Tales From the Benjside: BABY DRAGON IS SLEPT

March 29th, 2007 by Benj Edwards

Tales from the Benjside

[ ‘Tales From the Benjside’ is a column where Benj writes silly things about computers, video games, and tangentially-related stuff in a blog-like fashion. ]

It’s Christmas time once again in the Land of Benj, and you know what that means: more presents! So get out your stockings and you elf caps and follow me once again into another…

What? It’s March, you say? Egads, man! Seems that I’m a bit late on the festivities (or early?). But then again, the Land of Benj does not observe normal rules of space and time. Only the Rules of Christmas. And the Rules of Christmas clearly spell out (Section 8c, Paragraph 4, Line 3) that it’s time for another Tales From the Benjside. Let it commence.

The First Atari 1040STE Cut is the Deepest

The Atari BladeAn Atari 1040STE cut my nose. That’s right, a computer sliced my nasal flesh. Not under its own will, although that would have been incredible and somewhat disturbing. No, it was more like “under no one’s will,” as the true agent behind the deed remains obscured. Which got me thinking — how can something cut me if no one wills it to be so? It seems obvious at first, in the face of objective reality, but I never really thought about the world that way before. As it turns out, will-less things like that happen all the time. Ever heard of rockslides? Most of them happen at the whim of a mountain, which is about as sentient as the plastic case of my Atari ST. So who cut me? I didn’t cut me, my father didn’t cut me, and the computer didn’t really cut me (if you take the word “cut” in that phrase to imply some intention of action). Don’t say God, because the word on the bumper sticker is that He loves me. Although one can never be too careful these days.

Ok, here’s how it really happened. I was talking to my dad on the phone while inspecting the top half of the Atari 1040STE plastic chassis. Deeply engrossed in the conversation and lost in thought, I apparently miscalculated its distance from my face as I twirled it around upside down to get a better look at the inside. That’s when it got me. The damn case brandished a tiny switchblade knife and slashed me in the schnoz. It hurt, but I got my revenge! I put it back together in perfect working condition, as you’ll soon read about below…

What’s on the Bench, Benj?

Atari 1040STE Apartheid*Cough* *Cough* An evil computer. That’s what.

It’s an Atari 1040STE. The “enhanced” version of the Atari 1040STF, with an enlarged color palette, two extra super-funky joystick ports on the left side, and the capacity for up to 4MB in memory expansion via convenient and standard 30-pin SIMM slots. When I bought the unit some years ago, certain keys on the keyboard didn’t work. So I took it apart recently to fix the keyboard and upgrade the RAM. Both were achieved within a relatively short period of time, although not without injury (see section above). The keyboard assembly had a broken trace on its circuit board that prevented the 2, 3, w, e, s, and x keys from working. Those kinds of breaks are surprisingly common in vintage computer keyboards, likely caused by something heavy — perhaps fists? — falling on the keyboard at some very dramatic point in their otherwise uneventful lives. A little scrape of the solder mask on the PCB, some solder to bridge the gap, and everything was hunky-dory. While I was at it, I transplanted some 1MB SIMMs from an old Mac (pray that there’s no rejection, even if it happens only out of principle) and put the whole thing back together. Now it’s a “fully realized” unit as it always should have been. Time for some Sun Dog and Phantasie marathons! Here’s a peek at one of my games:

Phantasie - Baby Dragon is SleptThe Atari 1040STE’s failure is now complete.

Absolutely beautiful. It’s just like old times.

“Cancel Gametap,” Anyone?

It’s common that webmasters, in their site statistics, can see what Google search terms have brought visitors to their sites. Here’s a few of the most popular search phrases that bring wonderful people, like you, to Vintage Computing and Gaming.

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In Other News

I am now an official card-carrying member of the Cactus Club (CC). Unfortunately, the Cactus Club Council (CCC), in their infinite wisdom, has seen it fit to unanimously nominate me to give a four hour presentation on Community Cactus Cutting Careers (CCCC) at the annual Cactus Club Convention in Calcutta, CT (CCCCC). Expect updates to this developing story, and many more C’s, as new details emerge.



One Response to “Tales From the Benjside: BABY DRAGON IS SLEPT”

  1. Benj Edwards Says:

    This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever read — and I wrote it!

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