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Topics - muguk

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CODING AREA / My Word Add-In (v2.0) has been released
« on: November 30, 2016, 08:38:35 AM »
The latest version of my Word add-in, called Mike's Toobox, is now available.

There's a new support website - - which has the downloads and the full VBA source code available.

The full list of changes can be found on the most recent blog post on the website,  or read my LinkedIn article:

GENERAL RETRO CHIT CHAT / Deus Ex Machine re-released on PC (via Steam)
« on: October 03, 2016, 05:52:05 PM »

Depending on the size of your wallet, there are three separate versions you can buy.


What's amusing (to me) is that the BBC News article had to explain (for its younger readers) what a floppy disk was :)


I like this quote at the start:
Let's recap: the founder of Commodore, running Atari, built a computer designed by former Commodore engineers, which would compete against a Commodore product called Amiga, designed by former Atari engineers, who wanted to replace the Commodore products designed by once-Commodore but now Atari engineers.

Simple enough.

I'm on about the likes of the utils by Lerm and G.A. Bobker.  I've got a few, but am interested in any others that you may have.  Other companies were also doing similar utils, such as Kobrahsoft.

Also interested in any of the 'support leaflets' that you could buy / get with a club membership that the above two firms offered.  They would list the methods required to get the latest titles into a slow-loading / microdrive-compatible format.

I've got a few (list to follow) but I'm after any others of this type.

CODING AREA / Reinventing old Spectrum BASIC games
« on: February 25, 2015, 08:23:14 PM »
Richard Shepherd released some good adventure games when I was a kid.  Urban Upstart being a favourite (one of the few I completed).  But they also released some awful BASIC-based 'adventure' games. 

Thanks to ZX Preview - - I've been able to extract the BASIC listing from the 'protected' code (*) and present four of them here in this 'ere Dropbox link.

(*) they were saved as the system variables + BASIC listing as a single CODE file, so you had to use LOAD""CODE and you couldn't do a MERGE""

A while back I bought one of those USB cassette recorders via ePrey.  Everything's OK when it comes to recording audio, but backing up my Spectrum tapes is proving to be something that this device just wasn't geared up for. 

Either that or all of these G.A. Bobker cassettes I have (for transferring / copying tapes to microdrive) were recorded on some of the cheapest cassettes available.  Audacity just won't pick up the audio signals as the tape is played.  I've managed to only transfer one tape successfully (Animator 1).

Does anyone have a spare that they can loan me long-term?  I've seen some of the new ones on Amazon and don't fancy shelling out £125 (yep, that's the price!) for a Sony tape player.  Even the cheaper Phillips one is still £40.

Although if Andy has a spare one @ RCM that he could bring to the Bolton ComicCon .. grovel .. plead .. beg .. :)

I finally ordered a 128K +2A SCART from the seller I always use on Eprey.  All well and good until I tried it in both of my machines.

The one that I was given by a bloke in work does power up (yeah!) but my TV only shows a dark shadow of the display.  That and when trying to load anything, there's none of the usual coloured bars appearing (even if they would be shades of black, it would at least show that it's working).  Ho hum ...

The other one, which I've had for years, just powers up, makes a few odd beeping sounds and then, even with the SCART or aerial lead connected, displays half the screen and does nothing else.  Guess that one needs an overhaul.

I really am not having much luck with the current retro hardware.  Ho hum .. hopefully there's someone at the Retro event in Leeds next weekend that can look at them.  The alternative is posting them both off to Keith Beard and getting his SD card-hardware installed inside one (or both) of them.

I've got two 1541-II drives.  Both have official power supplies but neither will work correctly with my standard C64 (with JiffyDOS) and a spare one that someone's lent me (with their own data lead).

Both machines (with both drives connected as individuals) will report a read error on any test disk I've used.

The drive starts the read process, but then there's a odd sound before the red light starts flashing and the yellow light stays on permanently.  This happens when I try to either get a directory or load in a file.

However, the same lead works fine with the other 1541-II drive that's connected to my PC via ZoomFloppy.  I've not yet tested these other two drives (that's tonight's job) but any suggestions on what might be at fault?

(I've posted this on the C64 Facebook group last December and some ideas were suggested, but the same thing happens each and every time).

VALUATIONS / Japanese Sega Saturn
« on: January 22, 2015, 03:42:38 PM »
This is the one I found in a back-street 2nd electronics seller in Paris a few years ago.  It's been modded to run on any region.

Comes with additional 'homebrew' (purely for testing purposes).

Will upload a photo later of it. 

CODING AREA / My old Sega 8-bit hacking guide (Master System & Gamegear)
« on: January 20, 2015, 06:46:28 PM »
Back in the dim and distant past when I was hacking Gamegear and Master System Games via the Meka emulator, I wrote a guide on how I'd done it (using my basic Z80 knowledge). Earlier on tonight I found all my files and converted it into a PDF.

It's nothing special (the guide or the files that accompany it) but with the help of a mate who wrote a Game Genie code decrypting spreadsheet (the joys of VLOOKUP!), I merrily went a-hacking away.

I went back to the Z80 after years of doing Atari ST trainers and the same skills required were applicable across the different chipsets. If only I'd known that a bit more patience when I was a teenager, I could have been doing this kind of stuff when I had a ZX Spectrum.

There are two files, one is the guide with separate text files listing all the ones I managed and a sub-folder of those that 'got away' at the time.

File #1: The guide plus the example text files.…/My%208-bit%20Sega%20Trainers.zi…

File #2: The Game Genie codes, plus my mate's spreadsheet and some other decrypting utilities that I'd found.

Just a piece of history from almost 15 years ago. These files used to be on one of my old websites which I'm too lazy to resurrect

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