Sunday, November 26, 2006

Comment: Still Pimpin' the CoCo and other fun stuff

Posting became a pain over the last few weeks as work intensified. So CoCo time was spent actually with the CoCo instead of writing about the CoCo. :) Even then, there was precious little.

I also switched to Performancing blog add-on for Firefox for creating blog entries. This little tools has tracking metric, so that I can see how many people are visiting the blogs, what day they're visiting most and if they're looking at posts and/or posting. Much nicer. It's also open right there in the browser, so I can browse and type at the same time. Unfortunately, it also has a few foibles, like no safety saves and such. (Says it does, but if it does, there's no way to recover the save.)

There hasn't been a whole lot of news to post. At least, not news that's been emailed to me. I haven't made the rounds myself in a couple of weeks. I've also started using Thunderbird, the Mozilla email reader. It has adaptive email filters and spam catchers that I haven't fully trained yet, so if anyone has sent email and not gotten a response, please post here and let me know! I'll add your email address and make sure they'll get through.

On to the CoCo projects...

I really wanna do a holiday CoCo program, but can't come up with something I could do quick enough. Arg! I'll keep working on it, but would love to hear if anyone else is doing, or has done, something. Here's the ones I've considered:

A Christmas present version of "Bejeweled." Fun!
Something to do with putting ornaments on a tree. Not sure on that one.
A Christmas Wargame. No seriously. :)

I got a nice little order from Cloud-9 including a 512K memory upgrade and a Drivewire package. Can't wait to try 'em. But I'm going to be patient. I am. No, really. So, after the holidays I'll hook 'em up and give a full report. Until then I shall resist the urge...

The CoCo mod project has only made marginal progress. Every time I get one thing done, two other things pop up that require a different direction. Heh. That's the fun part of working without instructions, though. And the experience is providing loads of practical experience, from knowing the CoCo's board way more thoroughly to the constraints and considerations of modifying and adding to the case.

For example, inside the top of the CoCo's case are all these molded plastic supports and guides. Half of them don't really serve any purpose. I'll detail these in more detail some other time, but needless to say, whacking 'em out of there is quite entertaining. Had to make some room and, with the help of Mr. Dremel make room I did.

Another consideration... I decided to switch to SIMMs for the memory, using the Cloud-9 upgrade, instead of using the old PBJ upgrade I had. The latter makes the machine run incredibly hot. I figured the lower temp SIMMs with the 6309 would make it run cool enough to live without a fan, right?

Well, great in theory. However, the Cloud-9 512K upgrade is oriented vertically. The PBJ upgrade is oriented horizontally. The Cloud-9 product blocks where the light bar goes. Never occurred to me that such a thing would be an issue until I'd already installed the lights and THEN purchased the memory upgrade. So I would either have to go sans light bar, or sans memory. Since I'd already made the modifications to add the light bar (and it looks freakin' SWEEEET!), it's back to the flat PBJ upgrade and a fan.

In addition, the SIMMs stick up and basically cut the CoCo in half and restrict the airflow through the case, particularly if you wish to add the fan on the left side of the case (where the power transformer was). So at least two fans are required to cool the case properly, one on the left side and one vent fan on top or out the back (30-40mm fans fit great, by the way). Which was the original design, but I'd already started mod'ing sans fans.

Another misstep example: I bought an old 220W AT/XT supply because it a) had the voltage labels on it (the modern 350W one doesn't and let's face it, me guessing at which wire does what is a BAD idea) and b) had more of the types of molex connectors I could use. Also, the instructions I have were written for this type of PS. Well, great, but the fan I ordered has the PC motherboard power connector, not the older molex connector. So... I either needs to clip that off and add a molex connector (which I'll have to order), or use a fan plug conversion kit (which I would also have to order). I have to order some molex connector supplies anyhow. And the fun continues...

So now we've got a really hot CoCo and the older memory module that we're going to cool with a single intake fan and the original vents. On the plus side, the SIMM upgrade can pop into my current working CoCo (which is still at 128K) and I can start enjoying the benefits right away. Waa hoo!)

Now some folks reading this may think this is more of a pain is ass than is worth it. But honestly, this is the fun part. After it's built, painted, pimped up and running well with matching drives, MPI and flat panel... well... I'll probably stare at it a few days, take some pictures, and then sell it on eBay to get money for the next project. heh :)

Angel's Luck,

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