Mosh 2004 At Cheshunt Computer Club
snow but Shiuming Lai
and the gang still enjoy one of the best seasonal
the grief of getting to October's CCC meeting,
which itself lasted all of 30 minutes by the
time I got there, I decided to give November
a miss and concentrate on work and the magazine.
All was shaping up for a superb Christmas party,
though. Rob Perry was to make his second visit
to the club with a ton of new widgets including
some that he never managed to even touch the
last time he came. Somewhere in between, he
had bought Steve Sweet's old Atari 8-bit gear
and was going through the best bits, and there
was the mint 130XE he had last time, which had
been boosted in memory, but more of that later!
less frequent visitors determined to make this
meeting included MyAtari's Matthew Preston,
we had spent ages discussing what to bring and
show, and it would be a good chance to catch
up. As usual, there were last-minute panics
all the way up to the day, including some major
suspension-all-in-pieces work on my car the day before, and
suspected tracking problems on Matthew's car,
on the day! Yes, we love it when everything
happens at once, at the most inopportune moment...
Fortunately both of these were resolved otherwise
this club report would end right about here.
decided to go to Steve's house first. Steve
was going to give Rob a lift, rather than going
in two separate cars, but considering the
amount of kit Rob was packing, this was not
such a good idea, especially as I was also bringing
a coffin-sized box of computer junk for Steve
to take away. So it was with great difficulty
that Rob followed Steve doing his Michael Schumacher
impersonation around the M25.
meeting is well underway. Rob
is reading some instructions
but that's just for the camera,
real techies never read instructions.
Smith checking out the latest
English language issue of the
French ST Magazine.
I arrived there was the familiar sound of a
computer meeting, most people had already arrived,
including Matthew Preston. He was keen to show
me what I considered to be one of the two highlights
of the meeting, that is, his new mobile phone
stuffed with a 512 MB Mini SD flash memory card, loaded
with an Atari VCS 2600 emulator and practically
the entire library of games ever released for
that machine! He was particularly pleased as
he received this new handset as a free upgrade
from his service provider.
I remember not long
before, he was showing me an official Atari-licensed
product (Atari Retro - see left) featuring yet again some remakes of
a few VCS titles, headed by that travesty of
the new Atari logo but otherwise a pretty decent
little package, though of course no match for
his new emulator!
another person packing 512 MB into a sleeper
was Rob Perry, who arrived a little later with
Steve and the contents of his local B&Q
in tow. Rob's got one of those IDE host adapter
boards from Mr Atari in the Netherlands, hoping
to build in a 2.5" notebook sized hard
disk, which is perfectly feasible, as I first
saw way back at Unconventional 2001 in Germany.
Matthew Preston didn't have any luck with a
number of 2.5" mechanisms on his adapter
and more or less gave up, and Rob didn't fare
much better with an Apple-sourced drive. The
solution? Connect the IDE adapter to a Compact
Flash to IDE adapter and shove in a gargantuan
memory card! 512 MB is incomprehensibly spacious
for the Atari VCS, less so for the
more advanced Atari 8-bit computers but still
plentiful enough to load 32 different operating
systems and far more software than could possibly
be demonstrated in an evening lasting no more
than three hours.
see from the photo immediately below that the
set-up is rather tidy, save for the excess length
of IDE cable but that's nothing we couldn't
solve with a scalpel and IDC crimping tool.
Do be careful with unnecessarily long cables,
things just don't work as reliably due
to radio frequency interference issues. Officially
IDE cables should be no longer than 18"
- I've regularly seen ones made up to 24"
and as much as 28" long, and they have
to be cut down, losing one connector in the
process, in order to function properly. My supplier
at work tells me he's never heard of such a
thing and that he even specifically orders ones
that are much longer because his computers need
them. He obviously hasn't tried to install or
use the machines his company builds!
Sweet undertakes some soldering,
in between munching sausage
reading the latest issue of
Retro Gamer magazine.
West looking busy.
was easily the best turnout I've seen
at the club, there were familiar faces as well
as new members all having a good time and catching
up, planning ahead and working on projects,
it was positively buzzing.
It's just a pity that meetings can't be longer
or more frequent, as for some people it's a
considerable journey, though I think the quality
of time spent here is worth it. There is always
JagFest for the extended get-togethers,
talking of which I can't wait for the next.
again, club member Fred brought an impressive
of delicious morsels prepared by his good wife,
to feed a hungry computer club! Many thanks
to Fred for this, we should all treat him and
his wife to dinner at the next meeting. Such
events are always most enjoyable when everyone
participates, something that is commonplace
at the Cheshunt Computer Club, so why not come
along and see for yourself?
you're coming to the club for
the first time, look out for
Preston's Orange SPV C500 phone running
a slick emulation of Atari
Come to think
of it, just as well it didn't snow otherwise
the hall would have been closed and the meeting
would have been cancelled.