The Retro Web archives old hardware and the drivers you need to make it happy again

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fooling around with IRQs

Ah yes, I remember those days fondly. When I would have to manually set IRQ’s on a sound card so a customer’s special modem with Fax card would work right. The greatest gift to me as a tech support specialist was when hardware became plug n play and I no longer had to worry about this.


I Dont Believe You Will Ferrell GIF


I kinda do, actually. I was pretty proud of the fact when everyone else had given up on a problem, I figured out it was an IRQ issue and solved it. That was always the best part of being in tech support, solving a difficult issue and the immediate sense of accomplishment that came from that.


I know exactly what you mean. (Finally!) resolving a difficult problem tickles my brain in all the right ways.


I remember with some ATI video cards you could capture live SD video and show it behind your desktop. I thought that was incredibly cool and had potential… then new drivers came out and that all broke because MS or someone decided it was a bad idea?

Problem nowadays is the machine running the hardware has to be tuned so specifically , not just drivers. Put in the wrong .NET framework or connect to the internet and you are one unintended update away from borked. You are almost looking to have a state machine to get a specific job done, not a system where you can play around and be creative with mix & match hardware/software/drivers/OS.

I recall being able to do this with the first gen of new Apple Towers after the original Blue-Berry iMacs were released. They had an included/onboard? (I can’t recall and don’t care to look it up) ATI GPU.

I was working at a store called WestWorld computers at the time, (w/onion on a belt) one of the few non-Apple Apple retailers. Our tech found out that the “colour” from the DVD playback window could be captured with the Eyedropper colour selection for setting the desktop background. That colour was a special Pass-through value that gave back what the graphics hardware was pulling from the DVD stream.
Setting the display window of the DVD software to full screen, then hiding it (background or whatever) resulted in the proper dimensions for the desktop to be full-screen DVD playback without a real performance hit as the GPU was handling the display and to the rest of the system it was a static image of that Pass-though colour.

Author’s Note: It was shortly after the Armageddon DVD was released and watching movies on your computer was a novelty, the showroom had that DVD and I got to watch it over and over all day at work. I still remember being able to count down to the scene where I could see grass on the asteroid that made it through editing.

Every now and then you’d have to sacrifice a bit of skin and/or blood to the gods of bad computer chassis design, though.


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