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Arcade Cocktail Table - All Systems Go!

on Tue, 03/10/2015 - 00:55

The arcade table project I undertook to use an old netbook to run MAME-emulated games in a game table configuration is finally mostly functional. I have both player controls wired and working. The coin door is wired and working--well only one coin slot is actually wired, because I preferred using a button for player 1 coin op and only have a 2-player config--though I still need to add a power source for the lights. The key to making this easier is bundling and labelling the wires properly, which I kind of learned the hard way on Player one, LOL.

CI20 First Impressions...

on Mon, 03/02/2015 - 03:23

Imagination Technologies (see my CES 2015 experience here) kindly sent me a CI20 development board to check out after the show. I'll be doing a more thorough review later, but wanted to get some of my early thoughts and experiences down first. It comes loaded out of the box with Debian and enough space left over on flash storage NAND to install plenty of packages that will let you kick the tires (see the full tech specs here). I haven't done so yet, but you can also format Android onto an SD card and boot it as a second OS.

Arcade Coin Door installation!

on Sun, 01/04/2015 - 18:34

This took way longer than should have (see the full post up on the Arcade Cabinet project here). It was so simple once I borrowed my daughter's jigsaw. I simply had to modify the shape and size of the default holes cut for the cabinet, and shim up the bottom edge a bit. Came out looking pretty decent. Still need to install fans and a power supply, but can now actually run the switch that senses the coin entry off the I-PAC mini control board! Read on for the full ordeal, though it was really pretty painless.

Need a shooter accessory? Make One!

on Tue, 12/30/2014 - 02:56

What do you do when you get a really cool FPS game for Christmas, but not the fancy gun-like accessory designed to be used with it? You make one! Yeah, it looks like hell, but it works a lot better than it looks.It doesn't take fancy looks to make a passable "zapper" Wii shooting accessory; just a piece of wire conduit (or similarly elongated plastic casing/tubing), and some bungee chords. As long as you have a hardy piece of something in between, you would be amazed how deadly stable the aim and control of a home-made weapon becomes in the hands of the average human (even the totally weird

On Like Donkey Kong! Build a Home Arcade System!

on Wed, 12/17/2014 - 03:07

I got the idea a while ago to either purchase or build an arcade-style cocktail table this year (what I really wanted was a pinball machine--one can always dream). After seeing the crazy high prices being asked for real arcade stuff online, I quickly decided I could build my own cocktail machine for probably around $500 or less. The project isn't 100% complete yet.

Windows Update Screws Up Again?!!!

on Sun, 09/14/2014 - 22:11

Another ridiculous problem encountered with Windows Update where it goes off into La-La land never to return. This time after installing several "Important"-ly designated updates. The dialog indicates "Preparing to Install" but continues to churn indefinitely. Tried just rebooting, but it came right back up to "Preparing to Install". I have been running Windows updates manually on my home PC (not letting Windows apply updates in auto-mode since this). This time the stupidly redundant Update Fixer from Microsoft (updates to fix system problems need a fixer to fix the running of the

Back to Android, and WOW!

on Tue, 09/02/2014 - 00:45

I was an early Android fan when I reviewed the first available device from Google (the G1-see the review here), but because of the focus on iPhone in our online magazine, I really didn't keep after it much after that other than to fiddle around (and waste vast amounts of time) with some old legacy handheld stuff and Android builds that were custom hacked (see this). I had hoped we would branch over into Android (finally we have at Few may know that before iPhoneLife, and now AndroidLife, was SmartPhone magazine and before that PocketPC Magazine, etc., etc.

Update Loop: Windows Update Fails Miserably...Again!!!

on Fri, 05/23/2014 - 12:54

What is going on over at Microsoft, anyway...? Yet another strange set of Windows interface changes were rolled into a 2014 spring update that prompted a ton of forum complaints, particularly over the fact that the updates simply would not install correctly! It caused an install/uninstall loop that persisted no matter what one tried. Finally found an answer that worked in my case (which may not work in yours--see this post), to end the vicious cycle which went on for days. The prime issue for me was KB2919355, which had to be applied along with other updates in a specific order.

Recover Dual-boot Windows from a Busted Boot Loader!

on Wed, 04/09/2014 - 02:29

True story... Came home the other day from work and my computer was powered up and staring at me, and I knew instantly that something was wrong because it was booted into Windows 7, which it should never do unless told (I have a dual-boot system config). Hmmm, I wondered..?? First, why was it on anyway, and second, why was it sitting at the Win 7 logon screen? I figured it wise to log in and poke around. Then I remembered that the last thing I had done several days before was to let Windows 8.1 apply updates and shut down on it's own. I had gone to bed and forgotten about it. Bad move!!