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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
In a previous Clockwork Pi DevTerm assembly video, I my LCD panel was broken and I had to hack the panel in order to get it working; however, Clockwork was quick to send out a replacement and during a 2022-05-01 livestream, I replaced my hacked up LCD screen with the new one.
DHL dropped a package on my doorstep in early April. Inside was the Dev Term A06. It was not a surprised, but it was kind that Clock Work Pi sent one for free. A huge thank you to Clockwork Pi, and to Alex, who arranged the shipment.
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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After recording an upcoming TI 99/4A video (stay tuned), I was chatting with supporter, Mislav and he asked when my next livestream would happen. I told him I had two handheld consoles on my desk, but wasn’t sure when I would have time to share them. My TI 99/4A recording was smooth, and I found time late on this Sunday afternoon.
During Labor Day 2021, I opened a YouTube Live stream to share an unboxing of the Adafruit AdaBox 019. The box arrived several weeks ago. I kept putting it aside as I worked on other content for the blog and YouTube channel; however, I had an inkling of what was inside the box and was eager to open it up and start playing with the contents.
In my last handheld gaming console post, I continue to describe my Amazon Prime day 2021 experience and the purchase of four retro handheld gaming consoles. The third handheld was the FateFan 500 handheld gaming console. In this video I look at the TRIMUI/Powkiddy A66. Spoiler alert: I LOVE THIS HANDHELD!!!
It’s time for another Wyze product first look. This time, it’s the Wyze Buds Pro. As a backer, I received an early pair of these new buds and, at the time of this writing, pre-orders are available for the next shipment. If you have questions about these new buds, this blog post and companion video can help as I unbox, setup, pair, and run the buds through a few use cases. At the end of the post, I’ll provide final thoughts. Let’s first dig in with my companion video.
As a MEGA65 Dev Kit owner, I’ve created several posts to share what’s coming when my favorite Commodore “what could have been” retro computer releases. I’m not going in depth about the MEGA65 in this post and companion video; instead, check out my new MEGA65 page. In this post, I will show you how to get started with the MEGA65, on your Apple Mac computer, while you wait for the hardware to arrive.
Before I begin, I want to send out a huge thank you to Gurce Isikyildiz for his assistance with these instructions. My first attempts to build these tools were unsuccessful. I posted a comment on the MEGA65 Discord channel about my struggles. Gurce responded; however, after several Discord interactions, it became apparent, I needed help (on many levels but in this case; help with Terminal commands). The
mega65-tools are meant to build on an Intel Mac, but not on a newer M1 Mac.
During Amazon Prime day 2021, the lure of handheld game consoles captured my attention. I use a RetroFlag RPi Case for handheld retro-gaming and enjoyed the process of assembly and configuration. You can see this process on my Install Super RetroPie on the Retroflag GPi Case blog post and companion video. It’s a great unit when paired with the Super RetroPie distribution.
Commodore computing fans will soon have a new device to add to their collection of retro-computers, the MEGA65. In this blog post and companion video, I look at what makes the MEGA65 special and then share items one through five of the ten cool things you will do with the MEGA65 that you can’t do with any other Commodore-inspired recreations such as The C64. Spoiler alert: I include a bonus item to tide you over until number 6 through 10 drop!
As readers and watchers know, I’m slowly adding to my collection of retro and modern retro-inspired collection of computers. With a focus on Commodore, my collection now has one working and three “for parts” VIC-20s, a Commodore Plus/4, The VIC20, The C64 mini, and a MEGA65 DevKit. In this blog post, and companion video, I share my recent eBay purchase addition; a Commodore 128.