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Coleco Chameleon .... hardware speculations?


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#11751 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:16 PM

All this effort and shenaniganizing, if properly focused, could have made a console. Maybe not the Chameleon precisely-exactly as described, but perhaps something similar and satisfying for everyone involved.


Not from the merry band of idiots that were assembled. Lots of fantasy, magical thinking, and even more talk. Not much in the way of experience, talent, or ability to deliver. Many hours of effort were expended, but not the kind of work that would have amounted to a product anyone would want. Might as well wish that the energy of hyperactive toddlers could be converted into electricity. Every parent dreams about it, nobody ever does it, and it would be cruel to even try such a thing.

#11752 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:39 PM

Example: 

 

The PolyMega seems to be built atop a set of blocks. 

 

Now, one would think from the size of these blocks, that each of these blocks would contain necessary hardware to emulate each system. The response from the team is that this is not the case. 

 

Ok. 

 

So each big block of plastic is essentially nothing more than a set of connectors, for cart and joystick ports.

 

Ok great. 

 

One thing very much missing from the renders is the connector for this setup.

 

So extrapolating from this, you need to do the engineering on this connector:

 

As a systems designer, I would enumerate my options:

 

* Parallel bus, lots of connections, need bigger connector, more pins, and need to buffer bus signals, etc... SoC's in the agreed price range have lots of GPIO... but.. meh. This isn't 1985, we have better options. 

* Serial bus, we can shove bits _really_ fast, now. and thus, use some combination of existing USB, I2C, and SPI to provide system interconnects, lots of existing systems support, easy to set up.

Ok, what about connectors? Now that the connector is tiny, you suddenly have potential stress tolerance problems because now you're plugging this relatively big box in proportion to your connector into the system unit. Time to apply some basic fucking engineering, parameters must be adjusted:

 

* size of the connector. Do they surround a USB connector with a big hunk of plastic? Do they make a totally custom USB connector? Do they repurpose existing connectors? 

 

* or what about we change the size of the box to make it proportional to the connector? (nobody ever thinks of this, oddly enough)

 

And all of this MUST be solved with an eye towards mass production, what systems are being used to assemble the board? If you make a custom connector, is your factory going to be able to assemble it on the line? Or are you going to have to subcontract out somebody else to assemble the connectors? All this stuff burns money.

 

All these fucking renobs do the same stupid mistakes over and over, "Get the damn renders done, make it look good, and we'll worry about how to actually produce a fucking prototype later."

 

"But what about mass production?"

 

"What ABOUT mass production? If we can make the prototype, we can handle the mass production."

 

I have ACTUALLY HEARD THOSE WORDS FROM PEOPLE IN CHARGE.

 

And at that point, is when I shake my head, and walk away, because that's when I know that person is brain damaged.

 

sigh.


Edited by tschak909, Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:41 PM.


#11753 CPUWIZ OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:52 PM

:lol:



#11754 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:14 AM

Example: 

 

The PolyMega ... ...

 

Sounds like a lot of work, and not always fun... . ;)



#11755 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:47 AM

Yeah, that's the difference between having ideas, and having a finished product. You have to white knuckle it. And I have no problem with people having ideas. It's when you grab money for those ideas and....don't follow through.

 

I'm not taking about failing. I'm talking about genuinely not doing your homework, and making an epic mess because you thought you could just have idea + money = OH HEY IT'S HERE!

 

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#11756 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:20 AM

The intent of this post is twofold: firstly, to remove any ambiguity as to whether or not Sean Robinson has a criminal background; secondly, by doing so, to inform anyone who may be considering engaging with him in a business or commercial capacity as to exactly why he is a fraud, swindler, and completely untrustworthy.

Thanks again for posting the public record stuff about this dude. Considering the fact that he was denied bail and appears to have done time in prison, I kinda figured there'd be more to the story other than a few "theft greater than $400" convictions and some bad checks (in addition to traffic stuff). It makes me wonder how much more there might be that we don't and will never know about, scams and grifts that went unreported. Specifically, Mike K was taken for several thousand dollars. If I were Mike, I'd want to recover that, even though it would take sinking even more money into legal representation to do so. 

 

Too bad he didn't treat the community better. If he weren't a wannabe con-man himself, I would think many of us would have contributed to a fund to get a decent lawyer. 

 

I'm sure there's more to all sides of the story, and that there's a lesson here somewhere. 

 

giphy.gif



#11757 godslabrat ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:28 PM

Example: 
 
The PolyMega seems to be built atop a set of blocks. 
 
Now, one would think from the size of these blocks, that each of these blocks would contain necessary hardware to emulate each system. The response from the team is that this is not the case. 
 
Ok. 
 
So each big block of plastic is essentially nothing more than a set of connectors, for cart and joystick ports.
 
Ok great. 
 
One thing very much missing from the renders is the connector for this setup.
 
So extrapolating from this, you need to do the engineering on this connector:
 
As a systems designer, I would enumerate my options:
 
* Parallel bus, lots of connections, need bigger connector, more pins, and need to buffer bus signals, etc... SoC's in the agreed price range have lots of GPIO... but.. meh. This isn't 1985, we have better options. 
* Serial bus, we can shove bits _really_ fast, now. and thus, use some combination of existing USB, I2C, and SPI to provide system interconnects, lots of existing systems support, easy to set up.
Ok, what about connectors? Now that the connector is tiny, you suddenly have potential stress tolerance problems because now you're plugging this relatively big box in proportion to your connector into the system unit. Time to apply some basic fucking engineering, parameters must be adjusted:
 
* size of the connector. Do they surround a USB connector with a big hunk of plastic? Do they make a totally custom USB connector? Do they repurpose existing connectors? 
 
* or what about we change the size of the box to make it proportional to the connector? (nobody ever thinks of this, oddly enough)
 
And all of this MUST be solved with an eye towards mass production, what systems are being used to assemble the board? If you make a custom connector, is your factory going to be able to assemble it on the line? Or are you going to have to subcontract out somebody else to assemble the connectors? All this stuff burns money.
 
All these fucking renobs do the same stupid mistakes over and over, "Get the damn renders done, make it look good, and we'll worry about how to actually produce a fucking prototype later."
 
"But what about mass production?"
 
"What ABOUT mass production? If we can make the prototype, we can handle the mass production."
 
I have ACTUALLY HEARD THOSE WORDS FROM PEOPLE IN CHARGE.
 
And at that point, is when I shake my head, and walk away, because that's when I know that person is brain damaged.
 
sigh.


How about not seeking an electrical engineer until six months AFTER your prototype was supposedly finished?

#11758 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:34 PM

Now that's what I call a BIG RED FLAG

b2bdf90984cde8767fa8552b70fa1ebd.jpg

 

-Thom



#11759 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:21 PM

red flags come in all kinds of colors nowadays

 

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#11760 cybercylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:22 PM

<sarcasm> It seems like you don't even need a console shell anymore. All you need is some 3D renders and the ideas. Show a short video or so, and show up to a convention, etc to show the "working prototype".... something that just gives out enough bread crumbs for people to follow you into the land of vaporware. Maybe the "prototype" is just a  Raspberry Pi 3 in a generic case and hidden from view. Then beg for funding and call it a day. Who f_ck needs a software and hardware engineer if that is all you have to do? </sarcasm>

 

I don't know why people waste their time the half assed efforts. Sometime I wonder why we spend time arguing over them when we could be just playing games on things that exist. I guess it is like everyone needing to slow down on the highway to see wreck on the other side... these "projects" seem to be nothing more than a wreck in slow motion.



#11761 x=usr(1536) OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:28 PM

Thanks again for posting the public record stuff about this dude.


My pleasure. People need to know who - and what - they're dealing with.
 

Considering the fact that he was denied bail and appears to have done time in prison, I kinda figured there'd be more to the story other than a few "theft greater than $400" convictions and some bad checks (in addition to traffic stuff). It makes me wonder how much more there might be that we don't and will never know about, scams and grifts that went unreported.


Without recovering my notes from when all of this was going on a lot of the specifics are now hazy to me, but I can say that the seven counts of Grand Theft that he was hit with were the tip of the iceberg. IIRC, we had a list of around 40 people who had in some way been ripped-off by him - and I doubt that even that would have been anything that could have been considered complete.
 

Specifically, Mike K was taken for several thousand dollars. If I were Mike, I'd want to recover that, even though it would take sinking even more money into legal representation to do so.

 

The part about this that specifically pisses me off: this took place after he had his felony charges reduced to misdemeanors in 2006, followed by their dismissal under a Petition for Relief once they had been reduced to misdemeanors. In essence, it's as though he never committed any crimes. And it was a smart move on his behalf, because having both this and the bad check felonies on his record would have put him one step away from three strikes territory.

Having said that, that doesn't mean that the original court cases (and subsequent ones in which the reduction of sentence and petition for relief) aren't public record. They still very much are. However, I'm not sure that this would allow a court to take evidence of his past behavior into account should he ever be in front of a judge for the same thing again - and, given his pattern of behavior, I wouldn't be surprised if this were the case at some point.

#11762 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:19 PM

[..]

 

@Pipercub

When's the book coming out? Does it cover MK after the dust settled, like his whereabouts and job (if any) to present day? Rumors has it he's paying for his deeds one way or another but nothing was made public or confirmed, it's all hearsay at this point.

 

This thread is the book.
 



#11763 cybercylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:20 PM

red flags come in all kinds of colors nowadays

 

giphy.gif

 

Gif/photo of the day to me even though I haven't been through other topics.



#11764 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:30 PM

I agree in this case if the energy that was put in the BS was actually put into making something legit, some sort of system would have likely come out of it. I am not sure why people waste so much time with tom foolery, shenanigans, and smoke and mirrors.

 

Likely because it's easy to get oooh's and ahhh's easily, with renders and kickstarters. Heh.. Renders and kickstarters are a thing nowadays.

 

<sarcasm> It seems like you don't even need a console shell anymore. All you need is some 3D renders and the ideas. Show a short video or so, and show up to a convention, etc to show the "working prototype".... something that just gives out enough bread crumbs for people to follow you into the land of vaporware. Maybe the "prototype" is just a  Raspberry Pi 3 in a generic case and hidden from view. Then beg for funding and call it a day. Who f_ck needs a software and hardware engineer if that is all you have to do? </sarcasm>

 

I don't know why people waste their time the half assed efforts. Sometime I wonder why we spend time arguing over them when we could be just playing games on things that exist. I guess it is like everyone needing to slow down on the highway to see wreck on the other side... these "projects" seem to be nothing more than a wreck in slow motion.

 

Could be that, more likely it's natural evolution. Like the Astronaut turned politician. When you played all the games, what do you do next? Sit on 'yer ass and discuss game politics!



#11765 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:33 PM

The vocabulary of old games is pretty sparse. "Avoid missing ball for high score." All those words inside us have to go someplace.

#11766 Great Hierophant OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:20 PM

x=usr(1536) talks about the collector community that Sean Robinson screwed over.  I believe Robinson was centered in SoCal.  Mike Kennedy is also from SoCal and probably was part of that community.  Could it be that Mike Kennedy found his perfect "hardware designer" in Sean Robinson?  He may have thought that Sean Robinson was sufficiently skilled in cobbling something together that would pass casual inspection and get him to Kickstarter.  After all, in order to defraud people as Sean Robinson did, you first need to come up with a believable lie or phony goods.  If anything went wrong and especially if money was lost, Mike Kennedy could point to Sean Robinson's "recently discovered" criminal history and claim that he was the victim of fraud, making a claim of plausible deniability.  



#11767 godslabrat ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:13 PM

x=usr(1536) talks about the collector community that Sean Robinson screwed over.  I believe Robinson was centered in SoCal.  Mike Kennedy is also from SoCal and probably was part of that community.  Could it be that Mike Kennedy found his perfect "hardware designer" in Sean Robinson?  He may have thought that Sean Robinson was sufficiently skilled in cobbling something together that would pass casual inspection and get him to Kickstarter.  After all, in order to defraud people as Sean Robinson did, you first need to come up with a believable lie or phony goods.  If anything went wrong and especially if money was lost, Mike Kennedy could point to Sean Robinson's "recently discovered" criminal history and claim that he was the victim of fraud, making a claim of plausible deniability.  


Indeed. It would be excellent misdirection from the fact that Mike came up with lies and fake prototypes before that.

#11768 x=usr(1536) OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:32 PM

x=usr(1536) talks about the collector community that Sean Robinson screwed over.


Correct. That happened in the 1999-2002 timeframe.
 

I believe Robinson was centered in SoCal.


Yes, at that time. My understanding is that at some point after his release from prison he moved out of the SoCal area for a number of years, then returned. I do not know exactly when he left or returned, but I believe that it was prior to his involvement with the Coleco Chameleon (c.2015).
 

Mike Kennedy is also from SoCal and probably was part of that community.


If he was, I'd be surprised if he wasn't aware of Sean Robinson's activities. Word about him and his scams got around quite extensively at the time.
 

Could it be that Mike Kennedy found his perfect "hardware designer" in Sean Robinson?  He may have thought that Sean Robinson was sufficiently skilled in cobbling something together that would pass casual inspection and get him to Kickstarter.


That I will not speculate on. However, I will say this: if from no other standpoint than that of enlightened self-interest, that would be an exceptionally bad course of action for Mike Kennedy to undertake in relation to the Coleco Chameleon project. Apart from the inherent dishonesty and deception in doing so, the instant it became known that Sean Robinson's name was attached to the product it would have meant facing a shitstorm of very bad press once that fact got out.
 

After all, in order to defraud people as Sean Robinson did, you first need to come up with a believable lie or phony goods.


Granted, but be careful not to conflate the two documented sets of activities that he was involved with. Similar motives and methods, definitely, but at two very different times.

Edited by x=usr(1536), Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:34 PM.


#11769 Raticon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:21 AM

 

Likely because it's easy to get oooh's and ahhh's easily, with renders and kickstarters. Heh.. Renders and kickstarters are a thing nowadays.

It is a very typical thing of the kind of late-stage capitalist consumerist market we live in now, compared to a few decades ago.

It all evolved from selling shit that actually existed, while spinning it to be the best thing that exists, or at least spinning it that it's not-shit.
"Try Dr. Falkenhausens world famous hedgehog-snake-yeti salve! cures EVERY AILMENT! Proven by 50 studies!", while the salve indeed was nothing but shit. But at least it was shit that existed.
Turn the clock up to our day and age. You don't even have to make that shit before you tote it as being the best thing ever. A few renders, a few fake prototypes, some cool blueprints/concept art... Use actors and paid social media accounts to shill for your product, slap on a famous name and rake in the cash to be able to maybe perhaps make it.

It's still snake oil in the end, most of it at least. But back in the day you actually had that snake oil made, whatever it was in that bottle. Today you are taking in money before you even make the oil. If that is the fault of the consumers or the "makers" i will let others decide on, but i personally blame people that are borderline gullible, and let the nostalgia goggles sit too tight.
A lot of high-profile hardware failures recently. In gaming consoles we have of course the infamous Chameleon/RVGS, but also the Smach Z, the PGS and a myriad of emulator boxes failing in more or less spectacular ways, GameStick is in there somewhere too and to some extent the PolyMega. Oh and also a fantastic heap of 3D printers, earbuds and other assorted tech aiming too high, but falling short.

Of course, it's a difference between actually manage to take the money and fail afterwards, failing to raise the money and even failing to get to crowdfunding in the first place.

 



#11770 Newsdee OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:48 PM

There will always be people who are good at marketing but not much else. And they may have good ideas but not the skills to make it a reality. That's fine and people like that can be useful for a good team.

Unfortunately many business environments tend to glorify the ideas over anything else, which maybe are indicators of influence for a person. But the truth is ideas are cheap, a lot of people have them all the time. It's the execution of the idea that makes all the difference.

Yet people are worried of putting in work in fear of somebody taking the idea and claim it as theirs or to take it to a competitor. It has certainly happened, even in the retro world.

I suspect some of the failed Kickstarters were well intentioned, and rushed to try to claim an idea as their own. But they were overly naive in ignoring important details. And some KS are probably scams since the beginning and ignore details since they don't intend to ship anyway.

It seems the CC wanted to be a vintage console above all else. How can one design a vintage item? It's like planning to sell aged whiskey but showing only labels and asking for funding to buy the manufacturing plant. They hoped they had enough influence to silence the haters (filthy wine drinkers!) and when they held a tasting, people noticed how familiar the taste was and found it was a bottle of J&B hidden in a fancy cask.

On the other side of the spectrum you have a company like Analogue making high quality clones without any marketing BS, without any intention of those becoming vintange in 20+ years, and they seem to be doing OK. People may love or hate them, but they are shipping products.

#11771 StopDrop&Retro OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:34 AM

x=usr(1536) talks about the collector community that Sean Robinson screwed over.  I believe Robinson was centered in SoCal.  Mike Kennedy is also from SoCal and probably was part of that community.  Could it be that Mike Kennedy found his perfect "hardware designer" in Sean Robinson?

 

That's highly likely, if you ask me. Look at the people he was recruiting for his project. By the time he took the RVGS project to the public there was Woita, Clarkson and Kevtris. In all the podcast interviews he couldn't help but name drop anyone and everyone with credentials that even breathed on him. All of these people had at least some amount of skill to their name. So why did he shift gears from grandstanding to then hiding a mysterious "Mr. Lee" from the public? You cannot look at this and not see that Mike's approach to his project changed drastically by that point.

 

He knew damn well about Robinson's shady ass past, but those are the credentials he was looking for now that he was going full-on deception. He needed someone to make a convincing fake prototype to fool the gatekeepers at Kickstarter and he knew he could trust Robinson because anyone else on the team with a reputation to defend wouldn't go along with it. I don't think Mike brought in Sean for the purpose of being his fall guy, Mike's not the type that prepares for the worst, but Sean's spotty history became awfully convenient after Mike's lies came crashing down.



#11772 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:21 AM

I feel like I'm in a multi-user text adventure. Can't change the goal of the story, but can talk to the other characters caught up in the game!


Edited by Keatah, Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:21 AM.


#11773 RARusk OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:29 PM

Just be careful not to get eaten by a Grue.....



#11774 Pipercub OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:55 PM

 

That's highly likely, if you ask me. Look at the people he was recruiting for his project. By the time he took the RVGS project to the public there was Woita, Clarkson and Kevtris. In all the podcast interviews he couldn't help but name drop anyone and everyone with credentials that even breathed on him. All of these people had at least some amount of skill to their name. So why did he shift gears from grandstanding to then hiding a mysterious "Mr. Lee" from the public? You cannot look at this and not see that Mike's approach to his project changed drastically by that point.

 

He knew damn well about Robinson's shady ass past, but those are the credentials he was looking for now that he was going full-on deception. He needed someone to make a convincing fake prototype to fool the gatekeepers at Kickstarter and he knew he could trust Robinson because anyone else on the team with a reputation to defend wouldn't go along with it. I don't think Mike brought in Sean for the purpose of being his fall guy, Mike's not the type that prepares for the worst, but Sean's spotty history became awfully convenient after Mike's lies came crashing down.

 

It was Sean's request that he be "behind the scenes" and not publicly a part of it. He didn't say why and I didn't ask, maybe he didn't want to end up like the others being thrown under the bus. I recall that when MK was crowing about being "in talks" with Konami and such that he tagged Sean in an email and brought him up as part of the team and he didn't care for that. At some point Sean had done quite a bit of computer/web work for MK that he had not been paid for and perhaps he went along with the Chameleon thing as a best chance of being paid?



#11775 x=usr(1536) OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:53 PM

At some point Sean had done quite a bit of computer/web work for MK that he had not been paid for and perhaps he went along with the Chameleon thing as a best chance of being paid?


That's an interesting tidbit right there, and I appreciate the memory jog.

One thing that I now recall from the time when Sean was hanging around the tech groups I was involved with: he also did PC repair and web design. It's doubtful that I still have it, but I remember him giving me one of his business cards back then. If I ever run across it, I'll scan it and post it here.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.






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From: Coleco Chameleon .... hardware speculations?

By Serguei2 in Robin Gravel's Blog, on Tue Mar 8, 2016 9:32 PM

If only Coleco Chameleon was true, I would buy it
 
Unfortunately, it's seem it's a prank after all.
 
  
Source: Coleco Chameleon .... hardware speculations?

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