As with all these cases, eveyone out for themselves, the customer comes last
Shame on all involved.
Sir Clive Sinclair's company has accused flailing ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd of trading while insolvent. Meanwhile, the firm has delivered some consoles – and been stripped of the brand rights to its flagship product. Last week some customers of Retro Computers Ltd reported on social media that they had …
Caveat emptor? The successful legal challenge against Indiegogos "orders" not withstanding presumably all the "customers" knew what they were getting into by using a crowdfunding site?
I feel sorry for them - but tempered by the fact no-one can claim they didn't know what they were getting into.
Crowd funding proves not only can get you millennials to work for cheap with no benefits by calling something sharing but you can get them to pony up the venture capital as well without having to deal with pesky things like having to give out company shares for the cash.
Crowd funding is often successful in getting stuff made that there isn't necessarily a big enough market to sustain a product, but enough people that would want one that would not be able to get one otherwise.
It has its place.
>It has its place.
Perhaps but the wonderful thing about this capitalist wonderland is there are plenty of tangible easy to buy things I can find to spend my money on to entertain myself today instead of pie in the sky stuff in the future on a wing and a prayer. More power to others to spend their money how they wish but Gen Xers like me are big on money in the bank (we tend to save like our grandparents not our less responsible parents generation) or in viable sensible investments with a track record of delivering. Idealism isn't always high on the list. But sure go on change the world. YOLO.
Change the world? Who is claiming that?
I've backed several things via Kickstarter and IndieGogo and in every case I've received something excellent, interesting and useful that I would not have otherwise had. By using simple diligence (it's not hard), I haven't been involved with a single failure or financial loss and in all cases I've enjoyed watching the process of getting the item to the backer over the months. Because most projects that get fully funded, actually get delivered. You only read about the failures and it creates the false impression.
It's not a big deal and it's not a scary big nasty bogey picker that frightens genxers who were happy to blow cash on smoking, rainy holidays, and drinking shit beer for years on end whilst stinking of Brut 33 and Old Spice. That old generation that ran up debt paying through the nose for shit from the catalogue and countless K-Tel and Ronco eternal drawer-dwelling tat.
Crowd funding is not all bad. I've seen some genuinely good products on various crowdfunding sites (e.g. the Pebble watches, which were bloody good). The trouble is, it's a lot easier to come up with an idea, and build a prototype than it is to manufacture something. This is the trouble Tesla are having with the Model 3, and they are experienced at manufacturing. A company may have a load of good designers and engineers, but how much manufacturing experience do they have? Even if they outsource the manufacturing (which I believe RCL have), they still need engineers who can predict the problems the factory is likely to have and come up with solutions.
Then there are the shysters who set up a crowd funding campaign looking to vanish with the money. After all, it's relatively cheap to set up a convincing looking site, and come up with an impressive video to sell your project, and you could get away with millions..
The phrase "A fool and his money are soon parted" proved correct once again. Hopefully some of the suckers who invested in this have learnt a valuable lesson - ie that the laws of good financial governance arn't put on hold just because the money is being raised on some trendy hipster crowd funding site.
If I remember correctly, the original ZX80 not only refreshed its dynamic memory in software, but had stripes painted on the back that gave the impression of having cooling vents where none were in fact present. Compared with its family heritage, it looks positively upmarket.
The ZX80 fetches its display in software, but contains only static RAM.
Rather than bother with all that nonsense of counters and whatever for fetching video, the processor just executes the display buffer. Well, it tries to, but the parasitic video steals the opcodes it is actually fetching and forces a NOP onwards. That gives the character code, and hijacking of the Z80's refresh cycle gives it a chance to get the actual pixels for that row of that character.
So most of what the Z80 in a ZX80 is doing is executing NOPs.
"So most of what the Z80 in a ZX80 is doing is executing NOPs."
Even for its day the ZX80 was a pretty nasty design when compared to the Apple II, TRS-80, PET or other 8 bit computers that had come out a few years before. If it had been dirt cheap that would have been fine but it wasn't, it was actually quite expensive at 100 quid assembled which is probably equivalent to 300-400 quid or more now.
Why? The originals are still going strong. I've got three of them, plus a cheese wedge co-pro, so I can play Elite Executive Edition :-)
There was also an Arm 1 cheese wedge that went on fleabay a year or two ago, for a little over four grand.
Mine can also read a FAT 32 USB stick and has compact flash cards that mimick winchester drives, courtesy of Retro Computers. Nip over to StarDot - https://stardot.org.uk/forums/ - for BBC goodness :-)
Faster at what? The Z80 had some more sophisticated instructions, such as LDIR which the 6502 doesn't have. So, if the 6502 was faster, the Z80 was certainly more memory efficient - you could do more per instruction on a Z80 than a 6502. And only putting three registers on the 6502 was just dumbfuckery of the highest order. Shame on Peddle!
Interested in your thoughts regarding Betamax v VHS
I contracted for a while at Pye TVT in Cambridge (working on a TV video effects console for the 1986 World Cup). Pye was a subsidiary of Philips, and there was a factory shop. Lots of employees, contractors and their friends and families ended up with Video 2000 recorders. Rumour had it that e.g. Dixons allocated the cassettes equally to all shops, and the manager of the Cambridge branch spent a lot of time on the phone talking to other branches to get their spare stock sent to him.
Getting back on topic, I also worked on the Acorn Archimedes and the Sinclair QL.
V2000 machines were the nuts.
Go to Next program/specified time
Perfect freeze frame
4 hours of each side of the tape.
Shame they were the size of a house and looked like they were hand made inside there were so many "bodge" wires between the huge numbers of daughter boards. With that many bodges they never were going to be reliable.
Bought more than a couple off Comet(?) When they were outing them for a few quid each.
>> "Obviously emacs is better than vi."
>Well, it's certainly more fully-featured. About the only thing it lacks is a decent text editor...
And who doesn't want a bunch of GNU libraries on their proper UNIX machine instead of you know just running a binary that has come with virtually every single *nix system since Reagan was inaugurated. Bring on the GNU bloat. ln -s /usr/local/bin/bash /bin/sh baby
"Obviously emacs is better than vi."
I used to be a big emacs/xemacs user.
However, in the early mists of time, I once had to open a massive file (for the time) and do a global search and replace. I couldn't load this on my Sun server or my SGI Octane. My SysAdmin opened vi and managed it in just a few lines. After that - took the time to learn the vi commands. Had its uses.
And only putting three registers on the 6502 was just dumbfuckery of the highest order.
It's my understanding that the 6502's original target market was controlling microwave ovens, for which its capabilities (notably the 256-byte machine stack) are just fine.
But yeah, the Z-80 was a far more sophisticated processor than the 6502. If you compare it to a 6809, well, them's fightin' words...
A NOP takes four cycles because there's no memory bandwidth to fetch anything else until four cycles later; the Z80 spent two cycles fetching the NOP opcode, then decoded and performed it during the two cycles when it was issuing a DRAM refresh. As soon as the refresh ends it can seek out the next thing. That's why it's also four cycles for all the other single-byte instructions that don't imply any other accesses to memory — register-to-register arithmetic and moves, and a few others.
As far as I'm aware, for a 6502 of given clock speed, you could expect broadly equivalent performance from a Z80 clocked at double that speed or slightly more.
In other words, the Atari 800's 1.79 MHz 6502 would have been roughtly equivalent to the Spectrum's 3.5 GHz Z80 (#), the BBC Micro's 2 MHz 6502 a little faster... and the C64's 1 MHz 6502 was still on the slow side.
(#) Though the Atari's custom graphics hardware (including hardware scrolling, hardware sprites and multicolour character-based modes) meant that it didn't have to inefficiently use CPU cycles on certain things that the simpler Spectrum would have needed to.
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