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fimbulvetr

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About fimbulvetr

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  1. But definitely, if what you are looking for is the quintessential North American retro 8-bit computer experience, get an Atari 800xl or Commodore 64. The Apple IIc is a runner-up. The rest will be too weird, different, missing big hits, or obscure.
  2. I am in Canada No power conversion was necessary! You just buy a cheap 9v centre pin negative dc wall wart (about $15 delivered). For video, just plug it into the composite port of an LCD tv (most do PAL) and you are good to go. That is why I recommended the grey 128k +2. Excellent keyboard, no odd keyboard shortcuts for programming, and a built-in cassette deck if you are into loading things that way. I like the classic 48k ZX Spectrum, but that rubber keyboard and shortcut system is an acquired taste.
  3. I didn’t find it challenging at all, and I had never touched a CoCo until I picked up a CoCo 2 and CoCoSDC earlier this year. I didn’t even know there were prepackaged images or a menu system until this thread.... I guess I’ll have to check it out. I would still vote the ZX Spectrum for a fun, cheap, and easy beginner computer. I recommend a grey 128k +2 or a brand new Harlequin 128. Get a DivMMC or DivIDE to go with it and you are good to go, as those give you an easy to use file storage system and a Kempston Joystick port so you can use any standard Atari joystick. The Spectrum has an absolutely massive library and very active community ... the Spectrum Computing Forum lists over 100 new games released so far just in 2020: https://spectrumcomputing.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2191
  4. The seller says he has other rarer ti prototypes he is planning on offloading...
  5. Ti99/2, asking price $1500 https://www.ebay.ca/itm/VTG-Texas-Instruments-TI-99-2-Basic-Computer-Prototype-105-No-SN-CB-Wilson-Est/193676459230?hash=item2d18043cde:g:UN4AAOSwQ2ZfaRzQ
  6. True, but that only matters for the smartport hard drive mode. I never really used that, so when my ROM 3 IIc died I didn't bother updating my ROM 255 machine.
  7. Even easier than ADTPro for getting files onto Apple IIs is the FloppyEmu from Big Mess 'o Wires. It also has a smartport hard drive mode for the IIc.
  8. GoTek was definitely a game-changer for moving files over to my 486. That and just burning CD-roms full of stuff once I got the CD Rom drive going on the 486. I've had mixed luck with Compact Flash to IDE adapters. Some CF cards work, others don't. Some computers just won't recognize any CF cards. Some hard drives don't like to be on the same computer as a CF. But when they work, that is the easiest way to move files over. I've had best luck with <1GB CF cards formatted using an old Olympus digital camera. Weirdest thing ever. Cards formatted as FAT16 on a modern machine can fail, but if I format them with the camera they work.
  9. With this restriction, you are limited to 386s and under for dos computers (the 486 *just* squeaks in at 1989, but really is more an early-90s machine).
  10. My first computer was a ti99, so I have a soft spot for that one. That is the only computer I've done basic programming on, and that was back in the 80's so I can't really speak to what is the best 8-bit computer for programming. They are reasonably cheap, there is a very active community, and the hardware is extremely robust and reliable. If you buy a couple cheap modern add-ons (Final Grom 99 and 32 k expansion) you can easily access 99% of what is available for it. But, compared to some of the other 8-bitters, the software library is pretty small. I also have an Apple IIc, ZX Spectrum +2, and CoCo 2. but of those computers I would recommend the spectrum. PAL is not a big deal, as a lot of LCD screens support PAL. Just plug it in and go. It has an absolutely massive software library, and there is a huge active community for the spectrum, lots of new games coming out, and lots of new hardware. It is weird, quirky, still pretty cheap, and people are still making brand-new spectrums (e.g., the Omni, Spectrum Next, Harlequin, etc) so you don't have to rely on 30+ year-old hardware. It is definitely a quirky computer with lots of really weird games, but I like that. It is never boring. I've never really warmed up to the Apple as a games computer and they can be expensive, but there is a lot out there for it. I guess I just find it a kind of boring. The games library for the CoCo isn't that great and the joysticks are TERRIBLE, even the "good" Deluxe joysticks. I have never been more frustrated with controllers than with the CoCo. There are also a very limited selection of sources for hardware upgrades for the CoCO, so when they are out of stock you are out of luck. Maybe it was because I had no nostalgic connection with the CoCo, but I found it underwhelming and disappointing. Speaking as someone with WAY too many old dos computers, don't get a 486 or whatever. An 8-bit computer will give you a much better retro experience. Dos machines are their own thing, and fun if you know what you are doing, but really frustrating if you don't. Too many parts to go wrong, to many chances for incompatibilities, loads of memory management, IRQs, DMAs, etc to mess around with. And the boot time. 8-bit computers just start up. There is little reason to not just run DosBox to play with dos-era software unless you really love the hardware experience. DON'T GET AN OLD LAPTOP. They suck. They are delicate, impossible to repair, the batteries are always dead and impossible to replace, parts are impossible to find, and old laptops run like crap compared to a contemporary desk top. I have a couple. These are advanced-level collector toys only.
  11. This looks like an interesting little tool: http://cowlark.com/fluxengine/ It allows you to read and write any type of floppy disk, including 5.25" disks and weird exotic formats, using a USB connection. Still under development so only a limited number of systems are currently supported, but it can be built for $15 using 2 commodity parts.
  12. The guy who sells Harlequin boards is based out of the USA. He often lists kits and completed built boards on sellmyretro.com as the seller superfo. If you get one of those and a repro case, you can have a brand new clone spectrum. And those boards support both PAL and NTSC.
  13. The Omni uses the Superfo Harlequin clone design, so should be no problems. Retroradionics has a reputation for making decent stuff, but you have to be prepared to WAIT for your order to show up.
  14. Check out sellmyretro.com as well. Used spectrums show up there on a regular basis, as well as being a good place to find bits and bobs to fix them up.
  15. Funnily enough, the original campaign is what got me to finally buy a Spectrum. I had wanted one for ages, and hemmed and hawed about the Kickstarter for a while. Then I saw how much cheaper a vintage machine was than the Kickstarter, plus the bonus that I could have near instantaneous gratification of just waiting for the vintage machine to show up in the mail instead of waiting years for the Kickstarter. The Next does look lovely, but I have no regrets on that call.
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