Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat: You've Won a Vacation!

I bought two of these wonderful tape decks at a garage sale for $4 this past summer. They're both Marantz Model PMD221. What attracted me to them isn't the fact that they're high-quality mono tape decks, but the fact that you can plug them right into your phone line and record your telephone conversations.

I've already got my $4 worth out of them, and I'm going to share one of the reasons why.

This evening (October 31, 2007), we recieved a very interesting phone call. We won a trip to Florida! What's interesting is I was talking to a co-worker earlier this week about a site called He had mentioned that he had recently recieved a phone call regarding a "free" vacation from the Ramada travel agency, and he found them on this website.

Well, guess who was offering us this vacation? Yup, you guessed it! Here's the recording of the phone call. I had to edit it for personal information, and also because it was too friggin' long (around 20 minutes). The poor guy. Me and my significant other gave him a *bit* of a hard time.

Listen to: Ramada gets owned!

Ramada at

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hidden Treasures on a PC-XT

I found this old PC-XT in the trash. It's a damn good thing it came with a monitor because I no longer have a stash of these old monitors with the 9-pin connector. I had a bit of fun finding a keyboard to work with it, but I was quite lucky that I had one with a AT-XT switch.

So I hooked this thing up to see if it works. I notice a bit of a rank smell, somewhat like cat piss when I turn on the monitor. But it works, and after all, I'm in the garage. It's got a nice 20M hard drive in it, and a couple of 5 1/4" floppy drives.

After doing a bit of browsing on this computer, I found a directory with a bunch of files that are apparently journal entries. I load up DosEdit and view a couple. They are indeed journal entries! Unforutunately, it looks as if they were written in Wordperfect. I'll be damned if I actually remember how to use Wordperfect (it's been about 20 years) and I'll be damned if I use Wordperfect, let alone this old yellow-screened PC-XT to read the files.

So, I start digging around for some 5 1/4" floppies. The only ones I had were the ones that survived my parents' house fire. I came across a couple of duds, but I found a couple that were fine. I've said it before and I'll say it again, 5 1/4" floppies are incredibly resiliant. They beat the hell out of those piece of shit 3 1/2" floppies that we've been stuck with for freakin-ever.

I take the floppies into the house and put some software on them (yes, I have an old 5 1/4" drive on one of my PCs.) I make copies of the Ace Archiver, Pk-Zip, Q-Edit, and Procomm. Here's a breakdown of what these pieces of software do:

Ace: A fantastic piece of software used to archive files
PK-Zip: Used by Ace to put files into a .zip file (I know how to use the command line, but Ace make it much easier)
Q-Edit: A simple text editor, nicer than DosEdit.
Procomm: Software used to send files over the serial port, and to connect to BBSes. I normally use Telix (which I use on my laptop) but Telix normally doesn't run well on computers this old.

So I install the software, look at some more files, and zip everything I want to look at.

Then, I transfer all of it over to my laptop using a serial cable, Procomm on the PC-XT, and Telix on my Win98 Laptop. I could've used floppies, but I like to avoid them when possible. Even though I like 5 1/4" floppies more than the 3 1/2" ones, they're a pain in the ass when they don't work. Transferring files through a serial cable is much more reliable anyway.

The result? After a couple of months of cleaning out the WordPerfect formatting, translating some French entries through Babelfish, and compiling everything into a workable order, I am able to bring you two extra Blogs: Agnes's Life Journal, and Agnes's Dream Journal.

I will be posting in each journal every couple of days; one post in the Life journal, and two posts in the Dream journal. Agnes is actually a very good writer, so it shouldn't be too dull nor difficult to read.

This journal should be read from the last post to the first. This blog seems to only allow you to sort by newest post first. If anybody knows how to change this, please let me know!

If you think what I'm doing is wrong, please remember that Agnes has expressed the desire through her journal to publish her life story. If you still think it's wrong, then please vent your anger in the comments of this post. Any ethical posts made in the Agnes journals will be deleted.

Now, for those of you who have been waiting, I hope you enjoy! Here's the links again:

Agnes's Life Journal
Agnes's Dream Journal

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Coming Soon to Classical Gas Emissions...

Just figured I'd give an update about blog posts that I'm currently working on. Here's what you're in store for in the near future:

My Garage Computer
This is an ongoing project of mine which I will post about when I complete it. It's an old Pentium 133 that I use in my garage for a Jukebox. It's got DVD-ROM drives, USB 2.0, a dead floppy controller, and only 40 Megs of RAM, but it's currently packing over 1500 songs!

PC-XT with someone's Journal
I found an old PC-XT in the trash. It's got a 20 Meg hard drive in it, but it came with some interesting reading! I'll be creating two seperate blogs to hold the content that I found on it. I'm currently compiling the mass amount of journal entries, and should be posting it within the next couple of months or so.

8mm Projector Restoration
I finally found myself an old 8mm projector to replace the one that went up in flames with my parents' house. I'll show what I did to restore it, and include an 8mm film of classic cartoons that I'll be putting on youtube.

I've been recovering from a kidney stone which is why I haven't updated in a bit. Don't worry, I won't be making a blog about passing the stone :)

So stay tuned for these updates!