computer

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Mark Vergeer's picture

Reviewing items from the red (fragile) parcel from The Retro Computer Shack


I got a nice bright red 'Fragile' in the mail. It contained some things I ordered and actually quite a few extra items. It was sent to me by Ian Priddey the owner of Retro Computer Shack, he specializes in supplying high quality retro computer and console products, he also custom builds video leads. [Read more]

Bill Loguidice's picture

The real meaning of vintage when it comes to computers and videogames?

Inspired by a discussion on the Mid-Atlantic Retro Computing Hobbyists Yahoo! Group related to the recent VCF East 9.1 event and whether certain computing platforms should or should not be present at the museum location, I decided to offer up my thoughts on the often argued issue of what exactly constitutes "vintage" when it comes to computing hardware. Of course, me being me, I'll touch on videogame and mobile hardware as well.

It has been said that there's no one right answer for what constitutes "vintage," as it's naturally a constantly expanding target due to the simple passage of time. While this is true in the absolute sense, it doesn't mean that we as a community can't create an effective dividing line, no matter how much time passes, particularly once we introduce the concept of "intrinsic value" being tied to "vintage." For instance, I think we can all pretty much agree that generic PC DOS and Windows systems past a certain vintage - say mid-1980s - are generally out, which covers nearly all of the countless PC clones that continue to get produced to this day. It's not that some of these don't meet the basic criteria necessarily, it's that there's nothing notable about these boxes that anyone and everyone, be it a company or individual, could, did, and still do put together. It's even arguable that some of the parts - particularly certain expansion cards, like for video or sound - are worth more than the sum of the box, which is pretty telling for how we should generally value them in our determination of what is "vintage" and worth preserving and appreciating. [read more]

Bill Loguidice's picture

Vintage Computer Festival East 9.1 - April 4-6, 2014 - InfoAge Science Center, Wall, New Jersey

Vintage Computer Festival (VCF) East is a hands-on, family-friendly celebration of computer history. Activities include a book sale, classes, consignment sale, exhibit hall, food, lectures, museum tours, prizes, vendors, workshops, and more. Why "9.1"? 9.0 was skipped in 2013 due to damage from Hurricane Sandy. VCF East takes place April 4-6, 2014, at the InfoAge Science Center in Wall, New Jersey. This is the first time the event will take place over three days. For full details, check out the attached PDF flyer or visit the Website. Personally, I'll likely only be able to make it for the Saturday event, but all three days are definitely worth checking out. Let us know if you're going!

Bill Loguidice's picture

How do you play videogames today?

NVIDIA ShieldNVIDIA ShieldConsidering the amazing number of devices most of us have access to these days, including smartphones, tablets, consoles, set top boxes, and computers, I'd be curious to know how everyone goes about playing. Do you stick to a handful of devices (and if so, which ones) or do you like to sample from everything that you own? What if you're like me and also have a collection of vintage platforms to choose from as well? There's a point where you have "option paralysis," of course, where you have so many gaming options to choose from that you tend not to play much of anything. Have you reached that point?

As for me, I find my habits fluctuate greatly. One week I might be on a vintage platform kick, while another I might exclusively game on my tablet or PC, while another still I might pick a recent console. Other times I want to play multiple things on multiple systems and end up not being able to choose or be limited by real world demands on my time (or energy), despite my enthusiasm otherwise. I suspect this will get worse as the two latest consoles get released this November and interest in the previous generation of systems wanes and we have to start making decisions about what to do with these now "legacy" consoles. Of course, that's to say nothing of things like low cost Android devices and even the upcoming "Steam Box," which will add further options (and confusion) to the mix. All these choices are truly both exciting and overwhelming.

So, what's YOUR plan of action?

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Boulderdash (IBM-PC/MS-DOS)(CGA)(1984)


Boulderdash by First Star Software originated on the Atari-8-bit computer line, hopped over to the C64 and was actually released on a whole myriad of other platforms including the old IBM-PC. It came on 5.25" floppy disks and it is a selfbooting disk - with a modified version of MS-DOS on it that directly boots into the game.

Check out the game and see how I play until the first game over.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... Tubular Worlds (PC / MS-DOS / Amiga / 1994)


I was going to play the Amiga game but that kept on crashing on me so I chose to do the PC version instead which is very similar if not identical.
A great R-type/Nemesis/Gradius like shoot'm up for PC and Amiga systems. Very nice smooth scrolling and a wonderful use of the 256 colours of the VGA palette. It spreads around 4 levels (worlds), has a nice weapons upgrade system comparable to that of Konami and Compile shooters. Nice soundtrack and great sound FX using the wonderful Sounblaster and FM synthesis. A two player mode is optional but I was unable to show you that as I didn't have a second player available to me. The game is controlled through either mouse, joystick or keyboard

Mark Vergeer's picture

Mark Plays... 'Left' cartridges on the Atari 800XL (50 minute extravaganza)


Ever since I got my Atari 800XL I've been slowly expanding on my 'LEFT cartridges' containing all sorts of arcade ports. It's a bit of a weak spot of mine to try to get all sorts of classic arcade ports on various machines I own. The Atari 8bit line is no exception. I play each cartridge until the 1st game over and this results in about 50 minutes of video. Hope you guys enjoy this one as well.

http://atariage.com/
http://oldcomputers.net/atari800.html
http://www.atariarchives.org/
http://atarihq.com
http://www.atarimania.com/index.html

I must say I just ordered a good microphone on Amazon.de, so things may be looking up on this end sound-wise.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Windows 8 - issues resolved?

Windows 8 you either hate or love it, it's hard to somehow be in between. I've discovered it works great on a media center PC as well as a tablet but it just won't work well on a desktop PC or a Laptop/Notebook where you are using various programs in a multi tasking environment. On a productive system the Metro (I somehow keep calling it Metroid in the video :P ) interface keeps getting in the way.

I found a solution. Read more below.

Mark Vergeer's picture

Replay 2012 'the weekend' / the expo

Replay Expo 2012 - a gaming event that was held at 'Event City' close to the Trafford centre in Manchester (UK).

This video tries to capture how we experienced 'the Manchester Replay 2012-experience' which was the weekend the wife and I spent in the company of Andy, Erwin, Mark, Sophie and Denver!

Please check out the 'Replay 2012 Pinballs' video that focuses on the magnificent Pinball machines that were on display ready to play!

The video ends with my 'pickups' :)

Enjoy!
Cheers, Mark

NOTICE:
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Bill Loguidice's picture

Some Truly Miscellaneous Collection Photos (PC, MPT-03, C-64, Atari 2600, Mac, Vic-20, Stonekeep)

Woot! recently had a deal on an 8GB Eye-Fi memory card that I took advantage of for the express purpose of no-brainer automatic photo uploads from my digital camera directly to my Flickr account, which I thought would provide a smoother and higher quality workflow than using my iPhone 4. As such, I set the Eye-Fi up last night and took some very casual photos. While the transfer process really didn't go well (I'll need to experiment a bit more), transferring only two photos correctly and requiring me to manually transfer the rest, the end result was still some photos of recent items in my collection that also happened to be in my staging area, which I decided to share below with some minor commentary so the initial work wouldn't be totally wasted. Enjoy:

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