Like to thank the late great Jim Butterfield for getting me into assembly language programming for the 6502/6510 so many years ago. So lucky to be able to have taken a class in person with him and others who wanted to learn. Most of which I have forgotten, except for the techniques. That was a time when Commodore gave out information about their machines. They were open source before open source was ever coined as a term. You could get documentation about the c=64 by the truckload.  Think I had most of the Compute books and many of the magazines available at the time. My brother first had me interested in the Vic 20 and eventually the Commodore 64. To be able to use a monitor and a keyboard was awesome compared to the punch cards we had to use on an old IBM 360 model 40 to learn Fortran in college.

Anyway, some things have never changed. Companies want to prevent you from using your equipment to the fullest. A company that is not longer around made a third party modem that exceeded the abilities of the Commodore modem.  A modem allows your computer to send and receive electronic data over the phone line. With the internet, no one really uses them anymore. Like many people, we bought that third party modem for it’s extra capabilities. Unfortunately, the software that came with the modem was less than useful. When you tried to use the modem software for the Commodore modem, the modem did not respond. Many many people were preturbed by this to say the least. My understanding was that the sales of the modem subsided when the general Commodore computing public found out.

You could not return the modem back to the store as their shrink wrap agreement virtually prevented you from doing that. Thank goodness the courts have since outlawed such agreements. What to do? What to do? Research. Now the tools used in using 6510 assembly language become extremely valuable. You needed to examine the software for the third party modem to see how it worked. You also needed to know how the existing Commodore modems worked so you could examine the differences.  The software for the third party modem was in ones and zeros that only the computer could understand. You needed a program called a disassembler to translate back the one’s and zeros back to something that was human readable to an assembly language programmer. There were many available at the time. Tricky was the fact that the maker of the third party modem, did not want you to modify that is change their program. Today many companies do not even want you to examine their programs or code, so they make you agree to not look at the code. Some companies like a certain company from Japan gets a bit anal about it.  No problem. had no intentions of modifying their code.

Need a little back ground here. Every machine has what is known as internal memory or as it known as ram. You would think you can use all the ram for you own use. That is not exacly true. Some of the memory or mailboxes are for the computer to send and receive data from the many parts of hardware attached to it. That is exactly what the modem does to send and receive data. Generally everyone tries to use the same mailboxes to remain compatible with other hardware. What the third party modem maker did was to use different mailboxes or memory locations in the operation of their modem. Not cool. So now it was time to examine the software to see where the new mailboxes were located. With a little detective work we eventually found them. Now all we had to do to use software for the Commodore modem with that modem was to change the code so it looked at the corrent mailboxes.

Back then there was not that much software, so you wrote most of the software you needed for your own special needs. Ironicallly, if the software for the third party modem had been better than that the software for the Commodore modem, no issues would have ever been raised. People want the best, not just what you allow them to have. Ironically the company that made the third party modem had been more open with their modem, they would have done much better in the marketplace.  Something that companies today should take heed of. Again Thanks Mr. Butterfield for allowing me to create better software from the third party software with what you taught us.

Note: you may never really program in assembly for most projects, but it is good to know for the special situations like in this article.


Feel like App stores and epub sites have too much control over your commuting computing devices. Well you are no alone. That is the general feeling from all the people who have seen ebooks and or applications either locked down or mysteriously missing. You do not feel as if you own the touchpad or the like. Chances are the web browser on your touchpad, will never be tampered with except for being updated.  Too many local applications on your device can also clutter up storage space.

What can be another option. You can use your own web server, or lease on-line web space, or use a web hosting service to use your own web applications. In earlier articles, I have talked about how you can write your own progrems for web use. You can actually get quite a few web based applications that are open source from the likes of and other sites if you do not want to reinvent the wheel. There are so many programs available, from cooking to advanced business application like enterprise resource planning.  I have done several instructables about web  that you might be itnerested in at:

The nice thing about using as much web based software as you can is that you only have to update just a web server setup and not hundreds of desktop machines when updates come out for the software you use, Using the web also makes software compatible across platforms. Your need for a particular platform is lessened. It does not matter whether you have Android, Apple , Microsoft, Linux, BSD, Unix, or a host of other platforms as long as you can use a browser.

What is really interesting is that  you can take a device such as a Raspberry Pi (under fifty dollars) that only uses a few watts of power and let it be your web server,, so the need for a hosting service is becoming less and less a necessity. If you wanted to run a blog from the Raspberry Pi you can easily do so with open source software such as Flatpress.

You can get more information about setting up a blog on a Raspberry Pi based web server at: Much better than refrigerator magnets!  Not so long ago there was a device from HP that was pulled from the market for alleged lack of software. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just a real bad bit of marketing.  You do not have to go to the apps store always to get some really fine software. And if it is on your server, only you can restrict the use of it. Freedom!


Nowadays people use the Arduino and the Raspverry Pi to control all sorts of motors and other things. but also older computers can do the same thing with the parallel port. In, fact, you can add several parallel port cards to even make a cnc machine,  is a good article about using the l293d chip as what is known as a h bridge with the parallel port.

Note: In Qbasic you can control the parallel port with

out 888, 0

instead of



Had a tripod, but the digital camera did not have a place for the screw from the tripod. No problem. a bit of pvc and a nut now allows the camera to have new uses.

#Santa‘s workshop is putting another old pc back to work with #openbsd or#tinycore linux for someone.

Installed Tinycore linux.

Many networking systems such as firewalls and routers run some type of Bsd. Even the mac osx traditionally has been run on bsd underneath. Rumor has it though ios will replace the current format. Installed Openbsd on a system I call a Pentium 1.5. It was the AMD Socket 7 upgrade to the traditional Pentium 1.

Keyboard shelf for a rack.
Upgraded server from sDebia nqueeze to wheezy. Since no installed desktop, all went well.


Did have to download the firmware-linux-nonfree package and install it.
One neet trick,  I found to use old versions f ubuntu witht he last known repo is to change  the sources .list file. for example, the cdrom sources.list file is:

deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 5.10 _Breezy Badger_ – Release i386 (20051012)]/ breezy main restricted
## Uncomment the following two lines to fetch updated software from the network
# deb breezy main restricted
# deb-src breezy main restricted

## Uncomment the following two lines to fetch major bug fix updates produced
## after the final release of the distribution.
# deb breezy-updates main restricted
# deb-src breezy-updates main restricted

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the ‘universe’
## repository.
## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in
## universe WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu security
## team.
# deb breezy universe
# deb-src breezy universe

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the ‘backports’
## repository.
## N.B. software from this repository may not have been tested as
## extensively as that contained in the main release, although it includes
## newer versions of some applications which may provide useful features.
## Also, please note that software in backports WILL NOT receive any review
## or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
# deb breezy-backports main restricted universe multiverse
# deb-src breezy-backports main restricted universe multiverse

# deb breezy-security main restricted
# deb-src breezy-security main restricted

# deb breezy-security universe
# deb-src breezy-security universe

and instead use:

deb breezy main restricted universe multiverse
deb breezy-updates main restricted universe multiverse
deb breezy-security main restricted universe multiverse
deb breezy-backports main restricted universe multiverse


$sudo apt-get update  &&sudo apt-get upgrade

$sudo apt-get dist-upgrade.

to reflect the changes

Your in business. No more updates after that though.


You know your a geek when you use wire cutters to trim your fingernails.


Pork steak and gravy + trimmings.


Good day.