• Retro Challenge January 2016 – Preamble

    So, you may well remember that I entered Retro Challenge 18 months ago, and what a fun crazy busy time that was!  Well, the January Retro Challenge competition is about to kick off in just over 2 weeks. If you’re not familiar with Retro Challenge, shame on you!  But you can de-shame yourself by heading […]

  • Man Cave 2.0

    Recently I’ve read a few posts about other peoples working environments, office setups, man caves or work benches.  I’ve also had a couple of people ask about mine, since I tweeted about the redecoration and overhaul of my old “spare room” as it transformed in to “Man Cave 2.0”.  I had intended to write it […]

  • Retro Challenge – Closing Thoughts

    Wow! What an awesome month July has been.  The whole Retro Challenge thing has been great, and despite moments of stress or despair, I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part and seeing what everyone else has been up to.  Before I sum up my project, I should make a few honourable mentions. Retro Challenge – A […]

  • Retro Challenge – Challenge Complete

    With over 24 hours to go before the end of July deadline the final piece of the puzzle fell in to place! But, first, a quick catchup from the last blog post;

  • Retro Challenge – Finishing Post Within Sight

    Despite a late start today, things have gone well so I actually feel like I’m ahead of the game right now.  Certainly not finished, but with most of the major hurdles now behind me, the only thing left is writing a bit of Z80 assembler code.  And even that is starting to look manageable.

  • Retro Challenge – PCBs arrived and built

    So, exactly 3 weeks after they were ordered, the PCBs from OSHPark arrived today.  It’s just as well, as I was running low on things to do without them, and with just 6 days left of the Retro Challenge I would have struggled to finish in time. Well, that’s my weekend planned out for me […]

  • Retro Challenge – The Matrix Reloaded

    The 5 matrix board has now been finished. And no one could be more relieved than me.  There’s a LOT of soldering going on in there!

  • Retro Challenge 2014 – Day 5 – First PCBs Ordered

    Hokey cokey, that’s the first 4 printed circuit boards for the RC2014 (Oh, did  tell you I’ve named my homebrew Z80 computer “RC2014”? Pretty catchy name, eh?) ordered with OSHPark.  If they arrive as quick as other boards I’ve had from there before, then I should have 11 days to get everything put together and […]

  • Retro Challenge – Day 2 – First PCB Designed

    So, this is Day 2 of the Retro Challenge.  In case you’re wondering what happened to Day 1, well, Day 1 happened to fall on Pub Night, therefore I was better off giving everyone else one day head start than having a go and probably putting myself back at least a week! If you’ve read […]

  • Pre-RetroChallenge – The story so far

    Ok, so tomorrow the Summer RetroChallenge 2014 starts, so I thought it would be a good idea to bring you up to speed with what I’ve got so far so that you know where I’m starting from. I will also outline where I’ll be taking things for the RetroChallenge as well as where this project […]

  • Retro Challenge 2014

    I have always wanted to enter Retro Challenge, ever since I first heard of it nearly 24 hours ago. I followed a link that took me to http://retrochallenge.net/ and I read up on what it was all about, scrutinised the rules and checked out what others were doing. I quickly came to the conclusion that […]

  • C5 – It’s Alive!

    Back in July 2013, someone in the office mentioned the beautiful iconic 80’s disaster that is the Sinclair C5.  Inevitably someone asked what they’re worth now, and apart from the fact they cost £400 new, was dropped to £199 shortly after and then the price plummeted like a stone, I had no idea.  So I […]

  • Home built Z80 video on Computerphile

    In posts to come I’ll go in to some details about the breadboard Z80 computer I built recently, but, in the mean time, here’s a video that Computerphile made about it Be sure to check out Computerphiles Youtube channel too!

  • Minimus 1.0 AVR Programming

    A little while back, Nottingham Hackspace got the opportunity to buy a bunch of Minimus V1 AVRs at a very good price.  Not being one to turn down a bargain, I bought a few of these little critters to see what they can do. On paper, they look great.  USB programmable micro running an Atmel […]

  • Z88 32kb to 512kb Memory Upgrade

    As mentioned in a couple of other posts here, the Z88 is a great machine.  It comes with 32k of RAM, although this can be expanded with plug in cartridges.  An alternative, however, is to replace the internal 32k with something larger.  This photo tutorial shows how you can expand the onboard memory to 512k. […]

  • Z88 as a USB keyboard using a Minimus

    If you’ve been reading this blog in cronological order, you’ll know about the FTDI adapter I made for the Z88.  If you don’t read this in order, you’ll know about the Minimus programming I’ve been doing and what the Minimus is (note that I’ve not blogged about that yet… be patient!)   Now to turn […]

  • Z88 to FTDI lead via MAX3232

    I have already blogged on here about how awesome the Z88 is, and how ahead of it’s day it was.  Well, being awesome in your own right doesn’t cut it these days – so you’ve got to be able to communicate and talk to things to be considered worthwhile. The biggest weapon the Z88 has […]

  • Raspberry Pi & Arduino Development Board

    One of the great things about the Raspberry Pi is the general purpose input output (GPIO) pins.  They allow it to interface with other circuits.  The Arduino, however, is all about connecting with other stuff, and with analog input and PWM output, it’s better at it than the Pi.  But the Pi has more processing […]

  • I’ve seen the future

    I have seen the future of computers. Yes, really I have.  What would you say if I said the future would be something about the size of a pad of paper. Which runs off of 4 AA batteries, giving it about 20 hours of use or 100 days of standby. Storage is solid state with […]

  • Useless Machine

    A machine is a device that does something useful, right?  Well, what about if the thing it does is useless? Well, here is my useless machine