Review: Hippus HandShoe mouse and the battle against arthritis pain

I have a mouse problem. I don’t mean the house is overrun with small rodents. (Well, it is, but that’s another story.) No, the problem is that the conventional computer mouse has become a pain to use. I have osteoarthritis in most of my joints. The hands are especially bad. Indeed, one of the things that has driven me back to… Read more »

Mechanical keyboards: Magicforce 68-key review

This was not a serious purchase. I bought this keyboard purely for its looks. I mean, why wouldn’t you? The version I opted for came with retro-style keycaps that mimic a 1920s or 1930s typewriter. They look fantastic with a retro-styled project such as my HMV1960 Raspberry Pi case. Are they great for typing? Not so much. Because of the… Read more »

Mechanical keyboards: KB Paradise V60 review

There seems to be an obsession with many mechanical keyboard enthusiasts to make the keyboard as small as possible. I can go along with this only so far. As you can see here and here, I’m already a fan of the tenkeyless (TKL) form factor, which dispenses with the number pad but keeps everything else. The KB Paradise V60 takes… Read more »

Mechanical keyboards: Das Keyboard 4C Professional review

The Das Keyboard 4C impressed the hell out of me when I first got it. But over time, as I’ve become more familiar with mechanical keyboards and what they’re capable of, disillusionment has set in. Having decided to explore the idea of using a mechanical keyboard I started trawling the interwebz, as one does, and the name of Das Keyboard… Read more »

Mechanical keyboards: KÛL ES-87 TKL review

There is a world that most people know nothing about. It is home to a motley assortment of obsessives. Welcome to the dark and sometimes noisy domain of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts. I had no idea this subculture existed until my painfully progressing arthritis spurred me to seek out alternatives to the standard Apple keyboard that came with my iMac. More than… Read more »

Getting lost the easy way: early GPS

GPS seems an almost mundane technology these days. It’s in your smartphone and possibly your camera. You can buy cheap GPS receivers to work with your Arduino or Raspberry Pi so that robot you never seem to have time to build never gets lost (or is that just me?). But yes, I am old enough to remember when the Global… Read more »

Computing – old school style

      No Comments on Computing – old school style

I remember well the first time our family got a computing device. Dad brought it home in his jacket pocket. This was probably 1971 or 72. It was a slide rule made, I think, by Faber Castell. Dad was a work study (time and motion) manager at a pharmaceutical firm. He used the slide rule, I suppose, for working out… Read more »

AVR basics: An introduction to AVR registers and macros

It’s occurred to me that I somewhat jumped the gun when I wrote a blog post a while back about interrupts on AVR ATMEGA microcontrollers. Maybe it would be useful to take a step back. This series is part of my learning process and I hope it will help others who, like me, are embarking on projects such as programming… Read more »

Zolatron: logo upgraded

      No Comments on Zolatron: logo upgraded

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking … he really should get on with building the damn computer. But I have a thing about fonts, so sue me. I was rather pleased with the original Zolatron 64 logo. I chose a font called Eurostyle because it was the most 1970s-looking one on my machine. Then I read about the history of… Read more »

Russian memory and British big iron

The Russian core memory I bought on eBay has arrived and I have to say it’s a thing of beauty. In fact, it’s such a fascinating object that the More Significant Other was moved to admit that she’d like it to live, suitably framed, in the living room. There is something strangely hand-crafted about this piece of modern technology. I… Read more »

AVR basics: ATMEGA 88-168-328 cheat sheets

Why is it you can never find the data sheet you need when you’re in a hurry? I’m currently exploring (or as my More Significant Other puts it, ‘twotting about with’) AVR microcontrollers. This is a natural extension of my earlier addiction to Arduinos, which are the gateway drug of the microcontroller world. Sooner or later you start feeling constrained by… Read more »

Vintage stuff: Apple Power Macintosh G3

Writing about the PowerBook 3400c finally gave me the motivation I needed to dig out our other surviving Macintosh from the 1990s – a G3. Yep, this one’s definitely in the beige box category. It’s not a lovely thing to look at, is it? (It also needs a bit of a clean.) But this was the workhorse of our business… Read more »

Vintage stuff: Apple Mac PowerBook 3400c

The Retro Battlestations sub-Reddit recently ran a ‘not X86’ week in which people could show off their vintage computers. It was a reminder that there’s a world beyond Intel and AMD. (I don’t think anyone mentioned ARM). I couldn’t get my act together in time to post a picture, but it did spur me to dig out my beloved old Apple… Read more »

Dreambox: adding play value

      No Comments on Dreambox: adding play value

It was an old mate of mine who introduced me to the phrase ‘play value’. It’s used to describe a machine with lots of dials, buttons and switches with which you can amuse yourself. I think we were both staring into the cockpit of an AV-8B Harrier II jet fighter, parked at a US Marine Corps base in North Carolina,… Read more »