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Andrew (R.S Admin) @ajroach42

Alright, I need to do some dumb shit to make myself feel better so that I can go back to being a functional member of society.

I'm looking for a keyboard about the size of a model M SSK, with decent-ish switches for less than $200, and maybe a 17-inch CRT.

Anyone know where I could get either of those new or new-ish?

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@gaeel I dunno.

I have a keyboard with some real linear gaterons. (clears, I think?) and that's pretty much the worst typing experience I can imagine.

I need a little resistance when I press the keys.

Linears are terrible for writing, clickies are nice, I recommend Gateron Blues for that
If you're looking for a quieter keyboard, Zealios Purples are really good (like, even for me as a clicky fan, I prefer these now)
You can go Cherry MX Blue (clicky) or Cherry MX Brown (quiet bump) if you want a more available option though

Also, for the SSK format, the keywords you're looking for are "80%", "75%", "tenkeyless" or "TKL"

Alright, here's an updated list of the dumb shit I'm going to try and purchase this weekend:

- Various IBM thinkpads from 1995 - 2002 (via craigslist)
- CRT monitors (trying thrift stores, if no luck then CL)
- a daisy wheel or dot-matrix printer (???)
- USB -> PS/2 keyboard and mouse adapters (microcenter)
- a bunch of cables (mc)
- a bunch of other CF card adapters for HDD and PCMCIA (mc)
- a good keyboard and mouse (mc?)
- an old PC with a 5 1/4" floppy drive (?)

@ajroach42 Is Craigslist really a goldmine of retro/old computing stuff or do you just happen to live in a grand fine ol' part of the world for any of this?

@koenaro I found 1 seller with 4 old thinkpads on CL, and I'm going to look at them tomorrow.

There are always a few CRT monitors, and occasionally they are usually hella cheap.

But I wouldn't call it a goldmine. Just lots of people currently trying to get rid of mid 00s era stuff.

And Microcenter has all the adapters and cables I need. I placed the order, I just need to go pick them up. While I'm there I'll look at keyboards and mice.

I haven't seen any windows 98 or 95 era PCs on CL and no 5 1/4" drives yet, but we'll see how that goes.

@koenaro The deal with CRTs is that they are just hella expensive to ship, you know?

@ajroach42 @koenaro Yeah still got a buncha them in my storage area in my basement, but it almost surely wouldn't be worth it to ship one of them to you from Edmonton, Alberta . . .

Add to this list: tripod, mixing board, headphone rack, any neat looking aurio gear I can find, vintage posters, any computer or video games I stumble across for basically any platform that are from pre 1985 or are on floppy disc, and various midi gear.

If everything goes according to plan, I'll finally start filming my damn tech show on Sunday.

(sorry for the delete and redraft. Voice to text devices that I said dumb when I said damn, and that bothered me enough to repost.)

I have acquired a PC tower. Now I need to make the trek to microcenter (I live within three miles, and I'll drive. It's not a trek) and see if they have
a keyboard I like
an internal CF to IDE adapter
A small CF card
A 3.5" floppy drive
A 5.25" floppy drive
An OPL2 or OPL3 soundcard
A 4:3 monitor.

I know they have a dot matrix printer, but I don't know if I'm willing to pay full price for a new dog matrix printer.

Their website indicates that they have at least some of the items on this list, and that they might have others, depending on what they haven't sold out of stock yet.

At the very least I should be able to get the CF card and adapter, the dotmatrix printer, a keyboard (though possibly not one I like?), And a sound blaster compatible soundcard (which isn't what I was after, but it'll do if that's all they have.)

They may also have a 3.5" diskette drive and a 4:3 monitor.

Chances of them having a 5.25" floppy drive appear vanishingly small.

I wanna get one that has a native resolution that's a whole number multiple.of 320x240, but that seems unlikely.

Lmao. That'd be ludicrous.

Imagine playing commander Keen at 5x scaling.

I'll look.

I managed to snag teoonitors at a thrift store for $5. I'm fairly certain each of them is 1280x960 which is a solid 4x 320x240 so I should get something close to decent scaling!

I snagged two 4:3 monitors, two tripods, a pair of computer speakers, and a flipping sweet ninja turtles poster from a (not actually very) local thrift store for a total of $50.

I figured I'd spend that much on a single tripod, so I'm calling that a win.

It appears the monitors are natively 1280 x 960? If that's the case I should be able to run DOS games on them very well.

@ajroach42 They may be very googlable. There (used to be) standard lists of monitors with all sorts of data on their capabilities, so I'm sure that the internet remembers.

Unfortunately, there are three or four models with *very* similar model numbers, differing in their aspect ratio and therefore horizontal resolution, which resulted in some mixed information.

Based on my quick research, I think what I posted here is correct, but some sources list this model number with a widescreen resolution (which it isn't) or with a couple of others.

I'll find out when I hook it up tonight.

@ajroach42 By the way, as a random thought, are you looking for a theme tune for your retrotech madness show?

I might be able to oblige.

I am! I found some CC licensed mod files and some FM synth stuff that I need to sort through, but I haven't found anything that wowed me yet.

@ajroach42 OK, hang on a while and I'll deliver you a candidate tune.

Or at least a sketch on which I can develop a theme.

@ajroach42 Glad you like it! How much did you want? Usually themes are just used as snippets, so I didn't create lots, and it's eminently loopable.

About thirty seconds is just about perfect. 15 seconds or so over the titles at the intro and then longer with a possible loop as needed over the closing credits.

@ajroach42 OK, then let me extend it with a closer, so that you can fiddle it as needed. But what I just put up is just over 30 seconds.

Right! It's perfect!

If you wanna toss a fade or some kind of a close on there, that'd be awesome. You've got the sound of the era down though.

Lemme know what I owe you.

@ajroach42 An honourable offer, but this one's a freebie.

Although I would appreciate credit: Theme music by Jan Koekepan.

And if you want to link my bandcamp, I wouldn't say no.

@ajroach42 How music-savvy are you? Ever used trackers or anything like that?

I'm not a musician, but I have worked in studios.


OK, then I doubt my sunvox source file would do you much good.

So looking over my original list, several of the trickiest items have been acquired very cheaply.

There are really only three difficult items left to source:
3.5" Internal floppy
5.25" internal floppy
Dot matrix printer

@ajroach42 4:3's are normally 1280x1024 - and yes they're dirt cheap second hand. 3.5" floppies shouldn't be that hard to get; I can see the 5.25" can be a bit trickier. Dot matrix printers are still made - at quite a price. The Epson FX/RX (or at a push MX/TX) are good ones originally from the early 80s.

@penguin42 @ajroach42 Here's a nice article on a company that does data recovery, transfer, and translation from old disks and tapes.

Microcenter was a surprising bust.

I was unable to find *any* PATA/IDE HDDs, and while I'm certain that they carry a keyboard I would have been happy with, their keyboard selection was so horrifically trashed that I couldn't navigate it.

I did find a VGA cable, but I'm not about to stand in line for twenty minutes to over pay for a VGA cable.

Their website is actually not horrible so I'll do a site to store order later maybe.


Also check out tiger direct. I've found them helpful and they have a big catalogue.

@ajroach42 Did you manage to get the CF and CF to IDE adapter you mentioned? I know that Win XP had huge issues with trying to boot the OS off a CF due to block size issues. Only a few brands of CF cards had tools that allowed you to change the block size and work around the limitation.

I didn't end up getting anything at microcenter, but I'll grab one eventually.

I'll keep that in mind if I have to go with XP.

@ajroach42 No idea if that's an issue with any of the SSD to IDE adaptors either. I remember having to build a reproducible setup of a touchscreen PC with no moving parts for use on trains (as a cash register) and yeah, that was the biggest stumbling block. Machine even had a CF card slot to boot off, but you needed a properly prepared CF card. I know about 35 of them ended up in the field for many years.

geremy spoke up in classes this day

@ajroach42 You can get SATA<->IDE converter boards cheaply on Amazon; they're bidirectional, so depending which port you plug things into you can either convert an IDE disk to plug into SATA, or a SATA disk to plug into an IDE board.

The board has SATA on it, I just assumed that Windows 98 wouldn't be able to see the data drives. I haven't checked to see if the bios does legacy emulation.

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@ajroach42 Not the point, I know, but can we see the turtles poster?

It is entirely the point! Vintage style posters were explicitly on my shopping list.

It's in the back of the truck, which is a mess, so this is the best shot I can get right now.

It's actually wood backed, and appears to have been made circa 2012, but it's the right style of illustration (the original cartoon) so I'm not complaining.


Trying to decorate my "studio" space that I'm going to be using to shoot this tech show I've been working on, and this will make an excellent addition to that.