Mike Swanson

June, 2004

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    Mini Pac-Man with Sound

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    As you may have read in my earlier post about mini-arcade machines, I did end up building the Pac-Man model. But, not satisfied with just a paper model, I decided I’d add some official Pac-Man sounds. Do you remember those greeting cards that record a few moments of sound and play it back when the card is opened? Well, I looked all over town for one of those, intending to tear it apart and use the audio chip. I couldn’t find one anywhere. Fortunately for me, Radio Shack came through again with their 9-Volt, 20-Second Recording Module (for only $10.49). I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of a relatively heavy 9-volt battery, but it actually makes the machine feel more authentic.

    As you’ll see in the photos, I had to use a heavier card-stock to carry the weight of the battery and endure the button presses on the front panel. I mounted the speaker behind the coin drawer on the front of the machine and the playback button where the joystick would have been in the real game. I thought about exposing the record button on the back panel, but I didn’t want people to accidentally record over the game sounds, so I left it dangling inside, just in case I need to re-record. I captured the coin “gulp” noise and the famous Pac-Man startup theme on the chip (thank you MAME). The speaker produces just enough volume to fit the size of the model.

    It took me more than a few hours to plan everything out and assemble the Pac-Man model, but it was an enjoyable experience that cements my geek status (as if I wasn’t there already). Fortunately, my wife thinks the little machine is “cute,” and she plans on staying married to me. What more can a guy ask for?

    Update: Quite a few people have asked for a video of its performance. Not wanting to disappoint, here you go.

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    Visual Studio Team System Tech·Ed 2004 General Session Demo

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    If you missed Tech·Ed 2004 (and even if you didn’t), you can now download a video of the general session that covered our new Visual Studio Team System.

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    Mini Paper Arcade Machine Cabinets

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    I’m slightly embarrassed (okay, not really) about how excited I was when I found this site the other night. I was up until 2:00am printing Defender on my inkjet printer, cutting out the pattern, and painstakingly gluing everything together. I’m not sure if I expected to be able to drop a small quarter in the front slot to play a MAME version of the game, but it’s still cool having a miniature Defender cabinet on my desk. I’m just about to build the Pac-Man machine (but where is Galaga!?). Wish me luck!

    As an aside, I think Midway Arcade Treasures for the Xbox includes the most playable version of Defender that is currently available. In my opinion, the Xbox controller is vastly superior to a joystick/keyboard combination. Who would have guessed years ago that we would eventually be able to play Defender in its original glory on a 64” high-definition screen!?

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    MSDN TV: Introduction to Visual Studio 2005 Team System

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    MSDN TV has just published a new episode that introduces the Visual Studio 2005 (formerly known as “Whidbey”) Team System in a little over 11 minutes. Not directly related, but there’s also a short 10-minute video overview of the features included in the upcoming Windows XP Service Pack 2 from Rebecca Norlander and the good people at Channel 9.

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    Windows Media Player 10 Technical Beta

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    The Windows Media Player 10 Technical Beta is now available for download. In addition to some of the new resize modes, the Auto Sync feature sounds pretty useful: “Auto Sync can be set up to automatically start downloading specific content to a device every time it is connected to a Windows XP–based computer—all while users engage in other player tasks.” Nice.

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