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2016 in review

Published 1 January 2017


We are the original home of miscellaneum and we love stuff. 2016 year was a period of transition. Personal blog pages are gradually being pushed aside to make room for facebook blogs, instagram and pintrest. This is a natural development that empowers billions of people across the world. This page looks at the top stories produced through the year based on average monthly readership. One just can't argue with the raw 2016 figures. We are living in the digital dark ages and this article is a big snub to this trend. We hope you enjoy the flashbacks and the many retro-computing updates that came afterwards.

1. Personal Computer Notebook

This occaisonal dive into the digital realm has proved to be the most popular section of the whole site. I guess this is a given considering it takes computer user to access this site. What is surpising is just how basic the page is. If you lean in closely you might hear us even whiper the word, ugly. But popular it has been. Our favorite articles in house continue to be the retro-computing features. We just can't get enough of them.

2. Bally Professional Arcade 1981 Advertisement

The Bally Professional Arcade Plus Expandable Computer System surely needs some sort of award for the longest title for a microcomputer ever devised. This second-generation machine is a great example of trying to do a lot with only a small amount of horsepower. This reproduced advert shows the various configurations for the Astrocade machine and a description for its target audience. We have gone over the photos in detail and looking carefully you can see that the photos are for a mock-up or physical configuration prototype.

3. Game Franchise - Elite

Elite is a game franchise with a solid following from the 8-bit gaming world. As we have been working through my archives we have realized how much great information there is on Elite. This is our journal of the game. There are links to the runtime versions of the game, period and modern reviews and of course the obligatory fiction pieces.

4. Themes International Library

The Archive has a solid collection of crate fillers including this series, the Themes International Library. There isn't much information on the Internet about this series. We'll continue to link through the list as we track down each release.

5. Design and Development of the Blackbird

This article written by Peter W Merlin for the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center describes the challenges and lessons learned through the design and development of the utterly insane Lockheed Backbirds. The paper goes through the design evolution of the Blackbird from the early Archangel studies for the CIA, construction and materials challenges and NASA's role in using the aircraft as a flying laboratory.

6. Bally Arcade Machine - Product Description

Here is a marketing description for the Bally Professional Arcade computer system. This paper was targeted towards wholesalers and retail salespeople to help differentiate the system from other systems on the market. The Bally Professional Arcade system featured broadcast quality graphics, a tripple-processor implementation and built-in BASIC to help first time users to program.

7. A warning on Skype Scams

I had a recent friend request from a person claiming to be Arianna. I did not confirm if this was a legitimate person but I do not know this person. A quick search on Google pointed me towards an Australian warning about blackmail scams.

8. Against the Gods - The remarkable story of Risk

The Economist highly recommended the book, Against the Gods, by Peter L. Bernstein, "Deserves to be, and surely will be, widely read". This page picks up on some of the notes we have taken with this book. There may be something interesting to share.

9. Cray Supercomputer Furniture

Cray Supercomputers are like the Rolling Stone rock stars of the 1970s and 1980s. Everybody knows the name and they are worth a fortune. Cray is still around but it doesn't carry the same sex appeal of days gone by. We have put together some photos of these beautiful machines in their natural habitat to highlight their industrial design features and to show you that they were beautiful peices of furniture as well.

10. Honeywell 200 Public Utility Computer

This brochure for the Honeywell 200 describes how Public Utilities such as electricity suppliers and the water board could manage their customer accounting activities. We like this brochure because it balances the practical application of computers with accounting practices in an easy to understand format. When I was reading the brochure we have visions of a Los Angeles municipal county loading a wad of punch cards through the machine to updates customer balances.

12. Engineer & Inventor - April 1893

Engineering was on fire back in the day and this publication brought that period back to life. The articles are interesting and the period advertisements really speak volumes of the times. We are suprised by how popular this remake has been, coming in at 12th place for 2016. Forget retro.. Go Ye old days.

13. Softside Magazine August 1983

Softside is a retro magazine that covers Atari 8-bit, Apple II and Tandy TRS-80 Microcomputers. This era is the dawn of consumer LaserDiscs, the Demoscene and writing Basic programs directly into your machine. The edition is rich in BASIC code including a couple of 1KB gems. The computer graphics and editorial are the real gem for this release.

14. Commodore Amiga Notebook

Back in a time when the "norm" was playing with interrupt jumpers and admiring grey scale images, the AMIGA was revolutionizing the world with full multimedia capabilities; Before multimedia was even a word. This notebook collates some of the many awesome artefacts lying around the internet.

15. Honeywell 312 Kitchen Computer

Honeywell may well have advertised this amazingly beautiful machine as the First under-$10,000 16-bit machine from a major computer manufacturer, but others will always remember this as the first Kitchen Computer. We think that this is the most beautiful early computer to be built and would have been suitable on the set of Space 1999 or 2001: A space odyssey.

16. Commodore C64 Notebook

Like millions of people around the world, the Commodore C64 was the first computer I ever owned. The C64 was the iPod of its time with the ability to program in BASIC and play a shed- load of games. This book bookmarks only some of the many Internet site that relate to this awesome machine.

17. Commodore C64 & C128 truetype fonts

Bless the internet for revealing more retro computing gems on the internet. The kind folks over at KreativeKorp have recreated the C64 and C128 font set. The fonts are in TrueType format so they are usable on Windows and the Microsoft Office suite.

18. Saturday's Girl - Commodore in Italy

Beautiful photos from Commodore in Italy. Amongst the proud display is a Commodore PET computer and a VIC-20.

20. MegaOcio Issue 24 - Dragons Lair and laser disc games

This is a Spanish magazine published in 1991 to cover most of the microcomputers of the day. We have translated the advert for Mad Dog McCree which was a stunning video game of the day using video footage, real actors and a wild west movie studio.

21. User Registration Policy

We are embarrassed to say that out User Registration Policy was one of the higher ranking pages on our site. We think it was riviting stuff as well. The logical explanation is that we identified a large number of hacked email addressed that were picked up by the search engines. This page was an outlier only and we have not migrated the page to our new site.

22. Music eZine - February 2016 Five Track

We thought that we should focus the month's music on beats, drum & bass, low-fi, and anything else that tickles my fancy. Musicians such as Leccius and Jenova 7 are featured and I have given the links in the track listing below. You may want to hit the full screen when the video clip sneaks in ... d-d-d-down is up! So sit back and enjoy the ride.

23. Hifi and Audio Notebook

Hifi and audio covers a wide range of topics to discover. This notebook looked at a two-story horn loudspeaker, an eseoteric 1000kW amplifier and other electronic goodies. One area the authors really liked but didn't resonate with the site's audience was the Music eZine. We loved the track that we put up. Unfortunetaly modern search engines do not give any priority to audio pages. Look out for the industrial audio libraries from the 1970s; Good music.

25. Windows 10 Journal

This is my notebook on using and tweaking the Windows 10 experience. This is by no means a definitive guide. This page is for my own reference and if anybody gets value out of it then that fine as well. Added section on moving OneDrive files to your SD card. This will free up space on those small 30GB drives supplied with entry-level Windows 10 tablets; Virtual desktop functionality, and the all important Windows 10 God Mode secret code.

26. I spied on America - PIC Magazine 1940

I SPIED ON AMERICA - I discovered an amazing magazine from 1940 called "PIC". You can download the full magazine from the Internet Archive. War time articles should always be taken with a grain of salt as they can be a form of misinformation of useful fiction to reinforce a message. I have given an extract of the magazine here to give you a flavor of the writing style in the full magazine.

27. Commodore C64 Elite space trading game short story

We cannot deny the power of the Commodore C64 for retrogames, and one of the grand-daddy space trading games of them all, Elite. This great little spacer story is based in the Elite universe and was published in the Elite Plus Manual for the IBM PC [1990]. We have put the first chapter up so you can get introduced to the story and hopefully be motivated to downloading and reading the whole story. We think that so much more could have been done with this franchise.

28. Reset Magazine Issue 7 (2015)

This issue is a dense 92 pages of C64 news, reviews and analysis. The thing that really struck me was how much writing and conversations are in this magazine. The legendary game, Elite, gets a solid review and analysis. The results are a real controversy. There is a detailed article on the five incarnations of ZZAP! Magazine. There are the obligatory game reviews and a run down of games that never were.

29. One the Bookshelf Notebook

Reading articles continue to be enjoyed through out the year and our notebook gets an honorable mention in our Top 10 readership. Our librarians look on in horror as we throw interesting articles into the mix with little respect to the taxonomy. This notebook is an eclectic mix magazine links, comic reviews and militaria. You never know what we will publish next. The editor's choice was ther article on Nazis spying on America at the dawn of WWII.

30. Wonderer Cycles have no Superiors

A classic 19ths century advertisement on the most modern of fads at that time, the bicycle. The Canadian advert claims to have no superiors. We bet that a pretty penny would have been paid for such wonderful men and their cycling machines. From this point it is worth working through the rest of the wonderful newspaper that this advert has been taken from.

31. Commodore Free Issue 93

The next issue of Commodore Free has been released. Forty pages of Commodore news including new release games, a helpful tutorial on mastering tapes and an in-depth review of the Microsound Add-On keyboard for the Commodore 64. You may want to read our editor's review of a newer edition of this fine magazine here.

32. ST:TNG The Dyson Sphere

This is Star Trek at its very best in The Next Generation guise. This novel combines our favorite characters with our favorite science theory, Dyson Spheres. The Dyson Sphere is a stunning science fiction concept that may actually exist. We dive deep into Dyson Spheres in our Dyson Sphere AlienLog™. Imagine building a monstrous sphere around a star. The star power is then utilized within the sphere. Strap on your reading glasses and join The Next Generation team in saving the galaxy from certain destruction.

33. Easy composting for your own garden

Are you tired of always having your trash overflowing at pick up time? I was, until I discovered how easy compositing your organic material really is. You will love and your plants will love it. No single chemical fertilizer or animal manure by itself can match the goodness of nutrient-rich, homemade compost. This page gives some of the best ideas I have found the make compositing interesting.

34. Babylon 5 - Fan images and screensavers

Babylon 5 was the classic early nineties sci-fi show that defined the story arc genre for space operas. There is a lot of great fan work out there and I keep on stumbling across more work from back in the day all the time. This page collates a small selection that I can get current links to.

35. Half-Life Game Franchise

It has pretty well been ten years since the last of the Half-Life 2 episodes came out. Watch for lots more articles on the internet about the anniversary. We might even contribute an article ourselves. And after 10 years of silence from VALVE, can we expect Half-Life 3... I sure hope so. Half-Life is probably one of the greatest retro games that never was. It rates up there with escapes from the Bermuda Triangle.

36. Nazi Werewolf Zombie Inferno

An underground bunker…. An inhuman experiment… Seven mercenaries… One night of terror… And the most terrible secret from the abomination that was Hitler’s Third Reich. It begins with the discovery of a long forgotten journal, and ends with the greatest threat to Mankind that the world has ever know. Nazi Werewolf Zombie Inferno… Pray for salvation… Or a quick death. Nazi Werewolf Zombie Inferno - The Graphic Novel 176 Fully illustrated color pages.

38. MOnSter 6502

The really exciting thing about retro computing is the interesting and occasionally zany maker projects people get up to. The MOnSter 6502 is a case in point. The legendary MOS 6502 chip is one the great microcomputer chips of all time. It is one thing to reproduce the chip and a totally different experience to making an life-sized prototype on a motherboard. If you are not aware of the microcomputers that were built around the 6502 then you should make yourself aware of them.

40. Engineer & Inventor - New Developments in Steel Making

The London Times gives a long account of a number of experiments lately made with a new description of steel, the success of which appears to point to a revolution in the steel trade. An important advance in the manufacture of what is technically known as tool steel, it says, has recently been developed into practical shape in England.

41. Videogames in the Beginning

The Archive has a really interesting book on the history of video games. This book is from the author's personal perspective and is complete with lots of photos and sketches. This book takes an alternative view from the mainstream Apple was the only microcomputer ever invented mindset. The strength of the material spans from the 1970s and 1980s when innovation was at its zenith.

43. Killer Instinct OST [1995]

Game Soundtrack from the old Nintendo 64 game Killer Instinct - we don't have much information on the origin of this soundtrack. Given that it is a Nintendo release from the mid-nineties, 1995, we expect that this track is a CD-AUDIO disc that plays over the game music. The game soundtrack songs are fun and of studio quality.

42. Humble Audiobook Bundle - Best of Public Radio

January's audiobook pick is from the ever reliable Humble Bundle team. Humble Audio Bundle - Smart Fun - Best of Public Radio. Pay what you want for Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us, NPR Funniest Driveway Moments, The Best of Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!, and Star Wars: The Original Radio Drama. Pick up the pack here on Humble Bundle. This bundle has expired so we have taken our page out of publication.

43. 880 Gamer - Issue 08 2015

Issue 8 of 880 Gamer squeezes in before the end of 2015. Forty pages of commentary on the past and present with excellent reviews and a cover disk to boot. This issues demo disk is all about speed, with the third title from the famous Lotus trilogy teaming up with the even faster Tearaway Thomas! So suit up, strap in, and don't forget to bring your doggie poop bag for two of the fastest games to ever grace the Amiga! But truth be known, we could never get the coverdisk running under one of our emulators without issues.

43. Music eZine - May 2016 Album of the Month

Sometimes an album plays through your headphones and you go, "yes, that was OK!" It doesn't have that immediate hook like Uptown Funk. Yet Unicum isn't like that. There are almost no hooks to listen out for. And yet the music sits inside the brain, replaying, readjusting connections, slow-motion hypnosis until it is inside you. Feeding your inner-soul; And then you know that you are hooked.

44. Advance-Fee Scams

These letters are hilarious with unbelievable scenarios and numerous typographical errors. There is an unfortunate dark side when unsuspecting people are scammed through these letters. We linked a couple of samples as a warning of the dangers of unsolicited scam letters.

45. Australian Commodore and Amiga Review

Internet Archive claims that ACAR was longest-running Amiga magazine in Australia, published from 1983 to 1996. Who am I to argue about this? To be honest, I barely remember the covers, except for the 1989 Annual Edition which had a distinctive high gloss cover and was at the news stands for a while. I do note from reading through the articles about the dawn of the dial-up internet services. This was an intense period of transition from BBSs to internet services.

47. MAME - Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator

MAME (an acronym of Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is an emulator application designed to recreate the hardware of arcade game systems in software on modern personal computers and other platforms. The intention is to preserve gaming history by preventing vintage games from being lost or forgotten. The aim of MAME is to be a reference to the inner workings of the emulated arcade machines; the ability to actually play the games is considered a nice side effect.