(Late) October 2021 Update

Just a brief update on how things have been and where I plan to go.

As mentioned in my August 2021 update, I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression since the spring. Among other things, it has greatly affected my interests and passions — including my passion for vintage computing and writing.

The last time I posted regularly was May, but things starting going downhill in March.

It’s hard to estimate when things will return to normal because, as I’ve described before, depression can be unpredictable. One day or week may be really good and productive, but the following week can be the exact opposite. I’ve said many times before things will return to normal by a certain date, and, of course, things don’t improve by then.

I’m trying not to force myself into writing or enjoying my hobbies as I once did. At this point I just hope the passion and interest I had can come back at some point and I can start producing more quality content. (I also feel the quality of my content has also declined since I started dealing with this.)

Plans: Where things are going

With all of that said, there are a couple projects I’m hoping to complete over the next few months — preferably this winter.

SuperSE Project

Finishing the SuperSE project is at the top of that list. I’ve made little progress on the SuperSE since March, when I had the boards recapped and reassembled the machine. The machine has been running fine hardware-wise, but there are a lot of things to address.

The SuperSE

First, the SuperSE is stuck in a strange spot right now. I upgraded the system software to System 7.1, which — unfortunately — the Mobius 030 accelerator card doesn’t like. The machine will boot into 7.1 if you disable extensions, but the Mobius 030 card (with the Motorola 68030 processor and 16 MB of RAM) will be ignored. Essentially, using 7.1 will revert the machine to “stock” with the stock Motorola 68000 and 4 MB of RAM.

Thankfully, I made an image of the internal Maxtor hard drive using the SCSI-2-SD before making the upgrade. Lately I’ve been using the machine with the (external) SCSI-2-SD installed, since it has the original System 6.0.5 installation.

There is one upside to using the SCSI-2-SD: performance. The performance difference between the “stock” configuration with the internal Maxtor hard drive and the SCSI-2-SD is day and night. The SCSI-2-SD is extremely fast and cuts the boot time in half, and the machine runs noticeably “quicker.”

While the SCSI-2-SD offers a noticeable performance boost, I like the nostalgic mechanical hard drive sounds — especially from the Maxtor drive, which has a fairly unique (and loud) sound.

My goal to complete this machine is to get the software issues worked out. In addition to getting the machine on System 6.0.8 — which itself might have some hiccups — I also plan on getting rid of a lot of the software I won’t use. The original owner loaded the machine up with software, but I don’t have a use for a lot of it. And some of it slows the machine down, especially when it is loading all of the extensions on boot.

Hardware-wise, the only thing remaining to this project is the floppy drive, which needs to be cleaned and lubricated. (In March, I visited a fellow retrocomputer hobbyist in Kansas City and we tackled the floppy drive in the Classic and their 512K. Unfortunately, I forgot the SuperSE’s floppy drive at home.)

MintTin II

The other project is MintTin II, the successor to the original MintTin.

The original MintTin was used as my daily driver from 2011-2014. It was a gift from my grandparents and originally ran Windows 7 before its hard drive crashed and it was subsequently replaced with a late 2014 Mac mini. Though, for the MintTin, that was just the beginning.

After getting the Mac mini, I got a replacement hard drive from a computer hardware teacher at my high school. She also recommended the Linux Mint operating system since I didn’t want to keep Windows on it. With a Linux boot disc and a 40 GB hard drive, I got the MintTin up and running.

Throughout the years, MintTin served many different roles. It was a file server from 2015-2017 (especially once I got samba figured out), used for converting MIDI files to WAV files using TiMidity++, and was just overall used to tinker around in Linux Mint.

Unfortunately, there are several issues that make me want to replace the original MintTin instead of upgrade it. There are networking issues and the current MintTin’s hardware is well over a decade old, and it is beginning to show its age. The software is also outdated and, without an internet connection to it, I can’t upgrade anything.

A few years ago my aunt gave me a Dell Inspiron 620 after she bought a new computer. After contemplating donating the Inspiron 620 and hoping it goes to a good home, I decided to instead transform it into MintTin II.

The Inspiron 620 has wireless networking, which fixes the networking issue — at least for now. My goal is to relocate the MintTin II into the living room, where the networking equipment is, for a hard-wired connection. However, that “phase” will come later after I get several of its kinks worked out.

Speaking of kinks, I’ve begun on this project already (don’t worry – I’ll have a detailed post about it out sometime later when more progress is made) and have ran into several issues that still need to be addressed.

Kewanee Boiler section

In addition to my computer stuff, I hope to finish transferring content from the old “static” (hand-coded HTML/CSS) Kewanee Boiler site to the section located here on my “main” WordPress-powered site.

I was originally hoping to finish transferring stuff over by the end of May but that plan never panned out. I’m hoping to finish this project by the end of this year. If everything works out, the static site will be replaced with redirects that go to the “new” pages, which will be implemented shortly after transferring everything over.

As always, thanks for reading and I hope to be back soon!