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Found 4 results

  1. Ah memories... "Have you got a PET at home?" is the sentance that my English teacher used to introduce us to the word "pet". Hilarity ensued; in French PET litteraly mean "fart". Anyway, now I can say that yes, I have a PET at home; of course, the kind with chips, not fleas (lost in translation joke : both "flea" and "chips" translate as "puce" in French...) Long story short, I saw an add for a CBM 4016; I offered 75€uros for it, and the seller accepted... if I drove to pick it up, since shipping such a fragile old beast is pretty much out of question. While this guy is certainly a retrogamer, his main focus are consoles. So (probably because of his wife ) he showed me more machines, and sold them for a ridiculous price. Yaay, grey plastic to the rescue! The Mac Classic need no introduction. The Amstrad 6128 Plus is an upgrade over the 464/6128 series. More colors, a better chip arrangement that allowed for smoother operation, and a cart port. The Amstrad PC1512 is a nice IBM-PC compatible. It feature some nice options, such as being provided with a mouse, a volume knob for the PC speaker, a joystick port on the keyboard. The Joystick port on the keyboard is wired on unused character from the keyboard, allowing to use a joystick on any PC game that allow you to use your own keys. This is why we liked Amstrad. On the other hand, the mouse is an Amstrad standard so neither IBM PC COM mouses, Atari or Commodore mouses work on it, and some software wouldn't recognize it. Also, the power supply is located in the display, not in the unit. It make it amazingly light, but meant that you couldn't upgrade your display easily unless you acquired a separate power supply or an Amstrad monitor. It's one reason Amstrad ultimately failed to stay in the PC market... Two untested Amiga A500, of different generation. The whiter one is more recent, or so I believe (a sticker in it says that it was made/tested in 1987). Does this explain why it remained white? The mouses that come with them are from Malaysia and Hong Kong, so there is a difference there. The white one feature a "Commodore France" stickers, that I rarely see. But like the yellowed one, it was "made in West-Germany". An original RGB TTL video cable, and a modified one with SCART. Note that the European (French?) Commodore 1084 screen come with a SCART input so both cables can be used on it, but the SCART one can connect to a regular TV. And of course, the main reason why I got all of this : Ready? Sure I am!
  2. I've been giving a lot of thought to the early 8-bit home computers lately. Although our family bought the original 1977 Atari Heavy Sixer video-game console; for computers, I found myself drawn to the TRS-80. Its monochrome text display (...okay, I didn't know it was simply a black-and-white RCA television) seemed to make it more of a "real" computer than something you "hooked up to your television". But then again, the video-display terminal was at that time, still a relatively new development. I haven't been able to track down the price of a DEC VT52 computer terminal when it was introduced in 1975, but the 1980 price was still over $1,300. So in 1977, when Radio Shack and Commodore offered complete computer systems for under $1,000 including video monitors, it was quite remarkable. I wandered into a computer store in early 1981 and the sales associate demonstrated how the Atari 800 could start a program instantly, like "Star Raiders" on cartridge, instead of having to wait for a slow floppy-drive or even slower cassette. Still, it made me wonder if an Atari computer wasn't so much a computer that used cartridges, as much as it was a cartridge-based video-game system that had a computer keyboard. Later that year, I visited that same store when the IBM 5150 "PC" came out, and noted that to put together a whole PC "system" - with floppy drives, monitor, keyboard, RAM, and power-supply (...yes, sold separately), you were looking at more like $4,000 (To be fair, Radio Shack's 1981 Model II "business computer" had a price tag close to that, and they offered a letter-quality daisy-wheel printer that cost almost $2,000 all by itself; pages 172-173). I've been fooling around with the VICE Commodore emulator, as well as the C64 Forever free-version (...which appears to be an enhanced setup/front-end to VICE, with some bundled software titles). Again - it "feels" more like a game machine than an actual computer. That seems to be echoed in the decision to market the C64 Direct-to-TV as a joystick plug-and-play device for games, instead of something with a keyboard. I feel a little bit sad that Commodore's 80-column 8-bit business machines never gained traction; I think they could have offered small-businesses computing power at half the price of what IBM and even the early PC clones provided, if they could have gotten the marketing right. But I can't feel too sad for the company that had the best-selling computer of all time in the C-64. Jack Tramiel is such a polarizing figure; I can't say whether he saved Atari or ruined it - or perhaps he was just trying to run it as best he could, while the world was moving on. Radio Shack computers suffered a similar fate and now the Radio Shack brand itself is on its last legs. The irony is that I think the Coleco Adam could have been the most useful home computer of that era, if they hadn't failed in the execution. Having a letter-quality printer at the center of their strategy was actually brilliant in the argument for "this machine can help your kids with their homework". This was happening near the end of an era where there were girls at college supplementing their income by typing term papers for the guys, because typing "wasn't something that men did". Being a typist was a specialized skill. The typewriter wasn't nearly as forgiving as the word-processor and noticing a mistake in the middle of a typed-page meant doing the whole thing all over again. I've been thinking about and working on this post over the course of hours and I've gone back and made revisions repeatedly - this would have been much more difficult if I had to resort to typing on a typewriter or writing it out long-hand. And without the Internet, and the AtariAge website, how would I share it? Another curiosity - or maybe an irony; the computer I'm using is hooked up to a TV... ...a 22" 1080p HDTV that I'm using for a monitor. And my primary use for this machine is entertainment; playing classic games via emulation, watching video content and social networking. So it seems that I've come full-circle; I have a computer, in my home - a "home computer", that's hooked up to my TV. Through the magic of emulation, I can experience owning an entire collection of technology from the past; home computers, game consoles, coin-op arcade machines, and libraries of software that if tallied up at their original selling prices, would be worth tens of thousands of dollars. It's a nice escape from a world filled with violence, injustice, strife and unrest. I'd enjoy reading your thoughts on the matter...
  3. It's the "Pervatron 5000" - a computer voice synthesizer to read the Anthony Weiner texts that are too embarrassing for guest host John Oliver to read...
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