Wax nostalgic - commodore64 updated to present time

Published: 2010-03-24
Last Updated: 2010-03-24 19:56:19 UTC
by Kyle Haugsness (Version: 1)
6 comment(s)

Slow news/incidents day.... So I will post something slightly off-topic.  Yes, the story was on Slashdot and it may never come to fruition (or even be suitably priced), but the news that Commodore USA was releasing a new PC embedded into a keyboard had me reminiscing of my first computer, the commodore64.  New site here: http://www.commodoreusa.net

I can't tell you how many times I read "syntax error" in response to my prodding of the BASIC language.  Hmm, how do I make this into a security-related article?  It would be difficult to install a keyboard logger on these things!!  So perhaps it fits into your physical security strategy?  Does anyone conquer physical security threats with creative choices of hardware?  For instance, if you have a policy of no USB flash drives do you enforce that through hardware restrictions?

-Kyle Haugsness

Keywords: commodore64
6 comment(s)


I’ve seen resin filled USB ports and welded cases. (Our local highschool had issues with students opening up the Compaq horizontally-arranged desktops and stealing RAM and HDDs.) And back in the floppy days the computers had the FDDs removed. Didn’t stop people from trying to put disks in, though, so there was many a support case for opening machines up to remove floppies that fell in.

All of this is no replacement for user education.
Years ago, I used an old DEC Alpha box (running Linux) as a firewall for my home machine. I started doing this after someone broke into my regular Linux box by exploiting some vulnerability somewhere or another. The assumption is that even if someone can overflow the stack on the Alpha, that the miscreants are assuming that the architecture is x86 and that the instructions that they push won't run on the Alpha.

It was kind of a pain in the neck to keep it working properly however. Eventually the consumer-grade firewall boxes came on the market and while they each have their limitations, they are generally pretty easy to configure and maintain.
I don't care what anyone else says or thinks, I want one. I'm gonna set it next to my original c64 and watch the new one bully the old one. It'll be fun.
That's not the commodore! According to my Commodore fanatic friend:

"http://www.commodoregaming.com/pcshop/Country.aspx They hold the commodore rights. There is a behind the scene communication/litigation between the two about legal rights to use the name commodore.

That is not a new product. That PC has been on the market already for a while: http://www.cybernetman.com/en/products/zero-footprint-pc/zpc-gx31.cfm"
Isn't this a just really thick laptop without an attached screen and no battery?
Re: the Commodore 64:
In an earlier incarnation, I ran a Radio Shack Computer Center, (remember those?)
Our service department had two techs whose technical knowledge about all things microcomputer was robust enough that they could repair anything from a TRS-80 Model I to a Mattel Intellivision keyboard system.
(Store policy was we repaired anything, in order to be everybody's "Good Guy" repair store, and also to generate sales leads.)
The number one repair the techs saw were Commodore 64's with the keyboard jammed, usually by a fist being slammed into it.
Repair bill was around $50 to $150 depending on the severity of the damage.
The add-on C64 disk drives were just thrown away as worthless. I took a peek inside one once; its PC controller board was a "spaghetti-ized" wire network embedded in a plastic skin and glued on cardboard!
I wonder if Commodore's CEO of that era, Jack Tramiel is still alive? If so, I am sure there are a lot of old C64 PC grognards who'd like to have a word with him.

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