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Gunstar

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Everything posted by Gunstar

  1. CURRENTLY IN THE PROCESS OF BEING REWRITTEN AS OF 12/6/21 WITH NEW REVEALS IN STORE. NOT COMPLETE . I RECOMMEND CHECKING BACK IN A COUPLE OF DAYS. This is my blog on all the upgrades, modifications and hacks that have turned a standard 800 into a machine that is still the original vision of Jay Miner's 'Colleen' 800 at heart, and still fully compatible, but includes advancements and upgrades that Atari and Jay never envisioned over 40 years ago. Not just internal upgrades, but port and case modifications too. And finally, a complete "restoration" as the computer case, as well as the cases of peripherals including the 410 and 810 all were badly UV damaged (retro-brite done twice with yellowing returning) and the brittle plastic has cracked or broken in places. Some of it as a direct result of all the handling and modifications, and accidents. This has been an on-going project for over 2 years. Started after the first retro-brite attempt. So body work and a completely new paint job have been done, including other system matching peripherals and controllers. But my 800's face lift and make-over are not to the original colors of the 800 line. I instead decided to redo the look of my 800 in homage to the ill-fated 'IBM "ATARI" PC' that I fell in love with the look at first site, when I first saw the image of it. Of course shape of the 800 case is the same, but the colors are taken from the mock-up IBM PC in the picture directly below this paragraph. I have made minor tweaks better to my liking and taken some liberties of my own and extrapolated across my entire 800 "system." Images of the completely repainted and redone ATARI 800CX and peripherals are at end of this blog, after detailing the upgrades and mods with specs and pictures first, because it's what is on the inside that counts, and looks are only skin deep. My new 800CX* includes: Incognito board features include: 4 slots for OS separate for Colleen and XL/XE mode 64k of FLASH for future GUI 2 slots for BASIC/CARTRIDGE build in, configurable PBI CF card storage (works as PBI in XL/XE mode, and through SDX driver in Colleen mode) build in FAT32 loader (SIDE) with both ATR and XEX file handling SpartaDosX onboard RTC 1MB Axlon compatible memory expansion for Colleen mode 64k/320k/576/1088k total memory available in XL/XE mode up to 52k of memory in Colleen mode (configurable) Pokeymax 3 features include: Quad Pokey Dual SID Dual PSG Four channel Covox, with Paula style DMA GTIA audio digital pass though SIO audio mixing PBI audio mixing May be updated/configured via software on Atari Larger 10M16 FPGA, leaving adequate resources for future enhancements Spare 5V safe IO for future enhancements Sophia 2 Feaures: 100% compatible GTIA replacement PAL/NTSC encoding Independent RGB/YPbPr/VGA and DVI outputs 480p/576p 3:2/5:4, 16 luminance levels for all Antic and GTIA graphic modes 8 selectable DVI graphic modes from 2 color to 18-bit color onscreen 1280x960 4:3 1280x1024 5:4 1344x960 14:10 1440x900 16:10 1536x960 16:10 1600x900 16:9 1704x960 16:9 15 loadable 18-bit color palettes PBI upgrade (DIY) Edge connector for a true XL/XE physically compatible PBI port Connects to PBI out on the Incognito board via ribbon cable internally Dual-PIA board (DIY) Features: Allows 4 extra controller ports ( 8 total in Colleen (800) mode and 6 total in XL/XE mode) Second PIA uses POT(paddle) pins 5 & 9 on the 4 new ports for PIA CA1&2 and/or CB1&2 signals for communication instead of analog controller signals from Pokey. Header for future expansion New controller ports will be external, via ribbon cables exiting underneath the 800 case to a dual-use 3D-printed Turbo Freezer/external controller port case. The Turbo Freezer 2011 connects to the PBI, ports will be beneath Turbo Freezer Custom A/V and SIO port boards (DIY) Stereo out headphone jack for Pokeymax audio out Second SIO port (both ports upgraded for HSIO upto ~126K vs 19.2K single speed Mono audio out RCA jack Composite out RCA jack S-video out mini-din jack DVI out for Sophia 2 Original internal RCA RF out re-purposed for Pokeymax 3 RCA digital audio out jack LED RGB internal lighting & keyboard lighting (DIY) Full rainbow of colors Multiple flashing and fading color cycle settings Choose a single color Brightness and dimmer adjustments Remote controlled SEE PICTURES AT END OF BLOG TO SEE LED LIGHTING Other minor upgrades and modifications (DIY) Complete recapping of motherboard and PSU board Pal conversion with PAL CPU board, Incognito and new PAL crystal on mobo All 74LS series IC's replaced with newer 74HC or 74F series Keyboard repairs External upgrades Fujinet 1.0 features: The #FujiNet device provides the following services: Device Description Notes C : (Cassette Drive) Loads CAS images. Under Development D : (Disk Drive) Load floppy disk images from onboard MicroSD or networked TNFS server. Supports ATR, ATX, and XEX formats. Currently Working R: (Modem) 850 Modem emulation, supports Type 1 Poll to load handler. Works with existing communications programs such as Ice-T, BobTerm, AMODEM, PLATOTERM, and BBS servers. Currently Working P: (Printer) Printer output saved to PDF files downloadable from the device. Available Printers: 820, 822, 825, 1020, 1025, 1027, 1029, Espon 80, Okimate 10, HTML for copy/paste, GRANTIC Screen Printer. Example 822 Printouts (PDF): Text & Graphics. Currently Working N: (Network) NEW networking device. #FujiNet configuration commands in place and working (WiFi, mounting, etc). TCP/UDP Currently working Other SIO2BT Bluetooth Connection. Apetime Real Time Clock (NTP). SAM Text To Speech as a printer, voice output from #FujiNet to Atari (Video with explanation, WAV File & SAM short video). MIDIMaze network gaming in progress (Video) Currently working Turbo Freezer 2011 Features: 1MB flash and 1MB battery backed RAM, both XL and XE adapter boards are equipped with a pass-through PBI connector (XE adapter also contains a cartridge slot) Freezer function: stop/resume a program at any time, save/load snapshots to/from TurboFreezer RAM / ramdisk / disk / tape. Built-in, enhanced, debugger. Stereo Pokey systems are now supported, too. Oldrunner mode: integrated OldOS 512k battery-backed ramdisk, 100% PORTB compatible CartrdigeEmulation: can use up to 960k flash and 384k RAM to run 8k, 16k and OSS carts. Supports new SDX (same banking as Ultimate1MB, up to 512k max.) plus "stacked" carts running from the CartEmu (so you can run SDX and MAC/65 from the TurboFreezer). Added AtariMax 8Mbit (1MB) compatible banking (up to 960kB) and new 8k + RAM banking (main 8k bank at $A000, optional 8k RAM bank at $8000). PBI adapter case includes 4 controller ports for use with Dual-PIA upgrade above The new look in homage to the 'IBM "ATARI" PC' Tragedy strikes! While carrying different case parts to the painting area for clear-coating I dropped the 800's hinged cover for expansion and cartridge ports! The hinges break in half and a chunk breaks off of the lower right corner of the cartridge door! Spot repairs ensue, first the hinge assembly is disassembled and then super glue is applied to hold pieces in place. Then J.B. Weld is liberally applied to the hinges and underside of the cartridge door for strength, leaving "welds" as-is for greater structural integrity. Then J.B. Weld is applied to the crack on the door front, and smoothed to hide the crack. It looked better before I painted, but it is acceptable for the time being and I will pursue getting a new cartridge door to replace this one. below are the broken pieces and then showing them repaired. The repaired door with paint applied will be shown below in the "finished" final reveal. System nearly complete. Still needed: paint touch-up, badges and name tags, raised letter on face plates detailed. close-up shots in final reveal. (FINAL PICTURES NOT YET PRESENT) _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ *Custom eXtended line. I spent a long time coming up with a new designation for my 800, since it is anything but a stock 800 anymore, inside and out. I finally decided on "CX" since there are so many new features one letter just doesn't cover it (beyond the X for eXtended line since now it is compatible with XL/XE's). I came up with the idea while giving my repainted CX85 and repainted self-designated 'CX35' mouse (see blog on modifying a TRS-80 Coco analog mouse to the Atari). Why not 'XC' staying in-line with XL and XE machines? Because "XC" would imply that it was part of the eXtended Line/eXtended line Enhanced computers, but the 800 was prior to the extended line and is only compatible due to upgrades, not an official extended line machine stock that was then customized. Also because it matches the "CX" designation of my keypad and mouse.
  2. I was right on the cusp; my first encounter was at age 13 and that was a once-a-week computer basics elective class I signed up for to get a half hour out of the regular math class. They were Bell & Howell branded Apple II+'s. In high school there were a couple Apple II's in the library and you could sign out software from the librarian for an hour after classes. It wasn't until I was 17, my senior year during the '85/86 school year that the school finally got about 20 computers and turned a class room into a computer lab. I took a Basic programming class the spring semester before I graduated. I already had my Atari 130XE I'd gotten the previous August. College was when I finally used computers regularly, both my Atari and terminals and Macs in different departments.
  3. I was a kid in the 70's and my family's first console was the Coleco Telstar knock-off of Atari Pong, and hard as I tried and persistent as I was I couldn't get my parents to buy me a console or computer. So I played the 2600, Intellivision, and Colecovision at different friend's houses. I even had a friend with an Odyssey 2. I actually got a computer before a console, with cash from my grandparents too, for my birthday. $100 dollars though. This was in '83 just before the big video game crash. I went to an electronics liquidation store, I forget the name and found a Timex/Sinclair 1000 and peripherals and programs in a bargain bin I rummaged through. I ended up getting the computer, 16K ram pack, and about a dozen programs that came to just under $100 with tax. I had a tape recorder at home to connect. That was my only computing and gaming machine until about 6 months later when my older brother brought home a 2600 that was on clearance, in the heart of the game crash. I quickly collected about 150 games out of bargain bins, mostly for a $1 each. Then in '85 I upgraded to an Atari 130XE I saved for with an after school job. I was a happy camper. Then about 87/88 (my late teens) I saw the 7800 for the first time in a Toys R US. I'd seen the commercials, but it didn't seem to have anything better or that I didn't already have for my Atari computer. But when I saw Commando and Ikari Warriors on the rack, I bought it directly. As they and Pole Position 2 never came to the Atari 8-bit line, I bought a 7800 to supplement my Atari computer games software library. I slowly collected the best of the best, especially games not on the A8, Xevious, Tower Toppler, Xenophobe, Ikari, Commando, Pole position 2 and a few others. Then I bought the last wave of 7800 games in the early 90's including Motorpsycho, Fatal Run, Ninja Golf and a few more. Always there, next to the 130XE until '95 when both went into storage after I bought an Atari Jaguar with my semester's college book money. I pulled them out and started going retro again in 2001, when I joined Atari Age and the rest is history...well, I sold the 7800 in late 2000's when I need money, along with more of my collection and then just got a 7800 PAL back this past summer and a Dragon cart. With all the new titles over the past 20 years and hacks making the games better, I'm having more fun now that back in the 80's.
  4. I only feel the need to reply to these last two responses: What NES controller are you referring too? Do you mean SNES (which I don't mind) as the only NES controller I know of has only 2 buttons, so a Joy2B+ should work fine, but there is also a reason for the "+" on the end of what was Joy2B; the "+" refers to more than two buttons possible. I did the mod on a Sega Genesis/Megadrive 3 button controller and all three buttons work if the game supports them, like the hacked version of Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator. Others have modified 6 button Sega controllers, IIRC. Yes, I have played the game, I purchased the Atari version to support The 8-bit Guy (who I am a subscriber too) even after seeing what it was like in his video. And I DO like this sort of game, but usually I much prefer them when they have smooth scrolling, the Atari version doesn't. Yes I know due to character based graphics most version don't, but that is why bit-map is better if the machine can handle it, the game was originally done on a PET which doesn't have anything but character graphics. That's fine for any 8-bits that are like that. And other versions changed because the computer could do bit-map graphics and have poor character modes. But even so, I am enjoying the game very much, but I just wish the graphics were better like other versions, which the Atari is perfectly capable of doing if the programmer is willing to go one better and not settle and willing to use more than 48K. Also, I did watch The 8-bit Guy's videos of Petscii Robots, not just the Atari one, but every single version that he has released a game for and some still being worked on. I know exactly how the programmers decided to do it on every version released. I saw them all and he also explains WHY (with visualizations) each version was done how it was done. So I know it could have been done better, the way some other versions were done. I would like to point out, as others have done in the past many times, in regards to games requiring more than 48K or even 64K, or in regions with NTSC vs. PAL and only one regional version exists (I think even you have used this "excuse" under the right circumstances in the past. I apologize if not you and I'm thinking of someone else) for those that only have stock machines: There is ALWAYS emulation. Though I can't stand emulation myself and only use Altirra for utility purposes with Rastaconverter. Also, most people that I am familiar with on AA 8-bit forums and others I frequent that own 800's also own another 64K or greater Atari XL/XE.
  5. All I said was MAYBE a VBXE port should be done. One very short sentence at the end that had nothing to do with the rest of my post. Take a reading comprehension course pal.
  6. -As PMG use, yeah, I forgot about the status area. As far as what David likes or doesn't, it's his game he can control and his purgative, but it doesn't mean he is right or knows what's best or what people would like best on the Atari version. -Again poor implementation based one's personal preference regarding artifacting, and not surprising since it wasn't ever used in your part of the world. And dropping 48K support for the stock 800 in this day and age effects a minority, especially since many 800 owners have an Incognito at this point. A poor choice by money grubbing software houses that held the Atari back from the quality of other brand 8-bit computer's games that had 64K as the lowest denominator instead of a 48K limit. It was stupid then and stupid now, at least two versions should be included then like with the original Mercenary 48/64K if 48K compatibility is felt so vital. Look at all the other home-brews and ports the last couple decades that finally ignored the 48K and even 64K barriers without much complaint from the community and generally praise that they avoided the 48k lowest common denominator as well as the use of extended memory. A poor excuse to me, every time. Even the C128 gets a special version instead of having to "settle" for the C64 version and they (for obvious memory constraints) told the C16 users to "stuff it" and upgrade to 64K to use the Plus/4 version instead of attempting a 16K version. There are probably more users out there with just 16K 400 and 600XL's than there are 800 users, and versions for them were also ignored. Again like with the C16 this is understandable with so little memory it just can't be pulled off reasonably well, but if all those users are ignored then what is a few more who only have 48K? And the Apple version even has a mimicked character version for those who might prefer it over a artifact color version. Someone is doing a TRS-80 Coco conversion using high-res bitmap 64K and artifact colors based off the Apple version right now, I guess I'll just have to buy that version when it's finished since I have a Coco now. -Obviously you haven't paid attention to the price of C64's (or most any vintage 8-bit these days) as I couldn't get a working C64 for less than twice the price of a VBXE. Then I'd need a disk drive too or other modern alternative at least. The VBXE is a MUCH cheaper solution. I was actually going to purchase a C64 a couple months ago as a second alternative to my Atari 8-bit monopoly in my home, but after seeing the outrageous prices, even for non-working and/or poor cosmetic ones I started looking at other vintage 8-bit micros and found a near-mint cosmetically and working TRS-80 Coco 2 for less than the cost of a VBXE! So the Coco is my Atari alternative instead of C64 due only to the ridiculous prices for a C64 that is anything but rare, but still people want as much or more for it as brands that sold a mere fraction of the units of a C64! -No, I don't prefer the Apple II character over the Atari character, but I'd rather have it and the bit-mapped graphics than Atari character mode and a slightly better looking character. An easy choice for me. -And now for my personal preference: I don't care about using an NES controller, I hate them. I'd rather be able to use one of my Joy2B+ enhanced joysticks if it's about keyboard vs. controller. -Albert or Petscii Robots? Again, it certainly comes down to personal preference and yes, being an artist and very much visually oriented color is always better, IMHO. And "game play" is a matter of preference too, personally, I'd much rather have smooth scrolling and consider the lack thereof a detriment to "game play." My idea of making all game play better all around. -Yes! it makes a difference, to me personally, if Tetris has color or not, color of course! And if I had to choose between buying a higher priced color version to a B/W version, I would. If such a circumstance existed.
  7. A great example of how the port of 'Attack of the Petscii Robots" for the Atari 8-bit should have been done (that is NOT in high-res character mode, but high-res bitmap, like the Apple II version, with NTSC artifacting and/or with P/M underlays-so PAL has color too). Maybe a VBXE version is in order at least?
  8. That wouldn't be until after Christmas as I'm in the middle of remodeling my house, hoping to finish by Christmas and atm my Atari's and other goodies are all disconnected and moved aside to make room for doing home improvements and also both my currently working Atari's are disassembled for mods and upgrades and I won't be able to finish them until after the remodeling is done and I have the time. But don't worry, I will eventually, I'd love to show off RC images on my CRT, especially with my 1200XL and it's beautiful video output. I actually have a Commodore 1084 CRT monitor set aside for use specifically with the 1200XL, but it's power supply needs repair, and 101 other repair and upgrade projects ahead of it...
  9. @Beeblebrox To bad the "Beab approved" isn't spelled with two e's, that would have been classic if you get my meaning... Looks good to me, as much as it can with screen refresh being too slow for the camera. I recently picked up a Sanyo CRT, 23" flat screen model with S-video that has a fantastic picture. Though it is mainly meant for my 2600/7800 and my Bally Astrocade (once I do a video mod to it). But it's too big for either of my desks (home & office) that my Atari 8-bits and TRS-80 Coco 2 reside. And really too big for bedroom or office, but I have it sitting under my projection screen in my man-cave room, angled up for better viewing since it's close to the floor to not get in the way of the projector image. I also got a 13/14" CRT recently, similar issue as with yours that it was stuck on AV1 and no way to change that at all without a remote. I had to order replacement remotes for both CRT's off eBay, each for less than $10, but the one for the 13/14" doesn't work, so I have to open it up and trouble-shoot. But at the time I wanted to get it changed to channel 3/4 to use my "new" TRS-80 Coco 2, with RF only output, but now I'm doing a video mod on the TRS-80, so the TV will work fine with it when done. As for using my 23" Sanyo CRT, it's NTSC and my 7800 is PAL, so I had to buy a PAL/NTSC converter box for it. I went out of my way for a PAL 7800 (and my LED TV's can handle it fine) so this is necessary if I want to use it on a CRT in the states. No intention of picking up an NTSC 7800...
  10. Diesel-punk Skullraider Scouts. 39 colors. GS_SkullraiderScouts.xex
  11. Yes, but clearly the machine in the converted art above, if it were real, isn't electrically heated, judging by the smoke stacks.
  12. Here's a Steampunk image that intrigues me, I love the subject matter and think it looks really cool, but it is also hilarious and I'm not sure if it's on purpose or not...think about it...wood or fossil fuel required for heat to produce steam? Under water? I hope that exhaust comes out at higher pressure than the water you are under...removing the Oxygen required for fire from the water are we? Deep Diver. 83 colors. DeepDiver.xex
  13. I got Super 3D plotter back in '85 when I got my first Atari, a 130XE and I never tried Solid States because S3DP was more advanced. He said he might do a 128K version for the 130XE in the manual at the end of it as he talked about the future. But unfortunately, IIRC, he also states that he would wait and see how well it sells,So it never happened and he moved on to the ST. That was the one problem with S3DP was it was limited to 48K to be compatible with the 800's. Even a 64K enhanced version would have been cool, just to make the cubed "world" a little bit bigger to create in. It was also limited to something like 256 lines and points or something like that (I'll have to dig out the manual and re-confirm this). Obviously that's a memory limit and not processor limit as Chroma CAD-3D, which uses expanded memory if you have it, can do a lot more triangles and layers ultimately allowing for far more vectors/polygons or whatever. It's been a while since I read CC3D's manuals too...I wanted to start using both, but have had too many other things going on to find the time yet to learn them (again in S3DP's case).
  14. @BeeblebroxI love IT crowd too! Another series that ended far too soon, like Hyperdrive. Rick and Morty too, can't get enough! And of course Futurama, my Avatar was of Bender with a caption for a long time. I did a Rasta conversion of it and used it! Sorry, I'll let you do a search through this thread for it...I became a big fan of Nick Frost from Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
  15. Are you my long lost twin separated at birth? Big Red Dwarf fan too. How do you feel about Hyperdrive? Another favorite of mine that has too few seasons and episodes though...
  16. I will get them both up and running, it's just finding the time, which for me is the winter season when my seasonal business slows down. I should have the 800 done soon though, as I already have a bit more free time, but not much. I'm remodeling and want to have it all done in time for Christmas though, so I doubt I'll get to any of my other machines until after Christmas. The 800 has the best stock video I've seen, as far as sharpness and clarity, but the chroma output is no better than the others at their modded best. I am hopeful the Sophia 2 will give me better color output from the GTIA, like my 1200XL does. The real test for me is if it produces true reds from the GTIA color palette like my 1200XL does, even if the color is richer, if the reds are still more brownish and orangish I will be disappointed no matter how good the rest of the video output looks.
  17. @Beeblebrox, from the palette you used apparently, the bird looks hot pink instead of red. Great colors, if your not trying to match the original. I know that's not possible for most as the stock A8 color palette seems to have terrible reds which are more brown or orange tinged, but it's actually not the palette that is poor, or the GTIA color ability, but the actual video output that does not produce the proper reds it should. I know because I did a video upgrade on my 1200xl which has a chroma saturation burst circuit in it, but of course Atari broke the video output by screwing up that circuit with the rest of the video circuit and then in the end they just completely cut off the chroma out and went with only a composite out, which skips the saturation circuit and just outputs video like all other Atari 8-bits, and of course they just dropped the saturation circuit in future machines. I did the Supervideo 2.1 upgrade which has a unique version that includes the original saturation boost circuit and properly utilizes it by fixing the rest of the video output. The creator, either Bob Wooley or Bob Puff, or maybe I'm thinking of Clearpic and is was a totally different person? It's been years now and I don't recall, I'd have to go back to the upgrade instructions. I always get the Bob's confused, but even that person suggested that others might add this additional circuit to Atari's without it. I am in the middle of a 7800 video upgrade and I am doing just that. But with this circuit working properly on my 1200XL I get true, vibrant reds and the saturation doesn't bleed and blur like just turning up the saturation on the monitor or TV does, but produces much richer color, like you get with RGB or VGA on other computers. There is slight color shadowing with some colors, but it's not over saturation or bleeding and not very noticeable unless you are looking for it. I wish I had my 1200XL working right now, but I don't. I plan to get it working when I have more time this winter. My 800 is also going through upgrades and a transformation that I will share and blog about when I'm done, it has the Sophia 2 in it which I have yet to see, so I don't know yet if it corrects the colors and gives true reds out of the Atari like my 1200XL does, and I haven't tried UAV or other upgrades to see if they produce truer reds either. But if they don't, I think anyone producing future video board upgrades should include the saturation burst circuit from the 1200XL too, it is a world of difference and a simple circuit with 3 transistors at the heart that can easily be added to any machine, even non-Atari machines. It is pure design genius for rich color through composite and S-video, approaching that of RGB and VGA. I've been preaching about it for years now, including in this thread and other video upgrade threads, but few other seem to take notice or agree, and it may be just because most with 1200XL's just chose to go with a different video upgrade like Clearpic from advice unfortunately from non-1200XL owners, as it is better, from what I have seen, than SV 2.1 without the saturation boost. A great improvement in clarity and sharpness, but does not improve the color as it it could, or they chose ready-made video boards. But this saturation circuit should be embraced and used by all; it makes Atari colors that much better, not just the reds. I have 2 1200XL's an 800 and an 800XL. My 800XL and other 1200XL have not yet had their video's upgraded and I think I will do the clearpic upgrade in 800XL, and get a UAV for the other 1200XL (not including the saturation circuit at least at first, don't know if it could even be added properly) and do a video comparing all my machines side-by-side with the 1200XL SV 2.1, Clearpic, UAV and Sophia 2 to show the difference in all four in their color output. The I will add the saturation boost circuit to the Clearpic video and UAV, if it can be compatible, and see how good they look with the circuit compared to the SV 2.1 upgrade side-by-side as well.
  18. I just figured out why the images are giving me false color numbers...a few weeks ago I got a new PC for my office/electronics lab (my old one is in my bedroom), and installed Rastaconverter on it, and apparently for some reason it's default picture save setting is on .jpg save instead of .png...I realized this because I looked at the pic information for the Agent of M.A.S.S. picture and it said thousands of colors too, and that's when I realized how it was saving my image pictures! I'll look into correcting that issue now. I've been spending more time in my office/lab the last couple of months as it's new too. I purchased an old 16' x 8' portable office trailer like construction companies use on job sites and moved all my electronics lab "area" out of my bedroom and into the office/lab trailer I have out by my business shop (I'm a contractor so I have an equipment shop) now, on my property. I saw it for sale for a mere $1000 ( I believe these trailer sell for $10 grand or more new), far less than I'd have spent adding an office/lab onto my shop and far easier than constructing one in my limited free time. And this one though probably a few decades old, is in fantastic condition, with heat/air/electric already installed. I just had to run a new line from my meter/breaker box. So I've been running Rasta conversion out there the last month or so.
  19. Here is one image I converted that so intrigued me, I came up with a sort of "short story" for it, done in the first person and as if it was a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book I used to love and collect as a kid, or a graphic text adventure using Rastaconverter images. Unfortunately, I somehow lost or deleted the .xex for it! It is a horizontally orient image, so it would have been side-ways on the Atari. It was to be entitled 'Agent of M.A.S.S.' But here is the pic and story at least. Maybe I'll make another attempt on it, but it took me dozens of attempts to get it this good... After years of surreptitious research and development, half a life's work, your hand-held proto-type mechanism is complete and passed all tests beyond even your expectation. But vast resources are needed to see your invention to full fruition. Resources you instinctively know are beyond the will of any company or government to grant or invest in, or to undertake such a goliath project far beyond their comprehension. Too massive for them to see the reality changing scope of it, which their closed minds full of political and commercial scheming for power, control, wealth and bottom lines don't allow. So through secret contacts from shady, but dependable sources, you meet somebody that knows somebody, and so on, and you finally are able to arranged a covert meeting with those who not only would believe, but could understand and fund your project. Those with limitless imagination and incredible knowledge beyond modern society's intellectual understanding and knowledge. And now the logic of the plan and the path you had to take, that seemed so clear to you, while sitting at your office desk just mere hours before, seems fantastical now. And your current circumstance even more so, images whirling in your head of all the whispers between strangers, decisions and actions and new knowledge that led to this moment, soaked to the bone, as an eerily strange storm caught you unprepared and ill dressed. Shivering, your vision blurred by water dripping into your eyes, you approach a lone figure in the rain holding an unusual looking umbrella. The man made sure there was no mistaking he was who you were looking for, and what he represented, with his unique attire from another age and his peculiar presence. If nothing else, the umbrella with a green glow of flickering light coming from the underside disintegrated any thoughts of normality. Full of animated displays of geometric shapes and what seem like numerical equations, graphs, maps, etc., vaguely familiar in pattern, though the form and figures completely alien to you, dance beneath the umbrella canopy, like half a dozen antique monochrome CRT monitor screens showing various graphic displays. Everything you had already learned about what this man was and what he represented flashed through your mind. You already knew the figure was your contact, the agent of M.A.S.S. (Ministry of Alchemy, Science and Supernatural). So clandestine a thing you had never heard of or imagined such, nor the rest of the world but a chosen few. None of which were the famous, wealthy or powerful elite of the world, too full of themselves thinking they were so enlightened and special, with their own secret societies with empty ritual and petty agendas in comparison. They meant absolutely nothing to The Firmament, mere rats scurrying to and fro. M.A.S.S. was first spoken to you by the first agent you met, in introduction, after hearing you speak the necessary dialogue to prove who you were. You did not know he was even an "agent" of any thing or any kind before he told you. But that agent was dressed in a three-piece suit claiming to be a wealthy philanthropist representing a large group of wealthy philanthropists, who through there own contacts had heard of you and your research, when that secret meeting was set up. You found it hard to believe they knew anything of you and your work since no one did, but you were desperate and wanted desperately to hear what they knew and what they had to say. Though the initials nor full name of the Ministry are ever even spoken except at introductions and rarely between it's own ranks. No plaque or letterhead, no name in a data base, no identification credentials or badges (at least visible to the naked eye), no sign in front of a towering fortress of glass and steel, nothing of the name to be seen in any form, anywhere, ever, even within. Referred to by the truly elite enlightened ranks as 'The Firmament.' A "foundation" of authority outside of and beyond any other known government, organization, military intelligence or secret society, and far, far older and magnitudes more powerful. But with little interest in any of these "earthly oriented" authorities, fleeting as they are compared to The Firmament, which has interests and focus far beyond the petty goals of control over the population of earth and desires of such "authorities." The Firmament's quest for power and knowledge was of a multi-universal scale and had been now for thousands of years. The Firmament was based on earth since the beginning and to this day. Firstly because the founders were human and, in the beginning, Earth-bound. Secondly, because it's all about location, location, location. Earth is an isolated, habitable planet at the outer end of an arm of the rim of the galaxy that is sparsely populated. But once in a while, a very long while, a unique individual among all the mundane of earth's un-enlightened and primitive "civilization" and societies catches their attention. You did...and like no one before. Though at this moment you had no idea that was the case, despite the wonderous gadget you held in your hand. You were only made privy to The Firmament and all your knowledge of it flashing through your mind right now, because if this agent decided, you and your knowledge of them could end here and now, or anytime they wish, so why not tell you as a recruiting enticement? Yet the face you looked at now was not what you expected of an agent from The Firmament, even though you didn't know what to expect, except judging by the first agent, who, if in a different black suit and tie with white shirt with hat and sunglasses, would have looked at home in the movie "Men in Black." but the face of the man before you bore an air of vast intelligence, wisdom and limitless curiosity, hidden behind unusual, round, thick rimmed and lensed eye glasses. Though his presence suggests a man not to be trifled with, as his out-stretched hand beckons to you in the rain to hand him the device. You have apprehensive second thoughts as you take in the peculiar magnitude of the man before you. You hesitate and think of retreat and escape, not from fear for yourself, but fear of the mechanism and that it will leave your possession, if even momentarily. This is not supposed to be an exchange, giving or relinquishing, but only a show of proof of invention and abilities, before you are escorted to The Firmament by your host agent for ritual acceptance among the ranks and orientation. But they know of you and your device now, and you highly doubt you could ever escape The Firmament now if you wanted too. But what wonders and knowledge await for you? Your life and future is about to change forever, the future of mankind will never be the same with your mechanism and your knowledge behind it in the possession of The Firmament. After what suddenly seems like an eternity of racing thoughts through your head, you focus back on the agent, with his outstretched hand. There was no indication from him that you were keeping him waiting, and your hand suddenly releases the mechanism from your clutches into his gloved hand. You hold your breath. He looks at the device, slowly turning his hand to see all sides of it better, for a mere few seconds, looks back up at you, expressionless, as he reaches his hand holding the device back out toward you, and you hold your hand out, half surprised, as he delicately places it back into your hand. The first words he speaks, his voice monotone, yet seeming unnaturally deep for the face it comes from, are "impressive, quite extraordinarily impressive, I never would have thought...Come, follow me." He gestures for you to follow and starts walking away from you without looking back. Apparently in total certainty that you will naturally follow him. You suddenly realize, standing there, drenched and shivering as you slip the mechanism into a your backpack, that it was not through your search that you found them, your search was completely futile. They have known of you all along, or at least since your first successful experiment and what had occurred. They revealed themselves to you in their own time. If you follow the mysterious figure, turn to page 42. If you run away turn to page 135. If you activate the device turn to page 90.
  20. Thanks, I was planning on posting a whole slew of Steampunk and Dieselpunk images at once. Maybe this will just be a forerunner...
  21. I've got a number of images I've been working on for the past month, but haven't been able to convert any of them to my standards yet. Well, I have this one that only has one green artifact line segment in it, so I'll go ahead and post it. I've no idea the color count in this one, as when I saved image below (not the .xex) it screwed up somehow and is telling me there are over 28,000 colors! Steampunk Dirigible. GS_SteampunkDirigible.xex
  22. I edited my post above while you responded @Beeblebrox
  23. What made you decide to pick 8192 resolutions? I ask because that is what I consider my "sweet spot" number of evals and the number I've used on every image I've converted for about the past 3 years! Also, it just so happens that 42 (pick exactly because it from HHGTTG) for the first couple dozen pictures I ever converted, before I realized how important more evaluations were hell, the default is set at one, so I thought 42 was pretty high at the time and hoped it would bring me luck. They weren't too bad of images though!
  24. SpartaDOS and MyDOS are capable of using it, and also I think a couple others like TopDos maybe? Anyway there is no reason it can't be the number one drive to boot from if you set it as the number one drive. Of course as the number one drive you couldn't boot regular 5.25" commercial floppies, you'd have to get ATR versions and write them to the 3.5" drive. I myself will probably not have it set as drive number 1 in my 1200XL because I have a lot of old and new games purchased on 5.25." But, yeah, it's just a matter of "because I can" for me and definitely something that isn't needed, I've got Fujinet and Atarimax MyIDE II with cards too. I just like to upgrade stuff for the heck of it, needed or not, because half the hobby for me is electronic tinkering that I have fun doing. Also because with media, whether for loading software, or with audio and video equipment I like to collect and have every format of media ever made to play with and then with audio/video any media format I may find in the wild I have a machine to play it on.
  25. I purchased a bare board for the 3.5" drive from Dropcheck a few years ago. I haven't had time yet to do anything with it (101 other projects ahead of it in the list). I intend to install mine inside my 1200XL, out the right side like an ST. 720K are good for me, since I have about 200 720K disks left over from when I owned an ST (as well as components I need I salvaged from an ST drive). But Dropcheck made more than one version/revision of the boards and I think I have one of the first. The board on the right is from the ST drive, which you need components from for my version of the Dropcheck board. It's missing a couple of things on the ST drive board, but I have them still.
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