Commodore Screwed Up

Seriously, compare these C64 demos, made recently, to what an Apple II could do…

(I love that there’s still cracking / demoscene groups around from when I was a kid… gettin’ old together. 😎)

Commodore really shit the bed when it came to taking advantage of the audio, visual, and processing advantages that they had over the competition back then… hell, all the way up to the Amiga line of computers. Amiga 500 computers with genlocks were being used by television stations when PC compatibles were barely starting to show what they could do. It’s a shame… I’ll have to read my two Commodore books some day to figure out what went wrong. 😏

Addendum

Speaking of going to a different school in junior high… I’m not sure why this popped into my head, as it’s something I haven’t thought of for decades probably, but all the talk about vintage computers apparently sparked another hidden memory.

While the school in general did have several C64 computers, mostly in the library, I was also part of a small selection of students that were chosen for what they called “Computer Lab” … a small room full of Apple II computers. πŸ™„πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ I just remember how awful they seemed compared to the Commodore computers… with The Oregon Trail running on both for comparison. πŸ˜… No contest.

Their computer lab with all the Apple computers also served as a room for a typing class later in the afternoon, but I knew that after we left the room was empty – and only the teacher would be in there doing whatever it was that she did with her free time. 😏 Everyone else in the class had basically zero computer experience, although they were the smarter kids in my grade. πŸ€“ Me, at least I had poked around on my own VIC-20 at home, and then the C64s in the library… so… I had learned a little bit of BASIC. 😎

I actually helped some of the other kids in the class at times, so it wasn’t odd that I’d be away from my own computer and messing with someone else’s, and that made me realize that I could pull off a pretty good prank. For a nerd, anyway… πŸ™„πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ I mean, we were learning to code, so…

You could turn off the monitors while leaving the actual computers on, so… and unfortunately I don’t remember the exact details about this… but somehow I was able to go around to each Apple II in the room and quickly type in a program. There were probably only a dozen computers, and they were situated against three walls of this small square room, just so you can mentally picture it…

But I was able to bang out this little BASIC program on each of the computers right before class ended, as we were all finishing up and supposed to be getting ready to go to our next class. Apple computers only had an annoying beep generator in them, but that was perfect for my prank. 🀑 I think it wasn’t even more than four lines… telling the computer to wait a certain amount of time, ten minutes in this case, and then start rapidly beeping until someone stopped the program. 😁

(I mean, this is a demo created in 2015 and listen how bad even it is… heh)

It’s so weird though… because I’m sure that it worked… which meant that ten minutes after we left, one computer would start beeping – and then in about 10 seconds the next one, and the one after that in ten more seconds… until all of the computers were either beeping all at once or the teacher would be tracking around the room, killing the programs as they started. πŸ˜‹ But it’s strange because the next day – even though I anticipated getting in some kind of trouble – the teacher didn’t even mention it, didn’t change anything about what we did… it was just strange. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Well played, teacher… 😏 pretend like I didn’t just school you with my junior high BASIC programming knowledge and I’ll pretend like I didn’t do it. πŸ˜„ Hell, maybe she was impressed. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’m pretty sure she knew who did it though… none of those other shlubs had any idea of what they were doing yet. 😁

LOAD”*”,8,1 … READY … RUN

I don’t want tomorrow to feel like today did, so I’m gonna try my hardest to push aside all of the bad things in my mind – and hopefully do some things that I know should be fun. It’s so strange how the past few years have kinda stolen “fun” in general from me. I’ve got two current game systems, several different cameras, that Playstation VR system I haven’t even set up yet, a couple decent musical keyboards, the C64 Mini system I got the other day… and all of it just sits here.

I think the more that bad, sad, or unfortunate things started happening to me, my friends, and my family… the less able I’ve been to allow myself to have fun. Even if I have moments where I’m not feeling bad about my own shit, I guess I sorta feel like it’s not right for me to have fun when some of my friends and family are dealing with their own bad, sad, unfortunate shit. I know it’s dumb, and I kinda know how I got here… but that doesn’t matter… what matters is changing my way of thinking and letting myself just enjoy shit now and then.

I have to just accept that some people might roll their eyes or have something shitty to say if they think I should be doing “this” when I decide to do “that” – because if I live my life making sure I make everyone else happy… well, that’s just some bullshit… but believe it or not that’s how I’ve been for a long while now.

Meh… but anyway, tomorrow has to be different. I think once I straighten up the living room a little bit I’m gonna hook up both the C64 Mini and the PSVR. Who would have thought, back in the late 80s, when Mom, Dad, and Aunt C bought me a C64C, 1541-II disk drive, Okidata 120 dot matrix printer, and 13″ color TV… that almost 30 years later I’d be so excited to have a baby version of that old computer that I can play on my 50″ HDTV. Oh, and I also have that CD of scanned slides that I still need to check out.

So many things stuck with me from my childhood. The computers, the classic video games, the nerdy interest in photography, radio, musical keyboards, and tech in general -and even a lot of the music from back then that still means the most to me… all of those started as these little seeds that were planted back then, which are still growing strong in me to this day. Well, maybe not “strong” for some of them, but I still want them to be…

Tomorrow’s gonna be different. Even if it’s just tomorrow.

Unrelated to Adulting

Okay, now that I’ve got all that other shit out of my brain for the moment… now I can write about the other stuff from the past week or so. Let me start off by talking about a new toy that I couldn’t resist. 😊 It was only $80 shipped, which isn’t too bad… and considerably less than what the original (with disk drive) would have cost new. It’s called The C64 Mini, and while it’s not an official Commodore product, it’s essentially an entire C64 emulated on a teeny board, in a teeny replica of the original “breadbin” style Commodore 64.Β πŸ˜ƒ And before you ask, no… the keyboard doesn’t actually work… but you can plug a USB keyboard into it and use it as an actual computer – and the company intends to come out with a full-sized, completely working replica soon. 😁

I’ve yet to even power the thing on, because I’m waiting for a spell when I’ll be able to do nothing but mess with the thing… which will include upgrading the firmware to allow me to load any program from a flash drive, and loading it up with all of my favorites from when I was a kid. It does have 64 licensed games built in, but most people are like me and get it so they’ll have the closest thing to an actual C64 – but with HDMI output – for the best looking Commodore 8-bit computer ever. 😊

I suppose everyone has a “thing” from their generation that they loved when they were younger, and therefore want to have again once they’re old. 😏 Classic video games and Commodore computing are definitely my thing, the same way that HAM radio is Dad’s thing… and like me, he’s still got a few toys as well that he plays with to this day.Β πŸ€“ I’m even learning how to take a C64 disk image, open it on a Windows 10 laptop, add or remove C64 programs as I see fit, and then export the new C64 disk image for use on this thing. 😯 That’s how it is with me though… give me something I’m genuinely passionate about, and my brain will start absorbing everything that it needs to know about it.

Okay, gotta keep this entry short-ish. 🀨 Maven is almost completely done with her home-grooming, which means my bathroom and living room carpet areΒ covered with poofed hair for now. 😟 I’m lucky that she’s so cooperative though. In fact, for the most part she loves the process. Bri came for a visit right before Halloween, not only to hang out (she drew the face on the pumpkin and I carved it upΒ πŸŽƒπŸ˜) but to also distract from her mom’s deteriorating health. She’s actually had a couple of good days, so it was nice to see her have a little more energy. However, my friend Greg, his mother passed away this past week. 😒 She was having a rough time, so it’s one of those deals where you’re almost relieved.

Cassi came down to spend the night on one of her days off. Her life is so hectic, between all of the hours that she’s been putting in lately and then having her, her mom, and her (very opinionated) 17 year-old sister all there at her house, making noise at each other. 😏 So coming here, even if half of her time is spent sleeping… it really is like a teeny mental vacation for her.Β πŸ™‚ Plus she helped me out with some chores, including the whole de-flea-ing process with the sprays and the carpet powder, etc. (Plus the most important and helpful thing… getting Maven to swallow that damn Capstar flea killin’ pill.)

As we sat in the living room watching the new “Charmed” show, we also each had our notebooks and were fastidiously jotting down the things that we intend to work on in the next few days. It’s strange how just having her here “working” in the same way that I was, how it helps to settle my brain and let me get down to business without getting as easily distracted by Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. 😡

So there ya go… just so you don’t think my entire existence is grumping and bitching. 😐 There’s always some good sprinkled in there – and even when it isn’t “good” in general, I’m thankful that I have the right kind of friends to help me through those times, and vice versa.Β πŸ™‚Β Okay, carry on…