So it's been a while.May 28, 2020
So it's been a while since I've really been around. Hope you haven't missed me too much because i'm not back yet.
There's been a lot going on and not much being done about it.
if you have read my previous blog from may you will know i had a nerve block. Long story short here, it didn't work. In fact it seems to have made things worse.
Given that i'm pretty much maxed out on all of my current painkillers there's just no more wiggle room to provide me with any more pain relief. This is where the problem began, i noticed that my mood was shifting to more towards the antagonistic end of the spectrum.
This did start making an appearance here on temp and irl so i withdrew. I really didn't think it would be for quite so long.
I've always been the type of person that isn't easily upset and when i do get upset, you will be the last person to know about it. I've always managed to manage my anger internally and usually its a flash in the pan it's over.
A couple of weeks ago i was put on a new drug with the aim of reducing my pain. and all was well .. for a couple of weeks and it got in my system. Suddenly i would go in to blind rages over nothing and this could last for hours. i became so aggressive it wasn't funny and I couldn't see the changes until i caught myself in the middle of one of these rages an put two and two together. I stopped taking those tablets on saturday. Since sunday i've barely slept. Perhaps 2 or 3 hours at most down to how much pain im in.
There was a different part her but it got a bit too much.But right now i really just don't know what to do anymore. There doesn't seem to a light tunnel anymore and it just seems that everything i do to try and get my self back on my feet ends with me in a worse place than where i started.
TLDR :: No idea when i'll be back properly right now
Take care guys
Apologies and warningsMar 12, 2020
Greetings my fine furred guinea pig followers !
First I want to give a quick apology for my post in the Horizon Zero Dawn thread yesterday and while i don't regret the meaning of my words it could have been put a little bit more eloquently. I was very much stressing about the small operation that i went through today. Which brings me on to the warnings.
So today underwent a nerve block delivered by a guided injection into my nerves in my neck and the space where the disc lays. I actually had one of these along long time ago now or so it seems atleast and completely forgot what it was like. Initially once the right nerve had been find (and the needle was still in there it felt like the hole upper left side of my back and shoulder and throbbing and on fire, not just on fire but it felt like it was a supernova exploding there. Once the agents were injected it soon calmed down and my arm turned to ice and was pretty much numb for the next 8 hours. Trying to use my left arm was pretty much like playing surgery simulator I just had the broad strokes of moment and my arm felt lighter that it actually was so fun was had by all ... specially trying to pick up my ticket on the bus ... i missed twice ... but for now at least that has faded and has been replaced by the mother of all headaches.
This is probably going to be cycling for the next couple of weeks while my body adjusts to the nerve block, So I am probably going to be just slightly more grumpy and antagonistic but I will do my best to try and keep this to an absolute minimum.
But it is a bit of a relief to not have them all at once ... altho the numbness has been quite a while now as i found a moderate dose of Naproxen seemed to keep it at bay.
Anyway if you have any questions or comments as usual i will do my best to try and answer them
Next blog I'm kinda torn on what do do ... I'm tempted to finish the birth of the Amiga or do something about an old UK children's TV show or maybe it will just be something completely different
A wild blog appears !!!!Mar 6, 2020
Just a quick blog today. I really am trying to do my best just to keep active and about at the moment and just have one or two things i'd like to talk about before I head off for the night.
Firstly, after the 12th i may be a little more quiet than usual. Basically my appointment has come through for me to have a nerve block. This is a guided injection in my spine to more or less numb the surrounding nerves. This should reduce the pain I'm in but other symptoms will remain and its only a short term solution. It will wear off within about 9 months and with each injection i have it will last shorter and shorter. Hopefully they will be able to figure something out. Would be the 12 th tho wouldnt it ? 1 day after Ori and the will of the wisps is released
I've been thinking alot lately about my early work on the original xbox scene, emulation and why i left public projects pretty much completely. Now im got gonna mention my previous names or projects I worked on but i just want to kinda put out there why i stopped in the first place.
I always found working on that stuff quite fun and challenging. As a person im not me if i'm not working on something or other. And working on those sort of things, especially back then it really could be quite challenging. But then the project you are working on gets popular and it starts. "whens it out " "when's the next release ?" when when bloody when. I started at first just ignoring it. but as time wore on you couldn't sit in a chatroom without someone asking. so then you start banning them and some idiot gives out your email address and bam inbox full of just the one question. I just got sick of it. No matter where i went that one question was always there. It's not like i was doing this for fame or money, i was supposed to be doing it for fun and it just wasn't any more. So one day I just vanished. Every so often i will come across someone talking about me and it's always kinda strange " remember when XXX did this. whatever happened to him?" i just smile to myself and move on
Anyway I'm gonna go and garb some sleep while i can ... next week could get a little challenging haha
Final Fantasy 7 Remake ( Rant Warning)Mar 3, 2020
Final Fantasy 7 holds a special place in people's hearts, especially Europeans as it was their first* Final Fantasy. It came along at the a time when we were moving away from sprite based games and into the realms of polygons. At the time it had everything you wanted in an RPG, wonderful graphics, a fabulous story and amazing music. Back in the day it was rare to hear a bad word said about it. Back in the day of the PS2 there were even whispers on the wind of a FF7 remake. Fans have wanted it for such a long time now. It was inevitable that one day it would come to, Square Enix would mad not to, but, and this is a big but, they absolutely had to get it right.
I see people asking " why not 8 " or "why not 9" And the answer to that is that they probably will in time, but Final Fantasy 7 was one of the games that defined the Playstation and cemented Sony as a serious player in the console market. Had the N64 been CD based maybe all this would have been a very different story.
Square Enix knew they had a mammoth task in front of them as well as appeasing old fans of Final Fantasy 7 they needed to draw new fans in to the fold and to try and recapture the magic of the original. Have they been successful in doing this? Well I guess we are going to have to wait until April 10th to find out, but in my opinion they are certainly on the right track based on everything I have seen and read since it was announced. A lot of people seem to criticize Square Enix for making the game 'Episodic' to that I say a couple of things. When it was announced I think episodic was perhaps was a poor choice of words or if not said officially ( I honestly cannot remember) it was misconstrued what was meant (possibly by pundits trying to generate more click for their content). Final Fantasy 7 on it's own is a big game. You can easily sink 80 hours in to it and not see or experience everything and lets not forget the other games and media in the Final Fantasy 7 compilation.* To stand any chance of doing the source any justice at all, it had to be split up into parts. There is no escaping given what leaps in technology we have seen in gaming since the initial release and Square Enix wanting to not only remain true to the original, but expanding it, adding content back into the game that had to be cut either for technical or time constraints.
Another comment I see a lot is " oh its not turn based" to them I say it's 2020 and while I'm not saying that turn based games have no place in 2020,I love to play turn based games on a regular basis, but we have come along way since 1997. Back then it was all technical limitations and sticking to broadly what had come before with previous entries and introducing new system and elements. If you don't enjoy the more action focused gameplay then hey, they have a turn based mode just for you and if that still isn't enough you can just head on over to steam and pick up a copy of the Remaster of Final Fantasy 7* Throw the Remako mod on it maybe a add a character model/texture mod for good measure maybe one of the retranslation patches .
No one is going to force you to buy and play the Remake. If your not sure what to expect the wait. Wait for the reviews to come out or the price to drop. Yes I agree that timed exclusivity is a silly practice but as gamers we shoulder much worse practices in the industry*.
What I'm trying to say at the end of all this is games are meant to be enjoyed. I'm if Square Enix really wanted to fleece us they would have just shoehorned microtransactions or loot boxes in à la EA. They really want, No have to get this right. A game this high priority failing could easily spell the end of Square Enix, at least as we know them today. It's not just a game, it's their reputation, their future and their legacy.
Do I agree with a lot of the YouTubers out there that FF7R is gonna be a 10/10? No not in the slightest, mainly because as I have said in the past I don't think any game should be able to attain 10/10 ( And i feel scoring games like this is rather arbitrary ). The thing to remember about YouTube is that you if you over hype something or run it into the ground your gonna get more clicks. And more clicks means more money. It's in their interest to form strong opinions even just outwardly for clicks. The demo for me is pretty solid and like any other game has its flaws, for example, i found myself wrestling with the controller trying to find the correct button to issue a command, this tho is probably a me problem more than the game. The battle with the guard scorpion seemed a little grindy. It was more of a war of attrition than having to plan and attack, but then again this is very early game where you haven't got many options in terms of magic, summons and abilities.
Just don't be down on a game because it is different. Yes its not the same style Final Fantasy as it was 24 years ago, but hey, its not 1996. If we just play the same old things over and over our tastes are never going to evolve. It's a lot like when you are a kid and hate certain foods and love others. Now when i was a kid I loved white chocolate ( IT IS NOT CHOCOLATE!!!) and hated many vegetables but as i have grown my pallet has changed and I utterly detest white chocolate and find a lot of veggies (barring brussel sprouts and asparagus ) quite acceptable. Now i'm not gonna force anyone to play anything i like to prove a point but just give it a chance. If you don't like it you don't like it say you don't like it and move along. Don't go spitting half chewed veggies in my face because you think I shouldn't like it
Regardless on how things end up, the original game will always be special for me and its not going anywhere, If i want to go back and play the original just as I remembered it, i can. Final Fantasy 7 really did come at a time where everything was changing for me. Technoclogy was changing, the world was changing, I was changing and it will always be one of those games along with Breath of Fire 3, Suikoden, Suikoden 2 that i will always remember and hold close to my heart. Mainly because they were there for me when people weren't . Hopefully the remake will bring the world I once adventured across, alive once again and it will become a favorite too.
* We did get Mystic Quest but without the FF branding associated with it, and well Mystic Quest ( tho i actually like the game for what it is )
* Before Crisis (jp only), Crisis Core, Advent Children, Dirge of cerberus and On a way to a smile (book)
* I personally thought this was a bit of a missed opportunity to do a little more work on FF7 maybe tidy up the graphics a little more and do a few nips and tucks to the translation
* I'm looking at you Microtransactions and loot boxes in full priced games
happy birthday ...Mar 3, 2020
1 year old today !
For a relatively cheap keyboard this is fantastic.
Good array of lighting options, great sounding and great tactile feedback on the keys.
Could not really ask for more to be honest
Amiga 1200 UpdateFeb 29, 2020
o I felt that I should get this update done so you know where the Amiga is right now and what still needs to be done, I will try and keep everything in the order that it happened tho one or two things may get moved around a little due to my bad memory.
The very first thing I had to sort out was power. At this point I didn't know if the machine had any signs of life. Now the Amiga needs 3 power rails. +12, -12, and 5 Volts great I thought, and I headed off to eBay and ordered a switch mode power supply for £12 from China. The next problem is the connector. You see the Amiga range uses a proprietary square 5 pin din connector. So off to the interwebs I went. I quickly found that there is 1 person still producing these connectors .... great! not so great was the price of getting it to me. The connector itself cost only £8 but shipping was another £16 and I wasn't about to spend £24 for a connector. Another Option would have been to Change it to a round pin din connector whats 100% compatible with the connectors on the motherboard. It would have required desoldering the current connector and soldering in a new one. It would have been a pretty cheap and easy job to do, but would have ended up in a non-standard amiga. Another option at least for testing would have just to have been to solder the connections directly to the testing points. Again, this would have would have been non-standard but it would have bought me some time while I found an alternative. but in the end, I managed to find someone selling a broken amiga 500 power supply which I figured I could either completely repair or just use the connector from. The power supply inside had been butchered beyond all repair when I got it. looked like someone had just been poking around with a soldering iron. but I had the connector and the power supply on the way do time to play the waiting game. I would have preferred hungry hungry hippos but beggars can't be choosers
Then a package arrived. I wasn't expecting it but it turned up. I opened it and in there was a modern Amiga power supply and there was an invoice too for a second I thought that maybe I had started sleepwalking again and had ordered one ... then I looked at the name on the invoice ... it was SweetieLover70 again! This was a 60 Euro power supply, so after thanking him over and over again and chewing him out I did what needed to be done and plugged it in, plugged in the comp video and I held my breath ...
... it booted, not only to the insert disk screen but to the Amiga OS* GREAT! mission accomplished right? Nope we are just getting started!
And this is where things sat for a while. My understanding of German being rather basic (despite the GCSE in the subject) I could navigate the menus but that was about it and the lack of ram meant that I couldn't boot much. I did acquire a known working floppy from eBay for £1 it was a demo disc and the floppy drive after a bit of encouragement did boot.
It was at this point I started putting floppies from my collection in to the drive ... the results were not great. but what can you expect from 20 year old floppy disks ? I did open a couple of the disks up and looked to be either damaged or had stuff growing on them - so I just threw them away - It's a shame but there is still a little bit of hope of seeing some of my cracktros ... but that is for another blog.
Not long after checking the disks I attempted to boot from the HD again and I got the dreaded click of death. Damn - Oh well at least the ram isn't a pressing issue any more - I still have hope of fixing this drive one day but need a 44 pin IDE to usb /sata but again this is something for much further down the line.
So now I needed to replace the hard drive. This wasn't a big problem. I had 2 choices I could go with a compact flash adapter or I could go with an IDE to SD card adapter. After much umming and ahhing I chose to go with the SD card. Writing data isn’t going to be a major thing long term and the media is much cheaper and easier to find. I ordered the Adapter from Amiga kit (along with the RGB scart cable for a better picture) and began to make me an amiga image.
Oh boy is this the fun part. I ended up reading so many tutorials about getting Amiga OS 3.1 on a large hard drive. The problem is the largest natively the Amiga uses a very different file system from FAT32 or NTFS supported a max of 4gb partitions (FastFileSystem). Now there are newer file systems that have been developed like PFS but the kickstart rom still know how to handle them. Now I could have just upgraded the kickstarts to 3.1.4, but at £40 for just the licence that just wasn't on the cards. WinUAE is really my saviour here as it allowed me to play around and get things set up and create an image that the amiga could use. After 3 long weeks of relearning how the amiga worked I had an image that booted. The boot partition was small (100mb) and loaded Amiga OS then have the other partitions as PFS ... this worked but caused more problems. Without a long and lengthy explanation, the solution what ended up happening, how things now work is that the amiga starts loading but gets to a point where it loads the drivers for PFS then resets keeping the drivers resident in memory and reboots and loads in to the OS. The big problem is when booted and loaded I’m left with 88kb of ram to play with from 2mb :/ I could barely open preferences let alone run a file manager or game
I eventually managed to source some ram (not from fleabay this time) and ended up with 16 MB + 2mb on board chip ram. With this done I headed back to Emu for the next stage – Games. The problem with having an accelerated Amiga is just that, its accelerated. Playing games from floppy disks can be a bit hit and miss due to this.
The Amiga architecture is built on accurate timings and introducing an accelerator board messes with this precision. Thankfully the internet has us covered with WHDload. Hard drives in the past weren’t uncommon but not common enough for a lot of developers to add installers or the installers don’t work with newer versions of Amiga OS. WHDload was created to fill this void. While not a single loader, it’s a series of specifically tailored installers that allow games to run from a hard penis drive. A lot of work has gone in to it over the years and while it doesn’t cover all games it covers a huge library of games from the 500 through to the CD32 and CDTV. And then I realised there are some games that I wanted to play again that haven’t got WHDload installers because they are PD games.
Enter the Gotek Floppy emulator. I actually managed to snag one from fleabay for £10. It was “broken” but that’s because a flash of the Flash Floppy firmware failed and the guy didn’t know how to fix it – it was literally a 10-minute fix. Gotek Floppy Emulator if you’re not familiar with it is a replacement for the floppy drive that you can use a usb stick to load floppy disk images (ADF). The problem with with it is – It replaces the floppy drive :/ well that’s not the problem it’s that the interface, screen and two buttons are just inside where you would put in a floppy disk. This problem I fixed by moving the screen to the top of the Amiga and installing a rotary encoder to select the disk image. But it looked a real mess so I had a friend print me up a small enclosure for them for me trading the secrets of my dark art of making amiga images.
Whew!! I think that’s about it for what's happened so far … and now on to what I still need to do
Most important thing that needs doing is that it needs to be recapped. It’s a 30-year-old machine now and i've noticed that there are one or two graphical problems that are hard to explain but is definitely caused by a bad cap or two. Sadly, this isn’t something I can do for myself at the moment as I don’t have a hot air workstation at the moment. So, at some point in the not too distant future I will need to send him away to be recapped. It’s not really that expensive although if I had the equipment it would have cost me at most £15. However not having the equipment raises it to around £40 or so.
For this next one I need you to settle down and put away you pitchforks… I will be painting this Amiga. The main case will be a metallic red and the keys black with new decals applied. It will also get a new silver coloured metal case badge and the embossed Amiga logo will be painted white. This will be done sometime in the summer when I can leave things outside.
I will also eventually get a PCMCIA ethernet card so i can transfer files backwards and forwards a little easier especially since im planning on a couple of amiga projects
And of course, I’m still looking for a good quality Joystick, preferably a Zipstick or Competition pro but really any good quality micro switched Joystick will do.
And that’s about it. When its penised and recapped that will be the amiga complete. I mean there are a few minor things like case screws that I need to replace but that is so minor its barely worth mentioning.
For my next blog I think I will be doing something different and getting away from Commodore C= for a while. if you have any suggestions let me know ! As always if you have any questions or comments leave them below and I will get back to you as soon as I can
* I use Amiga OS rather than Workbench - as it’s like calling Windows 10 Desktop. Workbench is the metaphor the interface rather than its actual name. Although it was very very common back in the day to call it that it seems it’s no longer acceptable
Commodore : The final yearsFeb 17, 2020
Commodore made some fabulous music and Lionel Richie should be very proud machines. The PET, VIC-20, C64, Amiga*, but one of their major problems is that they couldn't learn from their mistakes. Today we will be focusing on the later end of the timeline where quality control and thought in products had been thrown out and replaced with anything that could generate money as quickly as possible with the smallest amount of effort.
Part 1: Standing on the shoulders of giants
The Commodore 64 GS (Game System)
What is it?: It's an 8 bit games 'console' based on the popular C64 computer.
Release date: 1990
Now when I say based on, I mean it IS a C64 with no keyboard and no ability to hook up a tape or disc drive. This is where the fun begins. As we all know a console is only as good as the games that it comes with. One of the ‘killer games’ of the time for the C64 was Terminator 2 and to this day still a pretty big deal for the C64. But the problem is it was also released for the GS. How is that a problem you ask? Well lazy developers/publishers is the answer, as you couldn’t actually play the game on the GS as it was a direct port from the C64 with no changes and this game requires you to press 1 to start so you couldn't play it as you needed to use a keyboard get past the title screen. Also, the games cost £40 and there weren't many specially coded games for the system, just the same games you could buy on tape for 7.99(or less by this time) on tape repackaged on a cartridge and flogged for 40 notes. It's also important to note this is the same year that the SNES was released in Japan! Needless to say, it completely bombed most of those bought were returned to Commodore and they were turned back into C64s
Part 2 : Second verse same as the first
CDTV (Commodore Dynamic Total Vision)
What is it?: In Commodore's own words it’s a home multimedia entertainment and video games system.
Release Date: 1991
Format: Compact Disc
Having not learned a single thing from the C64 GS, Commodore unveiled the CDTV. It's an Amiga 500 with a CD-ROM drive and no floppy drive or keyboard. This machine was a probably responsible partly for the CDI and “home multimedia” explosion and faired just about as well. Although the machine was built on solid hardware sadly the market for a multimedia system was just not there at this point. We lacked the experience and the technology to truly drive multimedia revolution at this point. No one was quite sure where this would fit in in the home. Does it belong in the office or the living room? Is it something for the business person or the family? They just didn't know and no one at the time knew so they attempted to cater to everyone and no one was pleased.
Another problem with the system is that although solid, the Amiga 500 was discontinued and obsolete. Many people still loved the hardware but why would they drop ££499 ($999 in the USA) for essentially a A500 with a CD ROM drive and few original titles that used the CDROM?
Like the GS, the CDTV's library was mostly comprised of software already available to the Amiga 500 with some straight ports, while some offered some slightly better graphics and sound. The remainder were just crapware and educational titles.
A floppy drive and keyboard were also available for CDTV to turn it in to what equated to a A500+ but that came with problems too. The 500+ changed a few things including the OS (aka Kickstart ROMS) and moving from OCS (Original Chip Set) to ECS (Enhanced Chip Set). This created quite a lot of incompatibilities with some older games which would just end up crashing ( This was an issue for all later Amigas had ) but there was a solution at hand you could downgrade your Temporarily using the ReloKick - This software loaded in the old version of the Kickstart rom in to memory, allowing the running of games that were incompatible with the new version.
During the time that these machines were sold, Commodore actually wanted to distance themselves from the Amiga branding and pushed for them to be displayed away from the 'computer' sections of stores. Which really didn’t help matters and just pushed people away from buying the system as most stores who would bow down to commodores demands ended up with the system at the back of the store with HiFi equipment and hidden from public gaze
Part 3: The final nail
Commodore Amiga CD32
What is it?: It's a 32-bit CD based games console
Release date: 1993
Format: Compact Disc
Before we dive in to the main bulk of this this is something we need to get out the way first. A lot of people attribute this as the first 32-bit CD based games system. Sadly, this is only a half truth. In fact, the first 32-bit CD based games system has to the FM Towns Marty**, but that was never released in the west so, the CD32 can proudly say it was the 32-bit CD based games system in the west.
Like the CDTV and C64 GS, the CD32 is essentially an Amiga 1200 in a new form factor with a CD ROM drive. It suffered from exactly the same problems as the previous machines. The games were quick ports of existing Amiga games, usually with CD soundtracks and some FMV thrown in for good measure. This time it wasn’t as simple as connecting a CD drive to the Amiga 1200. With a little time though ways were found around this by emulating the Akiko Chip, but an add-on CD drive was in development which included a breakout board which fitted in the trapdoor of the Amiga 1200 with an Akiko chip. Only 2 of the drives are still known to exist, but sadly the expansion board has been lost to time.
The CD32 was actually quite successful in the UK initially. With over 50% of CDROM market belonging to Commodore, beating out both the Sega MEGA CD and the PC-CD ROM markets. To further this, a hardware add on was released that allowed the playback of MPEG video, turning the CD32 into a VCD playback machine.
The CD32 was also used to run interactive museum exhibits at the London Transport Museum as well as being used in arcade machines (9 original games are known to exist).
But this is where things soured for Commodore. Although the CD32 had been released in the Canada and promised to be released in the USA in 1994 there was a problem. Commodore had lost a lawsuit and it was time to pay up. Sadly, at this point they simply didn’t have the funds to do so. A Federal judge placed an injunction against Commodore forbidding them from importing anything in the United States and with their consoles being produced in the Philippines they only had one option. The blindfold was put on and the last cigarette was smoked, Commodore filed for bankruptcy and that was that.
Part 4 : The funeral
Something went on for a while after and now has be calved up and sold to the highest bidder but has yet to rise from its grave in any meaningful way. The sad fact is by 1990 Commodore was done. Most of its talented engineers had jumped ship and left for pastures new. The finances were in a bad shape and commodore bosses just didn't know which way to turn. Given the choices of creating something new, squeeze out the C65 prototype with few engineers who really knew what they were doing and having very limited resources or trying to new life out of old systems for less and find.
It’s funny to think the end of Commodore International could have sparked a new beginning for Commodore UK with David Pleasance at the helm trying to save at least the Amiga brand with at least 2 products that could have revolutionised and complimented the current range of Amigas. But sadly, his attempts were met with a lot of backstabbing from former Commodore International staff which led not only to the demise of both the Commodore and Amiga brands but the demise of a Chinese manufacturing company.
It is important to say that there really is no one reason why Commodore failed, there are a lot of factors to consider. Things are rarely black and white as to why they go the way they do. What I have briefly outlined here is just a few of the events that led up to their demise from the customer's perspective. I've never really delved much into the business side, who knows maybe I will one day but I’m not really a business guy. I imaging given the characters involved there was a lot of greed, backstabbing and betrayal.
As always please feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer. My next blog will probably end up being an update on how I’m getting on with my Amiga 1200, what's been happening with it and how close it is to being fully functioning again. Not gonna lie there have been a couple of roadblocks on this and a couple of crappy ebay sellers.
*The Original Amiga wasn't actually developed by Commodore, but by Amiga Incorporated (Formerly Hi-Toro ) a bunch of ex-atari and activision staff that wanted to make a games console that would blow our minds - which they did, with Commodore's help do but this is a story for another day and also the story of how it was almost the Atari Amiga.
** This one of those Atari Jaguar moments which sees this topic even today be argued about (what can I say Commodore Fanboys do still exist haha) but the CD32's 68EC020 is 32-bit both internally and externally. Whereas the 386SX in the FM Towns Marty is only 32-bit internally with 16-bit bus externally. In my opinion this is rather nit-picky but important to note all the same
A GBAtemp MysteryFeb 6, 2020
Before I start I would just like to say a big thank you to whoever has done this and it has to be one of you guys and I just don't know who.
So as you may have noticed I've been more than a little quiet around here of late. I've been dealing with a lot of stuff both physically and mentally and struggling to come to terms with what's been going on. A long story very very short I've been told that there is nothing currently they can do for me medically long term. This means I will probably never be able to return to work or lead a 'normal' life. Just typing that has me tears again, somehow making it feel more real. Short term there is the option of having a nerve block, this is an injection in the spine around the affected area that will numb the nerve but the more of them I have the less effective they become and shorter they last.
To be honest I feel completely lost as to what to do with my life, but this isn't why I'm here today.
So this morning I woke up and checked my emails as normal, just making sure there is nothing that needed my attention urgently and i was greeted with this :
They had donated £103
I sat there for a moment wondering if my eyes were playing tricks on me. Nope £103.
To say I am shocked at this is an understatement.
Now I set up My Ko-fi page for youtube/twitch but never published the link there because lately, I just haven't been in the frame of mind to have made any videos/streams and the only place I have a link to my page is in my signature here, which I added more for symmetry of the signature than the hope of anyone actually using it.
This really couldn't have come at a better time. Not for me but for my guinea pig Max. Recently we noticed he was dragging his back legs around the cage rather than actually using them to walk. It turns out that he has managed to injure his back leg so its easier for him to drag both of his legs around rather than try and walk on 3 legs, he has been given painkillers for the next couple of months while it heals up and is also being given daily extra vitamin C and calcium. But while we were at the vets he did a full check up on him and found that his back teeth had grown over the back of his mouth ( ill spare you the pictures of what this looks like ) but that would eventually stop him from eating. This means that they will need have a small operation to have the teeth clipped back and filed down, this has its risks he's a small animal and they dont do with sedatives and anesthetics, but it's better to take the risk now while his is still strong and still eating than to wait till he's stopped and is a lot weaker. He was booked in regardless for the operation for tuesday It was going to have been a huge financial struggle to find the money to pay for it but now it's been taken care of.
There just aren't the words to say how thankful I am to whichever one of you donated that money. It really does mean a lot. I really would like to thank whichever one of you it was properly. If you don't want to come forward publicly please PM me because I really would like to thank you personally.
A very special Christmas giftDec 24, 2019
Friday, I had a package delivered and in that package was something I had wanted again, for a long long time. But before we get to the box and its contents, I just want to give a big thank you to the person that sent me this. It is someone here on GBAtemp. I'm not sure if you want to be named so I will call them SweetieLover70, but thank you so very very much. I know I have said this over and over again in PM's but that this really means a lot to me. When that PM came in out of the blue, I just sat there looking at the post for a good 10 minutes before I could even process it. I didn't think there was any kind and generous people left in the world and with the way my health has been lately I had been struggling quite a lot and this is really what I needed. So once again SweetieLover70, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you so very very much. You have not only made my Christmas, but my year too.
Now I know what the rest of you are thinking;
it is of course ...
An Amiga 1200.
What's so special about an Amiga 1200 I hear you ask? Well this was pretty much where I got my start with computers. It's where the spark came from that ignited the flame that become a profession and a hobby. The foundation for this was always there, being bought up with the spectrum and C64 but the Amiga is where it all got real.
I come from quite a large family 3 Brothers and 2 sisters with everyone being older than me other than 1 younger sister. So, I was a middle child. My parents didn’t love me any less, just kind of got overshadowed by my younger sister and there was quite an age gap between me and my youngest, older brother, but nevertheless I kind of latched on to him for attention and constantly raided his stuff. I would have been about 5 or 6 when he brought home an Amiga 500 with 1mb expansion. It was like WOW to me it was like having an Arcade in my home. I’ll never forget the first time he let me play with it on my own. I can even remember the game. Dynamite Dux. As I say this was the first time, I had ever used Floppy (3 ½ inch) disks. I picked up the disk reverently and offered it up to the drive waiting for the magic to happen. And waited. And nothing. I was used to tape at this point and had just put the disk just enough for the drive to hold it but it wasn’t actually in and was afraid to apply any pressure out of fear of breaking it. So, I did what any 6-year-old would do playing with their brother’s expensive computer. I ran to get my mum. My mum being my mum had absolutely no idea, but just pressed it further in to the drive and click! The game loaded and I was happy for the night.
As time went on my brother continued getting new games (pirated of course) and I continued playing. Occasionally id bug my brother about X game and not being able to get past a level or a boss and he would tell me to check out the docs disks. These Docs disks were disks that were made by groups like LSD and contained walkthroughs, cheats, programming how to crack software, I believe that my brother also owned a copy of Jolly Rogers Cookbook (AKA the Anarchists Cookbook) but that’s not really applicable here haha. But I started reading these discs. It started with as I said just walkthroughs and cheats but life in a small town can get boring and rainy days are never fun so I would start reading a vast array of topics and trying things out.
And then a fateful day came. Monkey Island had just been released and my brother had bought what he had assumed was a cracked copy but turned out to be a 1:1 copy with the copy protection (dial-a-pirate) intact.
He’d bought it from some muppet on a car boot so he had no chance of getting his money back. By this point I had been reading though these disks for months (if not a year at this point) and although I didn’t understand everything, I thought what did I have to lose? The game was worthless to my brother and we had everything we needed, an amiga Action Replay and a hex editor (from an Amiga cover disk) So I set about cracking the secret of monkey island. Now I will skip over a lot of the details or I would be here forever but the basics of it is I would use the Action replay to dump the memory at the dial a pirate screen to another blank disk and compare what had changed and what hadn’t, then I basically bodged the game to generate the same ‘face’ every single time. Still had a problem tho. I didn’t have a code wheel not a big problem I just borrowed one from a friend for 5 seconds while I was around their house and that was it. My first adventure in cracking was done. It all just bloomed from there really, I started getting deeper and deep into programming and learning the limitations of the machine. As I sold copies of games to friends and in the school yard, I would plough that money back in to new games. I taught friends who were interested in cracking how to do it and eventually we teamed up and formed a group … U.I.A.A.D. Eventually my brother upgraded to the 1200 and the 500 was mine. I enjoyed playing the games still but often spent a lot of time writing my own tools and seeing how others had cracked certain games.
Eventually the 500-scene died and I was back to bugging my brother for his machine, which eventually he just gave to me. And I enjoyed everything about the Amiga and that’s how things went of course all things must come to an end and around 1995 or 1996 I moved on to the PC and pirating PS1 games with the a U.I.A.A.D boot screen (I have no idea if any of these still exist.)
The last time I used an actual amiga was around 1999. The keyboard on my 1200 had died and I packed it away and put it in the loft. I’ve fixed other peoples amigas and played amiga games in emulation. But its never quite been the same. And I should say at this point that the 1200 never had any upgrades done to it. And the 500 just had the 1mb ram upgrade. There were some pretty cool (for the time) upgrades for the 1200 but although I had money from piracy, I did other things with the money that won’t be discussed here.
The Present Amiga
I’ve wanted another Amiga for many, many years now. As I have said I can play any Amiga game anytime I like through emulation but you never get the same experience with emulation as you do with the real hardware. It’s the sound of the disk drive motor and lights on the console it’s just not the same.
While the Amiga was in the post to me, my biggest concern was its condition. These machines are now nearly 30 years old, with the first Amiga 1200 rolling out of the factory in 1992 and they suffer from all the same things as all 30-year-old electronics do: leaky capacitors, damaged motherboards, lifted traces, perished belts (disk drive). The list could go on. But when it arrived it had none of these problems. The motherboard was clean and damage free, the capacitors seem in good condition (although will be replaced at some point in the not too distant future more on that shortly) and came with IDE hard drive, capacity unknown but its not uncommon to have a 8gb HDD with two 4gb partitions and a Phase 5 Blizzard 1230 mk III accelerator board (no ram).
The Future Amiga
There is one tiny little problem at the moment. I actually don’t have an Amiga power supply. Supplying power isn’t too much of an issue in itself. It uses 3 rails, +12, -12 and +5 which is quite easy to get out of a triple output switch mode power supply. The issue only really came up when I tried to get myself a reproduction of the square DIN plug. In the Low end amiga range 500,500+,600 and 1200 as well as the C128 Commodore in their infinite wisdom decided to use a proprietary 5 pin square DIN. No silly, standard round DIN plugs for the Amiga oh no! When I was initially thinking about it before I received the amiga I figured I would just solder on to the test points and run the cable though the rear expansion port. Then I received it and realised that would literally be a crime for such a wonderfully preserved amiga. Now you can get replacements from pretty much 1 man and because they are from one man you are pretty much bent over a table and taken from behind not on the cost of the item itself, but the postage. The item itself only costs about £6 the postage was £15! Fuck that! That’s £21 before I buy the actual power supply, the 5 and 3 core flex and the Great British (possibly the world’s greatest) 3 pin plug. So, I took to eBay and found a dead Amiga 500 power supply for £14 including postage
Now I should mention that the Amiga 1200 was a mistake. Just one of the many mistakes that caused the downfall of Commodore. After Jack Tramiel left, Commodore Seemed to adopt a “People will like what we tell them to like” attitude and cut costs wherever they could, often to the detriment of the products themselves. This led to them making the same mistakes over and over again. For instance, they released a multimedia system to compete with the likes of the 3DO and CDI the CDTV. It was literally an Amiga 500 with a CDROM drive and no keyboard. And they would not allow stores to sell them alongside the Amiga range, insisting that it should be placed as far away from them as possible. They later repeated this with the CD32 which was an Amiga 1200 again with a CDROM drive and without the keyboard and floppy drive. The reason I say that the Amiga 1200 was a mistake is that they halted the development of the AAA chip instead cannibalising it and creating the AGA chipset. They also skimped on components especially with the Power Supply. Without going in to barmy amounts of technical details, the original power supply was only just about powerful enough to run a stock Amiga 1200. This was in fact a massive failure point for a lot of 1200’s. My power supply will be more than capable of running the HDD (at least initially) and Blizzard accelerator.
Video isn’t a big issue as the 1200 comes with component output baked in. For testing this is fine. Eventually though this will be upgraded to a SCART output once I have proved it working.
One of the reasons I wanted an Amiga again is that I wanted to preserve my Cracks and Cracktro’s from back in the day. It may not mean a lot of anyone else but to me its part of my personal history. The current plan is to back up every disk I own (around 2000) and then make a freely distributable, version of the cracktros for anyone who is interested. But there is a big axe hanging over this. The last time these disks were read was 20 years ago and these disks were not the finest examples of floppy disks to begin with. The HDD will be replaced with a Compact Flash or SD adapter so I can more easily transfer the images over to PC I will replace the Floppy drive with a Gotek floppy emulator.
Next thing on the chopping block are the Kickstart ROMs, the ones currently installed are v40.68 (3.1) by installing the latest ROMs I’ll be able to install a newer version of Workbench and have some more modern features (but not too modern … I hate what they did with Amiga OS 4 Final). This will allow me to add a DVD/CD drive (so it’s essentially a CD32) and some other bits and pieces.
From a cosmetic stand point, I did consider briefly towering the Amiga up (It was very popular back in the day ) to allow for further expansion, but this for me atleast, would spoil it for me so I will be doing something that will put my mark on the machine, but I will save the details on that for later
In the event that I can’t get the Amiga working there is a second route I think I could take. I have an amiga floppy drive and I think with the aid of a raspberry pi and a bit of jiggery pokery I should be able to read the disks.
As for the rest of the amiga if I end up going this route, I will be using it as a Raspberry PI case with the Keyboard being used as a USB with the help of a KeyRar v2 .
Well folks, that’s about it for now. I thank you for making it this far I know that it has been a bit of an avalanche text and pictures ( No I wasn’t channelling my inner Fast6191), I hope you enjoyed it though, and I wish you and your families a wonderful Christmas and the happiest of new years!
As always if you have any questions please ask and comments are always welcome!
Isn't that just the cutest little soldering station you have ever seen!Dec 11, 2019
And the guinea pigs not bad either
Full review on the soldering station coming soon ! When I actually get the damned power supply
Taking a couple of days awayDec 8, 2019
Long story as short as possible, I'm taking a couple of days away from 'temp and a online in general.
I've been awake and unable to sleep now for about 35 hours or so and that on top of painkillers quite a lot to contend with.
If I don't return please avenge my death
Take care folks
Projects Update - December '19Dec 6, 2019
Well it's that time of year again when I must take stock of on going projects and what better place to come up with excuses to why I haven't been doing stuff than GBAtemp !
As much as I would have loved to have a lot more content out right now, it just hasn't been possible - Health has really been a big issue here and i just haven't been felt up to switching persona's and being all bright, cheerful and sarcastic. I've been put on a new diabetic medication and it has really knocked me for 6. I was expecting a gradual decrease in my blood sugar levels but this stuff has just tanked it. It was too the point where it was sending me too far the other way. So I have had to monkey around with my other meds to balance it out. When your blood sugar goes from 12.5 to 3.4 your body just sits there screaming what the fuck dude. Y'all be happy to hear that it's now leveled out around 6.1 which is in the normal range. But all this has been on top of copious amounts of Codeine and Morphine to treat pain so I have been more than a little out of it the last couple of weeks. And if i have misunderstood anyone then i'm sorry. Despite lack of content I have gained more than a handful of subscribers so someone somewhere seems to be liking what I have been doing. Also for whatever reason the second part of the Secret of Monkey Island playthrough seemed to be cursed. I had to have recorded it at least 4 times and even when i managed to record and edit it, it just didn't seem like my best work. I'll get there.
Project 108 :
Still not titled and I don't care at least for now. There isn't really too much of an update other than coming up with a couple of systems to implement. The bigger of the two is how the economy will work. Basically there will be 2 main factors at play here. What is happening with the story and what the player is doing. So if in the story for instance, trade routes get blocked off for some reason, prices of weapons and armour with rise until the block has been resolved one way or another. In the case of player actions, if the player starts grinding for item X and selling them at a town then the price the town will buy them at will also lower. This will all tie in to your main base too.
IBM 5150 :
Not much I can do at the moment - The machine requires a full recap and the power supply requires a replacement, but It shouldn't be too difficult to get it to the spec the client wants.
People are strangeDec 2, 2019
So I just had the weirdest phone conversation with someone repaired a C64 for, but before I get to that I should explain a little. When I get a machine in first thing I do is create it a log book - basically a little book that can follow round with the machine that says what's been done by me, what I can definitely has been done in the past and anything I would recommend in the future on the back page. This is usually attached to the machine somewhere inside out of the way or if there is no room then it's just handed to the client (I will usually give them a second copy anyway)
Anything that's in the recommended I always talk to the client about because it's here and rather than them sending it back to me in 6 months time, I can just get it out the way. As I say this is all discussed.
Anyway so this guy's C64 comes in for not booting, brown screen. so he sends it in I socket and replace the damaged chip. I do a little cleaning and other bits and pieces of testing. Came down the capacitors on the board were starting to bulge - a sure sign that they are gonna no shortly and and the power supply were sending out some odd (but not out of tolerance or dangerous) voltages. So I called him up and tell him the problem has been fixed but you also have these issues. He said not to worry he already had a new supply coming and would get it recapped at a later date. So I close it up, ship it back, jobs a good un ,life's good.
***6 months later***
Him angry) is this Uiaad ?
Me: yeah, how can i help ?
Him : My C64 isn't working your work is crap
Me: Sorry who is this ?
Him : this is AngryDude
Me: Has the chip gone again ?
Him : No it wont turn on at all and when i was playing it last night i heard a pop and it turned off and now it wont turn on
Me: did you get the caps and power supply replaced ?
Him : you said you did it.
Me: No, I said it needed doing
You: You said you did it and this book said you did it
Me: Did you pay for me to do it ?
Him : No but ...
Me: What does it say at the top of that page ?
Him : Future Recommend...
Me: That's right. Not under work completed. If you want to ship it to me I will gladly fix it
Him: I'm not paying for it
Me: If you don't pay then i'll just refuse delivery. I've done exactly what I said I'd do and you paid for that service. Nothing more nothing less.
Him : I'm gonna sue you fucking c**t you fucking piece of shit
Me: Well I wish you the best of luck with that.
and I hung up.
I just don't get people like that ... I really really don't. It's not even like I charge the earth either. I charge for parts, shipping a very tiny amount on top for my labor. If they had gone anywhere else they would have easily been charged between 5 and 10 times what I do. The only time they pay a little more is if i end up creating some custom parts or they buy a hand created product. A good example of this would be if he had wanted a new power supply, he wouldn't have just been paying for the time to assemble and fit the new one (its retro-fitted inside the old power supply which is a pain in itself ) he'd have been paying for the time to develop and my experience.
As far as angry dude goes tho I'll give him a week and then give him a call see if he's cooled off and if he can talk like a decent person if, not i'll just lose his number
It's that look of betrayal in their eyes ...Nov 30, 2019
Grumblings (Part 1)Nov 27, 2019
This would have been a profile post but it's too long so it's going here instead ...
Why does everyone with a camera think they are a semi-professional photographer? I don't run around with abit of hose pipe pretending to be a firefighter do I ?