Amiga 2000 Coming Soon

Thanks to a friend in Austin, I have an Amiga 2000 system on the way! Getting it nicely equipped and upgraded will be fun; I was a huge Amiga fanatic from ’90-93 during high school when I had an Amiga 1000. I owned an A3000 in ’95, but never really got into using it as I discovered Sun workstations and Solaris around the same time. Unfortunately the friend that was storing the A3000 for me lost it during a move a couple years later.

Anyway, I’ve got an Amiga 2000 with a flickerfixer, A2091 SCSI card, floppy drive, ‘030 accelerator, and an unknown amount of memory on the way. I’ll need to add a hard drive (of which I have plenty), external CD-ROM (got tons of those too), and find a mouse.

If anybody reading this has Amiga bits they’d like to get rid of, let me know.

Things I need to eventually pick up for the A2000:

– Kickstart 3.1 ROMs (so I can run AmigaOS 3.9)
– An extra floppy drive or two, along with lots of DSDD 3.5″ floppies
– PS/2 adapters for the keyboard and mouse (so I can use it on my KVM)
– Ethernet card (anywhere from $50-200, looks like)
– RTG or Picasso96 high-resolution video card
– PowerPC accelerator card (yeah, right, unobtanium)
– Spare power supply

Audio DIY update

I screwed up my first attempt at a CMoy headphone amp by being in too much of a hurry (put the wrong part in a couple of places, then had to unsolder/resolder in the correct part), and ended up damaging the Radio Shack protoboard. The end result was that the right channel worked, but the left channel was completely dead.

I’ve got enough parts to build at least two more amps, so I’ll give it another shot (and take my time) on Sunday night.

Tonight (Saturday) I started and finished the crossfeed box and it works great – here are pictures of the end result, enclosed in a $2.50 plastic enclosure I found at EPO.

Yes, that is 3M blue painter’s tape. I have it on my workbench (to hold components in place while soldering) and used it to label and attach the bottom cover to the enclosure.

Garage is finally cleaned out

Last night we cleaned all of the junk and old furniture out of the garage, and managed to fill half of a 30-cubic-yard construction dumpster.

Once we move the last piece of furniture (a heirloom piece that we’re going to keep and have refinished) into the house, I’ll proceed to power-wash the concrete and prep it for paint and sealant.

Times like this I wish a friend of mine from Austin was around to help…

Nine Inch Nails: Year Zero

NIN’s new album is called “Year Zero”.

I’ve been following the Year Zero Alternate Reality Game since I first heard of it in late February. In early April the album leaked to the Internet, and yesterday I finally purchased a copy of my own on the release date.

This is the only physical CD that I’ve purchased in the past 3-4 years, and it’s well worth the $14.95 (@Borders) price. Not only is the “backstory” of this concept album well done, the ARG that ties in with it is simply AMAZING.

As for the music, it will sit alongside SoM’s A Slight Case of Overbombing as one of my favorite albums. I’ve been listening to it for over a week now, and haven’t gotten tired of it yet.

Current Electronics Projects

Finally got my electronics “workbench” set back up. So far, I’ve made a few custom audio cables (mostly 1/8″-male to 1/8″-male interconnects) and am working on an LED clock kit to get back up to speed on soldering. Unfortunately, the spring in the TC201T soldering iron for my WTCPT soldering station is wearing out, so I had to order another one and will continue working on things once it arrives on Monday the 16th.

I got a pretty good year’s worth of use out of this WTCPT station; it only cost me $29 shipped off eBay and had obviously been through many years of use before I acquired it. The base power unit should pretty much last forever, and with this new TC201T (a newer version than the one I currently have), I can simply replace the heater unit and switch (for $30) if it happens to wear out. All told, not counting tips I’ve only spent about $100 total on the original WTCPT and the new replacement iron – that’s still cheaper than $130-150 for a complete new station.

Once the LED clock kit and a couple more cables are done, I’ve got the parts together already to move on to making a CMoy Headphone Amp and a Crossfeed Board to go along with it.

After those are done, in a month or so I’ll be assembling my long-awaited P112 Z80-based single board computer kit. I’ve built a Z80-based SBC before (the Southern Cross I), but it was a simple trainer with not much I/O and a hex keyboard and display. The P112 is a “real” computer that runs CP/M and uses floppy disks (or IDE storage with the “GIDE” add-on board).

Eventually I’d like to build a Nixie clock using the IN-1 Nixie tubes I acquired back in September.

My ultimate goal would be to save up enough to build a new-reproduction version of the Altair 8800, but they’re $1500; for that much I’d rather just save the money to upgrade my Mac to the latest model in a year or so.

One of these days I’ll get around to posting my rant about the current state of hobbyist electronics that’s been bouncing around in my head for the past couple of years.

Now THAT was disturbing

I woke up (highly agitated and paranoid) from a very strange dream earlier this evening.

I dreamt that I was on a boat that was a cross between The Love Boat and Deadliest Catch.

On one end of the boat, women in bikinis were getting tans. On the other end, men in orange survival suits were catching crab.

I should probably stop eating Burger King before I go to bed, and have Amy stop watching Deadliest Catch while I’m falling asleep.

The Decline of Intelligent Network News

On the front page of CNN right now is a picture of a member of Rutgers’ female basketball team talking about how Don Imus’ statements have caused them “great hurt”.

It boils down to this – a talk radio host said something on-air that he probably should have kept as a private opinion. People got offended, and of course Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton came flying out of the woodwork to “represent” the people in question and cry racism.

I think this is all just completely ridiculous. Not only was an apology and a two-week suspension for Imus (a man well-known for running his mouth – he does it for a living) not adequate, they want him fired as well.

Whatever happened to “accept an apology and move on”? People need to quit looking for reasons to be Professionally Offended.

Why does this sort of thing have to be FRONT PAGE NEWS lately? This is CNN, not Entertainment Weekly or a gossip tabloid. We don’t need front-page links to articles about who got kicked off American Idol last night, either. Put the entertainment crap in the entertainment section, leave the important news for the front page. The same thing happened with Anna Nicole Smith – a known drug user ODed. End of story.

Bowflex update

I got it completely assembled a couple of days ago; there remains a couple of bolts I need to fully tighten down before use. Unfortunately, I have to go buy one more adjustable wrench so I can do that. Otherwise, however, it’s all together and there are no missing parts.