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(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
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Yi

Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

 
« Laserdisc Wall Art (Take 2) | Main | The Laserdock - The laser show for your home »
Wednesday
Oct052016

Two faulty SX-64s vs one man with half a plan. 

I have a love/not-so-much-love relationship with old computers. I love some of the old designs, but when it comes to actually using one...they don't really do a lot. Unlike a classic car that can take you down to the shops on a sunny day, or an old hifi that can play new music...an old computer just sits there looking retro-cool, but doing nothing. 

Without high speed graphical internet access to any of the services I need, they're just a dumb beautiful piece of history. "But", I hear someone cry, "ACTUALLY..." (my most disliked word to start a statement with) "actually....you can get an old computer to tweet after installing a serial to ethernet connector combined with a custom o/s and an accelerator board, and a new rom chip, now you can't view pictures or gifs or videos or play mp3s, but I think you'll find that it does work, actually so ner..".... or I could just use my phone.  

The old computer designs I like the most are the Mac Classic and the Apple //c with it's Monitor and stand...in fact anything with a small purpose built monitor. I think it's because the monitor is the thing you look at...so it's out there in front of you. Attach an Atari ST to a new flat panel TV, and most of your experience is coming from the TV, you could put the ST in a cabinet then you're just watching a new TV...the retro part of the experience has been hidden away (apart from the lack of modern internet based usefulness, which is plain to see). So in effect you are getting a new TV experience combined with old computer usefulness...which is probably the worst of both worlds when it comes to retro-enjoyment. 

One of the first computers I remember seeing in a shop window was the Osbourne 1 and the idea of carrying around a computer with a built in screen fascinated me. The Commodore SX64 reminds me of the Osbourne, but with the added benefit of a catalogue of hundreds of games, colour display, joystick ports and a massive community of enthusiasts. 

Whilst 1980s people in the US were paying the equivalent of £40 for a 2K game Cartridge for their Atari VCS, and later the NES...people in the U.K. were paying £5.99 for games on tape. There were hundreds (thousands?) of games released for the Commodore 64 and they can all now be had for the price of a £40 SD card reader...and a machine to play them on. Yes of course you could play these on an emulator...but getting back to my 1980s retro-computer experience package, by using an emulator you're turning that retro dial way down, so all you'd have left is old games that don't look too great on a brand new machine....with distractions like Twitter just a click away. 

So in this video, I get to experience the trading-places alternative 1980s that a much richer version of me would have lived with a Commodore SX-64 and all the games I could ever want. However dreams don't come easy....'if you want games, then games cost, and right here's where you start paying...with sweat'. 

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Reader Comments (18)

Excellent work!
I had a SX-64 back in the mid 80's and "I was king"... ;) Also installed 1541!-Flash in it, (3 x floppy-speed upgrade.)
For "being an idiot" with electronics, you did VERY WELL! 8-)
Most people with no or minor soldering experience would NOT have managed to do what you did! this coming from me with >40 years of soldering and electronic experience... Congrats! :)

October 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMatte

Thanks for that - and extra thanks for not trying to school me about desoldering braid, de-soldering stations, hot guns etc etc.

I'm always amazed how many people take what they see on screen to be a real time accurate representation of a process. Not taking into account me watching de-soldering videos, reading articles about desoldering, buying desoldering braid (that didn't absorb enough), the one hour I spent cleaning up the de-soldered chip holes - then when I put the new chip in and bent a leg because one of the holes was still blocked, the straightening of the chip, the heating up of the iron again, the re-soldering and de-soldering of the hole, and the five mins of trying to get the chip seated properly.

A video showing all that would be the most boring thing ever - but when I leave it out, people imagine that somehow these things woudn't have happened...even though that's what happens in real life.

It just shows how easily a large proportion of people are manipulated by video, which explains a lot...

October 5, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Is there some reason people can't just stash the keyboard cable in the empty drive bay? Or did people end up using that to store floppies or something?

October 6, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterfluffy

Well done! I've soldered the occasional kit over the years and attempted replacing soldered-in components at times, which included using a wick and a solder sucker, but your soldering seems way ahead of mine, in looks at least :) The first time I used my solder sucker, I got a fright and dropped everything - those things go off like a rat trap!

And your Apple //c catches my eye occasionally since I have one stashed away in the basement - last used in the late '80s. I suspect it needs a few capacitors replaced before it'd run. And I'd have to find the 'boot disk'. It could be fun or it could be very frustrating!

October 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPete

about the keyboard cable issue...
get a gender changer (what a silly name) - but it does exactly that. just google "DB25 male to male gender changer".

so glad you enjoy those old machines and share it with us.

October 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterOliver

@oliver The gender changer didn't work...this was one of the many things I tried out that didn't make it to the video...a gender changer does not extend its pins far enough away from the end to engage inside the keyboard connection socket. I was really looking for a round cable...black..just like the original. I don't like the look of a ribbon cable.

@fluffy that's where I would have kept mine too, and I'm sure that's what everyone did...but remember we're talking 33 years to lose a tiny cable, how long does it take most people to lose an umbrella or a phone.

October 6, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hey there,

A HUGE thumbs up for this video. I've messaged you before praising you on your content, and like your self, I too have a massive appreciation for vintage and retro. As a techie (apparently that's what an electronics engineer is called that fixes stuff like this), you've highlighted something in this video that I think should be addressed.

In our past, this equipment, whether you owned,wanted to own or just knew about, it's in need of some TLC and it's our history. The micro, as home computers were known as back in the day, plays an important part of where we are now. Soon forgetting, folk see them as money spinners (make a quick quid because they've heard they can make money), but to me, and a lot of others in thus community, it's our fun, our memories, our nostalgia and it's all starting to die now.

It just takes some real research, but you've proved you can make these things run again and as I've proved, make children and adults smile and wake up that thing called imagination again.

I recently let one of my machines go to Malaysia where now, my childhood machine, is now being used by children within a school teaching BASIC, and "how we used to play games".

If ever you need a helping hand for anything, give me a shout eh..

Jay.

October 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJay Birch

Very good video!

In the YouTube World were destructive fun seems to be the norm, it's great to see someone do something that's actually constructive.

But I have two questions:

Is there anyway we can see how this system connects to a regular television?

And watching that commercial showing businessman using this computer, do you think it was a practical for that purpose? Do you see somebody actually using it in the office in the 1980s? Also, do you see someone who travels, using it in their hotel room as a traveling workstation device? Not in the sense of logging into a system but using it to save their work to a floppy for later usage.

October 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCapt. Nemo

TV adverts and real life have little in common the scenarios are more aspirational than realistic.

When the SX-64 is plugged into a TV composite or svideo socket with the appropriate cable, the onscreen video looks like a normal C64. There's loads of C64 videos on YouTube if you're interested in watching some games being demonstrated.

October 6, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

@techmoan - if you wouldnt mind you could ask a shop to crimp you a male / male ribbon cable tho. or just crimp it yourself with a bench vice - but since you dont like the look....

other way is - i found a guy has made a template for 3D printers - you could order the case printed and get cables and pins, solder the pins onto the cable and assemble it - an afternoons work (includes swearing and burned fingertips).

or maybe some of the technical fellows here could do it and send it to you.
i would do it if i were in europe. as appreciation for your work.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1561848
these are the things hackerspaces were made for :)

October 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterOliver

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