The ISA-Bus

One blog to bind them all.

Accidental Wallpaper

Accidental Wallpaper

So I accidentally hit the shutter release while the camera was pointing in some random direction. I was about to delete the photo and then I thought, hey, that makes a fairly cool wallpaper. Click through, full size is 2560×1920.

Is anybody interested in buying Download Central?

I’m seriously considering selling it. If you’re interested, comment on this post, and I’ll contact you.

MobyGames is its Old Self Again!

From what I read on Wikipedia, yet another company bought it three days ago and gave it back its former design. I only noticed just now.

The Growing Web

The web grows a lot faster than the Internet itself, at least if you measure the Internet by the number of people connected to it and the WWW by the number of results from a Google search. According to Pingdom, there were 361 million Internet users in 2000, and not quite two billion in 2010, more than five times as many. Internet World Stats, the number was 2.4 billion in mid 2012.

Now I came across an old page of mine, from mid 2002, where I had written:

It is astonishing how many websites contain the words “dumb” or “stupid” in their titles or are otherwise devoted to proclaiming that some third party fits either description. A Google search for “stupid” returned 4.5 million pages. Combining it with “dumb” reduced the number to half a million, still more than, for example, surrealism (158.000), LAN party (100.000), or Ian Fleming (30.700).

I decided to repeat these searches now, and got the following results:

  • Stupid: 230,000,000
  • Stupid+dumb: 97,700,000
  • Surrealism: 7,380,000
  • LAN party: 17,700,000
  • Ian Fleming: 6,590,000

While the number of Internet users has increased less than seven times in thirteen years, the number of Google results has increased between 50 and 200 times in eleven years.

And stupid is still a big topic.

I’m selling a Roland MT-32 on eBay

Years ago, I bought two Roland MT-32s. Now I’ve finally decided which one to keep and put the other one on eBay. It’s a first generation one, the serial number is 840068.

The metal parts of the case are somewhat scratched, the plastic part around the volume control a bit rubbed. This is not uncommon, these devices were often originally owned by musicians, not gamers, and may have been taken on tour. The rubber feet are missing and should be replaced, since the module now rests on some screws and will scratch any surface it sits on.

I’m selling it without a power supply, since I have only one of these. That shouldn’t be a problem. It seems that power supplies are mostly interchangeable between Roland devices, and are still sold. I found prices around $8 for the USA, £10 for the UK, €18 for continental Europe, all on eBay.

A first generation MT-32 is the best choice for most American games at least up to around 1992. Dune II still sounds better on it. For British games, an LAPC-I or CM-32L is usually the better choice.

I’m selling some other computer stuff as well and will sell more in the next time. You might want to keep an eye on it.

Post-auction update: It went up to €80.


“Have you forgiven your enemies, Generalissimo?”
“I have no enemies, Monsignore.”
“Everyone has enemies, Generalissimo.”
“Not me. I had them all shot.”

Tumblr Dislikes Firefox

Tumblr supports Chrome a lot better than it supports Firefox. When they introduce a new feature, or change something, it usually works in Chrome from the beginning, but may take quite some time till it works in Firefox. Such was the case, for example, with the new editor introduced earlier this year.

Now there’s something especially weird. The Esquire theme (I use it for Vivat Crescat Floreat, Thirteen to Fifty, and The Latin World) shows an ugly anthracite bar at the top of the page—in Firefox, but not in Chrome.

Five Games of Submarine Warfare

Sub Battle Simulator

Sub Battle Simulator (1987) is the oldest submarine game in this collection. It runs in CGA only. The demo allows five minutes of gameplay.

688 Attack Sub

688 Attack Sub (1989) is a complex simulation and was one of the first commercial VGA games. The demo is rather elaborate, you can see some screenshots here.

U-Boot Jagd

U-Boot Jagd (1993) is a German Windows game by Michael Roessmann. It is not a simulation, but a puzzle game, a bit like Minesweeper, a bit like Mastermind and a bit like Black Box.


SinkSub by Anders Wihlborg has become something of a classic and is now available for iPhone. Unlike U-Boot Jagd, it is a simulation of actual combat.

USS Sub Battle

USS Sub Battle by Geoffrey Miller is the newest game, ten years after Sub Battle Simulator. It is somewhat similar to SinkSub, just the other way round: You control a submarine attacked by other subs, destroyers, and choppers. unfortunately I couldn’t get it to run properly on anything, neither XP nor Win32s. It is probably 95/98 only.

Two Cards on One Port

Common wisdom has it that you can’t have two devices set to the same port. This may not be true in all cases. At the moment, I have a 286 with a Roland SCC-1 and a Sound Blaster 2.0 (CT1350B). The SCC-1 is set to the default value of 330h, and the MIDI port of the Sound Blaster cannot be configured anyway.

Yet they both work. I can play General MIDI files with the SCC-1, play games with an external module hooked up to the SCC-1, and play MT-32 MIDI files with an external module hooked up to the Sound Blaster’s MIDI port (which both GSPlay and MegaMID support).

The only program that can get confused by this setting is Roland’s CSSCHK utility. Sometimes it works fine, sometimes it reports, not incorrectly, that the port is taken up by another device, and won’t let me set the SCC-1 into MT-32 emulation mode. That’s not really a problem since there are other ways to do this.

Useless Information


Yes, I know. I’m not that senile.