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Hi, I'm Iljitsch van Beijnum. These are posts about retrocomputing and other old stuff.

The Battle Royale: benchmarking old computers

On his Youtube channel, Matt Heffernan has a series of 8-bit Battle Royale videos to see which 8-bit computer is fastest. For this, he uses a simple program to calculate the world's lowest resolution mandelbrot set. Still, the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum take minutes to do this in BASIC. It's much faster in assembly.

Watching the videos, I started wondering how 16 or 32 bit computers like the Amiga would perform. Or even the C64 with a C version of the same program. So I made a C version.

Full article / permalink - posted 2022-03-29

Making of the PETSCII typer

I thought it might be interesting to talk a bit about how my PETSCII typer web tool came together.

It all started with the Drop + Matt3O MT3 retro keycap set. I ordered this set because I like the old style key shape that's replicated here. And then as a bonus you get the PETSCII characters we know and love from the Commodore 8 bit computers printed on the front of the keycaps.

Not sure how I ended up there, but I found the Style64 C64 TrueType fonts, which replicate Commodore's take on the ASCII character set, usually referred to as PETSCII because the Commodore PET computer from 1977 introduced it.

So now I can have PETSCII graphical characters on my keyboard and PETSCII on my screen. The one missing thing: pressing a key and having the PETSCII character on that key show up on the screen. That's what the PETSCII typer does.

Full article / permalink - posted 2022-03-26

PETSCII typer: type your favorite C64 characters

A few months ago, I ordered the Drop + Matt3O MT3 retro keycap set:

These keycaps have the cool/retro "PETSCII" characters printed on the front. But how do you actually type those PETSCII characters?

Full article / permalink - posted 2022-03-23

The (dark) magic of Unicode

I thought it was time to ramble on about Unicode and UTF-8 a bit, inspired by the need to convert old Amiga text files that have accents in them that won't display properly on my current Macs. Also some food for thought for programmers.

Read the article - posted 2022-01-30

Longevity of recordable blu-ray discs (BD-R / BD-RE)

So now I got that new optical drive and can start burning CDs, DVDs, BDs (regular 25 and 50 GB blu-ray discs) and BDXLs (newer 100 and 128 GB BDs). But how long will those last?

Full article / permalink - posted 2022-01-09

Optical storage and media in the '20s

Last year I wrote posts about listening to the radio, watching TV and having a landline phone in the 2020s (in Dutch). Today, I want to talk about the place left for optical storage in the 2020s.

Full article / permalink - posted 2022-01-02

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