ScuzzBlog: 11th Aug 2007

Subject 01: Amstrad plus Sega: How lucky was that
Subject 02: All Adds Up: Calculator frenzy
Subject 03: BAT II: Games with dongles
Subject 04: Its Your Commodore: The very first
Subject 05: Say Hi to i: Blueberry iMac
Subject 06: Mini TV: Sinclair vision
Subject 07: 1994: A very good year
Subject 08: Past Frontiers: Progress or not

Entry 0740: Blogs: 08

Amstrad MegaCD: Aug 2007

Entry 0740: Blog: 1

Amstrad plus Sega: How lucky was that

Just fired up this Amstrad MegaPC and although it fires up
it boots up with message that the battery is dead. Anyway, I
decided to open up. First thing, this is a magic size for a
computer. Just as the A1200 could have become I guess,
with a games controller motherboard one side and a
general computer motherboard the other. Fitted with hard
drive etc so it kinda is like the current PS3 X360... except
the differing motherboards, though that's not an issue.
Anyway, should I have been surprised to see the dreaded
barrel battery. So corroded and leaking, and yet nothing on
the motherboard. How strange. I quickly removed the
battery and cleaned up fine. Then, I was just about to put
the case back together when I noticed the inside of the top
cover.... The whole surface internally was so badly corroded
and the paint all flaking. This guy had stored this unit
upside down for years. And the battery had been dripping
off the battery into the case and not running onto the mobo.
How lucky was that. Amazing. And there you go, yet another
machine that won`t last cus of the dreaded battery problem.
Would be useful to have some kind of data base of all units
with these batteries.

Old Computer Com haven`t got one of these computers in
their collection heh heh ...

The MegaDrive uses the Motorola 68000...

[ quote from another site ]

Amstrad Mega PC

Classic Console

The Amstrad Mega PC, released in 1993, was the first 
and last ever IBM-PC and games console hybrid. This 
bizarre curiosity combined a fully functional
PC with a Mega Drive. This is the only Mega Drive 
system that uses a VGA monitor for display. The music 
also sounds a little different from a normal Mega Drive.

The first version of the hybrid system had the 
following PC specs:

25mhz 386
1mb of RAM
40mb hard disk
Ad-lib sound
SVGA graphics.

Running windows 3.11 as standard.

A simple ISA card with a ribbon connector for VGA 
and sound internally connects the Mega Drive to the 
PC hardware.

[ end quote ]

[ From Wiki ]

The Mega PC was manufactured and released by Amstrad in 
1993 under licence from Sega, which was a similar, but 
unrelated system to the Sega TeraDrive. Essentially just 
a standard Amstrad PC with Sega Mega Drive hardware bundled 
inside, the system was wired to share the dual-sync
monitor and speakers, with the Mega Drive on a separate circuit board.

Initially released in PAL areas such as Europe and Australia 
in 1993, its success was very short lived due to its very high 
retail price of 999.99 (later reduced to 599), with the CPU 
also being outdated by the time of the system's release. 
It is slightly easier and cheaper to acquire an Amstrad
Mega PC in Europe due to more units being manufactured, 
than it is to acquire a Sega TeraDrive elsewhere. In recent 
years, both systems have increasingly become relatively 
difficult to come by, as they are owned and often purchased 
by many as collector's items.

[ end Wiki ]

Perhaps Wiki should have reminded all those collectors 
that if they do not remove the battery the unit will 
be real history.

[ some other pics from the web ]

[ end blurb ]

MegaPC MegaPC

MegaPC MegaPC

Amstrad MegaPC with battery safely removed

All Adds Up: Aug 2007

Entry 0740: Blog: 2

All Adds Up: Calculator frenzy

Just a quickie blog to announce a new section to the
collection, as a small tribute to the humble calculator
I was never that lucky to have owned a calculator at
school. Complex calculations were left to scale rules
and more commonly log tables. Log tables were great
cus you could put all your crib notes in the side
columns... ' SOHCAHTOA '

My brothers first calculator cost a fortune in it's
day, and wasn't even scientific. Crazy that even at 
this time... early seventies, you could not have a
calculator in an exam that plugged into a wall. 
Anyway here are the first of many more images to
follow as I build a steady collection of calculators

calculator calculator calculator

Note the last calculator here as it is a pure physical
contraption with no electronics

Games with dongles: Aug 2007

Entry 0740: Blog: 3

BAT II: Games with dongles

On the Amiga front I had the ' Thrilling Role Playing 
Game ' BAT II from UBI Soft... complete with ( wait 
for it ) a Dongle. So unusual that. So you can see 
what I will be doing this weekend.

Bat II

Your Commodore: Aug 2007

Entry 0740: Blog: 4

Its Your Commodore: The very first

Have just had arrive the very first copy of Your Commodore
from October 1984, no less. 

'Congratulations you have had the good sense and judgement 
to pick up a copy of the first issue of a GREAT new magazine 
dedicated to the Commodore range of microcomputers '

Featuring ..Mastering Machine Code, Machine Code to BASIC,
The BASIC Facts Pt 1, Code Breaker, Sprite Designer 64, Your
Own Arcade Game, Tales from the Crypt, Introducing Modems,
Making Music.... and on and on.

Just magic.

Your Commodore

Apple of my 'i': Aug 2007

Entry 0740: Blog: 5

Say Hi to i: Blueberry iMac

As most of you know I collect loads of other computers, mostly to
have a play, and more seriously by way of comparison of the
models from a given year. I hadn't intended getting an iMac but
at 14 who could resist. This computer arrived within two days
and I gotta say was a dream to use. It kinda just does what it
says on the tin. So fluid and easy, and looks quite sexy. I
liked the cable hold in the side, the handle on the back, the
cute colour and the CD from the front. The picture is so clear,
and the machine looks fine left out on a table.

Not sure if I shall use it sensibly, though I did have some fun
with a dinosaur game on it. Maybe more on this later. I have
now sat it next to my serious Mac.

[ blurb ]

The Apple iMac G3/333 (Fruit Colors) features a 333 MHz
PowerPC 750 (G3) processor, 512k backside level 2 cache,
32 MB of RAM, a 6.0 GB EIDE hard drive, and ATI Rage Pro
Turbo graphics with 6 MB of VRAM packed into a colorful
"retro futuristic" all-in-one case design with a 15-inch
"crystal clear" CRT display.

It was offered in five different colors -- lime (lime green),
strawberry (pinkish-red), blueberry (royal blue), grape (purple),
and tangerine (orange-yellow).

Apart from a faster processor, the iMac G3/333 (Fruit Colors)
effectively is identical to the iMac G3/266 (Fruit Colors) that
preceded it.

The iMac waiting on the bench to be cleaned and catalogued
What happens next to this computer I have not decided.

Sinclair Mini TV: Aug 2007

Entry 0740: Blog: 6

Mini TV: Sinclair vision

Yesterday arrived the Sinclair Mini TV unit which was 
amazingly small, the size of a pocket calculator. 
Complete and with manual and case. Amazing for its age.

[ what others said ]

Screen folly 

One of Clive Sinclair's lesser-known follies was the 
development of a mini TV screen, known as Microvision. 
In the late 1970s, there were no liquid crystal screens 
of the type now routinely used for tiny TV sets and 
camcorder view-finders. The only screens available 
were cathode-ray tubes, with a 'gun' at one end firing 
electrons at a fluorescent surface at the other. This 
makes the tubes long and bulky. Sinclair decided to 
develop a slimmer CRT by laying the fluorescent surface 
parallel to the beam and then using electrostatic plates 
to deflect the beam through 90 degrees onto the screen. 
With a lens over the front surface of the small screen 
to make the squashed image look realistic, pocket 
portables went on sale in the early 1980s. But the 
pictures were poor in quality and in black and white, 
and by the time the bugs were ironed out, LCDs were 
rolling off Japanese production lines. 

[ never mind ]

Sinclair Mini TV

Sadly no battery, so I shall never be able to enjoy
this little trinket. Would have been interesting to
see if I could have plugged my ZX81 into it..

1994: Aug 2007

Entry 0740: Blog: 7

1994: A very good year

Coming home in 1994 in the evening was such a treat for
me, what with having my Amiga1200 sat there ready to
rock and roll. Every day was a new computer adventure
and the mags were just bursting with kit. Lunchtime I
would wander down to Lansdown Computers and mull
over the new kit available. I would simply drool over some
of the more expensive stuff and dream of the day when it
would be mine. Saturdays meant Silica in Southampton 
and Game and Electronics Boutique and more goodies.
I recall trudging through Southampton with my new
Microvitec monitor , so excited. The room filled with
goodies. I had my video digitiser and sound digitser,
my sexy speakers. The video was plugged into the 
Amiga as was my tape machine. There were games
abound and the eternal fun with AMOS, DPaint, digitising
and creating pics and animations. Sitting in this room
then was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I
guess I was lucky. I lived the Amiga dream, and still do
in a certain way... However the mist of time is now
thick and sadly the age of these items does make the
past what it is ' the past '. I live in hope of a new dawn
for computing, where again I can joy in the multitude
of adventures that the Amiga presented weekly. I can
dream again of a truly magical community. And I can
hope that one day I sense that same excited joy in the
eyes of the computer sales guy over the kit he was
selling me. Sadly though my passion is fed now by
retro, and while it isn't half bad it really isn't the world
I once knew.... As odd as that may sound.

Past Frontiers: Aug 2007

Entry 0740: Blog: 8

Past Frontiers: Progress or not

When I was a touch younger I was travelling to work 
by bus reading my machine code book for the ZX81
and gazing out at the terraced houses of the Midlands
and the congested streets, I guess I believed  that the 
future was just around the corner. Certainly progs 
like Tomorrow's World were preparing us for the brave
new world. I guess those guys at Amiga in the early 
eighties, before the official birth, thought they too were
going to be part of some brave new future. Many at that
time believed that the thing they held in their hand,
so small, was going to transform the very substance
of mankind. Anyway 2007 now, and there are still the
same old buses, same old congestion. Sure electronics
got smarter, but hey the internet is still the internet, a 
phone is still a phone and technology is just recycling
all that we have known for some time. The jump from
ZX81 to A1000 was a giant leap. Win3.1 to Vista is
really just a small small step. The point is, if we are
gonna generate the same kind of excited fervour that
followed the birth of micro technology, we gotta be
doing just a touch better than the crap currently on
offer. There really isn't the diversity of interest and
brave frontiers that are gonna lure folk to search 
and test the technology. It has been lost to big business
and we need yet again our new ZX81, just to upset the
old apple cart or should I say.. MS cart.

Just a thought.

Sinclair MiniTV
Amstrad MegaPC
Commodore Calculators
iMac Blueberry

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Last updated 11th August 2007

Chandraise Kingdom