xrayspx's picture

Juggling Evidence


If you know you know

Because my mom didn't think I knew how to juggle.


Fixed Tags:
xrayspx's picture

Have some content


It seems like I really don't write very much, but that's kind of a massive misconception. I don't write "much", but I had a bunch of blog entries that were at least 60% written and were missing like, screenshots or links or tags or I need to make new tags for things like XScreensaver and BSDs. Haiku. Shit lots of stuff.

xrayspx's picture

OK Maybe This Is My Cat?


Couldn't just leave the little beggar outside in -15F while we were all cozy on the couch...So after a long night in the basement napping comfortably, how do we greet the day? Find the only sun spot in the house and nap some more of course.

Fixed Tags:
xrayspx's picture

This Still Isn't My Cat


For the last year or so we've had a persistent stray cat that we've been kind of watching after, along with most of the rest of our neighborhood. As the weather gets cold we decided to try and see if he'd be willing to come in the house and maybe spend cold nights in the basement. Basement because this is a fully functional male cat and we prefer our stuff to be piss-free. Spoiler alert: It didn't work out so well. He hung out on the porch for a bit, but really wanted to get back outside. And he still managed to spray a pair of Natalie's boots even with us sitting right there with him. If we toss him in the basement I expect to hear him echoing through the heating ducts all night meowing and trapped and annoyed.

But now we have actual cold weather forecast for the first time this winter, with temps in the single digits during the next couple days and we want to make sure the little weirdo has somewhere to stay warm. So yesterday, Natalie banged out this little shelter. it's got fiberglass insulation with styrofoam inside with a decent amount of straw so the little guy should be able to burrow in and stay pretty warm. Now it's just a matter of getting him to use it. Today I started putting food in the far inside corner and he is getting more comfortable going in to get food. Hope he figures out that this is where you go when it's cold.

Yesterday we put the box out and introduced the cat to it:

"That's enough progress for one day"

Day 2 - Success?

Fixed Tags:
xrayspx's picture

Tech Henge


Shriekback - Nemesis

As noted previously we basically just bought our way into a retro-computer collection with the addition of an Atari ST and two further 8-bit systems. This created problems for us, but we decided to solve them with craftsmanship and as a result Natalie built an impressive henge.

Previously my office had a bookshelf that Natalie built while I was out of town for work. It worked great for 10 years or so but the shelves were only 10" deep, and while I was able to cram an impressive amount of stuff on there, it had to change. So we designed one 24" deep with a work surface a couple of inches deeper than that, and then a 20" hutch for the top section. This will allow us to have several layers of display items with storage behind them.
Because as is my motto: "If It's Not Display, It's In The Way"

So we've spent the last week setting everything up and trying to consolidate all the new stuff into bins, test what's working and what needs repair, and cabling up all the systems and network hardware. We put two 12u racks in the bottom, one is full of network hardware, NAS, and webservers and the other has several Atari 8-bit peripherals that are hooked up and then storage for in-progress projects like the Kaypro II. We designed it with the three cubbies to accommodate our printer and scanner, but decided that they were better used with books and stuff, so as a bonus we swapped out the top on a metal cabinet we already had and it really fits in well.

You can already see there's room for 4 computers/keyboards and mice "comfortably", and we could probably have 6 going if we really wanted to add anything more. We'll be spending some time to come trying to find the most effective way to fill this thing, but I think it's off to a good start, and we can nearly eat on our dining room table again, so that's a bonus! I think all we have left to do is unfortunately send the Elvis tapestry on a permanent vacation and replace him with 3 or 4 bookshelves to hold all the software and documentation we got with this haul.

xrayspx's picture

Mac Classic Pt. 3 - Works as Intended


Success. Today we (Mainly Natalie), recapped the high voltage board and after a couple of long waits starts, it boots straight up off the 40MB hard drive into System 7.01!

Of course, there's nothing on this machine. It's got Word, Hypercard, and that's about it. No Mac Paint! No Oregon Trail! So the next step on this adventure is obviously going to be to figure out how to get some software onto the machine.

xrayspx's picture

Mac Classic Pt. 2 - This is Fine


Pailhead - I Will Refuse

Note: I say "We" a lot. Natalie has been doing at least as much of this work as me. She has a whole method that she likes for the tantalum caps so she pretty much installed all of those. She even discharged the CRT. We learned later that the Classic seems to bleed the CRT automatically which is nice. I'm still sticking a screwdriver back there every time though just to make sure.

Good and bad news on the Mac Classic front.

If you read in part one, we over-paid a princely sum for a Mac which "Works as intended", but which should really have been "For parts or repair" for 1/3 what we paid.

So I'm personally beholden to make this fucker run regardless of personal cost in blood or treasure at this point.

"Rookies do very tidy job and rightfully feel pleased"

We recapped the motherboard on the Mac Classic. We got a heat gun, generous with the tape all around to make sure we didn't mess up any other components, and quickly and easily got the old parts off, we cleaned the pads up with solder wick, tinned them with new solder and put in the replacement tantalum caps, applying a bit of flux and cleaning regularly along the way. No damaged pads, everything went extremely smoothly regardless of which of us held the iron. Natalie really did most of the installation of the new parts.



"Rookie makes Rookie Mistake"

The eagle-eyed among you already see why my office smelled like shit all day last Saturday. Of course, tantalums don't note polarity the same way any electrolytic I've dealt with has. So we installed them all backwards.

I know I have seen at least one person mention that while doing a recap and replacing electrolytics with tantalums. In fact, in the box from the company we ordered the replacements from:

So it's not like there weren't ample people trying to get this information into my head. Oh well, happens. Here's the before & after, after the second recap:

I also took the cardboard shield off the high voltage board and saw sticky burnt electrolyte gack on the back of the board. That gack was the smell that took this machine beyond just "nicotine soaked" when you turned it on.

We've removed the high voltage board and will re-cap that in Part 3.

I'm in no position to recommend the hot air station we got, but it was just "not quite the cheapest one on Amazon". Came with some extras like a pair of side cutters and a couple pairs of tweezers, so that was helpful.

xrayspx's picture

Dr Pepper Clock


We just got a really great Dr Pepper restaurant clock, as featured in the arcade scene of Wargames. We think it's meant to be modular and can be attached to lighted menu-boards. It's got a pass-through 110V plug so you can daisy chain stuff off of it, and the side trim is easily removable to clip in a sigh board on each side.

However, while it is beautiful, it doesn't need to be on all the time, so I added a switch. The wiring is very simple with just a couple of wire nuts tying the inbound power to the AC plug and fluorescent light. I found some suitably retro-ey looking switches on Amazon at 6 for $9.

We decided to put the switch on the bottom just in case I cracked the plastic or something similarly horrible happened. All in all, very straight forward, but one pro-tip was in drilling the hole. I started with a small drill bit and worked my way up, but when I got to the larger drill bits I ran the drill in reverse to just use friction to make the hole rather than trying to hog out a hole in very thin and brittle material with a way-too-big bit. This worked /great/, thanks Dave.

Wiring before:


Wiring After:

Switch external:

Fixed Tags:
xrayspx's picture

Dog Day Afternoon


Dogs are swell.

Today, Natalie and I we were just starting our daily walk, so we were only like 2 streets away when this dog kind of started running around. The guy said "He'll bite you", so we just stopped and stood still, and yeah, he really did bite Natalie pretty good. We were kind of shaken up so we didn't do what you're supposed to do and get the information about vaccinations and stuff and just kind of staggered Natalie home.

Fixed Tags:
xrayspx's picture

The Lattice of Convenience


Def Leppard - Bringin' on the Heartbreak

A couple of years ago, Natalie and I canceled cable since we found it had literally been a year since we watched anything live on TV. I've built a pretty good "lattice of convenience" to store a media library of "Crap we like" and conveniently stream it pretty much anywhere.

Over the years, we've collected maybe 3000 CDs and a several hundred DVDs, including many box sets of TV series we like. I feel like we spent a TON on CDs when we were younger that most people didn't.


Subscribe to RSS - Milford