Welcome to my site … made by a homecomputer enthusiast of the 80s for just those and who are simply interested in it 😉
This is not only about the famous “bread box”, the Commodore C64, but generally about 8-bit home computers of the 80s … the time when we (now about 45/50 years old) had the first contact with computers.
So besides the Commodores, it’s also about the Schneider, Amstrad, Sinclair, Atari, Apple
The Tandy Color Computer is indisputably a gaming machine. There are also large software archives for it on the Internet. But many games need a joystick. Unfortunately the CoCo has a different joystick connector than the Ataris and Commodores and therefore CoCo joysticks are hard to get today. I was also looking for a way to use my joysticks from the C64 or ATARI for the Tandy Color Computer. I found a build instruction for a simple adapter board on this page: https://nerdlypleasures.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-tandy-1000-digital-joystick-adapter.html
You can buy ready-made adapters on eBay, but since the construction of the circuit didn’t look very complicated and the parts were available for a few Euros, I decided to build one myself.
The Commodore VC-1520 is a compact roller plotter with small ballpoint pens in four colors (black, blue, green, red) and a speed of 12 characters per second on average, with a maximum of 80 characters per line. The character count in CBM-ASCII mode is 96 characters and in plotter mode a maximum of 260 steps per second. The plotter prints on roll paper (cash register roll) with 114 mm width (96 mm printable), which is fixed on a spindle outside the plotter. The plotter mechanism comes from the company Alps Electric and was also used in other devices, such as the Sharp MZ-731 or Olivetti M10.
Sometimes it can be worthwhile to help with a move! As an active member it was clear for me to help when the office manager of the BN district group Bamberg asked me. After all, the move only took place within Bamberg. Out of a quaint old town apartment in Sandstraße, home to many pubs, bars and the famous smoked beer brewery “Schlenkerla” in the middle of the beautiful world cultural heritage.
As is well known, the great success of the C64 from the mid-80s onwards was based on its revolutionary sound and graphics capabilities, making it the ideal gaming console. Due to its low price, which was based on the philosophy of Jack Tramiel, founder and head of the company Commodore Business Machines (CBM) (quote: “We need to build computers for the masses, not the classes.“), the Commodore C64 – or as its fans soon affectionately called it – bread box, achieved very strong distribution and thus became the best-selling home computer.
So it was obvious to offer “serious” application software as well. Despite its very limited memory of 64 kB RAM, there were also many word processing programs, spreadsheet, database or financial software, which were mostly designed for the private sector or the “small office”. From the beginning of the 80’s the first IBM PC’s came on the market, but they were simply too expensive for most home users. Therefore, the C64 had to be used for correspondence at home.
Pagefox for C64 and C128
An extremely powerful application software was Pagefox from the German company Scanntronik near Munich. However, Pagefox is actually more than just a word processor. The software is already considered as a so-called desktop publishing software, which could be used for layouting magazines or print templates. It offers free design options for page layout and combines text and graphics into a single unit, the so-called page layout, which could then be printed out on a standard dot-matrix printer.
conclusion of Happy computer 1988:
“All in all Pagefox is highly recommended despite its high price of just under 250 Marks the best DTP program for the C64.”
What do a breadbox and an elephant foot have in common? If you say “nothing” here, then you are either not a child of the 80s, or you had nothing at all to do with computers at that time 😉
Indeed, the legendary C64 was lovingly referred to as a breadbox by its fans because of the shape of the computer. And the elephant’s foot was the C64’s external power supply, which actually perhaps reminded a bit of an elephant’s foot, but was in any case very heavy. At least if you dropped it on your own foot. Then you could maybe grow such an elephant foot yourself 😉
Anyway, back in the mid-1980s – like so many kids back then – the Commodore C64 was also my very first own computer! After more than 30 years I found it by surprise in the attic of my parents – including a 1541II floppy drive and a floppy box full of games. And what can I say: It still worked like on the first day and I could even load the old games from floppy disk!
Since then, a few years have passed and I was caught by the retro or vintage computer fever. In the meantime I have a small collection of “old boxes”, which I always wanted to have, but could not get them. The result of my collecting passion and the experiences with the old boxes you can read among other things here on my website.
But back to the C64, more precisely to MY C64! Because he remains of course always something special. Here I want to introduce you a little bit to the computer, which has then also decisively shaped my life.