John's Obsessions

Well, it took four years but I finally found time to update this page. This section entitled hacks now includes links to some MIDI and guitar effect schematics. What's new? Check out the SynthAxe page. No doubt more will be added Real Soon Now.


* Assorted Circuits - guitar effects and MIDI devices.
* Circuit Bending - some tips on getting good results.
* AR8000 Serial Interface - the simplest possible solution to the serial interface problem.
* Yamaha MCS2 - this one was a tad more complex.
* Mexican Scramble - a culinary hack.
* The Space Insult Generator - completely silly JavaScript application.
* Password Hacking - a quick way into some password protected systems.
* Trackman - a bit of history, a couple of screen shots and a free download.


* Toyota MR2 Archive - blue and shiny, all about the MR2.
* The SnoZone - check this out before heading for the pistes.
* Aron Nelson's Stompbox Page - build your own guitar effects pedals.
* The Vacuum Tube Web Resources - the glorious sound of hot glass bottles.
* The Effects Database - at Harmony Central.
* Carrion Sound - circuit bending.

Ancient History

A number of people have emailed me asking questions that start 'Are you the John Hollis who wrote...' so, just for the record...

Once upon a time there was an innovator named Clive Sinclair. His company sold a kit to make the cheapest computer you could buy. It was called the ZX80. A friend of mine, Nick Lambert, had bought one of these machines and started a company called Quicksilva. He made 3K RAM boards and was writing a version of Defender for the ZX80. I became involved in designing add-on hardware for the ZX80 and it's successor, the ZX81. Nick finished writing Defender and I wrote a version of asteroids for the ZX81. As soon as the ZX Spectrum was released we dropped the hardware products to concentrate on writing games.

As far as I can remember the sequence of Spectrum releases was:

  • Intruders - a version of Space Invaders.
  • Meteor Storm - a version of Asteroids with the first (awful) speech on the speccy.
  • Time Gate - first (only?) 3D starfield on the spectrum.
  • Aquaplane - Water Ski game with sharks.
  • Games Designer - do it yourself instant game kit.

Back to Hollis Research Online.

Revised and Verified: August 27th, 2001
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