Robert Bernardo and Dick Estel
The third Sunday of the year was cold, with dark, cloudy skies, and
rain expected any time. This was on the heels of weeks of record
rain that brought deadly flooding to California. However, it was warm and welcoming inside the Panera Bread
restaurant at Shaw and Marty in Fresno, as members of the Fresno Commodore User Group gathered for lunch,
conversation, and computer stuff. On hand were Robert Bernardo,
Roger Van Pelt, Bruce Nieman, Dick Estel and Michael Calkin.
Pre-meeting conversation during lunch touched on the variety of
drones now available and enhanced movie experiences in theatres,
such as 3-D, ScreenX, 4DX, and even Sensurround, the much older
technology of theater seats that shook during the 1974 Charlton
Heston disaster epic, “Earthquake.”
Plans are pretty well set for the 2023 edition of the Commodore L.A.
Super Show (CLASS) in April. A generous donation from Lenard Roach
covered the last $121 of the 2022 deficit, as well as providing $20
toward 2023 rental costs. The show will feature a class on using
BASIC 7.0/7.8 to create a simple C128 game, and a possible Zoom
visit from the owner of the Commodore name, based in Italy
Also in April, Robert will show various vintage computers at the Los
Angeles Maker Faire at the Los Angeles
Park. He thinks there will
be 3 or 4 computer systems at the Classic Los Angeles Computers
exhibit – an Ultimate 64 or TheC64, an Amiga 600, and an Atari
800XL and/or Texas Instruments TI-99/4A.
Robert is looking forward to receiving a Mega65 from Trenz
Electronics in Germany. This update of the almost legendary C65 (fewer than 200 prototypes
were produced) comes in at $830, including Euro conversion,
shipping, and the wire transfer fee (no other payment options were
Robert let us know that the jillions of things available on the
Internet now include an archive of Radio Shack catalogs from 1939 to
2011 when this iconic chain slowly faded out of existence.
Our attention next turned to a demonstration of TheC64 (none dare
call it a Commodore), with the newly acquired C64 Enhancer flash
drive containing over 800 C64 games and over 100 VIC-20 games.
Another flash drive from Retro8BitShop offered the top 100 games.
Member Michael got on TheC64, bouncing from game to game without
ever really concentrating on one.
He had that same attitude when Robert brought out the Amiga 600 with
its Arcade Game Selector II, a menu system that showed a thumbnail
picture of each game screen on the Amiga’s hard drive. With the
AGS II and hundreds of games loaded on the hard drive, it was easy
for him to select one to play… much too easy because he looked
from thumbnail to thumbnail without really deciding on one. Robert
finally picked one for him, ML Tank, an Amiga version of the
classic, wire-frame Tank game. Even on the A600’s unaccelerated
7.14 MHz speed, the game ran very quickly, the tanks zooming around
the landscape on the screen. Michael became engrossed in the game
for... a few minutes.
Next, Roger’s venerable VIC-20 was powered up, running the
TRIANGULAR microOS. This upgrade required use of a RAM
expander. Another variation of the TRIANGULAR microOS for the
C128 was also presented. As
old-time GEOS users, everybody appreciated the effort done to make
TRIANGULAR easy to use, and though it came with a few built-in
applications, was it really necessary to boot up a graphical user
interface in order to use a Commodore? Michael played with the
settings of the OS and changed the colors and screen pattern.
Instead of using a classic ham radio, Roger loaded up a ham radio
program on his laptop PC that accessed weather stations in Germany
and the Netherlands. Incoming data was then fed through a Kantronics device to
translate it into plain text on the club’s Commodore 128 (in C64
mode). This was a fairly specialized version of “plain text,”
much of it consisting of radio shorthand comprehensible only to
Roger. Later, Roger tuned into stations in the United States
and found one where the user was speaking mostly in normal English.
Robert urged Roger to have this as a filmed presentation for CLASS