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Comment Re:Mind blowing (Score 1) 179

Let me clarify: it might have reducing the pricing pressure that resulted in the low-end Amiga models that we actually received. The A500 and A600 would no longer have been Commodore's entry level computer models. And as such, with more upward flexibility in pricing, they could have had better specifications.

The Amiga 500 had a bloody great specification for its time. The Amiga's problem later on was that C= rested on their laurels too long and didn't invest enough in developing it until the PC had caught up (even if the latter's architecture and OS was still horrid) and the Mega Drive and SNES matched it for 2D parallax gaming.

In particular, the A600 might have come with a faster processor, more memory and a full keyboard.

As I mentioned, the A600 was (AFAIK) meant to be the A300, a cost-reduced budget machine. If it had been something else it wouldn't have meaningfully been the same machine. More importantly, it only really existed due to the past success of the A500 years previously; any high-end "A600" in your alternate past-future wouldn't be analogous to the one we saw, except in name!

Speculating as to what the A600 might have been therefore isn't just pointless, it's meaningless; like asking whether Germany would have won WWII if the Roman Empire had never existed. Europe- if not world history- would likely be totally different, a state analogous to Germany might not even exist, the politics would be totally different, and it's unlikely that the Nazis would have risen in *that* place at *that* time in that situation, so even WWII itself wouldn't have existed though other conflicts would have.

Perhaps. But one reason why such a series would remain successful would due to software momentum. Remember, Commodore's super-budget computers were really popular in places like central Europe. If the Amiga doesn't have a large base of software written in Hungarian, but the 8-bit series did, do you think that they'd be more apt to purchase a used A500 or a new C512?

They probably wouldn't have been able to afford a new C512. And (if it was cheaper but less capable as implied), C= would have been foregoing many people who bought- and *were* able to afford- the Amiga in Western Europe (making it the most popular computer of its era) for lower-value sales in Eastern Europe. And I'm not convinced that they wouldn't have preferred a used A500 unless the C512 was really close in spec.

Anyway, this is all getting rather academic and speculative, so we'll just have to disagree on this one. :-)

Comment Re:Cool! (Score 3, Informative) 182

That is basically the GP's point, a snow covered data centre is like an igloo, the heat generated by the servers/people inside can't escape so it becomes a lot warmer that the surrounding ice, but due to the large amount of ice it's thermal inertia ensures the walls don't melt. You need to get past the ice to dissipate the heat effectively. Old English pubs with 3 foot thick stone walls don't need heaters when full for exactly the same reason.

Comment Re: Epic Fail. (Score 2) 182

It doesn't matter what you call the system, if the gap between rich and poor is small (say a factor of 10) then people are generally happier. Obscene disparities in wealth do nothing but fuel revolutions. The "American dream" boils down to wanting to be mega-rich, they want the wealth gap because they believe they are "exceptional" and will one day leap across it in a single bound. The US would probably work a lot better for everyone if it simply stopped arguing with itself about money.

One of the major reasons why an American can pay up to 10X as much as an Australian for inferior health care, is that the American system is obsessed with finding and eliminating people who are "getting something for nothing". Not just the government but also the hospitals and private insurance companies. There's a veritable army of government and private accountants all spending $5 to save $0.50. Here in Oz the doctor bills the government directly. It's the doctors and hospital admins who are monitored for fraud by cheap automated statistical analysis.

Comment Re:Mind blowing (Score 1) 179

We made over a Billion dollars, whether obsolete or not.

I'm not sure what aspect of my comment this relates to, so I'll just say that (assuming you *are* Bil Herd and not an imposter!) there wasn't any disparagement towards the C64 or C128's success (or any other Commodore machine's) intended. It's simply that I don't believe that releasing the C65 (i.e. a semi-new 8-bit machine) would have made any commercial sense by 1991, regardless of how good it was.

Then again, since your article on the 1985 C128 refers to that machine as "one last 8 bit computer", it's possible that I misunderstood what you meant anyway.

Comment Re:Mind blowing (Score 1) 179

Oh, I know, the Amiga lasted longer over there too...basically because of the anti-console bias that Uncle Clive encouraged with his advertising and the UK government encouraged with their duties and tariffs on US/Japanese machines to protect Uncle Clive from the likes of Commodore and Nintendo.

Hmm... because Commodore didn't advertise like that in the US?

Also, you say "I know the Amiga lasted longer over there too" then give one of the reasons as "duties and tariffs on US/Japanese machines to protect Uncle Clive from the likes of Commodore and Nintendo". Er, that'd be Commodore that made the Amiga, right?

As I said elsewhere, Nintendo gave the impression of not being that bothered about Europe in the late 80s and early 90s.

Tape? TAPE? Why weren't floppy drives popular? Over here the good games were on floppy!

Because they were bloody expensive. I'm aware that the US market was pretty much disk-based by the mid 80s, and I guess if you factor the cost of a disk drive into being an essential item, it'd explain why the NES seemed so much cheaper.

Yeah, tapes were ******* horrible, but they were cheap.

I had an Atari 8-bit that *did* have a disk system because Dixons (retail chain) were selling them very cheaply, and it was bloody brilliant. I later got a program that transferred most of my tape games to disk and I *really* wish I'd bought that earlier, but that said... disks were expensive, and tapes weren't.

Yep. And again, while you were playing Dizzy, Americans were playing Ultima, Wizardry and Earl Weaver.

Never played Dizzy myself at the time- it was never released for the Atari 8-bit computers for some reason- and didn't like the look of it when I tried it later on, but I picked up a *lot* of good budget games. The likes of Ultima were available on import, and later on via UK distributors, and then there were full-price (by UK standards) games like Mercenary that presented one with a wireframe world to explore, and was later distributed in the US.

Comment Re:I'm surprised... (Score 1) 182

Nothing, but nothing warmed the cockles of his heart like the 8 billion no-bid contract given to the company he was once CEO of.

Name one other company that even offered (let alone could deliver - never mind competitively, price-wise) what Haliburton specialized in doing. Please, go ahead.

While you're hunting down that non-existent company, please also discuss on the no-bid contract awarded to the company that so gloriously just executed Healthcare.gov, despite there being all kinds of competition (to say nothing of companies with competent track records) willing and able to do the job.

Comment Re:Mind blowing (Score 1) 179

And would have raised its BOM costs.

Yes I know, because I was the one who first pointed out that reduced manufacturing cost was the entire rationale behind the chipset's development(!) (See this post earlier in our discussion).

Note also in the post that you just replied to, I said...

but then it'd have just been a redesigned C64 and probably not have had the manufacturing cost savings.

In other words, I'm not claiming that C64 compatibility would have been a good move, just that the only way to ensure the C16's success in the US would have defeated the whole point of the exercise!

Commodore was a victim of their own success with the C64 in that respect...

But the C16 did best in less affluent countries (did well in Mexico).

I know that too, but how much of that success was due to it being sold off at a very low price? Did they continue manufacturing it (including the C116) for those markets after it had flopped in North America and the initial stock had been sold off?

Comment Re:Mind blowing (Score 1) 179

The Commodore 64 was still selling well into the late '80s outside of Canada and the US.

Yes, I'm well aware of that- I live in the UK and already said that myself elsewhere!

The Amiga 500 and its peripherals were simply too expensive for many people.

Yes, I know- I was one of those people; I didn't get an Amiga until the early 1990s.

So there was definitely a market for a cheap, entry-level home computer below the Amiga.

Yes, it was called the Commodore 64! (Or its rivals like the ZX Spectrum, or the Atari XL/XE, which I owned).

And while I did agree that a C65-like machine would have filled a gap in the market, that isn't what you were claiming originally; you were saying that a C65 would have rendered the low-end Amigas unnecessary.

And there is a good chance that the Commodore 8-bit series, if it kept going, would have morphed into an 8/16-bit system like the Apple II series did with the IIgs.

Maybe it would have, maybe it wouldn't. But I doubt that it would have been as good as the Amiga if it had morphed, piece-by-piece into a 16-bit system, and I doubt that system would have worked out any cheaper than the Amiga 500 by the end of the decade if it was comparable in power to the latter.

The Amiga was better than the PC partly because it was designed from the ground up (both hardware and OS) unlike the PC, which was built from off-the-shelf parts, used a 16-bit knockoff of a famous 8-bit OS and had lots of complex kluges plastered on to workaround the workarounds for the workarounds for the limitations of the original design.

As for the IIGS, yes, from what I heard it sounded like a very nice machine, and IMHO Apple should have based the Mac OS around that hardware instead of having two separate lines. But it wasn't a cheap machine (mind you, neither was the Apple II). Maybe I'm biased because I owned an Amiga and never owned a C64, but I think it's pretty clear that while an improved (8-bit) C64 would have been worthwhile in the mid-80s, it would have been a poor choice to rely on that instead of the Amiga for the long term.

Comment advertising on faulty assumptions (Score 2) 120

Man, there's an err of pathos to when similar strategies are applied elsewhere, somehow Youtube noticed I went to a standing desk site, now half my adverts are from there. And also, they don't notice when I've actually bought a damn thing, so more advertising is just down the drain... I guess advertising is such a small % game that they'll take whatever "bump" they can get, no matter how stupid they look.

Comment Re:Mind blowing (Score 1) 179

The C64's good years are quite noticeable, 84 to 87. From the crash of 84, when people who still wanted to do electronic gaming almost had to jump to more expensive than a game console 8-bit computers, till the ascendancy of the NES.

It lasted quite a long time in the UK- albeit having to share the market with the massive selling ZX Spectrum. Over here, the NES wasn't particularly successful (at least not compared to the US.)

In fact, the NES was outsold here by the Sega Master System- possibly because that was well-marketed, whereas AFAICT Nintendo didn't much care about Europe- but neither console dominated the UK gaming market, which remained mainly home computer based during the late 8-bit and early-16 bit eras. It wasn't until the Mega Drive (Genesis) and SNES came along that the UK *really* went for console gaming in a big way. (Come to think of it, the Atari VCS wasn't as big here either).

The NES may have been cheaper than the C64 (which AFAIK was aleady very cheap in the US) but I'll bet the difference was quickly made up by the cost of the games! Mind you, here in the UK, we had "budget games"- mainly sold on tape- which were £1.99 to £2.99 (double that to get the price in today's terms), and even our "full price" games weren't as expensive as those in the US, which seemed to be quite expensive- so maybe you guys were already used to paying big money for your games!

Comment Re:Does it actually print, or does it cut? (Score 1) 199

But is the resolution actually that bad? Because that would be quite useless. You'd have to machine the final product in practically every case.

I guess we'll never know, because the linked article was hosted on a cracker jack box. Techienews indeed.

Yes, it would be that bad. I can't imagine there's really any use for a "printer" like that ... you'd end up with a messy blob of metal with little strength that would need more machining to make useful than it would take to just CNC... or use a real sintering printer.

Its sort of a cool hack, but ... I mean, if you want a non-plastic printer, make one that prints out cookie dough. At least you'd get something tasty out of it.

Comment Re:Mind blowing (Score 1) 179

Having said that, had the C128 been a better successor to the C64, then things could have turned out much different. A successful 8-bit series through the late '80s might have eliminated the need to keep a budget entry model in the Amiga lineup. If we had a C256 and C512, the A500+ and A600 might never have been released.

Honestly? I think that would have been a major mistake.

Having a vastly improved higher-end 8-bit machine would have been good in the mid-80s, but it would still have been utterly misguided to rely on it as a replacement for a mass-market 16/32-bit machine; they'd have been hammered at the end of the decade as people moved towards true 16-bit models.

To have an 8-bit machine remotely competitive with what the Amiga 500 was- or even the Atari ST- they'd have ended up having to redesign the whole thing anyway (pointless duplication) and then have it hobbled with an 8-bit CPU. And even if it was bloody good, it would still be perceived as an 8-bit machine.

The A500 Plus was just an A500 with a slightly enhanced chipset and revised OS onboard, not really a new machine. The A600 was stupid, sure, because it was another example of something being repurposed or repositioned to where it made no sense- it was originally meant as the A300, a cost-reduced budget model, but was sold as the A500's replacement until the latter's true successor came along six months later (i.e. the A1200). But neither of these have much relevance to the hypothetical "C256" or "C512" anyway.

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