Het (Home)Computermuseum

Al een tijd loop ik diverse beurzen en bijeenkomsten af welke over oude computers gaat, oftewel Retro Computing. Ikzelf ben rond mijn 10e levensjaar begonnen met het verzamelen van oude computers, begonnen bij een Tandy TRS80 Colour Computer 2 en een Philips P2000-C. Op mijn 16e had ik rond de 35 computers staan en heb kort hierna een besluit genomen om alle oude computers van de hand te doen (spijt van).

Tot grofweg 2010 had ik geen oude(re) computers meer in huis. Tot het moment dat ik bij een vriend kwam wie oude consoles verzamelt. Ik was onder de indruk en merkte op dat er geen Amiga CDTV en CD32 bij stond. Hij claimde deze niet te kunnen vinden. Het bleef een beetje vreten aan mij en ik besloot dat ik weer een Amiga wilde. Via een oproep op Twitter verkreeg ik ineens 3 Amiga’s en via verkopen en hiermee aankopen zit ik op het moment van schrijven op ruim 40 computers van allerlei soort.

Mensen die mij kennen weten ook dat ik altijd een ondernemend persoon ben. Eerst via weirdalforum.com, daarna drumforum.nl en daarop in diverse bands. Altijd een commerciële instelling gehad.

In het afgelopen jaar merkte ik op dat retrocomputing in een opmars bezig is en is mijn brein gaan werken tot het concept van een HomeComputerMuseum.

Het concept is om een interactief museum te maken, waarbij zoveel mogelijk computers aan staan en klaar voor gebruik. Mensen komen binnen en gaan een tijdreis maken met computers, inclusief bijbehorende sfeer zoals kamers ingericht tot bijvoorbeeld slaapkamer uit de jaren 80, inclusief oude TV, meubels, posters en uiteraard een computer op de grond, aangesloten en speelklaar.

Aangezien ik met iets meer dan 40 computers dit niet voor elkaar kan krijgen, ga ik gebruik maken van mijn netwerk van retro-computer verzamelaars. Ik heb hun het aanbod gedaan om hun verzameling uit te lenen aan het museum, waarbij er uiteraard contracten en foto’s worden getekend en gemaakt zodat de machine weer terug komt in de staat waarbij deze aan het museum is uitgeleend. Dit in ruil in het begin voor gratis onbeperkt toegang tot het museum, later wellicht ook tegen een bijdrage.

Naast deze zaken heb ik mij in de afgelopen periode enorm laten informeren door mensen met ervaring op zowel zakelijk vlak, als persoonlijk. Hieruit zijn ook weer een aantal zaken naar voren gekomen waarmee ik aan de gang ben gegaan.

Halverwege oktober 2016 had ik het plan op papier staan en heb een afspraak gepland met een ambtenaar van de gemeente Helmond. Telefonisch mijn plan doorgegeven en er werd enthousiast op gereageerd, helemaal omdat Helmond ook de plek en gelegenheid heeft om een museum neer te zetten.

Begin november 2016 heb ik 2 ambtenaren over de vloer gehad welke beide het gesprek begonnen, wij hebben niks met computers. Ondanks dit, hebben ze na het uitgebreid horen van mijn plan en een aantal voorbeelden in mijn huidige ‘museum’ erg enthousiast gereageerd en zaten vol met ideeen om het concept tot een werkelijkheid te laten maken.

Hierop is er begin 2017 een afspraak gepland met de eindverantwoordelijke wethouder voor cultuur en subsidies hierover.

Ondertussen zit ik natuurlijk niet stil en heb inmiddels een zeer uitgebreide lijst met vrijwilligers die computers willen uitlenen of mij op een andere manier willen helpen. Hulp blijft en is nog steeds welkom overigens, neem dus rustig contact met mij op. Één van de meestbelovende connecties welke ik gemaakt heb, is met het reeds bestaande Bonami spelcomputermuseum, ik ben namelijk meer van het samenwerken in plaats van elkaar tegenwerken, want daar wordt niemand beter van. Hierover heb ik op zeer korte termijn een afspraak en zodra er iets te melden is, zal ik dat via deze blog doen en Facebook doen.

Dank voor het lezen en ik hoor graag als je iets wilt bijdragen aan het museum, dat kan op allerlei manier! Tot snel!

June 2016 Haul of Retro Computers

Last 2 weeks, my retro computer collection has been expanded quite much. It all began with my TRS80 Model 1 where I’ve met Kees Stravers who adviced me to join the CVML-mailinglist (and where I finally got a mailaddress from Rence). Back then he asked me if I could help to clean his garage and which in exchange I could take care of his few Tandy’s.

But before we go to that, beginning of June 2016 there was a Bonami Gaming fair in Eindhoven. I figured to go take a look for once where I found a bargain in a very yellow Atari 1040ST-F. On my way home I passed a carboot-sale where I got a Philips P3105 and a Schneider PC. So, within a few hours I suddenly owned 3 new computers.

A week passed and last Friday I went to Kees his house. His garage still needed some cleaning, but most things were already done and he saw the Tandy Model 4 which I could pick up and take care of it:

IMG_0131 (2)

It definately needs some TLC. I haven’t turned it on just yet since I want to make sure I won’t let the white smoke come out of it.

Other than this machine, I took 2 TRS80 Model 1 (both 48K/Level-II basic), 1 expansion interface mainboard inserted into a homemade case, 1 homemade expansion interface using modules, a TRS80 Disk Drive (NOS), a Philips P2000T, an IBM CGA monitor and a Tandy Monitor. A beautiful collection including some very nice documentation I’ve never seen.

Thank you very much Kees! Thank you for everything and let me know if I ever can repay this 🙂

 

Na 14 jaar weer Windows

Het is inmiddels alweer een jaar of 14 geleden dat ik mijn toentertijd Windows XP installatie vriendelijk heb verzocht om op te rotten van mijn harddisk en ben ik volledig overgestapt naar Linux. Een paar jaar later ben ik, mede door komst van een iPhone, overgestapt via een Hackintosh en later naar een echte Mac waar ik Mac OS X op draai.

Ondertussen wel voor mijn werk diverse Windows versies ondersteund en zo nu en dan draaide er een verloren machines in het thuis netwerk vanwege gebrek aan budget om daar een echte Mac neer te zetten.

Nu, 2016, ga ik Windows weer een echte kans geven als werkpaard(je). Waarom? Nou, meer omdat ik in 2015 een beetje aan het prutsen ben geweest met laptops en deze, al dan niet na reparatie, verhandelde. Uiteraard met daarop Windows 10 en ik was onder de indruk van de snelheid op vooral oude(re) hardware. Een Core2Duo machine met SSD en 4GB RAM is gewoon heerlijk snel en werkbaar voor dagelijkse taken. Games speel ik toch niet, dus dan is zo’n machine best leuk.

Vooral omdat ik met de band veel onderweg ben en wij een mooie Behringer X-AIR18 hebben waar we via USB alle optredens en repetities multitrack kunnen opnemen. Dit werkte altijd goed op mijn Macbook Air van 2013 tot El Capitan waardoor Logic Pro niet altijd even goed werkte. Mijn Tascam US1800 werkte allang niet meer op El Capitan dus moest ik een tweede apparaat hebben om opnames te maken.

Thuis heb ik, naast de Macbook, ook nog een Core2Duo desktop PC staan welke van Windows 7 -> Windows 8 -> Windows 10 is gegaan en tegenwoordig Youtube kijkdoos voor de kleine en het huis via iTunes voorziet van muziek. Dus hier is mijn Windows 10 avontuur eigenlijk begonnen.

Zoals gezegd ben ik in 2015 in de handel van wat oudere laptops gekomen en 1 van deze laptops heb ik uiteindelijk zelf gehouden om als opname apparaat te gaan dienen. Deze 17″ loodzware Acer Aspire heeft een tijdje zijn werk goed gedaan met Windows 10 erop en daarnaast wederom iTunes voor de gezellige muziek in de studio’s en Audacity en Reaper om multi-track opnames te doen.

Door de handel kreeg ik een prachtige Macbook Pro 1,1 in handen welke na een grote schoonmaak en verse koelpasta ineens wel interessant was om te gebruiken als opnamedoos. Helaas draaide Windows 10 zeer beperkt op deze machine (geen driver voor videokaart) en OS X 10.7.5 is toch echt wel zwaar verouderd (plus dat hierop mijn Logic Pro weer niet wilde draaien). Uiteindelijk is hier een duo-boot Ubuntu Studio en Mac OS X 10.7.5 op gekomen. Ubuntu studio voor opnames, Mac OS voor iTunes. Toch was dit niet optimaal, Ubuntu Studio vond het niet leuk als deze op standby ging en ik had geen zin meer om dit tot op de bodem uit te zoeken.

Het lot was mij positief gezind met een iBood Box begin dit jaar. In deze box zat een lief HP EliteBook 2540p apparaatje met een leuke Core i5 CPU, 4GB geheugen en 250GB HDD. Na aanschaf van een nieuwe accu blijkt dit een heel capabel systeempje te zijn voor opnames en ‘on the road’. Er komt zeer binnenkort een SSD in om de laatste snelheidswinst ook te hebben.

In de afgelopen 2 weken ben ik privé dus met name in Windows 10 bezig geweest. Deze laptop had een licentie Windows 7 dus was een upgrade eenvoudig (alhoewel ik een kale installatie heb gedaan).

Na installatie heb ik eerst de tools die ik mij nog kan herinneren dat ik deze veel gebruikte geïnstalleerd. Uiteraard na iTunes en de koppeling met mijn iTunes Match 🙂

Voor mijn werk moet ik veel inloggen op Linux machines. Dus Putty en WinSCP zijn minimale eis. Ik heb mijn key van mijn Mac af kunnen halen en deze in PuttyAgent geladen, dus de basis behoefte zijn bevredigd.

Verdere tools die ik heb geïnstalleerd om het leven op Windows aangenaam te maken:
– PostBox (https://www.postbox-inc.com/), De beste E-mail client voor zowel Mac als Windows. Ik heb hier een licentie voor waardoor ik het op beide besturingssystemen kan gebruiken.
– VLC (heeft geen uitleg nodig)
– DropBox (gebruik ik ook op de Mac)
– iTunes (samen met iCloud waar ik mijn documenten op sla)
– Google Chrome (yay, synchronisatie)
– Irfanview (gewoon de beste picture viewer voor Windows)
– Total Commander (http://www.ghisler.com/ waar ik zowaar een licentie voor heb)
– Wireshark
– Avast Antivirus
– Cygwin (omdat ik wel een fatsoenlijke shell wil hebben)
– Audacity / Reaper voor de opnames

Aangezien LibreOffice op een bepaald moment weigerde te werken op mijn Macbook, heb ik daar al Office for Mac geinstalleerd. Logischerwijs heb ik op Windows dan ook en heb ik de 2013 versie van Microsoft Office ‘gevonden’.

Omdat het kan heb ik nu ook Euro Truck Simulator 2 geinstalleerd (die een stuk beter loopt dan onder een emulatie van Mac) en Duke Nukem 3D (een van de weinige spellen die ik ooit speel). Daarnaast ook om mijn retro persoonlijkheid te vriend te houden in ieder geval Amiga Forever en WinUAE om de Amiga’s te voorzien van software indien nodig.

Al met al ben ik redelijk positief over mijn nieuwe Windows plekje. Over een paar weken ga ik touren in Engeland en neem alleen de Windows machine mee. Dat wordt dus nog spannend of ik alles kan wat ik met de Mac kan (waarschijnlijk wel).

Als er iemand nog een must-have voor Windows 10 heeft dan hoor ik dat graag. Mijn mening is dat Microsoft nu eindelijk een degelijk operating system heeft uitgebracht wat voor zowel de power user als voor de normale thuisgebruiker goed kan werken.

New retro computers

Last few months actually I haven’t blogged at all. Mostly because I feel I don’t have readers, but also because I didn’t have much to tell which I though would be worth writing a blog about. But since a few things have changed in the past 3 months, I reckon a new blog post should be made. It will be a short one, because somewhere later this week I’ll have even a bigger update.

To start with end of 2015 when I was busy learning to sing and I found a nice accelerator card for my Amiga 2000 on Amibay giving my A2000 a fast 68030 with coprocessor, a SCSI connection and 4MB additional RAM. I built in this card and it ran, but I didn’t have any SCSI devices (cables rather) so I ordered a SCSI2SD thing plus the necessary cable from amikit which is still not built in today. So, there will be an update on that at some point.

When I was on the bi-monthly Commodore meeting held by ‘Commodore interessegroep‘ I somehow craved to own a Tandy and put Tandy on the map in the Netherlands. I even wrote a Dutch blog about it on Tweakers.net. Especially because Tandy is one of the 3 very first homecomputers back in 1977. Since I already own a Tandy 200 laptop and used to own a Tandy TRS80 Color  Computer 2, I figured I wanted to have the latter. So, I started to search for one and actually found one in the Netherlands. After a very long time due Kiala fucking up my package, my brand ‘new’ Tandy arrived (see here). So, my first few months of 2016 is about playing with this beautiful machine and so far I’m filling my Youtube channel with videos of this.

Then, somehow.. I found an elderly person in the Netherlands owning a 1978 Tandy TRS-80 Model 1 complete including ‘Expansion Interface’ and original monitor and loads (and I mean loads) of documentation. So, a 2 hour drive to the other side of the Netherlands and picked up this machine:

IMG_4097

As you can see, it’s quite much and the machine isn’t working.

So, after some questioning around I joined the online community Vintage Computer Forum and, more importantly, a Dutch mailinglist with retro computing enthusiast. Up till then, I didn’t know mailing lists were still used but I guess I learn every day.

I asked why the Tandy didn’t boot on this mailing list and I learned that this screen is quite normal, but should disappear when the BREAK-key is pressed (and it doesn’t). Luckily for me, one of the people over there knows that there’s a bi-monthly meeting of TRS80 enthusiasts nearby Amsterdam and he got me in contact with one of the people doing that, also happens to be the creator of one of the many mods done on this Tandy. Upcoming Thurday I’ll attend this meeting and hopefully make a nice blog from this machine.

Thanks for reading and I’d love to read comments (via Facebook, Twitter or drop me a mail) and I hope everybody will join my Retro Computers channel on Youtube, the more subscribers I have, the more I’m gonna make videos.

Diagnosing slow WiFi + solution

Since  a few days, we’ve been experiencing a very slow WiFi signal in the house, even when we’re within 1 meter distance of the Time Capsule, the different speedtests won’t go above 10Mbit (on both 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz, the latter was even worse with max 4Mbit). Obviously, my first suspect was the actual Internet speed, so I put a cable in the Time Capsule and I got a nice 186Mbit average (on a 200Mbit connection, which is not too bad). So, the ISP is ruled out.

So I ran the build-in WiFi diagnostic tools (ALT+click on Apple’s WiFi symbol give you good details here)

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 12.22.59There you can also go to the “Wireless Diagnostics” which has some nice features. As soon as the window opens, choose “Window” from the top menu and there you’ll find some interesting things. Especially the “Scan” (CMD-4) is a informative one. This will show all other networks and on which channel they are connected. Also, OS-X gives us (probably) the best channel to be used.

From my scan, I could see 7 networks (including my own) in total, 6 on the 2.4Ghz and 1 on the 5Ghz. The 2.4Ghz was currently on Channel 1 and the 5Ghz on Channel 40. Both having a massive slowdown. OSX advices me to use channel 2 or 6 for 2.4Ghz and 40 for the 5Ghz.

I entered my configuration tool and set the 2.4Ghz channel to 6 and that one was kinda back to acceptable speeds (not groundbreaking, but I only have 1 computer connected to this band anyway). Still, the 5Ghz was still slow as hell while it was connected with a 300Mbit speed.

Then I downloaded the iStumbler tool (Freeware, only asks you regularly to register). This gave me some insight. But first we need to know more about WiFi.

WiFi is ‘just’ a radio signal so it has background-noise. Could be anything, from refrigerators to microwaves. As long as something is ‘leaking’ noise on the same channel as the WiFi, it could affect the quality of the line.

I could see that my 5Ghz network had a signal strength of -49dBm and noise of -95dBm. For most Wi-Fi networks, you will see the signal measurement be between around -10 and -70 dBm, and should see the noise between -80 to -100 dBm. In these, the more negative the number is, the smaller its signal is. So, my line was pretty reasonable I’d say?

But, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t try to get it better, so I did. I changed my 5Ghz channel from 40 to 48 and my noise dropped to 0 (zero) dBm!

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 12.44.58

 

 

 

 

and with this improvement, my internet speed WiFi went back up to 120Mbit download, yay!:

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 12.47.29

 

 

 

 

Now that’s doable for WiFi 🙂

Apparantly, the -95dBm noise was just about enough to interfere with the quality of my connection.

 

 

The mailclient for OSX

Another blog about my latest journey to find a mailclient for Apple’s OS X (Yosemite) which would work the way I want. I’m working for many years according to the “Inbox Zero” principle. Basically, keep your Inbox empty. Everything in the Inbox is something ‘to do’. This works beautiful for me, even with my > 6GB IMAP-mailbox where all my e-mail is stored. Archive what needs to be archived, delete mail which is not required to have (usually spam or server messages).

So, as you can imagine my mailclient should work fast and I love keybindings. Mail clients like Outlook used to be okay-ish for me, until I started to work with the Inbox Zero. Clicking, dragging and stuff wasn’t my thing. Plus Microsoft seems to have issues creating a reasonable search within e-mail. In short, searching sucked. Also the fact I started to use Linux as my desktop OS where I had to use WINE to start Outlook wasn’t working in Microsoft’s advantage to become my mail client. So, I started with several mail clients under Linux. From Evolution, Kmail to eventually Thunderbird. Up till last year, this was my preferred mail client.

Why change a winning concept you may think? Thunderbird works under Mac as good as under Linux (or Microsoft Windows if you please). Well, Thunderbird isn’t a nice looking client and you can fix that with themes, true.. but the worst part, it’s SOOOO slow, especially when using multiple (huge) IMAP-boxes . Even on my late 2013 Macbook Air (8GB RAM) it was just slow. When it was started, it was fine. Cleaning caches and not downloading all messages helped a bit, but still .. Also, since I tried out Apple Mail I got a big fan of the “Conversations” which Apple Mail has implemented very nice. Yes, there’s a plugin for that (Conversation) like there’s probably a plugin for everything. Though this particular plugin was really buggy and I had to switch back to ‘show in normal reader’ too much just to see attachments. So, time for a new mailclient.

Apple Mail is nice but has one major disadvantage. It doesn’t support multiple identities. I want to mail from “Bart” and in some other cases from “ZipZap Entertainment”. Apple Mail doesn’t do this if all mail comes into the same IMAP mailbox. On top of this, Apple Mail is even worse with big IMAP mailboxes.

Then I found this relatively new client “Mailbox“. This feels (and probably is) made for the “Inbox Zero” concept. Native support for Conversations and feels like a real Apple product. Biggest disadvantage, no IMAP support (what?). They only support iCloud (which I couldn’t get working) or Gmail. Pity.. Such a nice client with such big miss.

My quest continued and after some searching I found PostBox. Basically the speed and layout of Apple Mail with all the advantages of Thunderbird (multiple identities, signature support etc). After the 30 day trial I got addicted to this nifty piece of software. This actually makes my life (or my todo-list) easier. I can move messages to the correct archive automatically or manually using keyboard only. Really great piece of software and very fast. It literally has everything I want in a mail-client.

So, here’s the free commercial for them. They deserve it. It’s well worth the money and I bought it today (with 2 days left for trial). Yay Postbox!

Android vs Apple, again

As open-minded as I try to stay and being a Linux-user for at least 15 years, it’s quite obvious that Android has my attention. Since I changed from Linux to Macintosh (first as a Hackintosh, later I actually got real Macbook) for my personal use, I shifted to Apple’s operating system and I’ve been using that as my primary operating system.

Going back in time, when I still mainly used Linux. I’ve used most operating systems on mobile (incl Windows mobile 6.5 back in the day and my favorite Symbian OS on the pretty SonyEricsson P1i. My contract ended so I got myself an Orange M3000 running Windows 6.5. Worst mistake ever (and possible worst phone ever made). I switched back to Symbian on a Nokia N91 (which was a neat phone) but eventually I went for an iPhone. The very first one (already outdated at the time, the iPhone 3G was there already). I played with it a lot but there was no integration between Linux and iPhones at the time. I had to run Virtualbox in order to jailbreak the iPhone to make it work. Then I read about the new Motorola Milestone coming out, running the latest Android (that was back in 2009). I got mine using import through Germany which gave my Milestone a German keyboard layout. Workable though. I think I was one of the first people in NL who had this phone which was a great phone in those times. It was also my first Android experience and all seemed well. But, I got annoyed. Motorola stopped updating the Milestone and using custom roms I had to get newer versions. All these versions had some issues, either battery drained too quick or crashing for incoming phone calls. All in all, I got really fed up and sold them Milestone to get an iPhone 3GS (which I still have today) which also started my journey to become an Apple user (Hackintosh -> Macbook).

So, here we are. 6 years and 2 generations of iPhone later (currently on iPhone 5). I’m completely converted into an Apple user having the Timecapsule at home, 2 Macbooks (my wife has one and myself), 1 powerbook, 1 powermac (see here) and even an iPad. All my music (well over 10000 songs legal) is distributed around my devices using iTunes Match and everything is okay.

Why this blog? Well, my mother-in-law was fed up with her LG E612 and I gave her an iPhone 4. A good chance for me to start playing again with Android just to see where they are now.

I rooted the device and installed the latest available Android on it, 4.4.4 (KitKat) apparently and, without simcard, started using it (yes Apple, without simcard)

But, it’s probably the phone, I’m not convinced. I do like the fact it has a native SIP-client in Android (which doesn’t work and only crashed the phone, probably related to the phone) and that it’s open (I can relatively easy install another ROM). But iOS on the iPhone feels so much more solid. Applications work decently and as a personal taste, the layout is by default not the most nice one I’ve ever seen. Yes, you can change it and that’s again the problem, there are too much layouts .. Application which don’t work are also something I don’t get. I mean, the OS is the same (despite version differences) but why does Zoiper refuse to play the audio to the normal speaker and are all my calls by default on speakerphone (can’t turn it off either). Tried different Android versions, all the same.. I mean, come on.. I want to use it as SIP-client to make private phone calls, not everybody should hear that..

So, in general, my opinion:

Pro’s Apple (which are con’s for Android)
– Software simply works. No bullshit. Works on all iPhones unless specified.
– iOS works equal on all phones factory default. Not this weird menu’s on different brands.
– iTunes Match works like a charm.
– integration with desktop is flawless. Answering phones on my macbook or iPad, awesome! Contacts synced without thinking, love it. Photos in the (private) cloud, yes! Messages are even synced. I can send text messages from my desktop.

Pro Android (cons for Apple)
– SIP-client
– Multiuser
– SD-cards just a a normal drive recognised.
– Access to the phone (ssh, fileserver)
– It’s a small Linux. Love it!
– Runs on multiple brands.

So, my perfect phone would be an Apple operating system with addition of a default SIP-client, multiuser and easier to access which will be integrated with my computer(s) as the current iOS is and with freedom of phone selection (for example, I would like something like a Samsung or HTC if it runs iOS).

I guess I should keep dreaming ..

MorphOS install

Since I’m a big fan of Amiga’s, the MorphOS operating system got my attention since it runs on Apple’s PPC macs (so, Powermac, Powerbook, Mini’s etc). I thought to give it a try, so I did. I got me an old 350Mhz Powermac G4 (generously donated by my friend David) and I installed MorphOS 3.4 (back then that was the latest). My first try was using the CD-drive which is kinda hard if you have a Macbook Air and no CD-burner, but I reinstalled an old PC and could actually burn it. My second try was using an USB-boot. Lucky, MorphOS made a guide for this.

I recorded my first try (using a CD) and put it on youtube. Everything looked fine, but there was no audio. My final goal is to have a system which looks the same as the old Amiga, feels the same as an old Amiga, but doesn’t require (often brittle) hardware of 20 years old. Without audio, well.. that’s a big miss on an emulator.

I started to look around and came across a nice Powerbook G4 and according to the HWC-list it was a supported one! Awesome. I went to pick it up (it even included a new battery) and installed MorphOS. Guess what? Same problem! Apparently, this PowerBook 1,0 867Mhz doesn’t support audio (doh) while the 1Ghz model does. And ofcourse I had the 867Mhz version. Another useless Mac around (which is now running Debian btw).

Around Xmas we have this nice giveaway and I decided to donate my PowerMac G4 to one of the users at AmigaScene.nl so he could play with it and I left trying MorphOS for now.

Why are you making this blog then? Well.. Another person decided to give me another PowerMac G4:

kerstpakket2014

Here it is, on the right side. Also I got this nice Apple Cinema Display with the ADC-connector. The guy who donated me the PowerMac 3,5 decided to put in another video card without ADC-connector. So my new quest was to get either a videocard with ADC or a convertor. I decided to go for the latter so I can use the Display on other computers as well.

A few days later I found one (secondhand) for a decent price so installing could begin? No, the PowerMac didn’t have a harddisk and I recently threw away all my P-ATA harddisks >_<. Thanks to the nice people at Tweakers.net I got myself a few (free) P-ATA harddisks. I received them a few days ago and yesterday I found time to get this package together to make a working system. I also created a video for this at youtube.

It seems that the MorphOS 3.2 I’m trying to install is really slow (not sure where the problem is here). Also I can’t hear audio (could be because MorphOS doesn’t support audio out from the Internal speaker). It’s shouldn’t be a problem of the hardware. This PowerMac 3,5 has an 800Mhz CPU, 1.5GB of RAM, 160GB HDD and an ATI 128Mb videocard. In the next few days I’ll try to install the latest MorphOS and I’ll keep this website updated.

A Few Hours Later:

Since I created this post, I’ve been trying to get my old PowerBook G4 booting using USB and found out that the Open Firmware doesn’t actually like booting of a 8GB USB disk. I got it booting something, but it just didn’t continue. So, I cracked open my drawer and found an empty CD-recordable. Using my Windows 8.1 machine I burned the ISO to this disk and I went installing MorphOS 3.7.

Guess what, all problems disappeared AND I have sound. Even more surprising, I added an Airport compatible card (that’s what it said) and everything is working, even sound. Oddly enough, it somehow sees if something is connected on the mini-Jack in the back. Without anything connected, it doesn’t make sound. So, I plugged in an empty miniJack plug and sound is coming from the speaker in front of the Mac.

Obviously, I made a video because I’m proud to finally get MorphOS up & running! Now I’m gonna connect it to my home wlan-network (!) and start to make a ‘modern’ Amiga a-like system.

 

DTMF in the wrong order (English)

Here’s an interesting item I’ve come across at work which took me several weeks to figure out. Thought I’d like to share this issue and the possible reason why it’s happening and a workaround for it.

To give you an idea about the situation; this customer wants to call services where you have to enter a long code (usually 10 digits) using DTMF. It’s kind of important that the order of DTMF is correct and that’s where he got into trouble.

If he used one particular provider for this outgoing phonecall, the order of DTMF changed into random order digits after usually 4 or 5 correct ones. So, he sent 1234567890 to the service using his phone (DTMF) and the service received 1234598076 (or anything like that).

I tested this using several other trunk-providers and not a single one had this issue. So, my logical answer to the customer was that the trunk provider had the issue. We also tried different DTMF types, but only RFC2833 was working, so this was ruled out and there was nothing more we could change for DTMF within Asterisk.

But, after 2 weeks we received the support-ticket back. The provider did some testing and even though they told us the DTMF was in correct order received and forwarded, they just bounced the ticket back to us claiming ‘it is a timing issue’. Despite the fact we had at least 9 different trunkproviders without any issue, it became our problem again and we had to fix it for the customer.

The first tests were the easy things like checking our NTP-synchronisation (timing issue could imply we were out-of-sync), but no luck here.

Then we removed Asterisk from the system (as in, callrecording and forwarding of calls) and that seemed to fix the issue, but as expected the customer actually wants callrecording and callforwarding so there’s no way we could disable this.

Oddly enough, a (Centos) FreePBX install worked and exactly the same Asterisk version on Debian was also working just fine, even if it was on very slow hardware. For a day or two it looked like it was a Asterisk speed issue, though it wouldn’t explain why it ran on a slow machine with Debian just fine.

After much debugging, reading TCPdumps and reading VERBOSE messages from Asterisk, I saw on my slow Debian machine that the Asterisk Dial-line included the “A” options to stream 42ms of silence to the other party to make sure the RTP-port opens in case of a NAT-ed machine. On the Debian machine, this file was missing. On the FreePBX machine, this file was missing as well. On the system with the DTMF-issue, the file existed.

As soon as I removed the 42ms of audio, the DTMF-problems were gone. So, why not remove the 42ms of silence right? Well, we can if all our PBX-machines are without NAT and since IPv6 is still not common (Common phones don’t support IPv6, so why bother to use it in Asterisk right?). Removing the file and executing a blind-transfer between 2 SIP-peers means the router doesn’t get where the RTP is coming from (or going to) meaning no audio. We did found a workaround for that by setting the “progressinband” to “yes” in the sip.conf, creating other problems like doing a transfer between 2 different trunks (and RTP-servers).

Back to the original problem, we now have this ‘workaround’ by removing the 42ms of silence and setting the progressinband to yes, but it’s not something I would recommend using on systems with multiple trunks.

So, why is this trunk-provider the only one with DTMF problems in the first place. Well, I think I know why. DTMF is RTP-Type 101 while G711alaw is RTP-Type 08. My guess is that this trunk provider doesn’t understand the RTP-Type 08 while it is receiving RTP-type 101. Oddly enough, Asterisk seems to send pieces of audio right after the DTMF codes. I still don’t know why or what this exactly is (perhaps the 42ms audio?). Anyway, if you calculate the both RTP-types and consider it as one, the DTMF could be considered as late while another DTMF is already sent. Meaning, the order will change on the other side of this trunk-provider. My other possible idea is that the provider somehow expects an inband DTMF because of the RTP-type 08 right after the 101. I don’t know since I can’t login to their configuration.

For my rare readers, I’d like to see your opinion on this.

Old computer collection

A long long time ago I used to own up to 38 (!) homecomputers as part of my collection. Including several Amiga’s (A500, A600HD, A1200, CDTV), Philips MSX, Apple Macintosh, Philips P2000’s and last but not least, Tandy. It started when I found a Philips P2000-C in a secondhand shop and I was intrigued by the system itself. The green-screen, the unknown. It took me a few weeks before I finally got it to boot into CP/M thanks to the HCC. I’m talking about 1995-ish..

Moved several times and needed the room for my growing drum kit(s) I basically sold everything or gave it away to museums, which I mostly regret nowadays. But I moved on and up to 4 years ago, I only had newer computers in my home (well, only a 80386 which I forgot).

2 Years ago I came across a friend who collected old game consoles and my love for old homecomputers and especially for the Amiga’s came back to life. After a small message on Twitter I managed to get a huge collection of Amiga’s. I loved it. My love for Amiga was returned completely. I cleaned the systems, played with it a lot but had to sell the latter because of financial reasons, keeping one because I wouldn’t allow myself to be without homecomputers again.

Very short after I regretted I sold again, so I got myself a next-gen Amiga and rebuilt it to a fully working, next-gen Amiga which is pretty rare nowadays. Still, my feeling of actually owning a A1200 (which I used to have) wouldn’t go away. I had to have one and when Petro was getting brand new Amiga’s I just knew I had to get one. Which I did.

Again, financial issues made me sell my beloved new A1200 because I still had my A500 and NextGen Amiga. I didn’t have much use for the A1200 anyway.. I thought..

Then I came across a complete CDTV which I just couldn’t refuse. I picked it up and did my cleaning, fixing thing with it. Got a CDTV FDD thanks to my friends at Amibay and connected it to my 42″ Plasma. What a joy when everything was working.. All in all, happy again with my 3 Amiga’s.

When cleaning my garage, I suddenly found a very very old 80386SX16 and I couldn’t resist. I tried to boot it up which didn’t work in the first place, but after some extensive cleaning and replacing a few parts, it booted! Oh the joy I felt when this machine was resurrected from the death.

Exactly 2 weeks later I found an advert on the Internet stating somebody was selling his collection of homecomputers. Despite I had my doubts if I should do it, I just bid on it and won the collection for a really low price. It almost felt like, too good to be true. Here’s a picture of what I eventually got:

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Yes, that’s:
– 3x Amiga 1200
– 2x Commodore 64
– Commodore 1541-II drive
– Toshiba MSX
– Toshiba T-1100
– Philips CDi 210
– Atari Mega ST-4
– 6 boxed Amiga games
– Hundreds of 5,25″ disks for Commodore 64
– 3 boxes full of 3,5″ disks (including several original titles) for Amiga
– AmigaOS 3.5 and 3.9 original on CD

 

Can you imagine how I felt? This is christmas/sinterklaas for me! Most of the systems are working, but really really yellow. The Cdi-player has a problem with it’s tray, but fixable. One of the A1200s has a broken FDD and one of the A1200 didn’t have any screws in it to hold it together (though it has a harddisk, accelerator card and the latest kickrom).

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This was just … wow..

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Last weekend I gave away the Toshiba MSX for I has no use for it. I did get myself a boxed Amiga 600 making my Amiga-collection hoarder-size ;-).

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My next project will be to clean and retr0bright everything so all systems look like brand new. I’ll keep this updated on this website for your reading pleasure.

My current collection:
Commodore 64 ‘brown’
Commodore 64 ‘white’
Commodore CD-TV incl FDD, keyboard and mouse
Commodore Amiga 500.
Commodore Amiga 600.
2x Commodore Amiga 1200 (standard)
Commodore Amiga 1200 (with 68030 CPU, Harddisk and Kickrom 3.1)
micro AmigaOne (A1-C) (with 800Mhz G3 CPU, 512MB RAM running AmigaOS 4.1)
Toshiba T-1100 Personal Computer
Philips CDi-210 (incl 10 CDi) (not working at the moment)
Atari Mega ST-4 incl screen
Intel 80386SX16, 3MB memory, 512Kb Trident videocard and Seagate 44Mb HDD

Also, check out my Youtube-channel where I’ll put videos of my projects!