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Greed, Zealotry, and the Commodore 64 645

jira writes "On the occasion of the Commodore 64's rebirth as an Atom-equipped nettop, the Guardian's Jon Blyth remembers what the original Commodore 64 taught him. Among other things: 'But look at it, all brown, ugly and lovely. It taught me so much. The Commodore 64 taught me about zealotry. After upgrading from the inferior ZX Spectrum, I would try to convince the Sinclair loyalists to follow me. I would invite them to my house, and let them see that with just eight colors and a monophonic sound chip, their lives lacked true depth. My evangelism quickly faded into impatience. So, I can now see why American Baptists get so miffy about atheists — it's horrible dealing with people who don't realize how much better you are.'"
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Greed, Zealotry, and the Commodore 64

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 27, 2010 @09:17PM (#34681570)

    there is no ZX spectrum with a "monophonic sound chip"

    the original 16 and 48k machines have no sound chip, the sound is software driven by toggling an I/O bit.
    the 128k machines use the AY which is 3 channel

    so there! :p

    • People have got 8 channels out of the Spectrum's beeper. The 3.5MHz Z80 is fast enough to do pulse density modulation for this many channels (essentially the beeper circuit contains a low pass filter, which acts as a DAC, just like SA-CD works except it's not as refined).

      Some of the Speccy beeper music demos are pretty astonishing.

  • Goes both ways... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday December 27, 2010 @09:18PM (#34681580) Journal

    So, I can now see why American Baptists get so miffy about atheists -- it's horrible dealing with people who don't realize how much better you are.

    That's funny... that's the same reason I, an atheist, get so miffy about Christians, especially Baptists, especially young-earth Creationists.

    Hopefully this is a whoosh and there's some sarcasm I'm missing or something...

    • by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) on Monday December 27, 2010 @09:46PM (#34681780)
      Right. The "whoosh" is that both groups think they're superior to each other, and get frustrated that no one will listen to their superior ways. Just because they think they are superior doesn't mean they are; similarly, just because you think you're superior doesn't mean you are.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I actually don't claim superiority. I'm only playing devil's advocate here -- I consider my opinion to be superior, because it's actually based on evidence and reason, but that doesn't say all that much about my character, and I don't necessarily know that there is not a theistic position based on evidence and reason, I just haven't found one yet.

        But the clue is in the subject: "Goes both ways."

    • He's probably joking, but I still wanted to reach through the intertubes and punch the guy in the balls.

    • I was going to say, way to close the rather banal article with a real hackle-raiser. I personally try not to get into arguments with theists. Its really annoying to watch them fail again and again and know they lack the wherewithal to understand why they fail.
    • by Graff ( 532189 )

      So, I can now see why American Baptists get so miffy about atheists -- it's horrible dealing with people who don't realize how much better you are.

      That's funny... that's the same reason I, an atheist, get so miffy about Christians, especially Baptists, especially young-earth Creationists.

      What's really funny is how everyone thinks their own personal postulates (beliefs) about the universe are so much better than everyone else's.

      Let's face it, we don't REALLY know much of anything about the universe past "cogito ergo sum". Everything else is conjecture. Get over mocking people for their beliefs when you have a slew of your own.

      The ironic thing will be this relevant quote [bible.cc], "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

    • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Monday December 27, 2010 @09:28PM (#34681650) Journal

      The best C64 programs were zero lines long. They tossed the Commodore ROM in the trash, thereby freeing-up all 64 k of memory, and loaded directly from the 1541 (or 71) disk drive.

      "64k should be enough for anybody." With GEOS you can turn your 64k machine into a clone of the original Mac (with WYSIWYG word processing, a trashcan, and everything). My church pastor did all his newsletters on the Commodore=64. And it doesn't cost $4000. More like $400. With music and color! ;-)

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday December 27, 2010 @09:21PM (#34681596) Journal
    Isn't this the third or fourth vaporware company to claim that it somewhere scooped up the rights to flay Commodore's carcass and smear the mutilated skin of the brand onto some boring x86 whitebox?

    In these days of emulators and cheap FPGAs, it just seems tasteless to throw a plastic skin around the winning architecture and call it a C64(even more tasteless to claim to do that, then not follow through, of course...) If you want to bring the past into the present, take advantage of the fact that modern tech should be able to reproduce old gear for considerably less, even in small quantities. If you want to hearken back to the days of the architecture wars, when numerous competing systems existed, featuring a variety of exotic design choices, perhaps one of the hobby projects in creating something exotic, for its own sake, is a more appropriate homage...
  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Monday December 27, 2010 @09:40PM (#34681742)
    CommodoreUSA seems to be the first company since the original Commodore's fall that has a plan to do something that both is associated with the original, and still is plausable. They actually have a case [commodoreusa.net]. A simple case with a Atom based motherboard is a realistic goal. As a retro gaming fan, I find the idea of having a PC in a C64 looking case really attractive, and if I get board of it, I can just use it as a standard PC. That takes all of the risk out of buying some specialty hardware, and the work out of trying to gut a real C64 and fit in a PC.
  • I never had a commodore64, the first computer I had was a 8086 PC with some kind of DOS on it. But the model in the article looks like a laptop only without a monitor. Make it flatter and cheap and I would buy it for the office/at home. Should be as flat as a laptop but way cheaper, like under 200$.
  • From the summary: "But look at it, all brown, ugly and lovely..."

  • Did the OP actually use American Baptists as an example of thinking you're better than everyone else (but being wrong)? Heh.

  • by Announcer ( 816755 ) on Monday December 27, 2010 @11:02PM (#34682332) Homepage

    Good grief. Sure, it's outdated, but the Commie 64 was more than just another computer. It was a hobby. It was a pastime. It was a learning tool. It was an EXPERIENCE. If you had the ability and knowledge, you could add new features and functionality to the machine by cutting traces and soldering wires to the leads on chips, to your extension circuitry. I added all kinds of extras to mine, including a BASIC extension, MicroMon Assembler, a cartridge "bypass" switch, etc. Can't do those kinds of things with modern PC's.

    My first word processor was "Speedscript". I typed it in from COMPUTE! Magazine over several days. That program did, in six kilobytes, what WORD was doing in hundreds, back in the early 90's! I used it more than any other software on that Ol' 64!

    Now, want to talk about emulators? How about this one:

    http://www.mymorninglight.org.nyud.net/C64/J64.htm [nyud.net]

    Now THAT is a COOL C= 64 emulator, if I do say so myself! :)

  • I am not sure that the C64 was a significantly better unit than a Spectrum 128, and I doubt it was better than the American version I had, the Timex Sinclair 2068. The Spectrums had a Z80 processor with a 3.5X higher clock rate than the 6510 of the C64, but the 6510 could do things in about 1/3 of the clock cycles [ffd2.com], leaving the Spectrum with only a slight speed advantage. The 2068 had a polyphonic sound chip that I really liked, and the 128 apparently had a polyphonic one, too. As a kid with poor typing s
  • Mind your sects... (Score:3, Informative)

    by louks ( 1075763 ) on Monday December 27, 2010 @11:32PM (#34682528)

    Be careful how you use the term "American Baptists". The American Baptist Churches of the USA are a fairly liberal and ecumenical bunch that believe in religious freedom (and humility) better than Richard Stallman believes in software freedom (and humility).

    There are other baptists sects in America that are considered stricter groups and might be more likely to fit your stereotype, so beware how you capitalize "American".

    Sure we believe in God, and I won't deny there are some zealots among our ranks, but as a denomination, we believe in autonomy, and the members certainly cannot be categorized the way it's being used here.

    www.abc-usa.org ...if you're interested.

  • by pauljlucas ( 529435 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @02:04AM (#34683384) Homepage Journal
    On the Edge: the Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore [amazon.com]. It's pretty astonishing that much of computer history ignores Commodore when they were really innovative. For example, all of "Fire in the Valley [amazon.com]" (book), "Pirates of Silicon Valley [amazon.com]" (movie made from the book), and "Triumph of the Nerds [amazon.com]" (PBS documentary) either fail to mention Commodore at all or vastly downplay its importance -- huge amount of revisionist history!

    In the end, it was (as is often the case) really bad management that killed Commodore.

  • by DCFusor ( 1763438 ) on Tuesday December 28, 2010 @12:52PM (#34687826) Homepage
    That I canceled my charter subscription to BYTE when they kept dissing my PDP-8 machines in favor of that little 8 bit piece of crap.
    Which is now wider and still a piece of crap, just a fast one. Other machines can actually be fun to program in assembler. Ever tried on an intel box?

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.