How to use a Commodore 64

How to use a Commodore 64

The Commodore 64 is rather unlike modern computers. It has a CPU and memory like a modern computer does, but the operating system and overall user experience is alien to someone used to computers that run Windows or Mac OS. So to modern eyes, it’s not completely obvious how to use a Commodore 64.

Commodore had a dominance of the market in the 1980s that would have made Apple jealous at any point in its history, but ultimately Commodore lost, so the Commodore 64’s bloodline is extinct.

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Commodore 64 operating system

Commodore 64 operating system

The Commodore 64 didn’t have an operating system in the traditional sense that we now think of one. It most certainly did have a method of interacting with the user and handling I/O, including disk files. But the way it all worked seems strange today. Here’s what made the native Commodore 64 operating system different, and the alternatives that surfaced during the 64’s long life.

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Al Pedrique: RBI Baseball mystery man

Al Pedrique: RBI Baseball mystery man

RBI Baseball was the first hugely popular baseball game to appear on the Nintendo NES. It featured real baseball teams who’d done well in 1986 and 1987 with actual player names, so kids could replay the 1986 and 1987 postseasons. It also featured two All-Star teams. The National League All Star team included a mystery man: Pedrique, a shortstop. His real life counterpart was Al Pedrique, who briefly played shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Today, if people remember Al Pedrique, it’s probably for his appearance in RBI Baseball.

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Thank you, Jerry Pournelle

Longtime computer columnist and science fiction author Jerry Pournelle died on Sept 8, 2017. I count Dr. Pournelle as one of my influences.

I was never a big sci-fi fan, so I’ve never read any of his novels. I really enjoyed his computer journalism, however. He was a tech curmudgeon, and he was blunt, but frequently that was what we needed, especially in those early years when computers didn’t work as well as they do today.

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Nintendo NES AC adapter replacement

If you misplaced the AC adapter/power supply that came with your Nintendo NES, or it broke, you may need a replacement Nintendo NES AC adapter. Fortunately, you have a number of options.

Most devices are super picky about electricity. Don’t use random AC adapters as a general practice. What I’m about to say applies to the original Nintendo NES console, and the original NES only. I have general advice on replacing AC adapters that applies to other devices.

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Commodore RAM expansion units

Commodore RAM expansion units

The 6502-family CPUs in Commodore 8-bit computers famously used 64K of RAM at a time. But in 1985, Commodore introduced a cartridge that added up to 512K of RAM to the 128. Commodore followed up soon after with a 256K cartridge for the 64. How did Commodore RAM expansion units work?

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