Retro Exploration: MDT-870 Mobile Data Terminal (1986-1996)

I recently impulse bought an ElectroCom Communication Systems MDT-870 radio car terminal for $5 at a surplus sale. Never knew much about these sort of computers but learned a lot since, and yet remain largely in the dark about this particular model given the complete absence of any documentation or schematics online.

This model in particular was common in squad cars in the 1980s-1990s. Some metadata extracted from a ROM that I dumped when troubleshooting indicated "COPYRIGHT 1986-1996 ELECTROCOM AUTOMATION INC." and the particular ROM in this unit had a generation date of March 25, 1996. Based on this, the department may well have used it for the better part of a decade before phasing it out in favor of more contemporary solutions. Read Full Article

Resurrecting Moneta: The Roman Imperial Coin Program (Patching and Cracking Abandonware Software - A Methodology)

Not Into Technical Jargon? Just Want the Download?

The article below was written as an exhaustive technical guide that covers one approach toward patching long-since abandoned and unsupported software products, using freely available tools. I chose to use Moneta: The Roman Imperial Coin Program for the general tutorial — an obscure application from the 1990s that a friend and several hundred others purchased, but with no way to activate it since the business went defunct many years ago.

The original software required a hardware-based activation key, which is no longer possible to obtain. Further, it lacked 64-bit compatibility so would not even install on modern operating systems. I will remedy all of that and more throughout the guide, but those just looking for the fresh installer with everything patched and working happily you can grab it below. Read Full Article

Bally Arcade: New Life with SD Card Solution from BackBit

I received my BackBit with Bally adapter this week and it is excellent, as the first solution that allows loading and managing applications direct from Micro SD. The previous longstanding solution (UltiMulti) had a fixed number of programs and you'd have to toggle a variety of dipswitches to load any given one. There are still benefits to the UltiMulti and Lil White RAM, in particular for BASIC programs. BackBit is for ROM/binary image loading so can't natively load PRG/WAV format files.

A Note About +5V Requirements

For the Bally adapter, the important point to keep in mind is that it requires the external +5V feed, done through the light gun port. This is equivalent to the way Lil White RAM gets its power or the original BASIC adapter. Read Full Article