Recent Posts

2016 Update

I know — my blogging frequency is awful. Since my last very technical post I’ve done the following:

  • Gotten Married
  • Moved to Houston
  • Bought a Trailer
  • Continued To Collect Arcade Games
  • Renovated My Houston House
  • Got A New Job
  • Created An Alter-Ego

I’ll post a bit more on these during the weekend. To check out my alter-ego’s YouTube channel, visit He’s like the brother I never had. Sorta.

Solved! WTF Is The 5-Pin RGB Monitor Input Connector for Jamma Wire Harnesses?!

I purchased a Millipede arcade game a few weeks ago that was having a dim monitor issue. Inside I found a Matsushita TM202G with what I figure are neck gun issues. I reflowed solder on all the boards and recapped the chassis and got — only a slightly less dim version of what I had before. Nice. Perhaps a re-juve can solve the issues with the monitor but in the meantime I went looking for replacements. I bought one off CraigsList and another off eBay just to prevent the same thing from happening again by keeping spares around. Is this a new form of hoarding? Not sure yet. Anyway, I got a Wei-Ya 2820H chassis with an LG CRT attached. It had a mysterious 5-pin monitor input connector for an RGB connection (5mm between pins) that didn’t match up with the my mostly standard Atari PCB video connectors. So I started Googling. And Googling. I used keywords like 5pin RGB cable and Wei-Ya Video Input Connector and RGBEHV cable and whatever else I could think of. I found tons of forum posts with people asking what the heck the cable was but everyone called it a fake junko Asian cable and suggested lopping it off. Well, you can’t really lop off the MALE connector on the chassis [crossing my legs] now can you? So I asked the guys at if they had any clues and they pointed me in the direction of the standard Jamma harness. Jamma games use a fairly standard set of cables and this monitor input cable was included in the huge loom of wires. I just wanted the one cable so it took another couple hours before I finally discovered the true origin! JST makes this cable and it’s found under their “wire to board” section. Here’s a link to the dang thing — part number 5P-SVF-V — called a 5-Pin V-Connector. I kind of wonder if there is any interest for someone making an adapter cable for going male standard to female JST 5P-SVF-V and then vice/versa going from the JST 5P-SVF-V cable (which again comes in every Jamma harness) so that it’s more monitor standard. Dude, that’s a good idea. Hmmmm. I hope this makes sense after I post it.

Back In Hotlanta

I’m posting a blog entry from the considerably better than before C terminal in the Atlanta airport. It actually has a considerably longer name than that, but I’m going to fallback on my position that I’m a lazy blogger and not bother looking it up. I’ve been here before — just search on Atlanta Airport and you’ll see multiple entries from 13 years ago. The quality of the airport in general is a bit more improved in many ways. Free wifi! Pretty glossy floors! Attractive passengers! Oh, wait, right, they already had those back in 2001. My theory that passengers traveling through this airport are more attractive than normal seems to be holding true. Come on and give the regular shlumpy people a fair shake, Atlanta!

I’m traveling to Philadelphia for business reasons but I’ll be visiting some tenants that I’ve never met before. Is it normal to never meet your tenants? I had three teachers in Houston living in my Country Wind house for years and we never met up. I even tried friending them to no avail. What, you can’t be friends with your cranky landlord who also happens to be super duper cool? Fine. I can see that my blogging persona is taking a sarcastic turn for the worse. I’m gonna blame my fiance’s similar caustic wit for that. Love!

I’m showing up later than usual because I traveled from Minneapolis to St. Louis where they sought volunteers to give up their seat for a travel voucher and later flight. I immediately sauntered up past Eating His Apple Too Loudly And Crunchily Next To Me Guy in retaliation for all those apple particles he grossly splayed on my left arm. Gawww! Lucky for me the voucher turned out to be for more than 500 bucks so hopefully that solves how I’m going to fly to Los Angeles and pick up my troubled van Black Magic from where it’s been hiding out in San Dimas these past few months.

Why did I buy that van again? Ragnar! I am wayyy behind in my body weight adjustment (I need to be 165 to 170 and right now I’m pushing 180) plus any semblance of running preparation. Hopefully traipsing all over Fort Washington this week will get my legs in check and prepared. Of course I forgot all my Garmin GPS stuff back in MSP so, meh, I won’t know if my heart is about to explode beyond 170 BPM without actually feeling it pre-explosion. I was briefly considering not running at all because I wouldn’t know how fast I was going, but I mean come on. Man up, Shields. I’m gonna eat a burrito now upon realizing calories will be burned shortly. Done. Probably shouldn’t have bought the Nacho Burrito from Baja Fresh now in retrospect. Is it still okay to throw up in the hallways here?

At least the garbage cans still thank you when you give them some trash to eat.

Obviously I’m in no hurry to post

Okay, so it’s been a year that the site has been up and I posted one entry a year ago. Is the age of the blog dead? Am I just incredibly lazy thanks to the micro-status update movement of social media?


mark returns

Okay, I decided to resurrect the blog due to the fact that my 3 year experiment in suppressing one’s online presence has been a marginal success. I had to drop the MovableType as they aren’t really keeping up with WordPress from a universally accepted software option. MovableType 5.whatever.something was released by Takeshi Nick Osanai and, frankly, it’s nothing like version 4 and far removed from version 3. Guess how easy it is to migrate to WP from MT? Easy. Like, way. Way, way.

Anyhow, I’m back. I’m going to be editing older entries to turn myself into the Generic Mark Shields that I always knew I was. No home. No identifying features. Off the grid as much as possible but still available-ish. Hi.


The next phase for is starting. I’m in the process of uploading all of my media that’s been previously hosted here into Facebook. The truth is that, while having a blog as a standalone piece since 2000 has proven useful in earning my SEO black belt, it’s also proven to me that without a social network content intended for friends and family is disembodied and easily overlooked. The whole site won’t be going away, but FB will definitely be augmenting and in some cases providing a bridge to a larger audience. I’ll be blogging about that as well, so don’t think this is the last you’ve heard of me on here. More to come!

texas instruments professional computer (tipc)

I’m attempting to get all of the data off my old MFM hard drives which date back to 1983 through 1985. There’s literally an inch of dust caked into these things, but that’s not what’s really annoying. The computer these run on is a
Texas Instruments Professional Computer (TIPC). Never heard of it? They never caught on since they weren’t IBM PC compatible. It was only kinda-sorta-compatible, but with better graphics and a TI flavored version of MS-DOS from Microsoft. Long story short — I have three machines with good components, but I can’t seem to put them together to make one working machine. At least I don’t think I can. It’s hard to believe that this machine has become so esoteric that there is barely any information about it on the internet. I probably need to be searching Usenet archives and sending smoke signals. One theme that I’ve found recently when looking for information are an endless supply of estate sales. I set up a Facebook community page (which is what I linked to in this blog entry) to share whatever I learn / remember about restoring the machine to use. Bleah!

my work laptop, my enemy

My work laptop automatically receives updates to do little things to itself (that’s what she said) at odd times. Install something new here, update this, patch that… and all of these things usually conclude with the laptop rebooting itself without my approval. I’ve kept the machine pure — meaning I haven’t defiled any of the standard software and security measures that came with it. I’ve been tempted — don’t get me wrong. "It’s how they would have wanted it," is something I can say about the mysterious Desktop Support guys (and gals). With this in mind, I was not surprised this morning to find my laptop machine in a rebooted state. Sometimes I think it reboots like this when it knows I was in the middle of something important when I left it last. In fact, everything is super duper important when we get close to October 1st as we release all new functionality on that day every year. Pfft. This is definitely a blog entry not in favor of automatic updates. Windows used to do the same thing to me. I guess this is analogous to going to sleep next to someone and then the next morning you wake up to discover they left in the middle of the night. I need to surf urban dictionary to see if there’s a word for that.

I found a term that seems to match up:
Pulling the chute. Nice.

My machine appears to be back again so I must now end this brief return to blogging about the little stuff.

Go Gophers!