Align a Commodore 1541 disk drive

Align a Commodore 1541 disk drive

This year I set out to put together a working C-64 setup. And it worked great for about a week. Then when I started trying to load a few disks I hadn’t touched since sometime in 1992, my disk drives started protesting. I went from having two working 1541 disk drives to zero, thanks to alignment issues. Here’s how to align a Commodore 1541 disk drive.

Aligning a Commodore 1541 requires an alignment program, an unprotected commercially produced disk that works (Commodore’s Test/Demo disk is ideal), a screw driver, some thread locker, and a Commodore 64. It helps to have moderate mechanical ability and better than average patience. The 1541 was notorious for disk alignment issues, but it’s possible to fix them.

Read more

Marx 994 locomotive

Marx 994 locomotive

The Marx 994 was Marx’s largest tin-bodied locomotive. It dates to 1952. It wasn’t made for very long, but thanks to its size, collectors still like the Marx 994 locomotive.

Marx released the 994 in 1950 to compete with Unique Art, a rival maker of tin toys who had entered the market in 1949. Unique’s trains were priced like Marx’s and ran on the same O gauge track but were slightly larger, which made them appear to be a better value. Marx countered by introducing its own line of trains in a similar size.

Read more

The Golden Circle and computers

The Golden Circle and computers

Why are there two standards for computers, and why do Apple computers enjoy a cult following while PCs seem bland and boring and offer nothing but a low price? I think Simon Sinek’s theory of the Golden Circle applies to computer marketing and provides a good explanation.

Apple marketing starts with why they build things, proceeds to how they build them, and ends with what they are. PC marketing generally emphasizes compatibility and price, which leaves you vulnerable to someone beating you on price, and doesn’t build a following.

Read more

Should I install updates on my computer?

Should I install updates on my computer?

I was talking with an insurance adjuster when he asked me what I do for a living. I explained that I help companies make sure they’re doing a good enough job of updating their computers. That visibly disturbed him. “So should I install updates on my computer or not?” he asked.

Security experts agree that installing updates on your computer is one of the top three things, if not the most important thing, you can do to protect your security and privacy. It’s also one of the easiest, and the most practical thing home users can do.

Read more

Pi1541 and fast load cartridges

Pi1541 and fast load cartridges

This spring I bought myself a couple of things: a Raspberry Pi, so I could build a Pi1541, and an Epyx Fast Load cartridge. I didn’t have a Pi1541 as a kid of course, and I didn’t have a fast load cartridge either, but I wanted to speed up my new Pi1541. Imagine my disappointment when my two new toys didn’t work together. Here’s how to make the Pi1541 and fast load cartridges play nice together.

By default, the mode the Pi1541 boots into isn’t compatible with fast load cartridges. You have to enable an option to load the file browser off a disk image called FB.D64, and then the two devices work together the way you probably intended.

Read more

What is Roku TV?

What is Roku TV?

What is Roku TV? It’s a smart TV with Roku hardware built in, so you don’t need a separate Roku box to stream. Should you buy one? It depends.

A Roku TV is a smart TV with the convenience of Roku hardware built in, making it a good all-in-one streaming solution. But the downside is it loses usefulness once the built-in hardware goes obsolete.

Read more

Atari PC1: The Atari IBM-compatible

Atari PC1: The Atari IBM-compatible

Atari made a line of PCs in the 1980s, which seems contradictory because it is. Atari was known for doing its own thing, not for copying the rest of the industry. In the context of the time, it’s possible to understand why Atari did it. But in hindsight, it’s easy to see why the Atari PC1 was a mistake and how it impacted the rest of the line.

Atari made several PCs, including the 8088-based PC1, PC2 and PC3; the 286-based PC4, the 386-based PC5. But their lack of expandability and difficulty competing on price limited their appeal.

Read more

Are laser printers good for home use?

Are laser printers good for home use?

Are laser printers good for home use? I recommend them. Their upfront cost is higher than a low-end inkjet but they tend to be more reliable and economical in the long term, especially on the extremes. If you print only occasionally, consider a laser. If a ream of paper lasts you about a week, consider a laser.

Laser printers tend to be very reliable, but not all of them are designed with service and repair in mind. But generally speaking, the cost of owning and operating a laser printer is lower than that of an inkjet.

Read more

Baseball card junk wax era

Baseball card junk wax era

The baseball card junk wax era refers to a period of time in the 1980s and 1990s when Topps and its competitors made far more cards than the market could absorb. Excruciatingly high demand prior to 1994 propped up prices somewhat, but prices did not recover after the 1994 baseball strike.

People argue about when the junk wax era started. It could be as early as 1981 but was certainly in full swing by 1987. The end was definite, in 1994, when players went on strike and Bud Selig, the acting commissioner of baseball, cancelled the World Series.

Read more

Epyx Fast Load mods

Epyx Fast Load mods

It’s not uncommon to find modified Epyx Fast Load cartridges. This cartridge was super popular in the 1980s, but there were generally one or two reasons to modify it by adding a button, a switch, or both to it. Both were common Epyx Fast Load mods to make the cartridge more useful.

Usually a switch on a Fast Load cartridge is intended to disable it, while a button is probably to reset the computer. Both were common modifications that tech-savvy owners made to save wear and tear on their computers.

Read more

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux