Saturday, July 11, 2009

when nostalgia strikes

so the other day as i was trying to figure out why my macbook pro was giving me a command line interface at bootup instead of a screenful of aqua goodness, i realized i longed for the delightful mush of my old commodore 64. readers who weren't around for the heady days of the early home computer explosion probably won't get it, but the old 8-bit systems had some great features. i bought my commodore 64 new for $200 and, after hitting the power switch, you were ready to start typing in about 5 seconds. two features you will not find on a PC class machine.

but in today's world, the 8-bit machines are virtually useless for what i do normally: surf the web, write software and use second life. so even though twittering and rendering second life scene graphs are not out of the question for old 6502 based machines; were i to switch back to the old 8 bit machine i cut my teeth on, i would surely die of youtube withdrawal.

so i reckoned the next best thing was to relive the glory days on my macbook pro. if you're like me, one of the apps you keep open constantly is the i'm an old software developer and NeXT system administrator; i took the time to learn many useful command line tools, and dang-nabbit i'm going to use them.

instead of pitching my mac for an old 8-bit system, i simply made it look a little more like the old c64. and here's how i did it:

  • first, download the Commodore 64 Pixelated typeface. it's a free download. yay! nostalgia doesn't have to hurt! After downloading the typeface, you should see a TrueType File called commodore.ttf. double click on it to launch the font installer.
  • next you'll want to download the small program that spits out the commodore welcome message. you can extract it from the project meadhbh repository file trunk/nostalgia/c64. once it's downloaded, you'll want to move it to your home directory, add a dot to the beginning of it's name and make it executable with the chmod command. so open a terminal, cd to the directory containing the file (probably ~/Downloads unless you've changed it) and execute the commands:

    mv ./c64 ~/.c64
    chmod 755 ~/.c64

  • now download the terminal settings file from trunk/nostalgia/nostalgia.terminal. you'll want to move this file to your home directory for reasons that will be clear soon.
  • finally, open the preferences and click on the settings tab. you should see something like this. note the location of the settings tools widget (it's the thing circled by the red oval.)
  • click the tools widget. this will give you a menu, select the item "Import..." this will bring up a standard file dialog. for reasons i don't understand, my version of doesn't allow you to navigate through your directories in search of nostalgia.terminal file. fortunately, you moved it to your home directory.
  • finally.. you need to insert a line into your .profile file. using your favorite text editor, add the following line to the file ~/.profile

    test -r ~/.c64 && . ~/.c64

    i put mine right above the other test line near the top.
and that's it. you should now be enjoying the glory of a commodore-64 like experience.

No comments: