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Coleco Expansion Module 1

The Coleco Expansion Module 1 was a product that added Atari 2600 compatibility to the ColecoVision game console. The product immediately allowed Coleco to claim the ColecoVision had the largest software library of any game console. It is a famous but widely misunderstood product.

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IBM PC/AT 5170 hard drive types

The IBM PC/AT had a troubled history with hard drives. And if you’re using one today, even if it had one of the better hard drives in it, after 35-40 years it may not work. Here’s what you need to know about IBM 5170 hard drive types to substitute newer drives for it.

The IBM 5170 defined either 14 or 22 different hard drive types, depending on the BIOS revision. You’ll get best results if you choose something that can emulate one of the existing types.

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Atari 2600 emulator for the VIC-20

Rumored to exist! I first heard the rumor in 1996, and more than a quarter century later, it’s never turned up. But let’s talk about the Cardapter 1 and the Game Loader, a pair of vaporware Atari 2600 emulators for the VIC-20. The Cardapter 1 was  demonstrated in January 1983 under much secrecy, advertised a bit over the spring of 1983, but never appeared. The Game Loader is a bit more mysterious.

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Protecto Enterprizes: What is was and wasn’t

Protecto Enterprizes (not Protecto Enterprises), and Computer Direct, one of its divisions, are names that come up occasionally in retro circles. They were a company that advertised heavily in computer magazines in the mid-1980s, and their inventory is frequently interesting to retro computer collectors. But sometimes it’s a little unclear what this company was, and I think that was by design.

Protecto Enterprizes/Computer Direct was a computer mail order discounter based out of the Chicago area from 1979 to about 1995. They were not a manufacturer nor were they strictly a liquidator, though they did sell a lot of closeout inventory and private label products that made them look like they may have been more than just a distributor.

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DOS memory management on a 286

This month, YouTuber Casual Retro Gamer rebuilt a 286 clone from the late 1980s. After his restoration work was done, he did what any of us would have done. He started upgrading it, because a handsomely restored retro PC is less fun than a souped up handsomely restored retro PC. And that’s where he ran into the oddities of 286 memory optimization. When he was done, he had 585 kilobytes of conventional memory available, and he speculated that might not be quite enough. Here’s how to get more.

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