Half Time Roundup!

Written by admin on July 15, 2013 Categories: Uncategorized

Hey folks! This is your ½ time summary of the movers and shakers in the Retrochallenge Summer 2013 Competition! From a list of 23 competitors here is the low-down on what’s been happening this summer.

Wgoodf – Playing with a BBC Micro Model B

Strong start from the crazy Scot but I suspect he’s been blighted by the same affliction as me – the fantastic July weather here in the UK. Either that or the Rum.

Frank BussWrite a game for the Vectrex system

I got to play on the Vectrex for the first time ever at Silicon Dreams a UK based vintage computer fair that was a couple of weekends ago. In fact my youngest took quite a shine to City Bomber which has to be one of the simplest games to play utilising a single button press. She wouldn’t have it till she completed the first level. So I personally look forward to any progress Frank can make on his Vectrex game in the second half of RC2013SC.

Michael Thompson – Restoring an 18-bit DEC PDP-9

The Rhode Island Computer Museum’s restoration of this venerable DEC computer started last year and has been progressing steadily for the last seven months or so. It’s the makings of a great RC blog with plenty of updates and technical detail. As the organiser of the DEC Legacy event here in the UK I have a real passion for DEC kit throughout the company’s history. I look forward to reading about more progress as this impressive project continues.

Adam Green – Write a simple 6502 assembler in Applesoft BASIC

Adam has been making some great progress on his assembler in what is a textbook retrochallenge software project given that it involves implementing an assembler in BASIC on a retro-computer. I haven’t had much dealings with Apple kit and the Apple II is clearly loved. I do appreciate 6502 however for an aesthetic point of view (sorry but Z80 machine code is butt-ugly in comparison!) Congratulations on the great work so far!

epooch – Repair the Timex Sinclair 1000

Hey, I have harsh high pitched buzzing in my ears permanently – either a sign of old age or riding too many times on a motorbike at high speed! I like the sound of the second one better purely from a cool perspective. Ah ZX81 my impossibly little, tiny computer. Lots of good progress from epooch on his TS1000/ZX81 restoration. Given that this is a very consumer grade product this kind of project can be a real challenge regardless of the fairly low component count. Look forward to jumping at 3D Monster Maze when you get it going!

Paul Robson – recreate one or more of the Funtronics Handhelds

Paul up sticks and goes on holiday so no progress after the 6th although it looks like he may pull something out of the bag given his early wins. Anyone who has implemented Numberwang in Java deserves a medal in my book. Look forward to seeing what other madness he can come up with 😉

Legalize – HTTP server written in TECO

Talking of madness Legalize intends to pick up where he left off with this most ambitious (some would say foolhardy) projects. Given my love of exotic languages such as APL I hope we see some updates in the second half of the challenge.

RetroCosm – hook up some of my retro equipment to the Internet

Outrageously gorgeous photography, a hallmark of retrocom’s every RC entry, is in abundance again. A good combination of old computers and the techies favourite, the Raspberry Pi which is put to good use enabling a path to t’internet for the vintage kit. Good stuff as always.

urbancamo – Something with 7 segment displays

Oh, that’s me. Not a shiny example to aspire to I feel like I’m letting the side down! All sorts of RL issues have conspired thus far to make my RC entry a non-event. C-. Must try harder.

lizardb0y and Callum117 – RetroChallenge Summer (In the Dead Of Miserable Winter) Entry

Like myself this duo have either yet to get out of the starting block. Alternatively they have been too busy on their RC entry for blogging to date. We wait to see.

Luddite – Apple IIe web server

Luddite, one of the original RC organisers, appears to have been transfixed staring at the sky rather than knuckling down with his Apple II project but he does now appear to have located his computer so maybe we can expect some more progress over the coming weeks.

VintageVolts – Put together a complete TI-99/4A home system

A single blog entry on this project to date is redeemed by a couple of slick videos covering progress to date, together with suitably cheesy music. Looks like the system is coming together nicely, look forward to seeing some 300 baud action and playing.

Rob Sayers – Writing a Kim-1 Simulator

Rob’s not posted much progress to date on his simulator – I hope he managed to make some progress as this would be a great addition to the retro-community.

Egan Ford – WarGames’ 30th Anniversary Fun

Such a great idea, wish I’d thought of it! Sadly nothing reported so far.

Coronax – Breadboard computer using a 6502 processor

More 6502 love with a good project summary but no updates as of yet.

Michael Sternberg – Learn Italian with an Atari 400 and Apple II Nunchuck Interface

Some good info here on drive belt replacement (done this a few times in the Spectrum world) the Atari was one of those ‘I know someone who has one’ kind of computers to me. Look forward to more info on this system and some choice Italian phrases.

linville – Targeting the dunfield Micro-C Compiler to the Tandy

A previous RC winner John is following a similar formula with his regular high-quality blog posts. I’m glad I turned up the sound for his ‘winking face’, looks like he’s hit the classic problem of poor ROM routine performance. Look forward to reading more about his CoCo related fun.

Cosi – using the Psion for a whole month as a universal “digital companion”

Cosi provides a number of useful links and references for the Psion 3. I have one of these, and an early 5 (hindered by very poor screen contrast) and can vouch they are great little pocket computers.

Tom Van den Bon – create an external interface to the gameboy

No progress yet from Tom.

Rob – Sort out my attic and get the viewdata system up and running.

No progress yet from Rob.

Shelldozer – constructing a StickyMouse device

Good summary from Shelldozer of the intended project, madcap as ever. Hopefully he’s too knee deep in solder and wire clippings to post just yet.

Andy Collins – get my Thorn Emi Liberator running

Had the pleasure of meeting Andy recently at Silicon Dreams, not sure how the subject of Retrochallenge came up but it was good to put a face to a name. We can’t be too harsh on Andy as he’s a late entrant, and any info on this most exotic of UK computers will be welcome.

@oldcomputerclub – Install the TNFS (Spectrum file server) and Assembly development system

Just a single post to date but one showing promise for future progress and on a subject that I knew little about to date. Looks like Uncle Clive’s finest still have plenty of life left in them yet with the right add-on bits.

Twylo – An adapter to convert a VT100 terminal keyboard for use on a Mac

OK, so I must confess that this project ticks a lot of boxes for me personally: ☑ DEC Kit, ☑ Keyboards, ☑ Terminals, ☑ Breadboarding, ☑ Arduino. I recently used a Teensy arduino board to develop the laser/LED control mechanism for my Cyclops Visor and can attest to how much fun they are to program. Tywlo has done a fantastic job so far of documenting his project and you feel like you’ve been on a real journey with him as he delves into the mysterious world of asynchronous, bi-directional, full duplex comms over one transmission line. Good stuff! 👍

Comments Off on Half Time Roundup!