During Labor Day 2021, I opened a YouTube Live stream to share an unboxing of the Adafruit AdaBox 019. The box arrived several weeks ago. I kept putting it aside as I worked on other content for the blog and YouTube channel; however, I had an inkling of what was inside the box and was eager to open it up and start playing with the contents.
In my last handheld gaming console post, I continue to describe my Amazon Prime day 2021 experience and the purchase of four retro handheld gaming consoles. The third handheld was the FateFan 500 handheld gaming console. In this video I look at the TRIMUI/Powkiddy A66. Spoiler alert: I LOVE THIS HANDHELD!!!
It’s time for another Wyze product first look. This time, it’s the Wyze Buds Pro. As a backer, I received an early pair of these new buds and, at the time of this writing, pre-orders are available for the next shipment. If you have questions about these new buds, this blog post and companion video can help as I unbox, setup, pair, and run the buds through a few use cases. At the end of the post, I’ll provide final thoughts. Let’s first dig in with my companion video.
As a MEGA65 Dev Kit owner, I’ve created several posts to share what’s coming when my favorite Commodore “what could have been” retro computer releases. I’m not going in depth about the MEGA65 in this post and companion video; instead, check out my new MEGA65 page. In this post, I will show you how to get started with the MEGA65, on your Apple Mac computer, while you wait for the hardware to arrive.
Before I begin, I want to send out a huge thank you to Gurce Isikyildiz for his assistance with these instructions. My first attempts to build these tools were unsuccessful. I posted a comment on the MEGA65 Discord channel about my struggles. Gurce responded; however, after several Discord interactions, it became apparent, I needed help (on many levels but in this case; help with Terminal commands). The
mega65-tools are meant to build on an Intel Mac, but not on a newer M1 Mac.
During Amazon Prime day 2021, the lure of handheld game consoles captured my attention. I use a RetroFlag RPi Case for handheld retro-gaming and enjoyed the process of assembly and configuration. You can see this process on my Install Super RetroPie on the Retroflag GPi Case blog post and companion video. It’s a great unit when paired with the Super RetroPie distribution.
Commodore computing fans will soon have a new device to add to their collection of retro-computers, the MEGA65. In this blog post and companion video, I look at what makes the MEGA65 special and then share items one through five of the ten cool things you will do with the MEGA65 that you can’t do with any other Commodore-inspired recreations such as The C64. Spoiler alert: I include a bonus item to tide you over until number 6 through 10 drop!
As readers and watchers know, I’m slowly adding to my collection of retro and modern retro-inspired collection of computers. With a focus on Commodore, my collection now has one working and three “for parts” VIC-20s, a Commodore Plus/4, The VIC20, The C64 mini, and a MEGA65 DevKit. In this blog post, and companion video, I share my recent eBay purchase addition; a Commodore 128.
I’ve spent much time with the Commodore Plus/4, a Commodore computer I didn’t own in the 1980s, and while I’ve worked my way through chapters one through eight of the user’s manual, there are many other things I want to do with this capable 8-Bit, and unloved, Commodore computer and today is one of those things! In this post and companion video, I describe my experience connecting a Commodore Plus/4 computer to the Particles! BBS using a Commodore4Ever provided Wi-Fi modem and Telnet. It’s a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy this experiment and jaunt down 1980/90s telecommunications lane.
This last chapter in the user’s manual takes us on a musical and noise infused journey through Commodore Basic and the Plus/4
VOL commands. The Plus/4 was not capable of the amazing sounds that come from it’s older brother and sister, the Commodore 64 or the 128. Heck, it wasn’t even as capable as the earlier VIC-20; however, with a little effort and creativity, you can put the two channels to use in business applications; the primary market for the Commodore TED series.
In this Commodore Plus/4 retroCombs episode and companion blog post, I cover Chapter 7, Using Graphics and Color, of the Commodore Plus/4 user’s manual. If you are eager to create images on your Commodore Plus/4, this is the chapter for you. Chapter 7 include information to PETSCII, colors, graphics modes, and other commands to create static images an animations. It’s a fun chapter and one that took quite a bit of time to prepare.
While spending time in the MEGA65 Discord group, I found a link to Weihnachten auf dem Commodore (WADC), or Christmas on the Commodore. There have been editions printed since 2018 and I ordered all three available editions. Inside pages are filled with type in BASIC programs for all manner of Commodore 8-bit computers. Below is an excerpt form the C64 Wiki page about these annual publications.
I think I have a smartwatch and fitness tracker problem. I’ve worn a WearOS watch for the past three years. It’s been and up and down relationship. Battery life on WearOS devices are horrible and a daily charge is required. I’ve owned a pocket FitBit so supplement the times when I forgot to charge my WearOS, but it’s days were numbered years ago.
In this FAST LOAD, I try to get the new mouSTer from Retrohax.net working with my MEGA65 Developer Kit. Watch the video below and then come back to this blog post to see if I was successful. Spoiler alert; at first the device did not work; however, I get this wonderful USB HID to DB9 connection device working, and it’s not as hard as I imagined.
In an impromptu video, I hold a mic in front of Nikki and ask her questions about her latest Amazon purchase, the St. Patrick’s Day Gnome Ornament Faceless Doll Decorations Green Clover Gnome Doll Ornaments Irish, Swedish Leprechaun for St. Patrick’s Day Party Christmas Elf Scandinavian Decoration (8 Pieces). WHEW! That’s a mouthful. What does she think? Watch the video below and then read the this post for additional gnome and behind-the-scenes thoughts.
It’s time for a Wyze product OPEN THE BOX and FIRST USE. This time, it’s the Wyze Robot Vacuum, the newest smart and app enabled vacuum from one of my favorite brands, Wyze. In this blog post and companion video, I open the box and use the vacuum for the very first time.
This blog post is a companion to the my FAST LOAD video embedded below. During the video, I upgrade my THEVIC20 to firmware version 1-5-2. This firmware update includes new features for not only THEVIC20, but also for the THEC64 mini and THEC64. Watch the video to find out what’s new and then read my additional thoughts below for more information.
Updating the MEGA65 requires several steps that can confuse new owners (count me in that group!). This blog post and associated FAST LOAD video will demonstrate the process and serve as a reference to update a MEGA’s SD card essential files,
MEGA65.ROM, core (bitstream), and the M65Connect software. Before reading the rest of the post, I recommend you watch the retroCombs FAST LOAD video. You will find it after the table of contents below.
I’m an Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL) and a LEGO fan since my 1970s childhood. As far as I remember, LEGO has always been in my home and a part of my play. In the 1980s, I purchased a MEGA block space set but quickly found they were not the same quality as LEGO.
THEVIC20(C64) it is a divisive Commodore emulator. There are those, like me, who love that the system is keeping the retro-computing alive, while other lament that the system is nothing more than a mere emulated shadow of the original. Which ever side of the campfire you sit, my goal for this short series of videos was to shine a light on the games included with these systems. As I stated on several social media posts, the games are a collection of winners, stinkers, surprises and questions.
There’s a lot of excitement around the Raspberry Pi 400. I mean look at this thing (see image below). It’s a self contained Raspberry Pi with a keyboard and a form factor reminiscent of the original 1980s 8-bit computers; albeit, much thinner and lighter. Since I first learned about the 400, I had one project in mind and I’m happy to finally reveal that project in this post and the companion YouTube video.
Have a retro-computing fan in your life and don’t know what to get them? Or maybe you are looking for a little something for yourself, or maybe, just maybe, you need a last-minute suggestion for Santa? Here are 10 reasons RetroGames THEVIC20 (and THEC64) is the perfect holiday gift for all retro-computing fans.
It’s time for another Wyze product OPEN THE BOX and FIRST USE. This time, it’s the Wyze Cam version 3 or Wyze Cam V3. In this video, I open the box (unbox), make all hardware connections, pair a camera to the Wyze app, share examples of image captures, and then compare these images with Wyze Cam version 2 (Wyze Cam V3 -vs- Wyze Cam v2). Check out the video below.
I’m really excited! I mean, 15 year-old boy excited. That’s how I felt while opening the box, unpacking, assembling, and turning on the new developer’s kit (DevKit) for the first time. Seriously, I’ve not been that excited about a package in some time; and this from the guy who has two brand new Mac minis (with M1 processors) set to arrive a few days before Christmas.
In this Commodore Plus/4 retroCombs episode and companion blog post, I cover Chapter 6, Beginning Bplus4/images/screen-window.pngASIC Programming, of the Commodore Plus/4 user’s manual. In this chapter, we begin where everyone should with their Commodore computer; learning the BASIC programming language. In previous chapters we have dabbled with BASIC; however, in this chapter, we dive in and learn the “basic” concepts you need to begin your BASIC programming journey.
It’s time for another Wyze product OPEN THE BOX and FIRST USE. This time, it’s the Wyze Headphones. As an early backer, I received a pair faster than most; however, you can now purchase your own pair and according to Wyze, they should arrive before the holidays. In this video, I open the box (unbox) and show you my experience turning them on for the first time. I also pair them with the Wyze app and see what features the app brings to this pair of headphones. Check out the video below.
One of my favorite retro-computing devices of 2019 was THEC64 mini. I love that it was a mini recreation of the Commodore 64 that not only looked like the original, but when plugged into an HDMI monitor, would also play Commodore 64 games built-in or on a USB drive. Upon release though, there were limitations:
In this Commodore Plus/4 retroCombs episode, I cover chapter 5 of the Commodore Plus/4 user’s manual. In this chapter, Number and Calculation, I learn how to use the Plus/4 as a calculator in immediate mode, create a function, and learn more about working with numbers in Commodore BASIC 3.5. I even combine some things we learned in previous chapters to amp up our programs. It is a packed chapter and even though I’m no math teacher;Getting Started_ I, “begin to acquaint you with some of the characteristics and capabilities of the Plus/4, and how to take the first steps toward programming with your computer.” We spend more time learning how to use the keyboard, correcting mistakes, creating simple programs, and then I shope I do the concepts justice. This is one chapter where I find the User’s Manual a bit lacking but adequatew you how to use windows on the Plus/4. No, not the operating system, but another unique feature of the Plus/4’s BASIC.
During Google’s 2020 “Launch Night In” event, the Chromecast with Google TV was announced. Not a surprise, not much is anymore; however, even when the whispers of this device echoed in the halls of the Internet, I was intrigued. Prior to this purchase of this device, I owned the two following Android TV devices:
As part of my Commodore Plus/4 series, chapter three of the user’s manual includes a section on using a Commodore Datasette and a 1541 Diskette Drive. In a previous post, I assembled the modern replacement for the Datasettdisk drivepi1541); now it’s time to build a Datasette replacement called, the Tapuino.
My trusty 2010 Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 gave up the electronic ghost this past week. Over time, the device became less trustworthy. Is ten years the life span of an electronic rodent? Not sure, but the mouse served me well until recently when the cursor began to lag and the connection to my Mac mini would drop.
I posted an “open-the-box” video for the Lenovo Smart Tab with Google Assistant. In the video, I menn a video review. Many folks called me out for not producing this video so I decided to provide my revie i ut the video in question below and afterward, read my review.
In this Commodore Plus/4 retroCombs episode, I cover chapter 4 of the Commodore Plus/4 user’s manual. In this chapter, Getting Started I, “begin to acquaint you with some of the characteristics and capabilities of the Plus/4, and how to take the first steps toward programming with your computer.” We spend more time learning how to use the keyboard, correcting mistakes, creating simple programs, and then I show you how to use windows on the Plus/4. No, not the operating system, but another unique feature of the Plus/4’s BASIC.
This is the companion blog post for a quick open the box (bag) video, streamed on YouTube live, for the $25 ORIA Precision Screwdriver Set, 86 in 1 Magnetic Repair Tool Kit with Portable Bag (#ad). In this video I show you all the parts and pieces and, yes, I eventually got all the tools sorted into their proper location (see the video thumbnail).
I’m a WyzeYZE fan! Except for the WyzeYZE Lock (#ad), I “reckon” I have at least one of every product and not because they are sent to me to review–I purchase every WyzeYZE product I review. Although, if you are out there WyzeYZE…I’d consider review units as long as you know they will get an honest and objective look.
In this Commodore Plus/4 retroCombs episode, I cover chapter 3 of the Commodore Plus/4 user’s manual. This chapter is dedicated to Using Software and there are several ways to load and save software using; cartridges, datasettes, and diskettes. In this post and the accompanying video, I cover each auxiliary storage device in detail; however, I add a modern spin and instead of the original devices; I use a new 264 diagnostic cartridge, a Tapuino, and a Pi1541.
I don’t know why I started my subscription to Adafruit’s ADA BOX plan so late in the game with box #014. To make it happen, I cancelled the subscription to the Field Notes Quarterly and reallocated this “fun-money” to the quarterly ADA BOX. That was a good move for me. While I enjoy the Field Notes subscription, these paper products have stacked up and it will take me years to use them!
I purchased another tool to add to my podcast and YouTube tool chest, the TASCAM DR-40X audio recorder (#ad). In the short video below, I open the box, share some accessories, and attempt to turn the unit on, and record for the first time. Along the way, there were a few hiccups; however, after a bit of trial and error (and some instruction manual time), I was able to record samples that I include in the video.
As part of my Commodore Plus/4 series, chapter three of the users manualincludes a section on using a Commodore Datasette and a 1541 Diskette Drive. In a previous post, I assemaeme replacement for the disk drive](https://www.stevencombs.com/pi1541) now its time to nt called, the Tapuino.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything LEGO related. I wouldn’t say that I’m in my “dark years;” however, my LEGO hobby has been put on hold for some pressing work concerns and priority with other hobbies (I have way too many); namely my new fascination with the 1980s era Commodore Plus/4 computer and the use of modern devices to make that device even more enjoyable to use in 2020s.
In this supplemental episode to my Commodore Plus/4 series, I share my experiences assembling the Pi1541 Hat for a Raspberry Pi Zero. In the episode, I solder a pin connector onto the Raspberry Pi Zero, solder and assemble a serial cable with two 6 pin DIN connectors, assemble the whole package, and start up the Pi1541 for a first use. For some extra fun, be on the lookout for a cameo appearance from Nikki and a former vice president!
In this Commodore Plus/4 retroCombs episode, I cover chapter 2 in the user’s manual entitled, Using the Keyboard and the Screen. This chapter is chock full of keyboard instructions to help the user move around the screen, change text highlighting, modify lines of code, and create special characters.
In the next Commodore Plus/4 retroCombs episode, I open the Commodore Plus/4 manual for the first time to look at Chapter 1: Unpacking and Setting Up. Since the previous episode was an Open the Box, unpacking is already complete so this episode focuses on setting up the computer. Watch the video below and then come back to this post to read some additional thoughts, find links to everything mentioned, and learn a few more additional tips.
On 2020-05-23, I began a new series of YouTube videos about the Commodore Plus/4. You can learn more about the first episode and the series here. In preparation of that series, I created a video bumper; a short 14 second brand animation to introduce all retroCombs videos. In this post, I’m going to share my process. This post is not a step-by-step tutorial, but rather a description of the tools I used and the flow to put it all together. Let’s take a look at the bumper first in the YouTube video below.
Today I unveil the first in a new theme of posts, retroCombs. This theme is devoted to my love of retro computing and gaming. I have a couple of retro posts on the blog, but now I have a brand theme to tie them together. The first post to receive the brand is part one of a new series on the Commodore Plus/4 computer.