I'm Commodore Z.
helscome to my websize. is not done. That's a Homestar Runner joke. I'm a big fan.
Welcome to my website! I enjoy collecting vintage computers, building with LEGOs, studying the history of telephony, and tinkering with electronics. As such, the bulk of the content here reflects those subjects. The primary focus of the website right now is my homebrew computer, the Cactus. I've got other projects involving computers and electronics worth sharing, so those have found a home here as well. I've curated a list of photo galleries from various events and museums I've attended.

The stylization of my website is very much based on web 1.0 methods and design principals. I'm trying to avoid the overtly annoying aspects of that era of web development, but also the trappings of the modern webscape that I detest. This means that hopefully everything loads quickly, and vintage machines with browsing capabilities will also be able to explore the content presented here. As it stands right now, most everything after Netscape 4.X seems to work without too much trouble, barring some of the more complex mid-00's CSS in the LEGO section, which seems to break really old browsers. All images presented are in gif or jpg format to maximize compatibility, and it is my intention to avoid using any client-side scripting.

To that end, there exist three primary subdivisions of my work:

Tasty Business Logo
Tasty Business Productions was created in 2005, and is the film making and animation division.

Z Labs Logo
Z Labs was created in 2011 as an umbrella for all electronic development projects.

Bell Zeta Logo
Bell Zeta is the telecommunications arm, created in 2014 which handles all vintage telephony.

Frequently asked questions:

Why does your website look like Geocities threw up all over the place?
I like the web 1.0 look. There is something to be said about simplicity in web design.
No need to load up a warehouse full of scripts, or saturate your internet connection over a handful of pictures and some text. Besides, it has a certain charm to it. Reminds me of my early days on the internet...
The other benefit is that the vast majority of my website still works from older, limited web browsers. Some of the CSS stuff breaks from the LEGO pages but that part of the site is modeled after another defunct website, so it gets a pass. I love hearing about people visiting this webzone using older computers.

Why old computers?
I like them. But apparently that answer isn't good enough for some people.
They provide a window into the past to show us how we got to today's technology. Successes and failures can be examined, not to mention, there are still viable lessons to be found. Oh, and video games. But also solutions to modern problems.

How did you get into the vintage computing hobby?
That's a long story. Here are a few highlights:
I played old video games starting when I was 9 or 10.
I became fascinated with older icons buried within Windows.
Tried to play my first video game (War Eagles) again at age 11, learned about the hardware and software requirements.
I was given a Commodore 1541 by a family friend at age ~12.
Watched a documentary about the history of computers that filled in the gaps between vague mentions of ENIAC and punch cards, and DOS/Windows machines (age 13).
Read through OLD-COMPUTERS.COM for the entire summer immediately after that.
Got my first Commodore 64 at age 14. It's been downhill ever since! :)

I heard you like Windows 95, is that true?
No. I love Windows 95. The UI design choices, the visuals. It represents a critical moment of change for operating systems, providing an easy-to-use experience while not sacrificing power user functionality.

Does this mean you hate Linux?
No. Quite the opposite! Linux is fantastic. Besides, what do you think this web server is run on?

Don't you mean GNU/Linux?
Pedantry will get you nowhere.

I get the feeling you like Commodore. Any thoughts on them?
What gave it away? I wish that circumstances involving management had not caused the company to fall apart like it did. I've found great inspiration in my interactions with Commodore hardware, software, and the engineers behind those products. I've met a few of them over the years.

So what's all this hype about front panel 6502 systems?
They're weird! They seem to be a forgotten footnote of computer history, and that fascinates me.

How many front panel 6502 machines were there?
By my current count, including ones you could build from instructions (and not counting the modern one-off homebrews like my Cactus):
OSI-400 optional front panel (per manual schematics)
CGRS Microtech System 6000
Kompuutar (Byte magazine, Nov. 1977)
That's it. If you hear of any more examples, I want to hear about them.

Are you a wizard?
That depends on whom you ask.

What do you do for a living?
I'm a broadcast engineer by trade.

Why doesn't your website have _____?
Because I don't want that, or I haven't implemented it yet. I'm not a web developer by any modern metric.

You should add _____ to the Cactus/You're doing ____ wrong/Why doesn't it ____?
It's my computer, and I'm going to build it the way I want to.
When you make your own computer from scratch, you can build it however you like. I'm doing the work here, so I'm going to make the choices. Some people get upset about my choice of color scheme for the switches. Seriously?

I want a Cactus of my own. Where can I get one?
You can't right now. Be patient, one day soon that will change. Send me an email though, I'm curious how many people are interested in one.

You should start a _______ to fund the Cactus!

Can I make a Cactus?
You can try, but I don't recommend it. The design is still being finalized. Wait for the kit. I'm slowly learning PCB design, and the front panel layout is really complicated.

This page was last updated on 10-9-2023