More nostalgia from me this month; with a look at some of the old Commodore vending places, and the question “what do they do now” where have they gone or what have they transferred into.
Also while writing the article; with nostalgia welling up to fuel my brain, I remembered the pop group calling themselves “mainframe”. Yeh I know WHO! Well, they did release a few singles and even an album before folding as a group. However I remember them from the 80`s and they had something they called the Greengate DS3 or GDS3 for short, obviously an improved version of the Ds1 ds2 and yes there was even a Ds4! although I think by the time the unit was released, more advanced systems had become available. So what the heck is a DS1/2/3/ or even 4?
Well it was a custom built Apple II plug in card; with sequencing software and sound sampler. I remember watching them demonstrate the unit and even the song “5 minutes” (uncle Eric), the video was questionable though, even for the 80`s. The songs official title was “5 minutes”. If you like 80`s sampling think here “art of noise” you may like some of these sounds.
Try here for some general information
check here to download the music , but I couldn’t find “5 minutes”
I found the song and video available here to watch
Sadly; I know this is nothing to do with Commodore but will be interesting to someone.
Why do we remember these sounds and images from the past so well, that’s a question I keep pondering Along with “how exactly was this thought process triggered while looking for old Commodore suppliers”, the answer I came up with was “who knows.” With all the stuff from the past I remember its no wonder I don’t have any space left in my brain for the new important things like remembering my mobile number, and my ATM pin number.
Nostalgia is one thing but I do remember that some things were so much easier in the past ; or where they, how many homes still have a video with the flashing 00:00:00 because the owners couldn’t set the time, how many of these owners sat up for hours waiting for the film to start then pressing “REC” before they could go to bed? Worse still, how many still do! And with newer equipment like satellite and cable has this problem now been filed as history?
You have to doff your hat to Commodore; they brought out some great machines, the Vic was amazing especially when I saw one for the first time, with vibrant colour and sound, wow! The commodore 64 then added with a real Synthesiser chip the SID chip and hardware sprites not to mention the larger screen area (darn I said not to mention that)
The Amiga absolutely amazed everyone, multitasking and an absolutely superb Operating system. The Commodore 16 and Plus 4 machines had some really good ideas, the on-chip applications were an amazing idea and the colour palette from the machine, it’s a shame the marketing was messed up, erm by Commodore themselves, pricing the machines out of the market.
For all the problems I have read about, and the fact many managers pushed staff to the limits; demanding the impossible to be possible and make it happen tomorrow, after all that we are left with a superb legacy of machines.
So what about the other 8 /16bit machines, well each has its merits yes , I remember I was quite excited about the Atari falcon on its release, and was so tempted to purchase one, and the Atari Jaguar was sadly a missed opportunity, the Atari 2600 has to be a fondly remembered machine, heck it even looked cool.
I don’t want to think about these, I do have some strange fondness for Commodore, even to the point where I get upset when people state things like “oh no look at the sad graphics” I still think a 3d soot em up environment could be ported to the Commodore 64, and I know of people working on such projects, sadly we all have day jobs and don’t get paid for working on “Commodore projects” how good would it be if you were called in front of the works board meeting and they say something like “we would like you to head a new project we intend to port XYZ game to all the classic machines” oh no, I would probably work 24 hour a day till I dropped down from exhaustion.
Have you seen how active “MIRKOSOFT” is in user forums?
Well I interviewed him recently about his latest project “Advanced Commodore Environment 128.” What it is and what plans he has for Commodore machines. Please remember that English isn’t his native language, I know he has upset a few people with his tone, however this is a language barrier not an attitude problem.
Is anyone using the EBook version of the magazine, as I don’t have an EBook to view the magazine on I welcome your comments and suggestions, I suppose no one will be reading the EBook version in the bath (or will they?)
A small typo resulted in last months back to the past being labelled as 7 when it should have been 8, this month we continue with issue 9 or 10, or I may just reprint the whole series so I know what’s happening. Interestingly only 1 person spotted the mistake!
Thanks for including me, and great editorial last issue .
The Only problem is its John Fielden, EN after Field...EN, not ING.
But Thanks for the inclusion.
Some stuff almost ready for next one, still to do write ups though.
All the best
COMMODORE FREE Well it wouldn’t be Commodore Free without some sort of mistake, I do apologise though especially after all the work you have supplied to the magazine.
From: Robert Bernado
To: Commodore Free
Subject: The PET, the C64 in the 25 Most Important PCs
MaximumPC has listed their choices for the "25 Most Important PCs in History". The Commodore PET is at #10, and the Commodore 64 is at #19. To see the gallery of the 25 computers, go to
FCUG celebrating 30 years,
Fresno Commodore User Group
The Other Group of Amigoids
Southern California Commodore & Amiga Network
Grasshopper LLC is searching for an MUI-programmer for the Amiga-ports of Pagestream 5
Deron Kazmaier wrote:
I figured I would post this here first, and maybe a few kind souls would spread it around.
I have done most of the work for the PageStream Amiga version, and we have had success here getting people to fire up and run it, but the truth is I am just swamped with work and all of this time I have spent on the Amiga version has made the rest of my work suffer greatly.
I am beginning to think that finding someone to help out with the Amiga specific code (that would be Classic, OS4, MorphOS and even AROS) would be to my advantage in the long run. This person would be responsible for working on the MUI (or even later Reaction), and helping with the debugging on those platforms. A few MUI classes need to be written, or features extended, and general Amiga/MUI debugging.
Considering the size and sales of the Amiga market, this will certainly not be some full time job. More like someone who is an Amiga enthusiast who is proficient with MUI, and has free time that they would like to profit from. All work would be done over the internet of course.
I'm flexible with regards to business arrangements. Either flat rate, royalties, co-license, or some mix. I wouldn't expect this to net more than a few thousand USD, unless by some miracle the Amiga makes a significant comeback. I'm not looking to make a profit on the Amiga myself at this point, but I won't be taking a loss either.
The code itself in question is a library layer that sits between PageStream itself and the OS. The programmer won't be weeding through PageStream code, or even hundreds of requester implementations etc. The code is about 3.5mb in total, but that includes the Mac Carbon, Windows and Gnome/gtk implementations as well. It compiles on its own, and can be tested with the PageStream 5.0 binaries, or a few test apps.
If any of you have some thoughts on the matter as well, I would love the feedback. Maybe I am nuts to even consider this...
Deron Kazmaier - deron "at" pagestream "dot" org
Grasshopper LLC Publishing - http://www.pagestream.org
PageStream DTP for Amiga, Linux, Macintosh, and Windows
The second Commodore 64 Sideways Scrolling SEUCK competition has now been launched and will run until 31st March. All you need to do is create a smart looking game with the aid of the Sideways scrolling left - Shoot Em Up Construction Kit available from here . Winner’s game gets a brand new make over with new front end, in game enhancements (power ups) and a few other things as well.
Although the competition is Sideways SEUCK. There are some general rules for this competition, which are as follows:
(Final revision: 1st February 2011)
Submissions can be no later than 31st March 2011.
Voting starts on 8th April 2011
To submit your entry, please email with an attached .D64 / . T64 / .TAP (Or Zipped version) it to the link found here
More information on the sideways scrolling SEUCK is available from 'Jon Wells' site here http://www.seuck.gamesplaygames.co.uk and the version of Sideways SEUCK is here to download as well, but because the project is copyrighted I cant host it on the Commodore Free website as per the agreement in the games Text.
----- Original Message ----------
Subject: CommodoreServer News
From: "CommodoreServer.com Admin" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, February 5, 2011 2:13 pm
We just wanted to let you know about some recent changes or additions that will enhance your experience with CommodoreServer and/or the Comet64 Internet Modem.
There is a new update to V-1541. You should stop using the old one and download the newest version. You can run the V-1541UPDATE program on your V-1541 disk to update the V-1541 program or download it from the following location:
There are a few enhancements as well as a minor bug fix. One of the best enhancements is the ability to login with a new symbol. Just type the following to log in:
LOAD "@USERNAME, PIN",2
where USERNAME is either your email address or screen name, depending on how you have it configured in your account on CommodoreServer.com. PIN is the numeric value you assigned in your account.
VICE has really made good strides on getting their user port emulation working. This is good news for users of CommodoreServer because it enables you to use VICE just like you were using a Comet64-enabled Commodore 64 with V-1541. Other emulators in the series also works well, such as the Vic-20 and Commodore 128. However, V-1541 is only compatible with the Commodore 64 at this time - new versions for other platforms will be released soon, so stay tuned.
Here's how to get VICE working as if it had a Comet64 attached to it:
Did you know that you can use V-1541 and CommodoreServer right from VICE? If you do not wish to invest in an Internet Modem at this time, you can still enjoy the benefits of CommodoreServer right from your VICE emulator. Here's how.
VICE is, by far, one of the most popular Commodore emulators around. One cool feature of VICE is its extensive support for I/O devices - including the RS-232 port. I'll show you how you can use this feature to connect to CommodoreServer.com using V-1541 without the need for any additional hardware.
Earlier versions of VICE had some problems with the RS-232 port working properly under certain conditions. Once you download VICE 2.2 or greater, you should have no problems getting Internet access using V-1541.
Settings > RS232 settings…
Basically, VICE allows you to have multiple "virtual" RS-232 ports, but only one can be selected at any given time. Here, I have the same IP Address and Port for all four devices, but you really only need to choose one. You must use the IP Address and port, as shown in this picture. Do not use the domain name because VICE will not recognize it properly. When finished, click OK.
Now you have to tell VICE to enable the RS-232 port. Click on Settings > Cartridge/IO settings > RS-232 Userport settings from the menu, as shown:
In the dialog, ensure that the "Enable RS-232 userport" checkbox is enabled and select the userport device number you set in Step 2 above.
For the baud rate, select 2400. Click OK when finished.
VICE will not recognize the settings without restarting completely. Be sure to close all VICE programs and then restart.
Now that VICE is configured, it's time to attach the V-1541 disk image. Download V-1541 from CommodoreServer.com and save it somewhere on your local computer. Attach the disk image, as you would any other D64, and then type LOAD"*",8,1 - this will load V-1541 at memory location 49152 ($C000). If you want to put V-1541 in another memory location, you can alternatively load V-1541LO, which will place V-1541 in lower memory at 32768 ($8000). Once loaded, type SYS 49152 (or 32768, depending on which location you used). Then type NEW to clear and reset the BASIC pointers. V-1541 is now running in the background and will notice when you try to load files from device #2 (the RS-232 port).
To see if V-1541 is active and working properly, you can issue the DISKS command to show a list of disks and directory entries on CommodoreServer.com. To do this, you can type the following:
Shortly thereafter, a list of disk images and folders will be shown. If you just get back a READY or if the computer seems to lock up, make sure you follow all of the steps above and then try again.
For more information on using V-1541, you can read about V-1541 and download the V-1541 Users Guide. Since V-1541 is designed to work solely with disk images on CommodoreServer.com, it is limited in the set of commands that interact with CommodoreServer's disk files. There are additional commands that you are still able to use via V-1541 using the following syntax:
Replace COMMAND with the appropriate CommodoreServer Internet Protocol (CSIP, for short) commands. Please see the CSIP Command Reference blog post for more information.
CommodoreServer provides an open API via CSIP. Using CSIP, you can develop applications, such as V-1541, to take advantage of all of the features that CommodoreServer has to offer.
Without the use of special hardware, developers and users alike can benefit from the services of CommodoreServer, V-1541, and CSIP using VICE's I/O and RS-232 configuration.
A new service is available on Commodore for both playing online games as well as developing new games with multi-player functionality. One game has already been released as a BETA to run it through its first paces (see next entry below). Here is a brief overview of CommodoreServer's Gaming
More information on the API will become available soon so you can start creating your own online, multi-player games.
This is the first game to take advantage of CommodoreServer's Gaming Service. It was created by Agent Friday and it is written mostly in BASIC. It just goes to show that even BASIC can perform well enough to play multi-player games over the Internet.
This game can be played in VICE or directly from your Comet64-enabled Commodore 64. What's really fun about this game is that you can play a game and have other people in the room watch you. They will be able to see the commands you type as well as the responses from Zork. Grab some friends or play solo. Or just load it up and see if anyone else is playing.
For more information, see:
I have put my BBS back online temporarily because I have downloaded many different versions of both DMBBS and Colour 64 BBS. I have my BBS currently running DMBSS 4.8E, but the Colour 64 BBS is preconfigured and ready to go. Just a matter of me copying my files over to it. Excalibur, of Excalibur's Stone BBS was nice enough to gimme a copy of DMBBS 5.3 to upgrade my board to. Unfortunately, before I could figure out how to get it setup, I was overwhelmed with family and financial problems. Now that I have a little time on my hands, I plan on making the most of it by setting up either DMBBS 5.3 or Colour 64 v8.0. Before I begin though, I need testers to call my current BBS to see if I have it and TCPSer setup correctly so that everything runs smoothly. I will leave the board up until I get a new BBS online(Running the BBS through the VICE emulator so I can work in one instance of VICE while running the BBS in another), then callers will be welcome to the new BBS.
The BBS is at 22.214.171.124: 6400, I think. It may just be 126.96.36.199, it’s been so long since I've ran it I've pretty much forgotten everything about TCPSer. I did a local login and except for a few No Modem errors everything ran fine, eventually the modem picked up and the BBS went back to the wait for caller screen.
Documents from Zimmers.net http://zimmers.net/anonftp/pub/cbm/ have been converted into searchable PDF files for easier use; the files cover
The New Year 2011 starts right of with a lot of news from ARG
Do you like more great retro games for the Multiple Classic Computer MCC-216 C64 implementation?
We released this month the TOP 155 PD-games for the C64 on one micro SD card. With the 155 games PD-Software bundle you get the best public domain games for the C64 written between 1983 and 2009.
We ship it on a micro SD-card for the Multiple Classic Computer! Simply Plug into your MCC and Play.
We released a new C64 core for the Multiple Classic Computer MCC-216.
Now you get the following features in addition:
Please visit our new YouTube video to see the new features live:
Please go to our download page following this link:
We released a new ATARI 2600 core with enhanced features and greater compatibility.
The new ATARI 2600 core has the following features:
Arcade Retro Gaming is proud to present to the Retro Gamer, Arcade Fan and Multiple Classic Computer user his own forum.
In this forum you can chat with friends, post your fun experience with the MCC and classic games, ask technical questions, join the growing development community, check the schedule for retro gaming events, post your own setup and your classic computer selection, talk about retro games and development, sell/buy/trade and much, much more.
Don’t miss out on this and SIGN UP today on our BLOG home page.
Let’s preserve the classic computer and retro gaming history together and build the bridge into the 21st century.
We invite you to post your ideas and wishes for the future of the Multiple Classic Computer.
Please distribute this news letter to all your retro gaming and classic computer fans.
Tiger-Disk #171 has been released. Containing the following items
The issue is available from HERE http://www.taxim-music.com/td/index.html
Get set for another rocking demoparty in North America! It's the PixelJam Demoparty to be held during Notacon 8 in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A, April 14-17. Join the hundreds of attendees who will be descending upon the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel on those dates.
Get those demo entries in! PixelJam is looking for demos ranging from the most modern to oldschool. For the Commodore and Amiga enthusiasts, your entries can be in the oldschool, wildcard, or music compos. Here is some more info, straight from the Notacon blog, "PixelJam will feature a total of 9 compos ranging from music to animation to traditional demos. Notacon itself has pledged over $1,500 in total prize money, with more prizes to be announced as we secure sponsorship deals. We are also dedicating 2,500 square feet of conference space to a coding lounge and projection space. This space will be expanded by an additional 3,000 square feet for demo screenings on Saturday night the 16th."
Play with the other happy people in the Video and Board Gameroom. Open 24 hours a day, the gameroom will have everything from the most modern consoles to Commodore and/or Amiga computers. Listen to the various presentations from those at Notacon 8. Try to get on the broadcast at Notacon Radio. Check out the Notacon hacking room. Or hang out in the Notacon Ham Radio room or in the coding lounge.
For more information, go to the Notacon website at
The PixelJam Demoparty has its own website now. Go to
FCUG celebrating 30 years,
Fresno Commodore User Group
New in the current Version:
I also added some legal ROMs here and there.
Tried Fuse but skipped it because of some quirks
Added "SteuerFuchs" only interesting for german users (Steuererklärung übers Internet mit ELSTER-Anbindung)
Broadway includes now the updated regina.library for Arexx support.
I have also updated the included fat.handler - Neil Cafferkey fixed it some days ago
All system files are at least from January the 14th, some of them are newer.
Also it includes the latest and greatest AMC 1.22 with Arexx-support. Yep AMC has now full control over mplayer!! Press "p" for pause and +/- to set volume in real time ; ) just two examples..
You get now tons of new TV and Radio stations...
You also can now browse for images without the need to scan the whole system.
Full change-log is huge....
Many new big and small functions makes using it a joy
After very very long time, a new version of HVMEC (High Voltage Music Engine Collection) is ready to download.
This version comes with 29 new music programs, for a total of 151 editors, 85 trackers, 87 other tools.
The collection can be viewed online or downloaded from: http://digilander.libero.it/ice00/tsid/hvmec.html
From scratch the Wordpress version of HVMEC is growing: http://hvmec.hellospace.net/blog
This collection contains possibly all available C64 programs that were made in the past for creating music.
There is one page for each program with author/year/copyright information, screen shot images, link to executable and source (if available), and common keys list for using the program. The programs are divided into 3 macro categories (for easing searching):
4.1 Classic Promo video (unofficial)Posted by Darren Eveland
Hi everyone and Happy New Year! I made a video some time ago about AmigaOS 4.1 Classic to act as a little "teaser" and I wanted to show it here. It's not an "official" video, just something put together by me, but in any case I hope you enjoy it! Again I would like to point out it shows some beta features that may not be in the final version (such as the total memory display in the Workbench Title bar that I am using for debugging/paging tests).
As for the release date, that is always subject to change as we are in the thick of final development now.
I will have further blog entries in the coming weeks as we get closer to the release date of AmigaOS 4.1 Classic.
Here's the YouTube link to the video:
AmigaOS 4.1 Classic Promo video
Oh, and turn up your speakers
Contiki is a small open source and highly portable multitasking operating system designed for a number of memory-constrained networked systems ranging from 8-bit computers to embedded systems on microcontrollers. Contiki is mostly known as an operating system for networked embedded systems.
A few years ago Contiki’s primary claim to fame was its Commodore 64 port and now you can use the new binaries.
The major changes are:
Q. Can you introduce yourself to our readers? and who or what is MIRKOSOFT
First let me correct people; as it's not MIKROSOFT, it’s MIRKOSOFT.
I’m from Slovakia and am a very active Commodore 128 user. MIRKOSOFT as you can guess has nothing with MICROSOFT. In fact MIKROSOFT was created by Slovak`a name Miroslav, usually named Mirko. We were two friends with the same name and wanted a joke name that was close to Microsoft, so it's our names + SOFT on the end. Now MIRKOSOFT has two members: they are myself and Jason Lapp. I also re-birthed my first software group Megabytes.
Q. What was your first introduction to computers and when did you receive your first Commodore
My first computer is in outland not known ZX Spectrum clone called the Didaktik M. When socialism falls down, I had it lent to me from my cousin. My first Commodore I received in 1992, it was a Commodore 64-II with datassette Noris and joystick - it was the cost of a complete months salary of my both parents...
Q. Why are you still producing software for Commodore Machines?
Through the years I have tried the Commodore Amiga 500 and 1200, and later tried programming on PC then in about 1997 I sold my Commodore 64, and bought my Amiga’s. However they were not as interesting to me as the C64. I had for a long time in a case Commodore 64 and in 2006 I was back... It gives me enormous satisfaction using the c64 and 128 however I do love Commodore machines. Sometime in 2008 I bought Commodore 128DCR and released my last PC program, after that I began creating software for Commodore 128 and sometimes C64. I want to say that personally: The Commodore 128 is best computer ever made! I think that says everything.
Q. Can you explain the new software Advanced Commodore Environment 128.
Ok First idea was to create some system tools with one prefix ACE; only two were made - aceDOS and -aceCommander.
I was very jealous of C64 users when I'd seen the OS WiNGs and screenshots of CLiPS. So I wanted to create something bigger and better; but exclusively for Commodore 128. When Jason started talking and telling me about other projects that we are going on at the time we started making first steps and our application design. ACE128 will be full graphic desktop system for every user - customization is one of the biggest priorities for the system. ACE128 will be using the VDC chip for GUI – and so will work in 80 column mode.
Q. What will be the Minimum system requirements this
Talk about minimal requirements it is relative. For example when calculate with MEMORY ORGANIZATION, I found some alternatives to the published minimum use:
The basic system will load and run on the following hardware requirements:
But with this configuration cannot use the full power of the ACE128 environment. This is why I say the system requirements are relative.
Q. What will software will the OS contain
At first, the Release Candidates will not contain any applications just the Core operating system. The reason for this is that we must find out the systems bugs and optimise the system code etc.
However When the software is released; it will contain most of the used software tools like a Text Editor, a graphics creating application and music creation software, it's lot to write and we want to create good, quality and more importantly bug free tools. However it could be long time after the first Release Candidate before even a BETA version of these applications are created.
Q. Will this be more a Unix style environment, with multitasking and memory paging
At The Moment ; all I can say is that it will be a minimally Quazi-multitasking operating system, But real multitasking is possible but would take more work.
Q. Do you plan to have compatibility with Geos and the various Geos Applications, if not would this be a consideration to you
Some applications we plan to have the option to Import files from other applications, so the import function can read data from other applications but they will be saved in the new applications format. We may think about using some form of Export function to other formats at a later date.
Q. Will the OS be Web enabled, so networkable
This part of the project has not been worked on, mainly as I am missing the necessary hardware to test the configuration, I know this is possible using something like Contiki, and yes, I do know that Contiki 128 exist, but at the moment real networking is missing. So, to answer your question; YES it's in the plan.
Q. This is an enormous project and I am conscious that WiNGs and CLiPS were great Os's showing potential in their own right but the scale of the project and other commitments meant they stopped being updated how do you feel you can still maintain this software
Yes, it's big project and I'm under a bit under pressure, but this is a big Question, I do plan support but it depends on users and my spare time...
I must also to say that maintaining and also development depends on my health status, don't want to write more, but this can reduce or enlarge time of development.
Q. Will the source code be freely available?
ACE128 is freeware project and so the source code will be available to amend and or view, I do not think there is any point creating this project and hiding the code from other users.
Q. How far into the project are you, for example do you have enough code to create a Bootable environment
So far We have completed some independent code snippets, so a bootable operating system is not yet available, it has some status: CHECKING HARDWARE and MEMORY MANAGEMENT, also CREATING GRAPHICS. Also we have created ACE BIOS - only beta version (the full version will have more selectable options). The MEM-MANAGEMENT and full optimization is still a long way off
Q. Do you have a timescale for the project and will there be a “finished” date for version 1, I presume then you will continue to refine the application and add in users suggestions
This is a difficult question to answer accurately, like I said it all depends on my health and I have to say that 2 weeks ago my health was not good, so, I couldn’t work more on the project, in effect it was put on hold. I don’t want to set a deadline I will not be able to complete the project in due to external forces. So to answer the question: I do not have any deadlines in place.
Q. Will people be able to write there own drivers for hardware
With first BETA there will be released some PDF documentation, so, that everybody can see how system works and how to write drivers. All help is welcomed. Also the Application creator will provide easy-object-programming applications.
Q. So Will people be able to create applications easily for this environment?
The Application Creator (sorry this does not yet have an official name) will be an objected-programming environment based software released and will be available from the first BETA version of the operating system. It's main purpose is to design applications for the ACE128 environment.
Q. What other software have you written? And would you like to explain its function to our readers
Lot of software; I produced software in the early 90's, games and system type software; all written in the Slovak language. So, It will never be released. Other software: I am probably known for is the C128 System Information, aceCommander128, and little (really minimal) game called Funny Tablets, along with aceDOS, Sizable charset (for 264 series), CommOS and others I also have many never released utilities, some time in 2006 I reincarnated my old Sprite Designer & animator...
Q. Where can our readers obtain your software
Well the Easiest way is go to the website CSDb “the Commodore Scene Database” follow the link from here http://noname.c64.org/csdb/ , I'm have created many web pages for my Commodores and my projects, but they will move at end of January to my newly bought domain available from here http://www.mirkosoft.sk
Q. Do you receive comments about the software
Yes and many replies were actually helpful. If anybody wants to make comments about any of my software or how to improve it or if you have any ideas etc you can contact me here. mail miiro79[at]gmail[dot]com, write-ups and code snippets are also most welcome, if it helps me to improve my software.
Q. I notice with the large amount of hardware support you always add to your software how do you find the documentation and features of the hardware
Hardware support is crated by my own config,
First is what I can really or physically test.
Then: what can test for me by anybody else.
In summary I write for devices which I consider to be popular and the most useful to people. I have lot of manuals, I must also say that I bought a DVD collection that features hundreds of scanned manuals and Commodore hardware related information. I also look to forums and there I can receive info from some really experienced owners...
Q. One thing that was relayed to me was you were "aggressive" and "demanding" Personally I think this is because English isn’t your native language and you come across this way, for the people you may have inadvertently upset would you like to comment, of course I have explained this, and languages are always a barrier, especially in conversation (ahh a comment of the obvious) maybe you should post a foot note that English isn’t your native language, people reading posts wont necessarily know this fact.
My problem with English is big, It’s not my intentions to upset anyone. If I write something you feel is upsetting you, please remember English is not my first language. I have learnt some real Basic English and I have learned over a 7 years period the German language. ,
But I know only how to say some simple phrases. Our language is not easy and for example. we have double negation and these things cause me problems 'cause structure of our language is really another”.
Q. Ok you have been given unlimited funds and time and resources what would you do, (it doesn’t have to be Commodore or Computer related)
I have never considered this...
Really! , having everything unlimited is to unreal..., even thinking about this question is to mind-blowing, so I will take the easy answer and say “I would rather let the dreams be..”.
Q. Do you have any other comments to add
Maybe greeting to all my friends and followers,,,
I know that this is Commodore magazine, but greetings to friends which I can't meet in real life only virtually and thanks to their every help.
Also thank you, for taking the time to question me.
So here is my text; if it was nostalgia, curiosity or just the fact I drove past one of the old shops that used to sell commodore software; I am not sure but something set me off on a “where are they now mission” My mission (that I chose to accept) was; I wanted to know, “what happened to all the old Commodore software retailers around my home town”
Remember this is a personal remembrance, time has altered many things, it not just the trees and shrubs that are older, so to is my brain. This could be an attack of “rose tinted glasses” but I am pretty sure the comments stand as nothing more than fragments of my warped imagination. These Computer shops, based mainly around Blackburn and a rather long bus trip took me to all the way to PV tubes in Accrington, of course at this time no passport was required. The main problem for this particular nostalgic trip is; I don’t have any photos of how these shops used to look, I can see where they were and have included photos to show what remains. You may be wondering why I missed various shops out (if indeed I have, then its something to do with memory and maybe not finding the games I wanted at that particular shop! If you do remember some other shops, why not write up, although if you like in Blackburn and you’re a Commodore user you should be contacting me anyway and joining the CCC UK. http://www.commodorecomputerclub.co.uk if you worked in these shops and then went on to bigger and better things please let me know. I would love to see photos of how these shops used to be, it would really make my day.
So the first shop I drove past, and incidentally also the shop that started my curiosity; was a shop called “Park Computers”. Although they were not an exclusive Commodore retailer, they used to have some second hand games, new games, joysticks and machines for sale. I mainly remember them for the second-hand games and hardware. To be honest it was more a shop I would visit if all else failed more a curiosity visit for me anyway. The shop had to relocate due to a retail park opening, the original location of the shop was here see picture, now a Staples office suppliers.
Now they have“new” premises; although to be honest they have been here for a good number of years, and the move was only a few hundred yards down the road, I often wondered how much the developers paid them to move so the developers could, well develop the site.
Sadly the shop doesn’t seem to have any “retro” items and mainly deals with Pc hardware new and has a good triad in second hand items. The shop has that Musty second hand smell, all that second hand hardware on show for the public. When it was a Commodore retailer they had very good staff who knew about the Commodore range. When I spoke to them recently as a Pc shop, the assistants was very pleasant none pushy and relaxed with me. The assistants seemed to know what they were talking about and I felt at ease with him, although sadly I wasn’t in the market for any pc hardware.
Now we move to Blackburn’s town centre and the place they call “The Mall”, Boots was one of “the” places to visit, well it was when 8 bit systems ruled and shop assistants didn’t really know how to load games or take constantly sculling messages off the screen like “nigel was ere”, we have all don’t it so don’t tut and blow. Who could resist seeing a commodore Basic screen without tapping a few lines of code something like
For people wondering about Boots, we had BOOTS in the UK, and its a chemist/cosmetic store, they also tried there had at selling 7” singles and videos, but they removed these items along with computer games after the 16 bit era cam along. The store back then was very large; sadly now its halved in size; I suspect due to the decision to stop selling music, and I suppose in a way the video game revolution caught up with them and they couldn’t compete with other shops like “Game” and so stopped selling computer games and hardware. Boots had a large amount of games on offer stacked up on “A” frame style displays covering all the major 8 bit formats. Often they would sell off the cassettes at discounted prices; mainly due to the tape covers being stolen. Of course only the cassette box and inlays were on the A frames with the tapes in a locked box behind the counter. I purchased my Fm sound creator module and keyboard from here; or rather I should say my dad did, I am sure the assistance wouldn’t even un-box it to look at, so it was a good job I knew what I wanted before entering the store.
I have some very fond memories of looking through the games here; and Boots was the place I purchased my first 7” single, they used to have the top 40 singles all out in little pigeon holes to look at and buy. The assistants would; if pressed (or should that be asked nicely) play 1 or 2 singles so you had an idea of what they sounded like, this is of course assuming the shop wasn’t busy at the time. I would visit Boots weekly to see what was new, they also arranged the games into “top 40” sales and had sheets with things like “top 40 gallop sales” and “top 40 Boots sales” I always presumed the Boots sales were rigged so the games they needed to get rid of were at the top of the Boots charts, I say this as from memory the Boots top 5 always seemed to be rather poor games, especially when compared to the “real chart”. Sadly you were not allowed to test “any” games as the assistance would refuse to load them, I suspect they were busy serving higher margin items like “perfume” ; well either that or they didn’t know how to load the games to test them.
We move out of “the mall” to a side street and a slightly strange shop; I say this because upstairs was an employment agency and downstairs in a small box room we had the computer section. We had all the major formats out on display hooked up to monitors, disk drives and or tape units with games running, heck they even had joysticks attached to them, ready for greasy fingers to play on them. Tempo also had a stock room/repair centre in the back; of course the room was “out of bounds” to us mere mortal peasants; otherwise known as “the shops customers”.
I don’t think it was even advertised on the outside other than TEMPO employment agency; well maybe they had some computers in the window, and of course you could see the people playing games inside. Now sadly long gone from Blackburn, this was a geek meet place; where any respectable geek would meet to chat with the completely geeky staff who were more than happy to let you stand and play games for an hour or all day if you really wanted to. If the shop was busy then the assistance would ask for some sort of sign you were going to buy something like asking to see some money, but other than that they were very relaxed.
I became friendly with the staff that could also repair hardware problems; and it was here I played football from a cartridge for the first time on the Commodore 64. Come to think about the game it was an almost essential to the week to play someone at football on the Commodore 64. The shop was great, sadly never making the transition from 8 bit to 16 work; and then closed its doors to go to the employment agency in the sky.
To the left of where Tempo used to be; we now we have just a flat area of land; and area that where once used to be a shop; technically it was several shops in a terrace, what was it called; ah ok you may, well ask and I have to answer with “sadly I have no idea!”, Why I can remember some shops and names with clarity this one escapes me. I can see the inside and the display even the counter and the guy stood behind it with hands out held waiting for money to appear in them, from some school kid waiting to play his next game. The shop used to buy and sell hardware and software and had absolutely stacks of Commodore games, no I mean stacks, so many he used to have to keep them in the back as he didn’t have the space to put them all out. These games were literally bursting the shop out of the seams, a must visit for anyone who was struggling to get more pocket money and needed a gaming fix on the cheap.
This small shop sprang up from nowhere and lasted for a couple of years before closing. the shop was well away from the main town centre and sort of locked in the middle of nowhere, if you didn’t know it existed of course you wouldn’t look for it. The shop was nestled next to a news agent and a chip shop to the left and a taxi place on the right. The shop was a swaps centre, you took in an old title they would offer you an amount then put the item up for sale, or even allow you to just swap the title if it was a game they knew would sell easily. Of course you could buy other pre-owned games. Sadly the staff seemed more obsessed with playing the games themselves rather than letting people try out titles. Often to busy to load something for you if they were mid game, and giving little thought to customer service. Even if a game was finally loaded for you, “they” would play the game and point out the cheats and really ruin the game to the point you didn’t want the game. Hmm wonder why they closed then!
Hobkirks, we are jumping around this shop is near the newly located “park computers”; again we are away from the town centre; and I for one always thought that a sewing machines shop was a strange shop to sell computer games, the small section on the side of the picture the right of the shop was devoted to 8bit games, read this as selling tapes. The goods on sale were the usual £2:99 and £1:99 games. The whole games section in the shop was about 12 foot by 6 foot wide, well maybe that’s an exaggeration on my part. Although the shop was small the selection of games was quite large (well for budget titles) Every week we would visit this shop, again with so many pocket money titles its hard not to resist to purchase something.
While not a must see shop for the 8bit software shopper; Woolworths did stock some (read this as the chart) 8bit hardware and software. Sadly Woolworths pulled out of Blackburn town centre where they had a large premises occupying 2 floors. Much later the shop was to return but in a much smaller shop premises occupying 1 single floor and selling Playstation and x box games along with the usual sweets and clothing / house-hold wares, of course Woolworths would soon closed there doors forever as the whole chain sadly went under with the loss of thousands of jobs and a brand that had run for over 100 years of trading.
Still going in Blackburn, although it’s also now re-sighted into a smaller shop, they sold quite a lot of hardware and software for Commodore machines; and in fact other 8 bit systems. Often you would overhear the comments of “well XYZ has better graphics and the sounds far superior to the XXX machine” another common comment in the shop was something along the lines of “Wow look at the graphics on that” while looking at the sleeve of a commodore game. Of course the games sleeve cover often had comments along the lines of “not all features are available in all formats” and the classic “screen shots from various systems”. Not the shop to really try games out; but they were helpful tracking down games, and of course were always willing to pre-order or even find games if they didn’t have them in stock. The games section was next to the records; and so as a teenager both were visited. The dilemma then was should I buy the game or the new 12” version of the single? difficult decisions that make me appreciate how glad I no longer need to make. Aahh the memories come flooding back, very helpful staff, oh and I didn’t even mention the magazine section! Darn I just did.
Under the staircase of the legendary Disco “peppermint place” or “Peppers” that was renamed so many time I don’t know what the final name was and am really to old to “let it all hang out”; however, in amongst the shops below was a bookstore selling the usual “reduced price books” however one whole side of the store was devoted to 8 bit software. It has to be said this was mainly the £2:99 and £1:99 ranges of games; some titles were reduced to 50pence; but you could if you had the time and patience find some current games at vastly reduced prices, for example games retailing for £8 would be £3 or £4. I presume they used to buy the software and hardware as bankrupt stock or warehouse clearouts; the thing is who cares with prices like this!
Also on these shelves were various computer related books, general user guides right through to Machine code programming manuals, you would see a title one week, go back the next but it would be sold and they had no idea of what stock was coming in or any availability levels. This area has all now been demolished as part of Blackburn’s “town centre regeneration plan.” This was another must visit store and has given my games collection a real boost, some of the games it has to be said featured rather basic graphics and sound and many didn’t use turbo loaders so you needed a good 20 minutes to load some of the games to load; but I found some real gems in the £1:99 section of this shop.
To many to list here; but most of the main garages featured some form of software. Mostly it was the Mastertronic and Firebird range of budget titles, some of the more upmarket garages did have to some form of chart sales titles, but you wouldn’t find anything reduced. Still it was great for Dad to fill up with petrol and go in to the garage, pick a title and get it paid for before dad realised the petrol cost an extra £2:99 Happy days
I couldn’t help but finish off with the “FIRST” shop in Blackburn that sold CD ROMs. Of course they were between £15 and £20 at the time, the shop was broken into several times and of course couldn’t keep up with the big names and so later closed its doors. Now reopened as something called “Gossip” I decided not to venture in to see what it turned into.
There you have it, Not every shop, but the majority of the big players I visited. Also about once a month we would visit Manchester, in the Andale centre were a variety of Software suppliers, however by the time I had caught the bus or train to Manchester I had little pocket money left to purchase anything.
I was watching one of the larger shopping channels recently and it amused me to see a “NEW” products that of course “redefines” the word multimedia, basically this device was a pc with a blue ray payer all in one small device that connected to the TV and had a wireless keyboard and mouse. The device really reminded me of Commodores efforts into the home multimedia systems with The CDTV (for "Commodore Dynamic Total Vision") the device was launched in 1991 and I was impressed when I saw it. The main system was a Commodore 500 but added to this was a CD-ROM drive (remember this is 1991 we didn’t have DVD, heck most people still were happy with VHS tapes)
The design was around the standard black components so it neatly fit alongside you VHS player, the device was sold as a multimedia system that could play games and came supplied with an infra-red remote control and optional keyboard and mouse could be added. I remember I was so tempted to trade in my Amiga 500 for one of these super cool units.
Picture from Wikipedia
Looking at the specification it was so right, midi interface and scart connection ticked most peoples boxes of missing things from the Amiga 500 and the stylish looks made it more consumer friendly. Sadly Commodore made retailers have the item as far away from the Computer section as was possible, this made it difficult for the average user to know what to do with the device, and it was with this problem that the units death was spelt out.
Its interesting that Commodore had this vision, ok it would need a DVD player to make it a must have and replace the VHS machine, but it could play games and music cd`s and even control midi instruments. I believe a mark 2 was planned but never released, I always wondered what if “Commodore made the cd32 with the FMV module attached” this would be a killer piece of hardware as the output from the cd32 with the FMV cartridge was stunning. Sadly it wasn’t to be as commodore were struggling and couldn’t even supply FMV modules to customers, never mind integrate them into a unit with the cd32.
Still its good to know that Commodore were there first with the vision then years later a pc would be proclaimed “the multimedia device” and of course as is so often explained to watchers the PC is “future proof!” whatever that means – So you should be able to use the new devices forever and not need to upgrade. Ok the blue ray drive did support 3d
I still think the CDTV was one cool idea and one cool piece of hardware
Early BASICs had less memory and so allowed up to two letters to store variables. Hence the following:- (? is the abbr. for PRINT)
READY. FOOT=4 READY. FOOTINMOUTH=4.5 READY. ?FOOTINMOUTH, FOOTIN, FOOT, FOO, FO, F 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 0
Only the Value F is different as it does not follow with 'O' and therefore gives a different reading. The only drawback is the programmer cannot use the same reference for single letter variables, hence The usefulness of REM, or psuedocode as a reference.
If that wasn't enough, here’s some…
This is a useful switch, where the situation warrants it. Have a look to see how it works.
READY. NEW READY. 10 FORJ=1TO10 20 X=1-X 30 ?J,X 40 NEXTJ RUN 1 1 2 0 3 1 4 0 5 1 6 0 7 1 8 0 9 1 10 0 READY.
X is set to 1. But the value of X is deducted. So if X previously equalled 1 already, that is deducted so X now equals 0. So while equalling 0 in passing the argument again X has nothing to deduct from itself and so stays t equalling 1. You could call this a Pro. Switch. Found in one of the c16 books, though I haven't yet found it again since! -Perhaps the elusive Switch?
10 sets up the demo with a loop.
20 The actual switch command.
30 Print both the count and the switch status. on/off i.e. 1 or 0.
40 continue loop.
Is that too complicated? You'll love this!
This issue in the programming pages we look at nothing!!! That is the problem of virtual one or 0 and actual one that is 1. Confused? You will be.
Every time the subject of Maths comes about. I find myself wondering if the schooling had been better would I be able to do the sums in my head that at one time I seemed to constantly hear the prior generation harp on about - (i.e. Dad!!) "What do they teach 'kids a' sckool t'day!?!" ..."In my day, there were none of this calculators!" adnauseum..-with broad Yorkshire piled on, added to for effect. Oh! it went on "We used to do 'reck'ning in 'ar 'ead. Now they say, -'hang on a minute..." -looks down, dramatically tapping the air with fingers, pulling face looks up prompting statutory agreement.
What's more I can't argue, even in the relative safety of these pages. -Though I wish I could put him on stage and screen with it! Furthermore brains rarely crash compared to computers, take up less electricity therefore being relatively cost effective. That is to say the equivalent of having two doing one job. What's worse it promotes the attitude "I can't be bothered so pass the buck, let ...do it". Terminator is all too real a prospect as far as AI becoming a problem -not so much time travel. Einstein was right on that one. Except of course for a Total Recall type fantasy. But that's enough of quoting Arnold Schwartzeneger films. The Gauntlet I run this issue Twins tables with both learning them for themselves, with debugging the problem computers have of Division by zero, with a look at Nothing as an entity in it's own right.
The problem of Dividing by zero raises the question of is 1 x 0 = 0 true or not? In expression If you have one of something in the first place then you try to multiply it; grow it in a test tube for instance, but you have nothing with which to make it multiply. Then how does the original number suddenly vanish? I have one apple but I can't make more from it, aside from planting it in the ground and hoping that a tree will one day grow. And if I were to eat the apple this would translate as 1-1=0. And so shows itself to be requiring a completely different sum.
On the other hand if you have nothing and you times it. You have more nothing, unless you times it by 1, in which case you haven't "timesed" it at all! Whereas if you were to times nothing by nothing would that nothing become more? A sort of 0x0=00 in translation: nothing multiplied by nothing equals more nothing than you had before! Which again is nothing.
Whilst waffling on about nothing. Lets look at the other side of the coin. Division. How can you divide nothing, you might've said, that was before we multiplied it. Albeit somewhat metaphysically rather than mathematically. The computer does not regard 0 zero as nothing. The concept of nothing to a computer if some-one could invent a way to ask it would most likely churn out an answer on the lines of 'when I'm turned off'.
0 is 1to Mr. Micro, the computer while 1is like a second 1. 2 becomes twice as much as the second 1. Yet seems to bear very little if any relation to zero. Perplexed? Doesn't matter. Looking at it more deeply we may wonder why the computer's concept of beginning counting starts at 0. If whoever invented this wonderful, magnificent contraption knew how to do that, and as we know that any computer is as capable at handling negative numbers as it is with their positive counterparts. So why not use them in arrays, and start the system at the lowest -or if you prefer "highest" negative number that its chips can handle?
Perhaps it was memory in the earlier days. Though this adds to the pondering that automatic 0ne is rarely used compared to standard 1. (the former being zero). Having said that it does have its uses.
So if we've done anything thus far it has been to multiply the confusion and perplexion surrounding maths. Now if we divide 0 by 2 we have half the 0 we had,. half a zero makes C, though now I'm being ridiculous! 0, or zero being nothing. If we have less nothing, do we gain something by default?
If we divide 0 by 1 then we are basically giving ourselves nothing back. And so we still have nothing. But if we divide 1 by 0 then at first this looks like we don't divide it. We have 1 because we didn't divide it. BUT! If we have 1 apple but we decide to not eat it but throw it away. Ah! then we have no apples! -not nothing because unless we're very stupid we remembered to put the clothes on our back before coming to this mathematical arena. And even if we were somewhat lacking in funding for such things. If we are wise, we know there's always tomorrow! Before you lean on me. What I'm trying to say is that because there is something then there can be no nothing. Before you argue, space is not nothing it is something that can be filled or left as so wished. The problem shows itself to be in thinking in absolutes!
Does The sum 0/1 = the sum 0-1, or 1-0 While 1/0 = 1-0 or 1+0 is less contestable as it equals the same. Is it possible to have something and nothing?
Perhaps the real problem is there are several ways to do something, but relatively few agreed ways in which to express it. Yet it does seem at the same time there are many different ways to express the same thing if they were noticed.
Enough of this! We can go on forever with such things and at the end of time have nothing! -Nothing to show for it. So it is time to TRAP the Error. In Maths, it is universally accepted that dividing anything by zero= 0. Either way. So this is the format to be used, though why the manufacturers of all such machines didn't program this into the workings of their creations in the first place is beyond me! Still it provides an interesting lesson for what is today termed as "Exception Handling".
If ER = 20 then a division by zero has been performed. So we want the program to keep running and must instruct the computer through the program what to do.
RESUME is important as you can see from the Amiga version of the error trap. It replaces the GOTO statement because GOTO will assume we are still dealing with that error and won't trap any more. RESUME therefore can in Error trapping be likened to RESTORE with DATA.
If You've piled through all that and are no clearer think of virtual reality as zero, not quite real but taking up your time and energy nonetheless if you let it. Whereas 1 is the reality. The reality with virtual reality is that you've spent your time doing nothing. Sorry!
LIST 10 REM *DIVISIONS* 20 REM *BY JOHN FIELDEN 2011* 30 COLOR0,1:COLOR1,2:COLOR4,16,4 60 PRINT" DIVISIONS " 70 PRINT" BY JOHN FIELDEN 2011" 80 FOR J=0 TO 20 90 SCNCLR 100 FORK=0 TO 400 110 PRINTK;" / ";J;"= "; 115 TRAP1000 120 PRINTK/J 130 NEXTK 140 GETKEYA$ 150 NEXTJ 1000 IF ER=20 THENPRINT0:GOTO130 READY.
Lines : What's going on?
10-20 : Not much! Self explanatory
30 : Ever get bored of the standard colour set??
60-70 : Only fitting to have title and credits in a program.
80 : Start first loop. Controlling first set of numbers. These make up the grid or lessons.
90 : Clear Screen
100 : The second count forming the list per lesson.
110 : Print the sum to be performed
115 : Check for the occurrence of an error. If found send to the sub-routine as listed.
120 : If no error so far, perform and print the sum.
130 : Go to next number in list. (The inner loop)
140 : Wait for user when this set of tables is through. So that user is ready for next number.
150 : Start as next number in count, starting off a new list.
A reliable, consistent programmer would've put an end here.. Especially if considering expanding the program. 990 STOP would be suffice.
1000 It currently matters little as the statement is false and therefore by-passed. So the program comes to a natural end anyway. In propriety the command controls the only error the program will have to deal with. The "Division by zero". And makes sure that any such sum results in the most commonly agreed answer. Zero is where times and divide seem to meet. If 1 person shares no apples with him or herself then there are no apples, same if ten people don't share any apples with each other probably as they had none to share in the first place, the result is zero apples. Similarly If you have an apple and you don't eat it then you have the equivalent of no apples! -especially when it goes off. Same with any amount of fruit.
....speaking of fruit, if I want my share, that basket isn't finished yet, er, -"aaaaaaaaargh!"
Next time: Amiga BASIC. Hu-Array for a rest!
As we continue our ‘Back to the Past’ feature, we go back to June 2007 and look at issue nine of Commodore Free… Suffering from illness, the editor explains the constraints of editing a free magazine that needs to fit onto a D64 disk image, as well as PDF and text formats.
First article in issue 9 was an Introduction to various Emulator File Formats as Peter Schepers looked at the various C64 emulator formats, terms, acronyms and how to use them all. An Interview with WORLDLAM followed, where the collector’s obsession with all things Commodore was discussed.
The Shredz64 Project, developed by Toni Westbrook, is an attempt to build an interface to connect the PlayStation Guitar Hero controller to a C64, with the plan to create a C64 port of the game. Toni was also interviewed straight after the feature.
Techy minded Commodore users were catered for with The HEXFILES part 4 by Jason Kelk and Commodore MMC2IEC DEVICE, along with an interview with Lars Pontoppidan, designer of the MMC2IEC.
The next interview was with Arno Weber, a huge Boulder Dash fan who has created 24 Boulder Dash games himself. Full of Boulder Dash history, stories and links, this is one interview not to be missed by fans of the classic game series.
Shaun Bebbington writes a regular retro column in the weekly Micro Mart publication and has previously worked for Retro Gamer, so this interview is a must for anyone interested in journalism and magazines.
The CSS 64 F.A.Q. is the article you need if you are after help on the popular C64 emulator. The FAQ is also followed by an interview with Per Håkan Sundell, creator of the CSS64 emulator.