Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Archive for May, 2007

8088 Corruption Explained

Posted by Trixter on May 13, 2007

I had hoped to completely update the 8088 Corruption webpages before posting this, but it’s going to be at least another week and people have been asking me for it, so: An edited video of my NOTACON/Block Party 8088 Corruption Explained talk is available at archive.org. All of the embarrassing and missing parts have been fixed, added, edited, massaged, spindled, and mutilated, and it should be completely watchable. I replaced most of the bad video-camera-aimed-at-the-monitor footage with the actual conversion footage, filled in the hey-where’d-my-electricity-go? missing section with a voiceover, replaced all filmed slides with the actual slides, and took out two embarrassing swears (embarrassing not because they were swear words, but because I was nervous and stumbled over them).

While it is tempting to watch the flash version in a browser, I went through a great deal of trouble to make the MPEG-2 version perfect, including true 60Hz video in places. If you can spare the time, grab the MPEG-2 version and watch it on a real set-top dvd player for full effect. (Or a software player that isn’t broken; for example, use my favorite MPEG-2 player, VLC, with Deinterlace set to Linear.)

Work and home have been particularly busy this week and will be next week, so I apologize in advance for not having the extra movies, updated 8088 player, full source code, etc. available on the website yet. When I do, I’ll make a note of it in this blog.

Posted in Demoscene, Programming, Technology, Vintage Computing | 6 Comments »

Happy Lucky Tech Big Fun Super Go Surprise!

Posted by Trixter on May 8, 2007

I realized today that I’ve been very lucky when it comes to technology and surprises. Previously I mentioned the surprise IBM 5153 I found in storage, but today I was able to count many more:

  • An i-river iFP-380 128MB MP3 player. Shortly after purchasing it, some “beta” firmware surfaced on the official support website that turned the player into a USB storage device. This means you could copy music onto and off of the device without using the severely idiotic crippled software that came with it. To date, I think this is the only hardware player series they’ve produced that allows you to do this — all prior and later models require the software to enforce DRM.
  • My ReplayTV 5040. It was a Christmas gift, but shortly after I got it, DVArchive was released, and allowed me to suck the shows off of the unit via ethernet via a sensible GUI. This greatly increased the personal value of the unit, as I like to archive shows that are important to me.
  • In the early part of the new century, I purchased a 3ware Escalade 6400 RAID-5 controller, intending to put it into a Windows system to function purely as a file server. A few days after I purchased it, and before I opened the box, 3ware announced Linux kernel driver source for driving the card, and a GUI to manage the card remotely! Needless to say, I installed Linux on the machine (a P933) and it’s been running for nearly 7 years — and does much more than a typical file server would, thanks to Linux.
  • In a similar nod to the PC/XT I found, I pulled an IBM PCjr out of storage and tested it — and found out it was much more than I realized it was. When running Flight Simulator side-by-side with said XT, it was running faster than the XT! Further investigation showed that it is probably the most souped-up PCjr I will run across: It has a Jr HotShot installed (brings the machine to 640KB without additional memory sidecars), the 8088 was replaced with an NEC V20 for an additional 50% speed boost, and the motherboard was rewired slightly with the Tandy 1000 graphics modification (allows Tandy 1000 programs to run without graphics corruption). Oh, and did I mention that the packing material used in the box was a complete PCjr Newsletter set?  Dang!

Anything like this ever happen to you? Technology goes from good to awesome as a complete surprise?

Posted in Technology | 2 Comments »

Block Party: A quick encapsulation of the NA scene

Posted by Trixter on May 3, 2007

For the funniest and most honest party report I’ve read in half a decade, go here:


…then search for the text “Pil05 was pil04 without the good parts”. Read Guybrush’s party report. Laugh until fluid comes out of your nostrils.

And it’s completely true! It’s not cool to slam party organizers, but man, what a relief that most of us who where there felt the same way (both the good (Block Party) and the bad (Pilgrimage ’05 and “’06”)).

Also, scroll down to check out some of the picture links.

Posted in Demoscene | Leave a Comment »

Block Party: Transportation

Posted by Trixter on May 1, 2007

I drove from Chicagoland to Cleveland, OH for Block Party. Necros flew. We both arrived at the same time because of the weather. So which was cheaper?

A plane ticket, priced via priceline 2 months in advance, is about $133. My costs were $129 in gas + oil change before heading out. So I win, right?

Wrong. On the way home, I locked my keys in the car at a rest stop. Cost to have the car jimmied open? $45.

Yeah, I’ll be flying next time.

Posted in Demoscene, Uncategorized | 11 Comments »