American Flyer Trainorama backdrop

The question of backdrops, especially for a tinplate layout, is always a difficult question. Lots of commercial backdrops are available today, but modern backdrops often look more appropriate with scale models than with a traditional toy train layout. American Flyer’s Trainorama is a potential solution that works well with prewar and postwar style layouts.

The American Flyer Trainorama was a 3D backdrop, 9 feet long, lithographed on heavy cardstock by Niagra Litho Company. Its catalog number was 790 or 791, and it was only available in 1953. The packaging was a large paper envelope.

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What is the Up South

What is the Up South? Where is Up South? The phrase has its origins in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. During those decades, Black migrants were moving from southern states into midwestern cities, seeking jobs, education, and an exit from the Jim Crow south.

What they found was that the Jim Crow laws in midwestern cities like St. Louis were in effect. The housing and schools were segregated. Maybe there were fewer restrictions than in the deep south, but there were still restrictions on them.

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Update Windows third-party utilities semi-automatically

I used to have and recommend a tool for updating all your third party software on Windows machines. Unfortunately that tool went end of life several years ago. But Microsoft, of all people, has a tool that works suitably. Usage is similar to apt or yum on Linux. It’s called App Installer, and at the command line, it takes the form of the command winget.

App Installer is a free tool that updates what Windows Update won’t. That means open source apps, but also some third party apps, and even some difficult-to-update Microsoft apps, like the Visual C++ runtime. It is capable of updating more than 3,000 apps.
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Fixing my IBM 5170 motherboard

After years of searching, I was able to locate an untested IBM 5170 motherboard about 2 hours away. Being untested, of course I was taking my chances. But I was able to get it working. Here’s how I fixed my IBM 5170 motherboard so I could restore my IBM 5170 with a true-blue IBM board to replace the clone board in it.

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Resume downloads with wget

I was downloading from a very intermittent webserver and the download kept quitting less than 80% in. And if my timing wasn’t perfect, the web browser wouldn’t resume it. Then I thought to try to resume my downloads with wget.

wget is a command line tool for Linux, other Unix-like operating systems, and Windows. It is good for resuming downloads and automating other tedious tasks.

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Mississippi Nights, St. Louis

Mississippi Nights was a St. Louis nightclub that featured live music. It was open from 1979 to 2007.

Mississippi Nights stood at 914 1st Street, on Laclede’s Landing. Originally a country venue, it is primarily remembered as a rock club, particularly for hosting modern rock, both national and local acts.

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Will vintage American Flyer trains run on Lionel S gauge Fastrack?

I heard a good question the other day. Will vintage American Flyer trains run on Lionel S gauge Fastrack? Given that the trains and track were made by different companies more than half a century apart, it’s fair.

Lionel S gauge Fastrack is designed for both modern production American Flyer trains and vintage Gilbert American Flyer trains from the 1946 to 1967 period.

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