Saturday 15 January 2011, 11:35 PM Posted by urbancamo

Just a quick update before I go to bed! I very much liked the video made by Paleoferrosaurus to describe the making of his Apple II high-res graphics youtube video. I only wish I could get away with having that much equipment out at one time! Lovely to see anything with reels on these days!

I've spent a good chunk of today sorting out my garage. Most of my retro-gear has been living in there since the attic renovation started. I thought it was about time I rescued the perishables as it's gone seriously damp now and thats not good for DAT tapes, photographs, etc.

A while back I went through a number of my DAT tapes which were mostly created between 1994 and 2000. I have a DAT drive attached to the DEC 3000/600, it came with the box from new. It is a TLZ06-AA external drive - in a nice, compact, 3.5" form factor external case (although it sits approx. three inches high).

When I was reunited with the computer and I tried the drive it made lots of harsh noises but still appeared to read old tapes with no problems. Since retrieving the drive from the garage I thought a drive belt (although I don't think they contain such things) had snapped as it was whisper quiet. Alas, it appeared to not be reading a couple of tapes that I inserted.

I did a google search for the drive, and realised something I should have done last time round. This is a DDS-1 drive, and most of my tapes are DDS-2. A DDS-1 drive won't read DDS-2 tapes, no matter how much you ask nicely. This fact had escaped me last time I tried. Most of my DDS-2 tapes were written by a drive I bought around 1998 (for about £ 250 I might add) which was installed in my home linux pc. I got it at the time that I worked for British Gas Research in Loughborough - they had DDS-2 drives there, and crucially, a T-1 internet connection. In my lunch hour I could download a shed load of software, dump it off onto a DDS-2 tape, and have it available for consumption at home. Strange the lengths you had to go to, back in the day.

Anyway, I did find a DDS-1 backup of my PC from around 1997 which is now listing in the background. I saw MAME roms scrolling past, and this got me wondering - would I be able to get a MAME emulator running on the Alpha? Being able to play defender on the Alpha would be very cool, and retro squared.

I'm glad I got some of the gear out of the garage today - it rained horizontally virtually all day and when I went out this evening there was standing water in the middle of the garage - it's a single brick construction that can only withstand so much battering before the walls get saturated and give up.

The joys of living in the Lake District! Anywhere, here is a screenshot that shows the tape listing, and me using xemacs to write this entry. Click on the image for the full screen.

Listing contents of a tape