RetroChallenge 2012 Winter Warmup

7:57 PM 1/11/12 - Beautiful Belts

I have no pictures of my beautiful belts. I was home for 15 minutes between class and work the day they showed up, and I was interested in seeing if I got the right sizes, so I installed em without pics. I got it all together, and it sorta worked, but I was getting some strange noise emanating from inside. After work I took it apart again and realized I had loosened one of the screws that mounted the motor. The new tight belt pulled the pulley on the motor against the plastic case, causing the odd noise. Adjusted and tightened, I put it all back together, plugged it in to the Tandy, and voila!

I first loaded up STARBLAZE 100. It took a few tries (operator error), but once I got it loaded up, it was immediately familiar. It is a bit like Defender, if you have ever played that...a side scrolling shooter where you shoot aliens that are coming down. I didn't play long enough (or read enough of the manual) to figure out how to win the game, but you choose which planet to go to and try to irradicate the aliens.

This was in the cassette recorder when I pulled it out of the case:

I could not find an obvious way of listing what files are on a cassette, so I simply typed CLOAD without a filename. This would cause it to start scanning the tape and loading up the first program it found. There wasn't much very interesting there (barcode program backups, etc), but I did find a blank expense report form that had "1987" in the date field.

Probably the best find was some code I wrote when I was about 9 years old. Its funny, I probably never would have remembered writing this program, but the second I saw the code, I remembered that I typed it up in a hotel room (Winnepeg, I think). It made me laugh as it has an obvious 9yr old misspelling, and plain doesn't work. I imagine I typed all this up before running it, then realizing it didn't work, gave up. I'm sure I didn't know how to make it work at that point. Anyway, here's the code. The model 100 had a bunch of special characters that I can't reproduce here, so imagine the & is a little man and the # is an alien:

20 IF A$="Y" THEN GOTO 30
30 IF A$="N" THEN GOTO 80
60 IF A$="Y" THEN GOTO 80
80 PRINT"&   ->          #"
90 PRINT"&    ->         #"
100 PRINT"&     ->       #"
110 PRINT"&      ->      #"
120 PRINT"&       ->     #"
130 PRINT"&        ->    #"
140 PRINT"&         ->   #"
150 PRINT"&          ->  #"
160 PRINT"&           -> #"
170 PRINT"&            ->#"
180 PRINT"&             ->"
200 IF A$="Y" THEN GOTO 10
210 IF A$="N" THEN END

It got me thinking about how easy it was to get started writing your own programs back in the day, how programming-centric those computers really were. How do kids get into programming these days? It's definitely a different world.

I also broke out the printer today in the interest of printing out my code so I wouldn't have to type it in again here. But alas, sometime in the last 20 years its power supply expired. I don't get a single volt out of it. I'll have to see if I can dig up a 6V 2A power supply.

So whats next with the challenge? I don't have a good solution for hooking up the Disk-Video Interface. I came to the realization the other day that I don't need another exact cable like I have, I just need something that'll plug into the IC socket that I can wire the flat cable to. I haven't found that thing yet, but when I do I will let you know.

I guess I still need to see if I can retrieve some software from the internets and get it to successfully run. Oh btw that reminds me, I looked at the rest of the software I have on cassettes and it is pretty dull. Personal finance, business accounting, etc. There was one stock market one though that I will check out.


2012 Winter Warmup