Picked this up at an estate sale for $5!

So, one Saturday afternoon I was on the way to get some lunch at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant with my mom, when I spotted an estate sale sign. At first, I thought it would be cleared out by now, but when I saw that it didn’t close until 3pm I decided to give it a try. We pulled to the curb, and as soon as I walked into the house I could see that almost everything was gone. I went over to look at the remaining books on a shelf (natural instincts), and find nothing there. Then, I walk into one room where I see an old computer/typewriter looking device. It was a Texas Instruments Silent 700 Data Terminal model 703 from the 80s. I quickly searched the name in Google and saw listings for this device at ~$300. At this point, I was pretty astounded. But, there was no price on it, so I knew I had to wipe that grin off my face before I went and asked how much they wanted for it. When I asked, the two women told me they thought it was military-related (most likely from the carrying case’s look), but a guy came by earlier and confirmed that it was NOT used in the military. One of the women then proceeded to make an offer of 5 bucks. I was sold.

After a bit of research, I found out that this device is a typewriter, that uses heat-sensitive paper (surprisingly still very abundant), and can connect to a modem and connects at 300 baud. Unlike the other models of the Silent 700, the 703 does not have an integrated acoustic coupler and modem that could receive data at 30 characters per second. Instead, it has a 25-pin RS-232 compatible serial port, but with a female connector.

As soon as I got home, I used a pdf online (http://chiclassiccomp.org/docs/content/computing/TI/TI_Silent700_703_707_QRC.pdf) to guide me with the first steps of using this machine. The first thing I did was take off the paper compartment cover and load the paper (took a few tries), put the cover back on, and flip the “on/off” switch in the back. I was then greeted with a short beep and a prompt stating “703,” the specific version of the model I have. I then flipped a few switches at the top to change it to local mode (since I was not connected to an external modem), and began typing. It works!

My next steps would be to purchase a serial-to-USB cable and hook it up to a desktop to connect my terminal to a telnet session (instead of getting an old modem). Or, I could even connect this to a TNC to use on a packet radio setup and have it display anything and everything that gets transmitted on a packet radio net. I’ll definitely have to consider these two uses. But, other than that, there is not much else I can do with it. Unfortunately, I cannot connect it to my Commodore 64 or VIC 20.

Another great post about the TI Silent 700 data terminal model 703: http://vintagevolts.com/?p=766#comment-2420

Anyway, it is quite a unique item and has been added to my collection of old technology.DSCN0708 DSCN0707 DSCN0706


Kerbal Space Program


Thanks to my good friend Davis, I recently discovered an outstanding computer game for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux called Kerbal Space Program. KSP is a game where the players create and manage their own space program. Build spacecraft, fly them, and try to help the Kerbals to fulfill their ultimate mission of conquering space. The game is currently under heavy development. This means the game will be improved on a regular basis, so be sure to check for new updates. Right now, KSP is in Sandbox Complete state, but is available for you to try out and have fun with. The first versions are free to download and play, and will remain so forever. It’s also pretty hilarious.

Go try it out here: https://kerbalspaceprogram.com/index.php

By Adam Posted in Home

Look what I found in a closet!

I found a Commodore 64, Commodore VIC 20, Introduction To BASIC Part 2, and Easy Script.

By Adam Posted in Home

Activision Blizzard Stock!

Hey! A few weeks ago I bought stock in Activision Blizzard and I would highly recommend you do the same! In this post I am going to give you reasons why Activision Blizzard and its stock will do great! One of the huge reasons why Activision is going boost in popularity is because of their new releases for China. China has never been big fans of console gaming(Call of Duty), but they have been MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) fans(World of Warcraft). Next year, 2013, Activision will be releasing the new World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria. Just like all of the other WOW games, Mists of Pandaria will have a Chinese theme. Because of this Chinese theme, WOW Mists of Pandaria will be somewhat targeted to the Chinese population, especially because China has 1.3 billion people. It is said that when Activision releases this game to the world, Activision stock will rise at least 50%, mainly because of the Chinese population.

The second game Activision Blizzard will be releasing soon is Call of Duty Online, aimed exclusively at the Chinese market. Call of Duty Online is an in-browser client that will feature standard and multiplayer modes, but will have it’s own Campaign story, based around a series of “Spec Ops” missions.

The last thing I want to talk about is the possibility of Activision Blizzard being bought by another company. Recently, there has been some activity of Activision looking for buyers. Currently, Activision Blizzard is worth about 12.9 billion. If Activision decides to sell to a company, no matter what that company is, it will be an automatic gain for buyers of the Activision Blizzard stock. But, what many people are hoping is that Microsoft will buy Activision Blizzard. There have been many rumors that Microsoft has been mentioned as a potential buyer. Microsoft see’s the opportunity to own two huge gaming series’, Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. This would be an outstanding purchase by Microsoft. After all, Microsoft does want to be a monopoly. An estimate price of what Microsoft could pay for Activision would be over 20 billion.

There also has been some recent news that EA (Electronic Arts) is looking to sell. Though, Activision Blizzard is far superior to EA. I will say that there is a rumor that the people who are looking to buy EA are willing to pay 6 billion for the 4 billion company. Because of this rumor, the stock went up 5 and a half percent today plus after sales. Keep in mind that EA hasn’t been doing to well in the past and all of this news is just a rumor. Activision Blizzard is a much more reliable stock, especially because they are doing very well, have no debt, and are the top gaming business.

By Adam Posted in Home

Bought Power Mac G4!

Hey guys I just bought a Power Mac G4 from a local Good Will for 10 dollars! The exact Power Mac G4 I have is the model with AGP graphics and is called “SawTooth”, released in  1999. So far I have put a hard drive into it and upgraded the graphics card to a Radeon 9200. I plan on upgrading the ram as well to a anywhere between 1 and 2 gigabytes. Soon I am going to order a copy of either OS X 10.3 or 10.4 for the G4. Before I buy Panther or Tiger, I am going to try out a Power PC(PPC) version of Linux Mint to just make sure the CD/DVD drive is working properly. I find this old Mac desktop very unique and interesting. I can’t wait to get this machine up and running!

I got OS X Mountain Lion!

Hey guys! I just recently purchase Mac OS X Mountain Lion from the App Store and did a clean install! You may be wondering why I did a clean install. Well since I had very few files I wanted to save, I just put the few files on a 16gb flash drive and then transfered them back to my Macbook Pro after I was done installing. So far Mountain Lion has been great. Mountain Lion has over 200 new features and I am continuing to discover them. I have noticed that Mountain Lion is slightly faster than Snow Leopard. I’ve also noticed a few different trackpad gestures. Mountain Lion is a great Operating System and I would really recommend it to anyone who is using OS X 10.6 or lower. After all, it is only $19.99! 

Four reasons why Windows 8 will be dead on arrival

1. No one needs Windows 8 on the desktop.

Quick: Name one thing about Windows 8 that they don’t already get from Windows 7-or a great desktop Linux like Mint or Mac OS X Lion? I can’t.

Indeed, I can’t think of a single significant new improvement in Windows 8. The ability to refresh the operating system? Faster booting? A Windows Store? Live boot from a USB drive? Come on! All these features have been around in other operating systems for years, and while sure, they’re nice, put them all together and at most they’re worth a Windows 7 Service Patch–not a whole new operating system.

2. Metro: An ugly, useless interface.

As everyone knows, Windows 8 has a totally new default interface: Metro. When I look at Metro, however, I see gaudy colors, boxy designs, applications that can either run as a small tile or as full screen with no way to resize or move windows.

Even if Metro was the best thing since sliced bread, which it isn’t, it will still require users to learn a new way of doing the same old thing. That’s a failure of an idea right here. Sure, you can use the ‘Classic’ desktop experience instead, but hey, I have an idea! Why not just use the Windows XP or 7 “classic” interface instead?

3. Where are the Windows 8 Applications?

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview (read Windows 8 public beta) will be here real soon now and we still don’t know next to anything about Windows 8’s applications.

Seriously? Windows 8 will probably be out by this fall and we still don’t know anything about its apps? Come on! How can you take this operating system seriously?

4. Too little, too late for the smartphone/tablet market

Metro’s real point, of course, isn’t for desktop users. It’s Microsoft’s last gasp attempt to be a player on tomorrow’s computers: smartphones and tablets. If Microsoft was bringing something truly revolutionary to mobile devices, or they were still able to strong-arm original equipment manufacturers (OEM)s into loading Windows on their devices, I think they’d have a shot at the mobile space. Neither is true.

Smartphones are a dog fight between Android and iOS. Tablets did belong to Apple, but now Samsung, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are giving the iPad a fight for the tablet marketplace. Android and iOS are mature, have enormous developer communities and are wildly popular. Heck, if you count smartphones, thanks to the iPhone Apple is now the number one “PC” vendor in the world.

On top of that, the U.S. phone carriers have no interest in a Windows Phone. Too old, too slow Microsoft is arriving much too late to the 2010s style of mobile computing to be a significant player and that means Windows 8 Metro won’t find an audience either. I see no room left for a major third-party platform. A minor player, like KDE or Ubuntu? Sure. A Microsoft? No.

Add it up. The majority of Windows users have only just switched over from XP to Windows 7 in, at best, November 2011. Microsoft is now asking for its users to switch to a platform with no significant improvements, a radically different interface, and which is very likely to have few applications. The result? Window 8 will be dead on arrival.

The Macbook Pro with Retina Display

Well, as you may know, Apple has recently leased the new Macbook Pro with Retina Display. So you may be asking yourself, “What does retina display mean?” The Retina Display is an increase in the pixel density by 4 times with the same amount of space. By having more pixels, you can have far more precision and a great increase in the sharpness of the text. The retina display has 220 pixels per inch. The highest supported resolution is 2880 by 1800 pixels.

The Macbook Pro with Retina display has a starting price of a whopping $2,199.00. Personally, I think this price is ridiculous, but that’s just Apple. The low end MBP with Retina display has a 15 inch screen with an i7 processor 2.3 GHz. Both of the Retina display MBP’s do come with 8gb of ram, but there is one problem. Unfortunately, Apple decided to solder the ram into the computer so you are unable to upgrade yourself. This poor decision is the main reason why I do not have any future plans on purchasing the computer. Although, if you don’t feel that 8gb is enough you can customize your macbook pro on Apple website to have 16 gigabytes of memory instead of 8, for an addition 200 dollars. Lastly, the MBP Retina display has a 256GB SSD(upgradable to 512gb). Unlike an HDD, an SSD does not have any moving parts in it, therefore it is much faster than an HDD. SDD’s usually have less capacity but provide less power draw, less heat, less noise, and are overall faster. I assume that Apple decided to use SSDs in their Macbook Pro’s because of the sudden drop in price for Solid State Drives. The reason their price has dramatically dropped is because of the Cloud. Apple’s Macbook Pro with Retina display may be extremely pricey, but it is definitely worth the money if you really need the screen resolution for precise photo editing or any other pixel related task. Also, if you are not willing to upgrade the ram yourself and desperately need an SSD than go for it!