Looking forward to 2023

(Note: This draft was being written when that Monday Night Football incident happened, so it was shelved for a bit.)

As this is my last day of holiday break, I thought I’d reflect a bit on what makes me the most excited for the coming year. Obviously, none of us know what the future holds, but these are some of my hopes for 2023:

Social stuff

It looks like Twitter might survive after all, but the fragmentation and millions of people going to the Fediverse intrigues me. I am very curious to see where the Fediverse goes now that it has so much more interest. I am hoping to see people like journalists and meteorologists start using it in earnest, which were some of my favourite follows on Twitter. It would be great to see the platform grow to new interests, since the majority of people there lean towards being in tech.

While their privacy policies and business practices still disturb me, this year will likely be the year I rekindle my Facebook account. There are still family members and friends of mine that use it, and some pretty nifty retrocomputing groups are on it as well. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, I guess. Any content that I post on Facebook would be mirrored to better platforms, so it wouldn’t be anything special for those of you who want to continue to stay away. I just don’t want to miss out on those connections that I could have just because of my aversion to late-stage advertisement capitalism.

Apple ecosystem

My iPad Pro is going to be seeing more usage this year as Stage Manager is finally available, bringing multiple app/window support. This is something that I’ve personally felt has kept the iPad from living up to its full potential, and something I remember seeing being done in the jailbreak scene for years, so I’m quite happy to see Apple finally putting it in official system software.

While I know rumours abound and there is no reason to think it would be released this year, I’m eternally looking forward to a wearable – like, say, an Apple Watch – that can also function as a glucometer. As someone with type 1 diabetes, it’d be a real boon to be able to have enough a rough estimate of what my blood glucose level is without having to wear a separate sensor.

It would be very cool, though unlikely, to see a MacBook Pro with a Dynamic Island like the iPhone 14 Pro.


I’ve received a lot of goodies, hardware and software, over autumn and winter. I can’t wait to put them to good use in the Retro Lab. I’m hoping to write a number of new articles in my Retro Lab series.

There are a number of software development projects I’d like to tinker with in the retrocomputng circle. I’m keeping details vague for now, as I don’t want to make any promises, but my focus as always will be on making classic Macs and Windows NT useful in the modern era.

Linux and libre software

I’ve been following the SPDX project’s continual drive to make automated tooling around discovering and managing licenses of software packages. It would be very cool to integrate some of these tools into package managers like APK.

The Qt project is still not in my good graces after their decision to make LTS releases commercial-only. This only became stronger when it was announced qmlsc, the QML compiler that would make QML apps into high-performant, non-interpreted C++ apps, is also only available for commercial customers of Qt. Maybe the KDE team will support a libre Qt 6 LTS branch in the same way they support 5.15?

Speaking of LTS branches of things with major versions of 6, the Linux kernel 2023 LTS edition should be pretty exciting. Linux 6.1 and 6.2 bring a lot more support of AArch64 boards, including the Apple M1 and Qualcomm 8cx Gen 3. When the Linux 6 LTS drops, it will be very exciting to dual-boot mainline Linux on my MacBook Pro M1.

I am personally hoping to have some time to devote to “traditionally opposite” endian projects. Specifically, I want to see if I can bootstrap an aarch64_be environment on my Pine A64, and similarly bootstrap a ppc64el environment. There are probably going to be a lot of false assumptions in code regarding aarch64_be.

Adélie continues to improve regularly, and hopefully this will finally be the year of the release of Adélie Linux 1.0. Yes, I am taking on a somewhat more active role again, and no, I do not want to comment 😉

Lastly, it will be exciting to see where the GCC Rust front end goes. Hopefully this will lead to significant improvements in Rust’s bootstrap story, which will help make it more useful and approachable by people who cannot use, or do not want to trust, the Mozilla-provided binaries.


I want to take photography seriously again. Photography can tell a story, document history, and transport others to a new perspective. I really enjoy taking these kinds of photos and hope to have some great snapshots to share throughout the year.

In addition to the retrocomputing projects, there are a few others non-retro-related software development and library improvement projects that I hope to spend some time on this year. Some of them are Wayland on Power, Zig on big-endian Power, and adding better compression support to APK Tools.

In conclusion

That is an overview of what I hope to devote my time to in 2023. What do you think? Are there cool developments that I should be looking at that I missed? Are you excited about some of these too? Feel free to discuss in the comments!

My feelings about the Queen (are complicated)

Something that many don’t know about me is that I’m Welsh (despite living in the US). Being Welsh gives me a very interesting relationship with Britain and the monarchy.

The United Kingdom provides us with a lot of good things, but Britain has also traditionally treated us pretty poorly at various times and under various reigns.

Still, it has made me quite upset at a visceral level to see how much the Internet and Twitterverse appears to hate the Queen and her family personally. A lot of what I see revolves around either colonialism or misunderstandings perpetuated by the media rags of the day.

While I definitely agree the Queen and the royals in general should have done more to give reparations to those who suffered under British colonial rule, I don’t agree she should shoulder all or even most of the blame.

Under the reign of her father and herself, many of the former colonies became independent republics. And it’s not like the Tories in power for the majority of her reign would have approved appropriate reparations anyway. I do wish they would have done more for Africa, and hope to see the new King doing work on that.

While the royals have done some pretty terrible things in their time, they’ve also done a lot of good. They are all big proponents of helping the climate, and the younger royals especially take after Lady Di in wanting to help the impoverished.

Speaking of Diana, let’s not forget that in her capacity as a royal, she helped to destigmatise HIV/AIDS at a time when many others in high places were happy to let those suffering from the disease rot.

Could they do more? Absolutely. Are they as flawless or squeaky clean as they’d like you to believe? Not even close.

But I highly disagree with the level of vilification happening online in the wake of the Queen’s death. I mourn her and the legacy of good things that she has done, while still acknowledging she was a flawed being and there were things she should have done that she did not.

Reimagining my blog

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything here. Part of that is due to my life being hectic lately. I’ve been dealing with health issues surrounding my family and I have also been happily adjusting to my new job.

When I started this blog, my goals were two-fold: a place for my long form writings on various topics, and status updates with the projects I work on. I still wish to write articles like those, but I want to share more content.

To that end, I would like to reimagine this blog. I intend to start sharing more, shorter articles with tips and tricks I learn, cool software and services I find, and also more cat posts.

On September 18th, we adopted a new kitten, Melody. She was born in July of this year, so she is still growing a little every day. She also has been adjusting to life with her big brother, Mr Gaz. These two get into hilarious hijinks regularly, so stay tuned!

I look forward to sharing more and interacting with my readers.

Welcome to Windows 2000: The Athlon is Go

It has been a while since I have written an article about retrocomputing. In some ways, it feels weird to refer to Windows 2000 as retrocomputing. I used Windows 2000 as my go-to operating system for the majority of high school, well after Windows XP was released. And yet, it is now 22 years old.

I have a special affinity for Windows 2000 in my heart.  It’s the last version of Windows that has the true “classic” UI.  Windows XP and later do have “Windows Classic” themes, but they are still obviously tweaked.  It is new enough to run some software considered modern yet old enough to run many of the software designed for older Windows versions.  The NTVDM still supports 16-bit Windows 3.x apps, and I’ve had success running DOS applications on it as well.

But none of that can compare to the true reason I find Windows 2000 so comfortable.  Weeks before my grandfather died in 2001, he took me to his new office to show me where he worked.  He had a Windows 2000 workstation and let me unlock it and open some of his files.  It was the first time I used a computer running Windows 2000, and the last time I used a computer with him.

The Athlon: An introduction

I have a Compaq Presario 2100 laptop.  It is a surprising workhorse.  I bought one new, in 2003, and had it for many years – but I gave it away to a friend who needed a computer in 2010.  In 2019, I needed a 32-bit x86 system for testing Qt 5 and Firefox for Adélie, so I found a Presario 2100 on eBay in good condition for a good price.  It ran Adélie for a while, with Windows XP Professional in dual-boot.

This individual specimen has a 2.1 GHz Athlon XP, 1 GB RAM, and a 250 GB WD Blue disk.  It’s a perky little laptop, with enough oomph to play some great games (SimCity 4!  Midtown Madness 2!) and chomp through small builds.  The Presario 2100 is actually one of the systems I did OS development on back in the day, and I ran everything from NetBSD to Solaris to Windows Server on it at one point or another.

The only quirk I’ve noticed – which will be relevant later in this article – is that when booting Linux, the battery needs to be removed.  It doesn’t hold a charge, and the kernel’s ACPI module is angry and deadlocks if the battery is present during initialization.

Installing the Windows 2000.

I inserted my Windows 2000 CD and proceeded through installation.  It took over two hours to perform the “hardware detection” phase, which struck me as odd.  About 20 minutes in, I turned the system off and back on as I was hoping that would help it along.

The GUI was slow and nearly unresponsive. It took multiple seconds to draw simple controls. And installation, in all, took almost four days to complete. When restarting, it was very slow to boot as well. I was concerned there may be a fault somewhere – perhaps the CPU was failing. However, Windows XP still worked fine.

I used the debug logging facility of NTLDR and found it slowed when ACPI.SYS was loaded. I removed the battery and rebooted Windows 2000. It was instantaneous. As it turns out, the Windows 2000 ACPI driver was having the same issue as Linux. After upgrading to SP4, I was able to boot with the battery inserted without issue, so the issue has been worked around in a patch.

You’ve come a long way, baby.

The next step was installing the drivers for all of the hardware. The modem, network adaptor, and display adaptor were simple and worked just fine.

I installed the official Broadcom wireless drivers from HP’s Web site. It worked, but only supported WEP and WPA networks. My network is, of course, WPA2. I found this fantastic backport of the Vista driver to older Windows versions. I installed it, and then installed the Boingo Wireless client for a front-end. To my surprise, the laptop works flawlessly joined to a VLAN on my dd-wrt powered Linksys WRT3200ACM. This allows me access to some internal resources on my network – most importantly, a micro HTTP server on my laptop where I can stage patches and file downloads from the Internet.

Boingo Wireless, happily running WPA2 on Windows 2000

At some point, I do think it would be an interesting project to set up a proxy server and allow the laptop limited access to the real Internet.  It will require a lot of research to ensure full security.

And now for the fun!

So far, some of the productivity software I’ve installed includes Office 97, Office 2000, Visio 2002, Liquid Motion, and Crystal Reports.  In fact, this blog article has been written entirely on the Athlon in Word 2000.

For development, I’ve installed Visual Studio 6.0 Enterprise including Visual J++ 6.0.  I have some SDKs and tools that I would like to add, but I haven’t found a lot of time yet.  Some of the tools available in the Platform SDK may start to be useful to me soon.  I am definitely having strong ideas for software to write targeting these older platforms.

Games I’ve had success with include Hasbro’s Yahtzee, Chessmaster 7000, and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Hoyle Solitaire from Sierra On-Line also runs flawlessly despite being a 16-bit game for 3.1 and even warning during setup that “Windows NT has not been tested”. The only game that gave me issue was Slingo. It crashes on startup, before the intro screen, and running the included DXDIAG gives a DirectDraw error.

Final thoughts.

This has been a blast to set up and I have been enjoying running this laptop again with the software from yesteryear.

This project has been everything that I had no longer felt with my other projects. Personal accomplishment, inspiration for future projects and ideas, and surprisingly, a significant amount of fun!

I am looking forward to writing some projects to enhance the retrocomputing experience for the community at large. Here’s to the future, with one paw still in the past.