Peter's site blog

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  • 2021
    • November
      • LBA 48bit vs 28bit BIOS support and DOS/Windows 98 FAT32 limits
        As you know for sure, LBA (logical block addressing) comes in two flavors, the early 28bit LBA implementation and the later LBA 48bit.
        LBA is not implemented for early PCs (but approx. since Intel 80386 CPU PCs raised), and unfortunately also later sold PCs have often only 28bit BIOS support.
    • August
      • Ontrack Disk Manager adventures
        Ontrack Disk Manager can be used with hard disk vendor branding, but it doesn't matter if you own a drive from this vendor.
        E.g. if you find >a version 6.03 with "Conner Peripherals" branding<, it can be used with a Seagate drive ;-)

        This is the main menu:

      • Comparison of free memory for an old IBM PC/XT compatible system
        All big numbers are "Bytes". Nothing else loaded, no keyboard driver a.s.o.

        MS-DOS 1.25 : 642784 english
        MS-DOS 2.00 : 628688 english
        MS-DOS 2.11 : 630784 english
        MS-DOS 3.00 : 616720 english
        MS-DOS 3.10 : 616800 english
        MS-DOS 3.20 : 609984 english
    • March
      • Hard Disk Imaging Utility for (very) old PCs - now in beta status
        Because I was still searching for a small hard disk imaging software which can run on a IBM PC/XT also (no need for EMS or XMS, no need for a better processor than 8088), and can be used with a parallel ZIP drive (e.g. with PalmZIP for PC/XTs), but not finding anything useful, I developed my own HDD

    • February
  • 2020
  • 2019
    • December
      • Merry XMAS and a happy new year 2020 !
        While surfing around and looking for a nice xmas demo, I found a 64KB DOS demo from an event named "The Party" in 1996. It has a nice soundtrack and it has some action on the screen ;-)

        See related link below for a download possibility.

    • September
      • A real classic computer game - ELITE ... worth to be revisited !
        This is really a classic computer game, famous or at least well known, but nowadays almost forgotten. ELITE was one of the first open world game for PCs and home computer.
        That means almost eternal game fun/game play, if you want.
        Published from Acornsoft in 1984 first, Ian Bell and David

    • August
      • Further tests with Concurrent DOS 386 3.0 (still with PCem)
        Another test round. Tried it first with an emulated 486. Didn't worked.

        Then, I choosed to emulate a Compaq Desktop 386, which was somewhat a success.
        You have to look for a SETUP disk first, because there is no "build in BIOS setup".
        I still got a "memory mi

      • Some tests with Concurrent DOS XM 6.01 running with PCem
        Because I was curious about the capabilities of Concurrent DOS XM 6.x running on a PC/XT clone (emulated with PCem), I tested a few things.
        I was able to install it using PCEm 14 on an emulated hard disk drive (20MB), it looks not too unusual:


        Pressing ESC let yo

    • July
      • My Yodobashi (Microvoice) Formula-1, with build-in eprom programmer
        This is a *very* nice portable CP/M computer, really rare and perhaps unknown for many, but still worth to be mentioned. It has a Z80 CPU running at 4 MHz, has a build-in eprom programmer (up to 27128) and, like many other CP/M computer, 64KB RAM. It has two 40 track double sided floppy drives (~ 34

      • Bondwell 8T and the Expanded Memory Mystery
        Recently I got also a Bondwell 8T, which is an early PC/XT compatible Laptop (with LCD display, but still heavy). It has a nice keyboard, and I got also an external floppy drive (Model 112B) for it.

        This laptop has a special unique feature, it has a chipset, which make it possible to use

    • June
      • Gaby's CP/M Forum will move...
        ... so be sure to visit the new URL .
        Although it's german I am sure also english speaker can write entries and will get an answer in english for sure, if necessary.
        Her old forum will be converted into a static web page.

    • May
      • The truth about LS-120 (aka SuperDisk) media (all of them are preformatted...)
        Years before I bought a "SuperDisk" drive (USB) for the older Power Macintosh series. I got it with a Macintosh formatted medium.
        A few month before I got an Matsushita / Panasonic ATAPI LS-120 drive. I tried to use it together with a SATA-to-IDE adapter in my modern Intel i7-4770K PC

      • Micromint SB180FX resurrected ... and it's running well
        After I got some CP/M machines last year, I had no time to check and test them.
        I swapped the Portable CP/M machine already against 2 Microprofessor MPF-1, and the TCS Genie IIIS didn't work (a bit oxidized socketed ICs on the mainboard could be the reason).
        But I had luck, my fastest

    • April
    • March
      • Fastest 8086 PC ever: NEC PC-98DO+ (not an AT nor 386, but with 16MHz)
        Not well known in Europe, but in Japan: The fastest 8086 PC ever is a NEC PC-98DO+ (one of the later models of the PC-9801 series), build around 1990.
        The PC has a NEC V33A CPU running at 16 MHz, which is something between a 8086 and a 80186, but not an AT compatible (or higher). It has an EGA

    • February
    • January
      • The real first IBM PC: The (almost portable) IBM 5100 !
        Most of us can't remember this "PC" (no, not an Intel PC, of course).
        But it even has elements (parts) which are similar to the first IBM PC (e.g. the power switch).
        In 1973, a prototype for programming APL was build, named SCAMP.
        IBM developed it further to the Model 5

  • 2018
    • December
      • Merry XMAS and a happy new year 2019 !
        I wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year 2019 !

        Btw. There is an Amiga demo existing, which contains digitalized singing ("Leise rieselt der Schnee", means "silenty is falling the snow") and a colorful picture showing a lot of Santa's ... but it's an

      • Very interesting... an authentic conversion of the Taito Invaders in QBASIC !
        It is crazy what can be done with QBASIC (for DOS).
        Even the "original" Taito Invaders game, having a *real authentic* look, can be implemented in QBASIC. While looking for GWBASIC samples, I found also some QBASIC samples.
        This one was the best one I ever found. It runs with any

    • November
      • A rare ECB System: Elzet/P (Elzet-80 series) - Z80 portable in industrial case
        Today I want to show you a meanwhile really rare ECB Z80 system from 1982. It has a ECB-backplane, so many ECB-cards (like the important Z80 CPU Card, the RAM and the FDC-card, and last but not least also a VIDEO-80 (terminal) card) can take place.
        The systems exists also in a desktop case, but

      • Elektor SC/MP system, now the real pictures
        CPU (SC/MP 8A/500D aka INS 8050)

        I/O board

        keypad (self made, not the original pcb)

        The related link points to the Elektor site with the related article overview.

      • Elektor ("Elektuur") SC/MP - the real device and the emulator
        Somebody told me his father had experimented with the SC/MP processor many years ago, so I pleased him to look after this again. He found the "archived" boards, and now he handed over this to me. This is great, because the CPU is already about 43 years old, and very rare.
        I will try t

    • October
      • Raped IBM PC/XT on Youtube, ignorance for details at it's best
        Some people might have cool ideas, also to modify originals for a new functionality.
        If someone try to modify an original IBM PC/XT to implement a new PC in it, it might be still worth to mention it, especially if the conversion to a modern PC is subtle (not intrusive).
        So if someone do th

    • September
      • Finally I managed to re-activate my Central Point Option Board...
        It works now, but it was quite a high effort to get it running.
        First, I had to figure out that a Compaq Portable has REALLY not much space inside.
        I added first a 256KB RAM card, because otherwise some software can't be started with only 256KB RAM (on board).
        But then I recogniz

      • And another CP/M chess program: MYCHESS 2.3
        Btw. another strong playing chess program for CP/M is MYCHESS.
        The latest version is 2.3(b). It comes with a configuration program (MYCONFIG.COM).
        At least you can change the cursor positioning ESC sequence, which makes it possible to place the pieces on the right screen position ;-)

      • Ancient chess programs: Sargon and Sargon 2
        Well, usually chess programs must have a beautiful user interface to be played, as well as playing chess very well (so not only "Minimax" algorithm, but also some openings).
        Looking back to these old days of CP/M computers, screen graphics were rare and properitary programmed. Usually

    • August
      • REVERSI - A QBASIC program from 1990 ... playing stronger as you think
        Almost every Windows 3.x user knows REVERSI aka OTHELLO as a 16-Bit Windows game.
        But Microsoft published the same game also as a QBASIC game.
        QBASIC was part of MS-DOS 5.0, development of MS-DOS 5.0 reached beta level in 1990.
        I was curious and tested REVERSI.BAS from that MS-DOS 5.0

    • June
      • VGACOPY is running again - but not with the Pentium 200 CPU...
        It seems that something is very different with the Pentium 200 Board (in a 430FX mainboard).
        I exchanged the ASUS P55TP4 with a SOYO SY-5EAS5 board, and plugged in an AMD K6-2/400AFR CPU. Surprisingly VGACOPY is running again (reading a 360KB floppy disk in a 360KB floppy disk drive), but HD-CO

    • May
      • Cont'd test of disk copy programs (Part 5)
        Last but not least I tested Disk Copy Fast and Disk Copy Plus, which seems to be almost the same (the first one is the shareware version, the second one seems to be the full version).

        Both are working very well, even with the 360KB floppy drive in my Pentium machine.

        A true exc

      • Cont'd test of disk copy programs (Part 4)
        Now the rest of the "gang". QCOPY Professional works quite ok, Blitzcopy seems to be the same but is a trial version for it. It can be used without loaded mouse driver (pressing the TAB key very often), although it's a lot of easier to use it with a mouse.


      • Cont'd test of disk copy programs (Part 3)
        So I tested also X-COPY from Cachet Software, see below "related link" for a download link.
        This seems to be only copying unprotected disks, with some program failures, too :-(
        It looked very nice, still:

        The version I tested copies, depending on your choise "FATC

      • Cont'd test of disk copy programs (Part 2)
        This is HD-COPY, the status information can be found in the lower right corner:

        It's NOT working with the Pentium 200 PC, like VGACOPY.

        COPYIIPC (all versions) and also COPYWRIT (all versions) are crashing, they will not even show up a program dialog at all:

      • So many DOS disk copy programs, but not all working with a Pentium 200 PC
        There are so many disk copy programs (aka disk copier), but they are not all working with a Pentium 200 PC. Do you remember the hitlist of the best of them ?

    • April
      • Finally I finished my floppy-copy-machine & DOS + Win98 gaming station
        It was a kind of a horror trip, because first I was not able to screw/fasten the drives in it because of missing screw holes,then I got problems with the RS232 interface because of a problem with the 486 mainboard, then I replaced the power supply, and after this didn't fix the RS232 problem, I

    • February
      • PX-8 and Turbo PASCAL... a bit tricky
        I just liked to try again how it works and I tried to replaced the BASIC ROM with my Turbo PASCAL ROM, using the Turbo PASCAL version which does not generate a BAK file (this is important because the RAM Disk has only a size between 9KB and 20KB, and if 20KB, this costs may be too much CP/M TPA spac

  • 2017
    • December
      • Old SuSE Linux 4.2 - not really working in a VM (an odyssey not in space)
        Starting with installing SuSE Linux 4.2 on a real 486 PC, I thought it would be a good idea to try it in a virtual machine, too.
        But guess what happens. Different errors leads in the same result - it didn't work, although console is working always, X-Server did only work with VGA 640x480 i

    • October
      • Benchmarked two VLB cards with 3DBENCH 1.0 and Wolfenstein 3D Timedemo
        As already expected, a S3 805 video card seems to be faster than a Trident 9400CXI (which is interestingly displayed as 9100 LCD in some tools). This can be easily checked by using two benchmark tools, one which is well known, the other is difficult to get.
        3DBENCH from Superscape in Version 1.

    • September
      • Found an appropriate video card, but followed by some problems
        I found a Vesa Local Bus Card - a Miro Crystal 10SD, but it was not working.
        After a deeper inspection of the card itself, I found something missing on it - a capacitor. So I added a new one, and the card worked again.

        But it didn't worked in all 3 VLB slots, just in 2 of them -

      • I didn't had (at least) the right video card ...
        ... to install DirectX 3.0 and later on, Diablo 1. That's because if you install a video driver from Windows 3.1 (but used in Windows 95), there is no hardware acceleration nor DirectDraw support.
        The Diablo 1 CD included also a "Test your PC" feature, and beside the fact I didn&

      • Forgot what it means: Installing Windows 95 (first edition) on a 486 PC
        I rebuild a 486 PC with some spare parts, and because it had 32MB RAM, I thought it would be a good idea to install Windows 95... YES, this first rolling stones ("start me up") driven meanwhile ancient operating system.
        Unfortunately I didn't have an IDE CD-ROM yet available for

    • August
    • May
      • ATI EGA Wonder used in / for an IBM Portable PC
        Promised, this is the last entry about the (beautiful) IBM Portable PC 5155.
        I replaced my original, really long CGA card with an ATI EGA Wonder (first series).
        And I was surprised how good many EGA capable games are looking.

        EGA high resolution with 640x350 pixels don't se

    • April
    • March
      • Amstrad PC1640 on steroids ? Not really, but still a surprise...
        Recently I got some problems related with an Amstrad PC1640, the floppy drive was not working properly (formatting and read errors, also when reading disks, formatted on the Amstrad, but on a different PC). So I decided to replace the floppy drive, which is in fact a very unusual, belt driven OEM Al

    • February
      • Transferring binary files to a DOS PC without anything else but DOS ?
        I've a Toshiba T5200 laptop, which has a working harddrive with an installed DOS but a faulty floppy disk drive. There is a way to connect a floppy drive to a parallel port by using the correct adapter, but I do not own this adapter.
        So I thought it must be an other way existing to transfe

    • January
      • What to do if Floppy Drives don't read floppy disks ...
        Sometimes you can't read floppy disks in your computer's floppy drive.
        It can be related with the floppy disk media itself.
        But the drive can be misaligned or faulty, too.
        If you suspect the drive to be defect, you can replace it (if the drive is still available or can be ta

  • 2016
    • October
    • September
      • Forgot to mention SARGON 4 as part of my chess program overview...
        Very nice, and runs with CGA, EGA and VGA cards: Sargon 4 (and not Sargon IV), distributed by Spinnaker Software, not from Hayden Software (which published the famous first three Sargon versions). It's playing good, although different from Sargon III, which is not surprising because it's f

    • August
      • Finally an exploding capacitor was occuring again (this time: Kaypro II)
        Yeah, hate this. While I tried to copy Kaypro II floppy disks in my PCs (with TELEDISK first, but then with 22DISK, and with many read retries), I thought it would be much easier to copy them with my Kaypro II itself. Just power it on, boot with CP/M 2.2, start COPY, and then the copy session for ab

      • Advertisment IBM Portable PC and two other early portable PCs
        These advertisments in the eighties were not very plausibly, but not only IBM published PC Ads in that manner. That man couldn't really look onto the screen and was able to read anything. See and judge for yourself:

        But it was IBM's necessary answer to the Compaq Portable PC, a

    • July
    • June
      • Less known, but very intesting for your vintage PC: PTS-DOS 2000
        I've added a static page for my web site, see

        The PTS-DOS 2000 would be an ideal base for your vintage PC, has additional commands compared to MS-DOS 6.22, is much faster, and some features you will love (e.g. DEBUG command looks much more usable)

    • April
      • Rare CPU: IBM 386SLC , similar to an Intel 386SX, but with 8KB cache ...
        IBM introduced a meanwhile very rare CPU in 1992, starting with IBM PS/2 models and also with PS/Valuepoint computers.
        This CPU was an attempt to create a cheap but for its price powerful CPU, which can even used as an Upgrade for Intel 286-based AT machines.

        You can't read much

    • March
      • Programming a BASIC game - still fun, even with a vintage PC/XT
        Yes, it can be still fun, although you should not try to program too large programs in BASIC.

        I remembered these racing game tries of the first microcomputer days, without any high res graphics, just characters. So I tried to program a small game in less than 1KB source code.

    • February
      • My ZIP 100 dropped about 50cm down to the ground - dead :-(
        After using my parallel port ZIP 100 drive very often for transferring files to my vintage Amstrad PC 1640 (I used an USB ZIP drive for my modern PC, too), it dropped about 50cm down to the ground (front side first). It didn't worked anymore, so I thought it would be a good idea to open it, loo

      • Famous game classics on Sega Mega Drive (Genesis): TinyToon Adventures !
        If you search for a real game classics on Sega Mega Drive (Genesis), and you like to play "jump'n run" games, choose TinyToon Adventures !
        It's far better than Sonic, and has a cool theme tune/song.
        Also, if you growed up in the early 90's, you had to like this ani

    • January
      • OT: For those who would like to travel through time ...
        It's slightly off-topic, but interesting. It's an explanation why time is going always forward, not backward. An asymmetry exists between time and space in the sense that physical systems inevitably evolve over time whereas there is no corresponding ubiquitous translation over space.

  • 2015
    • December
      • Ho ho ho - Merry christmas and a happy new year 2016
        It's not the best animation, but perhaps one of the best known XMAS demo:

        Just grab your C64 out of the cellar, get the (SX-64) demo program (see related link), and run it on a real Commodore 64 or at least on one of the many emulators (like WinVICE).

      • Almost already vintage: LTO-2 and LTO-3 tape drives with Windows 7
        I got some SCSI LTO tape drives, and so I started to resurrected my LSI Logic SCSI 20160 (53C1010-66) adapter (SCSI controller for PCI bus). I wrote "started" because it's not so easy to get a "Windows 7" compatible driver for a ten year old SCSI controller. Last but not lea

    • November
      • Ultra rare Texas Instruments Portable Professional Computer (PPC)
        These "non-compatible" PCs are almost forgotten, but there were many interesting portable ones, like the Sirius Victor "Luggable", which has a very sophisticated video card (for its time) but with a very strange disk format (similar to the Commodore GCR format).
        And there wa

    • September
      • First "Smart Watch" ever, decades before Apple Watch oder Samsung Gear
        Just take a look at this advertisment for the Science of Cambridge Wrist Calculator, this was really one of the first (or just the first) real smart watch with computing power - and it happened about 40 years before ! It was only available as a kit, and AFAIK it can't show the time (unless you

      • Genoa Super EGA can't replace an original Siemens PCD-2 CGA+MDA card
        Meanwhile I have tried to replace my original Siemens PCD-2 graphics adapter with a (more modern) Genoa Super EGA (Modell 4880). Unfortunately even with a documentation of all dip switches and jumper, it was not possible to replace the original card, which is able to display color graphics card (CGA

    • August
    • June
      • Very interesting project - a microbee emulated in (almost) one FPGA
        The Microbee was an Australian made Z80 based computer that was able to run CP/M 2.2 and 3.0 - and it even had already some pixel graphics capabilities.

        Getting such a computer isn't simple, and I do not live in Australia (btw. wonderful country).
        But working with real hardware

      • Windows 10 - why it can be the wrong update ...
        Yes, almost every Windows user is talking about Microsoft's "gift" to all humans. Windows 10.
        It's totally free for legal Windows 7 and later users, you get a total renewed, modern Windows version. That's not the whole story.

        Why it can be the wrong choice:
      • Difficult to try "imaging" an old hard disk drive with a 486 PC (on DOS 6.2)
        Many of you will tell me, that "imaging" (or "cloning") a hard disk drive is not really a difficult task. But did you ever tried this running old hardware and just with DOS ?

        The first idea was to use Norton Ghost. But that was not really a good idea, because with olde

    • May
      • PCD2 CPU card - unknown manufacturer, unknown switch function
        Well, after I realized that the battery of the "CPU board" is dead, I tried to remove the CPU card. This was a small disaster, because I have to figure out how to dismantle the rest before I can pull the card itself. But I survived, so here is a picture of that 386SX ISA-Bus card, plugged

      • Another Siemens PCD-2 - but surprisingly with a Intel 386SX CPU ?!
        Recently I found another Siemens PCD-2, but this one was totally different from the other.
        The main difference - instead of a Intel 286 CPU, I found a 386SX CPU (20 MHz), but still inserted on a CPU card (no "classic" mainboard inside).

        There was also no proprietary S

      • Siemens PCD-2 monochrome monitor adapter
        Having a bit time, I created a monitor adapter for my Siemens PCD-2.
        The Siemens monochrome monitor has no own power supply, it gets its power by the DB9 connector (strange!), means +12V on pin #2.
        I had to cut the connection between pin #2 from the mda/cga card and pin #2 from the monitor

    • February
      • *VERY* old skool char only game - ZZT from Epic Megagames
        For those IT oldtimers, "Nethack" is well known for several platforms, even for CP/M-80 Nethacks predecessor "Rogue" is available.
        "Nethack" has still its own living community, especially for LINUX.

        But there was also a more colorful variant available, &

      • Fun with Hercules Graphics Adapter - my Amstrad PC1640 still make it...
        Resurrecting a defunct Kalok hard disk drive in my Amstrad (Schneider) PC1640HD30, I was a bit unhappy about the fact I own for this computer only a monochrome monitor (PC-MD).
        So I was looking for games which could be run with a hercules graphics adapter.
        There are some (even Prince of Pe

    • January
      • 8086tiny - a very small CPU and PC emulator... but difficult to use
        When I saw the first time "8086tiny" at , I was really surprised about the extremly small size of the source and executable.
        I tried it on my Windows 7 x64 PC, and I was able to start it with the floppy disk image (don't forget to have sdl.dll

      • Some tests with PGP 6.5.8 from NAI and ckt builds of PGP and Windows 7 [offtopic]
        While looking for Symantec PGP 10.x alternatives, I started to think about using old versions of PGP, too. At least the ADK problem should be fixed (see ), so I had to start with 6.5.8ckt or newer.
        Unfortunately PGP 7, PGP 8 (which I think personally was

      • The perfect virus ? NSA's "barnfire" program and implications [offtopic]
        The german magazine Spiegel published new infos about some (meanwhile old but still valid) NSA programs in their latest >article<. They also mentioned "barnfire", which is a codename for a BIOS modification to bypass all virus scanners and other (local) detection mechanisms.

      • 640K Ought to be Enough for Anyone
        For most DOS software, this might be true.
        I am referring to that "quote", because a few days ago, I upgraded my Schneider (Amstrad) PC 1512 to 640KB RAM. And yes, for this machine, it is enough to run most of the programs of an exciting decade.

        But where does this "ou

      • Pioneer hardware with a (meanwhile) rare CPU: Cosmac Elf (1976) ... and his successors
        This is really cool:
        The "ancient" CMOS CPU from RCA, the 1802, can be still found in SBC projects like the "1802 Cosmicos" and the "COSMAC Elf 2000" !

        Why is a SBC so interesting with the RCA 1802 ?
        Because the CPU is also used in many satellites a

  • 2014
    • December
      • Merry Christmas to all blog readers
        I wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year !
        Thank you for reading my humble vintage computer blogs, some already for years.

        The shown animated GIF is taken from the "Sierra Electronic Christmas Card 1986" and runs with MS-DOS 3.2 and above, also on my old Amstrad (S

      • RAM Upgrade Amstrad (Schneider) PC1512 from 512KB to 640KB
        Almost all Amstrad/Schneider PC1512 web pages disappeared meanwhile.
        I tell you that, because I looked for hints about upgrading my PC1512 from 512KB to 640KB RAM. After all, that wasn't too difficult, although it's NOT enough just to insert 16 pieces of 4164-120 Dynamic RAM chips (64

    • November
      • Repairing a Macintosh IIci power supply - NIGHTMARE !!!
        A few days ago I got a working Macintosh IIci, which I want to use for Apple's UNIX (A/UX) experiments. After turning it on, it ran for about 5 minutes, then a creepy sizzle sound occurs and it began to stink like hell.
        I immediately switched the Mac off and tried to look what happened.
      • Sega Genesis Revival - Radicagames small replica console ... Retro feeling guaranteed
        A Sega Genesis (aka MegaDrive) console replica, case and controller visually different but similar style, but from gameplay identical. And six games included: Sonic, Golden Axe, Altered Beast, Dr. Robotnik's, Flicky and Kid Chameleon. That's almost all you can say about it.
        It works s

      • Apple II clone "Pluto" ... seems to be very rare, was sold in germany only
        Today I will show a rare Apple II+ clone. It's rare because of the case and the combination of all parts, and also because of the number which it was sold (only a few hundred in total). It has a metal case, which is unusual for Apple II clones.

        The case has also an easy to be opened

    • October
      • Commodore 8032 with CP/M ? Unbelievable, but true...

        As you can see, there was an "expansion" board with a Z80 cpu for the CBM 8032.
        Madison Computer build a board named "Z-RAM". But it wasn't only a RAM expansion. It was also a CPU addon board, running CP/M 2.2. The disk format still used GCR coding, means the 6502

    • September
      • TI Programmer
        The TI Programmer was a real unusual calculator, because it can calculate also with hexadecimal and octal numbers, means not only add and substract, but also bit operations like AND, OR, XOR or SHIFT. This was one of the earliest devices of it's kind, although it was not the first (the SR-22 wa

      • Andrew Kay passed away, one of the greatest computer pioneers of the 80s
        Andrew Kay died yesterday in Vista, California. He got 95 years old.
        See also for a homage at >NY Times<.
        For an overview of the most known computers he designed, see also >my KAYPRO pages<.
        For a >recent photo of him<, visit the above mentioned NY Times page also.
      • Offtopic but important: Campaign against PGP - hidden reasons ?

        If you follow >Bruce Schneier's blog<, you will notice an >unusual entry<. He agreed with another blog entry about PGP from Matthew Green which was titled >"What's the matter with PGP?"<.
        Matthew Green complained about usability and key management of

    • July
      • Expirience made with Genius G840 IC Programmer (from
        A few weeks ago, I obtained a Trantor T130 SCSI ISA 8-Bit controller, and I realized I had to burn an EPROM and also a PAL/GAL chip (both were missing), see >this< blog entry also.
        I burned successfully the ROM content, this was easy.
        Now I tried to burn also GAL chip, but I run into

      • Installing XENIX 386 on a real intel 486 PC Part 4 (cont'd with a 3Com503)
        After swapping the WD8013 card with a 3Com 3C503, I continued to install TCP/IP package.

        You have to install STREAMS first - before TCP/IP, as usual with "custom" and "Add package" (Option '4'). It's a different serial/key combination compared to the TCP

    • June
      • Installing XENIX 386 on a real intel 486 PC Part 4 (at least the prerequisites)
        May be you know already, that the "Streams and TCPIP" packages does support only very few network cards, a 3COM 3C501, 3C503, WD8003 (8 Bit ISA) and last but not least hopefully also a WD8013 (16 Bit ISA). No NE1000/NE2000 support (SCO list a Novell (Exelan) 205T - but never heard before f

      • Installing XENIX 386 on a real intel 486 PC Part 3
        Before I try to install Streams and TCP/IP, let's try VP/IX.
        I got three 1.2MB disk images, but to install it with my 1.44MB floppy drive in my 486-PC, I had to convert the disks first. How ? Easy if you already had installed XENIX.

        1. Copy each 1.2MB disk image file onto a DOS

      • Installing XENIX 386 on a real intel 486 PC Part 2
        Installing the XENIX 2.3.0d Development System isn't so hard.
        Assuming you managed it to write six 1.44MByte floppy disk images back to real floppy disk media with success, you just have to enter 'custom' at the XENIX system prompt.
        Then you have to choose '2' for

      • Installing XENIX 386 on a real intel 486 PC Part 1
        Well, sometimes you would like to try something you never tried before.
        So after installing many times Linux on my newer PCs, I thought it would be fine to have Xenix 386 also installed, to play with it, or better, to compile some programs also (e.g. the "hack" game).
        After I got

    • May
    • April
      • Sega Dreamcast + VGA output ... possible for ALL games, but with a trick
        Recently I bought a Sega Dreamcast console, playing with it is *VERY* nice.

        Especially Daytona USA 2001 is my favorite racing game, which remember me of the good old times ;-)
        But the video output with the antenna / RF cable is NOT satisfying. So I also bought a DC VGA converter, whi

      • ZIP100 and IBM PC/XT ... works fine !
        During my search for an easy transfer possibility from my modern i7 PC to my old IBM PC/XT, I was realizing that I forgot one thing... my old parallel port Iomega ZIP100 drive.

        But I was early disappointed from Iomega's driver support. The GUEST software for DOS needs at least an AT

    • March
      • An odyssey with an 8bit Seagate SCSI controller ...
        Not funny, but instructive.
        I've tried to add a bigger SCSI drive to my PC/XT system, which uses a Seagate ST-02 controller. At the moment, it runs well with a small Conner 3040 HDD (= 40MB), but I liked to have a bit more HDD capacity.
        So I obtained a Seagate ST51080N, which has in f

      • All time TOP DOS Games (1982-1993)
        Excuse my conversion to a picture, but simplephpblog does not support tables.

        Introduction of VGA in April 1987 changed all, so my list seems to be less complete from 1988 towards...

      • Windows Chicago Alpha / Pre-Beta Boot Screen and other...
        Take a look at
        for very early beta versions of Windows, there are even virtual machines (for Microsoft Virtual PC) to try something strange like Berkeley 2.11 BSD.
        A bit simple/poor boot screen also for Windows Chicago Build 73, although it's very

      • Different Floppy Drive widths ? What did IBM wrong ? Or others ?
        Original 5.25" floppy drives in IBM PC or IBM PC/XTs are less wide than later selled floppy drives from other vendors (like TEAC or EPSON), that means 145mm from IBM, 147mm from others. And so 3.5" drive adapters are also too wide.
        I was trying to add a second 3.5" floppy drive,

      • IBM PC/XT building site ... replacing cards and drive
        After recognizing many errors while reading and writing files on my MFM hard disk drive, I decided to exchange my hard disk drive with a SCSI one.
        This resulted in a longer search for an appropriate 8-bit ISA bus SCSI controller, my favorites were Future Domain TMC-850 and Seagate ST-02. I was

    • February
      • Using MS-DOS 4.01 with virtual machines is a NIGHTMARE !
        This is really weird. There are some web sites offering a floppy disk image of MS-DOS 4.01, but you can't do anything with it - except with a real PC.

        Meanwhile I own an IBM PC XT, and I wanted to reinstall a DOS.
        The DOS I used before was IBM DOS 3.2, but this DOS version'

  • 2013
    • December
      • "Free" mail service is a deceptive package - a warning ...
        Years ago, I have taken a free mail service,, because I needed a second mail address for registering some programs etc.

        I have taken this account also for playing an online game.
        Now, 14 days earlier, informed me, that it's not free anymore, instead

      • Good news - Supercard Pro is now available
        See for more details.

        Now you can buy the Supercard Pro and there is already a bunch of implemented features.
        The SuperCard Pro software is still a work in progress, it will be updated continuously.
        New file formats will be support

      • Sega Genesis Frogger (but SNES still rulez!), run with a free online emulator
        Just take a look at Frogger run on a Sega Genesis:

        You will notice a slightly less acceptable graphics quality, although it's also good playable.

        So SNES still rulez... :-)

        For you all without a real Sega Genesis console, try it online at


    • November
      • TI Programmable 58 - powerful but always losing memory
        This calculator was a milestone in terms of programming capabilities, but not a success.
        It was soon (1.5 years later, 1979) replaced with a similar calculator model but with a persistent memory - the TI-58C.
        There was also a big brother with more memory and a magnetic stripe reader, the T

      • SNES (PAL) and a rare NTSC cartridge "Frogger"
        Friends of casual games will remember one of the most famous classics: Frogger.

        For Super Nintendo (SNES), this game was selled only in the U.S. / Canada.
        So how can you play it with an european PAL-based SNES ?
        Easy, you need only an adapter, which reports a PAL cartridge to th

      • Texas Instruments SR-51-II ... a more complex calculator than you think
        This was a mixture between an older SR-51A and the later TI-55, it's inner electronics is more complex than comparable other TI models of the same decade.
        My own one is working, but in a less desirable condition, around the power switch, painting is already gone. Also, I had to open it bec

    • October
      • New toy: Texas Instruments LED/VFD Display Calculators (1972 - 1980)
        Do you remember the time a scientific calculator was (very) expensive ?
        I am not really a collector of these vintage calculators, but some are very interesting and also unique. The first mass production LED display based calculator was the Texas Instruments Datamath 2500, and luckily I own also

      • Successor of Kryoflux - the new SuperCard Pro from Jim Drew ?
        There will be something new I didn't expected... a new device was developed from Jim Drew (he already developed a lot of cool gadgets for the Commodores), which may supersede the Kryoflux device (you know it - the magic pcb/box which could read almost every floppy disk format).


    • September
      • Notebook floppy disk drive repair - an impossible mission...
        I own an old but beautiful Intel 486 based notebook, a Siemens PCD-4ND with a build-in floppy drive (a Citizen W1D). This drive is removable.

        Unfortunately the floppy drive is not working reliable enough anymore.
        So I had the idea to repair it, and I had to open it:

    • August
      • Interesting Z80 project using a real Z80 but for all I/O using an MCU
        Very nice project, the Mini80. A real Z80 CPU is used (this is important for speed and compatibility), but all I/O is done by a Parallax Propeller chip.

        Very small footprint, simple logic board design ... what else (except a build in VGA interface) do you want ?
        This is a picture fro

    • July
      • NSA compatible devices/software .... easier for customers to get them now ;-)
        Because NSA will use too much energy to wiretap aka get the data from all the people around the world (even from the ones who are NOT evil), I propose a standardized interface for all future devices, so it will be much easier to have all the data stored in Fort Meade.
        This needs a logo certific

      • Dr. Dobb's Z80 Toolbook (David E. Cortesi) can be read online ...
        Just take a short break and visit for a deeper look into the Z80 coding secrets with Doctor Dobb's Z80 Toolbook.
        If this link doesn't work, try this one (
        Beware the loading time for this page (all things are listed on only

    • May
    • April
      • DEC Personal Workstation Bootscreen - for Windows 7 PCs ;-)
        Looking at the wonderful bootscreen of a DEC PWS 433 during BIOS boot phase, I had the idea to preserve this image. Looking around for the image file, I wasn't successful.
        So I made a picture with my Nikon and cropped & scaled for Win7 Boot Updater, see

    • March
      • New Toy: Macintosh Colour Classic (aka Color Classic)
        After my short intermezzo with a Mac SE/30, I tried my luck with a Macintosh Colour Classic.
        This machine, untruly called the ugly duck of all all-in-one Macs, has a real cute Trinitron color display CRT, and in contrast to a Macintosh Plus or a Macintosh SE, has also a LC PDS slot for some rea

    • February
      • Virtual Floppy Drive with Windows 7 ? Really bad, it's difficult to manage.
        I've needed to test floppy disk tools with my modern i7 equipped PC.
        Unfortunately I have no real floppy drive built in.
        So I "googled" for it, and I found one, which runs supposedly smooth with Windows 7 64bit.
        But the

      • Short Mac SE/30 adventures
        I realized that I didn't made anything meaningful with my Apple ][ Europlus, so I decided to exchange it for another vintage computer - an older Macintosh.
        My first choice was a Mac SE/30, because this one can handle up to 128MB RAM, and it's capable to run A/UX. But....


    • January
      • New toy, an old, autonomous working Eprom Burner, a Needham's SA-20 ...
        That was really tricky.
        I buyed an old but autonomous working Eprom Burner, a Needham's SA-20 (Wilke Technology), and I hoped to work with it connected to my modern PC (which has a COM1 interface).
        Unfortunately only a DOS program exists so far for it (but there is hope, source code o

      • Commodore Plus 4 resurrected...
        An underestimated beauty, the Commodore Plus 4 (aka 264), was resurrected in two steps:
        First I realized that the power supply was dead. Due to the fact, that these power supply cases were glued, not fixed with screws, I did not tried to open it (to repair it).
        So I cutted the very rare fo

  • 2012
  • 2011
    • November
      • DEC Alpha old advertisment and some PWS maintenance links
        In 1999, this (print) ad was very demonstrative, and many like me thought, this will be the future.
        Do you remember ?

        (btw if you're using Firefox and Adblock, this image may be blocked too)

        Regardless of this, I found some useful links for my DEC PWS Miata.

    • October
      • Apple Lisa 1 demo - surprisingly with 5 1/4" floppy disk drives (!)
        Interesting blog and site of Rudolf Brandstätter, can be found at

        He shows an Apple Lisa 1 running with a very early operating system version - named "Lisa Office System"(LOS) 1.0 - and surprisingly also with a kind of 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive n

    • September
    • August
    • July
      • A(nother) great blog moved to a new address
        A great blog with tons of tipps using emulators for using vintage computer software moved:

        This site is still a rich source even for re-compiled programs e.g. to run software on DEC

    • June
      • IMSAI 8080 info page + new z80pack link + ebook 8080/Z80
        Lucky guy - he got a full equipped IMSAI 8080:
        And the sequel:
        This blog has many other retrocomputer entries, too.

        The former Z80PACK site "unix4fun" will not be recovered.
        But t

    • April
    • March
    • February
      • Got a (rare) C64 COMAL 80 cartridge !
        Not very spectacular, but that's still a good news for me.
        A very smart alternative for the build in BASIC 2.0, that's COMAL80.

        It's working without any special procedure... just insert cartridge and start the C64:

        It's an almost dead programming langua

    • January
      • Floppy Disk emulators which can write !
        Very interesting:

        There is not only the "KryoFlux" which is designed to "preserve" old disk formats.
        Unfortunately there is still no possibility for all these with KryoFlux read disk images to write it back to the floppy disk...

        There is also HxC Floppy

      • 100 years IBM.... do you remember the advertisments about IBM PCs ?
        100 years of IBM - that's worth to mention.

        Without IBM, many inventions were missing, you can see a short overview at Youtube:
        You can also see a longer film about IBMs last 100 years here:

      • Enormous feedback for a simple question about Fortran 66 compatible compilers
        I issued an entry named "Looking for a real Fortran-66 compatible PC compiler ..." in four newsgroups: (comp.os.cpm) (alt.folklore.computers)

  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
    • November
    • October
    • September
      • Another rare CP/M portable from Televideo...
        Had time to search for several topics, and suddenly I found a hint about a not so well known CP/M 2.2 portable computer (less famous):

        A Televideo TPC-I, not really portable (with a similar weight as the Osborne 1) but still an "all-in-one" CP/M machine.

        More in

    • August
      • Such a cute portable ... and unreachable still (to rare, to expensive...)
        Still dreaming of a Otrona Attache portable CP/M computer, it's very handy (for 1982) and despite of this is still a full featured machine.
        This picture shows another model with different floppy disk drives compared to the one I already have shown at ...
      • Vintage computer pages disappearing again and again....
        It happens... I talked about it a few blog entries before already....

        Miguel's Amstrad software and compiler pages seems to be lost (I mirrored his MESCC Small C variant now) ...

    • July
      • Many interesting documents (e.g. PDF) can be found at
        Many of you already know that there is a gold mine for old (often scanned) documents at , users and service manuals and other technical documents as well.
        If not, try it (see reated link below), it's amazing what can be found there !!!

      • Back from holidays, a Philips P2012 with a CoPower card is waiting...
        I was really happy getting back from holidays and finding a big package in my house corridor - a Philips P2012 equipped with a CoPower 8088 card, which make it possible to run not only Z80 based CP/M 2.2 but also MS-DOS 2.11 on the coprocessor card (THANKS TO

      • TCP/IP stack for CP/M based systems ?
        Following the discussions about a possible implementation in comp.os.cpm, I asked myself for what reason would this a goal ?

        On an early try is ready for download, but it's made for a Xerox 820, nowadays a real rare computer.

      • A 2nd CP/M-86 software repository mirror already exist
        There is already a second mirror ... at

        Somebody named "Katzy" wrote this in comp.os.cpm, thanks.

        So at the moment there is no need for an additional mirror, I guess.

      • A bit concerned about the CP/M-86 software repository (Kirk Lawrence's heritage)
        At the moment is a mirror from the old seanet/~klaw CP/M-86 site, and that's good. Unfortunately I have seen many web pages already gone into the black hole of the internet, and using is not always the solution, because very often the bina

      • Have decided to use a blog also...
        Yes, I always was a bit displeased about blogs. But I guess it's one form to get a feedback, and in the other hand also to drop some infos or ideas without using again and again a web editor or a content management system. So I will use it until it will get me stressed ;-)