Some upgrades and catching up

I was going to post on Friday, honest… but the last couple of days have been spent rebuilding my Beloved’s old HP DC7700 as a workstation for myself and then experimenting to find out if it’s powerful enough to grab better quality videos for YouTube than I was managing previously. With that in mind, here’s a recent test where I played Warhawk badly to the point where my arse was handed to me on level 7:

This was recorded straight from WinVICE 3.0 using OBS Studio at what I think should be 480P and, although it’s better than my previous uploads which were dumped straight from the emulator, there’s still some tweaking to do. The next trial will probably be without VICE‘s scanline generation enabled to see if that makes a difference and I’m open to suggestions on what else might help!

The machine itself isn’t done yet; most of my regular software is installed but not fully configured and it’ll be getting more RAM and a second hard disk – shown above and labeled as a “surveilance hard drive” which is slightly concerning, I don’t want Amber Rudd rifling through my source code – as well. I’m hoping those upgrades will improve things on the video grabbing front, but failing that a dive into eBay for a better GeForce card than the one already in there will possibly be in order…

A workspace in flux

Well, that’s wonderful. Now I’ve missed two posting deadlines in 2018… but at least the year is right first time in this post and I have something of an excuse too, the house has been turned upside down over the last month and a half so the heating could be upgraded. I’ve only just got myself a desktop – and more importantly, a desk – up and running in the last couple of days so my thrown together “work environment” currently looks like this:

With nowhere to actually sit down and work – and more pressing matters like making space for various engineers to work – it’s been quiet on that front to the point where the “planned” post that was going to appear yesterday has been postponed. It’ll probably turn up next Friday when there’s more time available.

One thing that turned up whilst moving storage boxes around was the little A4 whiteboard used to plan for Retro Gamer each month before that job was shifted over to a text file. The board itself wasn’t interesting until I turned it over to find the slightly smudged but still legible to do list for RG Rampage. And yes, my handwriting really is that horrific and pretty much always has been which is one of the reasons why I taught myself to type at the tender age of eleven.

Pimp my breadbin – part 3

There’s been a bit more work on the “pimped” C64 this weekend. The first job that really needed doing was servicing the keyboard, so the shift lock was unsoldered and the circuit board taken off, then the key tops removed so that they and more importantly the contacts on the underside of the plastic could be separated for cleaning:

And finally, all of the plastics were lobbed into a hot bath for half an hour to soak before literally being hung out to dry since we’ve got some surprisingly strong clothes pegs.

Then, after over two hours of methodically reassembling the keyboard whilst watching Strictly along with about a hour this morning to re-solder the shift lock and screw everything back together, it looks like this…

…which is probably how it’ll look in the Oldschool Gaming area at at Play this coming weekend. The badges and power LED still need to be changed out (I’ve broken the latter trying to get it out of the shell so it doesn’t work and couldn’t find any blue LEDs in my parts box anyway) but I’m quite pleased with how it came out after the cleaning and the shiny plastic was down to using WD40 on a cloth, a tip I picked up from a Retro Game Tech video on YouTube.

I did end up wondering something during this process as well, these cases are pretty robust so what happens if you put them in a dishwasher…?

The answer is that it didn’t do a perfect job (if I’d dried it before taking the “after” picture that might have helped) and will need a bit more TLC at some point, but the results were reasonable especially considering how grubby the insides of the case were going in, so that’s one to remember in future.