Makeup by Granddaughter

Just out of curiosity, how many who identify as he/him have allowed their granddaughter to do their makeup and then gone to a public location (such as Chuck E. Cheese)? No judgement here, my granddaughter is amazing at 4 years old and can do makeup like a pro!

Retro Computers and Status

Over the years I’ve purchased quite a few retro computers. I thought maybe if I list them and their associated status, maybe it would encourage me to get off my backside and start fixing them as quite a few of them are in various states of disrepair (or just completely broken).

TRS-80 Model III

#1: Video completely out of adjustment. Also, internal “ribbon” cables are completely junked. Have replacements but never got them to work since video is crap.

#2: Video completely out of adjustment. Won’t power up properly.

Apple IIe Platinum

#1: Works properly, needs RTC installed but otherwise works fine.

Apple IIe

#1, #2, #3: Various states of disrepair, keyboards missing keys, video outputs flaky, etc. Actually no plans to repair at this time since Platinum works

Apple IIGS

#1: Power supply trashed, changed RIFA caps, still not working

#2: Works great, has 8 MB, SCSI, lots of stuff but CP/M board not working

#3: Recently purchased ROM0 off Facebook group, need to test and possibly update RIFA caps

Apple IIc

#1: Irish keyboard, seemed to work okay when tried but video connector needs repair

Apple II+

#1: Forgot about this one, needs to have video connector replaced. Otherwise, need to test and learn more about it.

  • Additional testing found that the video cables included with the Viewmaster board were in very poor condition 2022-06-17
  • Replaced RIFA in power supply 2022-06-18
  • Disk II drives neither work, possibly 74LS125 chip in the drives, suspect they were incorrectly plugged in 2022-06-20; Additional testing on 2022-06-21 found that Titan Accelerator IIe was possibly causing problems with drives, need to retest
  • ADTPro works great with the SSC in slot 1 [edit] for Bootstrapping only, cannot get it to operator in DIR or RECEIVE mode with MacBook running Catalina. Switching over to IIe Platinum to see if it behaves differently.

TRS-80 CoCo II

#1, #2: Untested, both in very good condition along with several drive controllers

Multi-expansion unit: 1 works, 1 flaky due to compatibility issues

TRS-80 CoCo I

#1: Need more testing, has floppy and multi-expansion, all need more testing

Heathkit H89

#1: Works, also have external dual floppy (hard sector on all 3 drives)

#2: Pacific Scientific: Needs recap, blew cap when first started, has 2 builtin drives but torn down and now I don’t remember a damn thing about it

Heathkit H-8

#1: Boards for H-8 backplane, CPU, etc., to build, need to order parts


#All: Lots of these, most of them seem to work. However, very disappointed with design, probably going to sell most of them

Peripheral Expansion Box: Untested, has memory board, 1 floppy, serial board, extra floppy but nothing to install yet

HP 9816

#1: Sweet unit, also 9131 and 9133. Need repair on one of the 3-1/2″ drives. Need to copy 9133 hard drive, maybe with MFM emulator board from PDP/8 projects. Have memory card not yet tested.

  • Machine doesn’t start properly, cycling power quite a few times may result in working fan and, ultimately, machine might show video. 2022-06-11
  • Found 5 RIFA safety capacitors on power supply, all showing cracks and signs of impending death. Removed, planning to order soon. 2022-06-11

Atari 800XL

#1: Basically untested, have a 1050 drive to go with it but power rectifiers were blown. Replaced but haven’t tested


#1: Amiga 500: Boots but essentially untested as I don’t have disks, etc.

#2: Amiga 2000: Battery cut out (no apparent damaged), needs reassembly and testing

#3: Amiga 1000: Untested, no video adapter or keyboard/mouse, extra external floppy

Bridgeboards: Have 3 of these, need to test

PC-based Stuff

Lots of these systems need testing. Have 2 XT clones, 1 of which worked when stored but didn’t have good storage at the time.

Lots of unassembled CP/M and other systems, mainly newer projects

Some items I plan to just sell off as I don’t have much desired to repair (TI-99/4A stuff particularly).

Amdek COLOR-I Composite Monitor

This monitor came with the Apple IIe Platinum mentioned above. It had gotten buried in a pile of stuff and had been an attraction for a group of mice at some point.

Z280RC Z280 Single Board Computer with CP/M installed on Compact Flash

A few months ago I purchased a Z280RC, a single board computer with compact flash. It includes CP/M 2.2 already installed and just required a TTL Serial adapter. Since most of my S-100, RC2014, and other Z80, 6502 machines aren’t working, it’s good to have one of these (see RetroBrewComputers board inventory) that is fully functional and helps me see what things should look like when they are working properly.

STDBUS – Started looking into STDBUS

I’ve purchased several boards on eBay but don’t have sufficient hardware to make a fully operational, bootable system. However, it’s a very compact system so I hope to get the system booting by the end of 2024.

Commodore 128 – Unused?

Gentleman in Gainesville, FL, had a Craigslist listing for a Commodore 128, in box (serial numbers match unit), described as “complete” and “not used”. Wife picked it up while traveling (3/4/2024) and confirmed that it looked unused. I won’t have it available for a few more days, need to determine best way to bring it up. Price was hard to beat but owner was happy to sell it as part of estate sale.

Another Commodore 128 – Definitely Used

Also have another C128 that seems to work but has poor video output quality. Need to eventually fix this.

Mac X High Sierra and exfat

So, Mac OS X has exfat file system support built in. I spent about an hour trying to repair and otherwise fix my nearly full 2TB external drives before I decided to simply wait. Turns out if you have lots of files, it takes Mac OS X a long time to parse through them all. After about 20 minutes the drive showed up normally with all files ready to go.

Windows 10 and SQL Server 2016 Installation

If SQL Server 2016 is giving errors when attempting to install on Windows 10 (relating to C runtime, etc.), you might find some Google articles that recommend running SFC /scannow, then when that faults out on a message relating to the service not running, you run:

net start trustedinstaller

or similar, only to find it’s already started. Just reboot your machine. That might be all it takes. I spent 4 hours working on this, consulted logs, tech sites, etc., only to find the only missing component was a reboot for some update or install that didn’t finish. YMMV, but with Windows, rebooting probably can’t hurt. Uptime on Linux: 8 months+ without a reboot. Uptime on Windows: better reboot when you get a chance. Uptime on Mac: could go either way. I run all 3 configuration, not a phanboi of any.

Brother HL-2270DW and NetGear WNDR3400V2

So, moved my printer to a different location in the house and somehow wiped the configuration. Using a MacBook with Sierra, I tried for a couple of hours to get the WPS functionality of the router (which basically sucks as a router) to work with the printer. It was generally an exercise in futility, resulting in some cussing at the dogs and reinforcing the need to get my new Cisco equipment hooked up. The other issue is that the Ethernet port didn’t seem to want to enable, which would probably make it much easier to configure the printer. The solution?

Plug in the Ethernet cable at both ends, do a factory reset on the printer, and the port will enable in DHCP mode initially. It grabbed an IP address from the DHCP server and came online without any problem. A quick login to the printer and I was able to set the desired IP address and just completely disable wireless (the new location was near the router/switch so no need to use wireless). Problem solved in only 2-1/2 hours. What a pain in the back-side. I have a feeling that WPS isn’t all it’s made out to be.

LVM Luks Cryptsetup Mount from Alternate Machine or VM

I’ve run into some problems lately as I decided to setup various configurations using encrypted drives, which also includes LVM by default. I accidentally stumbled across an article from 2008 posted on Ubuntu Geek which describes the process. The drive I used for testing was connected via VirtualBox with a USB Cable on a Macbook Pro running El Capitan. The operating system on the VM was Xubuntu 16.04 (an Ubuntu 16.04 derivative) and the original operating system on the encrypted drive was the same.

The link to the original article is:

This tutorial is for people who have encrypted their main volumes of their hard drives using the method offered by the Alternate CD installer.

First you need to Boot into a Live CD environment and open up a terminal window. (applications–>accessories—>terminal)

Install required packages using the following command

sudo apt-get install lvm2 cryptsetup

probe required module using the following command [I didn’t have to do this step]

sudo modprobe dm-crypt

setup the crypto module to recognise the partition

sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/hda5 crypt1

Enter your passphrase. You should get the following message:

key slot 0 unlocked.
Command successful.
If not, something has gone wrong.

Scan for volume groups

sudo vgscan --mknodes

sudo vgchange -ay

[NOTE: You might receive multiple errors at this step about incorrect names, etc. The main take-away from this step is whether it admits to finding a volume.]

REMEMBER the name of the volume group, as you will need it later.

Create a mount point [I simply mounted to /mnt instead]

sudo mkdir /volume

mount the encrypted volume to the mountpoint you just created. [Substitute the volume group name found in place of the paulb-desktop in the next command]

sudo mount /dev/paulb-desktop/root /volume

The volume is mounted, now you can chroot or whatever else you need to do. If you would like to open the gnome file manager for writing to it issue the following command:

sudo nautilus /volume

At this point, hopefully it worked. I wish I’d found these instructions a couple of years ago as I’ve ended up trashing 2 volumes in the process of trying to recover files. Fortunately, I didn’t lose that much but it could have been truly catastrophic, especially had it been a production server.

Dell T7400 and nVidia GT730 audio issues

So, just installed a GT730 or other HDMI-enabled nVidia video card and now your Dell T7400 has lost audio? Messages like “no output device” or “audio not responding”? Well, after 2 hours of useless searching, finally found that the T7400 BIOS allows 3 settings for the onboard audio: OFF, AUTO, and ON. Turns out that if you set the onboard audio to AUTO, it will disable the onboard audio system if another audio system (such as an HDMI video card) is installed. If you wish to keep the built-in audio working, set the onboard audio to ON and then reboot. Windows 8.1 found it this way, others should as well. Once you reboot, you’ll need to open your Playback and Recording from the System Tray and make sure you direct output to the correct device (not nVidia HD audio).

Raspberry Pi Zero, Raspbian Jessie, and WN-250gi WiFi Adapter

So, I bought a Pi Zero right after they came out and have left it languishing on the shelf since as I haven’t had sufficient time to mess with it. However, I recently decided to take a look at some home automation using various IoT concepts and thought this might make a nice little gateway. I ran into several issues getting the device to work, however, for several reasons.

First, I didn’t have a USB hub available to run multiple devices at the same time. With only 1 OTG (on the go) cable available, I was out of luck in that department. (I’m trying to do some gateway / server testing without purchasing new equipment at this point. Second, I don’t have an HDMI TV available, nor do I have any type of adapter to convert to an old-style RCA jack video connection. What I needed was to create the SD card with the image on it, modify the image to support everything, and then remote into it via SSH to run the raspi-config program to configure the rest.

To get the project off the ground, I downloaded the latest image of Raspbian Jessie and installed it on my 64 GB micro-SD card. Note that I’m running Xubuntu 16.04 LTS and the SD card shows up as /dev/mmcblk0. Since DD gives no feedback, I decided to use DCFLDD in its place (which required running sudo apt-get install dcfldd to install the package). The command I used to write the image to the micro-SD card was:

sudo dcfldd bs=1M if=~/Desktop/rasp-jess.img of=/dev/mmcblk0

After this was completed, the number of blocks written was displayed, but it took about 2 minutes to finish emptying the cache and return to the prompt. Be patient, don’t eject the card thinking that it has locked up. Also, make sure before you eject the card it hasn’t been mounted to any locations.

Once the image is written and you’ve ejected the card, re-insert and mount the second partition (probably /dev/mccblk0p2) if it doesn’t automatically mount after 30 seconds or so. From here, you’ll need to edit 4 files to get the image to a useful (headless) state. Not all of these require editing with root rights, but I used sudo for them anyway to avoid error messages.

First, figure out where your card was mounted. Mine was in /media/brian/7f…/, with the 7f being a long 32 character (maybe, I didn’t actually count the characters) string of text. This is where the command line TAB key expansion capability comes in handy.

Use nano or other favorite text editor (remember, sudo may be required) to edit /path_to_partition2/etc/network/interfaces. I wanted to add a static IP address, so my file edited the following section:

auto wlan0 <<=== added this line
allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet static <<=== changed keyword manual to static
address <<=== added the remaining static IP info and wpa
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

At this point, you can save the file. Note that one gotcha may ultimately be that your wireless device doesn’t try to enable as wlan0. In this section and others, you might need to boot the Raspberry Pi Zero, wait for it to boot (90 seconds max usually), plug in the wireless device (mine was a generic type WN-250gi), allow it to boot for 10 to 20 seconds, then shut the Raspberry down and read the syslog file from the SD card. This file will be located in the /path_to_partition2/var/log/syslog location once the card is mounted. Make sure you don’t accidentally read the syslog for your system… Makes you feel kinda dumb for troubleshooting something for 20 minutes only to realize… This file will give you an idea of which interface name is in use but you’ll need to read through it.

Once again, use your favorite sudo’d editor to add the following information to /path_to_partition2/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf. Especially notice that if your SSID is not broadcast you will need to include the scan_ssid=1 line, otherwise omit it.

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev


The country was changed on line 1, then the network entry was added; the other lines were left as found. The SSID is the name of your wifi, scan_ssid=1 is required if SSID is not broadcast, psk is your key (mine is using a 26 character key), and key_mgmt can be something besides WPA-PSK if you have different wireless capabilities. However, you’ll need to look up the changes necessary to make the correct wpa_supplicant.conf entries for WEP or other types of security. Also, this is another place where the syslog file can be your friend. If you’re not getting a connection, you might be missing a firmware file for your wifi adapter. This is usually stated in plain text and will usually give the name of the file needed. Use the Internet to find the correct file, rename it if needed, and use sudo to copy it into /path_to_partition2/lib/firmware.

Now, sudo edit the file /path_to_partition2/etc/resolv.conf to include the name servers that you need. If you have a DNS server on your network (or more than one) you’ll need to include that address; I have both a DNS server and my router to act as DNS servers, so my entries appear as follows:


If there are any other lines and you don’t see a need for them, you can comment them out with a # symbol. As you’re manually editing this card until all errors have been resolved, you can always uncomment if needed.

After those changes, the Pi booted up great and responded to pings in 3 to 6 ms, but absolutely refused to allow an SSH connection to configure the damn thing. Every attempt resulted in a “connection refused” message on port 22. I wasn’t able to find a description of how sshd (the ssh daemon) gets enabled on the Pi other than I needed to run raspi-config on the Pi. The whole point of this exercise is that I can’t connect to the bloody thing to enable ssh. Finally, I sudo edited the file /path_to_partition2/etc/rc.local to include the following 2 lines PRIOR TO exit 0. These lines will cause the sshd server to load and run but it is a temporary solution only and should be removed as soon as you can run raspi-config to enable ssh through the Advanced Options.

insserv ssh <=== this line might not be necessary but I put it in anyway
service ssh start

At this point, go ahead and unmount everything cleanly and boot the Pi with the wifi adapter installed. Give it sufficient time then start pinging. If pings are successful, then attempt an ssh connection using:

ssh pi@ (or whatever your address is)

The password for the user pi is raspberry. You can then change the password once you’re logged in and able to run raspi-config.

If the wifi adapter doesn’t appear to come out (lights are blinking properly) or address doesn’t appear to be properly assigned, load the syslog file from the Pi and examine it carefully. It is really your best source of troubleshooting assistance.