Category Archives: Misc

Commodore Amiga documentary

I just found this Commodore Amiga documentary on HULU and watched it last night. You can find more information on the official website:

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For those too young to remember, the Amiga was the most advanced home computer ever sold. It was incredibly ahead of its time, especially compared to any of the competing systems that were sold when it was released in 1985.

Us old timers recall the early days of home computer with systems like the Apple 2, Commodore PET, Atari 400/800, and TRS-80. There were many other systems, like the Timex Sinclair ZX81, Texas Instruments TI99, VIC-20 and then the massively popular Commodore 64 (and later less successful 128). Thanks to the internet, I have learned about dozens of other competing systems that I never even heard of back then.

The next generation of computers were things like the 1984 Apple Macintosh and the Atari ST. The Commodore Amiga blew everything out of the water. It had multitasking and amazing color graphics (back when a PC produced only 4 awful colors on a “high resolution” screen). It had 4-channel STEREO digital sound. It was just amazing.

I recall seeing an Atari ST in a shop in Houston, and really wanting one, but it was just too expensive. Sure, my CoCo setup ended up costing way more as I added more and more components, but I could do all of that gradually. The entry level cost of an Atari ST (or Amiga) and the required monitor was simply out of my price range.

But I had Commodore 64 friends that moved on to the Amiga, and I remember getting to see one of the first time (probably in late 1987). The bouncing ball demo brought tears to my eye. I had simply never seen anything like that on a home computer screen.

This documentary gives some of the background of the creation of the Amiga, and how it ended up at Commodore (and almost ended up at Atari).

It’s a fascinating look at what was truly an amazing piece of hardware.

The movie is streaming on HULU if you have a subscription, and can be rented or bought on many other services. I recommend it, though I wish it were about 10-15 minutes longer so it could give a more complete timeline of the various models that came out and why they were created (especially things like the CDTV and CD32).

Enjoy…

Apparently I can’t trust anything I remember.

I have a few dozen different websites, but none for a subject like this, so I’ll just post it here. Maybe you will find it interesting.

Since a big portion of this site is topics from my 8-bit computer days in the 1980s, I now find myself wondering if I remember any of the stories I tell correctly. Most of the things I think I recall, I think I recall correctly … but now I am wondering if anything I say here is accurate. Join me on a quick detour and let’s have some fun with memories…

On December 22, 2015, an e-mail newsletter I receive from DIGG had a subject that caught my attention. It said:

Your Memories Aren’t Real

The newsletter usually contains around a dozen links to articles on other sites, but the first one was titled “The Movie That Doesen’t Exist And The Redditors Who Think It Does“.  The description talked about hundreds of people remembering a cheesy 1990’s movie called “Shazaam” and that no such movie exists. I initially shrugged this off because I was well aware of a movie called “Kazaam” that started the basketball player Shaquille O’Neal.

I was curious about how this could be “a thing” so I read the article. Here it is:

http://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/internet/2016/12/movie-doesn-t-exist-and-redditors-who-think-it-does

This article discusses something called the Mandela Effect, named after groups of people who incorrectly remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s. Some news or event must have happened back then that confused many people the same way.

I had previously heard references to Mandela Effect on Free Talk Live, a liberty-minded syndicated talk radio program. They occasionally brought it up, using the example of how the children’s book is Berenstain Bears and not Berenstein Bears like many recall. I always heard it as “stein” so I had repeated it incorrectly my entire life.

This led me to do some quick web searches to see if there was anything more to it than that, and I found all kinds of amusing posts and YouTube videos. Most of them are in the same league as “misheard song lyrics” and made me think of a book a former coworker friend of mine, James, had pointed me to ages ago. A quick search right now shows that there is even a website dedicated to this:

http://kissthisguy.com/

(That’s a reference to the Jimi Hendrix song, which some mishear as “Excuse me while I kiss this guy!”)

I went through various lists of movie quotes everyone seems to get wrong (“NO, I am your father!”, “Life WAS like a box of chocolates”, “MAGIC mirror on the wall”) and even TV items most of us heard hundreds of times if we grew up in the 70s (“It’s a beautiful day in THIS neighborhood”). I was stunned at how many I was wrong about.

The Mandela Effect folks say this could be a sign of parallel worlds/dimensions/etc. and folks slipping between them, noticing something is off in a product logo, or song lyric or something they swear they remember and know.

It’s quite entertaining.

One actually hit me pretty hard. When I was first getting involved with Renaissance Festivals in the late 1990s, I had some smart friends that would often explain some of the historical inaccuracies these events propagate. (No, pirates like you recognize don’t belong at a typical Renaissance festival – they are closer to the Wild West era than medieval times.) One of these items was turkey legs and how turkeys were from the New World and didn’t even exist in Europe until they were brought over at a much later time (1500s?).

So how did turkey legs become so popular? I was pointed to a painting (which I always thought was of one of the King Henrys). It showed him holding up something that looked like a turkey leg. My friend explained it was likely some other type of meat. I remember looking the picture up (a color painting) back in those dial-up internet days.

Over the years, I’ve mentioned this to other festival newbies, and you can certainly find tons of references to such a painting, as well as find the pose parodied all over the place.

But there is no such painting. At least, not of King Henry.

I am confident such a painting exists, tho for all I know it was painted in the 1960s (the first Renaissance festival started around 1963 in California). It may have even been a parody painting, making fun of the King’s gluttony.

One this is for sure … it apparently was not King Henry.

And although there’s alot of science theory lately about parallel dimensions, I somehow think it’s just that my memory is crap.

Here’s a fun graphic showing various product logos and names. How many of them are you wrong about?

Enjoy!

Drobo 5C for $279 on Amazon

(Cross posting from my Appleause.com website. Over there, I post things related to Apple, Mac, iOS, etc.)

The Drobo 5C was introduced in October 2016 for $349. There has already been a $50 discount code ($299) and a one-day Amazon.com sale (also $299). Yesterday, the price tracking site, Camel Camel Camel, alerted me of a $279 price on Amazon:

http://camelcamelcamel.com/Drobo-5-Drive-Attached-Storage-DDR4A21/product/B01LWNHFBR?context=tracker

By the time you see this posting, the price may no longer be valid, but you might consider activating a Camel Camel Camel account to do your own tracking. You will receive an e-mail alert when the desired item (anything on Amazon) reaches the price you want. It also shows a historic graph of the price the item has been since tracking began.

Merry Christmas.

Drobo generation 2 verses Drobo generation 3

I have been working on a multi-part article about the Data Robotics Drobo storage device. It documents my experience moving from the 2nd generation model to the 3rd generation model.

You can find it over at my Mac-centric site, Appleause. Start here:

http://appleause.com/2015/11/13/drobo-2nd-gen-to-drobo-3rd-gen-part-1/

SPAM LITE

According to a bunch of tech news stories today (all echoing the same news from the same Symantec source), less than 50% of all e-mail is now spam. This is the lowest level of spam since September 2003.

istr-monthly-threat-report-spam-rate-lightbox

Keep that in mind when you complain about junk mail that makes it to your inbox… You should be seeing every other message as junk mail. Sadly, spam filters are also filtering out mail you want on a regular basis. I routinely log in to my spam filters and every day there are a few e-mails I manually release so I can read them that would otherwise never make it to me.

E-mail is broken, but like a car that needs a tune-up, it at least gets us to work most of the time…

The end of Radio Shack as we know it?

This is a US-centric post, so apologies to those in areas where this is irrelevant. Our beloved Radio Shack is closing stores, while going through the form of bankruptcy protection that would allow them to downsize and regroup. Alas, this may not be the case at all. Darren Grant, CEO of Tandy Corporation in the UK, had passed along some information about the fate of the US Radio Shacks which sheds more light on what is really happening.

The trademark to Radio Shack may be sold at auction:

http://guardianlv.com/2015/02/radioshack-trademark-goes-to-auction/

He also pointed me to this document that has details on how Sprint is trying to buy it:

https://cases.primeclerk.com/radioshack/Home-DownloadPDF?id1=NzY3NDc=&id2=0

If only we had a White Knight for Radio Shack in the US. Overseas, there had been Tandy stores (rather than Radio Shack, because that name was already taken). The Tandy stores shut down years ago, but in recent history, a new company has started up an online empire based on the classic brick-and-mortar legacy:

http://www.tandyonline.co.uk

Tandy UK today has many of the familiar Radio Shack brands from the past, like Archer. They have gone to original suppliers wherever possible to bring back items that were once lining the walls of Tandy stores over there. They even have items that were eliminated from the still-existing Radio Shacks in America. Plus, they have things like the Raspberry Pi 2 and Adafruit electronics kits.

I sure wish we could see something like this happen in the US.

If you have not visited the Tandy UK website, take a look. It’s what Radio Shack could have done over here.