The Off Topic

Barbara found some of the computers that her Dad used as a Navigator in WW2 and the next decade.

Major J Webster Beck, Walker AFB, Roswell NM 1954


Shiny black shoes, actually.


Gotta love the Lockpicking Lawyer each April 1st.


Wow, lmao! :rofl:

You can select from the 8in Wang, the 10in Rigid, among others.

It’s good to know there’s so many great tools to play with I meant choose from…

Reminds me of the “biggus dickus” bit from Monty Python.


The kitty locked diary is a refence to last April 1st’s masterpiece.

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I am replete with … absence

Intrigued by the new “RAAL” releases (but not sufficiently to buy them, at least as of yet), but otherwise not doing much audio-wise beyond enjoying what I have.

As ever, I am cyclically distracted. My current kick/focus (something I’ve been involved in for far longer than I’ve been into headphone/personal audio), is retro-gaming.

I was a SERIOUS Atari 8-bit user/enthusiastic (in the UK scene) … and am spending most of my time in that realm. Think “Atari Gamestation Pro” and “THE400MINI” (Atari 400 Mini) … as well as Atari800MacX and Altirra (via. VM-ware/Win 11 Pro ARM64 and CrossOver). Easy to find me there, under the same name.

Time for some M.U.L.E. and maybe a little “River Raid” …


Immanis really is something special. I spent all of 5 minutes with it, and while I was not convinced its bass presence and “weight” matched up to the best planars or e-stats, everything else was without a doubt the best I have ever heard. And the bass weight & “presence” are very much TBD.

I recommend contacting Danny for a demo. I will be doing just that next year. :wink:

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My parents wouldn’t buy me an Atari but I got around that restriction by buying myself a BBC micro with my summer earnings. I got it for “educational reasons” but spent most of my time playing Elite.

The BBC micro did eventually end up being useful for education as I used it to create a statistical model in machine language to simulate the annealing of steel for my undergraduate thesis.


I was a big fan of the Kurt Russell/ Dexter Reily movies when I was a kid. Strongest Man In The World was my favorite.

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I remember my buddy got an Atari computer with 16k and our teacher asked him "What are you going to do with all that memory?":rofl::rofl::rofl:

I had a CoCo if anybody remembers what that was.


The BBC Model B was the shit.

Not as well supported as the same-era Commodore and Atari machines, much less the ZX Spectrum (this was in the UK) … but easily the best, most powerful, overall “computer” of the time.

Yep, the TRS-80 Color Computer.

Tandy/Radio Shack’s machines weren’t a big factor in the UK home-computer market of the time. The Dragon 32, which was, surprisingly, largely compatible, was a bigger factor.

I normally do my Atari 8-bit emulation on Atari800MacX and Altirra. I also have some original (UK) hardware. Moving it to FPGA for non-native stuff this week. And I still code on that platform (with CA65, MADS, and OSS Mac/65 on the original hardware).

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Was the Timex/Sinclair a thing in the UK? One of my best friends at the had one. It had (I think) 1or 2k built in and there was this big brick that plugged in the back that boosted it to either 4 or 8, I can’t remember. But it was one of the original home computers and we thought it was the shit.
Unrelated note: my friend’s dad was a submarine commander and after he retired he was the technical advisor for the movie The Hunt For Red October. They made the US sub commander played by Scott Glenn look just like him

That is the three that I started off with, in that order. Well, I did technically have a “TV game” before that.

The Spectrum was the Sinclair and it was great because after sitting through ten minutes of audio torture for a game to load, you could remove the cassette and stick a music cassette in, listening to Kylie through very terrible spealers lol.


Sinclair was the thing in the UK. Clive Sinclair popularized home computers with the ZX80, ZX81 and then Spectrum.

I hadn’t heard of Timex/Sinclair but (according to Wikipedia) Timex collaborated with Sinclair to build and sell modified Sinclair computers outside of the UK.


Interesting. I also was a relatively serious Atari 8 bit user. Among developers I know were Draper of Draper Pascal, and I corresponded with Chris Crawford the designer of the fiendishly difficult Eastern Front (1941). I had an Atari 800 with 4 Happy Drives - later some were similar but higher density. And later I had the 130 for a while, before going with an ST next to the 8 bit stuff.

I recall a lot of the APX stuff, and learning a bit of 6502 assembler, having VisiCalc, ValForth, and of course Logo. I spent a lot of time on UUNET. Stayed up late reading the latest Pons & Fleishman Cold Fusion boards. I was involved with SGML at the time, and some wag started, which I subscribed to, and did get to see more than a few of the alt discussions after that.

My intro to Mac was through the Atari “Magic Sac” cart for the ST. And yes I played games. Not just Infocom, but Ultima, Ultima II and Ultima III. Filght simulator. Star Raiders - what a fine 8 bit game in just 8K of machine code.

And to @PaisleyUnderground, @jthvac and @SenyorC
Timex/Sinclair was the US name, Sinclair in the UK. Yep, had one of them, with the 16K memory module. There was a higher end model later.

And fooled a bit with the Coleco Adam.
Had a TI 99/4a and tried my hand at sprites, which showed up first on that.
Of course there was the Commodore Vic-20 and it’s big brother the C-64, which was Atari’s competitor. When they grew to 16 bit models, somehow the Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga were running software OS originally worked out for the other one.

That’s all I want to remember for now.


When I got a bit older (18), I ended up hanging out with a keyboardist who led a progressive rock band. That’s when I developed a lot of the musical tastes that I still have today. He was really into sequencing music (this was the mid 80s) and I remember when the Amiga came out it was a real game changer for digital music.

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Also @pennstac I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I’m pretty sure your Avatar is another one of my favorite childhood memories, Commander McBragg.

Favorite episode: McBragg’s Marvelous Mixture


Sure is. Not many spot that.

I first used my school’s original Apple II (not IIe, this was the very first Apple II). The setup included a 13" Sony Trinitron TV as a monitor and twin 5.25" floppy drives. It looked a lot like this:

They had an Epson dot matrix printer too. The games available included Ultima 1.0 (basically a board game presented on the screen), and a clone of Galaxian/Space Invaders with Apple-logo alien ships.

At home we later had a Trash 80, a VIC-20, and a C-64 before the IBM Clone Takeover of the late 1980s to early 1990s. I saw and tried Atari 400s and 800s in the computer store across from the quarter-eating video arcade. I saw the Timex/Sinclair stuff (I think a relative owned one) but I never used them much.

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Yes, Sinclair Research (or just “Sinclair”), particularly the ZX81 and Spectrum, were, as @PaisleyUnderground says, the thing for the UK market. Numbers wise, I think only the Commodore 64 was as/more popular - ultimately at least, but the Spectrum was well established before that really took hold.

I built my original ZX80 and ZX81 from kits …

Which was fitting, and something that came a bit later in my computing-exposure, as I had built, and was using, first as Nascom 1, and later the 2, a couple of years before the Sinclair stuff came to market (which was notable less for its capabilities and more because it cost less than 100 GBP).

With that array of hardware … yes, yes you were. In the UK, at the time, most Atari owners did not have one drive, let alone four. They played from bootable cassettes and cartridges.

I was more in your camp, along with a few close friends. Starting with an 800, a pair of 810s with Archiver chips, and a pair with Happy. We also used some of the modified third-party drives for “various reasons”.

I had endless “fun” re-writing the loaders, or removing the in-game checks for copy protection so I could play games that weren’t released in the UK and that Archiver and Happy could not copy (think “phantom” bad sectors, rather than the usually bad-checksum, or illegal sector number type stuff).

A bit later I added an 800XL, along with a quartet of 1050s, all of which either ran US-Doublers (once they came out) or, again, Happy chips.

Never did the XE models … I was an early ST and Amiga adopter (interesting the chap that did some of the design for the Atari 8-bit, Jay Miner, also did the Amiga).

Saturday was a “Chris Crawford” day. Eastern Front was awesome for its time, still stands up gameplay wise today. So some of that was mandatory (I suck at it). Then some Legionnaire, followed by two sessions with SCRAM.

I met him at a one of “his” conferences once, but never really conversed with him after that. His ideas on, and approach to, game design remain fascinating.

I still have my original copy of “De Re Atari” … which was, back in those very early days (a decade before this “internet” thing), the “standard” for documentation on the 8-bit’s low-level hardware and programming.

On another note, the version of Star Raiders on the Switch version of Atari 50 is nicely done (it’s the 5200 version, but with some of the controls - mostly screen selections, cleverly mapped to a an entirely non-Atari interface).