The Ultimate Dreamcast Upgrades (Part 1)

Quake 3 Online – Dreamcast Live Game Night

I was finally around for a game night and got to jump in on a few matches of Quake 3 online. This is probably the first time I’ve actually played it against actual humans and not bots. Definitely was a lot of fun, but need to tweak my mouse sensitivity a bit. And also practice more. This should give you a pretty good idea of what kind of performance to expect playing online. 

USB4MAPLE – Now it looks a little more official

I was trying to figure out what kind of case I could use to hide away this little device so that it is safe from getting destroyed or having the cable ripped out. I remembered I had this little plastic box that came with my Logitech mouse that the weights and little buttons could be stored in. I only remembered it, because I threw it away the night before, so I had to fish it out of the trash can. It worked about as well as I expected.

Now it almost looks like an official Logitech product 🙂 

So you want to install Windows 98?

I’m detailing the basic process of installing Windows 98 SE on this nearly pristine Dell Inspiron 5100 that fell into my lap. It’s a Pentium 4 from the XP era of laptops, I’d guess released sometime around 2003 or so. The service tag doesn’t bring up any info on Dell’s site anymore since they purged it a long time ago, but none of that really matters anyways. They never released official drivers for it, so I’m having to make up everything as I go. 

The things that helped me the most are finding a giant universal driver pack, old video drivers, and installing USB mass storage device support. I’m not going to go over all the details on how to set up Windows or install drivers, just cover some of the basics of what worked for me. If you’re attempting something like this, chances are you’re savvy as it is. That or you’re insane. Or a little bit of both. 

I’ll have the drivers I needed linked at the bottom. For video drivers, you’ll be on your own to find those. There is a good chance they’re available though, AMD (then ATI) and nVidia were both great at supporting older OS’s, and finding their legacy drivers is a pretty simple Google search away. 

Universal Driver Pack

I obtained this from the Retro System Revival blog and you can find out more info clicking here. I wanted to rehost the installer just in case the page goes down and/or to lighten the server load. 

Contains 100,000 universal drivers
Holds drivers compatible with Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7
Compatible with 3com, Acer, AMD, AOpen, APC, Asus, AutoDesk, Brother, Canon, Creative, Epson, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Samsung, Toshiba, and many more brands!

Windows 98SE USB Mass Storage Device Drivers

This driver was a bit tougher to find. I’m not exactly sure where I got it, as the link to download it is dead. But it is the one I found that worked. You can find more info about it here. Once it is installed, Windows will pop up the new hardware found window when you plug in your thumb drive. Just follow the prompts and let it install the drivers manually. 

It’s important to note – Windows 98 does not support NTFS or exFat. You must format whichever thumb drive you’re using as Fat32. Windows 10/11 will only offer that as an option if the drive is 4gb or less. There are programs that let you format larger drivers, but there is a chance 98 will have no idea what the hell the drive is if it’s larger. I haven’t tried it, but keep those warnings in mind. Also, 98 only supports up to 512mb ram and a 137gb storage drive natively. 

Why would you this? Why not. It’s a fun little project, and old laptops are a great way to play some classic PC games. They can be had for dirt cheap, don’t take up a lot of space, and some of the specs were more than adequate enough to play most games from the Windows 98 and DOS era. 


The Need for Speed Credits Video

I fired up Need for Speed on the Playstation 1 recently, which brought back a lot of fond memories. I mostly played it on the Saturn when I was a kid, but discovered at some point that the Playstation version was superior. It looked a bit better, though the game was impressive on both consoles. I’m not really debating which version is the best right now. Just the one thing the PS1 version had, that no other version had – this really cool behind the scenes video in the credits.

I searched high and low, and couldn’t actually find anywhere that this has been posted before. So I went ahead and ripped a copy of it, tossed it up on Youtube, and here it is! 

Video cards are too damn big!

Modern video cards are the size of water melons, and about as heavy to boot. This is a problem since they barely fit in cases, and they block access to existing ports, which is a problem that I ran into recently.

I recently upgraded to an RTX 4080, from my 3080, to get some extra frames in Cyberpunk. The upgrade was totally worth it, as running it at the native 5120×1440 my ultrawide monitor supports was causing me issues. Mostly with the GPU running out of VRAM, as that resolution pushes the 10gb my old video card has. 

While worth it, the upgrade presented me with another issue. The new card is so damn big, my 2nd PCI-E x16 slot is completely blocked by the heatsink, which renders my capture card completely useless. But luckily there is a solution to this problem. And luckily for me, my case has vertical slots to side mount cards. 

Enter this little cable; the pci-e riser cable. 


For $35 from Amazon, one end pops into the port on the motherboard, and is low profile enough that it can fit under the cinder block sized heatsink. 

Worked like a friggin’ champ.

Visited the Space Shuttle Endeavour

During our trip to California last week, we visited the California Science Center to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Our goal is to see all of them, and with this latest visit, we’ve only got the Enterprise in New York left to see. However, this does conclude our list of all of the actual shuttles that visited space. 

I wanted to share these photos for everyone to enjoy. It’s housed in a temporary location, as they’re building a new space to store it, standing with the fuel tank and boosters attached. That’ll be worth visiting again for sure, but it’ll be a few years before they’re done. 

For now, it’s a little cramped in the space, so it’s hard to get as detailed of shots as the Discovery and Atlantis were. However, it’s absolutely worth the visit. The rest of the science center was incredibly cool, so plan ahead to spend at least half a day there. We were pressed for time. 

Flatiron Special Generator

A favorite local bar called Flatiron has some absolutely wild specials daily, which look quite appeasing. But for years, we’ve been joking that they must be using some random food generator to come up with the recipes, because the combinations are things that most sane people wouldn’t consider. Things like this: 

Nashville-Hot Blackened Shrimp & Collard Green Alfredo Cavatappi

Which sounds completely random, and might be. Either case, sounds completely delicious. We had been joking for ages though, that someone should create a food generator. Which sent me down a rabbit hole. A friend spent some time creating up a list of ingredients, which I used to generate a word list. 

I found some great code for a Adlib generator, which is what was the base of the code I used to create our new toy. 

 When you goto the page, it pulls from the word list we have created, and combines the 5 ingredients into the creation you see above. While my math isn’t the best, I believe there is about 90,000 potential combinations. So the likelihood of 2 people getting the same creation is pretty low. 

The actual code itself is pretty simple – there are 5 variables and it picks a random variable from the list. Each one is named: flavor, protein, dish, served, entree. The example above: General Tso is the flavor, Smoked Turkey is the protein, Quesadilla is the dish, Habanero is the served, and Hummus is the entree. 

The page pulls from the javascript and displays the output whenever someone visits the URL or clicks the Refresh button. It’s super simple, and was a fun coding exercise! On top of that, the staff loved it so much that they plan on using some of creations from the page one day.

You can either click here or click the Flatiron image above to visit the page. You definitely need to visit Flatiron in East Atlanta Village and try out some of their specials. The food is amazing and it’s a great atmosphere to throw down some beers. 

The Flatiron