It happens on all old computers, and even some not-so-old computers. The rubber pads that sit on the bottom of Commodore 64s to protect the desk surface and keep it from sliding around can fall off, liquify, or otherwise go missing. But even though the last ever C-64 was built sometime in early 1994, you can still get Commodore 64 replacement rubber feet. Here’s how.
I wanted a mouse for my IBM 5170 and my 386DX-33 systems, but both of them need a serial mouse. I mean old school RS-232 serial, not USB. Finding a serial optical mouse isn’t easy. Plus I wanted something that would look the part. I got an early 90s Microsoft mouse that matches the end of the 286/386 era, but it worked badly. So I had to learn again how to refurbish a vintage ball mouse.
The IBM 5170 PC/AT is a very popular retro PC, for several reasons. It was the last of the open architecture IBM PCs. And from 1984 to about mid-1987, it was the fastest and most expensive IBM PC. It wasn’t the fastest PC in its category. Compaq took care of that. But if you wanted true blue IBM, this was the machine. It was also controversial, both in its heyday and even today. Let’s talk about why.
In the summer of 2021, Youtuber Adrian Black was restoring an IBM 5170. And he lamented that he wasn’t able to get all of the original parts working together and have a machine that would do what he wanted. It wasn’t a pure IBM 5170 anymore. One of the things he did was put a Phoenix BIOS in it, which received mixed reactions. But that brought to mind another option someone who needed to soup up a 5170 in the late 80s could have used: MR BIOS. What was MR BIOS?
FTP is a useful way to get files to your retro PCs once you put them on your network. You can use a GUI FTP client, but command line FTP isn’t hard and doesn’t require you to install anything additional. Here’s how to use command line FTP.
Both the Atari 7800 and NES were third generation game consoles, and they competed directly with one another. Furthermore, they shared a common influence. So the Atari 7800 vs NES is a natural comparison. But one was much more successful than the other. Here’s why.
Commodore (in)famously owned its own chip manufacturer, MOS Technology, later known as Commodore Semiconductor Group. MOS was pivotal to helping Commodore keep prices low in the early 1980s, as it lowered Commodore’s overhead, and ensured a steady supply of chips. In 1983 and 1984, MOS produced 74LS logic chips. These chips are very failure prone. Here’s how to find MOS 74LS logic chips, and more importantly, what to replace them with.
Vintage computer games and vintage toys display better in their original boxes. But frequently those boxes are in less than ideal condition, especially if you got it at a good price. A pristine box can be worth more than the contents. I recently lucked into a couple of vintage Commodore game cartridge boxes. Their best days were behind them, but I was able to make them presentable again. Here’s my approach to game box repair.
I fixed up quite a few battered books in my day to make them more suitable for resale. The tricks I learned fixing books helped me with fixing game boxes and toy boxes as well.
I saw an interesting perspective this week on the hobby of collecting retro games, from another retro enthusiast. Prices on retro games, he observes, are increasing. That’s making him ask a tough question: Is collecting retro games worth it?
Any hobby seems like a waste of time to the right (or wrong) person. If a hobby, such as collecting retro games, helps you to unwind and get focused, and you can get some of your money back out of it as you lose interest or approach end of life, then I have to argue that hobby is worth it.