Week ending 06/26/05

06/22/05: For my first entry,  thought I'd write a little about what this project is about.  Here on the Thugs' site, I advocate the use and maintenance of older systems for normal "contemporary" tasks.  My motto is "everything was state of the art once", and so a LOT of information and software are available for older machines, whether free or inexpensive.  So really, there's no excuse why older systems aren't still being used in everyday life.  It always amazes me when I hear someone say "That computer is so old it's useless" about a perfectly good system.  The problem is with the USERS, folks.  As a self-proclaimed "Power User", I've always bragged that I could use any personal computer, modern or otherwise, to do my daily work, such as word processing, email, accounting, maintaining lists, and even surfing the Web.  Well, this project is essentially me "putting my money where my mouth is".

Starting July 1st, 2005, I will use my newest acquisition, a TRS-80 Model 4P, exclusively for the entire summer.  Yup, nothing but the 4P until the official "First Day of Fall", the Autumnal Equinox.  Which, incidentally, falls on September 22nd.

06/23/05: Powered the machine up for it's first test this evening.  It went marginally well.  I spent much of the evening trying to write TRS-80 disks on my PC (aka "Luxembourg") and met with total success.  However, the 4P has some video problems when booting, which I have since learned means the 80 column Model 4 display has lost calibration.  When I have a bit of time this weekend, I'll adjust the potentiometer inside the unit.

Many thanks to both David Keil and Jeff Vavasour for their excellent TRS-80 emulators (which I used to write the TRS-80 disks for my unit), as well as Ira Goldklang for his great TRS-90 resource page.  If it weren't for them (and anyone who helped them), I'd probably be watching TV instead..

06/24/05: Took the night off to repair a computer for a friend of the family.  And to have a few pints of Guinness.

06/25/05: Felt the urge to tackle the video problem.  After nearly an HOUR trying to get the thing apart (there were two screws inside the bloody monitor housing that hold the front bezel in place!), I managed to find the potentiometer (or PLL or whatever the Hell it's called) and adjusted it with a tool of my own design ( a cap from a ball-point pen, stem bent 90 degrees and sharpened with a utility knife)... beats trying to slide the motherboard out a few inches and fighting with cables that aren't designed to stretch too far!  Put the unit back together et le voila!  perfectly good non-gate-array Model 4P!

I played around with LS-DOS 6.3.1 and TRS-DOS 6.2.0 a bit, just to familiarize myself with the OS.  I've made myself a disk with FastTerm II v3.45 so I can try to null-modem into my *nix box tomorrow or Monday.

06/26/05: I didn't do too much today.  I downloaded a few files to be transferred to proper disks, as well as a few PDFs(manuals) and text files (with tips & tricks) that I figure I'm going to need...

Sundays, I think, are going to be days of rest.  No computer related stuff other than website updates, unless, of course, Slam and I find some pieces of equipment for sale... in which case, we may need to surf the web or check the newsgroups for info (I'll be using the 4P, of course).

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