Category Archives: Gadgets
8bitkick is a deck of 42 printed cards featuring photos of retro computers (and also a Raspberry Pi that got thrown into the mix because it’s cute). In order to create the product a Kickstarter campaign started with a funding goal of $750.
The campaign ended a few hours ago. The amount raised? $12,233. About 16 times the amount needed. Looks like there are a few of us (retro computer enthusiasts) out there.
Oh, I forgot to mention: one of the cards features the Ferrari of 8-bit computers: a red Sony HB-101:
You may have seen this photo somewhere before. :-)
All cards will be freely available for download after they’ve been produced.
Relevant link: http://www.8bitkick.cc
The lights were dimmed during the talk, so I waited until it ended before visiting the stands.Read more ›
You may remember that last May I wrote about the Spanish government using MSX computers in their coordination tests to obtain a driver’s license.
Shortly after publishing that article a user on Facebook wrote to let us know that in some locations (such as his city) these machines are still in operation. However, he was unable to send any photos.
Recently another user from Spain (Valkyr on msx.org) went to renew his driver’s license and found out that the examination center in his city is still using an MSX computer: a Mitsubishi ML-G1. Valkyr was kind enough to take some photos. These were taken on November 6th, 2015:
Who knows how many of these are still in operation!
This is the second part of this post. We continue from the point where the previous part ended: looking at the network applications developed by Konamiman.
FTP.COM: File Transfer Protocol
Yes, an FTP client for MSX! You can now connect to FTP servers on the Internet and download files directly to the MSX, without having to download them to a PC or a Mac first and then copy to the MSX via removable media.
FTP.COM is very easy to use. It accepts the standard commands to interact with FTP. You can also set the environment variables FTP_USER, FTP_PASSWORD and FTP_ACCOUNT and use these as the defaults when connecting to servers.
Typing ‘help’ at the FTP prompt will show all the available commands:Read more ›
Recently I received the MSX Ethernet Cartridge from the Brazilian group Tecnobytes. This batch is already sold out, so for these of you who bought one, here’s a review of the unit and what you can do with it. The cartridge is useless without software, so I’m also explaining the InterNestor Lite TCP/IP stack and its companion suite of network applications, both developed by Néstor Soriano (Konamiman).
The review is long, so it’s split in two posts.
This is a Konami-sized cartridge with a single Ethernet port to the right and a couple of LEDs: the amber one indicates that the cartridge is powered on, and the green one indicates that there’s an Ethernet link established. It flashes during data transmission.
The Ethernet controler is a Realtek RTL8019AS, which means that the maximum speed is 10Mbps in full-duplex. This may not sound very impressive nowadays, but it is more than enough for the MSX, as we will see later. The design is based on Daniel Berdugo’s ObsoNET board.Read more ›
Yep, my MSX turbo R at home is now connected to the Internet and acting as an FTP server. It is connected to my home network using the Tecnobytes Ethernet Cartridge and running Konamiman’s ObsoFTP server over his Internestor Lite TCP/IP stack.
Feel free to play with it if you want to do some testing. It’s serving an almost empty 32MB partition on my B: disk (a CF card).
Read more ›
URL: ftp://therazane.lavandeira.net/ (any user name and password will work) Edit: the server is offline now, but read below for a couple of interesting updates…
The cartridge is very well built. It has a single Ethernet port mounted on the right side of the case, with two status LEDs next to it: one for power and another for link/operation.
The Ethernet controller supports only 10 mbps links, but that’s not a problem because the TCP/IP stack can only reach a theoretical 30 KB/s transfer speed tops. According to Konamiman, this is because Internestor Lite sends and receives a single 512 byte packet per interrupt, or every 1/60 of a second. In practice, during my tests the average speed I saw was about 8 KB/s when downloading a file from an FTP server.
Konamiman has developed several applications that work with his TCP/IP stack. They’re available in his home page. Among these there are:
- An FTP client, to transfer files from servers on the Internet
- An NTP client to synchronize the clock of your MSX with an Internet server
- A basic telnet client
- A text-based Twitter client
- A Dropbox client
- FTP and SMB servers, to share the files hosted in your MSX
Hopefully we’ll see support for this board in the openMSX emulator in order to do some development.
Good news for all retro computer users, including MSX:
A new retro shop will be opening in Akihabara during the next few weeks. The name: BEEP.
According to their still under construction website (http://www.akihabara-beep.com), they’ll deal with retro computers, retro games, arcade games, and fanmade items. In the updates they’re posting on Twitter (@BEEP_akihabara) we can see that they have lots and lots of MSX-related stuff, including several piles of unopened, brand new Pioneer PX-V60 MSX computers that they’re selling for 19,800 yen each (they sell used ones for 8,000 yen).
They’re planning to open during the Japanese silver week, which is the week from September 21st to 25th. Unfortunately, that week I’ll be traveling out of the country, so I really, really hope they get a bit delayed so I can attend during the opening. :-)
Take a look at their Twitter feed: it’s worth it.
Akihabara BEEP Nakaei Building (basement) 3-9-8 Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 101-0021
— BEEP＠秋葉原 (@BEEP_akihabara) August 10, 2015
並べるとそれらしくなってきました これから防犯の準備します pic.twitter.com/Qfza2OxCP4
— BEEP＠秋葉原 (@BEEP_akihabara) September 3, 2015
Today I had to go to Akihabara for work and something caught my attention in an electronics shop not far from the station:
In the background there was playing one of Salamander‘s themes, with perfect timing and perfect instruments. Initially I thought this was a custom-built MSX computers, but it wasn’t.
Keep reading for the details.Read more ›
Another old application programmed by me in 1993 or 1994. This one is a music disk for MSX2 computers (or higher) with at least an FM-PAC. Also supports MSX Audio for stereo sound and digital samples. I thought this was already available in The MSX Archive, but looks like it wasn’t. I’m also releasing this one to the public domain.
Get it here: MoonBlaster_Mania.zip (180 KB)
It works fine under the openMSX emulator with the mbstereo extension.
Most of the songs are by Carlos García. Graphics, code, and the two crappy songs (guess which ones) are all my fault.
NOTE: The samples in the last song (‘Warrior‘) seem to be corrupted. It doesn’t matter much, because we used this same song for the intro of MATRIX.
Thanks Paco for reminding me about this one, and mars2000you for pointing an online archive that still had it!