CoCo3 Emulation under MESS 0.145

First, I’d like to say that it’s been a challenge getting this configuration to run. Not because of software issues but because there doesn’t seem to be anyone else that wants to do exactly what I’m doing.

For those who might not know, CoCo3 refers to the Radio Shack/Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer 3, which hasn’t been available for over a decade. However, it was a nice piece of consumer-grade kit, not quite at the level of the Amigas but still pretty decent. MESS refers to the Multi Emulator Super System, designed to provide emulation for many different pieces of computer hardware.

Just to quickly sort things, make sure your version of MESS is 0.145 and the ROMs that you are using were created with that version in mind. I am using the 48 TPI DS DD NitrOS9 image, but something to watch out for is that OS9 compatible disks must be named with an os9 extension rather than dsk in order for MESS to properly recognize them. Otherwise, it assumes a corrupt image but doesn’t report it as such.

Anyone interested in specifics is welcome to post a reply; I’ll try to update the system to the point that I have it working at that time.

Education, Part 2

I recently enrolled with Columbia College ( to work on my Computer Information Systems bachelor’s degree, following a successful 2010 graduation with a Business Administration associate’s degree. Classes began on Monday (Ethics and Programming I), which should keep me busy for the next couple of months.

Columbia College is nice in that they are regionally accredited, offer a brick-and-mortar presence with real sports teams, and do not market their degrees as “on-line” like so many other institutions. Further, my experience was that the classes were at least as comprehensive as those I attended at the University of Kentucky several years prior. Oh, did I mention that they are very veteran friendly and provide a lower cost per year than many other institutions? Depending on your goals, Columbia College might be a good option.


General class test passed!

Whoo-hoo! I passed the General class Amateur Radio test (29 out of 35). Now all I need is a better radio than my current 2m handheld. I’m hoping to pickup at least a 10m or multi-band, even a broken one, in the next few weeks and actually get back on the air.

Also took the Extra class exam cold. Scored 28 out of 50, which isn’t bad, I guess, considering I haven’t even looked at most of the Extra stuff.

Ubuntu 11.04 without Unity

Unity is an interesting development, but it’s very distracting to me so I wanted to disable it. However, quite a few instructions I found weren’t terribly clear. Basically, you need to login to Ubuntu after specifying to use Ubuntu Classic. If you are already logged in, simply log out. Once the user prompt is shown, click on the user name and then look at the bottom of the screen. The login type will be shown as Ubuntu. Click on it and then change to Ubuntu Classic. Now login normally and you’ll get the window manager layout that you are used to.

Apple //c with no disks

Accidentally purchased an Apple //c last week on eBay. I never expected to get one for less than $20, but figured I’d take the chance… Due to incorrect title, the thing never got another bid, so now it’s mine!

Anyway, it came with a disk containing a couple of games, but in very poor condition. The //c itself is yellowed (of course) but otherwise seems pretty good. Something I hadn’t noticed was the UK keyboard instead of US. No big deal. Running print peek(64447) reported 255, so it’s the original ROM version.

Since I had no disks, I was wondering how to create one from a PC when I found the ADTPro project on sourceforge. Turns out that since Apple II series was designed for potential cassette-based loading, there is a way to load the O/S through the serial port and then write out to disk. Fortunately, I’ve scrounged several 5-1/4″ disks from around my old stash, so now the only problem is that I’m getting an error every time I try to transfer the O/S. I just haven’t found the right speed, or my cable isn’t sufficiently shielded. But it does work. I get the ProDOS screen after transferring, although it craps out depending on what you try to do (due to the transfer error). Still, I’m on the way.

Pics later.

Sugar Glider Homes

Well, the sugar gliders now have new homes. The boys (Max and Boba) have a blue frog, while the girls (Zoe and Munchkin) have a pink frog and a pink condo-block. Jess made these and the ‘gliders love them.

The Condo-Block


Zoe and Munchkin

Max, Boba, and The Frog

MacBook 6,1 (Late-2009) with Mac OS X on VirtualBox

*** Please read your EULA carefully prior to completing this installation. Note that I have not made use of any hacks or tools and have used only my Apple recovery DVD. OS X Server is allowed to be virtualized under certain conditions on Apple-branded hardware, and I am running an Apple machine. My intent is not to cheat Apple, as I have already purchased their hardware and, presumably, their software. ***

My main system is a MacBook 6,1 (late-2009) model on which I normally run Ubuntu. However, I have been trying to find a way to run OS X under emulation (to avoid bootloader issues and to simply have it ready all the time). After researching for quite some time, I decided that it might be worth a shot to simply try running the restore discs that came with the machine under VirtualBox.

First, I downloaded VirtualBox 4.0.4 from Oracle (, 64-bit version for Ubuntu 10.10. The version that is available through the repositories is missing some functionality as it is the open source version. I also downloaded the extension pack so that full USB capabilities would be available.

After installing VBox, I went ahead and setup a new virtual machine, selecting OS X Server 64-bit as the machine type, memory set to 2048 MB, and graphics memory set to 128 M (with 3D acceleration enabled). I also changed the networking to Bridged mode as this tends to work better for my purposes.

When first running the machine, insert the first disc that came with the machine and configure VBox to use that disc. You’ll see a lot of console information go by before the installation screens finally start. Once you’re in the GUI and at the point where you would normally select the drive to install to, there won’t be a drive available. Click on the Utilities menu and Disk Tools. With the correct drive selected, click the Partition tab and replace Current with 1 Partition. Make sure the partition is configured as HFS+ Journaled and then click the Partition button. Once complete, close the Disk Tool window. Your drive should now be visible as an option for installation.

Make sure you click Customize and select any additional software prior to continuing. Then click Install and find a few web sites to surf (

Amazingly, everything except video seems to work properly straight out of the box. The video works fine, I just haven’t found a way to change the resolution to 800×600 (at 1024×768, the default, it overflows the screen and I have to scroll). Sound seems to work, although it’s not great quality sometimes. The system is responsive and I haven’t encountered any problems thus far.

I’ll be installing all my normal Mac software over the next few days and will try to remember to post updates.

This marks the point of having Ubuntu 10.10 64-bit as my main O/S, with Windows 7 64-bit and Mac OS X 64-bit both available any time I need them. I recommend the 8 GB upgrade mentioned elsewhere, however, as 2 virtual machines will quickly eat up your available RAM if you want to have any kind of performance.

For those wondering, I enjoy the look and feel of Linux on a day to day basis better than Mac OS X and Windows. All 3 operating systems have their good and bad points and it’s really just a matter of personal choice. My main reason for purchasing the MacBook was to get a well-integrated platform to install Linux on, even if that turned out to be a pain in the derrier.

Windows Server 2008 R2 on MacBook 6,1 (late-2009)

Recently, I needed to install Server 2008 R2 on my MacBook for development purposes, but I found the wireless driver doesn’t work out of the box. For anyone experiencing this, make sure you have the latest BootCamp version installed (so the drivers are present). Then, use the Server Manager, select Configuration from the left side tree, then Services. Scroll through the list until you find a service called WLAN AutoConfig. It will probably say disabled at this point, so double-click on it, set it to Automatic, then click Start. You might have to reboot, although my system enabled after a few seconds delay. At that point, Wireless networking should work much like Windows 7.

Acer Aspire One (AOA-150 ZG5) and PuppyLinux 5.2

I decided to dust off the AOA-150 Netbook that I have, even though the battery no longer holds a charge due to some wrecked BIOS and a failure to know about it until the damage was already done…

PuppyLinux has always been a nice, small distro to use and I figured it would probably be nice on the Aspire One as it tends to run on nearly anything. One problem: after downloading the newest release, using unetbootin to copy it to a usb flash drive, and rebooting, I found that Puppy locked up with a message about not being able to find the system.

Further investigation revealed that a number of users were having this problem on some systems, but that at least one of the maintainers was blaming the users and Windows people for being unable to properly install the system. A quick bit of investigation revealed that the system was booting up from the flash drive but disconnecting it before the operating system came online. The quick fix?

boot: puppy pmedia=usbflash

Use the line above when initially booting and your problem just might go away. No flame wars with maintainers and users, just Puppy goodness.