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Everything posted by John_L

  1. I think Mr Dave is on the right track. In particular, remove the VDG chip (MC6847) near the RF modulator, and check the RF modulator solder connections for a cracked connection, something like that can be fixed pretty easily by simply reflowing the solder on any cold (cracked) joints.
  2. Yeah, I noticed the label looked a bit funky... like it was blacked out. Not like Model IIIs are even a thing anymore, and oddly, why dig up a vintage computer, that, honestly, worked great with Epson printers back in the day, but I don't think modern Epsons will even connect to a Model III because you need a Centronics or 5 pin din serial port to connect a Model III...
  3. Honestly, no, it doesn't need the fan, at least if you're installing original equipment. Once you start installing 3rd party hardware, or useless things never designed in (like a power LED for example), then you're off into territory that was never tested by Tandy when the product was designed. So, a stock Tandy upgrade on a coco3 doesn't require the fan. Ironically, the addition of a fan may put enough extra strain on the power supply such that the unit will generate enough heat such that... it would require a fan... so, I wouldn't add one to be honest.
  4. Heh, his name is Shaquille O'Neal, or just "Shaq" is good enough and anyone would know who you're referring to, and his claim to fame is basketball, but he's done much more, musician, actor, and his doctoral degree in education from Barry University. He's also done a ton of product endorsements, including the recent one that has a Radio Shack Model III in the ad. It looks like a diskless workstation perhaps, or a Model III with no drives.... pretty rare as most had at least 1 drive.
  5. You could probably talk me out of my left arm easier than you could my CoCoSDC.... I also have CoCoVGA, and will have a GIME-X the minute it's released.
  6. If you change the poke to &HFF22 to &H70 you'll get inverted (light text on dark) instead of light background with dark text.
  7. This is an standard feature built into the VDG chip. It's an alternate color set. The original VDG supported Green background with (dark green) letters, or the inverse, dark green background with green letters. Basic supports switching this mode with the SCREEN command. SCREEN 0,0 is Green/Black SCREEN 0,1 is Orange/Black. Your poke allows for the inverse to be enabled and makes it permanent until reset as you stated. This is nice if you have a coco 1/2, if you have a coco 3, you have palette control. For example, if you have a coco 3, you can use PALETTE 12,63:PALETTE 13,0 to get black background with white characters, which is extremely nice. You also have 40 and 80 column modes that can change to any foreground or background color out of the 64 colors. For CoCo 1/2, you also have the option of CoCoVGA (CoCoVGA.com) for much improved graphics, a 64 column mode, and 16 color VGA mode (128x96), palette control and 512 color set total. However, as far as color sets go, the stock coco can do the greeen/black or orange/black, or their inverses, and that's it.
  8. So, what benefit do you gain by "stealing" the name of a pre-existing game. The only thing something like that tells me is that you are too lazy to come up with a unique name, and/or wish to confuse people as to what game it actually is.
  9. Yeah, I kinda jumped the gun, right after posting, I grabbed a spudger from my phone repair kit and was able to get into it after a bit of tinkering. I just wanted to get in, I need to get the soldering iron, solder, wires, etc to do this. I wouldn't expect too many people will be tinkering with it to improve gameplay as it's more a novelty than a game expected to be all that playable.
  10. I took the battery cover off, removed the screws, but not sure how to proceed. I want to get it apart without breaking it so I can re3assemble it at some point. Are there just plastic clips holding it in at that point. I have Galaxian, Space Invaders and Pacman.
  11. You guys are giving more credit to Apollo computers than you should. A 4 function calculator has more raw computing power than the AGC had. The AGC had more code, but in terms of computing capability. A 99 cent 4 function calculator out performs the Apollo AGC.
  12. Yeah, well, you have to remember, businesses are in the business of making money, so if something is doing the job, why replace it? That's why it's possible to this day to find ancient systems still in use. Honestly, if you're not doing heavy lifting like multimedia, then most systems made back in the 80's can often still perform the task just as well as a new system.
  13. I remember the system. There was a short lived CD-ROM based "information system" which was billed as "the computer for people who don't own a computer". It would give you access to games and applications via CD-ROM. Philips and Commodore both had similar "VIS" (which was a proposed standard) systems, I think panasonic did too. They never went anywhere and died of pretty quickly. They ran a specialized version of Windows 3.1, and at the time, MS thought they were going to be running windows on a slew of non-computer type things like this. The powers that be made a huge mis-calculation on this system. I was about $700 bucks at a time when low end PCs ran about $1100, and the idea was people who balked at paying over $1000 for a real PC would plunk down $700 for this POS, and they never did. The industry is constantly looking for a way to sell something cheaper, or go a different direction than the norm in the hopes of being an early adopter of a technology that just might take off. Problem is, to meet cost concerns, the systems ( by all the manufacturers who backed the VIS standard ), were low low low end systems that were woefully slow. I think the problem was that during that time period, there were (and still are), some people who have nothing to do with computers. This bothered the people who could see the everyone could benefit from a computer, and they thought they just needed to find the right product to market to people. Also, this was during that 6-8 year time period from the late 80's into the early 90's (before the interwebs) when CD-ROMs were considered the wave of the future because large amounts of data (audio, video, animation, text, etc) could be delivered that way. The internet took a good while, about 20 years, to pretty much snuff out CD-ROMS, but these days, the internet provides everything the CD-ROM promised plus much more.
  14. Hands down NEWDOS 80 was the best OS, LDOS wasn't bad either, but NEWDOS 80 was more powerful.
  15. It's a tearing issue, still happens today on modern computers. It's when the video offset switches in the middle of raster, not much you can do about it.
  16. Yeah, but if you connect an PS4 to a 2600 (let's say you could), then it's not a 2600 anymore, it just has more modern hardware hacked onto it. I think the spirit of stretching the capabilities of the 2600 would be to work within the bounds of the unit itself (which isn't much), plus any additional ram and rom you could fudge into a cartridge. I suppose it depends on what constraints you willing to live with. Personally, I'm impressed with what can be done with just the unit and a cartridge. Additional hardware beyond that means it's not a 2600 anymore, but rather a 2600 is involved. The whole point is to stretch the capability of what you have to work with, not add additional modern hardware to it. The tiger vision method of extending both ram and rom was an impressive trick considering there's no chip select line to enable writing to the ram, and the trick to make it happen IS impressive (or was at the time). The original system allowed for 2k or 4k rom and that's it. What can be done with that is impressive. If you extend rom/ram using the tiger vision system, which could be done back in the day, it opens up a lot more ram and rom to work with.
  17. The 2600 was the epitome of a "dumb" machine. There's no firmware, no ram to speak of beyond 128 bytes for a stack and some data, a "video" chip that you had to code on the fly while you wrote your other code. In other words, it's mostly just a CPU in a box, so if you wanted to program it to control your washing machine, you could get it to do it. Although to realistically answer the question is a resounding "yes". Excluding today's modern systems for cart emulation, I think the best example would be the system tiger vision came up with that allowed up to 512k of whatever ram/rom configuration you wanted in 256 2k banks. Pretty neat trick since the machine was lacking a chip select so that you could write to RAM, but even that limitation was overcome by misusing the system in a way never intended which resulted into tricking the system into writing to RAM on a cartridge. I don't think the tiger vision system was ever used in the early days beyond an 8k configuration, but I believe some modern setups allow for that. Preprocessing video and trying to pipe it to an atari is a lost cause as it doesn't have a frame buffer like every other system around, plus, that's too much cheating as far as I'm concerned. The idea is to come up with a cart that you can make pretty cheaply that gives you that extra power, but retains the internal CPU as the controlling element, just extending the crap out of memory by massive bank switching due to the 8K addressing range of the 6507. The fact that the 2600 lacked so much is part of the reason why it is so extensible, because you can make up for a lot in software. One of the reasons the system was in production for 14 years, and, to this day remains the longest running manufacturing run of any video game system.
  18. I worked for Radio Shack on a couple of occasions in the early 80's and again in the mid 90's, and their big selling point was that when you bought their brand, they serviced it if it needed it, freeing you from paying for, and shipping the product yourself to get serviced. You'd simply run it down the street, drop it off, then pick it up when it was ready. On top of that, they were an early, and one of the biggest players in the home computer market. Apple, Commodore, and Tandy were the "big 3" of the day. Then, once IBM released the biggest piece of shit computer possible, everyone decided that must be good because it's "IBM" the only name in computers everyone knew. The PC market, which Tandy eventually had to follow like everyone else (sans Apple), became a very low profit margin business, so that's why Tandy checked out of that market. At the same time, shrinking electronics dropped the prices of electronic hardware to the point where "repair" meant "toss and buy a new one with more/better features". The loss of PC profitability and obsolescence of repairing electronics killed the major cash flows for the company, and so they started initially repairing anyone's stuff, which killed their repair exclusivity, but kept them alive for a while longer, but eventually no one was bringing in anything for repair. The electronics parts biz was always a niche that couldn't support the company, and the only thing they seemed to come up with was to be cell phone central and started being a dealer for all the major carriers. If you buy a cell phone though, you usually go through the carrier, or if it's Apple, the carrier or Apple, so why bother adding a 3rd party with Radio Shack? In the end, extremely poor management, and not moving fast enough to keep up with changing times, and slow, poorly thought out Internet presence killed them. They were a big name in electronics, and if they would have played their cards right, they'd be the "Amazon.com" of the Internet rather than Amazon. They could have owned online electronics shopping, but again, poor management that just showed up every day, but never came up with the right ideas, and simply put all the eggs in the cell phone basket expecting that to carry them, when it never would. Their last ditch effort in recent times was to re-image stores (expensive), and close some stores (again, expensive to buy out leases and slosh inventory around), which was again the wrong move. They were already dead by then anyway, they just needed a year or two to run out of money, which they were burning through like mad, until the inevitable. As someone who worked for them, and cut my teeth on a Model I and Cocos, I have many fond memories, and it's sad to see them go, but it just wasn't meant to be with that sort of management running the show.
  19. Yeah, I think they were worried about too much overlap, so they purposely did a few things different. The MC-10 also had a 6803 if I recall, which was mostly compatible with the 6809. I'm pretty sure they probably could have done more towards compatibility, but that wasn't huge on their list. I think they were sort of worried about a sub $100 "home computer" that would steal sales from the CoCo world, and wanted something in the same category to compete with the Sinclair. Personally, the only thing that was impressive to me about the Sinclair computer(s), and even the MC-10, which, IMHO, smoked the Sinclair computers, was the sub $100 price point. Growing up in a world where computers were multi-million dollar behemoths that only large corporations, universities, and governments could afford, all the way down to sub $100 pricing was a BIG leap for such a short period of time. It's almost as if the industry did it just because they could. Honestly though, those sub $100 computers like the Sinclair, MC-10, Alice, etc, were more of a curiosity, a toy, something cheap to buy a young interested kid to learn on, and some other limited uses as a really decent programmable controller in some applications. They never really had the power to be a decent home computer. Even today a low end system is going to run $500-$600. $100 in 1982 dollars translates into about $250 bucks today. Even the lowest end systems worth their salt are going to cost more than that. Those machines were computers designed around a price point. Functionality and usefulness, as well as compatibility with other systems,took a back seat to price, specifically to fill a "niche" that the market thought existed, when honestly, it really didn't. $200-$230 machines from the same time period, like the CoCo2 and C64 were far more capable machines, and most people were willing to spend the extra $150 bucks or so to gain all the functionality those machines had. Alot of people, even today think it was "sad" that those systems were abandoned, but it was just a natural inevitability. Even then, when the industry was still young, in alot of flux technologically with advancements coming at supersonic speeds, that market failed because the industry misjudged the market. Steve Jobs had it right, it wasn't as much about the cost as it was the usefulness and ease of use of the product. Nothing drives that point home more than the iconic iPhone. It's hardly a cheap device at a base retail price of $650 for the entry level iPhone, although carrier subsidies does alot to drive the initial cost down. Maybe the iPad is a better example. A WiFi only iPad is $500 and there's a plethora of $200 tablets out there, yet the iPad owns the tablet market. I don't really view the demise of these micro-systems as sad, just simply an experiment that failed, the industry simply feeling out the price point, and they figured it out, unfortunately at the cost of the existence of these neat little cheapy computers.
  20. Heh, all of the above, the zx-81 and the 1000 were effectively the same unit weren't they?
  21. A couple of things here, for starters, the $99 price point was pre-set as this device was intended to compete with the Sinclair, and considering an MC10 vs a Sinclair, it beats it hands down in every way. Secondly, they already sold the Color Computer 2 which outperformed the MC10, they didn't want to make a $120 cheaper computer that outperformed the CoCo 2, they wanted a device that competed with the Sinclair.
  22. It was only discontinued a few months ago, just because it's discontinued doesn't mean there still isn't stock in some stores. Once your local store sells out, they'll not longer have it.
  23. I think you misunderstand how it works, with the software, it creates a virtual drive on the pc. For the composite mod, look here: http://sparksandflames.com/g35.html
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