You are here: The Oldskool PC/What's New at Oldskool.org
2023/12/10: I have, amazingly, updated some of the oldskool PC software here. Texview is now actually fast, instead of just pretending to be fast. DISK2IMG has a few tweaks for 2023, but it had a huge overhaul in 2022 so if you haven't grabbed it since then, you should. It can actually try to reconstruct damaged/weak bits, for example.
2023/07/19: Crazy to think that this website has been online, in its current location for more than a quarter of a century. oldskool.org was started as a way for my friends to be able to contact me no matter what ISP I was using (I bounced from 33.6k to 56k to ISDN to SDSLin the span of 8 years in the 90s) , and I added my hobbies to it, and then left it alone. In the 2010s, people wanted to advertise on it, so I let them. And here we are.
If all of the adverts eventually go away, and we're left with a clean front page again, I'm not sure what to do with the site. Email me your suggestions.
2020/04/23: Added two new "best pc speaker sound you've never heard" entries. No surprise, they're from Titus and Loriciels, but it's really cool to discover new entries in this space after so long.
2019/12/21: DISK2IMG got a major overhaul and was updated to version 1.10: New features include a big speed boost and a new reconstruction mode that can save all of the non-weak bits out of a sector.
2019/08/30: While I can only post a few quality videos over there per year, there is indeed an official Oldskool PC youtube channel. Please subscribe if you want to keep up on things like recording the PC speaker, determining if the shrinkwrap on your software collectible is authentic, and reviews of IBM PC games running on actual 1981 IBM PC hardware.
2015/12/21: Moved to a new server. Thought we were dead, eh?
2011/04/26: Wow, an update? I added some more "digitized sound through the PC speaker long audio montage" games and files.
2010/09/19: We've moved to a new provider! I believe I've migrated everything properly, but if not, let me know.
2008/06/07: Fixed all of the links in the Tandy/PCjr shrine as well as adding the most important one (cough).
2008/05/11: Which floppy-based backup program was king? Check the Great Floppy Backup Shootout.
2008/04/20: Added a guide on How to record the output of the PC Speaker.
2008/04/16: Added a tiny in-progress section for MONOTONE. Enjoy :)
2008/04/14: I just realized that The Oldskool PC is over a decade old. Scary.
2008/04/14: Updated IBM PC Sound Ramblings by adding a new game I hadn't discovered yet (Turbo Cars) and updating the bad recording of Aspar GP Masters.
2007/06/25: Greatly revamped and updated the 8088 Corruption page. New video player, some source code, and lots of movies!
2007/03/30: I've put up another useful little utility called TexView, which I wrote because I was unhappy with the speed of LIST and other programs in displaying binary files when all I wanted to do was poke around for interesting strings'n'bits. TexView does the job, it does it incredibly fast, and full source is included.
2007/03/26: Try to stay in your seats: There is a real, functional addition to my decade-old website. Text editors for 8088 was my weekend-long exploration of what editors do and do not suck ass for extended sessions on your favorite 4.77MHz computer.
2006/01/18: Added CGACAL, something I whipped up so people can calibrate their aging IBM 5153 CGA monitors.
2006/01/13: Someone thought that I faked 8088 Corruption -- he is wrong! I have proof!
2006/01/11: I have been pulled kicking and screaming into 2006, and now maintain a personal weblog. It's kept much more up to date than oldskool.org -- as if you couldn't already figure that out!
Someday, when the next Mindcandy project is done and my MobyGames duties are under control, I will update oldskool.org with the Sound Card Museum I have been working on for nearly two decades. Until then, subscribe to my blog feed, y'all.
2006/01/03: Had to destroy the guestbook; it was completely overrun by spambots, and I had no way of easily editing the entries. Sorry!
2004/11/17: Thanks to gentle prodding of friends, I am starting up work again on the DemoDVD project's second deliverable. To assist me, I'm using Task Timer again and thought that I should release it upon the world. 8088 coding rox!
2004/10/13: I got fed up with slow/bloated/proprietary/difficult file splitters trying to move files off of an 8088 -- how hard is it to split a damn file? So I wrote my own, with full floppy disk support. Behold the simplicity that is Chunk.
2004/09/17: Jeff Leyda has moved another of his reverse-engineering projects here, The Jumpman Project. If you loved the original Jumpman port to the PC but can't get it running properly under any emulator, now you can play a completely RE'd version -- it works on modern boxes and original machines. Wicked cool!
2004/07/25: No additional stuff added, but I just had to write this somewhere: I would like to propose that, as of this very minute, the golden age of computer gaming is officially over. I didn't want to believe it until now, but I just can't ignore the changes in the industry over the last few years. I think what sums it up best is when Pulse, the G4TechTV game industry news show, regularly reports company X or developer Y or person Z is working on a new... intellectual property. Not game -- intellectual property. They use this terminology all the time now. It's not enough to make a game in this industry any more; you have to *automatically assume* that you are trying to develop a hit series, and your first game is pretty much going to be unrefined and do merely okay and that the second game -- if your INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY is good enough -- will do better. You can kiss unique individual ideas in electronic gaming goodbye, because the gaming INDUSTRY is larger than movies and nobody wants to create something that won't sell. I know it's been coming for a while, but I was hoping it would turn around... but when the last SIX Pulse shows I watch report on new *Intellectual Property* being developed instead of a game, or idea, or story... well, stop holding your breath because it won't happen.
Well, this just sucks. I hate to be pessimistic about gaming -- honestly, I love all forms of the genre -- but this attitude pretty much nails the lid on the coffin of the kind of spirit that brought me into gaming in the first place. In the early days, computers were piles of dung with crappy graphics and sound and speed -- but the GAMES THEMSELVES were awesome. Completely unique concepts in entertainment were possible back then because nobody had any idea what computer entertainment should be. Today, however, it's pretty much a racing game, or sports game, or adventure game... it's all pidgeonholed into a certain category. And it has to have a recogizable premise, or genre, or character, or really huge breasts because otherwise it won't get developed. Games like Timothy Leary's Mind Mirror, or Pinball Construction Set, or M.U.L.E., or Alter Ego, or any number of atypical games we saw in the first decade of computer gaming simply have no chance to be made because, as of right now, it is all about developing INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY and not games.
Sorry -- I don't usually rant like this. But this needs to be said. The next time someone criticizes your software collection and brands you a nerd, give them a copy of this rant. You're holding onto these games because, quite frankly, we will never see these types of games ever again. And that makes them worth much more than they'll ever get on ebay.
2004/07/07: Jeff Leyda has released his rewrite of Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, which was disassembled from the PC port, fixed up to run on modern machines, had Sound Blaster support added, and then recompiled for your gaming pleasure. He has the full support of Silas Warner's widow on this, so please check it out and donate to her if you can.
2004/03/24: Jeff Leyda's silky-smooth slowdown mechanism throttle is now hosted here.
Also, I would like to announce a secret project that, if I can pull it off, will amaze and astound you if you know anything about old IBM PCs and video compression. But, like Steve Gibson, I'm going to be a paranoid dorkwad and withold all information on the project until it is completed, which will be sometime around Pilgrimage.
2004/01/31: Added Helpful Resources. For now, it's just outdated MPEG-1 info.
2003/12/14: I caved and added the Diary of my old PC. I wrote this five years ago and wanted to have each entry online with pictures, but I'm tired of seeing it on my drive with a date of 1998 and not on the site yet. So here it is.
2003/12/13: Added an update to Computer Movies Suck, this time with a video clip to illustrate how stupid this particular example was.
2003/12/01: Re-added the Oldskool Guide to Running Old Software on New Hardware. BIG disclaimer added that it was written in 1998 and hasn't been updated since. Also added a tiny software section in the Guides that contains (for the moment) my "Beginner's Guide to VI". It is written for the complete newbie who is forced to use VI.
Personally, I love VI. I think it should take over the world. Ironically, Bill Joy, who invented VI, doesn't use it much any more; I read in an interview that he prefers mouse-driven editors now. :-?
2003/11/24: I'm starting to put any utilities and stuff online as I find them. Today's entry: ModInfo.
2003/11/24: Finally added Tvdog's FTP Archive back to oldskool.org, and this time without a cheezy ~tvdog reference. The FTP files should be accessible as well. (If not, LET ME KNOW SO I CAN FIX IT!)
Removed the oldskool guide to getting old software running on new hardware. It was all screwed up under the new framework. But I got to thinking: It is five years old and everything I wrote was one foot in the DOS world and another foot in the Win9x world. Nowadays the world is on Windows XP... Is it worth putting back online? Should I expend effort to clean it up? I welcome suggestions.
2003/11/21: Revised the "Computer Movies Suck" essay a bit.
Also re-added the Tandy/PCjr shrine and cleaned it up a bit. I feel terrible that tvdog's excellent Tandy FAQ is not online as a part of this new framework so I am working on getting it uploaded as soon as possible.
2003/11/17: MANY updates. Redid the shrine code to only display shrines that are finished. (Sorry, no more teasers.) I revised my personal section a bit, re-adding the Computer Movies Suck essay and added my gamers.com interview. I revised the site FAQ a bit and regurgitated an archival copy of my friend's U2 Sucks page.
And, last but not least, Five years after it was originally announced, I have put The Oldskool Carny Sideshow online for your perusal.
2003/11/09: Reworked Oldskool Tales internally. Externally it looks the same, but internally it is all built from objects and allows me to add and format entries much easier. You get tired of working with gigantic text files, you know?
2003/11/07: Slow day at work, so I've cleaned up the gamers.com interview. It's in the about me section.
2003/11/07: Started work on gathering everything I've ever written of worth into the personal/compleat section.
It's not very interesting right now, but one highlight I'm particularly proud of is my el-cheapo webcam. :-)
2003/11/05: I fleshed out this section with some old "what's new" entries of particular historical and personal interest (birth of my children, inception of MobyGames, etc.) so that it wouldn't seem so damn empty.
In looking over most of the entries, I found that I was using the whatsnew section as a sort of blog. I don't write nearly enough per day (or share enough thoughts per year) to warrant a full blog -- I think -- but looking back I can see why people do them.
2003/11/05: After nearly four years in hiatus, I've begun tinkering with oldskool.org again. I created oldskool.org in 1998 for many different reasons; one of those reasons was to release some negative energy in a positive, productive way. Sadly, this need has returned, so my loss is your gain! :-)
As of this writing, I have imported much of the old content into a Zope framework (just page templates and simple dtml-methods, nothing fancy, no CMF or Plone or anything). I have created an object-oriented framework based on templates that acquire methods from their parents, so extending oldskool.org is as easy as creating a container and adding an "index" page template with only content in it. It's simple and elegant. Life should be so easy.
Half the site is still non-functional, but hopefully I should have things updated soon. We're also going to get some new stuff: Jeff Leyda's excellent Throttle, Jumpman Project, and other files will be moving here. I plan to upload much of my geek DOS utilities that may or may not be useful to the general public. Finally, I completed two essays five years ago and will put those online as well (I was waiting to take pictures of everything but I'm just going to add the damn content first and worry about pretty pictures later).
1999/11/15: Maxwell Robert Leonard is born at 9 pounds, 3 ounces. Mommy and baby are doing fine.
1999/10/21: I have successfully switched jobs and am now working for Check Point Software, Inc. as a security engineer. Firewalls are fun... huuhuhuuh... On another annoying note, I am the first person in all of Naperville to get DSL. This is good in that I am always on, just like ISDN. I also get a static IP (gotta love static IPs). The bad thing, however, is that there are all sorts of routing problems that my DSL company didn'tanticipate, so my effective bandwidth fluctuates between a modem and ISDN--when it's not dropping out completely. Not cool at all.
1999/10/09: Okay, so no firewall yet. So sue me! As always, I've had to do other stuff that's occupied my time, such as:
- A new baby! We are expecting our second child almost any day now--Melissa's due date is November 6th, but she's measuring weeks early, so we're prepared for an early arrival. No idea what sex it is--the ultrasound technician couldn't tell!
- MobyGames! Of course MobyGames is taking up my time. If it's been a while since you checked it out, check it out. Featured game of the week; polls; 300 entries in the database. It's really taking off (phew).
- Regrouting my tub and fixing my toilet. Yes, when you own a house, you have to do these things yourself. But for a computer g33k like myself, household repairs are usually an exersize in futility. It's documented by reliable sources that I have better luck fixing things around the house by waving a rubber chicken around my head three times and chanting to the household repair god "Norm" than I do wielding tools. That in mind, I managed to fix the toilet with my friend and yours, Brian Hirt (the toilet was--I am not kidding--dumping crap and urine down into the wall instead of the drain pipe every time it flushed). Fixing that was a $2 part at Home Depot (wax ring). And the caulk/grout around my tub was disgusting, so I scraped it all up and sealed with with silicone sealant. Ain't I special?
1999/03/01: I am incredibly happy to announce the secret project has been completed and is now running. Ladies and Gentlemen: MobyGames!
1999/01/19: I know there haven't been any updates in a month (except for Andrew's Digger shrine), but there are damn good reasons why: The Basement has transmogrified into a project so big, so large, so ultimately huge and important that it's taking on a life of its own. For one thing, my partner and I are going to:
- Probably form a partnership
- Register a trademark
- Register an entirely seperate domain
...and other goodies. Hint: The Basement is now a code name--the real name, along with the full project details, will be revealed March 1st. Watch for it!
1998/12/08: Holy crap, what the hell happened to Jimbo and this website in the last four weeks? Lots! Here's a quick summary:
- Ditched my modem and got ISDN
- Wired up a home network to make oldskooling easier (still working on the 8088, but all others are networked via TCP/IP--did some websurfing from the 286!) (thanks a ton, Brian!!)
- Fought with a 6-disk 24 GIG hardware RAID 5 system for days before finally giving up (man, that really sucked)
- Got sick twice, with the second illness taking away my voice just in time for my company's corporate formal dinner
- Our first Christmas in our home has been an adventure (real tree in the living room, hanging lights on the outside of the house, etc.).
- Worked (still working, actually) on a NAID CDROM compilation with Phoenix/Hornet; my contribution is converting 2.5 hours of video into 280MB of MPEG (and not having it look like utter crap)
...so you haven't heard from me in a bit. I'm trying to wade through all 458 of my email messages accumulated during the last four weeks, so please bear with me.
1998/10/28: I am back from my business trip, and am recovering from a particularly nasty virus. I have over 150 emails to answer. Ick. One very nice user pointed out that I was missing an ALT tag on the picture at the Oldskool PC Quiz, which made it impossible for him to answer the question. Why? Because he's blind! This confirmsmy suspicion that people who don't test their web pages through Lynx (I actually do) are shutting out hundreds of thousands of people.
1998/09/22: I have some bad news that many of you may already know: The Hornet Archive, the oldest and largest online PC demoscene archive in the entire world, is going away. We at Hornet can't maintain it any more, and we all have Real Life(tm) to deal with, so we're moving on. The Oldskool Demoscene pages here at www.oldskool.org have been modified slightly as a result, with the most major changes being to my premier PC demoscene web pages moving to oldskool.org permanently. PC Demos Explained has found its final resting place.
1998/09/21: The Oldskool PC was mentioned in a news article about OpenContent. Woohoo! The article has prompted me to think about redesigning the site slightly, so expect to see yet more changes in the near future. I'm also slaving over the Copy Protection shrine, so expect that dark little nugget of history to appear soon.
1998/07/02: I'm moving! No, silly, not the website; my family and I are moving to our first house! Yes, I joined the masses that put themselves in debt for the next 30 years. Expect things to slow to a crawl around here while I pack up all my computer shi^H^H^Hgear and move into my home. While you wait, check out the slightly oldskool-related essay I just wrote describing why computer movies suck.
1998/04/20: Finally finished the Oldskool Guide To Getting Old Software Running On New Hardware once and for all; I added some more programs to the resource section of the Guide, and cleaned up some little niggling things that were bothering me. Opened up the Shrine section, and cleaned up Life Before Demos enough to put it there. And, on the advice of a friend, I got rid of the Java looping background sounds.
1998/04/01: Not very many updates recently, eh? Well, that's because Melissa's Grandmother passed away, and we're making arrangements. Don't expect anything for a week. But, coming soon to a shrine near you: The ultimate Guide to diskette-based copy protection on the PC.
1998/03/24: Talked with Vincent Joquin. Hel-LO, Tandem! Also put up a new section dedicated to the real pioneers of bare metal coding.
1998/03/16: Created the "What's New?" section. Since this site won't officially open until April 30th, this section will be a bit sparse until then.