Articles by Steven

Steven has written 515 articles.

Loving the Rush at Shoshone Falls

Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho, 2024 by Steven Reid

We took a road trip early in the spring to Twin Falls to see Shoshone Falls. Known as the Niagara of the West, Shoshone Falls is quite a show and definitely worth the trip. We picked a time of year when we knew the falls would be at their fullest. We were drenched with mist getting out of our cars. Although not the best photo I took of the waterfalls, it captures the power of the water rushing over the ledge. A spectacular sight that I felt made a great top image for my blog.

Getting Creative with Custom Print Formatting on the ZX81

Print Using Emulation , ZX81 Screenshot, 2024 by Steven Reid

My ZX81 programming has taken a back seat of late as I focused on other activities. Whether family, work, or the latest video game update, I haven’t put as much effort into finishing projects. For this month, I decided to focus on tackling an interesting problem, emulating the PRINT USING command.

Crafting Mazes for the ZX81

Maze Generator, ZX81 Screenshot, 2024 by Steven Reid

Something I’d been itching to do is write a maze generator. Even though they seem simple enough, for some reason, I struggled to code one. With so many different algorithms out there, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming. It wasn't until I took a vacation that my mind settled down enough for me to finally tackle the task.

Crafting Black Hole Graphics on the ZX81

Black Hole, ZX81 Screenshot 3, 2023 by Steven Reid

I had forgotten about this Black Hole program until I ran across it while cleaning up some directories. It is a conversion, not an original, program that was shared on one of my BASIC forums. It doesn’t look quite as good as the original, but it was interesting to see what the ZX81 could do with its simplistic graphics.

ZX81 Aquarium Makeover—Revamping Kimmie Fish in Assembly

Aquarium Screenshot 1, 2024 by Steven Reid

While on vacation, I spent some relaxing time converting my Kimmie Fish BASIC program into something a bit more interesting. In addition to the normal speed improvements, I wanted to give it an aquarium like feeling with bubbles and depth. No color here, this is all stock ZX81 graphics. Only thing needed is the requisite 16K memory pack.

Using Generative AI to Create Lunar Equestrian Dreams

Moon horse. AI Generated image, 2023 by Steven Reid

Funny enough, I'm still having a surplus of fun creating AI art. Between challenges and random ideas, it's been quite a year. I love reading articles and seeing what other creative minds come up with. Reading "This AI Tool Combines Stable Diffusion's Level of Control and Midjourney's Image Quality — It's Called Distillery," by Jim Clyde Monge, I was intrigued by some of his images and thought I'd give it a whirl with my own whimsical prompt.

Beyond the Atari: A Pitfall! Simulator for the ZX81

Pitfall! Simulator, ZX81 Screenshot of the Starting Room, 2023 by Steven Reid

Pitfall! without the peril, with this accurate ZX81 simulator.--> While contemplating what ZX81 program to write about this month, I completely forgot that I had created a Pitfall! Simulator. It began as a fun project to occupy my time during winter break. My initial goal was to recreate David Crane's LSFR (Linear Feedback Shift Register) in Z80. However, after learning more about its functionality, I took the project much further than I had originally intended.

A Trip Down Memory Lane: Recreating “I Was Here” in ZX81 BASIC

Here, ZX81 screenshot, 2023 by Steven Reid

A recently posted meme reminded me of the silly things we did on computers. In the early eighties, most computers came with BASIC as their default OS. A common starting point was a s simple “hello world” program. But almost as often, someone wrote something a bit more personal. This is my tribute program to the “I was here” concept of those days.

How to Create an Infinite Maze on the ZX81

Infinite Maze, ZX81 Screenshot, 2023 by Steven Reid

I saw the Commodore 64 maze generator for years, but ignored it on my ZX81 for different reasons. For one, the characters needed didn’t exist on the ZX81 keyboard. The other was the lack of automatic scroll. Undeterred this month, I created my own version in Sinclair BASIC. I’m quite happy with the results, even if not quite the same.

From Abstract Aliens to Cosmic Baristas: My Quest for AI Artistry

Coffee time. 2023 by Steven Reid

Hard to believe, but I’ve been futzing with AI art on NightCafé for a month now. I’d dabbled with DALL-E for some time, but not consistently. The social aspect of NightCafé is probably the biggest draw. Besides sharing content and seeing what others have made, but I get prompt ideas and support. Perhaps the biggest advantage are the challenges. I‘m slowing getting better. Today, I got into the top 20% for the third time in an official daily challenge.

Let Freedom Shroom! July 4th Mushroom

Let Freedom Shroom! July 4th Mushroom.

I haven’t done a short blog post in some time but today is an opportunity. I’ve been playing around with AI generative art using NightCafe. It is quite a fun community. Whether you love or hate generative AI, it is the narrative of the day. Always one to try out technology, it is interesting to see what things emerge from various prompts.

Revisiting Word Clouds: A Fun and Visual Way to Analyze Text

Word cloud from “Chunky Graphics for the ZX81: A New Way to See the Mandelbrot Set.”

I was futzing around with my site yesterday, checking stats and stuff. Seems my Wordle article using word clouds is one of the more popular ones. I have a feeling it relates more the game than the word cloud I wrote about it. After a quick view, I realized that the site I was linking to wasn’t active anymore. Thus, I began a short journey to find something else?

Chunky Graphics for the ZX81: A New Way to See the Mandelbrot Set

Mandelbrot Set with Chunky Graphics, ZX81 Screenshot, 2022 by Steven Reid

After completing my Chunk Graphics mode, my thoughts went to how best to use it. My first idea was something new, such as a flight simulator. After pondering, I stuck with something current by modifying my Mandelbrot Set program. With three gradients, it would be an interesting use of the mode.

Solving the Sticker Mystery: Crafting the Perfect LEGO C-3PO Name Plate

C-3PO and Boushh by Steven Reid

I recently purchased the Princess Leia (Boushh) Helmet. It looks great next to my other helmets, including the custom C-3PO Helmet MOC I assembled some time back. The problem is C-3PO doesn’t have a matching name plate. I’ve been wanting to fix that for some time, but couldn’t find a decent template. Given up, I decided to create my own. Follow along to see how I made it.

Exploring Chunky Graphics: A New 3-Color Screen Mode for ZX81

Chunky Plot, 2022 by Steven Reid

Out on a run back in November of last year, I had this idea to create a 3-color screen mode of the ZX81. The idea was to use the checkered, or gray, graphic characters to add a third color. After reading about the C64 color modes, I called it chunky graphics as an homage to its wide pixel format. The pixel’s are chunky due to the 2x1 ratio and not being square. Let’s dig into the details.

Meow in Motion: A Z80 Assembly Version of a Classic Cat Animation on the ZX81

Fast Cat (Cat ASM), ZX81 Screenshot #2, 2023 by Steven Reid

After finishing the basic version of the cat animation, I wanted to improve the frame speed. This meant converting from BASIC to machine code. My first thought was to do the conversion with MCODER II. I dropped that idea, deciding to focus on a custom z80 Assembly version. Ergo, cat written in assembly or Fast Cat is, well, a faster version and a bit more.

ZX81 Digital Rain: A Retro Display of the Matrix Code

ZX81 Rain, Chroma ZX81 Screenshot, 2023 by Steven Reid]

The holiday's provided me a nice break to enjoy writing code. During that time, I revisited my digital rain program. For ZX81 Rain, I cleaned up the colors and added a little randomness to where the drops start. Nothing super exciting, but the overall effect is much nicer and looked good in both black/white and color on the ZX81.

Revamp Your Blog Editing Workflow: Unlock the Power of BBCODE with Custom Bootstrap Icons

CMS Editor using Bootstrap Icons, 2023 by Steven Reid

It’s been awhile since I talked about coding on my site. I’m still using a custom Perl CMS—although the group I worked with has long since disbanded. In any case, I’ve generally used a more basic editor on my site. Although I’d love to someday integrate something more complex, the simplicity has made it easy for me to maintain my blog. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t make it better.

Accelerating FizzBuzz on the ZX81: A Basic Guide to High-Speed Integer Printing

FizzBuzz 2, ZX81 Screenshot, 2023 by Steven Reid

Reading some old programming books from the eighties, I saw that the ZX81 had an ABS command that made me think I could improve my FizzBuzz program. It was late and my mind mixed that command with a modulus one, which the ZX81 doesn’t have. In any case, it offered me an excuse to fix the latency introduced by printing numbers.