Sunday, December 31, 2017

Loading games in your Amstrad CPC6128 (input tape port) from your PC audio output

Amstrad CPC is living a new golden age because retrocomputing is on fashion.
A lot of enthusiastic users are making a lot of high quality homebrew for this old computer, but you need make a lot of difficult operations or buy new gadgets to use this software in your real CPC.
Is there another alternatives to awkward people with the welder as me? Yes, you can plug the output in your PC sound cart to input tape port in your Amstrad CPC, a simple solution but it work... but I find some issues...


  • Tape wire: just plug in the input tape port to the output of your PC sound cart (green port).
  • Jack extension: the wire usually aren't long enough to connect your Amstrad to your PC unless they are really close, you can but an jack extension to solve a problem (around 2€).


If you use any GNU/linux distro you need these software:

Do it

After install audacious and playtzx on the PC and pluging both computers, we need do this:

In your Amstrad CPC

And press play and any key

In your PC

  • Convert the cdt or tzx file to a voc file
playtzx -voc mygame.cdt temporalfile.voc
  • Play the file with audacious
audacious -pqH temporalfile.voc

Issues and solutions

You need select the correct volume, I try with a low level and I'm increasing until more than 100%.
I need change the sound configuration in my Ubuntu and allow a level bigger than 100%

At least I needn't any mini amplifier as on other occasions.

In theory you can directly play the cdt with the command playtzx mygame.cdt without parameters but it doesn't work and I need convert file to voc and play it with audacious.
You might do this with other 8 bits computers like my ZX Spectrum +2 (I think it doesn't work in my Commodore 64), in these cases you need an audio cassette adaptor to plug the wire to the retro computer.

We also change the jack extension using a bluetooth speaker than includes output to headphones, if this gadged provides enough volume.
You can automatize with a bash script:
playtzx -voc mijuego.cdt /tmp/temporal.voc
audacious -pqH /tmp/temporal.voc
rm /tmp/temporal.voc
Now we can enjoy the latest software releases for our Amstrad CPC :)
Artículo original en castellano

Monday, December 25, 2017

LDraw viewers and editors in Ubuntu 16.04. Your favourite construction game, now virtual in your PC

The last Ubuntu LTS version has many new features, but some exotic programs have stopped working and you have to compile them or wait for versions to run them on this version.

Just follow this guide if you want make your own Tente(R), Lego(R), Exin Castillos(R), etc... 3D models with the open format LDraw.

LDraw editors: MLCad & LeoCAD

You can install both of them without any problem, MLCad is a Windows sofware than run very well with wine, so if you want to use in any GNU/Linux install first wine and them MLCad like any other Windows application.

LDraw viewer: LDView

You can install the new special versions for Ubuntu 16.04 , 64 bits or 32 bits.

Then you can install it with commands like this:
sudo dpkg -i ldview-4.2-ubuntu-16.04.XXX.deb
sudo apt-get install -f

Professional screenshots: povray

You can get screenshots like a 3D professional:
  • Export the model to povray form LDVIEW
  • You can get a Full HD screenshot with a command like this:
povray my_model.pov -W1920 -H1080
The problem is that if we install the povray package in the Ubuntu 16.04 repositories it does not work because of a problem in a library, so we have to recompile it ... ugh! how difficult! That it is enough that you copy and paste in your console the following commands:
sudo apt-get install git build-essential libvips-dev libboost-system1.58-dev libboost-thread1.58-dev libc6-dev libgcc1 libilmbase12 libjpeg8-dev libopenexr22 libpng12-dev libsdl1.2-dev libstdc++6-4.7-dev libtiff5-dev zlib1g-dev
./configure COMPILED_BY="tu nombre y correo" --disable-io-restrictions
git clone
cd unix
cd ..
make check
sudo make install
And now you get it.

Set of pieces

You need the set of the pieces of the constuction game you want to use: TENTE(R), LEGO(R) or EXIN CASTILLOS(R).
Then unzip them in differents folders, for example:
  • /home/your_user/ldraw/tente
  • /home/your_user/ldraw/lego
  • /home/your_user/ldraw/exincastillos
Then we can run LDView with this parameter:
LDView -LDrawDir=path_to_set_of_pieces
For more details see the Tente 3D wiki.
Note: The artwork is my construction in Tente 3D of the famous building of the comic 13, Rue del Percebe, the first tentexpress quiz I won :)
Artículo original en castellano

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Shortcuts in Debian LXDE

Desktop shortcuts are very useful to order your favorite software.

There is two ways to make shortcuts in LXDE:

Clone shortcuts from start menu

  1. Press start menu
  2. Select the category
  3. Right click on item we want to clone.
  4. Select option 'Add to desktop'.

Made icons from scratch

  • Open the console (Start => Accessories => LXTerminal).
  • Select the Desktop folder
    cd Desktop
  • Create a file with a name similar to my_app.desktop with this content:
    [Desktop Entry]
  • This file must have writing rights for the owner than must be the user.sudo chmod +x my_app.desktop
Artículo original en castellano

Friday, December 08, 2017

Open alternatives to proprietary software (IV): 7zip compressor/uncompressor

There are a lot of open compressing software, one of them is 7zip
  • Multisystem: available for Windows, GNU/Linux, Mac, Amiga, BeOS, DOS, Solaris, etc...
  • Support almost all compressing formats and it has an own one than compress the files very well.
  • It can open iso, cab, msi, linux packages, etc...
  • Very light, 1 or 2 Mb.
  • You can use it in your mother tongue, available 79 languages.
If you use ubuntu or debian install p7zip, p7zip-full y p7zip-rar packages and you can open almost all the files.
You can install it with the software center of your distro or from console with the commands:
apt-get install p7zip p7zip-full  p7zip-rar
Artículo original en castellano