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Writing SD card images on Macintosh, and archiving them

I’ll just cut to the chase and tell you the best all-around product for writing SD card images on a Mac. It’s called ApplePi-Baker. Get it? It’s for the Raspberry Pi, but it works on an Apple computer? But it’s hard to locate and authored by a one-man band. So I’m giving you the quick link without all the hubbub.

Why it’s the best SD imager

  • It’s free
  • It’s much easier to use the the command line methods
  • easily detects your SD device
  • also works with USB sticks
  • best of all, it has the added feature of creating backups with it’s Pi-in-the-freezer feature, keeping the pie gag running throughout

Good alternative program

There’s one. It’s called Etcher.

The #2 option out there is Etcherwhich may one day become your best option when the bloke who develops ApplePi-Baker loses interest and it stops working with Mojave (just hypothetical.)

Professionally-maintained and robust, you can always find this app to download at It’s open-source, and at the time of this writing, seems to be taking the SD-writing world by storm.

The disadvantage it has under ApplePi-baker is that it cannot archive your SD card for backup and saving progress revisions. That’s something Raspberry Pi fanatics will come to miss. They’ve also recently changed their name to BalenaEtcher so it will be harder to find in your applications folder if you’re accustomed to typing “Etcher” to find it.

What not to use

Under no circumstances should you use “SD Clone 3” from Two Canoes software on account of false advertising. The “fully functional 7-day evaluation” period doesn’t last 7 seconds. It’s intuitive to use, and I had high hopes for it – even considering which account I should pull the $40 from to buy a copy. But it wouldn’t perform a single clone without prompting me for $$. Also Two Canoes is a dumb name for a software company.

If your time is at all valuable, you’ll find partially functional software advertised as fully functional to be an affront to good taste and basic humanity. The abrupt break in your workflow will force you to:

  • quit the program
  • use AppCleaner to remove it from your system
  • stop to write a blog post about how annoyed you are
  • go back to ApplePi-Baker to clone your SD card.
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Moving macs

For a power user, moving a production environment from one Macintosh to another is not always as easy as using Migration Assistant. If you can use that, you should. But if you find yourself in a situation where you must do it manually, here is my personal list of things to remember…

Keep your username the same if possible.
If an administrator set up your computer and you need to change the directory name of your primary user account, here are some clear instructions. If that link is dead, here are some more.

Tips specific to my production environment… May be useful to you too.

Move your conversion scripts from ~/Library/Services.

Install cloud services that you still use. Remember Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, Jumpshare, CloudApp.

Export all your user fonts from your production machine. You can batch install fonts on the new machine by opening Font Book and dropping an entire folder full of folders.

Copy your FTP credentials from Coda into a shared text document on dropbox. For some reason, Coda still doesn’t possess this most basic of features. Don’t wipe that machine until you have them locked down! Resurfacing FTP credentials is especially time-consuming.

Back up your TextExpander snippets. You are nothing without your TextExpander snippets. One day I’m hoping Mac Keyboard Shortcuts become robust enough to handle all the work of TE. Then this can all be done with migration assistant, but until they day when clipboards and cursor position features are available, TE ahoy!

Back up and import Keyboard Maestro macros.

One day I expect Keyboard Maestro will be able to do the work of Flycut and TextExpander. We’re getting there.

Associate file types with Textwrangler: CSV, TXT, HTML.

Install these finder helper apps

  1. Create New Text File Here
  2. Open Terminal Here

Move these icons into the finder window by command-dragging them to the top bar.

Change the macintosh screenshot default folder save location

defaults write location ~/Desktop/swang



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Using the Bally 6803 Keypad

Using the 6803 Keypad.
On all games except Escape from Lost World, Blackwater 100, Truckstop and Atlantis,
the keypad should be inside the game near the coin door. The cable is
long enough the keypad can easily be used outside of the game.
Here are the steps required to use the keypad. As you can see,
the procedure is not as easy as it could be (and this is one
reason the 6803 system is disliked):

  • Press the black test button inside the coin door.
  • On later 6803 games only, the CPU will now check all
    the switches in the switch matrix.

    • If any switch(es) are closed, the game automatically goes to
      the Stuck Switch Test (test 94 in the match/credit display),
      and displays the stuck switch numbers in all the player score displays
      (if “00” is display, there are no stuck switches). If there are
      stuck switch(es), the game will beep every second.
    • Press the black test button again to exit the switch test.
    • The game will go to Lamp test (90 in the match/credit display).
      All the lamp matrix lights will cycle on and off.
    • Motordome and later (games with 14 digit displays)
      can use the “A” and “B” keypad keys to move (scroll)
      forward and backward through the test numbers. Press the
      Enter key to select.
    • Press the keypad “KEYBD/CLEAR” button to exit the lamp matrix test
      and go to “Keypad Mode” (audit number “00”).
  • The game enters “Keypad Mode”
    and displays “00” in the match/credit display (on newer 14 digit alpha-numeric
    score display 6803 games, the message “Bally Testing is Easy as ABC”). The game is
    now ready for keypad entry.
  • On 14 digit alpha-numeric 6803 games, categories will appear on the backglass
    displays. Press ENTER once to select that category.
  • To view/change a particular Register (note the “register” nomenclature
    was only used on 7 digit score display games, prior to Motordome):

    • Enter the Register number
      on the keypad and press ENTER (as the Register number is typed on the
      keypad, the numbers should echo in the match/credit unit). The current
      value of the register will display in the player 1 display.
    • If the Register
      is an adjustment (and not an audit), type the new value for the register
      (as the value is typed on the keypad, the numbers should echo in the player 2
      display). Press ENTER to accept the new value, and both player 1 and player 2
      values should be the newly entered number.
    • If a mistake was made, just re-enter
      the new value and press ENTER again.
    • If the Register value is not valid, the
      game will make a “buzz” error sound.
  • Pressing CLR will re-start the self-test.
  • Pressing GAME will keep any changed adjustments and go to game over
    (attract mode).

Diagnostic Tests and the Keypad.
Here are the diagnostic test numbers to enter on the keypad,
and their descriptions. Note newer 6803 games
have additional tests that the earlier games may not have.
For example, newer 6803 games have a single lamp test,
single soleniod, and Game ROM ID test.
For all tests except the display test, the Function number is
shown in the match/credit display.

Summary of Diagnostic Test Numbers.

  • 90 = Lamp test.
  • 91 = Display test.
  • 92 = Solenoid test.
  • 93 = Sound test.
  • 94 = Stuck switch test.

Diagnostics in Detail.

  • Lamps (Function 90) – All the lamps in the lamp matrix are turned
    on and off together, until the test is exited. The “A” phase is displayed
    first, followed by the “B” phase. Press “enter” or “keybd/clr” to exit this test
    and proceed to the next test.
  • Single Lamps (newer games only) – Lights one lamp at a time and
    also displays the SCR (lamp driver) number and connector ID on the score
    displays. Press “A” to advance to next lamp, or “B” to back up to the previous
    lamp, or “C” to cycle.
  • Displays (Function 91) – Each score display will cycle from “0” to “9”
    in all the digits, until the test is exited by pressing “enter” or “keybd/clr”.
  • Solenoids (Function 92) – All of the game’s coils are energized in sequence
    (as defined by their solenoid number). The flipper relay is also activated
    during this test, so the cabinet flipper buttons should work too.
    Press “enter” or “keybd/clr” to exit this test and proceed to the next test.
  • Single Solenoids (newer games only) – Energizes one solenoid at a time.
    Press “A” to advance to next coil, or “B” to back up to the previous coil.
  • Sound (Fuction 93) – the 6803 Controller board will “talk” to the
    sound board, and about once a second it will generate a buzzing noise.
    Press “enter” or “keybd/clr” to exit this test and proceed to the next test.
  • Game ROM ID (newer games only) – Displays ROM(s) ID numbers.
  • Switches (Function 94) – if “00” is flashing in all the player score
    displays, no switches are closed. Any other number than zero shows
    which switch number is closed. Press test button inside the coin door
    to exit this test.

This is not my research. It’s a “just in case it goes down” personal backup of the excellent 6803 repair guide at

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was content type chapter – yesterday’s technology, today

The day we stop playing, is the day we start getting old. – Twilight Zone, the Movie.

Video games are frivolous – they’re for kids, right?


When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. But once I snagged a wife, I wanted my Intellivision back.”

Quote mashup: Corinthians 13:11, and Sean Kelly – home video game guru, and proprietor of retro console chain Videogames Then & Now.

Dip your toes in the rasterized waters of Odell Lake.



Video Games Live (

Shitload o’ movies

Low cost quickies

Atari Flashback

Atari Plug & Play + Paddle version

Activision Plug & Play

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was content type chapter – introduction

Would you like to play a game?

If you exist as a sentient being in the year 2015, then you have strong memories of electronic gaming from your childhood. Most likely, those experiences made a profound and lasting impact, even if only latent and now largely expunged from memory. The most forgotten conscious memories may be as deeply ingrained in the psyche as the most profound of human experiences: traveling to foreign lands, falling in love, breastfeeding as an infant. I’m not kidding.

Now that neuroscientists have discovered that sensory brain regions store emotional memories
This suggests sensory information — a particular sound — is coupled with emotional information — a memory of fear — and stored in the auditory and visual cortices as a bundle – allowing the sounds and sights to acquire an emotional meaning.

“The same part of the brain that’s in charge of processing our senses is also responsible, at least in part, for storing emotional memories.” (

Does the sound of thunder make you inexplicably happy? When you re-experience the colors, animation,

Until 2010 when neuroscientists found a probable link between emotional memories and sensory triggers. (

Not only did you take in otherworldly sounds, vibrant visuals, but you had the

Retro gaming is not only a good brain exercise. It’s crazy fun.

Here’s the book

If you want to bring your retro gaming memories back to life and experience them anew, you’ve found your guide.
This tome contains your step-by-step guide to bring the joys of arcade gaming back to life. and bringing back gaming fun even the flashiest modern games can never hope to create.

Any age may apply / what was the “killer app” of your youth?

The game we’re playing is open to members of any living generation: Baby Boomer, Gen X, Millennial, & even those generations not yet named, or whose name is not to be spoken. No matter what the killer app of your childhood: whether Burger Time, Pinball, Super Mario World 3 on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), World of Warcraft, Tomb Raider, Video Pong, you’re covered. Unless your game is Temple Run on the iPad. Those youngsters will have to wait for volume 2. I’m promising big things, so jump right in. (Acquire this book immediately! Steal it, download it, buy it, I don’t care) and partner with a friend, and commit to lighting up your brain.

What you’ll find

A ticket to ride for every budget, from free apps for the non-committal (wuss!) to setting up a full arcade in your house, here is some of what you’ll find.


ADVANCED TOPICS will include for the neurotic and committed, for increased impact through improved authenticity – real tube monitors, 15kHz display rates, authentic retro controls, etc.