What retro computer activity did you get up to today?

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by adz, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    Testing a new arrival, Volo's Gamepad to PS/2 Adapter. This sits inline with your PS/2 keyboard, allowing you to plug in a range of old console controllers and send their inputs as keystrokes. I fired up Nesticle for starters, and it worked as advertised out of the box. There are options I haven't played with yet, like button re-assignment, and connecting to a modern PC via USB. It's like JoyToKey baked into a dongle. Cool!

    PXL_20210921_063417519.jpg PXL_20210921_063431984.jpg
    PXL_20210921_064413101.jpg upload_2021-9-21_18-1-8.png
     
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  2. badmofo

    badmofo Member

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    That's the coolest thing I've ever seen in my whole life - I'm getting one!
     
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  3. rugger

    rugger Member

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    One of the interesting items I grabbed a couple of years back is a USB to Mini-SNES/NES controller converter (or other Wii Joysticks)

    That lets me use the SNES/NES controllers from the MIni-NES/SNES on other systems.

    Maybe not as cool as the key mod there. That I pretty cool and I should get one.!
     
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  4. cdtoaster

    cdtoaster Member

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    i finished morrowind for the first time and bloodmoon for the second time a little while back, i don't care much for tribunal so i started a new game of new vegas. the last time i played it it was new and i got to the hoover dam but i wasn't happy with how everything had played out so i never quite finished it. i've already been vilified by the gunpowder gang right out of the gate so that's cool. after this the only real classic i feel i should play is deus ex, especially since i enjoyed the other entries in the series. i'm not totally sold on system shock 2.
     
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  5. hutts24

    hutts24 Member

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    I've been testing/cleaning floppy drives that I've been collecting. The coolest news is that I got a 5.25" floppy drive working with my P3 PC. It's a NEC FD1157C and it looks a lot like the one another OCAUer was using here: NEC PowerMate 1 Plus (APC-H2010F) 80286. I haven't used a drive like this since the early 1990s.

    The stepper motor still sounds fantastic and works smoothly. Looks like it was made to last forever, unlike the disks it was made for. The disk rotor is a different story. It doesn't sound so great and makes a whirring noise - a lot like a tie fighter from Star Wars. I had to change some jumper settings around to use high density and drive number. It looked like it had been configured for something other than IBM PC. I tested it with some disks that haven't been written to for 30 years. Amazing that they still work and all the data can be read from them!

    I've also gone through a bunch of 3.5" drives, mainly Sony brand. I've been focussing on them because I have interchangable front covers in black, silver and beige, and they seem to be the most reliable brand that I've found. Is it just me or is it that the Sony drives I am finding are newer? They all generally seem to still work, where as Panasonics I find are jammed up and need cleaning and relubrication. I have an Ergo brand 3.5" drive with a stepper motor that has seized up. I found another brand (Mitsumi?) where the stepper gear had slipped out of the support or whatever it's called, although that could have been from violent mistreatment.
     
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  6. FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    Going against good advice (not to open pandora's box) I've been opening 3 bombs, I mean Antec PSU's

    An Earthwatts 650W has a bulging cap, so has been retired. (on the pile for rugger if he wants it down the line)
    earthwatts 650.JPG
    It also has a slightly sus looking dot on the cap to the right in the red circle, but it might just be glue, Antec sure aren't shy when it comes to glue.

    A slightly newer Neo ECO 520W has a cap that COULD be bulging, or just weird, but I'm not sure. Has been put on the investigate pile:
    neo 1.JPG
    neo 2.JPG
    neo 3.JPG
    It just doesn't look quite as flat as all the other ones in the PSU.
    If everyone in the world didn't have endless problems with Antec PSU's, I'd be tempted to think this cap on the neo ECO was fine, but with people thinking it will explode and take out all of Australia with it, I'll get a second opinion.

    Last bomb tonight was a VPA500P 500W, it's the oldest of these 3 (These are part of my Newest of old PSU's) but no problems at all. So it'll go back into an XP PC at some point.

    I'm specifically on the newer side of Retro ATM because I'm making a nice AM2 XP build, and I don't want to fit it with a bomb.
     
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  7. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    Teapo caps can last quite well in this type of application. Where's the airflow in this model? From the top or the side?
     
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  8. FIREWIRE1394

    FIREWIRE1394 Member

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    120mm top in, rear exhaust.
     
  9. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    Yeah, it's close to the heat sink, but air flow will be good. I wouldn't worry about that cap unless you have indications of poor stability or regulation.
     
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  10. cdtoaster

    cdtoaster Member

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    I feel like I may have said this before but were Antec PSUs ever good? they used to have the best reputation on forums, people often recommended them as the only choice in the late 2000s. My experiences with them were always bad whether it was truepower, earth power etc. I had several units fail whereas I have 20-25yo generic PSUs that run and am still using 2 of the very first HX850s, one of which runs pretty much run 24/7.
     
  11. rugger

    rugger Member

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    I've had good success with Antec PSUs in the past. But yes, I've also had a couple of failures over the years due to their capacitor choice.

    I wouldn't say they are the best PSUs ever made, but they are otherwise OK once you replace the capacitors. It is relatively easy to find an Antec PSU with high 5V current ratings vs virtually any other brand name ATX PSU.

    With generics, you can't trust when it says 30-40A on the 5V, that it will actually be able to safely deliver that 5V rail when you need it.

    I also have a corsair VX450 and HX650 Psus, with the HX650 being in my main rig for more than 10 years without issue.
     
  12. BuuBox

    BuuBox Member

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    I picked up a Compaq B3800 laptop from eBay recently and have been playing around with it.

    The specs are typical for a fairly mundane circa 2004 Pentium M laptop, but it has two big things going for it: a 4:3 15" 1024x768 display and a 64MB ATI Mobility Radeon 9700.

    It was a bit of a gamble based on the as-is listing with no PSU (and a bit expensive at $70~) but what arrived was in surprisingly good condition. Just needed a Simple Green restoration job and it's looking great, other than the left plam rest.

    The battery has been replaced at some point, so it even holds charge lasting 1.5~ hours or so.

    I installed the first game that came to hand for some testing - here's some Star Trek: Elite Force II running very nicely. :D

    IMG20210920150852.jpg

    Used it as an opportunity to try a few things.

    First I tried out Snappy Driver Installer rather than hunting down Compaq drivers - it worked quite well, although the included ATI Mobility drivers didn't play nice. A handy tool to have if it's impossible to find drivers or if you're in a rush, but I prefer tracking down the originals.

    Luckily I found a mirror of the HP FTP which had the required drivers. It brought back memories (annoying ones!) of mobile versions of GeForce and Radeon drivers not having a generic driver set.

    I also used an ISO Mount 3 external HDD I got a few years ago, which mounts ISOs and pretends to be an optical drive. Handy for installing Windows XP with minimal fuss.

    It also gave me a chance to use a Echo Indigo IO PCMCIA sound card I bought recently (for the grand total of $5pp!) - it's not a gaming card, but still works well in Windows XP. The audio output is very clean with essentially no noise.

    IMG20210925103041.jpg

    IMG20210925103513.jpg

    Unfortunately the CMOS battery is flat and quite difficult to get to - I'll have to see if I can take the base partially off and pop it out. I really like the machine so want to avoid the coin cell leaking eventually! Anyway, a whole lot of retro fun for not a huge investment. :)
     
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  13. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    Nice. Similar spec to the Toshiba Tecra M3 I picked up last year. I think your GPU is a bit better (mine is a GeForce Go 6200). But it's still a very snappy XP system. These things are fun to play with.

    upload_2021-9-25_11-32-9.png

    Dig the sound card and ISO mount drive!
     
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  14. bYrd

    bYrd Member

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    I recently discovered Windows XP “integral edition”, a ahem recent distribution of XP from around the traps. Seems reputable and has the bare essentials to get running quickly Iike ISO mounting and installs of the annoying .NET releases in one swoop.

    On the Antec PSU let’s crack it open fad on OCAU, I pulled an Antec NEO 500 HE open and surprised to see nothing nasty looking inside. This thing must be 15+yo, was shoved in a G5 modded case for years. The caps all seem high quality
     
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  15. cdtoaster

    cdtoaster Member

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    That XP edition looks neat, with the computer not connected to the internet anyway there should be minimal risk. It's a few months out but after I move I plan on rebuilding my P4 3GHz to XP from Me so I will give it a shot on that. I could also try it on my s775 quad but the 3GHz feels more period correct. Might be time for a quad core windows 7 retro build even though it only seems like yesterday i was using it...
     
  16. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    See, I get curious about these things. Then I find a release, open the readme to see what it says, and it directs me to the website of the creators that made it.

    Website contains, amongst other things, videos about anti-mask wearing and Nazi Germany. And then I'm just left wondering what the fuck is in this thing, and do I trust it?

    It's a crying shame that retro computing is a landmine of viruses and malware. There was even discussion of Atari ST software on archive.org packed full of ye olde viruses.

    I think for me, just struggling getting things working in WINE is my best bet.

    I would go a step further and keep it disconnected from anything on your LAN, and if it has to hit the Internet for something, put it behind a whitelist proxy.

    I've wanted to make a RPi image that creates a secure network and NAS for retro computers for exactly this purpose. I just don't have the spare time.
     
  17. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    Yikes, I see what you mean. I guess my take on that is that even if someone has uh, interesting views, it doesn't necessarily extend that their software projects have malicious intent. On the flipside I'm sure the blackhat scene has its share of otherwise reasonable people! But reading that stuff does leave a bad taste in ones mouth, and makes me think about what I want to click.

    Now and then a vintage computing conversation on other sites will descend into opinions on the world, and I'll quickly exit stage left. I appreciate your sound card knowledge, PentiumNinja324, but I'd prefer not to imagine which flags are hanging in your front yard.

    Bringing it back around to retro network security, when I do get around to buying a NAS (a plan ten years in the making) I'll be considering something with dual NICs for easy network segregation.
     
  18. DonutKing

    DonutKing Member

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    This reminds me of something I saw on a popular Amiga forum years ago... Someone had imaged several hundred floppies from back in the day containing demos, artworks, music and so on from the days of BBS.

    Someone found child pornography on a couple of the disks and the whole lot was pulled. Rightfully so, but disappointing that a lot of the 'clean' content is probably lost now.
     
  19. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    The problem is that by and large persevering computing history is left to the pirates. In a bid to not get lawyered into oblivion these things get uploaded to the dodgiest of websites, and with that comes other unwanted side effects.

    Compare and contrast to folks like id Software. They willingly open source their old tools after a given number of releases, and let the community do as they want. They're still raking in the squillions, and a handful of retro old farts don't change that. But now the community gets safe and legal access to old stuff.

    The best you can get out of Microsoft right now is a source dump of MS-DOS 2:

    https://github.com/microsoft/MS-DOS

    Utterly useless for most people. Microsoft's own backwards compatibility with old games is terrible. What's the harm in providing free and legal downloads of old operating systems?

    Combine stupid copyright laws that continually get extended every few decades by companies who can't even figure out how to sell their old IP, and clueless lawyering for the sake of itself, and you end up in these ridiculous situations.
     
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  20. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    Are viruses not software? They just need freedom to spread their message of love and joy, Elvis. Besides, how do you create an authentic BBS experience without random virus action?
     
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