Recent Posts

  • Pickering vs Grado chapter two - Penny Lane. Image is a banner of two cartridges playing a record.

    Pickering vs Grado: Chapter two — Penny Lane

    This time we’re look­ing at a Beatles clas­sic for our cart­ridge com­par­is­on. Penny Lane from the Cana­dian press­ing of 1967 — 1970. Which will sound bet­ter?Read More »
  • Pickering vs Grado: Chapter one — introduction, review, and listening to an old favourite

    Two cart­ridges. One vin­tage, the oth­er new. Which sounds ‘bet­ter’? What is bet­ter? I get to play with charts and audio stuff, and play cool tunes to You­Tube! What’s not to like. And maybe we find out a bit more about these two cart­ridges.Read More »
  • Akai AP-Q41 won’t quite fit the Pickering XV-15 625E cartridge with brush

    Five minutes with a wire and some cre­at­ive bend­ing…Read More »
  • The Frankenstein Cartridge is Alive!

    Just a quick post to cap­ture the first play­back of the Franken­stein Cart­ridge.Read More »
  • PLEX Privacy Problem.

    At the begin­ning of Novem­ber 2023, PLEX enabled some new fea­tures that have turned out to be a bit of a PR and Pri­vacy night­mare. Basic­ally, they’ve star­ted email­ing all mem­bers of a PLEX serv­er with the recent view­ing habits of oth­er mem­bers of that serv­er. Even if the mem­bers don’t know each oth­er, PLEX […]Read More »
  • Poirot discusses the movie Knives Out with his friends.

    A din­ner party and a movie review. The fam­ous Bel­gian detect­ive and friends dis­cuss Knives Out.Read More »
  • Making progress

    Updat­ing my slowly-evolving ana­log audio pro­ject wherein I under­take to rebuild/recover my enjoy­ment of observing the phe­nomonon cre­ated when a tiny dia­mond rides mer­rily through a vinyl groove, delightedly vibrat­ing, pro­du­cing a minus­cule elec­tric­al cur­rent that even­tu­ally (through amp­li­fic­a­tion magic) becomes the sweet sound that we call ana­log music. The pro­ject makes pro­gress and it’s revealed that young­er-me was a bone­head. #Vinyl #Vin­tage #TurnTables #Audi­o­phile #FakeAl­bum­Cov­ersRead More »
  • This pile of gear is starting to come to life… and a list of vinyl test albums

    An old turntable, a new cart­ridge, and a list of awe­some albums to pick up. What’s not to like!Read More »
  • Using ChatGPT to create a flight simulator flight plan in Little NavMap format

    Short post to just doc­u­ment the prompt I use with Chat­G­PT. It works ok, for short flights. For some reas­on, Chat­G­PT seems to stall out if the flight­plan has more than five or six user way­po­ints, in addi­tion to the depar­ture and des­tin­a­tion way­po­ints. I should prob­ably look at optim­iz­ing this prompt, it’s a bit long 🙂Read More »
  • Aziz! Light!

    An AI chat­bot leads me on a cod­ing adven­ture that ulti­mately ends up ignor­ing all the work the AI did in the first place.Read More »
  • Note to self — use the reboxing service

    Ship­ping some­thing a fair dis­tance? Pack it well or use a pack­ing ser­vice. I learned a les­son the hard way.Read More »
  • Bob tries out a new plane.

    Bob tries out a new plane on a short cross-coun­try mid-winter flight into the Rock­ies. Things go wrong, but Bob pre­vails.Read More »
  • Q. What’s the best way to add a new boot drive to a Windows 10 system, without losing too much of my installed configuration?

    Some steps to adding a new boot drive to an exist­ing Win­dows 10 sys­tem.Read More »
  • TS1000 upgrade – log entry 4 — Oh the memories we’ll make with 16k!

    Part four already? Memory — that thing where the more you’ve got, the bet­ter things are for your com­puter? Yeah, that stuff. We’ll be upgrad­ing this vin­tage com­puter using a bit more mod­ern tech to get it up to a whop­ping 16K. Oh, and there’s a bit of gold in this story too…Read More »
  • The Mood Mosaic

    The Mood Mosa­ic albums are a series of com­pil­a­tion albums that fea­ture a col­lec­tion of eclect­ic and diverse music from vari­ous genres and eras, often arranged around a cent­ral theme or mood. The first album in the series, titled “The Mood Mosa­ic — A Touch of Vel­vet, A Sting of Brass”, was released in 1996 […]Read More »
  • Space Debris Precautions for Launch — Considerations for a Safe Mission

    Pre­cau­tions have been imple­men­ted to ensure safe space launches amidst the grow­ing threat of space debris. These meas­ures include advanced detec­tion and avoid­ance tech­no­logy, enhanced launch vehicle design, pre­cise launch win­dows, orbit­al cleanup, and emer­gency pro­to­cols. By imple­ment­ing these meas­ures, we can mit­ig­ate the risks asso­ci­ated with the Kessler Syn­drome and pro­tect valu­able assets in orbit.Read More »
  • Lastpass security breach blog post — AI summarised

    Last­Pass suffered a secur­ity breach, but there’s been no activ­ity since Octo­ber 2022. The com­pany has enhanced secur­ity meas­ures, and we’ve got the details in this AI-sum­mar­ized blog post. Find out what happened, what Last­Pass has done, and how you can pro­tect your­self.Read More »
  • Don’t want to install employer’s Multi-Function Authentication app on your phone? Five reasons to support your position.

    In case you are look­ing for a few reas­ons bey­ond ‘I just don’t want to’, which is fine, and a val­id reas­on on its own. Here’s more.Read More »
  • TS1000 upgrade – log entry 3 — On The Big Screen!

    If you’ve been fol­low­ing along, you may recol­lect that this jour­ney to mod­ern­iz­ing my vin­tage Timex Sin­clair began when I watched this four-part video series by The Byte Attic, and decided ‘yeah, that looks like some­thing I could do’. If you’re jump­ing in at this point, well, I’ve done things and have more things to do. This post will look at con­vert­ing the video out­put of the com­puter from an RF sig­nal to a more mod­ern com­pos­ite video sig­nal with a simple hard­ware modi­fic­a­tion.Read More »
  • I’m don’t have the knowledge, but ChatGPT does…

    I’m work­ing on a web­site, build­ing pages that have ran­dom pull-quotes on them. And I’m mak­ing mockup / place­hold­er pages. Many mockups. This gets old pretty quickly so I’m think­ing to myself, “Self? Let’s see if we can have some fun with these quotes”. But, rather than just do a search for quotes, I thought I’d […]Read More »
  • Made a thing: Compact Benchtop Power Control Switch Box

    What do you do when your benchtop power sup­ply does­n’t have a switch to ener­­­gize/de-ener­­­gize the cir­cuit, just a mas­ter power switch? You make one: More »
  • TS1000 upgrade – log entry 2 — More Power!

    As I’d men­tioned in my pre­vi­ous post in this series, I’ve been pok­ing around my TS1000 a bit and doing some online dig­ging.  I found this series about refur­bish­ing and upgrad­ing a Sin­clair ZX81. And since I wrapped up my last post test­ing the that unit is still alive and kick­ing (I think. Video is still a thing to veri­fy with the MK One eye­balls, though it looks good in the mul­ti­meter), it’s best to jump on to the next stage. Upgrad­ing the power con­vert­er.Read More »
  • Rogue One: A Masterpiece of Star Wars Storytelling

    Rogue One: A Masterpiece of Star Wars Storytelling

    Star Wars is a uni­verse of myths and legends, a place where the impossible becomes pos­sible, where dreams are made real, and where her­oes rise from humble begin­nings. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story con­tin­ues this tra­di­tion, weav­ing a new tale of hope, sac­ri­fice and cour­age into the fab­ric of the Star Wars uni­verse. The […]Read More »
  • Using ChatGPT to generate Dungeons <span class=“amp”>&</span> Dragons adventure scenarios: Abandoned mineshaft near Oakdale

    I was play­ing around with the Chat­G­PT arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence recently, and decided to prompt it to see how well it could cre­ate a Dun­geons & Dragons adven­ture. Sur­pris­ingly well, it turns out. I’m temp­ted to run this some­time… Aban­doned mineshaft near Oak­dale Prompt: Using the 5th edi­tion Dun­geons & Dragons rules, cre­ate a small dun­geon […]Read More »
  • TS1000 upgrade – log entry 1

    #ret­ro­com­put­ing has been tak­ing up more of my atten­tion recently. Spe­cific­ally, I found this series about refur­bish­ing and upgrad­ing a Sin­clair ZX81. Since the Timex Sin­clair 1000 is essen­tially a ZX81 that jumped the pond (and doubled it’s nat­ive RAM in the pro­cess), I’ve got one. And it’s been sit­ting in a box for 20ish years, used heav­ily pre­vi­ous to that. Time to rec­ti­fy (ha!) that situ­ation.Read More »
  • A Virtual Parallel Printer for a Vintage Computer

    One of the neat things about using vin­tage com­put­ing equip­ment is fig­ur­ing out mod­ern ways to work with the older tech­no­logy. Why vir­tu­al print­ing? Recently, I wanted to explore prin­ted out­put from my NEC PC-8201a. For one thing, work­ing ‘on the hard­ware’ in this case has a dis­play lim­it of eight lines of forty char­ac­ters […]Read More »
  • I Made some RAM for my NEC PC-8201a — and it’ll work on a Tandy Model 100 too!

    Ori­gin­al expan­sion RAM for the NEC PC-8201a and Tandy Mod­el 100 is pretty hard to find these days — so I made some.Read More »
  • How long will a NiMH battery pack last in a NEC PC-8201 or PC-8201a?

    As I was con­vert­ing NEC bat­tery packs to be rechareg­able, I wondered just what the run-time of a bat­tery pack would be. So I came up with is a simple BASIC pro­gram to run the com­puter bat­tery down, and record the time that it dies and cal­cu­late the run-time. This is the story…Read More »
  • Vintage Computing: Saving data to an audio device

    Back when the early days of per­son­al com­put­ing, you did your work on your com­puter and either prin­ted out the fin­ished work, or stored it to work on later. Early on, cas­sette tapes were the stor­age medi­um of choice as they cas­sette tape record­ers were com­monly avail­able, and reas­on­ably afford­able. Some com­puter sys­tem did have […]Read More »
  • Aloha to a Hawaiian TRS-80 Model 100

    Well, finally got a chunk of free time to get back to my ‘Mod­el 100 school’. My goal is to learn about these m100s through hands-on learn­ing. A new friend (Hi Larry) sent me his ail­ing m100 to fur­ther my edu­ca­tion. Who knows? Maybe I can get it run­ning again — it’s a nice look­ing […]Read More »
  • Looks like we’re doomed

    Picked up Gloom­haven. Think of it as D&D as a boardgame. It’s the num­ber one game on BoardGameGeek, so it’ll likely be pretty good. Also, the reviews like it. We set up and star­ted get­ting famil­i­ar with it last night. Con­sider it Ses­sion Zero in D&D par­lance. Can­’t wait for Ses­sion One!Read More »
  • NEC PC-8201a Adventures – Part Three: Getting Rid of the Dirty

    NEC PC-8201a Adventures – Part Three: Getting Rid of the Dirty

    Wel­come back to part three of my res­tor­a­tion and adven­tures with an NEC PC-8201a vin­tage com­puter circa. 1983. Let’s get to it! Strip­ping Down It’s actu­ally not that grungy to look at. Sure, a minor scuff or two, but from the looks of it, this unit is actu­ally quite clean. So, let’s get it apart and get […]Read More »
  • NEC PC-8201a Adventures – Part Two: Rebuilding the NiCad Battery Pack

    NEC PC-8201a Adventures – Part Two: Rebuilding the NiCad Battery Pack

    These were great bat­ter­ies, 40 years ago. This was a good task to start on. It’d been years since I’ve done any ser­i­ous elec­tron­ics work, and my pre­vi­ous Ardu­ino pro­ject, while suc­cess­ful, reminded me just how much I’d for­got­ten about elec­tron­ics over the years. And my skills had mostly van­ished too. So a nice easy pro­ject was […]Read More »
  • NEC PC-8201a Adventures — Part One: It’s here, now what?

    NEC PC-8201a Adventures — Part One: It’s here, now what?

    Back in the early-to-mid ’80s, per­son­al com­put­ing was find­ing it’s way. Desktop com­puters were becom­ing more vis­ible in smal­ler busi­nesses, but the work of com­put­ing still had to be done at the work­place. Port­able com­puters were really just shrunken down desktops — they were called lug­gables at the time. Then came the revolu­tion, as they say.  […]Read More »
  • Instructable: Arduino Keyboard Joystick Extender Box and Sound Controller Thing Using Deej

    Instructable: Arduino Keyboard Joystick Extender Box and Sound Controller Thing Using Deej

    Update Jan. 23, 2021: Looks like the Joy­stick cir­cuit has failed as it no longer toggles the Mute func­tion. Well, I wasn’t too happy with the ini­tial wir­ing job so this may be an oppor­tun­ity to update that. A while ago I developed an interest in Ardu­ino micro­con­trol­lers, and this is my first ‘actu­al’ pro­ject. […]Read More »
  • The Waiting Followers

    The Waiting Followers

    (Char­ac­ter sketch and back­ground for a Dave Gross Call of Cthul­hu cam­paign: Hor­ror on the Ori­ent Express, 2016) The club was lively; a typ­ic­al Thursday even­ing at our usu­al retreat in Birm­ing­ham. When our sched­ules per­mit­ted, we traveled north to escape the din and bluster of Lon­don as the week ended. Benny Peyton’s Jazz Kings […]Read More »
  • For 3d Printing, Levelling the Bed is Finicky

    For 3d Printing, Levelling the Bed is Finicky

    So a week or so ago I tweaked some­thing on my print­er. Maybe it was ini­tial lay­er height. Maybe I adjus­ted a bed screw. Not sure, but all of a sud­den my prints would­n’t stick to the bed prop­erly. Using the ‘paper drag’ meth­od of bed lev­el­ling ‘sort of’ worked. But it really was tri­al […]Read More »
  • 3d printing small board game accessories

    3d printing small board game accessories

    I’m really happy when I can com­bine two of my hob­bies. This time it’s Boardgam­ing and 3d Print­ing. Often, many games have tokens or chits that are pooled for play­ers to take at dif­fer­ent times dur­ing play.  Usu­ally, these sit in piles around the main game area. On Thingi­verse, swholmstead shared this neat design — which I […]Read More »
  • 3d Printing Terrain for tabletop games like Dungeons <span class=“amp”>&</span> Dragons

    Pretty cool what a little time, 3d Print­ing tech­no­logy, some cre­at­ive design work, and a spool of PLA will get you. I’ve been test­ing vari­ous dun­geon com­pon­ents to see how well they’ll work with our play style. And how good they’ll look once painted and fin­ished. The crates above have yet to be fin­ished. Usu­ally, I […]Read More »
  • Meco — Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk: Star Wars (HD Vinyl Recording) — YouTube

    Meco — Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk: Star Wars (HD Vinyl Recording) — YouTube

    Meco — Star Wars and Oth­er Galactic Funk: Star Wars (HD Vinyl Record­ing) — You­Tube.Read More »
  • Giorgio Moroder — Battlestar Galactica — YouTube

    Giorgio Moroder — Battlestar Galactica — YouTube

    Gior­gio Moroder — Battle­star Galactica — You­Tube.Read More »
  • 3d Printing some feet to display photos on my desktop

    3d Printing some feet to display photos on my desktop

    We had these ugly plate-stand style photo stands for some alu­min­um photo prints. Had that ‘wrought-iron’ look. Totally not suit­able for a very white shot of our dogs. 3d Print­ing to the res­cue. Then I found these simple ‘feet’ on Thingi­verse — a per­fect solu­tion. I prin­ted off one batch, but had a bit of a flash­ing […]Read More »
  • Friday: Lander

    Friday: Lander

    Stand­ard Lun­ar Lander — because it’s Fri­day.Read More »
  • What to do when you can’t connect to the Internet with Google Chrome?

    What to do when you can’t connect to the Internet with Google Chrome?

    Needed to reset the router. Did so, lost inter­net con­nec­tion while it was reboot­ing. Had Chrome open and refreshed my con­nec­tion. This neat little run­ning jump­ing game appears. It appears to just be a ‘no con­nec­tion’ screen… but press the space bar. And have fun!Read More »
  • Lazy Long Weekend Project

    Lazy Long Weekend Project

    About five years ago, we got a cute little R‑Pod 173T.  It’s a trail­er with a pop-out tent to extend the intern­al liv­ing area by about 36 sq. ft. Very cute and just the right size to be towed by our Santa Fe. A couple of years ago, my very patient wife sug­ges­ted we remove the sofa […]Read More »
  • More progress on painting Alien Frontiers Field Generators

    More progress on painting Alien Frontiers Field Generators

    Work in pro­gress, paint­ing Ali­en Fron­ti­ers game com­pon­ents.Read More »
  • Alien Frontiers — Colony paint complete

    Alien Frontiers — Colony paint complete

    Well, I fin­ished paint­ing the colony com­pon­ents. Look­ing at the pho­tos, they kinda look messy. Note to self, don’t rush, even if you have 40 of the little bug­gers to paint. Ah well, on the game board at nor­mal view­ing dis­tances they look ok. I did­n’t want to paint the ori­gin­als that came with the game so […]Read More »
  • Painting the components of Alien Frontiers

    Painting the components of Alien Frontiers

    Recently I’ve become aware of a trend to paint the often gar­ishly-col­oured mini­atures and game com­pon­ents you find in mod­ern board games. My first attempt was with Mice and Mys­tics, and now I’m work­ing on Ali­en Fron­ti­ers. This time, I decided to pro­to­type my  col­our schemes digit­ally. To do this, pho­to­graphed the com­pon­ents just after prim­ing, so […]Read More »
  • Ahh, the olde time computer days of Windows 3.1

    Ahh, the olde time computer days of Windows 3.1

    This week­end, the Inter­net Archive people, released a huge trove of Win­dows 3.1 applic­a­tions and games. Powered by a Javas­cript browser ver­sion of Dos­Box, these pro­grams load and run in any mod­ern browser. And there goes the week­end… Source: Soft­ware Lib­rary: Win­dows 3.x : Free Soft­ware : Down­load & Stream­ing : Inter­net ArchiveRead More »
  • Painting Mice and Mystics Miniatures — Part 2

    Painting Mice and Mystics Miniatures — Part 2

    Well, I’ve finally fin­ished them. I’ve learned a lot, and quite a bit has changed since I last painted minis (about 20 yrs). I think they turned out fine, and I’m look­ing for­ward to my next set… not sure what that will be yet. Maybe some­thing Star Wars. Here’s a gal­lery of the fin­ished Mice and Mys­tics set. […]Read More »