* Posts by Cihatari

48 posts • joined 26 Mar 2011

You’re NOT fired: The story of Amstrad’s amazing CPC 464

Cihatari

A mate's dad had got the 664 model. He was miffed when the 6128 came out..

On the other hand, it was a nice tool for playing Spindizzy and Sorcery Plus. The latter game definitely wasn't a Spectrum cheapo port.

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Phantom Flan flinger: The story of the Elan Enterprise 128

Cihatari

I actually had one back in the day.

I was one of the people suckered in errr seduced by the Your Computer article. As other posters have said, it promised lots of cool stuff on paper. I even kept faith through all the delays. When I eventually got my Enterprise 64 I soon found out that a lot of the aforementioned cool stuff remained firmly on paper.

Still, there were a few nice things such as a neat version of the game Sorcery. More software was o the way but got held up in legal issues after the parent company collapsed. Encouragingly it seems most of these and other stuff besides escaped.

The afterlife was better than what came before as around 20, 000 units made it to Hungary. With its own captive market a lot of the promised extra hardware and software was developed. There were even a handful of games that went some way to making proper use of the hardware. Lately the Enterprise has proved amenable to running enhanced ports of some of the new wave of Amstrad CPC games.

The dearth of software during its commercial period did encourage me to code a bit. The sound chip was an interesting piece of hardware, somewhere between the mighty C64 SID and the bog standard AY/YM used in other micros of the era.

I had one then got into the Atari ST and sold it. I've now got two, one of each. If you get in contact with the Hungarian guys, their prices for kit are generally more reasonable. There is also emulation. Now I just need to find time to have a play with the floppy disk interface I got!

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Happy birthday MIDI 1.0: Getting pop stars wired for 30 years

Cihatari
Pint

Re: unique applications that have nothing to do with music

And not just Midi Maze either.

A more contemporary FPS called 'Substation' came along in the twilight of the commercial life of the Atari ST family. This allowed for multiple players via MIDI link too. This one was for the enhanced 'STE' and Falcon. It was notable for Goraud shading instead of texture maps for the walls, a wickedly directional in-game stereo audio system and was more than capable of ratcheting up tension in the bug-hunting phases.

http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-st-substation_11440.html

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Men's rights activists: Symantec branded us a 'hate group'

Cihatari

Am I the only one to wonder...

What the former Moderatrix, Sarah Bee would have made of some of the responses?

Methinks that a not so gentle tolchocking with a cricket bat would have been the least forceful response from her.

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The Oric-1 is 30

Cihatari

After all this time, there are still people making new stuff for it..

There is still a very dedicated following, and they even produce new software for the Oric. Have some nice links.

http://space1999.defence-force.org/

http://oric30years.defence-force.org/index?page=main

Definitely not a dead platform here. I've also met a couple of them in the past, nice people too.

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Game over for Atari? One life left as biz files for bankruptcy protection

Cihatari

Re: End of an era (Amiga vs AtariST)

Re the previous post.

It worked both ways sometimes...

The Atari STE (E for 'enhanced') in particular, didn't get much love from the mainstream software houses. One chap I know, who was in the 'industry' at the time proposed STE enhancements to a road racer game to use the extra hardware and bring it closer to the higher standard on the Amiga. This encountered strong resistance as it was deemed 'too risky' by their publisher.

It subsequently appears that he may have managed to sneak one or two extra's in past the testers...

The STE only started to get a look in with a handful of decent games, right at the end of its commercial life, with small developers who actually made an effort.

The 'porting' issue really boiled down to many software houses and publishers being lazy, looking for low cost and low risk options, sharing and re-using common code, so there was no distinctive technical 'edge' for the Amiga, ST and STE alike.

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Cihatari
Pint

Re: End of an era

"I still have my 1040STE - damn good machine.."

Glad to hear that, agree with everything said.

For bragging rights, I've got my original 520STE, RAM has long since been fattened up to 4MB and it has a SD card hard disk doobrie. Then there are *two*Falcon 030's, both heavily enhanced with after-market processor upgrades, and there's a spare Mega ST lurking somewhere as well. And yes, they do get regular use as well.

This is a relatively modest collection though. Some other people have (literal) shed-loads of kit.

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APPLE goes on crazy, price-SLASHER Black Friday RAMPAGE

Cihatari
Happy

Actually useful for me, Good call, El Reg!

I was thinking of getting a new rodent to replace the rather tired Mighty Mouse that I've currently got. An eleven pound-odd discount off the normal asking price is not to be sneezed at!

So thanks for posting this one guys.

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USS Enterprise sets out on its final mission

Cihatari

Re: Curious

"Still, it's sad to see such a piece of history fall to the scrapheap rather than being preserved as one of the early milestones (for good or ill) of the nuclear age."

It appears that some of these old preserved warships can work out horrendously expensive for the people concerned. I believe there are issues with some of the WWII museum ships which are literally rotting away at their berths. It's not as if there is a lot of spare cash around these days for the standard of upkeep needed.

Perhaps scrapping the Enterprise might be kinder than letting it go downhill over a number of years?

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RIP Harry Harrison: Stainless Steel Rat scurries no more

Cihatari

It's a bleak day for Jimmy DiGriz. Rust in Peace Stainless Steel Rat.

(Just to save the pedant alert going off unnecessarily, yes I'm aware of the properties of the aforementioned material.)

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BT Vision beats rivals to honour of being worst UK Pay-TV

Cihatari

BT Vision can relax for the next set of Ofcom results...

We have the YouView launch finally on the horizon you all know which ISP is heavily involved with that. I'll say no more!

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ARM creators Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber

Cihatari
FAIL

Re: Blimey

There's a time to stop digging. Oops, too late, ah well, how's it looking in Australia?

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Twelve... classic 1980s 8-bit micros

Cihatari
Pint

Hat's off to the Enterprise, I had one too!

Actually I had an Enterprise 64, purchased from the very hands of Gary Bracey, whom many of you recognise from elsewhere, but back then, he ran a computer shop called Blue Chip Computers in Liverpool!

It was a nice little machine crippled by a lack of decent software, with a few far between decent games such as Sorcery and the immortal 3D Star Strike. This motivated me to start to do 'stuff' with it. I fondly recall playing with a more interesting than usual soundchip on there,

In spite of the main company going bust, the remaining stock of Enterprises were sold off to Hungary and it had quite a decent afterlife and still supports an active user community out there.

Try http://www.ep128.hu/ for a lot more info and nice things.

The original machine has long gone away but I have managed to get a replacement from EBay, (one of the more reasonably priced Hungarian models, not the massively "L@@k Rare!!" overpriced EBay collectors sales over here.) I've even managed to score a scart lead and joystick adaptor, and the emulator loads tape images in real time to the original hardware, once I'd tweaked the latency settings properly. So yeah, I'm pleased.

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Google founders, James Cameron, go asteroid mining

Cihatari
Thumb Up

Did the research already.

There is a difference between 'rapid' and 'explosive' decompression. Unless vacuum isn't vacuum?

And i hoped I'd harvest at least one comment like this regardless, thanks!

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Cihatari

James Cameron on board, hmmm?

It's the year 2112, the space-liner 'Overused Metaphor' sets off on her maiden voyage to New New York and the rings of Saturn. No expense has been spared, apart from providing life-saving equipment, and the ship is declared "unbreachable" by an overconfident media.

A star-crossed couple looking a lot like Kate and Leonardo attempt to reenact the infamous 'flying from the bows of the ship' scene. Lacking space suits, they rapidly decompress...

More general fun with an uncharted asteroid, made of icy water, follows later on.

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Commodore founder Jack Tramiel dies at 83

Cihatari
Pint

Re: The ST was 32 bits

I guess your 040 upgrade was the mighty Afterburner board?

I did pony up for the 060 (CT60) upgrade, had to wait for ages for it to be made, never regretted it!

Still got mine, and an STE as well.

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Planet-hunting Kepler hits EXOPLANET JACKPOT

Cihatari

Very nice, but...

When is David Braben going to issue an accurate solar systems fixpack for Elite?

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Comet Lovejoy survives brush with fiery solar death

Cihatari

Safer doing that procedure with gas giant planets (relatively speaking...)

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Navy pays 2x purchase price to keep warship docked for 5 years

Cihatari

Manpower requirements?

The other thing which might be worth mentioning are the manpower requirements to operate one of these things. A figure of 8-900 crew members is not untypical.

If we're to successfully recreate the Nelsonian Royal Navy in its full glory, including all the frigates, sloops and other smaller ships supporting the battle line, we're going to need some blummin' amazing incentives based around rum, sodomy and the lash for recruitment purposes, as the current RN personnel numbers won't nearly cover it.

Alternatively, press gangs lurking around the nation's job centres might be an interesting thought?

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The BBC Micro turns 30

Cihatari
Pint

I got a super-double rare thing! With Obsolescence built out!

My first computing contact with the Beeb was at an institute of higher education which had a large teacher-training facility. They were fitted out with some nice kit, including a bunch of fully-loaded Beebs. Many happy hours were spent chasing down the bugs in type-in listings and many many more when the phenomenon called 'Elite' came out. That caused a few people to look in my direction in the library whenever a sonic inferno of laser fire bellowed out of the speaker.

Ahh, Elite!

But I digress, for my very first computer purchased with my own money was the mythical but real Enterprise 64!

I read about this in 1984 in the great magazine 'Your Computer'. Having got over the initial excitement of owning a ZX81, I was beginning to look more closely at specifications and this machine seemed to have the lot. I was torn between lusting after that and a Sinclair QL, but the Enterprise amazingly made it out in 1985 so I got mine.

Apart from the sexy looking case with built-in joystick and colour-coded keyboard (That last feature was rumoured to have been copied by the earlier releasing Amstrad CPC series.) It featured some interesting later work of one of the Acorn Atom designers, Nick Toop, in the form of the very advanced for that time 'Nick' ULA chip for the video system. I messed about with the 'Dave' soundchip, which was not quite as advanced as the C64's SID chip, but certainly more 'custom' than the Yamaha AY-3-8910 seen in most of the other computers of that era and it included "s-s-stereo sound!" (If anyone ever saw the TV commercial for the Enty?)

Software availability was limited, mostly mail-order through their own software label and a lot of those had a distinct whiff of Speccy port. There was the rare game like 'Sorcery; where it showed it could do better though. It also played a mean 3-D Starstrike.

Sad to say, the parent company went bust after a year, the remaining unsold stock went to live in Hungary, where it did rather better with a long-lived and still reasonably active user community if you care to look for it. The current thing seems to be getting enhanced ports of some of the new generation of Amstrad CPC games to it.

My original machine was sold on for a pittance a while back, but I did score a non-ludicrously priced eBayed replacement a while back and there is an emulator, so I'm happy.

I'm now typing this compacted history on a Mac. I first saw the Mac Classic at around that time on show, and considered this to be the ultimate in unattainable dreams back then.

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If thine brown eye offend thee, blast it with a laser

Cihatari

Turning your brown eye blue?

Hopefully it was not just me who was thinking at first glance that this article was all about a new form of anal bleaching, with lasers! FROM THE FUTURE!!

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Maggie Philbin on tech, teens and cardigan fear

Cihatari
Pint

Tomorrows World...

I'm more of an old school Raymond Baxter Tomorrow's World fan, Maggie Philbin was more of a eighties thing, when I was stepping back a bit from telly-centred stuff in a teenage fashion. Still, a nice article from her.

My most remembered feature from Tomorrow's World was their introduction of Kraftwerk to an uncomprehending world in 1973 as those whimsical German guys with their home-made instruments.

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ARM vet: The CPU's future is threatened

Cihatari

African or European Swallow?

1x Cadburys Dairy Milk has 35x the energy of a phone battery.

Are they referring to a 50g bar or the 200g fat b*stard special?

(Well, you have to know these things when you're a king, you know. )

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FBI probes claims of Murdoch 9/11 hack

Cihatari
Pint

Murdochs have finally pissed off some important people!

The Americans!

Game over!

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News of the World TO CLOSE

Cihatari

I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking this.

Ha Ha! - From the mouth of the Simpsons school bully, Nelson Muntz.

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Cameron backs public inquiry into NotW hacking claims

Cihatari

Unfortunately, yes, but...

I didn't say anything about him having to be in pristine condition though.

Feel free to use your own imaginations to fill the gap. I personally favour something like the Death Star trash compactor as a suitable preparation.

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Cihatari

Comeuppance and trebles all round?

I'm patiently waiting for the scope of this thing to widen beyond the NOTW.

Piers Morgan being dragged back home in chains, delightful!

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Cihatari

She was otherwise engaged and too busy

In dishing out beatings and 'tough love' to her former spouse, the one who went to Afghanistan for the peace and quiet!

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El Reg to unleash rocket-powered spaceplane

Cihatari
Thumb Up

Never mind backronyms..

Here's a candidate for a name for the rocketplane at least:

UltraVulture !

On a less silly and more heartfelt note - "Yeaaahj!"

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Oz alkie gets hammered on hospital hand sanitiser

Cihatari

Not just hospitals either

I recall a similar story about this sort of thing going on in one or two prisons as well. Alcohol-based hand-gel in the visitors centre somehow mysteriously ending up in the main establishment.

Is Genial Harry Grout aware of this and alive to the possible profit-related ventures therein?

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Living, biological raygun produced in lab

Cihatari

I hope this idea can scale up.

Otherwise all you erstwhile Dr Evil types can look forward to dominating all life within the domain of a dessert spoon! Bwahaha!

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RAF Eurofighter Typhoons 'beaten by Pakistani F-16s'

Cihatari

If Lewis looks in the mirror these days..

Does Richard Littlejohn stare back at him?

You couldn't make it up!

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NASA kills comms with deceased Mars rover

Cihatari

What if it's not dead?

"Operator here, there's a caller with a tinny robotic voice asking you to accept reverse call charges."

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Out of this World science fiction exhibition

Cihatari
Pint

Visual Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

I remember that one fondly too in a late seventies fashion. It wasn't my own copy, but a family friend who was storing a load of books and other household goods at my parents, following a house fire. He was an avid sci-fi fan, I was very happy. Maybe that was the faint smoky aroma having an effect?

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Judgment Day prophet resets doomsday clock

Cihatari
Go

Surely there's no such thing as the rapture for modern tech-aware audiences?

Unless Steve Jobs announces it first.

"Ladies and gentleman, I present, the iRapture!"

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German salesmen rewarded with meticulously organised orgy

Cihatari

Might explain how our salespeople operate?

My job role includes tidying up and placating people after the more egrerious gaffes and blunders of certain rogue (and soon to be dismissed) members of our sales force. I guess a similar system of 'payments in kind' is included in their renumeration package as well?

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Interstellar space 'full of Jupiter-size orphan planets'

Cihatari

If we do get as far as faster than light travel

With this information that the space between stars is as messed up as a teenager's bedroom, then interstellar travellers may well need some frikkin' awsome windscreen wipers on their craft.

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PARIS team to tackle the ultimate post-pint snack

Cihatari

One from some Italo-scottish-east european place in Edinburgh

I had the pleasure of trying this one out two or three summers back.

Ediburgh style cheeseburger and chips:

Take one frozen beefburger, one cheese slice, dip in batter, then deep-fry the resulting frankenstein creation.

Then when done, serve with chips. (The chips are properly beef-fat fried.)

http://www.lalbadoro.com/

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Linux kernel runs inside web browser

Cihatari
Pint

Nice idea, with one further addition..

If he went a bit further and added an emulated Gravis Ultrasound card, then you've got the perfect mid-nineties demo scene rig. Crystal Dream 2 anybody?

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Welshman attempts to board train with pony

Cihatari

But what if essential engineering works had closed down the line?

Would he have been able to try this one with the replacement bus service?

Just a thought.

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Is there anything to find on bin Laden's hard drive?

Cihatari

Re Whisky, not beer?

The British embassy sometime in the early eighties received a phone call from the Saudi authorities to inform them that "Their furniture was leaking." So I guess there was a certain amount of blind-eye turning going on for a while there.

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Fairlight: The Rolls Royce of synthesizers

Cihatari
Thumb Up

I'm going to drool at the video content later.

I'm at work, yes even as the happy royal nuptials are grinding away in the background on a smallish telly at the othe end of the office. YouTube is disabled here, so I'll catch up at home later.

Great article, thanks for the memories. I vaguely recall some South Bank show which featured this monster piece of kit.

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Fast-fingered oldster relieves shop worker of iPhone cash

Cihatari
FAIL

"Genuinely not dodgy in any way, honest guv!"

So a dodgy looking character breezes in, offering an unsolicited and possibly stolen item of merchandise and the buyer finds that they are ripped off afterwards!?

Sounds like the shifty are robbing their natural prey, the stupid.

What no facepalm icon?

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The best sci-fi film never made: Also-rans take a bow

Cihatari

Begging to be made into a movie

Surely there's a place for the 'Stainless Steel Rat' by Harry Harrison, several good un's in there.

On a related note, I'm pleased that there was a smattering of 2000AD related suggestions, although I'm not sure if Alan Moore would be too happy with an adaptation of Halo Jones. He's not a big fan of movie interpretations of his work.

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US Navy laser cannon used to set boat aflame

Cihatari
Coat

Reworking a classic of literature too?

There would be surely some scope to rewrite "Treasure Island" for this exciting new age of naval weaponry.

I was mostly thinking of the character, Blind Pew-pew-pew!

I'll get me sou'wester....

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Libya fighting shows just how idiotic the Defence Review was

Cihatari

Really wish there was an edit function for the original post...

This might come under "and another thing.."

I've written the last paragraph of the previous post on the basis that I am sympathetic to some notion of 'good governance' and sensible long-term altruistic planning, rather than the shallow posturing, show-boating, myopic crowd-pleasing and flip-flopping that has been all too typical of the governmental conduct over the last half-century or so. There must be a happy place where democracy and decent government can co-exist somewhere?

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Cihatari

Salazar was definitely swimming against the tide of history here..

And he was swimming up a poo-covered creek, which was shark-infested.

From my admittedly limited reading, the economic impact of the colonial wars are a lively area of debate and different sides of the fence are on display. The social and political effect appears to have been more negative to the health and cohesion of Portuguese society as the war dragged on. Salazar was also operating against the vested interests of both superpowers, and in an era of international opinion that was strongly anti-colonialist. The whole whether the 'winds of change' decolonization process was the right thing to do or not debate might need to wait for another time, but history was against him.

I almost (and this is heavily qualified) feel sorry for the guy, but he really didn't have a Plan B or any concept of a graceful planned withdrawal, the loss of the Indian territories was a striking example, the 'no surrender' order being wisely ignored by the commander on the spot.

On the other hand, in the interests of fairness, it is fair to say that the hasty abandonment after the 1974 coup was a prime example of decolonization done asshat style and leaving the territories concerned swimming under the poo-covered creek.

This does not take away from the central point that dictatorship as a model for good government, even with a relatively sane practitioner, fails in the end as the personal is too often made political, a ruling ideology is made law from the whims and passions of one individual, blind stubbornness substitutes for policy and without any of the checks or balances of the despised democracy, it goes on for rather far too long and gets totally out of hand.

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Cihatari

Dictators vary dramatically...

One common problem tends to be that without a ballot-box option to chuck them out, they hang around for way too long after their sell-by-date and go a little bit stale and curling around the edges, mentally speaking. Ghadaffi being an extreme version of this.

And out of genuine curiosity, what was Salazar's sensible and consistent planning, apart from "Try to hang on to the Portuguese Empire for as long as unfeasibly possible?"

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