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Democracy or …….

          In a couple of days or so the United States is going to see whether we still want a democracy or whether it’s become too hard. In the last 30 years or so the party in power does lose in mid Presidential term elections, sometimes only narrowly, sometimes big as the American public gets to choose a different path with their vote.  The difference this time is that all up and down the ballot and even local town elections have 2020 election deniers running and some unopposed.  Despite overwhelming factual indication that there is and was no wide scale voter fraud, these people continue to pump the lie and sow distrust in our institutions and our election integrity. They make it even harder for all legitimate voters to exercise their right to vote with restriction after restriction. And even advocate violence if they don’t get their way.

Their only other favorite rallying cry is cut taxes. But wait if you cut taxes you have to cut services and the bulk of the tax cuts do not find their way into your bank accounts average Joe and Jane ever, under any circumstances, of any useful amount. All that does is strip the federal, state and local government of the ability to protect our waterways, lakes and parks, keep dangerous people off the streets, keep profiteers from taking our natural resources without fair compensation and make sure that everyone is paying their fair share of taxes, feed our poor and reward our senior citizens for decades of hard work so they have a roof over their head and food on the table and clothes on their body when they can no longer provide for themselves . And that’s just a small number of governmental duties. We do not benefit from cutting taxes. But they and their moneyed overlords do.

They hope to gin up enough fear and anger that you will not think twice about handing over the most powerful tool you have as a voter to make changes in who governs us. More and more of them are saying the quiet part out loud, once in power they will do anything necessary to make sure there are no more elections that they lose.  Even if that means falsifying election results or refusing to certify results that don’t go their way. It’s not a democracy when the election always supports the party in power. If that happens we will cease being a democracy and begin the fall into autocracy, fascism or worse.

With the demise of a woman’s right to chose what happens to her own body, all females of any age with the ability to conceive have already been regulated to near slavery to the state’s wishes and in the name of someone else’s religion.   I’m talking about you Oklahoma and all the other states like you.  The hypocrisy of running in an election that you will not accept a loss in is as bad as claiming you are pro-life when you refuse to mandate any necessary expenditure to support that life beyond birth.   When you refuse to concede an election defeat, when you refuse to allow birth control choice, it’s simply about controlling another person for your own benefit.

It may seem to be an ephemeral thing, democracy, hard to pin down. After all commerce still goes on in Russia, people still raise their kids and live their lives in China. Life happens every day everywhere in the world without democracy. Despite all our problems, we have had the power to better our lives by compromise and our vote. And we have, despite what the nay sayers say. When we lose democracy, life becomes much harder to live in part because we lose even more power to control our own lives. Forget about someone else’s. Don’t allow that to slip away from you.

I want to believe we aren’t that stupid, but I fear we maybe. We may see the last free and fair election for some time on Nov 8th 2022.

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A Major Change in store

After many years of serving the Atari 8bit world and contributing to several major hardware developments such as the 1088XEL and 1088XLD projects as well as developing my own hardware projects, I have decided to take a back step in the hardware sales. I will continue to develop some remaining projects, but my eyesight is not what it used to be and the strain on resources to continue to produce low yield hardware is more than I can handle any more. Supply chain woes have only ex calibrated existing problems. Family issues over the last six months have also sapped me. But I have enjoyed the ride and wouldn’t have had it any other way. 🙂

Thank you.

Going forward into the new year I plan to revamp the website to be more an information site along the lines of Mytek’s site. I will be releasing all hardware projects, (except those currently under contract) to public domain, with the only requirement that acknowledgement of mine and contributions from others with me be given. Until then I will sell out all inventory that I can, but will not take any back-orders. Sometimes I will find a hidden board that escaped the last search, but don’t count on it. I may not have parts to complete the board and won’t be purchasing any more. I will offer these orphaned boards as they are discovered.

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Shop is still open for orders, but……

I am sorry to tell you that I have a family emergency that has blown up. My step father is in the hospital, (not with COVID19) in Arizona. My brother and I are leaving in the morning. They will not release him to his own devices. Apparently his mental capacity has degraded to the point that he needs 24/7 monitoring. Any orders placed will be delayed for however long it takes me to get back. I hoping not more than a week or two.

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International shipments halted for now

I’ve had several international shipments ‘lost’ within the continental US boarders in the last two months, with the US Postal Service refusing to take any responsibility for in conus delivery of First Class International Parcel packages to the post offices own Chicago Il International Distribution Center. I could understand once it leaves the US customs bound for whatever country it’s going to, but I refuse to accept that the Postal Service is not responsible for mail delivery inside this country. I mean that’s their job, that’s their very reason for existence. My customers are paying a pretty penny for shipping to their country and the US Post Office can’t even get the package to the place where it’s handed over to Customs. This results in having to refund purchase prices with one of us eating the shipping costs.

In a couple of other cases shipping has been so slow with no tracking of the package that when the customer complained about it (rightfully so) I have initiated a refund, only to finally see weeks later the package suddenly reappear in tracking outbound from Customs to whatever country it was addressed to.

I know COVID19 is a big reason, but it’s only one part of the problem. My position is that if you sell First Class International Mail service with restrictions and I abide by those restrictions, then by God do your job and deliver the mail to the hand off point at Customs. Or don’t call it First Class because it’s not first class service and for pete’s sake don’t charge me like it is.

It’s only been a few weeks, but it looks like things may have stabilized a little. I’ll allow international orders again as a trial. Hopefully I won’t regret it. Be aware that shipping is still slow, but I have more hope that at least the packages are moving.

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Thankgiving 2020

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday.  There’s a lot of fables and assumptions associated with it, but essentially it’s a day that’s been set aside to be be thankful for all good things that have happened.  We tend to get as many family members together as possible, drunk uncles, babies, obnoxious cousins, feuding sister in laws, complete strangers and all.  Most of the time we manage not to kill each other with mountains of food and drink, knives or guns.  Only occasionally we burn down the house trying to deep fry a turkey.  We swear we won’t do it ever again and then find ourselves piling into the car, plane, bus or train to get back to whichever family member’s home is big enough to host the entire family zoo the following year. 

      This year was different of course.  We traded food dishes, someone cooked ham, someone made their special desert, someone else made their special signature food dish.  But we each ate peacefully in our separate houses.  And dreaded the return of normalcy for next year.   😊

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It seems 2020 will never end

It’s been a number of months since I’ve posted here. Not many of them very pleasant. Covid19 has cast a shadow over nearly every aspect of life. I find myself spending way too much time reading the news about it, following the political fights over it, being more in solitude because of it and wearing a mask everywhere I go now because of it. And yet I’ve had it easy. I haven’t gotten sick because of it or been hospitalized or died from it. I haven’t even lost my job because of it, as so many have. When you look at it from that perspective I have nothing to complain about or feel sorry for myself.

I have tried to keep busy, juggling several projects at once. Now finally I’ve finished three I was doing for MacRorie and TBA. I’ve turned over the gerbers and firmware and BOM for three projects just this past week. He’ll have pictures and more info on his website in the next month or so.

  1. Atari 1030 – incorporates Mytek’s power supply circuit for the 1088XLD, my XF551 based circuitry modified to support both 3.5″ standard and NEC slim line floppy drives with front panel drive id switching, reset and OS selector with dual LED track display in a 1050 disk drive case.
  2. PBI2CF3 – a modified Mytek IDE2CF3 board that plugs into the 600/800XL PBI connector. On U1MB equipped 600/800XL you can use CF cards just like you can do on the 1088XEL/1088XLD computers.
  3. 130XE2CF3- a modified Mytek IDE2CF3 board that plugs into a U1MB equipped 130XE ECI/Cartridge port and allows you to use CF cards as large storage devices like you can do on the 1088XEL/1088XLD computers

I’m also working on two daughter boards for the new Atari clone 576NUC by Mytek. These new daughter boards will implement the new Fujinet circuit internally and adapt the SDrive Max circuit as a builtin. Currently I am waiting on the second set of proto boards to come in from the board house.

The work on the Super SIO2IO board has slowed as I work out both the Fujinet hardware implementation and an Arduino Mega based printer buffer that I intend to add. I still plan to have a functioning proto type by the end of the year. Yes it’s been delayed, but I am still working on it little by little.

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Good News on 1088XEL PIC MCU programming


Over the last few days I’ve been working on a pdf/video combination that would give the 1088XEL DIYers more information on how to program 1088XEL PIC MCUs using a PICKit3 Clone programmer and the MPLAB X IDE software. Finally got most of it done now.

Currently I only have a handmade adapter for 8 and 18 pin PICs, but I should be recieving a new PIC Adapter designed especially to handle all four of the PICS used in the 1088XEL build. Once they are in and I have one assembled, I’ll finish the group of videos with a short one on how to use the PIC adapter with both the JOY2PC and PICKit3 programmers.

In the meantime here are the pdf/video combinations I currently have available.

General PICKit3/MPLAB X IDE Info PDF

General PICKit3 Clone info:


1088XEL PIC MCU programming info for MPLAB X IDE and Programmer2Go PICKit3 function:






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Yesterday, website nuked by mistake…..

It was bound to happen at some point.   No person is perfect.  In fact most people would agree that if they do most things half right most of the time they are satisfied in their perfection.  Well… I guess I am satisfied.  🙂

I was in the process of trying to add additional features for the 1090XLR project to the domain when I veered off course and started doing clean up from past mistakes.  I had some orphaned databases and folders that were left over.  The orphaned databases were easy to deal with.  But then I discovered a scripted uninstall app in the Cpanel of the website domain manager.  It was listing several lingering breadcrumbs to failed or abandoned projects.  So happy that I had an easier way to clean the site up, I started selecting the orphaned breadcrumbs for deletion/uninstalling.  Only the listing was slow in updating and in the process I selected the active app for deletion.   WTF???!!!

Four hours later I finally had a functioning website back.  Fortunately I had done a brute force backup of the website, late last November and so I was able to use it to get back up.   So right after I finish writing this post, I plan to make a backup both on the domain and off-site.  I really did have other things to do yesterday and I don’t want to repeat this.  Especially since there are so many other things to only get half right most of the time.  🙂