Issue 41, June 2010
Free to download magazine dedicated to Commodore computers
Available as PDF, HTML, TXT, SEQ and D64 disk image




I have changed the text font to look more like the html pages, I hope it’s easier to read as some people complained that courier was difficult typeface to read; I was hoping it would give the PDF a sort of retro look but it seems that’s backfired.

Last issue I looked at PRG STARTER and for anyone who uses emulation and has not used it I suggest you check it out you will wonder how you managed without it. Yes for the curious I have sent a donation, the application is brilliant.

In this issue I managed to catch up with Jim Brain Commodore hardware creator for a long overdue interview. I have been away on holiday for a couple of weeks and emails have brought me to an almost standstill what with all the notifications about winning various lottery’s and free offers, mingled with the “100% genuine fake Rolex watch” so apologies for not getting back to anyone recently. I know I may have missed about 2 weeks of news related items but hope I haven’t missed out anything to important.

On my return I had a package (well technically I had a failed delivery sheet, someone tried to deliver something I was away so they took it back to the depot; I also had a bill to pay for import tax Doh!) this was for an adaptor that plugs into your Commodore and can connect to a pc to use the pc as a datasette, I know most of you will be meaning about this but I hope to have some information for the remaining and curious users very soon, I still haven’t fully tested the device let alone read all the manual, However I will write up my findings As soon as I have had a chance t test the device.

For Sale

I have also been asked to do a Commodore for sale page, although in these internet days it doesn’t seem 100% relevant. I do know of many readers still without internet access, and who read the disk version of the magazine. So if you have anything you want to sell and or swap; or are looking for a piece of software or hardware then feel free to let me know, so I can include the text in the next issue. Of Course I can accept no responsibility for errors and the deals are between yourself and a buyer and the retailer or seller of the item. I don’t want to be a go between, please advertise honestly, as we are all friendly here, your not on eBay now no MIB if It doesn’t contain one. This way of working will mean you will need to give a contact address or number for potential purchasers to contact you though.

For plus 4 owners KiTCHY & Luca release of an amazing platform game. has a review, by myself, I can't really say any more in an editorial as it would remove the need for reading the review.


Ahh you have got to love Eurovision, the United Kingdom just got pipped to the post with “sure sounds good to me” (although to many it sounded awful) still I am sure last place is nothing to be ashamed of we are at least becoming very consistent at producing songs of questionable value. Maybe next year we should enter a Commodore 64 with a random sounds generator, its got to be worthy of an entry.

I feel we don’t take the contest seriously here in the U.k. and don’t spend any money on an actual song or the required “glitz” for the competition, maybe getting a singer who can sing live and hold an actual note would have helped us, maybe having a decent song would also have helped somewhat. I am not a football fan but won’t hold my breath for England and the world cup.


I would like the thank Robert Bernardo for permitting me to use the 2 photographs of Jim Brain

Commodore Computer Club

Some people have expressed concern about the Commodore computer club CCC U.k.

Yes its is still running but Real life problems are at the moment preventing promotion and other activities, if it wasn’t for Work, families, paying bills and general life issues myself and the other founder would be doing more!


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Readers Comments

Sender: Martin Fensome
To: Commodore Free

Really appreciated the link to the Jim Butterfield video on Commodore History.

I was always sad at never having met him in person, and thanking him for all his help over the years.

Learning ML through his books actually caused me to switch careers from being a Locksmith for 13 years, to a career first in tech support, eventually to manage a large software testing department, and now, to lead a team of embedded software testers in the commercial HVAC industry.

It amazed me on QLink in the day to be able to ask him questions about his books and programming and get answers in that easy to understand style of his. A real author, talking to me, “live” on the computer from hundreds of miles away. Wow.

After reading his books and that kind of interaction, I and many others must have, felt that we knew him.

I had also started helping him to proofread and edit the scans he was making of his ML for the C64 book (before someone made a text only copy of it) so I got to know him a bit more and saw some pictures of his cats too! I gathered that he was, like me, unable to resist a stray cat that needed a home. So, it was nice to see that video and hear his voice.

I don’t have as much time as I used to anymore so I tend to depend on your magazine as my source of news and sites to visit for new hardware and software. As well as nostalgia, which I am a big fan of.

Thanks for the Commodore Free magazine, I hope you continue with it.
Martin Fensome

Ahh its good to start with a positive

Subject: Infinite energy for Knight 'n Grail
From: Jeremy Smith BSc (Hons)

I found this with the Action Replay 5 pokefinder!

POKE 24496,173

Not sure if this can go in Commodore Free, but Zzap! had pokes pages. ;-)

Hello, well if it was good enough for Zzap64 then I suppose we could use it too.

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A Floppy End

Sony shutting down Japanese floppy disk sales by March 2011, kills a tech dinosaur

Sony who sold over 12 million 3.5” floppy discs last year in Japan is to stop production. To my mind if the discs are still selling and there is a profit to be made it seems odd then that Sony has closed the door on the 3.5” floppy disc. Although still used on older classes of machines. The discs will still be used in many businesses on machinery that can’t be replaced or is uneconomical to replace. Something all businesses ask themselves is “if it isn’t broke why fix it”

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Introducing CBM-Command

OK, what is it? It's a Norton-Commander-like file manager for the c64 and c128 (has separate binaries for each platform). You can read all the details as well as download the D64 release and all the source code at:

I'm looking for any and all feedback. This is a VERY rough first public alpha version. At best it's a toy right now, but it's been growing by leaps and bounds over the last two weeks and I'm sure will grow a lot more over the coming weeks.

Thanks for your time!
Payton Byrd

CBM-Command is rapidly maturing and is now fully featured as a file manager with the ability to copy multiple files between drives in a batch. And since it uses all kernel routines to do its work it takes advantage of whatever disk speeder you may be using such as JiffyDOS (performance is of course determined by compatible devices).

As always, you can download the latest release in a D64 containing both the C64 and C128 versions from the CBM-Command website on Codeplex:

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CBM-Command Released

It's about time!

What is it?

CBM-Command is a disk manager for the Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 computers. It is written in the vein of Norton Commander or Midnight Commander, but is much simpler due to the target platforms. Both the C128 and C64 have their own native version of the application.

What does it do?

Right now, not much beyond displaying a directory of any attached device to the system. It works on both real machines and WinVICE.

So far I have tested it with the following hardware:

* Flat Commodore 128 w/Jiffy DOS
* Commodore 1571 w/Jiffy DOS
* Commodore 1581 w/Jiffy DOS

I have also tested it under WinVICE using both native folders and disk images.

* Planned Features
* File copying between drives
* File renaming and deleting
* DOS wedge
* Text file viewing
* Save locations to favourites for quick retrieval of directories

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A-EON: AmigaKit named primary channel distributor

A-EON technology has appointed UK-based AmigaKit LLC, a premier Amiga retail and distribution company, as primary distributor for the upcoming AmigaOne X1000 computer through Amiga market hardware channels world-wide. AmigaKit will be handling all customer and dealer sales inquiries for the new AmigaOne X1000 hardware platform. Details will be available from AmigaKit LLC in the near future.

A-EON director Trevor Dickinson said "We are very pleased to be able to announce this distribution deal with AmigaKit. They have attained a leading position and reputation over the years through diligent and dedicated service to the Amiga market, and we are confident that this partnership will ensure an excellent service to dealers and end users for sales and distribution of the upcoming AmigaOne X1000 computer." Matthew Leaman of AmigaKit added "We are equally pleased to be working with A-EON Technology on this exciting and innovative AmigaOne project"

About the AmigaOne X1000

The AmigaOne X1000 is a new high-end AmigaOS hardware platform scheduled for release during the summer of 2010. By providing the AmigaOS platform with a high power dual-processor CPU, modern interface standards, high-end graphics and Xcore technology, the X1000 will launch a new era of modern Amiga computing.

About AmigaKit LLC

A division of Leaman computing, AmigaKit acquired the stock of Eyetech Group Ltd. in 2006, and since then has established itself as a world-wide market leader in the retail and distribution of Amiga hardware and software. AmigaKit is based in Cardiff, in the United Kingdom.

A-EON Technology

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Maniacs Of Noise

Echofied 6581 by Maniacs of Noise

Newly released by one of the best music groups that ever existed on C64 containing 6 tunes composed by DRAX, enjoy:


For people without access to a REAL machine the files have been digitally recorded from a real Commodore 64 and can be listened to here

Echofied6581 6581 65818580 ManiacsOfNoise MON " C-64
Echofied 6581 / Maniacs of Noise 2010

1. oro incenso (amiga 1993/c-64 2009 conversion by geir)
2. ubi-sound (1989 unreleased)
3. powerhouse (2006)
4. crosswords (1988)
5. resolution (2009 extended version)
6. caught in the middle (2009)

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Commodore 128 Tower Project

Welcome to my 128 Tower project blog!

There has been a modest amount of interest in this project, so I figured a blog would be warranted. This is the first time I have used a blog, so don't expect it to be well written or with very good grammar

This project originally started back in 2008. If you ever used a Commodore 8bit computer with more than one accessory, you know how cumbersome it can be and how much desk space it can take. On top of this, if you start doing modifications it can be far from pretty and at time counter productive. Most of the heavy lifting was done in mid 2008 and it sat in a partially complete state for over a year. Now in 2010 I am determined to finish it, I believe I am now close to that goal.

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Adventures In Time

KiTCHY & Luca released this amazing platform game in the last few days over at Plus 4 world. The quality of the game really takes your breath away, well done guys. A brilliant addition to the C16/Plus 4 catalogue. Reviewed in this issue of Commodore Free!

Title: Adventures In Time
Category: Game/Platformer
Release Date: 2010-04-22
Language: English
Size: 64K
Device Req.: Disk Only (1 side)
Machine: PAL & NTSC
Code Type: Machine code
Distribution: Freeware
GameEndingType: Has an end, game ends
Released by: Assassins (ASN)
Created by: K., Róbert (KiCHY)
Music composed by: C., Luca (Luca)

Check out the following links for more details:

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We Need Amiga.Org On Wikipedia Please

We are looking for a generous soul or souls to create a nice article about on Wikipedia please. Thanks in advance for your help.

Best regards

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AMIGIFT 2.1 Has Been Released

We are proud to announce the availability of AMIGIFT Version 2.1. AMIGIFT is a multi-protocol peer-to-peer file sharing application for AmigaOS and compatible systems.

The list of changes since the last public release are as follow:

$Id: ChangeLog,v 13.0 2010/04/11 19:07:25 diegocr Exp $


* The number of sources shown on the result's bubble-help wasn't correct, also fixed those bubble-helps to trim strings up to 100 characters, otherwise they don't open on certain screenmodes.


* There seems to be some strange issue coming up since os4.1.1 from the Gnutella plugin, in a try to get rid of it we've removed some global variables usages which may or may not was causing such issue(s)... after all that was not so system-friendly/legal...

* Following the above explained Gnutella changes, we've done the same for the Ares and OpenFT plugins.


* Fixed the chat which wasn't working due changes made on freenode.


* Search Filters are now working as it should.


* Gnutella/trie.c: Replaced two assert()'ion checks which could cause the daemon being suspended when either running out of memory or sharing more than 4GB...

- Gnutella 2.12 now available.


* Changed the way version check for 3rd part libraries/classes is performed. It should no longer produce a crash under OS4 while checking Textinput#?.mcc

* The executable files downloaded from the Online Updater does not contain the Execute bit, causing problems under OS4 - Fixed.

* Each first search query is not properly inserted on the string's class history (context menu) - Fixed.

* Using 'Save To Disk ALL' still causes a requester to come up switching between preferences pages - Fixed.


* Fixed some issue(s) caused by uninitialized library base pointers
from inside amigift.library (...)

* Fixed several catalog/build-in english strings for typos, Thanks a lot to Sam at who did the job.

- GiFTMui 2.0.201 Released.


* Downgraded required OpenURL.library back to version 6.3

You can download it from
NOTE: Remember you can download the archive AMIGIFT-deps.lha in case you lack some of the required 3rd-part libraries, you can find it in the 2.0 folder

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New Version Of WinUAE

A new version of the Amiga emulator for Windows is available. WinUAE 2.1.0

In version 2.1.0 are the following changes:

* CDTV/CD32 CD image file support, including audio tracks.
* Direct 3D rewrite.
* A1000 Agnus vblank bug emulated.
* Multidisk image selection helper.
* Parallel port sound sampler emulated.
* Many improvements on 68000 cycle-exact instructions.

For more details visit the WinUAE

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GCC 4.5.0 AmigaOS 68K

GCC 4.5.0 amigaos 68k Compiler CYGWIN hostet

Here can download the GCC 4.5.0 Version. It contains both C and C++ Compiler.

In this archive is also docu and the additional backend sources to build from the official GCC sources any GCC 68k Version with only 1-2 minutes of typing/copying work.

The C++ includes and libs will need to be download from other link

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Music Studio V2. 0

Music Studio 2.0 is a Windows-based SID music creator software. For an accurate C64 sound, it utilises the newest RESID-FP emulation available, both old (6581) and new (8580) SID chips. MS2 is capable of creating 1x speed tunes and alternate many SID chip parameters directly with various commands. Classic and new C64 sounds can be created with envelope parameters that can be set up in few simple steps. For proper initialization, run MusicStudio2\MusicStudio\MusicStudio.exe

Loading and saving files:

This editor can read packed files saved by the original C64 version of Music Studio editor, either from raw PRGs starting at 0x4600 or VICE P00 files with the longer header data. When saving files it will use the new file format for the PC editor.

Most (not all!) GoatTracker files starting with the header bytes "GTC!" or "GTS5" can also be imported. This is to facilitate importing of block note and track data. The instruments and other effects need a lot of hand tweaking.

It can also export data to C64 native PRG format as well as SID files using the menu "File->Export to C64". This exported data is heavily optimised compared to the wasted space of the C64 editor. Even unused portions of code from the player routine are removed, for example if the music uses fewer drums the code size will be reduced. This optimisation is due to using assembly source files and the ACME assembler included with this package.

- Output SID file: Uses the source file "HeaderSID.a". Choosing the menu option "View->Extended view" information about TITLE, AUTHOR and RELEASED can be set that will be included in the .sid file header, too.

- Output standalone PRG: Uses the source file "HeaderSelf.a" and will save a PRG that can be loaded which will play the music.

- Output just the player and data: Uses the source "HeaderPRG.a" with the input hex address and will save a relocated PRG starting at the hex address suitable for import into other programs.

The player source code is included in "MusicPlayer2.a". This means it is also possible to use the temporary generated sources for the music data with the player source code and include that in other programs.
The player code uses the zero page locations $fb/$fc and preserves these on the stack.

Using sound effects in games is supported with 'Include sound effect code' option. Try to export a tune as 'Output standalone PRG' with sound FX option enabled and run on C64/emulator to see how it works. Envelopes also can be marked to export as effects with the 'Force used' option in the envelope editing section.


Martin Piper and Alan Peters - Original C64 code
Martin Piper - PC Editor code.
Alan Peters - Demo music
Special thank you to NecroPolo, Richard Bayliss and Chabee for their testing and demo music.

Portions of this software use source code from RESID-FP

A special tweaked version of ACME is used in the release. The original source is available from

Source code for this tool and the tweaked ACME is available from

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AmigaOS 4.1 For SAM460EX

Bassano del Grappa,

Following the recent announcement about the Sam460ex, the latest addition to the SAM family, ACube Systems is very pleased to announce that the work to port AmigaOS 4.1 to the Sam460ex is in progress and it's carried out by our partner Hyperion Entertainment CVBA.

The release date is still targeted for September.

Thanks for your support.

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Scene World Issue 16 Released

To: commodore Free
Subject: [Homestead] Scene World issue 16 released

Five years after the last one, People of Liberty release a new issue of the international diskmag Scene World.

This issue is dedicated to the memory of Lord Ronin, and features text written by him. There's also four new logos and four new tunes, and the whole mag is NTSC compatible with an optional fastloader.

Download it from the homepage

or from the Commodore Scene Database

Andrew Fisher
Editor, Scene World

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C64 Artist, Walt Harned, Has Passed Away

Dick Estel, treasurer of FCUG, has been in contact with former Loadstar editor, Fender Tucker, for a number of years. In a communication received from Fender, Dick tells me that famed C64 artist, Walt Harned, has passed away. Walt's beautiful, sometimes whimsical multicolour pictures graced many of the 199 Loadstar issues that Fender edited.

Rest in peace, Walt,

Robert Bernardo
Fresno Commodore User Group

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Computer+Video Games C16/+4 Special

A free brand new C16/Plus4 special edition of Computer+Video Games is now available for download.

We reckon that not many people are aware that C+VG reviewed a total of 51 games for the C16/-4, which includes The Berks Trilogy compilation.

This retrospective includes every one of them for the 264 series. All the scans has been digitally reformatted and cleaned up, no yellowing of the pages to give a nice fresh original magazine feel. Plus another new cover design for this retrospective look back on yet another classic magazine.

PDF Format

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this, which you can download HERE

ZIP Format

The magazine in numbered .jpg images. This comes with cviewer which is slightly similar to the Adobe Acrobat viewer.

You can also purchase the full magazine scans on DVD of this and many other classic computer gaming magazines at the Zzap Zzuperstore

Watch this site for another magazine project which is now currently underway.

Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy this special :)

Sixteen Plus

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R3PLAY Announced
R3PLAY (pronounced “Replay”) is a brand new show celebrating four decades of gaming history. Presented in association with Retro Gamer and gamesTM magazines, this unique event will offer gamers of all ages the chance to experience gaming systems from the 1970s to present day. R3PLAY will take place at The Norbreck Castle in Blackpool on 6/7 November 2010 the final weekend of this year’s famous Illuminations.

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Tracker Hero Is A Musical Game For The Amiga

Tracker Hero is a musical game for the Amiga that uses MOD song files.

It can be played with keyboard, Joystick or Guitar (Using Paul Willingham's PS2 to Amiga adapter). Using this adaptor it should be playable with dance mats too. It has been developed on an Amiga 1200 and WinUAE using Amiblitz2, Personal Paint, Protracker and some other tools.

It is still on Beta and therefore contains some bugs.

Short: "Guitar Hero" clone using mod files
Author: Carlos Peris (carlos.peris gmail com)
Uploader: Carlos Peris (carlos.peris gmail com)
Type: game/misc
Version: 0.9
Requires: AGA, Kickstart 2.0
Architecture: generic; m68k-amigaos
Date: 2010-05-24

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Evolution (8-Bit Girl)

Evolution (8-Bit Girl) is a collection of love songs to the 8-bit generation, a reminder why we fell in love with all those loading screens, tracker tunes and the demoscene many years ago.

EDITOR I have interviewed 8-bit girl in this issue of Commodore Free!

The album contains eight tracks of post modern electronic dance music, recorded using a variety of classic machines and synthesisers including: Commodore 64, Commodore 64C, Commodore Amiga running OctaMED, Nintendo NES, Korg MS-20, Korg Polysix, MicroKORG, Emulator II iPhone and Fairlight CMI.

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Commodore PET 65816 CPU Card

Andre Fachat has created the world's first 65816 CPU card for the Commodore PET.

The first version of the PET 65816 CPU card has been released the board speeds up a PET to up to 12.5MHz using a 65816 CPU running at 12.5MHz, plus a Xilinx CPLD as logic. The board also has 1MByte fast RAM with 512k Flash ROM, that could used be used as boot ROM.

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Commodore 128 VDC Library

By Scott Hunter

Sender: Scott hunter
To: Commodore Free
Subject: Comments

I am Scott Hutter in Tennessee (aka xlar54 around the circuit). Id like to toss out a few things for submission:

Hi, I wanted to say thanks to you for putting together such a great resource, and I hope it continues

1) I have a wiki out there for tips etc for CBM computers. A lot of good stuff that I aggregated from various sources, and I welcome folks to join in. It is located at:

2) I’ve been working on a CC65 library for the Commodore 128 VDC. It allows you to create text UIs, like the old Turbo Vision TUI. Overlapping windows, controls like labels, textboxes, buttons, checkboxes, etc. It is an open source project, and I welcome other developers joining in to make this a really solid library. The project is hosted on SourceForge at :

Screenshots are there as well. The following is a simple example using the library:

#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>

#include "vdc_gui.h"

void txtBox1_keyPressed(TEXTBOX *textBox, BYTE c);
void txtBox1_onEnter(TEXTBOX *textBox);
void btnOk_OnPressed(BUTTON *button);
void btnQuit_OnPressed(BUTTON *button);

WINDOW *win1, *win2;

int main (void)
    int x;

    TEXTBOX* txtBox1;
    TEXTBOX* txtBox2;
    CHECKBOX* chkBox1;
    BUTTON* btnOk;
    BUTTON* btnQuit;


    // Set the background color to blue

    // Generate a background pattern

    // Create the header window
    win2 = CreateWindow(1, 4, 70, 5, VDC_WIN_BORDER_LINE, NULL);
    CreateLabel(win2, NULL, 2, 2, "this is a demo of the vdc gui library.");

    // Create an input window
    win1 = CreateWindow(7,5,45,10,VDC_WIN_BORDER_LINE, "input test");

    txtBox1 = CreateTextbox(win1, "txtBox1", 8,3,10);

    CreateLabel(win1, NULL, 2,5,"age:");
    txtBox2 = CreateTextbox(win1, "txtBox2", 8,5,2);

    chkBox1 = CreateCheckbox(win1, "chkBox1", 24,3, "check me");

    btnOk = CreateButton(win1, NULL, 13,8,"ok");
    btnQuit = CreateButton(win1, NULL, 22, 8, "quit");

    //Add callback to handle events
    txtBox1->OnEnter = txtBox1_onEnter;
    btnOk->OnPressed = btnOk_OnPressed;
    btnQuit->OnPressed = btnQuit_OnPressed;

    //Show the windows

    // Begin message processing

    return 0;

void txtBox1_onEnter(TEXTBOX *textBox)
    WINDOW *currentWindow = textBox->base->parentWindow;
    char text[30] = "hello ";

    strcat(text, textBox->text);

    CreateLabel(currentWindow, NULL, 2,8, text);

void btnOk_OnPressed(BUTTON *button)
    char text[30] = "hello ";
    char *check = "checked";
    char *ncheck = "not checked";

    WINDOW *win = button->base->parentWindow;

    TEXTBOX* txtBox1 = (TEXTBOX *)(FindControl(win, "txtBox1")->sub);
    CHECKBOX* checkBox1 = (CHECKBOX *)(FindControl(win, "chkBox1")->sub);

    if (txtBox1 != NULL)
        strcat(text, txtBox1->text);

        CreateLabel(win2, NULL, 2,3, text);

        if(checkBox1->value == TRUE)
            CreateLabel(win2, NULL, 20, 3, check);
            CreateLabel(win2, NULL, 20, 3, ncheck);




void btnQuit_OnPressed(BUTTON *button)


    printf("thanks for looking at the demo.");


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GEOS Booted From GEOS.D64

Yep, you read it right.

Geos is now bootable from a .d64 on IDE64. There are still a couple of things to be done, but I've uploaded a demo
with geolink and a loader on

Just unzip the file and load boot.prg from the same dir as geos,d64

It should be possible to use most programs, as long as the d64 does NOT contain a configure program as that will destroy the driver.

Next thing would be hacking configure to be able to use the new drivers, together with REU emulation with a swap file on IDE64.

(This version contains REU emulation code which requires REU code in ideservd, but I think that's quite useless compared to a swap file, and it's hard coded for USB @de00. Just my debugging/wip stuff)

Happy hacking to you all!
Petter Lindquist

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Sixth Annual Commodore Vegas Expo (CommVEx)

The Fresno Commodore User Group and the Clark County Commodore Computer Club (of Las Vegas) present the sixth annual Commodore Vegas Expo (CommVEx) on July 24-25 at the Plaza Hotel, 1 Main Street, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

CommVEx is the fun and fabulous Commodore/Amiga computer event on the West Coast of the US. Last year our guest speaker was Dave Haynie, Commodore and Amiga engineer, and we teleconferenced with engineers Chuck Peddle, Bil Herd, and Jeri Ellsworth. This year, come and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Amiga with R.J. Mical and Dale Luck, both Amiga software engineers, who will be honoring CommVEx with their presence.

There will be plenty of presentations for attendees to observe, exhibits for attendees to see, and computer stations for the attendees to use. Some of the presentations are on the IDE64 v4.1, the uIEC, the Mssiah, ham radio on the VIC-20, and more. For the full list of guests and presentations, go to

Some of the exhibits are the AmigaOne G4, the SAM Flex 440, the Educator 64, and more. For the full list of exhibits, go to

Enjoy gaming and programming on the computer stations around the room - a C64 set-up, a C128 set-up, a Plus4 set-up, a VIC-20 set-up, an Amiga 500 set-up, and more.

Participate in the annual CommVEx raffle! This year the list of prizes include an Amiga 1200HD, a Commodore SX-64, a 1581 drive, a Super 1750 Clone ram expander, and a uIEC card drive. For more information on the raffle, go to

Just for coming through the door, you are entered into the drawing for door prizes. And each attendee will receive CommVEx freebies!

CommVEx is in the third floor Jockey Room 1 of the hotel and officially runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. However, unofficially we start setting up on July 23, late Friday afternoon, and after the official times on Saturday, we'll go late into the night. Feel free to visit during those hours, too!

The CommVEx venue, the Plaza Hotel, is at the foot of the glittery Fremont Experience with all of its shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.

Until June 24, rooms are still available at a discounted price for CommVEx - $49 each night for Friday and Saturday and $29 for Sunday through Thursday (not including room tax). Call the hotel at 1 800 634-6575 or 1 702 386-2110 and mention CommVEx to the reservations operator, or visit and try your luck at getting an even cheaper price on-line for a room. If the Plaza Hotel is not to your liking, there are plenty of nearby hotels, like its sister hotel across the street, the Las Vegas Club Hotel,, or the Main St. Station Hotel to the north,


$10 per person, whether you come for one day or for the whole weekend. Exhibit tables are free... just pay for admission.

Vendors' tables are free... just pay for admission and donate an item for the raffle.

For the latest CommVEx developments, check back often at

and/or read and participate in the message board at and click on ComVEX.


R.J. Mical
* Amiga/Commodore software engineer, one of the original Amiga design team
* created Amiga Intuition, the windowing and menu interface for the Amiga

Dale Luck
* Amiga software engineer, one of the original Amiga design team
* Wrote the Amiga graphic libraries, invented/implemented the moving screens, wrote the layer library, invented the hardware line draw, and more.

Michael Battilana
* Cloanto Software, makers of Amiga Forever and Commodore Forever

Robert Bernardo
* President, Fresno Commodore User Group

Presentation: IDE 64 V4.1
Presentation: Using the Commodore 128 and a shell account to cruise the Internet

Dick Estel
* Fresno Commodore User Group

Presentation: Big Blue Reader
Dick will use the Big Blue Reader 128 in transferring/converting text files from Commodore to the PC.

Stephen Jones
* SDF Public Access Unix Network

Presentation: Who needs WI-FI when there is Ham-FI ?
Presentation: Mssiah and the C64 music production

Greg Alekel

Presentation: a "VERY cool" demonstration

Larry Anderson

Presentation: Using the uIEC card drive

Roger Van Pelt
* Fresno Commodore User Group

Presentation: Ham radio and the VIC-20 (on video)

See you at CommVEx!

Robert Bernardo
organizer, CommVEx
Fresno Commodore User Group

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Interview With Jim Brain

Q. Please introduce yourself to our readers

My name actually is Jim Brain, though most people know me by my Internet moniker: brain. I hail from a farming community in midstate Illinois, USA, and currently reside in Iowa doing technology work for a financial services firm.

Q. Can you tell our readers a little about your computing history

Although my family knew and cultivated my interest in electronics from an early age, buying my gifts like a Radio Shack "100 in 1" electronics kit and letting me disassemble old electronic gear, I was introduced to computers under duress. Back in the days of the Sears catalogue, it was mid to late 1982, as I recall, and I wanted to buy a game machine. I checked prices for the Atari 2600, the ColecoVision, and other similar units in the catalogs and presented my case to my Father. After listening to my proposal, he quickly dashed hopes of a purchase by refusing to allow my $200 to be spent on game console. However, he did allow that I could buy a home computer with my savings, provided I could find one low enough in price. I'm not sure if considered that the end of the discussion or if he truly felt that a more worthwhile purchase, but my meagre savings ruled nearly all units out of reach. Most machines in 1981-2 were extremely expensive, but I found 1 in my price range advertised in the Montgomery Ward catalogue: a Commodore VIC-20 for $239.99. I don't remember how hard I had to lobby, and I believe the unit was on sale, as I managed to order the unit, a joystick, and a few games including Alien for $233.

I'd like to say I got the machine and was immediately hooked, but it took a few years. Initially, I played the games, tired of the machine, and put it away. It gathered dust until the fall of 1983, when I entered 7th grade and found myself in a computer class surrounded by VIC-20 machines. I quickly dug out the unit, learned to program in BASIC, and became one of the most knowledgeable people in the class. A 1541 disk drive arrived in late 1984, followed by a C64 in early 1986. (when they dropped to $150.00). Though I acquired some other machines those first few years (some S-100 based Northstar Horizons, and a TI-99/4A, I only used the VIC-20 and the C64 until my senior year of college in 1992.

In college at the University of Illinois, I found this huge online Commodore community on USENET. I asked questions, received answers, helped others, and mined the various online archives for plans, etc. Dorm mate friends shared apps from their QuantumLink accounts, and we visited the local Commodore computer store: Keepin' Pace Computer Shop, formerly Micro-Pace. While I don't think I bought much at the store, the friendly technician there knew my machine very well. I think I burnt every IC out at one point or another, the motherboard is 100% socketed.

After college, I drug my machines to the first job and signed up for Delphi to keep an Internet presence. I started managing the comp.sys.cbm FAQ list, created the Canonical List of Commodore Products ( ) that Bo Zimmerman now maintains. After a while, I ran monthly Commodore Trivia contests, wrote some articles for Commodore World, and took over Commodore Hacking eZine in 1995. I started one of the first Commodore web sites, and offered space to many other enthusiasts who have went on to manage their own sites. Before the days of Google and such, I ran "CaBooM!", a Commodore Links search engine, and supported "C=News" for local user group newsletters.

Q. Why do you spend so much time Dabbling with electronics for a machine most consider is dead, do you enjoy playing with other machines?

I didn't initially dabble in electronics at all. Although my degree is in Computer Engineering, I took the software development path after college. Only at the 10th anniversary of my degree did I realize that if I did not exercise my electronics skills, I would no doubt lose them. Thus, I started tinkering with electronics again. I chose the Commodore because I knew it pretty well and reasoned interfacing with a simpler machine would be easier to get working after so many years away from hardware.

Q You currently contacted "mark Fellows" (Can you explain to our readers firstly who Mark is) and have been give the right to produce JIFFYDOS and have JIFFYDOS available as a download for people to Burn there own on trust. Although I don't want to dwell on Maurice Randel and the orders he has, did this influence your decision to want to obtain a licence to distribute JIFFYDOS

Mark Fellows created JiffyDOS (and designed all of the CMD products like the RAMLink, the hard drives, floppy drives, and the SuperCPU). CMD manufactured and distributed the devices he designed as well as JiffyDOS. When CMD left the Commodore hardware / software business in 2001, they signed the rights for all of the products over the Mark. Thus, Mark, not CMD owns the rights and any intellectual property.

I started communicating with Mark Fellows in 2006 or so, finding out about the arrangement via an initial call to Charles Christiansen, Jr (whom I remembered from earlier dealings with CMD). My interest at the time was purely academic; I thought possibly a quick call from Mark might help clear the backlog of unfilled CMD product orders. I also remember offering to temporarily help fill orders, but nothing came of the offer. Finally, in early 2009, I realized that continued uIEC disk drive sales would depend on a legitimate source for JiffyDOS, so I once again contacted Mark. I'm not sure if it was the passage of time, the evidence of widespread unlicensed copying, or some other reason, but I was able to secure licensing for the JiffyDOS product.

Having been offline in the late 1990's (some may remember I virtually disappeared after our son arrived and an auto accident that happened soon after), I understand getting so far behind that you can be overwhelmed. When I finally got back online in 2003 or so, I ended up simply deleting emails from 1999 to 2003, just to stay sane. I don't know if that happened to Click Here SW, or if another issue caused the lack of production. I did, though, note that things did not appear to be changing, and I was able to step in and provide some value.

Q What was Marks reaction to your request to distribute JIFFYDOS

A few years ago, he was reluctant, as he wanted to exhaust all options with Click Here SW first. However, when I again inquired in 2009, he was very amenable to re-licensing JiffyDOS. One must remember, Mark has moved on and this is mainly a historical footnote for him. He was willing to license the product, but he did not have much time. Thus, success depended on my ability to draw up the contracts and generally remove much of the burden from him.

Q Do you intend to manufacture any CMD hardware SCPU. RAMLINK, HARDDISK I know many users (myself included) who have ordered items from Maurice Randel (the current licence to manufacture these devices) and waited years with still no goods arriving (I have waited over 5 years for my SCPU)

In this environment, I'd rather under promise and over deliver, so I've not mentioned anything about the more advanced CMD products. However, I can say I have discussed licensing them from Mark. We both felt I should get my feet wet with JiffyDOS, see if demand warranted additional discussion, and also allow him time to ensure I would handle his intellectual property correctly. I have considered the CMD product line-up, though. I feel successful re-introduction of any of the products depends greatly on re-engineering them. Owning all of the CMD product line-up, I can see they are complicated to manufacture and do not take advantage of current technology improvements. As well, the market cannot bear $200-$300 peripherals in this era. Thus, the products need to be re-engineered to use technologies like FPGA to ensure success. As well, newer offerings like uIEC have diminished the need for peripherals like CMD-FD and CMD-HD. While some things, like GEOS support, are lacking, I think solutions are on the horizon. Thus, I would turn my attention to products like the RAMLink and the SuperCPU. Still, I'll make no promises. I would, though, invite experienced software developers and/or FPGA designers to get in touch with me. I'm happy to subsidize the re-engineering efforts in order to bring products to fruition sooner.

Q What prompts you to start work on designing hardware, is it requests from other users like the c64NIC or do you have a need for something yourself and can’t find the hardware.

I look at things from a pure business perspective first. If there is a sufficient market, I will produce for that market. However, in absence of a sufficient market, I may offer a solution if I feel it will help the community at large and it does not require a large investment. I also look for products that will fit what I consider the target price range: under USD$75.00. Above that range, and people find it hard to justify a purchase for a 25+ year old machine.

Q Would you consider making a device to allow the c64 or other 8 Bit hardware connect to TFT PC monitors, I know there is a big demand for such a product, I would happily buy 4 of these assuming the costs were acceptable let’s say around £35

I've been asked in the past to develop such a solution, but I currently don't know enough about video signals. However, as it's something I would like (to feed my C64 output into a KVM switch), I'll probably learn soon.

Q Do you actually make any money from the sale of hardware or are the margins so tight they just cover manufacture costs.

Rest assured that all products carry a sufficient margin. Proceeds from the sales go towards funding newer projects, buying parts in bulk (I just secured the manufacture of new IEC disk drive cables, but such things must be ordered in 1000-2000 piece lots), and funding my attendance at Commodore shows.

Q Commodore 16/ Plus4 users seem to have reliability problems with the TED chips would you consider the creation of something to replace the failing TED FPGA logic chips for example, Is this something you would comfortable accept as a challenge

My main challenge at present is learning FPGA design. Designing TED or SID or VIC-II is not the issue, it's learning the design language of FPGAs. I've put off FPGA design for a number of years, as I think FPGAs can be abused (not everything is best created as a low level set of gates). But, I recently purchased an FPGA development board and am learning design as I write this.

Q What is the design process for your hardware

I first look at any previous designs in the same space. For 64NIC+, I looked at the various options available online, and then made up a list of benefits to each design. Then, I consider ways I can add even more value (additional options, more functionality, cheaper price, etc) to existing designs.

Q I notice you have some of the schematics for download this is so people could make there own devices, doesn’t that remove a sale from your shop.

I think the benefit far outweighs any potential lost sale. When I started designing hardware, I decided early on to release all the designs under the GPL. I've seen so many good products disappear because the original manufacturer decides to discontinue production or simply disappears themselves. Companies abandon platforms, and even enthusiast’s move on with their lives, taking their proprietary designs with them. Since it happens to others, it will no doubt happen with me at some point. Thus, releasing the designs as GPL ensures everyone will have access to them after I'm not around.

I'm not worried about potential sale losses for two reasons:

One, there's a lot more to a product than the design. Although PCB manufacture is very economical nowadays, most designs are surface mount, and hand assembly is fraught with errors. Conversely, machine assembly requires certain minimums. Thus, unless someone plans to sell a nontrivial number of units, many products can be quite expensive to produce.

Second, I've found the argument unworkable in other areas. Software publishers claim the same thing, but I am not convinced that the person who produces their own board and assembles it themselves would have purchased from me if no other option was available. In the end, there's more goodwill in releasing the designs and allowing people to make their own if they want. I also feel people are more comfortable buying products where complete technical information is available.

Q I have one of the first UIEC devices and while I am happy with it I have some limitations, one of the main ones is the units lack of support for JIFFY dos, would you consider a UIEC Device with Jiffy dos installed. Also Some D64 images will not load, this I presume is down to the emulation software, what was the main projects goals and would it be possible or would you consider full 1541 emulation in the uiec device

Many devices utilize Ingo Korb's sd2iec firmware, including uIEC. uIEC started with a DOS written by myself, but it was incomplete and buggy when I found sd2iec. I decided the community would best be served by porting any features from uIEC DOS into sd2iec and helping maintain and enhance the sd2iec firmware. However, all uIEC variants support JiffyDOS, and have since the first released hardware versions. However, some SD2IEC and MMC2IEC devices, which I do not manufacture, may contain older firmware releases that do not support JiffyDOS. I have no plans to support those units, as some of them are incapable of loading the required firmware. For those devices, I'd recommend contacting the original manufacturer and inquiring about JiffyDOS support.

If there are D64 images that fail to load, I'd recommend sending a copy to my email account. D64 Image support is very robust (with the exception of REL file support) and should be very reliable.

uIEC will never offer full 1541 emulation, the device is simply not powerful enough to offer that level of compatibility. That is where products like 1541U excel. uIEC is the cheaper product you put in a number of units for regular use, while the 1541U is the more expensive unit you buy for the optimal level of compatibility and emulation. I find that market segmentation fine, as most of the software for the platform does not require full 1541 emulation, and more becomes available all the time. Thus, the product offers a reasonable level of usefulness at an attractive price point. Adding more compatibility would require more expensive components, which would drive the price into the range of the 1541U.

Q The uiec device also suffers from the lack of a friendly user guide, Is this something that will be addressed

That is a legitimate concern. There is an unfinished guide that was developed by a uIEC user, which I will try to complete and place online. Mainly, the issue is one of prioritization of time. Many people can author a good user's manual, but far fewer can develop the products. I'd rather pay someone to write the manuals and devote my time to new product development. Thus, if anyone wants to author a manual for any of the products, let's chat. Depending on the work, I may even be able to offer some compensation.

Q What do you consider is left for the Commodore 64, more hardware or do you think the interest has now peaked and the memories will slowly begin to fade

I think interest in the platform for productivity has peaked long ago, but gaming is still an active interest. I also see online application interest still on the rise. Finally, I think there is immense interest in re-implementation. An open source re-implementation of the platforms in FPGA would be a huge win for a number of groups. Mobile enthusiasts would love a true FPGA implementation, while regular users would appreciate a continued source of CIA, VIC-II, TED, VIC-I, VIA, 6510, etc. functionality. Obviously, a standalone SID implementation would be of great interest to musicians who utilize the SID in musical tracks.

Q You now have a storefront! Can you tell our readers what is available, and the payment methods you accept

It's at and all of the major products are available. uIEC, 64NIC+, JiffyDOS, etc. Since things are added as time permits, I think it best to simply visit the web site for a current inventory of items.

Q Are you working on any new projects you can enlighten our readers about

I'm working on 4 projects right now.

The first is a CMD EX-3 cartridge expansion replacement, which is in production and will soon be available in the store. It offers all of the features of the CMD EX-3 + a rear facing slot for larger cartridges.

The second is USB to 1541 adapter, which has been developed by Nate Lawson. I'm helping with the layout and manufacturing of the device, which will allow Windows / Linux users to connect to IEC-based drives. It offers significant improvements over the currently available USB based XU-1541 device, and may offer IEEE-488 drive support in the future.

I'm working to add IEEE-488 support to uIEC, so PET/CBM users can utilize high speed flash storage.

I'm also looking for someone to help with re-porting JiffyDOS to the +4/C16 and to the VIC-20. The current ports to those platforms are in copyright limbo, and thus I need to re-port them to overcome copyright issues.

In the future:

I am considering producing a simple USB interface for the CBM platform. It would still require drivers for USB devices, but would alleviate the physical incompatibilities between the C64/C128 and the plethora of USB devices.

I am also considering an EX-3 type expander for the VIC-20. I need at least 30 buyers to make the project economically viable.

Q Do you have any other comments you would like to add

My goal is to offer a wide variety of Commodore related hardware and software to the community, at reasonable prices. While I have experience and success in designing products from the beginning to the end, I find that I can offer the most value in using my manufacturing and sourcing capabilities to bring products to market. With that in mind, I'm on the lookout for already designed products that offer value to consumers. I can quickly modify a design for optimal manufacturability, fund the production of the design, and offer the product through my existing sales and delivery channel. I'm also happy to license designs where appropriate and cost effective. On the other side, I'm eager to find experience developers who are interested in developing Commodore related firmware or software. Some of the development can be funded, as appropriate.

I'm always interested in ideas for new products. I can't promise to produce everything, but it doesn't hurt to ask.


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Review Of Knight 'N' Grail

By Jeremy Smith BSc (Hons)

While reading Commodore Free issue 32, I came across an article on a game called Knight 'n' Grail. It seems someone wrote a new game for the C64, in 2009! That's the very definition of retro.

I watched a video of it on YouTube, liked it, and forked out £1.99 for a disk image for WinVice, the C64 emulator.

I yomped around a bit and saved snapshots every so often so I could reload if I died. This is cheating, but as I said to a friend: If you're going to be retro like the 80s game scene, you must have pokes and cheat modes. I went even further with Knight 'n' Grail: I tried to find infinite energy myself, something I did with tons of games in '94. I couldn't get KnG to work in Frodo where my pokefinder is, so I downloaded an Action Replay 6 image and tried to run the pokefinder on KnG. It didn't work. But? I downloaded Action Replay 5 and this time the pokefinder worked!

Armed with infinite energy, it was just a matter of yomping around opening doors.

In KnG, you have to kill wyverns (dragons) to get further. You get blasted by all sorts of junk, which you need a shield to deflect. I didn't, because I had infinite energy, but this was my choice and you may decide to play the game as-is - which is incredibly difficult as without a cheat, this game is HARD. Even with snapshots. And without snapshots, you can only save the game at a few rooms (rune rooms).

The game took me 3 days of medium-intensity playing to complete.

Now, I needed a 'golden sword' this rune stone told me to get, so I can get through the big door with a key.

I literally had to put up the map, put it in Photoshop, and then wander around the map, rubbing out my path with a paint tool. This paid off: Eventually I found the golden sword (I won't tell you where) and went to the end, and finished the game.

One thing of note: This game seems very inspired by Citadel, the classic BBC Micro game, in both concept, gameplay and (most of all) graphics. There was also another game, Palace of Magic, but that's pretty much a Citadel clone.

Anyway, this is the first computer game I've played since 2001. Just to fork out £1.99 and get a quality game, is better than downloading PC RPG games for free. But maybe KnG will inspire me to try out computer games again.

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How The Commodore C64 Changed My Life:

By Martin Fensome

I started working at a local Locksmith part time while in Grade 10. After graduating high school in 1982 I started full-time. One of the guys hired after myself had been there a while, had an interesting electronic toy...something called an Intellivision by Mattel. It was very cool for it's time, and I got into playing the amazing games on that. It actually had voice synthesis in some of the games with an add-on module.

Dave and I became friends and eventually, he bought a Commodore 64C whose games and graphics were so advanced at that time, it was incredible. When Dave later bought an Amiga 500, I bought his C64 system. Over the years, I bought the usual assortment of peripherals...Action Replay Cartridge, 1750 Ram Expansion, an extra disk drive, an "amazing" Citizen 200GX 9 pin printer and later graduated to the more advanced items, like a CMD RAMLink, Hard Drive and lastly the famous CMD SuperCPU. Incidentally, I still own that same 64C system and it still works. But most of those peripherals are now connected to an SX64 and a C128D.

Most of my time was spend playing the vast collection of games that came with the system. Some of my favourite memories are practicing for 5 hours straight on F19 Stealth Fighter by Microprose in order to successfully land on an aircraft carrier after a mission. Most every evening for months was spent doing at least one mission a night on that game. My hands would be sweaty and I would be nervous and jittery after those missions. The game play was so real.

As I've always been a voracious reader, I had been purchasing and grabbing up any new and old magazines and books that had anything to do with the Commodore. So, I started dabbling in BASIC. And soon was spending more time programming in that language, and then learning C with the SuperC package from Abacus and PowerC from Spinnaker.

I was first introduced to the writings of Mr. Jim Butterfield in the Compute! And Compute's Gazette magazines. Also, I had one of my first 'real' programs (a C64 screensaver, in assembler) published in the Gazette disk just before they went out of business (their demise was NOT related to my program - ha ha).

Over this time period, I developed a Commodore collecting obsession, grabbing up old c64 systems and odds and ends from swap meets with my Dad and people that wanted to get rid of them (I have 4 SX64's!). I can still remember the thrill and seeing some semi-rare item at a swap meet and playing all cool to ensure a low price. From one of these collections, I obtained an autographed copy of Machine Language for the Commodore 64 by Mr. Jim Butterfield. His writing/teaching style was unlike any that I had ever encountered. So clear and easy to understand, it made assembler programming fun.

Also obtained was a 1200 baud modem...and of course the QLink software which seemed to be on every second disk I came across. Finally, I took the plunge. Wow, a whole new world...5$ an hour and 10$ a month (or something like that, my memory is a bit hazy on the financial details). But it was exciting and wonderful.

Later, I noticed that the same man who wrote the book I was studying was also on QLINK! My first brush with celebrity (in my mind - a few years later, I would meet and have my picture taken with Bob Denver - for those who don't know, he played Gilligan on Gilligan's Island - a popular show in North America and now a classic). Coming up to a few sections in that ML book that I wasn't clear on, I found that Mr. Butterfield was open to receiving questions from "regular people" like I politely asked a few and was blown away by the personal response, right to my (then a very new thing) personal QLink 'email' account! Wow!! After QLink turned into AOL, I moved to Genie which opened up a portal to the actual Internet, and then just a regular ISP a few years later as Genie closed it's doors.

My computing obsession was now taking up all of my free time. As I was running into some frustrating career limitations with the new supervisor at the large hospital complex in Vancouver B.C. where I worked as their only locksmith, I thought that perhaps after 13 years, a career change was in order. But who would hire me to work with computers professionally with only my Commodore programming experience - heck, I didn't even own one of the regular MSDOS machines at that time.

Unable to support myself for a two year full-time college course, and unwilling to take a job flipping burgers to keep myself afloat to take a longer part time collect course, I quit my job and enrolled in a private college that offered intensive full day, 9 month courses - I took the Programmer/Analyst 'diploma'. It did what I needed it to do, gave me an "in" for a regular computer job

After graduating, I got what I felt was a good opportunity for my foot in the door - Technical Support for a Real Estate Sales and Marketing company that made Windows and DOS software. During my 1st year or so there, I helped them test their new product in their Q.A. department after hours. When a position opened up there, they offered it to me.

After another year of testing and learning their software and the real estate industry and studying formal software testing methods while keeping my hands dirty programming Windows and Commodore at home, they told me that they had a large new product in development and they needed someone like me - organized, technical with programming knowledge and an interest in testing to lead the department (which they intended to grow from the current 4 person team). I accepted, and after proving myself was officially promoted to manage the QA department.

It was a whirlwind - I eventually ended up expanding that department to 17 software testers over 3 or 4 years for that software project. And that software program was eventually customized for about 11 other company's. When the Internet started to become more mainstream - they started to plan to move the software online. A huge real estate brokerage in the United States was interested in having us simultaneously customize a version of that undeveloped Internet software for them too. This required us to ramp up staff as modules for that software were designed and developed.

Eventually we had what I believe was the largest group of software testers on staff in North America at that time - except for Microsoft - 75 people - with 'ME' managing them. In my 12th years with them, they were bought out by a publicly traded company in the U.S. and things started to change. Eventually, most of the long-term managers were terminated and my position was eliminated and I was let go.

After taking a break to rest, I accepted a position as a software tester for embedded software of HVAC and Access control systems in a company located only 10 minutes drive from my house. After about a year, I was made team lead for that team and we added a few more people to the team. And there I remain so far.

What a long ride it's been. I can't say for certain that I wouldn't be involved with software or computers as a career if I hadn't gotten interested in the Commodore when I did. But I also think it's likely I would be in a very different place in my career and my life if I hadn't.

So, thanks Commodore. Thanks for everything.

Martin Fensome
Surrey, B.C.

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Equinoxe - Evolution (8-Bit Girl)

By Mark King.

Liam Fretwell, aka equinoxe, has recently finished his chip-pop album 'Evolution (8-Bit Girl)'. The album contains eight tracks of 'post modern electronic dance music', a tribute to the 80s loading screens and the demo scene as a whole.

Surrounding the C64 are analogue synthesizers, grooves and beats that bridge the gap between the 1980’s and today. Using VSTs, computer sequencers and synths, synthesising and recording new sounds, and emulating classic ones using this iconic machine and other devices, to craft them into music that is easily accessible so that a new generation can enjoy the classic sounds of this truly unique machine. Among the devices used to create the eight-and-a-half tracks were: Commodore 64, Commodore 64C, Commodore Amiga running OctaMED, Nintendo NES, Korg MS-20, Korg Polysix, MicroKORG, Emulator II iPhone and Fairlight CMI.

Track listing:

1. Back in the day (Overture)
2. 1984 Play preview
3. His name was SID
4. Evolution (8-Bit Girl)
5. ConsciousNES
6. Continue?
7. His name was SID (Radio Edit)
8. Evolution (8-Bit Girl) 12 Bit Loading Screen Remix
Bonus Download: Sanxion Loader (Thalamusik) (equinoxe Remix)

'Back in the Day' will immediately take you back in time. It sets the tone up for the album and introduces themes that will be heard later on. '1984' was inspired by David Whittaker's score for 'Lazy Jones'. It is a driving piece of dance music with an almost prodigy-esque groove. '1984' is followed by 'His Name Was SID', one of the album's centre pieces, using mainly C64 sounds. 'Evolution (8-Bit Girl)', is 'a love song to the 8-Bit Generation' and definitely the album's 'pop song'. It starts out with the sounds of C64 datasette (according to the artist, loading the Ghostbusters game!) before going into a nicely melodic mode that easily gets under your skin. The '12 Bit Loading Screen Remix' has more of everything: more datasette, more samples, and more improvisation on the melodies, and is my favourite song on the album. 'ConsciousNES' is of course featuring sounds sourced from a Nintendo NES and pays hommage to console sounds. The CD then concludes with 'Continue?', which revisits 'Back in the day' and nicely fades out the album.

'Evolution (8-Bit Girl)' is flawlessly produced, full of retro charme, and an absolute joy to listen to for a nostalgic like myself.

The album is available on the artist's website in form of both physical CD (limited to 50 CDs) and MP3 download.

Equinoxe's website contains

- a download link for the title song "Evolution (8-Bit Girl)"
- streaming of "His name was SID (Radio Edit)"
- preview snippets for all songs
- a Remix of the Sanxion Loader/Thalamusik as internet bonus track
- Link to equinoxe's twitter account, and more.

(Mark King)

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Interview With 8-Bit Girl

By Commodore Free

Please introduce yourself to our readers...

Hi! My name is Liam. I'm 27 and from the UK.

Can you give our readers a brief history about your computer interests?

It all started in 1989 with a Nintendo NES that I still play today. After getting a Sega Master System I worked my way back to the Commodore 64 and Acorn Electron. I learned BASIC on both machines and started writing text adventures, some of which I still have kicking around for the C64. I also made a few games using SEUCK and made music using a program called Music Maker (by Domark I think, released in the same pack as SEUCK).

Have you had any musical training?

I've never had any formal musical instrument training. I'm self taught on piano, guitar and similar instruments. I studied Music to get a better understanding of the theory and did my degree at university in Music Technology.

What's the concept behind your album 'Evolution (8-Bit Girl)'?

I wanted to use the classic machines such as the C64 and the Amiga in a modern musical context. The SID from the C64 has been used (in the form of the SIDStation synth) in Hip Hop and Electro music for the last 10 years or so now. I figured that I'd like to take this idea use the C64 as the primary instrument across the album. I was also influenced by listening to classic C64 composers such as Rob Hubbard, Martin Galway, Ben Daglish and others while revisiting some of my favourite C64 games over summer 2009.

So are all the music tracks new compositions?

They're all originals (no remixes of other people's work) but for some, I used ideas or parts of my own earlier songs. The first track I did for the album was the title track, 'Evolution (8-Bit Girl)', which is an entirely new composition and took around 18 months to evolve into what it is now. It was originally going to be an electro 'filler' track on a completely separate concept album that I was working on at the time. 'Back in the Day' was based on the theme from 'Evolution'. '1984' is probably the only other true new composition on the album. The main themes for 'ConsciousNES' and 'CONTINUE?' were written sometime back in 1996 or 1997, when I first started writing music properly, and have had new parts added especially for this album. 'His name was SID' was written in its original form around 1999-2000 and the new version on this album is completely different from any previous ones.

What would you say the style of the music was?


Some of the instruments used are listed as C64, C64C, Amiga (OctaMED), NES, Korg MS-20 and Polysix, MicroKORG, Emulator II iPhone and Fairlight CMI. What role did each machine play in the music production? Did you really use the 80's super sampler/computer Fairlight CMI?

No, unfortunately! I didn't use an actual machine; however I have some samples taken from a CMI IIX model which I used. I felt that as they were Fairlight unique samples then they should be credited accordingly.

The C64 and C64c were used for around 50% of the entire album with sequences either programmed into Music Maker and recorded or sounds were made using a custom program and were sampled and used for leads and solos. I used SEUCK for some sound effects on 'Back in the Day'. I tried not to use emulators or SID VSTi's when I could avoid it but sometimes sync issues or the complexity in the part meant I had to reprogram sounds in a SID VSTi.

The Amiga and the tracker software OctaMED were used mainly on 'His Name was SID' for additional baseline parts in the second half of the song. I also used OctaMED for a Linn LM-1 snare drum and clap sequence in the first part of that song.

An actual NES was used for some sound effects in 'Back in the Day' and I managed to get a sample of a single note from one game (can't remember which one offhand) which I used to make ConsciousNES. The drums on ConsciousNES come from an iPhone app called NESynth, hence the iPhone! I was going to attempt a solo on the iPhone but scrapped that idea due to deadlines.

A choir patch from the Emulator II appears on 'ConsciousNES' and later in 'His Name Was SID'.

The Korg MS-20 provided the TB-303 style baselines in 'His Name was SID', '1984' and 'CONTINUE?' after being put through a lot of chorus effects to 'fatten' the sound. The MS-20 was also used on '1984' and 'ConsciousNES'.

Just a single patch from the Korg Polysix was used on 'His Name Was SID', 'Evolution' and 'ConsciousNES' for sequenced baseline duties and to fatten up the sound of the C64 or Amiga basses.

As for the Microkorg, the lovely pad sound from 'Back in the Day' was a custom patch as was a baseline patch on 'His Name was SID'.

Is this the first album you have released, and do you work alone?

It's the first one I've felt proud enough about to give it a wider audience. I did a concept album based around the seven days of the week a few years ago for my final university project which I am planning on revisiting and cleaning up the mixes a little and allowing that to go out to a new audience.

I tend to work alone for much of the process however I occasionally work with drummers, guitarists and other musicians who play better than I do for the parts I can't play. Sometimes these musicians will bring a new dynamic to the mix and I welcome them changing the part to suit their playing style, should it fit the song.

What draws your inspiration for the creation of new songs?

I usually write music around a concept so the initial concept is the primary inspiration. However, unusually, I wrote down all the song titles for this project before I started writing most of the tracks and they just took their form from that. '1984', for example was the year that Lazy Jones came out for the C64. The music for Lazy Jones was therefore my main influence for the track. 'ConsciousNES' was a nice pun I thought, and would feature mainly NES samples. 'CONTINUE?' and - by extension - 'Back in the Day' were actually inspired by the dance music soundtrack of 'Streets of Rage' on the Megadrive.

How do you start making music? And Have you ever been playing with a single sound and then realised it could become a whole song? Can you give our readers a quick rundown of your process/procedures?

I usually start with a sound and I improvise with that sound to see where it takes me. I'll then craft the music around that one sound and a main motif that I write. That's about the best I can describe it I'm afraid!

What is your next project?

At the moment I'm working on an electro/rock project that's inspired by classic works of Cyberpunk and Sci-fi and assembling some ideas for a possible future 'Steampunk' inspired album. I was also working on a concept album based around the history of the universe, of which Evolution started as a song on, but I have put this project on indefinite hiatus. Maybe another 8-Bit album? ;)

Any final thoughts you'd like to share with our readers?

Thanks for reading and check out my music!

For music and synth buffs, each song used the following:

Back in The Day: NES (Sound Effects), C64 (SFX & Deep Bass Note, Datasette sample), SID VSTi (C64 Sequenced blips), MicroKORG (Pad), MS-20 (Bass), C64c (Custom lead sound).

1984: C64c (Bass & Lead), Korg MS-20 (Additional Bass & Lead), Native Instruments Pro-53 (Oscillator Sync Lead & Pad)

His Name was SID: SID VSTi (Opening beeps), C64, C64c, C64 VSTi (for all 4-5 bassline parts), C64c (Lead on both halves and percussion), Yamaha DJX (Lead on first half, sawtooth bassline on second part), C64 VSTi (Arpeggio Pad), Steinberg Hypersonic (Phaser Pad & Orchestra Hit), Amiga/OctaMED (LM-1 Snare and Clap, Bassline on part 2), Fairlight CMI IIx (Orchestra hit & Choir), Emulator II (Choir), Korg Polysix (Additional Basslines), Native Instruments Pro-53 (extra lead on second part), MicroKORG (additional basslines)

Evolution (8-Bit Girl): C64 (Ghostbusters Datasette, tremolo pad), Korg Polysix (Bassline), Hypersonic (background pad), C64 VSTi (3-osc unison lead), C64c (Chorus arpeggio), Nokia 3330 (Mobile interference sound)

ConsciousNES: Amiga/OctaMED (Bassline), Korg Polysix (Bassline), iPhone (Nes percussion), Nintendo NES (Lead sound), Korg MS-20 (Arpeggio), Emulator II (Choir), Arturia CS80V (String sound)

CONTINUE?: C64 (SFX, Deep Bass Note, Datasette samples, Tremolo pad), SID VSTi (Sequenced blips & solo String sound), Korg MS-20 (Bass), C64 (Lead), Native Instruments Pro53 (Pizzicato sound)

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Adventures In Time Review

By Commodore Free

The Commodore 16 and plus4 (264 series) don’t seem to receive the coverage like the Commodore 64 does; and so are often overlooked as a Commodore machine. Like many for years I thought it an inferior system not worth really looking at.

May I now say I was completely WRONG! With the help of Chris from a few meetings and some demos and games I am a converted, actually when I saw the demo “shades” I was converted.

The 264 series of machines have many benefits, and as this is a review rather than a 264 document I think we should just start the review, and one final comment that if you haven’t used the plus 4 or Commodore 16 I would suggest getting one and load up some games and demos, your views of the machine will change I can assure you.

Adventures In Time

This is a quaint little platform game for the 264 series of Commodore computers however if you have a Commodore 16 you will need a 64k memory upgrade. The game was released on 22nd April 2010 by the Assasins crew and is available to download from here the game is PAL and NTSC compatible and has been released as freeware. IE it’s free to download and play.

The game uses the Commodore 264 series internal sound chip (TED) that sadly wasn’t as powerful (on paper at least) as the commodore 64 SID chip, I know some games can use the SID cartridge that plugs into these machines. The 264 sound chip can still produce some amazing sounds and effects and in this game is used to great effect for the music. For the purpose of this game the music fits very well and is in fact a very listenable tune in its own right.

On loading the game; the player is treated to a graphical storyboard about the game history, you basically enter a time machine and press a button; this starts the “Adventures in time” (hmmm maybe you shouldn’t have pressed the button.) Then a small greets page and the game loads.

The game itself is a platformer with the usual obstacles; but the game looks so graphically perfect it’s difficult to fault. On playing the game something becomes obvious that the player gravity is so well implemented and indeed the character so well animated, that this game is a joy to play. I am struggling to find anything to fault, I do find it quite difficult but this isn’t a frustratingly difficult game.

The object of the game is to guide the character around from screen to screen, you can move forward thought the screens and also go back. Going back a screen for me was a good strategy, as I was able to jump a baddie and run of screen, then go back a screen to climb higher up, so on the next screen I was at a better position, out of harms way.

The game involves some logical thinking, (maybe that’s why I find it difficult) as objects move following a fixed path and some skill with timing in jumping is required, as mentioned the gravity on the main character gives a realistic effect rather than on some games where you jumping miles high into the sky in some comic unrealistic manner.

As a free download you have nothing to loose, this game would have been welcomed as a commercial release even on some of the other Commodore systems. As a free download it’s a basic no brainer. As they say.

Readers will know if I don’t like something I would say, and have been criticised for my honest frank opinions.
Although I do find the game slightly hard I find nothing to fault here, its playable and very well implemented; however I think if I give the game a 10 I would have nothing in reserve so to speak just in case I found a better title (should one ever be created) so the scores are as follow

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 9
Overall: 9

Some further details from

Title: Adventures In Time
Category: Game/Platformer
Release Date: 2010-04-22
Language: English
Size: 64K
Device Req.: Disk Only (1 side)
Machine: PAL & NTSC
Code Type: Machine code
Distribution: Freeware
GameEndingType: Has an end, game ends
Released by: Assassins (ASN)
Created by: K., Róbert (KiCHY)
Music composed by: C., Luca (Luca)

A game map is available from here (hey that’s cheating isn’t it)

Youtube video of the game

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