Towel

      It's official! I've thrown the towel in. I hope for my sake that I don't need it
      in the next few days due to misinformation about a hyperstellar bypass and the
      resulting need for space travel.

      So, what's been doing over the past few days? Well, not a lot! I guess the lack
      of progress is as much a factor of my own lackluster approach this year as it is
      of circumstances. I did achieve the goal of making Airman, my ancient BBC Basic
      coursework, playable but that's been about it. I've lusted after @Retrocosm's
      new BBC computer and may indeed get one, but probably at the expense of the
      Commodore 64 which has to be fair only received very light use. If I get rid of
      the '64 I might as well also let loose the Commodore Flyer which is a fine piece
      of kit.

      Looking ahead at what I should be doing next time I have quite a few interests:

          1. I still desperately need to catalogue my collection of DEC media.
             I have CDs coming out of my ears and they all look the same. The
             VMS media comes with a file which could be parsed electronically
             to produce quite a good summary of the contents and augment any
             manual cataloging. Maybe I should write it in BBC Basic to
             complete the circle.

          2. I've been intrigued by several projects on the net where a 'fake'
             console has been constructed from LEDs and switches to mimic the
             real console of various PDP machines. I have a Gertboard which I
             have yet to assemble - the combination of that with a Raspberry Pi
             running SIMH would seem to be an accessible route to achieving the
             goal.

          3. One of my bizarre programming goals for a seriously large number
             of years is to write some sort of traffic simulator. That is car,
             trucks etc. Ideally making use of multi-threading or an agent
             based approach. I'm not sure whether this is directly related to
             retrochallenge, but it could be.

          4. I still have a DEC LN03 laser printer in the garage with a few
             spare bits which really needs to either be gotten working or
             gotten rid of.

          5. I did manage to mothball two DEC 3000/600 AXP rackmount servers
             properly so they should keep just fine in the garage as spare
             parts for the treasured desktop.

          6. The replacement TOY clock chip has arrived for the Sun Ultra 5, so
             that needs installing before it gets put back in the box for a
             while.

          7. I replaced the motherboard on the ZX6000 with the server variant
             the RX2600 and have been successfully messing with Java 6 on that.
             I had to 'revert' to DECwindows from CDE as dtwm kept hanging - in
             order to avoid the somewhat tired brown windows and thick motif
             window borders I installed my XDefaults file created around 1995,


             thinner borders and a blue/purple colour scheme. Some might
             consider this a marginal improvement!

      As usual my original plans fell pretty much by the wayside from day one. I've
      also not have the time to spend helping to run the competition. I hope to get
      the time to have a good read through all your entries but it'll be up to wgoodf
      to fathom prizes this time round. I expect to be back on form for the summer
      challenge however!

      Talking of the summer we have the reincarnation of VCF-GB to look forward to in
      June, and I may yet be badgered into holding the 2013 DEC Legacy event in May.

      Thanks to all those who entered retrochallenge this year, there once again have
      been some entries making compelling reading!

      Mark.