Retro computer exhibition in Szeged, 2010

2010-10-09 was an interesting day for me because on that day (and on the following day) the very first retro computer exhibition was held in Szeged. The collector is Gábor "SakmaN" Szakács who is surely a maniac considering the vast number of comptuters, video games and quartz games featured at the event.

I've taken some pictures:

retro-computerClick to see the album

Also, I've made some videos. The first part features Schneider Euro PC, Enterprise One Two Eight, Videoton TV-Computer, Videoton TV-Computer 64k, School-Computer HT 1080Z/64, Texas Instruments TI-99, Atari Falcon 030, Atari 520ST, Atari 800XL, Atari 1029, Commodore CDTV, Commodore Amiga A-500 Plus, Commodore 128, Seikosha GP-100VC, Commodore plus/4, Commodore 1551 floppy disk drive, Commodore 16, Commodore SFD 100I floppy disk drive, Commodore 1541-II floppy disk drive, Commodore 1530 datassette unit model C2N, Commodore VC-20, ZX Spectrum+, ZX Spectrum, Timex Sinclair 1000, Sinclair ZX81 and lots of peripherials, games and mini videogames

The second part features APF TV Fun, Palladium Tele-match, Universum TV-Spiel 1004, Poppy 9012, ASAKI TVG 209, Dava-tronic video sport, Videoton elektronikus játék, Coleco Telestar, Odyssey 2001, Audio Sonic PP-920, Programmable TV Game, Hanimex TVG 8610C, Ameprod, Philips Tele-Spiel ES2201, Programmable color video game, Vectrex, Video computer system, Atari 2600, Gemini video game system, Philips G7000 videopac computer, creatiVision, CBS Coleco Vision, Mattel Electronics IntelliVision, Sega Master System, Sega Light Phaser, Sega Master System II, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Genesys, Sega Mega Drive II, Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo Zapper, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Amiga CD 32, Nintendo 64, Atari Jaguar, Panasonic Real FZ-1, Panasonic Real FZ-10, Sega Saturn,

The third part features Sony PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast, Sega Sniper Lightgun

As you may suspect I'm not the only one who shoot pictures and videos. There are others, too.

Building SpokePOV and the magic of Open Hardware

It all started about two years ago when I saw all those crazy hardware projects all over the Internet which made me became interested in hardware. Before that, I could only see hardware as ready-made equipment. Not anymore. Since my first glimpse into this universe I learned tons of things and the time has come to build something... Something very cool!

Enter the world of Adafuit Industries who I consider the leading force behind the Open Hardware revolution. Unlike most of the companies, they share everything about their projects and operations, they are extremely community friendly and not only they don't make you sign any NDAs, they outright hate NDAs. Seeing their philosophy, their cool projects and the level of passion they put into everything they do I immediately felt that warm and fuzzy feeling.

POV projects were always incredibly interesting to me as I'm very visual (which probably shows even on the streets when I check out da ladies, but that's another story). Maybe the fact that most people don't have the slightest clue what these gadgets do until they start moving is the most exciting part about them. They stimulate our senses and make our mind work to figure out how it's possible to do what these things do. I'm not quite sure what's so magical about them, but they fascinate me every time I see them in action.

SpokePOV is one of the most interesting POV projects in my opinion. Who doesn't want to be a badass daredevil biking in the city, showing off something that probably nobody has ever seen? Nah, don't be shy, you can hold up your hands!

The build instructions are crystal clear and the perfect setup is given so let's rock and roll!

spokepov-assembly-1

Let's zoom on a little bit.

spokepov-assembly-2

That's lots of LEDs, a fair amount of shift registers, resistor arrays and some other stuff.

spokepov-assembly-3

SpokePOV is mounted into the vise, nothing can stop me!

spokepov-assembly-4

Halfway through the work it's time to take a little pause and drink some water before I fall off my chair.

spokepov-assembly-5

Zooming in. The sheer beauty of the soldered shift registers gotta make your inner geek joyfully sing.

spokepov-assembly-6

We're almost there.

spokepov-assembly-7

Ladies and gentlemen, after making almost 400 solder joints this baby is ready to fly... I mean spin.

spokepov-assembly-8

I asked my buddy from the neighborhood to help me test SpokePOV on the bike in action. Reluctantly though, he said yes but we've had such a fun time that I hardly think he regret his decision. POVing with one SpokePOV is pretty challenging unless you're an athlete. I guess I should have bought three of them. The desired result didn't come easy with one piece.

Let's see the first try.

And the second.

The third.

And lastly, but not leastly, the fourth try came with the sweet smell of success!

It's hard to describe the feeling of building and riding SpokePOV but one thing is sure: it's addictive. It's a feeling that everyone should experience. As for open hardware, I'm probably addicted for life. What to do now? I'm not sure but I wanna move to soldering SMDs and I have a couple cool projects on my mind.

Noname Mini Mouse disassembly

A girlfriend of a friend of mine asked me to repair her mouse because the wire has been chewed by her rabbit.

Her rabbit... Can you believe that?

Anyways, I was on a mission to fix this (rather unergonomic) mouse. I cannot blame the designers because it's clearly a promotional product so it's main purpose is marketing, not a product for everyday use. Despite of this, the girl in question is crazy enough to use it everyday. (Which is not so much of a surprise given the computer savviness of girls, except the much respected Jeri Ellsworth).

The repair procedure was a no brainer, except looking up the pins of the OM21PS USB+PS/2 MCU+Sensor 2-in-1 optical mouse IC to find out how the USB cable wire colors relate to their function. The existence of such multi-function ASICs is one of the main reasons why electronics is so damn small nowadays.

noname-mini-mouseClick to see the album

Pirelli DRG A225G Router disassembly

This is the home gateway given by my ISP, T-Home Hungary. Despite of this, I was determined enough to disassemble this device and hopefully they won't know about it or else I'll be screwed.

As you can see it's loaded with stuff. As for its purpose, it's supposed to be a router plus a voice-over-IP gateway. Bonus points for the wifi chip being featured on a Mini PCI card. I have only used this beast for a short while before switching to my beloved ASUS WL500GPV2 loaded with OpenWrt.

bias-lightingClick to see the album