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back to article 'Ultimate nerd chick’ prompts C64 clone cancellation

A damning tweet from one Jeri Ellsworth, described by a Register reader as “the ultimate Commodore 64 nerd chick”, has put the mockers on Project Bread Bin, one retro-tech fan’s dream to build a cut-price Commodore 64-compatible computer in a keyboard case. Earlier this week, C64 fan Daniel Biehl called out to the crowd to …

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Bronze badge
Meh

Poor sod

I was critical of what he was aiming to do but his only real mistakes were in it not looking like a worthwhile project while asking for money without a coherent and demonstrably viable plan on how he would deliver. As any 'send us your money' scheme may be a scam that probably made it look more likely that it was than was not.

If he had been more involved with the DIY C64 and retro-computing communities he might have had a better idea of what projects would be supported, what he could achieve and how he could do it and maybe even have a viable project, along with people willing to help him with that.

His real crime; letting his enthusiasm get the better of him.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poor sod

He'd be competing with free C64 emulators too. Some of which are classy software! If users can run their old C64 games on existing small footprint laptops, it makes dealing with cables and a separate box redundant as a business plan...

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Childcatcher

Re: Poor sod

By launching an ambitious but uncosted computer he was emulating the 1980s home microcomputer business model a bit too closely.

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Silver badge

Re: Poor sod

> without a coherent and demonstrably viable plan on how he would deliver.

Should have applied to ycombinator instead then ?

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Re: Poor sod

When enthusiasm is a crime, there will be no humans left on the planet. So does that make your verdict now "innocent"?

The whole story is very unusual and off-center, and reactions are as interesting as the 'conflict'.

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naive, not a scam

The lad obviously had no idea what was involved to create one of these machines, it was set to crash n burn from the off.

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Stop

I think the main problem - and the unforgiveable error - is that he didn't check to see if anyone had already done what he proposed. Modern C64 interpretations have been built before and are largely, very good.

Hardware recreation is difficult - not least because the C64 incorporated flaws in its 6510 and other ICs as 'features'. This gave the designers of the C128 (and I presume the C-One) plenty of headaches, let alone someone with no skill in this area. Given that difficulty, it's easier to emulate - but that's been done superbly in VICE which emulates pretty much all 8-bit Commodores.

That leaves the proposal with no unique features, other than that it's being proposed by someone who by their own admission doesn't know what they're doing. That's a tough sell.

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Anonymous Coward

SID

Anyone actually managed to do a 100% accurate emulation of the SID chip yet? Last I heard it was the analogue stage of the chip that meant it was a devil to properly emulate.

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Coat

Everyone's out, bitch!

These kickstarter thingies are getting as bad as Dragons Den!

Mines the one with a huge wodge temptingly resting on the table!

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Silver badge

Re: Everyone's out, bitch!

Well, at least on dragons den you get some Scottish bloke who'll point out "You have no business plan, no clue and a bad product, I'm oot".

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Re: Everyone's out, bitch!

It was on Indiegogo, not Kickstarter as...

...it wouldn't have been accepted on Kickstarter as they have more stringent rules detailing what can go on their site. In particluar, hardware Kickstarter projects must already have a prototype they can demonstrate to potential backers. Quoting from their project guidelines:

"Projects must be clear about their state of development, and cannot be presented as preorders of finished products. Projects must show details (photos, videos, sketches) of their progress so far, along with a prototype demonstrating the product's current functionality. Projects must explain how the final design is likely to differ from the prototype, and include a production plan (i.e., how you're going to make it) and an estimated timeline."

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For the last time Dougal, that money was just resting in my account!

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These emulators are very small, those emulators are far away ... small ... far away ...

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bad choice of words, or not??

I'm disgusted at jeri for labeling him a scammer without any evidence, crushing someone like that is not a mature way to do things.

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Re: Everyone's out, bitch!

It was on Indiegogo, not Kickstarter as...

...it wouldn't have been accepted on Kickstarter as they have more stringent rules detailing what can go on their site.

Really? You think?! Looks to me like Kickstarter will accept any old scam if MediaBox is anything to go by.

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Anonymous Coward

kickstarter kicked!

Non Starter, a device that wasn't wanted and wasn't needed.

Now if this chap wanted to recreate the original Star Wars cabinet games then he would of had some of my cash!

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Silver badge

Re: kickstarter kicked!

If you give me $150,000 then I could give you some of my time trying to figure out how to recreate old arcade machines.

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The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!

This story reminds me of Darwin and Queen Victoria from this film

(one of the benefits of a 5 year old child is the ability to watch kids films without any need to make excuses) (apart from this one of course....)

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Silver badge
Boffin

Hmm

Raspberry Pi, VICE, job's a good 'un.

<-- You don't even need to be one of these .....

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Re: Hmm

So, some pre-loaded memory cards, and a C64-shaped case into which to slip the Pi - if there was sufficient interest in his original idea, wouldn't that transfer over to this?

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Anonymous Coward

wow, an eevblog forum thread becomes a "story" slow news day???

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/crowd-funded-projects/project-to-recreate-c64-and-atari-and-bbc-and-spectrum-and-apple-ii

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Thumb Up

Oooo look at her LinkedIn profile. She's now working at Valve, working on gaming hardware.

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Bronze badge

Nice!

*Sees the gaming hardware monitors sweat*

... ah, still, great office.

;)

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Silver badge

Sorry to be the carrier of bad news, but she isn't. Her LinkedIn profile says she left in February 2013 — no doubt in that big round of layoffs they did.

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No she isn't, she got fired earlier this year, according to her own Tweet.

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FAIL

It takes a scammer to see another scammer

The bottom line is recreating a C64 makes as much sense are recreating the wax cylinder gramophone. Stupid doesn't even begin to describe it.

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Re: It takes a scammer to see another scammer

That's a matter of opinion- people can judge the value of the recreated C64 for themselves. It's not like they were misled, nor that they were charged silly money for the things.

Anyway, regarding the original story... It's true that from an investment point-of-view one has to err on the side of caution. If something gives off the warning signs of *potentially* being a scam, it should be treated as such until there is sufficient evidence otherwise.

At a personal level though, the guy's entitled to the benefit of the doubt. Since it isn't entirely clear that it *was* a would-be scam rather than a badly-thought-through scheme by someone with more enthusiasm than sense, he shouldn't be being flamed as the former. While Ellsworth was probably right to warn people off the scheme, she could perhaps have been less personal about it.

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Re: It takes a scammer to see another scammer

I dunno. I like old computers - I love El Reg's line in retro tech - and I have nearly bought various old Speccys, Beebs and such... and then realised I'd have a quick play and never touch them again. If it's games you want, you can do that in emulation, and are really going to sit there and hack out code in Basic? Especially with no internet and all the modern stuff we all take for granted? I think I'd rather code on a Pi, and actually be able to do interesting and possibly useful things.

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Silver badge

Why would you want to recreate it?

I'm quite the C64 fan, for me it was one of the first real "homecomputers" which I owned and I sure spend years on it. It was awesome. As such it should be no surprise that I have several models lying around the house; the new "flat" design with the new SID chip, two or three of the old "bread basket" models, datasette, 1541, etc.

But the thing is; in my opinion nothing beats the original. That's also one of the reasons why I also got some older models apart from my "new" flat model. An opinion backed by others it seems when focussing on the flaws which were in the design.

The reason I'm questioning all this is because there doesn't seem to be a shortage or anything if you want to get one yourself. When I check out "Marktplaats", a Dutch trading website comparable to eBay, then I get approx. 150 results when looking for the Commodore 64 (link to Marktplaats.nl search results). E 75,- for the machine and several games, right down to the print plate, advertisement for a repair serivce, joysticks, the VIC20, the original matrix printer, etc, etc.

When checking the international eBay website I get almost 4000 different results.

So looking at the fund raising idea from within this context I have to agree with the harsh verdicts. My personal take on this is simple: Why would you want to recreate it when there's still so much original material available out there?

If you want a C64 yourself al you have to do is check the wanted advertisements, choose and pick one up.

Nothing beats the original in my opinion.

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Mutant Camels on the Starboard Bow

All very strange. Guy seeks $150k but admits "he lacks the technical skill to design and build the machine," - what could possibly go wrong ?

And why does anyone want such things ? I (I'm sure like many Vulturistas of a certain age) cut my teeth on a C64, and I have fond memories of it. It's still in my loft, but for some strange reason I can't be arsed to fire it up. What I really would like to see, is some of the genuinely innovative ideas around at the time (ask SID about the title), implemented on modern platforms.

Mind how you go

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Silver badge
Windows

Proving yet again...

Nerds are not known for tact.

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Gimp

A modern C64

Who'd want a "new" C64 when you can buy an old one for 30 quid and stick a state of the art SD card reader in the cartridge socket? My C64 has 16gb of storage plugged into the back of it and the cartridge has 100% accurate emulation of a 1541 disk drive as well (even has a cable that runs from the cartridge to the serial disc drive socket).

Granted my flashy cartridge cost me about 100 sovs (cheaper less fully featured versions are available) but the net result is a C64 dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century and I no longer have to ever use a tape or 5.25 inch disk again!

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Re: A modern C64

Please tell me more about this cartridge. (like where to get one!) I have two working 64s (1983 & 1988 versions) a couple of 1541s and original datacette plus a large collection of original games. It does however take an age, even on a 1541 to load up games like Racing Destruction Set, Summer Games, Rescue on Fractalus etc.

I would to play these classics more often.

(It's not the same running Frodo on my Android phone...)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A modern C64

The cartridge is the 1541 Ultimate and is available from this guy:

http://www.1541ultimate.net/

The waiting list can be quite long. Mine took about 2 months to turn up as he makes them in smalli batches.

There are cheaper alternatives available but I've had my 1541 Ultimate for nearly a year and I love it. Importantly when plugged into the C64 it looks exactly the part and as I say the emulation is top notch. It also has features like a SID player and can emulate an Action Replay cartridge. WHen they say it's "Ultimate" they really mean it.

I have no connection to them other than being a very satisfied customer. I have SD card solutions for many of my old machines but this is a whole league above most kit!

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Re: A modern C64

Thank-you. I know what I'm ordering next pay day!

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Re: A modern C64

It's called the "1541 Ultimate II". It plugs into the cartridge port, accepts a microSD card, emulates a number of cartridges, connects to the IEC bus via the standard cable, and can coexist with other daisy chained devices. I just got one a few weeks ago and it works as advertised. Cheaper than that are the SD2IEC cards that plug into the IEC bus and use the tape port or an external power supply for power. The 1541 Ultimate II does not require additional power.

You can also buy JiffyDOS chips for the computers and drives on eBay, which improves drive performance as well as automatically adding DOS wedge commands. The 1541 Ultimate II can also be used with JiffyDOS; the primary advantage being no need for a 1541 or disk swaps.

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Coat

Ultimate old type game machine

Why have something emulate such an old technology. Yeah; I owned a Commodore VIC-20 and 64. Got allot of use on CompuServe in 1982-1986 and fun out of them. What we need is a embedded system that has the following items in addition to central chipset - HDTV/VGA out, Wifi, sound chip(HDTV compatable) and output (if VGA setup is used), ports for controllers(again-non royalty), and USB. Must be small enough to fit in pocket. Now all we need is a simple language to have fun programing. It should be new so not to have to pay royalties. Simple enough for the average person to use. Complete documentation as the early computers gave to their users to program and ... Guess what, these products already exist! Such as http://www.viaembedded.com/en/products/systems/1990/1/ARTiGO_A1250_%28Pico-ITX%29.html

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Silver badge

The ultimate nerd chick

Aleks Krotoski.

Just sayin.

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I'm baffled

Why should anyone pay any attention to some middle-skill techie who once did something that sold a lot (according to Wonkypedia, anyway)? Especially when said said non-expert is using words like "scam" without any evidence at all.

She sounds like a thoroughly unpleasant person to me.

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Phat attitude.

Presumably any project involving the Commodore products line will have to be vetted by that woman Jeri Ellsworth who doesn't own the brand and who must be retarded not to be playing Xbox by now but for £150k they could have easily built on old piece of crap simply by breaking a c64 up and stuffing it into a Zboard just like Ellsworth does.

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