Sunday 10 July 2022

One and a Half Million Views

My little blog has now clocked up 1,500,000 views over its 12 years. Not bad. Thank you for contributing to that view count.

I missed the 1 Million views (because 2020), so I thought I would celebrate 1.5 million instead.

You can see it is a general growth over time, with a couple of anomalies. One big spike (which I will cover later), and a big dip when I had to shut down for a while. It seems to be recovering, and will hopefully return to it's original trajectory.

It's interesting to look at the top posts.

I say top posts, I should say "most viewed" posts, because I don't think that all of these would feature in what I would consider the best posts. Maybe I should look at those for 2 million views.

1 - Minstrel ZX80 Clone (December 2016, 49.1K views)

This is the large blip on the chart at the start of 2017. This was the very first post about the Minstrel. It wasn't very good, it was just "hey here is something I made". There were a couple of errors on the PCB and I just about got it working by the end of the post. That post got picked up by Hackday, and got an awful lot of views. I wasn't really ready for that, I didn't have a store or anything at that point. I was only selling the odd USB keyboard via email at that point. 

This is the post that started lots of things, the first Minstrel, selling PCBs, selling kits, the Tindie store etc.

2 - Raspberry Pi B+ ZX Spectrum USB Keyboard Case Mod (August 2014, 13.8K views)

This was one of the first "fit a Raspberry Pi and USB keyboard controller into a spare computer case" posts. I did lots of those. I took them all off line a while ago. That was 10 years ago when you could get a tatty broken Spectrum off ebay for a tenner, buy a new membrane and a new faceplate and turn it into something else.

3 - Asrock CIR Remote Demystified (April 2012, 12.2K views)

I never understood why this consistently gets loads of views. I was building a media PC and couldn't find the pinout for the connector, so I worked it out, wired it up to a cheap IR decoder and wrote it up.

I had been using the list at the start of this post, but it appears there is some discrepancy on view count on each of the individual pages, for example, this one shows 8.17K above, but the individual stats page shows 12.2K? 

I'll use the view count from the individual stats in the headings.

4 - ZX81 Internal 16K RAM (April 2012, 8.99K views)

Finally what I would consider a good post. This was a follow up to a previous post where I upgraded a ZX81 to have 16K internal RAM. To do that, I had to cut a few tracks under the RAM chip. This was an alternate technique that was reversible as it didn't require any tracks to be cut.

5 - Arduino Based ZX81 USB Keyboard (February 2012, 11.3K Views)

This was the first of the USB keyboard posts, back when I was using Arduino keyboard library hooked up to V-USB. That didn't last long, as I could never get it to behave how I would liked, so it wasn't long before I changed to microcontrollers with hardware USB and wrote new code. Like all the rest, this one is offline now.

6 - ZXBaremulator - Bare metal ZX Spectrum emulator for Raspberry Pi (June 2018, 6.75K Views)

This was another USB keyboard conversion, this time with a new bare metal ZX Spectrum emulator for the Raspberry Pi. This was one of the posher ones, with USB hub, USB joystick and a DC-DC converter to power the Pi from 9V. I quite enjoyed making things like that. This one is still online, presumably as it was mainly a review of the emulator.

7 - How the ZX80 Works (October 2019, 4.31K Views)

Quite a nice post on the inner workings of the ZX80, with the help of the Minstrel 2 ZX80 clone.

8 - Arduino 80x25 TV Video Output Library (September 2013, 8.65K Views)

This was one of a series of posts where I extended Grant Searle's Arduino based TV out terminal and added I2C support and some extra graphics modes etc. Must revisit that one day and see what I could do with it these days.

9 - Building a Harlequin ZX Spectrum Clone (November 2016, 10.6K views)

In order to test the divMMC future, I built a Harlequin ZX Spectrum clone on a PCB I got in exchange for fixing someone elses Harlequin.

10 - ZX Spectrum Voltage Regulator Replacement (November 2014, 9.96K Views)

One of several posts advocating the replacement of 7805 regulator + heatsink with Recom / Traco Power switching regulator replacements.

Notable Mentions

Since the table at the start does not seem to be right, here are a few more posts that I thought should have been on there, and are in the range.

Easy Atari 2600 VCS Composite Video Modifications (May 2018, 5.92K Views)

This was the post where I went through the method of identifying which parts needed to be removed and where to pick up the signals for a composite video modification on the Atari 2600 and related systems.

Designing the divMMC Future (January 2018, 5.91K Views)

This was quite a detailed look into the process of refining the design of the divMMC future to make it work on any Spectrum that actually works in the first place.

Keep the blog going on to 2 million views

Thank you for reading these blog posts. Please let me know if you enjoy them. I post links on twitter each week

This blog continues to be updated weekly. There is often quite a lot of work in these post, and that is supported by my wonderful Patreon supporters. 

There is a mixture of new posts (like this one) and updated versions of posts that were previously Patreon exclusive posts.

Patreon continues to get updates on what is going on behind the scenes, new posts and development logs, and well as regular updates in my Patreon only Discord server.

If you enjoy these posts, please consider supporting me if you can, but I understand it is a difficult time for everyone at the moment. 

I don't normally mention it, but there is also a one off PayPal donation link in the list on the top right of the screen, here is the link if you would like to contribute that way.


I sell PCBs for the things I design in my SellMyRetro store, along with some built and tested items. I still have a few USB keyboard controllers left, and I am selling them off on there. There are also currently a couple of built Minstrel 2's, although the built ones don't usually last long before they get snapped up.

Most of the kits have now sold out at The Future Was 8 bit, but the pre-built Mini PET 40/80D boards are still available, whilst stocks last. And obviously, they have lots of other nice things elsewhere on the store. We hope in future to have a new kit to put on there, just trying to pull all the bits together for that.