Welcome aboard.

These are the random jottings of Andy Collins, a Fifty-something bloke who still thinks a blog or website is a good idea.

Here you will find small nuggets of information about Hovercraft, retro-computing and other stuff that amuses me or appeals to my sense of wonder.

Recent posts

It’s been a while since I posted anything here and so I thought I would share a bit of news about the Interak-1. A little while ago I posted that I had updated the VDU card to 64 columns but hadn’t got the software up to speed with its new-found real estate. Well, now I … Continue reading Interak 64 Column monitor ROM

This is a bit of a short post. I built a CF card adapter in my last post and here we are testing it. The problem is it has a strange effect on my Interak. If I have a CF card in the slot and I press Reset, the machine hangs. This is odd. I’ve … Continue reading Interak Compact Flash adapter – Part 2.

I have been making good progress with the Interak-1 and having a lot of fun on the way. I have made an adapter so that I can use a modern USB keyboard. I completed the VDU2K video board that was given to me with the machine so now I want to improve its storage. My … Continue reading Interak Compact Flash adapter – Part 1.

Interak VDU2K progress.

4th January 2017

In my previous post I talked about a second VDU card that came with my Interak-1. This is a VDU2K and supports 64×25 characters in its 2K of video memory. When I finished the card and plugged it in, it mostly worked but there were problems. Clearly the monitor ROM was expecting half the resolution … Continue reading Interak VDU2K progress.

Interak video card upgrade.

5th November 2016

When I received the Interak-1 it had two video cards. One (VDU-K) was finished and working. The other had all of the passive components fitted – resistors, capacitors etc – but the semiconductors had not been added. I wasn’t sure why there was the second card at first as they both looked the same but … Continue reading Interak video card upgrade.

This is just a quick post. I’ve spent some of the afternoon in a happy state re-living the 1980’s by typing in a hex dump from a magazine and spotting my mistyping. The magazine in question was Interaktion – newsleter No. 2 from the Interak user group and as you can see, the program is … Continue reading Interak keyboard – proof of the pudding

In my last two posts I wrote about how I made an adapter for my 1980’s Interak-1 computer so that it could make use of USB keyboards as the original Alphameric keyboard had failed. Those posts were a bit rushed and the adapter was still a work in progress. It’s finished now and so in … Continue reading Retrochallenge 2016/2 – Interak keyboard wrap-up

In my last post I started setting up my stall and wrote a simply Arduino sketch to read a character from the Hobbytronics USB keyboard adapter and squirt it to my PC. My Interak-1 has a 15 way D-type connector for the keyboard as I’ve decided that my keyboard solution will plug into that rather … Continue reading Retrochallenge 2016/2 – Oh-oh we’re half way there

So RC is upon us and I have decided to replace the failed keyboard on my newly acquired Interak-1 with a modern USB item. The Interak keyboard uses a 7 bit parallel interface to present an ASCII character to machine itself with a strobe line to say that the data is ready. It’s a bit … Continue reading Retrochallenge 2016/2 – Interak keyboard

It’s Retrochallenge time again and how quickly it comes around and how ill-prepared I am. Recent competitions have seen great entries by talented retro-folks the world over whereas my contributions have been less glorious but filled with enthusiastic zeal. This time around will be no different 🙂 I’m not sure what I will do to … Continue reading Retrochallenge 2016/2 – Throwing my hat into the ring.

A short step from where you are.