Because doing things like in the old days, or at least learning how it used to be, is good for the soul.

QBJS: good old Basic onlineDecker: when hypermedia lives again


Like any enthusiast, I accumulated a bunch of old computers over time, most of them hand-me-downs. A Spectrum clone, buried at the bottom of a wardrobe; an 8086 in a dark corner; a 486, perched behind some boxes. All useless now even if I could set them up anywhere. Cool, in a living-museum sort of way. Kept them for the longest time hoping they could be brought back to life one day, only to be forced to throw them all out in the autumn of 2021. That hurt.

As of 2019, the most retro machine I've been able to revive and make usable is an Asus Eee PC 701, which is happily running Haiku OS. But hey, it's something!

I also own a couple of vintage devices:

Both are confirmed to work fine as of 15 November 2021.

But to me it all started with a...

ZX Spectrum

Four vertical stripes of color slanted left, in shades of red / yellow / green / blue.

Looking back, I only had a Spectrum clone for a few short years, but it felt like an entire childhood. Of course the hardware is long gone, so something else has to take its place.

(I did make a few games for the machine; two of them were even published on tape by Bumfun Gaming. But those were cross-compiled and tested in emulators.)

Emulators for less common platforms

There is no shortage of emulators for those using Windows or Android. But what about the rest of us?

Development tools

Yes, people still make games and stuff for the good old Speccy. There’s a variety of options for that, both on-board and for cross-development. I've used a couple myself:

As of March 2022, I haven't fired up either in years, which is too bad.

Links of interest

The Cyber Vanguard


Retro diversions

I've wasted the past week getting back into an older hobby of mine, namely retrocomputing (and -gaming).

So far I found:

Then again, that's about all you can do with a Spectrum, whereas a Commodore 64 can accomodate modern hardware and a modern operating system, and actually serve web pages. Which doesn't cease to amaze me, pointless as it may be.

Why bother with these ancient, ridiculously underpowered machines? Aside from the nostalgia factor, I think any modern software developer has much to learn from the sheer variety and quality of available titles. Nowadays, we have millions of times more resources, yet all too often we don't know what to do with them. And there's too much waste in the world as it is.