Sunday, 6 December 2015

World of Commodore 2015

Saturday, December 5, 2015 marked the day of the annual World of Commodore, put on by the Toronto Pet User’s Group at the Admiral Inn in Mississauga, Ontario. It’s an annual tradition for our household, and a great opportunity to catch up with old friends while making new ones. It was especially nice to see my friend Bob Yewchuck, writer of one of my favourite blogs, The Bob Angle, on his birthday.
There was the ever-popular freebie table, where I scored a couple of Jumpdisk disk magazine covers that I don't yet have, an MPS 803 printer, and a 2GB CF card, while my son scored a collection of Amiga magazine cover CD's. There was also the raffle table. This year saw a lot of attendees enjoying the show; at 11:00, it was becoming so crowded, it was sometimes difficult to move around! It was great seeing so many people enjoying the hobby of retro computing. For me, it was nice to spend time with Dan Kovaks as he demonstrated his Commodore 128 connecting to the Internet. Thanks to Dan for selling me his spare 64NIC+ which I'm still trying to get working.
It was really good to see that Jim Brain of Retro Innovations was able to make it this year; his products are a favourite of mine, because he offers useful, well-made products at decent prices, typically in the $50-$60 range. He brought his usual bag of goodies this year.
It was also great to see Joe Palumbo of JP PBM return with his variety of products, most of which are original, some still in shrink wrap. For a mere $20, I was able to buy an upgrade Agnus chip for my Amiga 2000, so that it now can address a full megabyte of video memory instead of the 512k that was standard when I bought my Amiga. This was an upgrade I had always wanted. I was also able to buy a hard to find video adapter for my Commodore 128 for only $10, and enjoyed perusing his collection of software. Joe continues to be a valuable source of original software and hardware for the retro computing community.
There was a fire alarm at the Admiral Inn before lunch hour, which added some drama to the event. It turned out that someone left a cigarette butt by a vent and was not caused by Dan using his Commodore 128 to connect to the Illuminati as we had first suspected.
The demonstrations started after lunch, beginning with Zbigniew Stachniak's presentation of Early Microcomputers from Microsystems International Ltd.
The nice thing about these presentations is the fact that we get to see examples of these early computers.
Next up was Leif Bloomquist's demonstration of his Wi-fi modem for the Commodore 64 (and 128):
At $150, it's a nice, comprehensive package that goes well with any modern C64 that you may want to take to Starbucks.
At 3:00, Jim Brain teamed up with Leif to demonstrate his new products for the Vic 20, including a MIDI controller that works both ways (using the Vic as a MIDI instrument as well as having the Vic controlling another instrument), along with a device for the Vic that stores game images and provides various types of expansion.
A brief demonstration of the Vic being utilized as a MIDI instrument, by the talented Leif:

At 4:00, Trevor Grove, formerly with the University of Waterloo, presented "SuperPET development: A view from the trenches," providing a unique perspective of developing for education.
Unfortunately, my son and I had to leave after this time to attend a family function, but the raffle draw happened at 5:00, followed by Dan Lasowski's presentation of "C64 Music Jam with Fastfingers."

All in all, it was an excellent way to spend the first Saturday of December. We got the T-shirt which I will surely show off, and look forward to next year. Who knows, maybe I'll cook up something to contribute at the 2016 World of Commodore! Meanwhile, enjoy these other pictures I took at the event.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A few more photos from CommVEx v11 2015

The view on the 5 1/2 hour drive from Las Vegas
The three, working NTSC Plus/4's seen at CommVEx
Obverse of the CommVEx 2015 poker chip
The reverse of the poker chip
Signed by Jack Tramiel in 2007; now signed by Leonard Tramiel

I dug these last CommVEx photos out of the SD card of my digital camera.  CommVEx was very memorable this year and very rare that CBM engineer Bil Herd and Leonard Tramiel were together at the show.  The attendees and I wondered when this would ever happen again.

Not pictured is the modded PAL Plus/4, originally from Peter Hanson.  Bil Herd's first off-the-cuff remark was why would anyone in these days go through the trouble of adding in 256K of battery-backed RAM and all the other hacks.  When I explained that it was modded in the late 1980's/early 1990's, he looked more closely at the how it was done and complimented it by saying the hacks were done very professionally.

Lots of wire-wrapping,
Robert Bernardo
Fresno Commodore User Group

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Back in Time Live 2015

The venue - St. George's Church 
Before the show.  How the interior appeared. 
Up in the balcony before the show 
A closer view of the stage 
During a break between bands, attendees gather at the vendors. 
Ben Daglish reads some comedy!
Prepping before he played.
A bit of tuning up the instruments.
In concert!
Press Play on Tape
On June 20, 2015 I attended the Back in Time Live 2015 concert in Brighton, England.  Though I concentrated on taking video of the event, I did take a few photos of the goings-on.  The concert was very exciting, the music very loud, and the people very friendly.  There was a great deal of C64 and Amiga music played.  For more information, go to

To buy an official video of BIT Live 2015, go to

Robert Bernardo
Fresno Commodore User Group

Monday, 10 August 2015

Commodore 128 Video DAC vs. Commodore 128 VGA adapter

The topside of the Video DAC (left) and the VGA adapter 
The bottom of the Video DAC (left) and the VGA adapter
To settle some questions about the two devices, here are some photos of the older, no-longer-produced C128 Video DAC from Richard Goedeken of Fascination Software and the current C128 VGA adapter from John Carlsen of  You can see that the Video DAC is longer and thinner when compared to the VGA adapter.  The Video DAC has soldered-on wires to connect to the GBS-8220 for 80-column viewing on a VGA monitor; the VGA adapter has a wire block into which you insert the wires.  The VGA adapter uses surface-mounted parts with its chips mounted on the underside.

For more information on the C128 VGA adapter, go to

Back at home,
Robert Bernardo
Fresno Commodore User Group

Saturday, 1 August 2015

CommVEx v11 2015 photos from Chris Zimmerman

FCUG newsletter editor Leonard Roach tends to his set-up. 
Was this C128 autographed by Bil Herd? 
Leonard poses for the camera 
A dual-disk copying set-up from John Ferrell 
More from John's table 
Vincent Mazzei's very complete VIC-20 set-up
O.K., this C128 (center) was autographed. 
Fidgeting with equipment... 
... and the equipment is the C128 VGA adapter + GBS-8220. 
Watching the same C64 screencast 
Some of the Sunday crowd 
O.K., connect this photo to the right of the above photo.
The CommVEx photos keep coming in, this time from Chris Z.  Don't forget to check out the CommVEx photos from the Portland Commodore User Group at

Robert Bernardo
Fresno Commodore User Group

Photos from the Amiga 30th in California - Sunday, July 26

A well decked-out A1200
Gadzooks!  A Commodore 65!
Plus what looks to be the C65's 2-meg ram expander
On the wall near the C65
Dale Luck's SX-500
The rear of the SX-500
And its warning label!
The camera does not do justice when looking through CastAR.
What is seen when you're not wearing the CastAR glasses.
The well-equipped SACC Amiga 1000
Another A1000 with Transformer and Boing Ball tower
For those musically inclined
An Amiga 3000
That's a Phoenix board in that A1000.
The advert for the Phoenix
An Amiga 3000T
Yow, the Amiga AA3000 lives!
Moonquake with Amiga inside
See the Amiga board inside?!
Beth Richard's Amiga CDTV-CR
That CD32 system takes up a lot of room.
An Amiga 4000T
All built-in
Back to the description of the Amiga AA3000
The table for The Other Group of Amigoids club
O.K., I'm losing track... the A-EON table?
The Amiga Users of Calgary table
The Hyperion table
Goodies for sale!
Joe Torre tweaks the equipment.
Sunday night at Jacky's Pizza in Campbell
Tired, talkative, and hungry!
I finally had some time away from the videocamera in order to take some still photos.

Robert Bernardo
Fresno Commodore User Group