Welcome to Hot Trouts Retro Computer Ramblings, the BLOG for the old computer website. From Roms to Emulators, playing NES and SNES games, tha latest Amiga rip or collecting systems and roms then this is the place to visit. Please feel free to post comments and visit the forums for more great content.
This is a cool development! Target will be selling exclusive Atari-Themed packaging featuring classic games like Asteroids, Missile Command and Centipede on it's Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Lucky Charms, Honey Nut Cheerios, Cheerios, and Cocoa Puffs breakfast cereals. Apparently the 80's are cool again!
While Linux may not be in the front running of leading games, they are making strides to overcome this. There are many games specific for Linux and many games that can be cross plat formed using Wine and Play on Linux. Granted this takes a little more effort to do than using Windows or the Apple OS.
The one thing that is a definite when it comes to Linux they are innovative and are willing to try new areas of exploring possibilities of computing experience unlike the mainstream operating system.
We have a new game being introduced for Linux where the controller is a headset, and you use your mind to control the game.
MindLabyrinth is a game where you control an old mayan avatar and must solve puzzles to reach Patchamama's hidden temple. The game is clearly a retro puzzling but it offers as a bonus a unique support for NeuroSky's MindWave headset - if you own it - to read your brain signals and interpret them. With its retro graphics and old-school mechanisms the game will delight casual as well as old-school gamers. The game itself is linear. You progress through a series of 52 levels of increasing difficulty.
The real fun starts when you use the Mindwave headset, you will have to actually use your brain to make stones move, gears work, etc. The game will even ask you to achieve a meditative state to recover health.
The game will soon be available on Linux desktops including Ubuntu. The company has made available a demo of the game for Linux platform.
In 1999 a little girl was playing with the new remote control car that her father had bought her as a birthday present. Her older brother kept taking the remote away from her to play with the toy himself. Frustrated, she went to her father and said “I wish I could just control it with my mind”. Like most fathers, unable to deny their daughters anything, he set to work.
Her Father was Jong Jin Lim, a psychologist. He, along with a neuro scientist and a mathematician, (and later a small team of engineers) created the first Neurosky technology.
Well a New Year is well under way, and there are thousands of items to discuss. Where to start, and what to talk about. Searching the web, there is so much information, and seems like so little time available.
Being a site for retro gaming and retro computers and retro consoles, do I stay with those topics only, or throw the odd political topic in as well? SOPA-PIPA are hot topics, as are the extraordinary powers that the US President has now. Assassination of citizens, secret evidence, secret trials, immunity from war crimes. and many more extraordinary powers that deprive US citizens of their rights.
I sometimes just feel overwhelmed by the very nature of the web, as there is so much out there.
I would like to post here at least on a bi-weekly basis, and would ask everyone to give their opinion on the direction I should take. Retro based articles only, variety of topics, slight mixture away from totally retro?
I would also like to suggest that other members submit articles as well, as I am sure there are many out there that are more articulate and knowledgeable than I am. Also, many of you have great stories to tell, and i would hope you would share them here.
I would like to see the TOC blog become a vibrant and alive part of the site. Please help me, Hot Trout and the site accomplish this. I am sure with your participation and words of wisdom that it can become a Blog to look forward to and read.
te_lanus your secrets on acquisitions of roms? Kherr your love of retro music and your song writing? All other members--- your amazing retro story, your most passionate interest?
Let us all as a community make this Blog a Blog to Blog about !
Lenslok is a copy protection mechanism found in some computer games and other software on the 8bit Atari, Commodore 64, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Sinclair QL, MSX and Amstrad CPC. The most famous game to use it was Elite for the ZX Spectrum.
The Lenslok device was essentially a row of prisms arranged vertically in a plastic holder. Before the game started, a two-letter code was displayed on the screen, but it was corrupted by being split into vertical bands which were then rearranged on screen. By viewing these bands through the Lenslok they were restored to their correct order and the code could be read and entered allowing access to the game. The device was small enough when folded flat to fit next to an audio cassette in a standard case.
In order for the Lenslok to work correctly the displayed image has to be the correct size. This meant that before each use the software needed to be calibrated to take account of the size of the display. Users found this setup particularly annoying, at least in part due to the poor instructions that were initially shipped. Additionally, the device could not be calibrated at all for very large and very small televisions, and some games shipped with mismatched Lensloks that prevented the code from being correctly descrambled. The Lenslok system was not used in later releases of Elite.
Software that used the Lenslok system:
Elite, released by Firebird OCP Art Studio, released by Rainbird Fighter Pilot, released by Digital Integration Tomahawk, released by Digital Integration TT Racer, released by Digital Integration Jewels of Darkness, released by Level 9 Computing The Price of Magik, released by Level 9 Computing ACE, released by Cascade Games Ltd Graphic Adventure Creator, released by Incentive Software Moon Cresta, released by Incentive Software Supercharge, released by Digital Precision
LensKey is a Lenslok™ decoder for Windows 95 or later. It emulates the function of the plastic lens, unscrambling an on-screen pattern to reveal a 2 character security code.
The following 9 Lenslok-protected titles are supported: ACE, Art Studio, Elite, Graphic Adventure Creator, Jewels of Darkness, Mooncresta, Price of Magik, Tomahawk and TT Racer.
1) Start LensKey, and select a software title from the drop-down list.
Each title uses a slightly different encoding method, so the correct one must be selected!
2) Click on the main area in the Lens Viewer window to enter selection mode. This allows a pattern region to be selected for decoding.
The cursor changes to a cross-hair until a selection has been made.
3) On the emulator window, select the right-hand half of the Lenslok pattern, as shown. Do this by holding down the left mouse button and dragging out a selection rectangle.
The left edge of the selection should be in the centre of the central line. The top of the box should be just above the character pattern, and the bottom of the box should be just below it.
4) Follow the instructions above, and continue dragging to the right until the OK test pattern is visible in the viewer window.
With most patterns, you'll need to extend the selection area slightly beyond the right edge of the pattern.
5) Finally, press return/space in the emulator to display the real pattern, which will be decoded in the viewer window.
Enter the code in the Spectrum emulator and you're in!
If you're using an emulator I'd recommended that you pause it while using LensKey, otherwise the frequent emulator screen updates will overwrite the selection box, making it difficult to see.
Can't see any recognisable characters in the viewer window?
Check the software title selection is correct. Ensure the left edge of the region selection is on the central line. Ensure you're dragging down+right, and not up+left. Re-select the region if the target window has been moved or resized. Ensure the emulator is not using a video overlay surface for its display. Try pausing the emulator and/or turning off 'scanline' effects.
Version 1.2, last updated 12th October 2008 [changelog]
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Is All Software Overpriced? 05-27-11 - by Dario Microsoft just pointed out that, in China, it only makes 5% of the money it makes in the US, because of piracy… though both countries have similar PC sales. That news got my attention, because I’ve been wondering for a while now if all PC/Mac software may be fundamentally overpriced. Here’s the thinking: Most paid computer software is so far above the impulse-buy range, that, even in countries with money, most people have to REALLY think about if they want something… meaning also that most people just don’t buy anything. (for example: do you want to pay $30 for some utility that you’ll use for 2 days, then never touch again? Probably not. You’ll likely either use BitTorrent, or do without. Similarly, how’bout paying $120 for Photoshop Elements, when you aren’t even sure if you’ll be using it a year from now? What about $700 for the FULL Photoshop (which is quite similar to Elements in features, and has a less attractive interface)? Same story. Chances are you’ll either do without, or use BitTorrent. Or find a free alternative.) … and, when you think about this stuff, another weird question comes up: When it comes to utilities, and other non-essentials, why is it that if it isn’t free, it’s between $25-50?? (they just skip right over the range where I’d actually buy it. — Hello free apps.) - I first formed this opinion some years ago. At the time, I was only considering all the “rich” Americans, not even realizing yet that most places had even less money than here… like in China, where you see that people just aren’t putting out any money for software. I think if most programs were an impulse-buy ($1-12, but especially in the lower range), and if this were a consciously known thing, several things would happen: people would mass-consume, software developers would make more money, and piracy would be a lot smaller. (I’m not entirely certain, however, how quickly cultures that are *addicted* to piracy would give it up. Perhaps a good app store would gradually wean them off, like Steam probably does with gamer pirates (to some degree)). I’ll point out how iTunes attracts people with its easy-sounding $1 per song, and Steam attracts gamers with its crazy fire-sales (75-90% off lots of games, all the time, minus new releases). And, most of all, smartphone app stores have this powerful, almost distracting sense of accessibility that makes buying cheap software a complete joy… and an unfortunate addiction, for many. I think the primary reason that smartphone apps exploded was just because of how much you CARED about the whole thing, due to everything being so easy to get. (Smartphone app stores are like candy stores.) When most apps are either an impulse buy or free, it makes you want to stick around, and always go see what new apps you can try out, just because you CAN. (To be fair, there are a few other important factors, all necessary for the success of smartphone apps, but I’m just highlighting what I think is the single largest one. If most paid smartphone apps were between $10-30, all the interest would shift over to whatever’s free, and the whole experience would take a slide… That slide, I think, would also result in less free apps being made altogether (and they’d be of lesser quality). (btw, note to anyone who only downloads free smartphone apps: you’re missing out.) - Back to computer apps, we have a few more issues, I think: With expensive software, people can’t be very curious at all, and get into things “just because”… nor can they afford to buy many curiosities. Now, if someone was walking by a computer section in a store, and saw a box that said you could easily rebuild your house in 3d, with really good graphics, for $5, they might just pick that up. They could have some fun. (in fact, people all over the place might pick that up…) Now, if you bumped that up to $25, most people would probably glance away after a second, just thinking, “Nah”, or they’d have to think about it really deeply. As another example, I think a promising-looking, powerful $5 movie-editor would probably snag an incredible volume of people, worldwide; people who have been teetering on the brink of getting into editing, and needing only a tiny nudge to get going. (I’m sure there are plenty of people – like students wanting to make films over summer – who’d like to upgrade from Windows Movie Maker.) Trouble is, what most people have come to know and want are really-gotta-think-about-it priced programs like Final Cut, Sony Vegas, and Adobe Premiere (with their light versions costing $170, $50, and $85). Each of these has a “full”, pro version for $900, $530, and $700. (They seem unfairly priced for professionals/studios. In the full versions, you’re seeing maybe 20-35% feature improvement, for somewhere around 700% more cost. Sony Vegas lowers its price to $340 for students and non-profit organizations, but not non-profit individuals (like me, for instance)). (Quick note: bear in mind that when a “pro” version of a program offers only 20-35% more features, it’s still better than it sounds. On paper, it doesn’t look like much, but, for someone who spends his life using these apps, details really matter. A genuine pro would NOT want to spend his career using a light version, and they know this… therefor, they’re really trapped into paying the extra dough, because the details add up to saving loads of time.) If I’m right, all of this pricing stuff has negative effects on the world, which I’ll summarize here: – It prevents the majority of computer users out there from really getting INTO software (which, quite importantly, slows down the developmental progress of the world). – It prevents software developers from making more money, which prevents them from igniting a surge in new development. If PC software saw the boom that smartphones apps did, there’d probably be a lot more volume of stuff being made, which would increase competition. More competition means more of a drive to make apps of higher quality (which, again, speeds up the progress of our race. 85% of the world lives in a developing country (places building up – not impoverished), and they need all the help they can get in modernizing). - Anyway, so, that’s my little theory (which, remember, is just speculation). I’ve thought very similarly about cameras, and a few other things. (I’m wondering if the pricing of all this stuff is a matrix of monkey-see-monkey-do.)
I stumbled upon this site while searching for more C64, SID and 8bit music. http://www.lukhash.com/ is a SID/C64 retro music experience that is quite refreshing and very cool, both in terms of the music but also the site design, artwork and overall presentation. There are some fantastic tracks and entire albums for download. The music is a fusion of C64, electric guitar. Think C64 Rock and you will have some idea of the sound.
I recommend that everyone goes and has a look at this guys work. I have embedded a youtube video of some of his work to give you a taste.
Mona by the Numbers 1964 Control Data Corporation, United States
In 1964, H. Philip Peterson of Control Data Corporation (CDC) used a CDC 3200 computer and a "flying-spot" scanner to create a digital representation of the Mona Lisa. The image contained 100,000 pixels that were plotted using numerals, sometimes overprinted, to approximate the required density and took 14 hours to complete.
Below is a close up of Mona's right eye. You can see the individual numbers some printed over one another to achieve the desired brightness and luminosity.
Similar digital images of popular art, cartoon characters, and even nudes adorned the walls of corporate offices, labs, and computer centers throughout the 1960s.
It's not too often that "new" Atari 2600 games are discovered. There are many people engaged in creating new games for the system that arguably defined the entire business of video games, but the discovery of something new from the "good ole days" is quite rare. Museum curator and founder Syd Bolton found himself in a state of disbelief when fellow volunteer George Yallop delivered a "contribution" from someone he knew, who had recently visited the museum. The envelope contained an Atari 2600 cartridge called Extra Terrestrials. Searches of the web didn't reveal any information about the game. It was at this point that Syd realized he may have found a long lost game. This was an important discovery to the muesum and the Atari community as well. The game was produced in Canada. After making some inquiries to the donator the following information was uncovered
The game was developed by Skill Screen Games and manufactured by Telcom Research Ltd. in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.
President: Tom Banting Producer: Peter Banting Packaging & Artwork: J. Maitland Banting Game Design & Programming: Herman Quast The group was hoping to capitalize on the video game market that was booming at the time. They had hoped to get the game out for the 1983 Christmas season, but delays in the programming precluded that and the game missed the Christmas window. After it was finally finished in early 1984, Peter remembers taking the game out to retailers door to door to purchase copies of the game. They had no distributor, and in the end sold only a couple of hundred copies at most. By then, the video game market had collapsed.
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The computer mouse as we know it today was invented and developed by Douglas Englebart during the 60's and was patented on November 17, 1970. While creating the mouse, Douglas was working at the Stanford Research Institute, a think tank sponsored by Stanford University, and originally referred to the mouse as a "X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System." This mouse was first used with the Xerox Alto computer system in 1973. However, because of its lack of success the first widely used mouse is credited to being the mouse found on the Apple Lisa computer. Today, the mouse is now found and used on every computer.
The original 100-minute video of this event is part of the Engelbart Collection in Special Collections of Stanford University. This original video has been edited into 35 segments and reformatted as Flash streaming video clips. There is a brief abstract of the subject matter treated in each segment. :
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