Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ComputerEyes by Digital Vision for the Commodore 64

ComputerEyes is one of those extremely rare C= devices that we all sought after in the 80's. This little device captures light using a little black box that connects to your C=64's RS232 port by attaching to a video cam or still photo camera. It continuously scans the light source and adjusts using the Sync and Brightness knobs on the black box. The device was premier for it's time, and was an intro into the 8-Bit digitized photo world. The ComputerEyes device photographed in the top left corner of this post is my actual ComputerEyes I acquired for next to nothing from a fellow Commodore collector. There are several additional software add-ons that you can use with the device to make the pictures compatible with Doodle!, Koala, and Geos. Having these programs can be handy when you want to print or save the photos. Here is a link to download that contains the user manual and all the original .d64 software to download if you have the device and are looking for the program to use with it. Of course you will need some sort of transfer from PC device such as Jim Brain's SD/uIEC device, or by using Star Commander with an old 386/486 PC computer and an X1541 cable. To the left is a scanned page copy of an original ComputerEyes ad from Run Feb. '86 Magazine. Notice the price is $129.95. That would equate to about $259.40 in today's market! There are some new programs out there that take a PC picture and create a .d64 image to load on your C=64. In my opinion, this is a cool breakthrough. Now you can see your actual color image taken on your PC camera digitized for view on your C=64. Here is the link for the website on that. If anyone has any pictures taken with ComputerEyes please post them here for all to see and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Three Stooges...

I recently won this game on Ebay, and could not wait to break into the box and play this game. I had played it once before on the NES and thought it was quite fun. In the picture below I am playing the game on my C128DCR that sits adjacent to my SX64. I use Epyx Fastload on both my systems to decrease load time on my software, and an Epyx 500XJ joystick which, in my opinion, is the best C64 joystick. 
            The game is quite fun, with the games premise having a noble cause in saving an orphange. The mini-games within the main game actually require a bit of game-play skill. You have to race through a hospital without hitting patients, splat pies on peoples heads, find cash, win at short quizzes based on the Three Stooges cinema life, and find cash. The video below is the Amiga port with fairly decent graphics. The C64 port is not bad and worth the play.
           Here is what Wikipedia has to say: The Three Stooges is a video game originally released by Cinemaware in 1987 for the Amiga, based on the comedy act of the same name. In the game, players control Stooges MoeLarry and Curly in minigames based on classic Stooges films with the aim of raising enough money to save an orphanage The Three Stooges must rescue an old woman's orphanage by earning money in various minigames based on various Three Stooges films. These include cracker-eating contests (based on the Stooges short Dutiful But Dumb) and boxing contests (based on the short Punch Drunks). Players select minigames by timing a button press as a hand randomly points to various symbols representing in-game events, including non-interactive events that can increase the Stooges' cash total. Each event takes up one in-game day - players have thirty in-game days to earn as much money as they can.
Several different game endings are received depending on the amount of money the player has earned after the thirty days, the best of which has the Stooges not only saving but renovating the orphanage and marrying the orphanage owner's three daughters.The game was later ported to the NES and Commodore 64 and released by Activision.Versions for the Game Boy Advance and PlayStation were developed by Metro3D, Inc. and released in 2002. The game was also updated for release on Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh as one of Cinemaware's "Digitally Remastered" editions.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I watched a CNBC special tonight and did a little research on the Coca-Cola companies support of the South African economy. I was quite impressed to know that Coca-Cola was one of their main staples in support of their middle class which averages between 3 and 5 thousand equivalent US dollars a year. South Africa's main sport is Soccer aka "Football", and Coca-Cola is continuing it's efforts in support of the South African economy by their Global Marketing Campaign to Support Sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ Unveiled at Global Press Conference in Zurich. I enjoy studying economics, and believe that an open market with free trade improves lives and the economy throughout the world. Way to go Coca-Cola. I enjoy Coke, but now I have a reason to drink Coke more to help support a growing global economy. Enjoy this Coca-Cola Classic Video created on a Commodore 64 by 

Deus Ex Machina. Drink Coke!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Troubleshooting and Repairing an SX64

So today I am diving into repairing one of my SX64s. Most of you know that these machines can be in need of repair from time-to-time. The issue I am working on today relates to the screen prompt that comes up when I turn the machine on. Sometimes the screen goes completely blank, and other times I turn it on all the letters are garbled up. I have a breadbox 64 that I am using to pull spare chips from to try. According to Ray Carlsen's notes this can be caused for a variety of reasons, and gives a list of suspect chips to replace. I've replaced the UB2 906108-02 (6526) CIA on I/O board, and still the same issue. I've replaced the 901225-01 CHARACTER ROM on CPU board and still no change. The next chip I am trying to replace is the UD3 251104-01 KERNAL ROM on CPU board, but there doesn't seem to be a c64 replacement in the breadbox for this. I am researching to see if there is a duplicate for this chip on the C64. I have a feeling that the Kernal Rom is in fact the culprit. I will keep everyone updated on how this turns out. Last time I had an issue with the Ready cursor not being present and all I had to do was replace the 6526 and all was well in the world.  I was able to replace the SX64 Kernal Rom with the breadbox 64 Kernal Rom which is the 901227-03 in the breadbox. It just gives you the standard blue screen C64 instead of the white and light blue SX64 screen with the 251104-01 chip, but they are interchangeable. After I replaced them there was still the garbled screen. So the next culprit was the VIC chip 6567.
After replacing the VIC chip it turns out it was the UF4 906109-04 (6567) VIC (has heat sink attached) on CPU board.
     "Blank white screen, no border. Sometimes will produce garbage or
"checkerboard" screen, or screen that lacks contrast. If screen is
blank or garbled from bad VIC, "blind" disk commands from keyboard
-may- still work."

Ray Carlsen is the man.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

C64 Arkanoid Music

AMIGA-Demo "9 Fingers" von "Spaceballs"


Geos Operating System

Having learned early basic programming on a 128K Apple Macintosh I definitely grew and affinity to the graphical user interface type of setup. The C64 and C128 both had similar user interface environments that could be loaded onto the machine through one of your choice of drives such as the 1541, 1571, or 1581. Later the development of Ram Drives were introduced such as the 1700 (128k), 1764 (256k), the 1750 (512k), and the Geos 512k GeoRam. GEOS (Graphic Environment Operating System) is an operating system from Berkeley Softworks (later GeoWorks). , GEOS took full advantage of many of the add-ons and improvements available for these systems. Commodore's 1351 mouse was supported by GEOS, as were its various RAM expansion units. GEOS 128 also fully supported the C128's 640×200 high-resolution VDC display mode through a compatible RGB monitor.

Geos is a fun to use program that gives the C64/128 the feel of a powerful 16-bit machine. Many accessory programs came out to work along with the standalone program such as:
  • geoBASIC
  • geoCable
  • geoCalc
  • geoChart
  • geoDex
  • geoDraw
  • geoFAX
  • geoFile
  • geoFont
  • geoLabel
  • geoPaint
  • geoPrint
  • geoProgrammer
  • geoPublish
  • geoSpell
  • geoWrite
  • geoWrite Workshop
I personally own Geos 1.2 and 2.0 for the C64. I'm looking to score a copy of Geos 128. I've also got the 1700 and 1764 ram expansion along with the 1351 mouse. I have a 1350 mouse laying around somewhere that can also be used. If you have any useful ideas, or creations from Geos feel free to post. I'm looking forward to transferring some pictures I take with ComputerEyes to Geos format to play with. More info...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Last Ninja - Commodore 64

Washington represents Commodore...

With the election results and the countries economy looming in the poles, there is still a great movement already started that is the Commodore 64. This computer dates back to 1982 and is one dynamic machine with thousands of games and programs that were programmed, and a demo and SID music mantra that beats strong throughout Europe. I'm excited to start a blog that we can all share our passions for this machine, and any other Commodore device that suits you. My collection is vast with many of the parts purchased off of Ebay, but also many others collected from people just looking to offload. Please feel free to post a picture of your current setup, favorite game, or just to share your passion for Commodore.

Commodore SX-64 Executive Portable Computer