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Commodore 1541

The Commodore 1541 is a floppy disk drive, made by Commodore International for the Commodore 64, Commodore's most popular home computer. The best-known floppy disk drive for the C64, the 1541 is a single-sided 170-kilobyte drive for 5¼" disks; the 1541 directly followed the Commodore 1540. The disk drive uses group coded recording and contains a MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor, doubling as a disk controller and on-board disk operating system processor; the number of sectors per track varies from 17 to 21. The drive's built-in disk operating system is CBM DOS 2.6. The 1541 was priced at under US$400 at its introduction. A C64 plus a 1541 cost about $900, while an Apple II with no disk drive cost $1295; the first 1541 drives produced in 1982 have a label on the front reading VIC-1541 and have an off-white case to match the VIC-20. In 1983, the 1541 was switched to having the familiar beige case and a front label reading "1541" along with rainbow stripes to match the Commodore 64. By 1983 a 1541 sold for $300 or less.

After a brutal home-computer price war that Commodore began, the C64 and 1541 together cost under $500. The drive became popular, became difficult to find; the company claimed that the shortage occurred because 90% of C64 owners bought the 1541 compared to its 30% expectation, but the press discussed what Creative Computing described as "an alarming return rate" because of defects. The magazine reported in March 1984 that it received three defective drives in two weeks, Compute!'s Gazette reported in December 1983 that four of the magazine's seven drives had failed. Publications sorely needs additional 1541s for in-house use. After numerous phone calls over several days, we were able to locate only two units in the entire continental United States" because of Commodore's attempt to resolve a manufacturing issue that caused the high failures; the early 1541s have a spring-eject mechanism, the disks fail to release. This style of drive has the popular nickname "Toaster Drive", because it requires the use of a knife or other hard thin object to pry out the stuck media just like a piece of toast stuck in an actual toaster.

This was fixed when Commodore changed the vendor of the drive mechanism and adopted the flip-lever Newtronics mechanism improving reliability. In addition, Commodore made the drive's controller board smaller and reduced its chip count compared to the early 1541s; the beige-case Newtronics 1541 was produced from 1984 to 1986. All but the earliest non-II model 1541s can use either the Alps or Newtronics mechanism. Visually, the first models, of the VIC-1541 denomination, have an off-white color like the VIC-20 and VIC-1540. To match the look of the C64, CBM changed the drive's color to brown-beige and the name to Commodore 1541; the 1541's numerous shortcomings opened a market for a number of third-party clones of the disk drive, a situation that continued for the lifetime of the C64. Well-known clones are the Oceanic OC-118 a.k.a. Excelerator+, the MSD Super Disk single and dual drives, the Enhancer 2000, the Indus GT, CMD's FD-2000 and FD-4000; the 1541 became the first disk drive to see widespread use in the home and Commodore sold millions of the units.

In 1986, Commodore released the 1541C, a revised version that offered quieter and more reliable operation and a light beige case matching the color scheme of the Commodore 64C. It was replaced in 1988 by the 1541-II, which uses an external power supply to provide cooler operation and allows the drive to have a smaller desktop footprint. ROM revisions fixed assorted problems, including a software bug that caused the save-and-replace command to corrupt data; the Commodore 1570 is an upgrade from the 1541 for use with the Commodore 128, available in Europe. It offers MFM capability for accessing CP/M disks, improved speed, somewhat quieter operation, but was only manufactured until Commodore got its production lines going with the 1571, the double-sided drive; the small, external-power-supply-based, MFM-based Commodore 1581 3½" drive was made, giving 800 KB access to the C128 and C64. The 1541 does not have DIP switches to change the device number. If a user added more than one drive to a system the user had to open the case and cut a trace in the circuit board to permanently change the drive's device number, or hand-wire an external switch to allow it to be changed externally.

It was possible to change the drive number via a software command, temporary and would be erased as soon as the drive was powered off. 1541 drives at power up always default to device #8. If multiple drives in a chain are used the startup procedure is to power on the first drive in the chain, alter its device number via a software command to the highest number in the chain power on the next drive, alter its device number to the next lowest, repeat the procedure until the final drive at the end of the chain was powered on and left as device #8. Unlike the Apple II, where support for two drives was normal, it was uncommon for Commodore software to support this setup, the CBM DOS copy file command was not able to copy files between drives--a third party copy utility must be used instead; the pre-II 1541s have an internal power source, which generated a lot of heat

MindTrap

MindTrap is a series of lateral thinking puzzle games played by two individuals or teams. Invented in Canada, it is the main product of MindTrap Games, Inc. who license the game for manufacture by various companies including Outset Media, Blue Opal, the Great American Puzzle Factory, Pressman Toy Corporation, Spears Games and Winning Moves. Players are given a puzzle from a limited amount of time to solve it; each correct answer advances the team along a track printed on the scorecard. The original game contained only logic and lateral thinking puzzles, while editions added other types of brain teasers including tangrams and stick puzzles. Lateral thinking problems are identified by a diamond on the question side of the card, indicating that answering team are allowed to ask "yes/no" questions about the puzzle scenario; these puzzles give unnecessary information in order to distract the answerer from a simple, common sense solution, play on common assumptions. Some questions play on some on everyday trivia.

Many scenarios and characters reoccur throughout the puzzles, including murders and other crimes investigated by "Detective Shadow", tricks performed by magician "Dee Sceptor". The questions are worded in Canadian-English, with Canadian terminology and spelling, are not localized for the American, UK or Australian markets. MindTrap was released as a board game in carton packaging with over 500 puzzles printed on cards and a playing board by Pressman Toy Corporation in Canada and the US in 1991, by Blue Opal in Australia and by Spears Games in the UK. Translated versions of the original game have been released in French and Italian. Tin packaged versions of the game were released by Paul Lamond in the UK, by Pressman Toy Corporation and the Great American Puzzle Factory as tenth anniversary editions. In 1994, MindTrap Games, Inc. and Pirate Radio released MindTrap -- New Audio Mystery Edition on cassette tapes featuring over 2 hours of mysteries along with an answer book. This double cassette edition lacks cards.

A sequel to MindTrap titled MindTrap - The Challenge Continues was released in 1997 by MindTrap Games, Inc. and Pressman Toy Corporation. The Roman numeral "II" was added to this title. European released translations of the sequel include Greek and Spanish. In 2001 Ultimate MindTrap, the official sequel to MindTrap II, was released in the UK. Outset Media, a Canadian-based manufacturer and distributor of games and puzzles, licensed MindTrap in 2007 and has since released MindTrap games in different forms. Outlet Media releases of the board game include a tin-packaged MindTrap: Classic Edition, a 20th Anniversary Edition, a French translated version of the game, akin to the English versions of the game, uses Canadian-French terminology and wording in favour of any localization. In 2007, a travel pack of games called; the game includes three levels of difficulty: Novice and Genius. Each assortment contains 54 cards with recognition problems and mathematical puzzles. Newer MindTrap card games were released in 2011 called Left Brain Right Brain, Brain Cramp, Shadow Mysteries.

Pressman Toy Corporation released a series of 500 piece, 24" x 18", "mystery" jigsaw puzzles, each provided with a booklet of an original short mystery story. Readers assemble the puzzle to discover clues to match wits against Detective Shadow in a race to solve the crime. Board games: MindTrap - the original game, consisting only of logic and lateral thinking puzzles. MindTrap II - The Challenge Continues - a sequel introducing additional puzzle types. Ultimate MindTrap - another sequel, with new puzzles in the various types introduced in MindTrap II. MindTrap - The Revised Edition - a new edition comprising puzzles from MindTrap and MindTrap II. MindTrap - Classic Edition - 486 of the best puzzles, mysteries and trick questions from MindTrap. Anniversary editions: MindTrap 10th Anniversary Edition - same as the original game but comes in a 10th Anniversary Edition tin. MindTrap 20th Anniversary Edition - does away with the playing board but adds two new categories to those available in MindTrap II.

Translated releases: MindTrap French - the original game, translated into French and distributed by Outset Media. MindTrap - German, Italian. MindTrap II - Greek, Spanish. Audio editions: MindTrap - All New Audio Mystery Edition - double cassette of over 2 hours, including new mysteries. Card games: MindTrap Geometrical Riddles: Novice Level -- for ages 10 and up. MindTrap Geometrical Riddles: Master Level -- for ages 12 and up. MindTrap Geometrical Riddles: Genius Level -- for ages 14 and up. MindTrap: Brain Cramp - for ages 10 and up. MindTrap: Shadow Mysteries - for ages 12 and up. Includes detective scenarios from MindTrap's infamous characters "Detective Shadow", "Sid Shady" and "Sam Sham". MindTrap: Left Brain Right Brain - for ages 14 and up. Jigsaw puzzles: MindTrap - Murder By Will MindTrap - Murder's in Fashion MindTrap - An Unsavoury Demise MindTrap - Revenge in ParadiseBooks: Tricky MindTrap Puzzles: Challenge the Way You Think & See Lateral MindTrap Puzzles: Challenge the Way You Think & See MindTrap at BoardGameGeek MindTrap II, Ultimate MindTrap and MindTrap - The Revised Edition at BoardGameGeek outsetmedia.com - the official North American distributor

Eriochilus magenteus

Eriochilus magenteus known as the magenta autumn orchid, is a plant in the orchid family Orchidaceae and is endemic to south eastern Australia. It is a slender ground orchid with a single leaf and one or two small, bright pink to magenta flowers, it is only found in higher areas of the Australian Capital Territory, southern New South Wales and north-eastern Victoria. Eriochilus cucullatus is a terrestrial, deciduous, herb with an underground tuber, it has a single, egg-shaped, bright shiny green, glabrous leaf, not developed until after flowering, when it is 15–35 mm long and 7–12 mm wide. One or two bright pink to magenta flowers are borne on 100 -- 250 mm tall; the dorsal sepal is spoon-shaped to lance-shaped with the narrower end towards its base and 5–8 mm long. The lateral sepals turn downwards and away from each other; the petals are pink, linear in shape, 6–7 mm long and held near the column. The labellum is green or yellowish near its base, pinkish near the tip and has three lobes, the middle one egg-shaped and 2–3 mm wide with small clusters of reddish bristles.

Flowering occurs from December to March. Eriochilus magenteus was first formally described in 2008 by David Jones and the description was published in The Orchadian; the magenta autumn orchid grows in moist soil in alpine meadows with grasses and sedges, sometimes near swamps and streams. It is found in the Australian Capital Territory, southern New South Wales and north-eastern Victoria