Building a Galaksija, Part II: The Origin Story

Note: this is Part II of three articles about my experience building a 1980s Yugoslav 8-bit computer called Galaksija. This part is mostly focused on the history and the cultural impact of this machine. You can check out Part I for the story about the tech. Part III will focus on the software, community and Galaksija’s legacy. This article is largely based on my sprawling Twitter thread about Galaksija.  In

Building a Galaksija, Part I: The Tech

Note: this is the first part of three articles about my experience building a 1980s Yugoslav 8-bit computer called Galaksija. This part is mostly focused on the technical aspects of building this computer. Part II will focus on the history and the cultural impact of this machine. A BCS version of this article was published on RetroInfo. It is largely based on my sprawling Twitter thread about Galaksija. At the

Encountering WD SMR mess in real life with TrueNAS/FreeNAS

Note: FreeNAS recently rebranded as TrueNAS. Since I still haven’t upgraded my system I’ll be referring to it as FreeNAS in this post. Earlier this year, I tangentially followed the story on Western Digital shipping SMR (shingled magnetic recording) drives labelled as “Red” NAS drives. While these drives do provide satisfactory performance for non NAS use, they are significantly slower for most NAS’s, and virtually unusable for ZFS, used in

Exploring old computer tech from Yugoslavia

A couple of weeks ago I came across this amazing thread and the recently published @jacobinmag article about Galaksija, Yugoslavia’s DIY computer from the 80s. I was vaguely aware of its history, but it has largely been forgotten in the Balkans. I’ve been on a bit of an old hardware binge lately, so I attempted to source a Galaksija or another locally built computer while I’m in Croatia. No luck so far on the second hand market as it seems like these are increasingly rare. Ditto for the magazine that made them popular.

How I traveled internationally during the pandemic and ended up making a COVID testing website

In late July we traveled from NYC to Croatia to see my family. Upon arrival, we quarantined for two weeks and decided to get tested. Unfortunately, I spent hours trying to confirm simple info about locations and whether I can bike to a drive-in testing center. Thankfully, we tested negative, but I was concerned about the difficulty of finding basic info, especially with the large number of tourists in Croatia.

Beepy Model M speaker mod

My IBM Model M keyboard came with an integrated PC speaker, but it wasn’t obvious what it’s meant to be used for. I came across it when doing the restoration, but didn’t think much of it.

Restoring a 1993 IBM Model M keyboard

A few weeks ago I posted about going back to repairing old electronics as a means of distraction and coping during quarantine. I’ve spent the past ten days out in the street protesting, but working on this 1993 IBM Model M keyboard has been a good way to recenter myself at home. This was originally published as a Twitter thread.