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

retroCombs Playlist

Commodore Plus/4 Series

MEGA65 Resource Page (v1.1)

Followers know I own one of 100 MEGA65 Dev Kits (#261) to closely follow and enjoy the development of the MEGA65. That ownership allows me to experience, once again, my love of Commodore computers and the joy of BASIC and 8-bit computers. Was it a pricey purchase? For Sure. Was it worth it? Every penny!

Video Courtesy MEGA65

I use my Dev Kit not in true developer fashion, but as a user and to help spread the word of why every Commodore retro-computing fan needs to start saving their pennies and selfishly, to have a great time learning about this computer that “could have been.” Want information on the MEGA65? Check out the official page.

I’ve created much content about the MEGA65. This page collects all my MEGA65 content onto a single quick reference page and will become the starting point for my “all things MEGA65.” Bookmark/Favorite the page now. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Done? Great, let’s continue to the content.

Below is a link to each blog post in the series. Blog posts may contain a companion YouTube video and links that support the post content.

  • 01 Aug 2022 » Run a MEGA65 on your Chromebook using Xemu
  • 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!

  • 01 Jul 2022 » Master the MEGA65 Keyboard Addendum
  • 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.

  • 04 Jun 2022 » Connect the MEGA65 to a Mac using the DSD USB to TTL Adapter
  • 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.

  • 28 May 2022 » Master the MEGA65 Keyboard
  • 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.

  • 23 Apr 2022 » Part III: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card
  • 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.

  • 28 Mar 2022 » An Update: The Submarine Tracking System conversion to BASIC 65
  • 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.

  • 19 Mar 2022 » Part II: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card
  • 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!

  • 07 Mar 2022 » Converting a Commodore 128 Submarine Tracking System BASIC Program to the MEGA65
  • 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).

  • 23 Feb 2022 » Part I: Playing the C64 demos from the MEGA65 on boarding SD Card
  • 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.

  • 17 Feb 2022 » Ten ways the MEGA65 is better than my M1 MacBook Pro
  • 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.

  • 03 Jan 2022 » MEGA65 core and SD card testing live stream
  • 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.

  • 26 Dec 2021 » MEGA65 Christmas Eve Livestream with Box Art and Onboarding SD Card Preview
  • 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.

  • 17 Dec 2021 » Patch the Original Commodore 65 ROM for the MEGA65, Xemu, Dev Kit, or Nexys4
  • 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:

  • 09 Nov 2021 » Install the MEGA65 on a Nexys4 or A7 FPGA | Build your own MEGA65!
  • 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.

  • 25 Oct 2021 » Install a MEGA65 Bitstream on Nexys A7 FPGA: the Livestream
  • 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.

  • 31 Aug 2021 » Run a MEGA65 on your Mac using Xemu
  • 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.

  • 28 Aug 2021 » Build MEGA65 Tools on Mac OS X (Intel and M1) | And an intro to the MEGA65 community
  • 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.

  • 26 Jul 2021 » Ten cool things you will do with a MEGA65 | Includes 2 bonus items!
  • 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!

  • 20 Mar 2021 » Use the mouSTer on the MEGA65
  • In this FAST LOAD, I try to get the new mouSTer from 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.

  • 04 Feb 2021 » retroCombs: Update the MEGA65 and utility software
  • 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.

  • 01 Dec 2020 » MEGA65 DevKit Open the box, assembly, and first use
  • 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.

My MEGA65 BASIC Programs

The memories of programming my VIC-20 and C128 are alive as I explore BASIC 65 on the MEGA65 and the creation of my own BASIC programs. Below is a link to my BASIC program creations:

  1. MEGA65 Color Palette - Short program, with sound effect, that displays the standard and extended color palette of the MEGA65.
  2. Submarine Tracking Program - This program is a recreation of the submarine tracking program found in the Commodore 128 Programmer’s Reference Guide. More information is here and here.

My MEGA65 Video Content

I’ve created several MEGA65 related videos and the library continues to grow. Check out my MEGA65 YouTube channel playlist to view them all.

  • MEGA65 Homepage - Learn all about the MEGA65 and what makes this retro recreation special.
  • MEGA65 YouTube Channel - The latest update videos and development streams from the MEGA65 team. MUST WATCH!
  • MEGA65 filehost - Growing collection of titles and utilities for the MEGA65.
  • MEGA65 book - The entire reference collection all in a single PDF ready for reading, searching, or even printing.
  • Xemu - Use this emulator on your Mac, Linux, or Windows PC to run a virtual MEGA65 environment. A great way to get started with zero cost.
  • MEGA65 GitHub - All the official repositories for the MEGA65 project. User highlights include the user’s guide, tools, and Xemu (see above).
  • MEGA65 Discord channel - Home to the friendliest community of MEGA65 developers and users on Discord. Think 8-bit BBS level support without the communication delay.
  • What are “alternative” MEGA65 cores? - the cores available and in development.
  • MEGA65.ROM - The latest MEGA65.ROM file.
  • Freezer V2 - Still in development next generation of the Freezer utility for the MEGA65.
  • SD Card Essentials - All the files an SD Card needs to operate a MEGA65.
  • MEGA65 Style Guide - A GitHub GIST for writers, bloggers and those contributing to the official instruction manuals.

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