Bally Arcade: Vintage Computing Christmas Challenge 2022 Breakdown


The Bally Arcade / Bally Astrocade / Bally Professional Arcade was an ambitious home computer and video game console combo released in 1978. It sported a 24-button calculator keypad, four joystick ports, a ROM with four built-in applications (Gunfight, Checkmate, Calculator, Scribbling), a light-pen connector and expansion bus and 256 possible colors (8 simultaneous or 2 in BASIC). The joysticks included a trigger button, directional joystick and a 256-position analog wheel on top. Unfortunately, the system was plagued by delays and manufacturing shuffles and never caught on compared to other systems at the time. Several planned add-ons and expansions never came to be, or were only produced through third parties including a full-featured keyboard. It made a cameo appearance in National Lampoon's Vacation and a few catalog appearances, but didn't get a lot of media fanfare beyond that. However, for many years there existed a very devoted group of users, newsletters and more.

45 years later, the system still has a small but ambitious group of enthusiasts involved in the preservation and advancement of the system. Major shout-out to Adam Trionfo and Paul Thacker who have done an incredible job scanning and preserving all artifacts of Bally on Much of the archives originate from the Bob Fabris collection, who ran the largest newsletter Arcadian for years and generously offered tens of gigabytes of materials for preservation. This is the polar opposite of many vintage systems where almost all traces of documentation have been lost or remain in some dusty corner of a basement. Read Full Article

I Type 110+ Words Per Minute—The 'Wrong' Way

Touch typing has been taught the same way since the advent of the QWERTY keyboard. You start with your fingers on home row [ASDF - JKL;] and, by moving each finger along its vicinity of keys, you can effectively reach them all.  I was instructed to type in this manner throughout all of my academic studies from elementary school onward; I have always hated this technique.

Very early on I had developed my own spontaneous approach to touch typing. I don't rely on any formal home row and my pinkies mostly just chill out, with my index and middle fingers taking on the bulk of the work. Using my own approach over the formalized standard, I have always been a very fast typist. Below is a video of me taking a two-minute, randomized English sentence timed test (courtesy of, with the end result being 113 WPM (Words Per Minute) and 565 CPM (Characters Per Minute). Read Full Article