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Blog posts and video from Steven as he “COMBS” through the minutia to discover tech, retro-computing, physical computing, gadgets and sci-fi.

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Latest Posts

  • Run a MEGA65 on your Chromebook using Xemu – August 01, 2022

    In the post Run a MEGA65 on your Mac using Xemu, I show how to install the XEMU emulator for the MEGA65, xmega65, on a Mac. It’s time to stretch my operating system’s legs and install it on another popular system. No, I’m not installing on Windows but on an operating system that may surprise many; ChromeOS!

  • LIFEGOO Precision Screwdriver Set – July 10, 2022

    The friendly folks over at LIFEGOO, thanks Angus, sent over their Mini Electric Screwdriver, LIFEGOO Precision Screwdriver Set with 48 Magnetic Precision Bits & LED Light & Magnetic Mat, Cordless Electric Screwdriver Kit for Phone Watch Camera Laptop (62 In 1) that’s sold on Amazon. I previously took a look at the iFu precision power screwdriver and my guess is they saw that video and wanted me to take a stab at their version.

  • Master the MEGA65 Keyboard Addendum – July 01, 2022

    My Master the MEGA65 Keyboard created a lot of conversation. I knew during the creation of that content that I was going to miss, or mis-explain, concepts and I was ready for the comments and suggestions to roll in. The MEGA65 community didn’t let me down and in this blog post and companion video, I’ve captured the best additions to further our knowledge of the MEGA65 and continue to build a mastery of the keyboard.

  • Unboxing and First Use of the Retro Game TheA500 Mini – June 24, 2022

    On 2022-06-12, I fired up the ATEM mini Extreme Iso for an unboxing livestream of Retro Games’ TheA500 Mini. I was hesitant because my device arrived long after those on the other side of the pond, and more popular YouTubers in the United States received their regular and complimentary shipments. What could I add to the conversation? I asked my viewers, and they were vocal, stream it and we will join. I did, and we had a blast. We even had a few new folks join the chat and one even became a new member. Welcome, Neil!

  • Connect the MEGA65 to a Mac using the DSD USB to TTL Adapter – June 04, 2022

    A feature of the MEGA65 DevKit I miss with the production MEGA65 is the ability to “out-of-the-box” connect it to my Mac and use tools like M65 Connect or the command-line tools M65 or MEGA65_FTP. These tools allow me to manage the internal SD card on my MEGA65 DevKit with my Mac without removing the SD card from the MEGA65 and provide other “fascinating tools.” More on those tools later.

  • Master the MEGA65 Keyboard – May 28, 2022

    I love a good keyboard shortcut and consider myself a Mac shortcut connoisseur. One of the fun features of the MEGA65 is the keyboard; both the hardware and the functionality. In this blog post and companion video, I cover the keyboard layout, functions, and shortcuts you need to master the MEGA65 keyboard. Time to learn how to be a keyboard NINJA on the MEGA65.

  • Replace the LCD Panel in a Clockwork Pi DevTerm A06 – May 22, 2022

    In a previous Clockwork Pi DevTerm assembly video, I my LCD panel was broken and I had to hack the panel in order to get it working; however, Clockwork was quick to send out a replacement and during a 2022-05-01 livestream, I replaced my hacked up LCD screen with the new one.

  • Unbox and assemble the Clockwork Pi DevTerm A06 – May 05, 2022

    DHL dropped a package on my doorstep in early April. Inside was the Dev Term A06. It was not a surprised, but it was kind that Clock Work Pi sent one for free. A huge thank you to Clockwork Pi, and to Alex, who arranged the shipment.

  • Part III: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card – April 23, 2022

    This is the companion blog post for my 2022-04-03 live stream edit; Part III: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card. This is a short edit of a much longer live stream where I continue my look at the “b-side” of the MEGA65 onboarding SD card that includes a C64 disk image full of games and demos to run on the MEGA65 in Commodore 64 mode. We’ve run through the games and this video is all demos! Before the demos, I unbox a few items that will appear in future content and a gift from one of my producers.

  • An Update: The Submarine Tracking System conversion to BASIC 65 – March 28, 2022

    In my blog post, Converting a Commodore 128 Submarine Tracking System BASIC Program to the MEGA65, I show what the title suggests, converting a Commodore 128 BASIC V7 program, the Submarine Tracking System, found on page 116 of the C128 Programmer’s Reference Guide to MEGA65 BASIC which began it’s life on the unreleased Commodore 65 with BASIC 10. This blog post and companion video is a follow-up to that project. I have a bunch of information to share. Let’s get to it.

  • Part II: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card – March 19, 2022

    This is the companion blog post for my 2022-03-13 live stream edit; Part II: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card. This 29 minute video is an edit of a longer one hour and thirty-five minute live stream where I continue my look at the “b-side” of the MEGA65 onboarding SD card that includes a C64 disk image full of games and demos to run on the MEGA65 in Commodore 64 mode. Before the demos, I share a couple of recent retro-related purchases, or RRRPs, or triple R P!

  • Converting a Commodore 128 Submarine Tracking System BASIC Program to the MEGA65 – March 07, 2022

    In a past live stream, not currently available to view, I tried to convert a BASIC program from the Commodore 128 Programmer’s Reference Guide to use on the MEGA65. What I thought would be a line-by-line conversion caught me off guard, as I found there were significant differences between Commodore BASIC 7 (CBM 128) and Commodore BASIC 10 (CBM 65 / MEGA65).

  • Part I: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card – February 23, 2022

    This is the companion blog post for my 2022-02-23 live stream edit; Part I: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card. The 25 minute video is an edit of a longer one hour and fifteen minute live stream where I look at the “b-side” of the MEGA65 onboarding SD card that includes a C64 disk image full of games and demos to run on the MEGA65 in Commodore 64 mode. Before the demos, I discuss new books that adorn my retro-library, including one “the Lovely Accountant” gave me as a birthday gift.

  • Ten ways the MEGA65 is better than my M1 MacBook Pro – February 17, 2022

    Full disclosure, I use my M1 MacBook Pro daily, e.g. this blog post, and wouldn’t think about replacing it with any other computer (including the new MacBook Pro). It is the best computer I’ve ever owned. It’s fast, has great battery life, and plows through any task I throw at it. With that confession, this blog post is a fun exercise to keep the nostalgic 1980s rivalry between Commodore and Apple alive.

  • Upgrade TheC64 and VIC20 to Firmware 1.6.1 – February 04, 2022

    TheC64 Mini, Maxi, and TheVIC20 received a new firmware version, 1.6.1 to start the new year. During a lengthy Sunday afternoon live stream, I updated both my TheC64 Mini and my TheVIC20 to see what was new. I opened the live stream with a “Vicky Twenty” motherboard unboxing. I’ll share more on this VIC-20 upgrade later in this post.

  • Commodore Plus/4 User’s Manual - Plus/4 Encyclopedia – January 28, 2022

    With the last regular Commodore Plus/4 User’s Guide chapters complete, we now focus on the last half of the manual. You read that correctly. Chapters 1 through 8 take the first 100 pages, and the Plus/4 Encyclopedia occupies another 183 pages of the user’s manual.

  • MEGA65 core and SD card testing live stream – January 03, 2022

    This page is the companion blog post to the live stream conducted on 2022-01-02. During that live stream, I install the latest .COR file on the MEGA65, look at the new and much speedier core (.COR) flasher, install the latest SD card files, download the latest .ROM, and review several sections of the onboarding SD card that will ship with the MEGA65.

  • MEGA65 Christmas Eve Livestream with Box Art and Onboarding SD Card Preview – December 26, 2021

    In this companion blog post to the edit of my Christmas Eve 2021 live stream, I celebrate the holiday and briefly lament about the MEGA65 delay; however, it becomes a great time as viewers share stories and I share previews of the recently released box art (suitable for cutting, which I do at the beginning of the video) and the onboarding SD card that will come with new MEGA65s. This edit includes new information and corrections.

  • Patch the Original Commodore 65 ROM for the MEGA65, Xemu, Dev Kit, or Nexys4 – December 17, 2021

    For those of us expecting our MEGA65 by Christmas, I have bad news. The MEGA65 is delayed until March! If, like me, you were on the short list to receive a MEGA65 before the end of 2020, looks like it will be the Easter bunny making the delivery instead of Santa. Here’s the official announcement from the Discord channel:

  • Adabox 020 Livestream with YoloBox Pro • LED Glasses – December 05, 2021

    Another Sunday, another ad hoc live stream. Today I setup a new YoloBox Pro, grabbed a package that has been on my desk since October, turned on the lights and cameras, hit the “go live” button, and began my unboxing and assembly of Adabox 020.

  • FinalGrom 99 for the TI-99/4A Livestream – November 24, 2021

    Out of nowhere, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and while preparing for my The FinalGROM 99 for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A video, I took my FinalGROM 99 experimentation online with a livestream to troubleshoot 32 Kb memory expansion module sidecar issues and play several Texas Instruments TI-99/4A games. This is the companion blog post for the edit which removes over 45 minutes.

  • The FinalGROM 99 for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A – November 23, 2021

    In a previous video and companion blog post I took a look at the FlashROM 99 for the Texas Instruments (TI) TI-99/4A. This modern cartridge, combined with a SD card, provides access up to 171 game and application cartridges. As I’m new to the world of the TI-99/4A, I purchased the FlashROM 99. I had compatibility concerns regarding a “Quality Improved (QI)” version of the TI-99/4A motherboard. After a view of the main screen, I determined that I do not have a QI board. This means my computer can use the FinalGROM 99.

  • Install the MEGA65 on a Nexys4 or A7 FPGA | Build your own MEGA65! – November 09, 2021

    The MEGA65 is AVAILABLE! That was the virtual shout during early October 2021. The first 400, of which I snagged one, will ship late December, while another batch of 1000 will ship during Q2 of next year. As of this writing, there are a few available. At around $850 USD, these pre-orders may be out of reach of some early adopters. If that’s the case, there are two ways you can begin your MEGA65 journey while production increases and costs decrease during the next couple of years.

  • Install a MEGA65 Bitstream on Nexys A7 FPGA: the Livestream – October 25, 2021

    Another Sunday, another livestream and instead of a TI-99/4A topic, I returned to a project that’s been on the back burner for a long time; installing the MEGA65 Bitstream on a Diligent Nexys4 field programmable gate array (FPGA). A MEGA65 livestream would do double duty and make supporter Mislav happy. He’s asked for new MEGA65 content for a while. Here ya go Mislav; this one’s for you.

  • Playing Texas Instruments TI-99/4A Video Games on a FlashROM99 – October 22, 2021

    After receiving and then creating a video/blog post about the FlashROM99 from The Brewing Academy, I went online to show how to play games from the device and experience, for the first time, these Texas Instruments TI-99/4A versions of popular 1980s video games.

  • The FlashROM 99 for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A – October 16, 2021

    I continue my Texas Instruments TI-99/4A journey with the newest hardware addition, the FlashROM 99 from The Brewing Academy. These devices promise to provide access to 171 (that’s an odd number, pun intended), TI-99/4A solid state cartridges on a single cartridge that uses an SD Card. In this blog post and companion video, I take a long look at the device and see if it lives up to its promise.

  • Livestream • Unboxing the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini – October 10, 2021

    I recently purchased the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini after seeing the device featured on many YouTube channels. The device promises to make camera management during livestreams easier and hold the potential to reduce edits on recorded video. In the past few weeks, I’ve hosted several livestreams and I am enjoying the impromptu conversations, interactions with followers, and the exclusion of the editing process. I enjoy editing and it is appropriate for much of the content I create; however, if this device can cut editing and make livestreams easier to manage, it will be worth the $300 price tag.

  • Texas Instruments TI-99/4A Accessories/Games Unboxing Livestream – October 03, 2021

    Followers know a new-to-me Texas Instruments (TI) TI-99/4A now adorns the shelves of my retro computing collection. It’s a long story; however, during the diatribe, I talk about the accessories I purchased. In this blog post and companion video, I share those items. There’s even a special surprise from Jamie, over at Jamie’s Hack Shack. Watch the livestream video below and continue reading to learn more.

  • IPEVO VZ-R Unboxing and Review – October 02, 2021

    I’m experimenting with livestreams on the channel. I like to prepare video, but when I live stream, I can relax, enjoy the live chat with followers, and not worry about editing afterward. Like the Ronco Rotisserie, I can “set it, and forget it.” My first couple of livestreams were not good. Not because of the content (well maybe!), but because of the webcam I used to capture my desktop.

  • My first TI 99/4A | A VCFMW 2021 Story – September 27, 2021

    This TI is a first for me and because of this, hang on. It’s going to be a long and informative post. My follower’s are aware I am a Commodore computer fan since my first computer, the Commodore VIC-20, and I’m closely following MEGA65 development; however, there was a strange disturbance in the force on 2021-09-11.

  • Live Stream for LiNKFOR OPENDINGUX and Great Boy 1015 Handheld Gaming Consoles – September 19, 2021

    After recording an upcoming TI 99/4A video (stay tuned), I was chatting with supporter, Mislav and he asked when my next livestream would happen. I told him I had two handheld consoles on my desk, but wasn’t sure when I would have time to share them. My TI 99/4A recording was smooth, and I found time late on this Sunday afternoon.

  • AdaBox 019 (Macropad) Unboxing and Live Stream – September 07, 2021

    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.

  • TRIMUI/Powkiddy A66 Gaming Handheld Console with 5000+ games – September 05, 2021

    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!!!

  • Wyze Buds Pro unboxing, setup, pairing, first use, and thoughts – August 31, 2021

    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.

  • Run a MEGA65 on your Mac using Xemu – August 31, 2021

    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.

  • Build MEGA65 Tools on Mac OS X (Intel and M1) | And an intro to the MEGA65 community – August 28, 2021

    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.

  • FateFan Retro Gaming Handheld Console with ~~500~~ games??? – August 21, 2021

    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 second handheld was the LiNKFOR handheld gaming console.

  • LiNKFOR Retro Gaming Handheld Console with ~~380~~ 500 games – August 08, 2021

    In my last handheld gaming console post, I shared the my Amazon Prime day 2021 experience and the lure of handheld game consoles. In that post, I describe my use of the RetroFlag RPi Case for handheld retro-gaming and use this as a baseline for all other handheld consoles I will share.

  • Great Boy Retro Gaming Handheld Console with 380 games – August 01, 2021

    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.

  • Ten cool things you will do with a MEGA65 | Includes 2 bonus items! – July 26, 2021

    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!

  • Replacing my Original Commodore 128 and using a Keelog Power Supply – June 28, 2021

    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.

  • Connect a Commodore Plus/4 to a BBS using a Wi-Fi modem – June 07, 2021

    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.

  • Commodore Plus/4 User’s Manual Chapter 8 - Making Sound and Music on the Plus/4 – May 14, 2021

    This last chapter in the user’s manual takes us on a musical and noise infused journey through Commodore Basic and the Plus/4 SOUND and 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.

  • Commodore Plus/4 User’s Manual Chapter 7 - Using Graphics and Color – April 30, 2021

    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.

  • COBI M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) Build – April 24, 2021

    In a previous blog post, I share my build of the COBI M60 Patton Main Battle Tank and compare my first experience with COBI to my lifetime experience with LEGO. There’s a lot of history in that post and companion video. I’d recommend you go take a read and watch and then return to this post.

  • Transfer BASIC Programs in Print to Physical Commodore Computers – April 16, 2021

    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.

  • Wyze Watch Open the Box, First Use, and Wyze Band Comparison – March 28, 2021

    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.

  • Use the Retrohax.net mouSTer on the MEGA65 – March 20, 2021

    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.

  • Nikki shares thoughts on 8, $12 Amazon St. Patrick's Day Gnome Ornament Faceless Doll Decorations – March 14, 2021

    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.

  • Wyze Robot Vacuum Open the Box and First Use | Does it suck? – March 08, 2021

    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.