Two Steps Back And One Step Forward

Well, it’s been a long time.  But, man, has it been busy.  Medical troubles with my back (need surgery) and also, now, my son is having medical troubles.  He had a couple of blackout episodes where, it appears, his heart stopped momentarily.  He has been in the hospital since last Saturday, and just got out last night.  Since he blacked out, he is, probably, going to loose his driver’s license.  Since he is a trucker, by profession, he now (in addition to all his other troubles) needs to find a new job.  You really want to stay awake while driving a deadly weapon!

Back to RetroChallenge.  I took a look at that old Zenith.  It’s not at all what I thought, it’s only an 8088 with 720K disks, however it does have a hard drive.  I’m thinking that I could probably install CP/M onto it, but have not been able to find the power supply for it.

What I’m going to do, to start with, is to try installing CP/M onto a virtual machine on my notebook computer.  I am running Virtual Box on my Kubuntu 10.04 system, and already have a Win2000 machine that I can run.  I created a small machine with 64M of RAM and 2 G of hard drive space.  I had thought that a Win-98 disk would allow me access to FDISK if I booted to the CD, however, FDISK is apparently left inside the CABs.  I could not even partition or format the drive on my VM (Virtual Machine.)  Tomorrow, I will try using the Win2000 disk to partition, and format, the drive.  Then I will boot to the drive and, using a USB floppy drive, create a bootable floppy disk from an image that I downloaded from  The file that I will be using is: CP/M-86 binary for 1.44mb floppys (and can be found here:

Once I get CP/M installed on my notebook, then I can start getting re-acquainted with the old gal and, maybe take her out for a dance or so.  I’m thinking the obvious: at least WordPerfect, BASIC, and (of course) Zork.  After this, then I will try to install it on one of my old systems at home.  If necessary, I will take one of my old PC power supplies and put a barrel connector on the 12 V lines and use that to power up the old Zenith.

Stay tuned…

Published in: on Fri, 14 Jan 11 at 15:09  Leave a Comment  

Hello world!

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging! (Keeping this, just because – my first WordPress Blog)

This blog is to document my entry in the RetroChallenge Winter Wakeup Contest (  This contest is for people who are interested in antique computing.  I got started in computing back in 1975 and had actually gotten started in electronics back in 1962 or thereabouts.  So I am interested in electronics and computers from that early time period.  I do not know what will happen with this blog after the contest is over; it may dry up and blow away, or it may cover other retro computing posts.  We will see…

For my RCWW entry, I would like to take an old Zenith 286 laptop computer (this is NOT a notebook – the thing weighs somewhat just under about a million kilos and tends to rip arms out of sockets) and bring up CP/M-86 or some such OS on it.  I will then try my hand at using it with a word processor from that time period.

Published in: on Thu, 06 Jan 11 at 23:28  Leave a Comment