Retro computing with a touch of modern and the home for all things, retroCombs (aka Steven Combs).

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Latest Posts

  • MEGA65 User’s Guide Chapter 4 - Configuring Your MEGA65 - June 01, 2024

    Welcome back to another installment of the MEGA65 User Guide series! Today, we’re diving into Chapter 4: Configuring Your MEGA65. Buckle up, because we’re going to unlock the customization potential of your MEGA65 by exploring the configuration utility, SD card setup, and downloading files from the MEGA65 FileHost.

  • MEGA65 User’s Guide Chapter 3 - May 20, 2024

    Welcome to the retroCombs MEGA65 User’s Guide series. In this blog post and companion video, I continue our journey with Chapter 3 - Getting Started! We finally get hands-on with the MEGA65! We’ll explore the keyboard, learn basic operations, and I have a bonus not found in the manual, a fun BASIC program to showcase the MEGA65’s color and graphics capabilities. If you’ve not checked out chapters 1 and 2, please do that first before proceeding. It will help you better understand your MEGA65.

  • MEGA65 User’s Guide Chapter 2 - March 31, 2024

    Remember the anticipation of setting up your first Commodore computer; taking it out of the box, flipping through the manual, connecting those chunky power supplies, your first READY prompt on the screen wondering what you do next? You can relive those moments today with the MEGA65!

  • MEGA65 User’s Guide Chapter 1 - March 12, 2024

    Welcome to the first in a new series: The MEGA65 User’s Guide! I’m going to open up version 2 of the user’s guide, and together, we’re going to go through it chapter-by-chapter.

  • The DigiMuz for the Commodore Plus/4 and C16 - January 01, 2024

    Today, we’re diving into a lesser-known chapter of Commodore history: the DigiMuz sound expansion for the Commodore TED series of computers, the Commodore C16 and Plus/4. Get ready for a story of teenage tinkerers, forgotten prototypes, and the power of community to bring lost tech back to life.

  • Install the MEGA≡65 Emulator on the Clockwork uConsole - October 14, 2023

    In this post and companion video, I share how to install the XEMU MEGA≡65 emulator, xmega65, on the Clockwork uConsole to create an amazing on-the-go handheld MEGA≡65. We can use this hardware and emulator until the release of the official MEGA≡65 handheld, the MEGAphone.

  • The First Commodore Joystick: VIC-1311 - August 21, 2023

    Welcome to a tale woven with the threads of rivalry. A competition that unfolds in the early 1980s, vying for the allegiance of 8-bit gaming enthusiasts. But this contest doesn’t involve video consoles or computers. It’s a tale of a joystick that ignited a legal action by one of the manufacturer’s fiercest competitors. Our journey commences with none other than the $10 (in 1982 money) Commodore VIC-20 (1311) Joystick.

  • Raddy RF75A Review - July 19, 2023

    The Raddy RF75A is a high-quality portable handheld multi-band radio that is perfect for home, travel, and outdoors. The on-device controls and iOS or Android phone app make It is easy to use and it has a variety of features that make it a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable and affordable radio when you want to disconnect from your phone and enjoy all that analog airwaves have to offer.

  • Ten No Hack TheC64 Tips To Upgrade your Retro Computing Experience - June 17, 2023

    I scoured the official TheC64 series user’s manual (downloaded and sent to my Kindle Scribe / not the small user’s guide that comes with the unit - another bonus tip!) and found ten “non-hacky” tips you may not know about.

  • Collaborating to Create a MEGA65 Primer - April 23, 2023

    Several months ago, Gürçe Işıkyıldız and a MEGA65 developers reached out to me on Discord to ask if I had an interest in creating a rapid-fire MEGA65 primer. He had an outline in his head but hadn’t yet collected those thoughts into a single document. His goal, create a video that allows those new to the MEGA65, using hardware or emulation, to experience BASIC 65 on the MEGA65. He suggested we cram as much in as possible in 10 minutes. His audience was co-workers and family, but I knew it would appeal to a much larger group.

  • 10 Ways the NABU Surprised a Commodore Computer Enthusiast - April 08, 2023

    I’ve temporarily shifted my MEGA65 obsession to the newest retro-computing fad on the YouTubes, the NABU Personal Computer. I’ve shared my unboxing, first use, and a cable build. My experience with the device has been interesting and in this post, I want to share ten things about the NABU that surprises this Commodore computer fan. Let’s dig in.

  • Install C64 OS using the VICE Commodore Emulator - February 04, 2023

    You have C64 OS and you can’t wait to install and play with this new incredible operating system for the beloved Commodore 64. The only problems is, your C64 is kaput or has yet to arrive from that eBay seller who promised it you days ago. Never fear! You can install C64 OS on VICE for Windows or Mac and I’m going to show you how to get C64 OS up and running as quickly as possible.

  • Amazon Kindle Scribe for Retro Computing - January 07, 2023

    I’ve used a Kindle since the release of the first version in 2007. I enjoyed that early device and followed it with several other models over the years. My use waned because of the small screen of current models. It might be my older eyes, but I appreciate the larger iPad screens; however, iPad screens are difficult on the eyes and disturb the lovely account if I want to read in bed.

  • Upgrading my 1977 Commodore PET 2001-8 - December 03, 2022

    Followers know during Vintage Computer Festival Midwest 2022, I got a new to me Commodore PET. I will not rehash that memory, but if you want to relive it, check out my My Vintage Computer Festival Midwest 2022 Experience and Commodore PET Purchase post. In this post, I want to explore the question, should I (or you) upgrade a stock Commodore PET? Purist may answer, “No way, retroCombs” while modern enthusiasts might disagree. I intent to find out if the cost and additions are a good ROI.

  • 10 Best Holiday Gifts for Retro Computing Fans in 2022 - November 24, 2022

    It’s the 2022 holiday season and I’m going to help with your shopping by giving you a list of ten sure-fire purchases that will make your retro computing fan ecstatic Christmas morning. These are all items I used and featured on the channel or blog this past year. I guarantee each to be a hit for those gift recipients not on the naughty list. Speaking of lists, I include a comprehensive list of links in this post. Most of the suggestions are available from Amazon and I include both US and UK links (these are affiliate links) since my readers hail from both sides of the pond. Let’s get started!

  • Xanadu / BAS Demo for the MEGA65 from Syntax 2022 - November 19, 2022

    A couple of MEGA65 programmers, Gürçe and Deathy, reached out to ask for assistance. The two collaborated with the BAS demo group to participate in Syntax 2022 a “Demoparty” held in Melbourne Australia on November 11 and 12th. You can read more about this and past year’s events at the Syntax DemoParty web site.

  • Supercharge your DaVinci Resolve workflow with Paletro for Mac OS - November 05, 2022

    DaVinci Resolve is my goto video editing software but I’m often frustrated with the complex and expansive command set. There’s no denying, the cost is excellent (free or $300 for a lifetime licensed version) and there’s a huge base of users who share tips and tricks to make learning the software easier, like one of my favorites, MrAlexTech. But despite Alex’s fine presentation of tips and tricks, I always find myself asking, now where is that freeze frame command (or insert any other command)? But I’ve found my solution!

  • My MEGA65 Laptop - October 02, 2022

    I love my MEGA65 but it’s not a device you throw in your bag on your way out the front door. A portable MEGA65 is in the works but the design is a phone form factor and lacks a physical keyboard.

  • My Vintage Computer Festival Midwest 2022 Experience and Commodore PET Purchase - September 11, 2022

    This blog post serves as an outline for a companion video that highlights my experiences at the 2022 Vintage Computer Festival Midwest (VCFMW). This is not a word-for-word script but outline with additional supporting links. For the complete experience, watch the companion video.

  • Use a RGBLink TAO 1tiny to connect a USB Webcam to an ATEM Mini Extreme ISO (or any ATEM mini) - August 28, 2022

    During the COVID pandemic of 2020, online meetings took over my life and, in a search to find a good meeting presence, I accumulated an insane number of USB webcams. Cameras quickly became scare, and I tried everything from available $25 fixed focus cameras an eventual and brilliant $130 4K Logitech Brio.

  • Copy a MEGA65 .D81 disk image to a 3.5” floppy disk - August 19, 2022

    This short blog post is a supplement to a MEGA65 video I posted on 2022-08-19. The video shows how to update the Hibernated 1 The Director’s Cut 3.5” Floppy upon release of a new version that enhances game play or fixes bugs. It’s fine to load the .d81 disk image and play from the SD card on the MEGA65, but sometimes you need the floppy disk clicking to get that true retro computing experience on the MEGA65.

  • Hibernated 1: The Director’s Cut for MEGA65 - August 13, 2022

    During a 2022-08-07 live stream, I opened the first boxed software released for the MEGA65, PolyPlay’s Hibernated 1 - Director’s Cut by Stefan Vogt. To see what’s included in the box, watch the companion video below. After the livestream, it became apparent I should create a companion blog post that provides background and a follow-up livestream to provide an example of game play.

  • Run a MEGA65 on your Chromebook using Xemu - August 01, 2022

    In the post Run a MEGA65 on your Mac using Xemu, I show how to install the XEMU emulator for the MEGA65, xmega65, on a Mac. It’s time to stretch my operating system’s legs and install it on another popular system. No, I’m not installing on Windows but on an operating system that may surprise many; ChromeOS!

  • LIFEGOO Precision Screwdriver Set - July 10, 2022

    The friendly folks over at LIFEGOO, thanks Angus, sent over their Mini Electric Screwdriver, LIFEGOO Precision Screwdriver Set with 48 Magnetic Precision Bits & LED Light & Magnetic Mat, Cordless Electric Screwdriver Kit for Phone Watch Camera Laptop (62 In 1) that’s sold on Amazon. I previously took a look at the iFu precision power screwdriver and my guess is they saw that video and wanted me to take a stab at their version.

  • Master the MEGA65 Keyboard Addendum - July 01, 2022

    My Master the MEGA65 Keyboard created a lot of conversation. I knew during the creation of that content that I was going to miss, or mis-explain, concepts and I was ready for the comments and suggestions to roll in. The MEGA65 community didn’t let me down and in this blog post and companion video, I’ve captured the best additions to further our knowledge of the MEGA65 and continue to build a mastery of the keyboard.

  • Unboxing and First Use of the Retro Game TheA500 Mini - June 24, 2022

    On 2022-06-12, I fired up the ATEM mini Extreme Iso for an unboxing livestream of Retro Games’ TheA500 Mini. I was hesitant because my device arrived long after those on the other side of the pond, and more popular YouTubers in the United States received their regular and complimentary shipments. What could I add to the conversation? I asked my viewers, and they were vocal, stream it and we will join. I did, and we had a blast. We even had a few new folks join the chat and one even became a new member. Welcome, Neil!

  • Connect the MEGA65 to a Mac using the DSD USB to TTL Adapter - June 04, 2022

    A feature of the MEGA65 DevKit I miss with the production MEGA65 is the ability to “out-of-the-box” connect it to my Mac and use tools like M65 Connect or the command-line tools M65 or MEGA65_FTP. These tools allow me to manage the internal SD card on my MEGA65 DevKit with my Mac without removing the SD card from the MEGA65 and provide other “fascinating tools.” More on those tools later.

  • Master the MEGA65 Keyboard - May 28, 2022

    I love a good keyboard shortcut and consider myself a Mac shortcut connoisseur. One of the fun features of the MEGA65 is the keyboard; both the hardware and the functionality. In this blog post and companion video, I cover the keyboard layout, functions, and shortcuts you need to master the MEGA65 keyboard. Time to learn how to be a keyboard NINJA on the MEGA65.

  • Part III: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card - April 23, 2022

    This is the companion blog post for my 2022-04-03 live stream edit; Part III: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card. This is a short edit of a much longer live stream where I continue my look at the “b-side” of the MEGA65 onboarding SD card that includes a C64 disk image full of games and demos to run on the MEGA65 in Commodore 64 mode. We’ve run through the games and this video is all demos! Before the demos, I unbox a few items that will appear in future content and a gift from one of my producers.

  • An Update: The Submarine Tracking System conversion to BASIC 65 - March 28, 2022

    In my blog post, Converting a Commodore 128 Submarine Tracking System BASIC Program to the MEGA65, I show what the title suggests, converting a Commodore 128 BASIC V7 program, the Submarine Tracking System, found on page 116 of the C128 Programmer’s Reference Guide to MEGA65 BASIC which began it’s life on the unreleased Commodore 65 with BASIC 10. This blog post and companion video is a follow-up to that project. I have a bunch of information to share. Let’s get to it.

  • Part II: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card - March 19, 2022

    This is the companion blog post for my 2022-03-13 live stream edit; Part II: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card. This 29 minute video is an edit of a longer one hour and thirty-five minute live stream where I continue my look at the “b-side” of the MEGA65 onboarding SD card that includes a C64 disk image full of games and demos to run on the MEGA65 in Commodore 64 mode. Before the demos, I share a couple of recent retro-related purchases, or RRRPs, or triple R P!

  • Converting a Commodore 128 Submarine Tracking System BASIC Program to the MEGA65 - March 07, 2022

    In a past live stream, not currently available to view, I tried to convert a BASIC program from the Commodore 128 Programmer’s Reference Guide to use on the MEGA65. What I thought would be a line-by-line conversion caught me off guard, as I found there were significant differences between Commodore BASIC 7 (CBM 128) and Commodore BASIC 10 (CBM 65 / MEGA65).

  • Part I: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card - February 23, 2022

    This is the companion blog post for my 2022-02-23 live stream edit; Part I: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card. The 25 minute video is an edit of a longer one hour and fifteen minute live stream where I look at the “b-side” of the MEGA65 onboarding SD card that includes a C64 disk image full of games and demos to run on the MEGA65 in Commodore 64 mode. Before the demos, I discuss new books that adorn my retro-library, including one “the Lovely Accountant” gave me as a birthday gift.

  • Ten ways the MEGA65 is better than my M1 MacBook Pro - February 17, 2022

    Full disclosure, I use my M1 MacBook Pro daily, e.g. this blog post, and wouldn’t think about replacing it with any other computer (including the new MacBook Pro). It is the best computer I’ve ever owned. It’s fast, has great battery life, and plows through any task I throw at it. With that confession, this blog post is a fun exercise to keep the nostalgic 1980s rivalry between Commodore and Apple alive.

    [21]: [22]: mailto:retrocombs@icloud.com

  • Upgrade TheC64 and VIC20 to Firmware 1.6.1 - February 04, 2022

    TheC64 Mini, Maxi, and TheVIC20 received a new firmware version, 1.6.1 to start the new year. During a lengthy Sunday afternoon live stream, I updated both my TheC64 Mini and my TheVIC20 to see what was new. I opened the live stream with a “Vicky Twenty” motherboard unboxing. I’ll share more on this VIC-20 upgrade later in this post.

  • Commodore Plus/4 User’s Manual - Plus/4 Encyclopedia - January 28, 2022

    With the last regular Commodore Plus/4 User’s Guide chapters complete, we now focus on the last half of the manual. You read that correctly. Chapters 1 through 8 take the first 100 pages, and the Plus/4 Encyclopedia occupies another 183 pages of the user’s manual.

  • MEGA65 core and SD card testing live stream - January 03, 2022

    This page is the companion blog post to the live stream conducted on 2022-01-02. During that live stream, I install the latest .COR file on the MEGA65, look at the new and much speedier core (.COR) flasher, install the latest SD card files, download the latest .ROM, and review several sections of the onboarding SD card that will ship with the MEGA65.

  • MEGA65 Christmas Eve Livestream with Box Art and Onboarding SD Card Preview - December 26, 2021

    In this companion blog post to the edit of my Christmas Eve 2021 live stream, I celebrate the holiday and briefly lament about the MEGA65 delay; however, it becomes a great time as viewers share stories and I share previews of the recently released box art (suitable for cutting, which I do at the beginning of the video) and the onboarding SD card that will come with new MEGA65s. This edit includes new information and corrections.

  • Patch the Original Commodore 65 ROM for the MEGA65, Xemu, Dev Kit, or Nexys4 - December 17, 2021

    For those of us expecting our MEGA65 by Christmas, I have bad news. The MEGA65 is delayed until March! If, like me, you were on the short list to receive a MEGA65 before the end of 2020, looks like it will be the Easter bunny making the delivery instead of Santa. Here’s the official announcement from the Discord channel:

  • Adabox 020 Livestream with YoloBox Pro • LED Glasses - December 05, 2021

    Another Sunday, another ad hoc live stream. Today I setup a new YoloBox Pro, grabbed a package that has been on my desk since October, turned on the lights and cameras, hit the “go live” button, and began my unboxing and assembly of Adabox 020.

  • FinalGrom 99 for the TI-99/4A Livestream - November 24, 2021

    Out of nowhere, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and while preparing for my The FinalGROM 99 for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A video, I took my FinalGROM 99 experimentation online with a livestream to troubleshoot 32 Kb memory expansion module sidecar issues and play several Texas Instruments TI-99/4A games. This is the companion blog post for the edit which removes over 45 minutes.

  • The FinalGROM 99 for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A - November 23, 2021

    In a previous video and companion blog post I took a look at the FlashROM 99 for the Texas Instruments (TI) TI-99/4A. This modern cartridge, combined with a SD card, provides access up to 171 game and application cartridges. As I’m new to the world of the TI-99/4A, I purchased the FlashROM 99. I had compatibility concerns regarding a “Quality Improved (QI)” version of the TI-99/4A motherboard. After a view of the main screen, I determined that I do not have a QI board. This means my computer can use the FinalGROM 99.

  • Install the MEGA65 on a Nexys4 or A7 FPGA | Build your own MEGA65! - November 09, 2021

    The MEGA65 is AVAILABLE! That was the virtual shout during early October 2021. The first 400, of which I snagged one, will ship late December, while another batch of 1000 will ship during Q2 of next year. As of this writing, there are a few available. At around $850 USD, these pre-orders may be out of reach of some early adopters. If that’s the case, there are two ways you can begin your MEGA65 journey while production increases and costs decrease during the next couple of years.

  • Install a MEGA65 Bitstream on Nexys A7 FPGA: the Livestream - October 25, 2021

    Another Sunday, another livestream and instead of a TI-99/4A topic, I returned to a project that’s been on the back burner for a long time; installing the MEGA65 Bitstream on a Diligent Nexys4 field programmable gate array (FPGA). A MEGA65 livestream would do double duty and make supporter Mislav happy. He’s asked for new MEGA65 content for a while. Here ya go Mislav; this one’s for you.

  • Playing Texas Instruments TI-99/4A Video Games on a FlashROM99 - October 22, 2021

    After receiving and then creating a video/blog post about the FlashROM99 from The Brewing Academy, I went online to show how to play games from the device and experience, for the first time, these Texas Instruments TI-99/4A versions of popular 1980s video games.

  • The FlashROM 99 for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A - October 16, 2021

    I continue my Texas Instruments TI-99/4A journey with the newest hardware addition, the FlashROM 99 from The Brewing Academy. These devices promise to provide access to 171 (that’s an odd number, pun intended), TI-99/4A solid state cartridges on a single cartridge that uses an SD Card. In this blog post and companion video, I take a long look at the device and see if it lives up to its promise.

  • Livestream • Unboxing the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini - October 10, 2021

    I recently purchased the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini after seeing the device featured on many YouTube channels. The device promises to make camera management during livestreams easier and hold the potential to reduce edits on recorded video. In the past few weeks, I’ve hosted several livestreams and I am enjoying the impromptu conversations, interactions with followers, and the exclusion of the editing process. I enjoy editing and it is appropriate for much of the content I create; however, if this device can cut editing and make livestreams easier to manage, it will be worth the $300 price tag.

  • Texas Instruments TI-99/4A Accessories/Games Unboxing Livestream - October 03, 2021

    Followers know a new-to-me Texas Instruments (TI) TI-99/4A now adorns the shelves of my retro computing collection. It’s a long story; however, during the diatribe, I talk about the accessories I purchased. In this blog post and companion video, I share those items. There’s even a special surprise from Jamie, over at Jamie’s Hack Shack. Watch the livestream video below and continue reading to learn more.

  • IPEVO VZ-R Unboxing and Review - October 02, 2021

    I’m experimenting with livestreams on the channel. I like to prepare video, but when I live stream, I can relax, enjoy the live chat with followers, and not worry about editing afterward. Like the Ronco Rotisserie, I can “set it, and forget it.” My first couple of livestreams were not good. Not because of the content (well maybe!), but because of the webcam I used to capture my desktop.

  • My first TI 99/4A | A VCFMW 2021 Story - September 27, 2021

    This TI is a first for me and because of this, hang on. It’s going to be a long and informative post. My follower’s are aware I am a Commodore computer fan since my first computer, the Commodore VIC-20, and I’m closely following MEGA65 development; however, there was a strange disturbance in the force on 2021-09-11.

  • Disclosure Statement: When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to Amazon, the eBay Partner Network, and/or others.