Paraphrasing the movie Full Metal Jacket, this is my calculator. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my calculator is useless. Without my calculator, I am useless.
Or at least it was that way during my university years. I used to know every funtionality and button of this Casio fx-991MS calculator. What’s more, I used to know what I was doing during the calculation process. Now, I see it and it looks like an old Chinese manuscript to me. Of course I recognize every term on it, but in the end, I only use the +, – and = buttons. It’s a pitty all these forgotten and unusued maths in my life. I should start using it againg, for real.
As a former image and sound engineer student, I wish I had an electronics teacher as Ben Eater. You can follow his explanations even with not knowledge at all (well, a little bit in maths). In this video he is creating a fully functional computer video card. Amazing. It could had been a good final project for my degree.
In Tales from the Lunar Guidance Computer, Don Eyles, a software engineer during the Apollo lunar missions and developer of several programs for the computer of the Lunar Module, does a very detailed description of that computer and its i/os, the real time system used and also the efforts made to solve some bugs and replicate errors. Truly interesting if you love computers and astronautics.
Several months ago, in my spare time and as a gift to a friend, I started a mod to a NES gamepad. Last week, finally, I wrapped it up.
The Nesduino ( yes, a very original name 😉 ) includes four main functionalities:
A clock visualizer with four modes
Three configurable alarms with different tunes to choose (Mario Bros, Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Legend Of Zelda)
Five games (Snake, Flappy Bird, Cat&Mice, Simon and Dice)
Ten background animations
The electronics consist in a Wemos D1 Mini, a small speaker, a red 8×8 dotted led matrix and the original NES pcb. Besides, the device is powered by USB. If you want to take a look to the code, here it is.
It’s been a very enjoyable project and also I’ve learned a lot along the way, specially about game development. I only miss the possibility to use the gamepad with the computer via HID , but as far as I know, the Wemos D1 doesn’t support it.
And if you’re a retro lover like me, all this modifications worth just to save an old gamepad and give it a whole new life.