New Einstein Books

I have acquired 2 more Einstein books.

Relatively Basic – an early guide to getting the most out of the Einstein’s XTal Basic – By Solo Software

File Handling in Basic

A guide to using basic to access data in files (Obviously!)

Both of these books are in transit to me and will make a fine addition to the ever growing Einstein magazine and book collection.

Antique, Vintage or Retro?

What does it all mean?

These classifications have been banded around for many years, but what are they and what relevance do they have?

This is how I see the differences in terms of time scales.

Antique – Anything that is 100 + years old.

Does not seem a long time ago, but at the time of writing this post, 100 years ago was 1919 – My Grandfather on Dad’s side was 16 years of age 100 years ago!

The Wright Brothers first powered flight took place in the same year (1903)! – The world is moving on!


Vintage – Anything that is older than 50 years but younger than 99 years.

Wine is generally classified as vintage, but it can be applied to anything really. Clothing from the 1970s will soon be vintage, as will I!


Retro – Anything that is older than 25 years, but younger than 50 years.

Currently, that puts me in the retro category of life. In a couple of years I will Vintage! ha ha.

Computers and game consoles come under this category, as do cars, boats, clothes etc – Usually this means anything from your childhood.

This is where my web site and YouTube channel is aimed. RETRO all the way!

More Retro Book Goodness

I had completely forgotten about this range of books, until I rediscovered them on eBay.

Patrick Bossert was a child prodigy who first wrote a book in 1981 (At age 13) about the Rubiks Cube ‘You can do the cube’, along with a graphical notation, designed to be easily understood by novices. He featured on many kids TV programs in the UK in the early to mid 1980s demonstrating how he solves the puzzle.

Philippa Dickinson is the former head of Penguin Books.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippa_Dickinson

Micro Guides

More retro books for my collection. I was put on to this series of books about 2 years ago by a work colleague and ‘borrowed’ a copy of the ZX Spectrum guide to read.

I have since been trawling eBay for more versions and so far have acquired 4 of them.

Not sure how many systems they cover.

Here are the ones I currently have;

This is the newest acquisition – via eBay

It’s Alive – Finally

Finally, after what seems like an eternity, the FrankenSTEin (Raspberry Pi in Atari ST case, emulating an Atari STE) is complete, working and ready to be used!

You can see the results of my hard work over on my YOUTube channel . Check it out by clicking on the YOUTube menu on the left.

Basically .. its Basic!

Another acquisition from eBay – BBC Basic (Z80) manual.

I think this is the last of the large ‘Ring Bound’ manuals that was available for the Einstein, but it certainly isn’t the last book available. There are still a large number more lurking on the net!

A few goodies

I purchased a full set of Einstein manuals from eBay recently, and took delivery of them today.

We have;

An introduction to ..
DOS/MOS Introduction
Einstein Primer
Basic Reference Manual

Within the shipment was some additional material!

A vintage Sharward Service flyer/PD price list – 8 A5 pages of prices and hardware/software – I have not seen one of these scanned anywhere!

Sharward Services are still operating as a company, and I have contacted them via eMail and received a reply from Sharon, who is an original employee from way back ..

A hand written page on using MOS to program Z80 Assembler and save as executable files. Who ever had these before me, seemed to know what they were doing.


Additionally I purchased

Einstein Compendium – This is the official U.K.E.U.G (UK Einstein User Group) book with tricks, tips and listings – Released in the mid 1980s

Infrared Photography. Pictures in a whole new light!

This is a copy of a post from my old Blogger site – Circa 2010. Brought back to life here now that Google + and associated data is being closed on April 28th 2019!

Not so much Retro as oldish Tech Hack

One of our old digital camera’s got scared and leaked its battery juice all over its insides and stopped working … so

Easy project to convert it to an IR camera whilst cleaning the acidy goo from its innards;

Vivitar 5188 – 5MP CMOS camera – Dead cheap and came with a wicked underwater housing;

Step 1, remove all the screws;

Step 2, remove the front and back case. Be carefull of any wires that are still connected.;

Step 3, carefully unscrew and remove the lens assembly;

Notice how the lens is red in colour, this is the filter that blocks IR light in normal operation. This has to be removed (carefully of course).

I did try to scrape away the red coating, but scratched the lens 🙁 – removing it seemed the sensible option as its not a focusing lens and not really needed!

Step 4, get yourself down to the local photo processing place and ask for some film that has been developed but has no image (It should be almost completely black when looking through it) – There may also be some on your own negatives. I was lucky and had 1 frame of completely exposed and developed film with no image on it.

Cut out 2 disks the same size as the lens and place them back to back so no visible light can be seen.

Secure them in to the lens housing with 2 spots of superglue (1 on each side) making sure you do not cover the screw thread on the lens.

Step 5, re-assemble the lens in the camera holder and tighten as far as it will go, but do not over tighten as you will touch and then destroy the CMOS sensor and this mod will be useless!

Step 6, start taking surreal alien like pictures with your new IR wavelength camera!

What do you think then eh?

Google+ is closing!

I had an eMail from Google to say that Google + is closing on 2nd April 2019 because its hard to maintain and no one uses it! – Well we all can’t be Facebook can we?

Because of this, I have scoured my old Blogger posts and saved some here as well as backing up all my google + data (What use that will be I have no idea)

Over the course of the last 10 years I have only had 3,746 views in total! – Not worth the effort? Well, that is why I have not updated that blog in 6 years!!!!

Here are some of the highlights!

Posted in June 2011:

Found this underneath a load of books in the office!

Taken I think in 1980-1981 at Duke Street Primary School in Denton.

Soooo many faces I have not seen for many years!

That is me circled in red! Haw haw!

I think Mr Hinds who was the head teacher (At the back in the brown suit) passed away a few years back. 🙁 he would have been in his 90s I bet?

We are all nearly 50 now – Some closer than others!

Also Posted in June 2011:


Dum dum dum, dum de dum, dum de dum!
Dum dum dum dum de duddle dum, dum dum, dum de duddle dum dum dum, dum de dum, dum de dem!


Here is my newest acquisition in all its glory! A genuine 1981 All Terrain Armoured Transport.


The only thing it is missing is the chin lasers. 🙁


I have not tried the lights or sounds yet, so once I have some large batteries I will be firing her up! 🙂

Update: This is fully functional with replacement chin laser cannons and is now complete with original 1980s pilot and commander figures.

Posted August 2010:  (Links updated Feb 2019)

So my 2 Philips SPC880NC’s turned up at weekend; Bog standard CCD web cam. Unfortunately these do not work under Windows 7! 🙁

Fear not. There is a way to hack them to into SPC900NC’s which are recognised by Windows 7.

So … Both have been patched as per this web site; and are both seen in Windows 7.

One is to be modified for connection to my microscope, the other is to be a spare in case my proper astro scope bites the bullet.

For £12.80 + vat for the pair, I don’t think its a bad investment?