Nothing happening?

You might be wondering why nothing has happend here for quite a while.

Well I’m very busy scanning and publishing Retro Commodore stuff.

For the time being I’m focusing on Danish magazines, manuals and books. Though I will sneak in some magazines that aren’t danish every now and then.

 

Commodore_Amiga2000_Danish_Brochure_(da)
Why don’t you head over to Retro-Commodore and check out my scans?

New dedicated site for my scans

Retro Commodore - Site for scansI’m doing a lot of scanning related to retro Commodore stuff. I’ve created a new site for this which can be found at http://retro-commodore.eu. For now it contains Magazines, but at a later point, programs and games scans will be added there too.

Since this site is dedicated Commodore, there are other sites for magazines and scans you can visit.

 

  • http://oldgamemags.com for all kinds of computer/console magazines, if you see some missing which you have yourself, please contact Kiwi by leaving a comment.
  • http://oagd.net for Amiga scans, pick a game and you can find some under games (still a lot of scans are needed, so please contribute if you have any)
  • http://awesome.commodore.me for all kinds of Commodore scans, look in each console menu, and download sections

I’ve received a lot of contributions of magazines, so this project will take quite a long time. I’ve set myself a target: atleast 1 new magazine will be added each week. I can do more but this depends on the scan results, how much work they need i.e. rotate, crop and white balancing.

More about scanning tips/graphics.

 

Disk Recovery now complete – vmfs mount on ubuntu

freebsd-iconSince I (re)started on the 24th of November 2012, the progress of recovering my drive went from fast to slow. More on my recovery.

What happend with my Maxtor drive was that it stopped working when it tried accessing defective blocks. A restart of the drive was required to continue the work.

Using recoverdisk on FreeBSD eventually saved the data.

Though for some reason, which I don’t know, I had multiple entries telling the software to copy the same block multiple times, a quick sample of 3 bytes showed 2 of them was going to be copied approx 500 times each, and the last one was going to be copied approx 1200 times, I don’t doubt there were plenty of these entries. The log file that recoverdisk used was > 400 megs in size. I used the…

cat logfile | sort -u > newlogfile

…command to sort all the unique entries, which ended up in giving me a 3.3 meg log file.

This was more manageable, and after 2 hours of intensive work, I finished my recovery lacking only 17kB of a 1TB disk.

When recoverdisk was finished, I could use the image file to write back to disk. I didn’t want to use the original image in case something went wrong. Recoverdisk image output can be used with “dd”.

The easiest for me was to write the image to disk, rather than making a copy of the file to a disk with enough space. That was just in case mounting the vmfs filesystem failed, and I would have to install the cloned disk into the original hardware, and boot from there.

Since the original disk had vmware ESXi installed I needed to access the vmfs filesystem.

For this I mounted it on Ubuntu, after installing vmfs-tools

sudo apt-get install vmfs-tools

The disk was formatted with default settings during the ESXi installation, and Ubuntu could see the many partitions. Most of the partitions are FAT formated, but not the one that contains the virtual machine. The disk was seen as “sdd” and after some struggling finding the correct partition I found it was sdd3.

sudo vmfs-fuse /dev/sdd3 /mnt

Accessing the mountpoint had to be done by root, but copying the virtual machine which was stored in it’s named dir in the root of the mountpoint was quite easy.

In general it was an easy task but took a very long time.

And since I had plenty of articles I forgot about, I was quite happy getting everything back.

Now you can see that I’ve gotten my articles back that to when I installed WP in 2011.

 

Using Gimp to clean up (scanned) images

Some of you know that I do a lot of preserving-the-past-on-present-day-media, which is not only about dumping software for Commodore computers to PC, but also scanning boxes, manuals, disks, codewheels, maps etc.

The scanning doesn’t take long, but the post processing do. I’ve made a short video showing some of the stuff that I regularly do to improve the result of the scans.

When you scan an image, the result isn’t the same as what you scan. Colours can seem faded, it could also be that the material that you scan is faded itself, gotten dirty, coffee stains etc etc.

I always keep atleast 2 copies of my scans. The original unmodified, cropped with a good margin outside the scanned material, and the modified version.

After doing some processing work you can see the differences, of what doing a little work can do.

ultima v box

Well now that I’ve shown you the result, I’ll show you the tricks in the video below.

The video was meant as a crash test tutorial for some friends whom also work with images so the quality of the video isn’t set up to my normal high standards, sorry about that, I hope you’ll enjoy it anyway.

 

Download latest version of Gimp which is available for Windows, MacOS, Linux and Unix.

Big Book of Amiga Hardware

Efter bitman har pustet liv i The Big Book of Amiga Hardware og fået tilføjet meget af det hardware, der er udviklet i de seneste par år, har jeg lavet et logo der passer med hans domænenavn. Det tog mig et par timer, men jeg er godt tilfreds med resultatet.

Jeg synes lige jeg ville dele billedet i en højere kvalitet før det bliver skaleret ned så man ikke kan se detaljerne ordentligt.

The Big Book Of Amiga Hardware

Værktøjer der var brugt til at lave dette var Gimp samt Inkscape begge to fantastiske gode gratis open source programmer.

 

3. Sikring af Commodore bånd

Det sker engang imellem det er muligt at købe en DC2N box.

Men for en billigere pris er der nogle andre metoder som jeg vil skrive om her, der er nok nogle flere men jeg har valgt kun at skrive om disse.

1) Overfør til Audio format til PC, Analogt.

Den nemme løsning er at overføre båndende fra en båndoptager til PC’en via dens lydkort.

Båndoptagerens output kobles til lydkortets Line in. Og det er bare at påbegynde optagelsen. Man kan gemme i de formater som optager programmet kan gemme i, men det er anbefalet at gemme i et ikke komprimeret format, som fx WAV. En god ide er at konvertere fra WAV til TAP eller T64 bagefter, fx med programmet fra linket.

Jeg har tidligere skrevet en artikel hvor man kan hacke sin båndoptager så den kan give lyd ud gennem et audio stik. Jeg har ikke testet om det er kvalitetsmæssigt muligt at optage båndet denne vej.

2) Overfør digitalt med MTAP.

Markus Brenner har skrevet et klient/server produkt, som kræver en DOS PC med parallelport, en C64 med båndstation, et X(A/E)1541 kabel og anbefalet et diskettedrev.

Denne metode er den jeg benytter mig af når jeg skal dumpe bånd til PC. Den kan dumpe C64, C16 og Vic20 bånd.

Jeg har lavet en Bootable USB pen på 512MB, på denne pen er der installeret freedos, star commander, og mtap. Der ligger også en diskette i d64 format med nogle gode værktøjer, bla tape justering, abc turbo og mtap serveren.

Klargør PC ved at boote op i DOS, og ha’ mtap programmet klar.

D64 disketten der ligger på USB pennen kan overføres vha Star Commander til en diskette vha X(A/E)1541 kablet forbundet mellem PC og Diskettedrev.

Klargør C64 med båndstation og tapeserv programmet. Programmet skal bare startes op, og du skal ikke tænke på at gøre mere. Sørg for på dette tidspunkt at X(A/E)1541 kablet er tilsluttet mellem PC og C64.

På PC’en kan mtap nu startes op.

Bemærk til turbo bånd kan det anbefales at sætte bufferen op, det plejer ikke at være nødvendigt til Original bånd.

mtap -c64pal -lpt1 -b 32 -xe tape

Min kommando ser typisk sådan ud.
mtap er selve programmet. -c64pal fortæller at det er et C64 Pal bånd, -lpt1 fortæller det er LPT1 porten på PC’en – denne er normalt ikke nødvendig, -b 32 sætter bufferen op til 32MB – kontroller selv hvor meget ram du har, -xe fortæller at det er et XE1541 kabel – andre typer er -x og -xa, tape er navnet på filen båndet skal gemmes under, programmet tilføjer selv .TAP extentionen.
Der bliver bedt om at “Press PLAY on tape”, og så er det bare at vente til båndet er kørt færdigt.

Det kan anbefales at konvertere TAP (uoriginale spil/programmer) filerne til T64 vha tape64.exe. Lav gerne en logfil med output, her er det nemt at se om data på båndet er godt eller dårligt.

Originale Tapes bør køres gennem TAPClean, som har en dejlig frotend.

Hvis tape hovedet er justeret korrekt kan spil/programmer køres vha en C64 emulator nu. Jeg kan stærkt anbefale den Free Open Source Vice.

Update: Jeg har fået anskaffet mig en 1541 Ultimate II med tape extender. Med denne kan man dumpe bånd direkte til et digitalt medie, på samme måde som DC2N boksen der er nævnt tidligere. Denne overflødiggør den ekstra PC med parallel port samt X(A/E)1541 kabel. Men det er trods alt også en kostlig affære.

Denne metode er bedre end den analoge, da signalet for det meste er digitalt, frem for den analoge metode. Ulempen er at det kræver noget mere udstyr.

Opdatering 14/9-2015: Siden jeg skrev den originale artikel er der kommet nogle nye produkter til

3. Tapuino.

Tapuino’en er en arduino med lidt elektronik stumper der gør at den virker som tape station. Den har problemer med at dumpe turbobånd, men originaler dumper den fint.

Tapuino’en er open source hardware, samt software, færdige print kan købes på amibay, samt der er en lang forum tråd til denne.

Det samlede produkt kan anskaffes for omkring 100,-

 

4. 1541 Ultimate II med tape extender.

1541 Ultimate II er en kostelig sag, men med alle de ting den kan, så er den ret så billig. Final Cartridge III / Action replay: 200,- stk, SD2IEC 450,-, tape emulator 100,- eller mere, EasyFlash 450,- og vupti prisen er allerede dækket ind. Glem ikke 16MB ramudviddelse, std cartridges, kernel erstatning som fx jiffydos, samt der i skrivende stund snart kommer netværks understøttelse.

Nå med 1541U2 kan man dumpe bånd direkte til TAP filer hvilket man gør med tape extenderen. Tape extenderen sættes til 1541U2’eren, samt til C64’erens tape port, C=1530/1531 sættes til denne adapter.

Gå ind i Ultimate menuen, naviger ned i et bibliotek hvor der skal gemmes. Tryk F5 og vælg “Sample tape”, indtast et navn og tryk <enter>. Tryk nu PLAY på kassette båndoptageren, båndet bliver nu overført til en TAP fil.

1541U2 kan også tage C16/plus4 bånd, efterfølgende skal headeren ændres til C16 istedet for C64 (gøres med en hex editor som fx HxC). Vice kan ikke lide en C64 header på et C16 bånd, Yape derimod er ligeglad og virker fint.

 

Ved originale C64 bånd kan jeg anbefale at køre en tapclean på tap filen, GUI front-end kan hentes her.

Hvis du har nogle spørgsmål er du velkommen til at smide en kommentar.

How not to lead geeks

ED: I saw this in my boss’ office today, and had to Google it. I agree with the author 100%. It’s an old article, and I wonder why I never saw this before.

Original post can be found by clicking on the title below.

How NOT to lead geeks

March 14, 2006 @ 10:02 am by Alexander Kjerulf

When the geeks at NCR in Australia threatened to go on strike, it was a move that could have paralyzed ATMs, supermarket cash registers and airplane check-in. This underlines the fact that IT has become so central to almost all corporations, that any disruption may cost a lot of time and money, which again means that keeping the geeks happy at work is an absolute requirement for a modern business. Happy geeks are effective geeks.

The main reason IT people are unhappy at work is bad relations with management, often because geeks and managers have fundamentally different personalities, professional backgrounds and ambitions.

Some people conclude that geeks hate managers and are impossible to lead. The expression “managing geeks is like herding cats” is sometimes used, but that’s just plain wrong. The fact is that IT people hate bad management and have even less tolerance for it than most other kinds of employees.

So where does it go wrong? I started out as a geek and later became a leader and an IT company founder so I’ve been lucky enough to have tried both camps. Here are the top 10 mistakes I’ve seen managers make when leading geeks:

1: Downplay training

I had a boss once who said that “training is a waste of money, just teach yourself”. That company tanked 2 years later. Training matters, especially in IT, and managers must realize that and budget for it. Sometimes you get the argument that “if I give them training a competitor will hire them away.” That may be true, but the alternative is to only have employees who are too unskilled to work anywhere else.

2: Give no recognition

Since managers may not understand the work geeks do very well, it’s hard for them to recognize and reward a job well done, which hurts motivation. The solution is to work together to define a set of goals that both parties agree on. When these goals are met the geeks are doing a great job.

3: Plan too much overtime

“Let’s wring the most work out of our geeks, they don’t have lives anyway,” seems to the approach of some managers. That’s a huge mistake and overworked geeks burn out or simply quit. In one famous case, a young IT-worker had a stress-induced stroke on the job, was hospitalized, returned to work soon after and promptly had another stroke. This post further examines the myth that long work hours are good for business.

4: Use management-speak

Geeks hate management-speak and see it as superficial and dishonest. Managers shouldn’t learn to speak tech, but they should drop the biz-buzzwords. A manager can say “We need to proactively impact our time-to-market” or simply use english and stick to “We gotta be on time with this project”.

5: Try to be smarter than the geeks

When managers don’t know anything about a technical question, they should simply admit it. Geeks respect them for that, but not for pretending to know. And they will catch it – geeks are smart.

6: Act inconsistently

Geeks have an ingrained sense of fairness, probably related to the fact that in IT, structure and consistency is critical. The documentation can’t say one thing while the code does something else, and similarly, managers can’t say one thing and then do something else.

7: Ignore the geeks

Because managers and geeks are different types of people, managers may end up leaving the geeks alone. This makes leading them difficult, and geeks need good leadership the same as all other personnel groups.

8: Make decisions without consulting them

Geeks usually know the technical side of the business better than the manager, so making a technical decision without consulting them is the biggest mistake a leader can make.

9: Don’t give them tools

A fast computer may cost more money than an older one and it may not be corporate standard, but geeks use computers differently. A slow computer lowers productivity and is a daily annoyance. So is outdated software. Give them the tools they need.

10: Forget that geeks are creative workers

Programming is a creative process, not an industrial one. Geeks must constantly come up with solutions to new problems and rarely ever solve the same problem twice. Therefore they need leeway and flexibility. Strict dress codes and too much red tape kill all inovation. They also need creative surroundings to avoid “death by cubicle”.

Making one or more of these 10 mistakes (and I’ve seen managers who make all 10) has serious consequences, including:

  • Low motivation
  • High employee turnover
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Lower productivity
  • Lower quality
  • Bad service

Happy geeks are productive geeks, and the most important factor is good management, tailored to their situation.

Caveats:

  • I’m not saying that all geeks are the same. Geeks are wildly different people and this post does generalize dangerously.
  • I’m not saying that all IT-people are geeks. Some are, some aren’t. I definitely used to be.