figure they may find some of this old stuff interesting. It also gives me a happy spot to escape to! Having just bought the TI-99, I wanted a space to play with it (the PEB unit is large and heavy) so it gave me the desire to get off my butt and organize a bit. It is mostly done, just have to connect a few more of the Commodore disk drives; install a pc for use as a terminal/serial emulator so the other computers can use it to call other computers around the world. I also need to relocate a light or two. And clean up some of the clutter…..

 

My immediate next project is to finish testing my newly acquired TI-99. The P key didn’t work, and it contains the “ key as well. I managed to fix it, but four other keys don’t work now…ooopppsss. I gave up repairing it, and ordered a few new ones from ebay, which should be here soon. Once the main unit is fixed, I can continue to test the PEB and floppy disk drives. :-) I’ll save all that for future blogs.

 

Well…thanks for reading this. I look forward to blogging more soon.

 

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Congrats. I enjoyed reading yout story. I am in the process of doing the same ( cleaning up the basement and starting a small computer lab / videogame area - but I am also dubbing it as a man cave - ha ha )

I would love to see some pictures of your finished room in the basement. I am browsing IKEA's products as well for ideas.

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Hi Timdu, I used a lot of "left over" ikea shelf parts from the STEN (discontinued) and the current GORM series. Sadly, it seems Ikea does not offer any of the custom parts for the GORM anymore (haven't checked in store to verify) but the website looks like it just sells the units only. My configuration for these is 1X GORM corner unit, 1X STEN unit, 1X GORM unit, and 1x STEN unit. The GORMS are a bit smaller in length than STEN, but the width are the same so they are connected together. GORMS worked well for the smaller computers, although I used a corner piece for my 1040ST as it took up a bit of space. If I could do it again, I'd use the IVAR series, which is one step up in quality over the two I used.

 

I'll put up some pictures eventually, once I am happy with the look.

 

If it helps you to picture it though, from left to right in the above configuration, my computers are: (Atari 1040ST, LCD screen for PC w/PC on the floor), (TI-99 w/PEB, Atari XEGS on an upper shelf above the TI),(Apple IIGS), (Commodore 64 and a 128D on the upper shelf above the 64). Forgot to mention that I have a loose GORM unit at the end/perpendicular to hold some of the 64 larger drives (like the 8050) and give some extra storage.

 

Hope this gives you some ideas!

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Things are going slowly with the computerlab. Managed to catch that bad stomach flu and that kept me in bed for almost four days. My wife has a lot of little projects that she wants done, and of course between work and the kids, there is not a lot of time left. I have changed a few things to the lineup. I replaced the Atari XEGS with my 800XL as the XEGS developed switch issues. Something else to fix...lol...at least the 800XL has the same style as the 1050 drives, so it looks better as a set. Apart from the 800xl, I have the 1040st running in a basic setup. Still have to connect the hard drive and solve an external floppy issue. The C64 is also up and going, but have noticed the 1084 monitor power switch doesn't stay on. I know this is a common problem with them. Still need to connect some more drives too. And lastly, the TI-99 is up and going, made a joystick adapter, and have some carts arriving soon in the mail. So, there are some things that the family can play with! Well...back to cleaning I go......

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