PDXCUG Meeting Highlights
Vol. 2, No. 4 - April 19, 2011 - Meeting Highlights
Portland Commodore Users Group Anniversary Party
This month marks the one-year anniversary for the Portland Commodore Users Group. Initially just a few of us, now a thriving Commodore club. Tonight's meeting brought 13 members together (even with a few of the 'regulars' missing, who couldn't make it)! We wish all of you Commodore fans could've celebrated with us. We look forward to another great Commodore-filled year as we keep expanding and having more fun.
38.4K Baud on the RS-232 Port
Agent Friday has been working on a high-speed driver for the RS-232 port. He demoed this tonight for the first time and successfully transferred data, without any errors, at an astonishing 38.4K Baud - a task that some thought was not possible (but just wait until you see what he has in store next)!
A very happy Agent Friday
A perfect picture, capturing the moment of sheer thrill that this demo went off without a hitch!
Chirpee Speech Recognition System
This is the first in a multi-part series where we are looking at various speech synthesizers and voice recognition / voice activation modules for the Commodore 64 computer.
Up tonight was the Chirpee VCM-64 (Voice Command Module). It's a device that plugs into the user port and allows a user to plug in a microphone to issue voice commands to the computer (think of Star Trek where the officers can talk to the ship's computer). The device worked, but not very well. It could be due to the fact that the software has a poor user interface and you have to train the computer with the words that you want to use.
There are a few programs that came on the disk. One of them was a game where the user had to speak commands in order to move a hot air balloon. If the commands were recognized, the balloon would move along until you landed it on the pad. No balloons survived in our tests.
It was a lot of fun watching the painful training exercise and then seeing if the computer would actually recognize what we were saying, but I would not recommend this device for running the systems on the Enterprise, or even for occasional use.
Although we had a full agenda at tonight's meeting, we had a few moments for Tinker Time.
Robert brought his Amiga 1200 and fired up some cool demos for us to watch. The demos provided some nice background music for everyone.
Robert brought a Commodore 64 computer with a mysterious cable coming out of the cassette port. After popping it open, we discovered the Cardco CKA board which sits between the keyboard cable and keyboard input on the main board. The cable shoots out the port to make itself available to a 10-key numeric keypad.
Show & Tell
BASIC Computer Games & More BASIC Computer Games
We had an excellent show & tell by Kevin Savetz. These books were very special to me, growing up. I still have both of my original copies which are littered with notes and asterisks (to indicate which ones I wanted to type in - more asterisks meant more worthy).
For me, this was a very personal show & tell because of the impact both the books and the artwork left on me. Kevin showed off two original pieces of art by George Beker, who was the illustrator for these books. Kevin is very lucky to have these - both a draft of the drawing and then the final.
PAL Commodore 64 Computer
Robert brought his PAL Commodore 64 and a monitor that can display it properly. It also has a uIEC/SD device attached to it.
Robert brought his Commodore C-One to show everyone. This is a "configurable computer" where you can swap in and out different cores. Designed by Jeri Ellsworth. Robert has the Commodore 64 core installed.
Jim recently acquired an Amiga 2000 and brought it along to crack it open and see what it had. We were surprised at how much software it had on it. He also brought some books and other Commodore goodies to share with everyone. Thanks, Jim!
MSSIAH for the Commodore 64
New member Robert brought his MSSIAH cartridge in a Commodore 64 and showed us a thing or two. This was a first look, but we'll be doing a presentation on it at a future date.
MSD Super Disk Drive SD-2
Here's a mod you don't see every day: a built-in carrying handle. Sure makes lugging these things around a lot easier!
New Commodore Computer Club in Washington
Puget Sound Commodore Users Group
The Puget Sound Commodore Users Group, in the Seattle, Washington area recently kicked off and we have the founder, Dave Frazer, here at our meeting to present all the details.
I attended the initial club meeting and I have to say, it was an AWESEOME event! For more information, please visit the Puget Sound Commodore Users Group Web site.
Robert brought his PSX64 interface and guitar so members got a-rockin' and had some shreddin' fun!
Various games being played and tested