Unusual use of the Commodore name for a new computer

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Bill Loguidice
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Conceptually it makes sense, but the reality is there seems to be nothing about this that says Commodore: http://www.commodoreusa.net/index.html . There are other "keyboard" computers (zero footprint), so I don't really see what separates this from the pack. In fact, if you delve a bit further into the Website (some of the links are broken), they're trying to negotiate the rights to having the Commodore branding on the computer.

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Matt Barton
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Yet that's the "respected

Yet that's the "respected press," sadly. Indeed, that kind of thing has always been the norm.

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Bill Loguidice
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Holy crap, there are a

Holy crap, there are a metric ton of errors in this PC World article!: http://www.pcworld.com/article/191896/commodore_64_awakes_from_slumber_w...

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Matt Barton
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Yes, I agree with Rob and

Yes, I agree with Rob and Bill. Though I think Macs are definitely unique. Ever been to an Apple store? I genuinely felt like I was in the recruitment center of a cult. I expected at any minute someone to offer me a free stress test. :)

Rob's comparison of the magazine reader vs. the Starbucks guy is spot-on. There's nothing special nowadays about owning a PC. I do see a certain amount of brand loyalty for the consoles, though even that seems pretty forced to me (unless you're dirt poor, why not just own both?) The computers were different because they required a more substantial investment, and you really had to be have considerable disposable time and income to own more than one computer (i.e., an Amiga AND an Atari ST, for instance). I'm assuming more than just superficial use, of course.

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Rowdy Rob
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I agree..... it's not the same.
Bill Loguidice wrote:

Do they have the same fondness, though? I think it's much harder to be fond of a generic computing box than something like a C-64, which was always and will always be a C-64. I'm sure kids today will be fond of their DS's, Xbox 360's, Wii's, etc., because those are unique platforms, but a generic PC box, I just don't know.

I don't think it could possibly be the same fondness. Since computer platforms were incompatible with each other back then, to buy a computer was sort of like joining a community! Atari users would associate with each other, C-64 users would associate with each other, etc. There wasn't much of an online community (if at all) for most computer users, so your fellow platform users became your friends as well as your information/software lifeline. Plus, home computers were new and exciting, and having one meant you were one of the elite!

Now, everyone has a computer at home, but probably most people use them as "Internet appliances" more than anything. Back then, if I saw a guy reading an Atari 8-bit magazine, I knew that he was part of the "brotherhood." Now, if I see someone typing on a laptop at "Starbuck's," it doesn't even occur to me that this person is my compatriot.

There were many users groups for different computer platforms back then, but now, when computers are ubiquitous, I don't know of even one local computer users group! And even if there was one, I doubt it'd be much fun to attend such a group, since I suspect there really would be little common ground amongst the members!

This is only the social aspect of it, and doesn't even touch on the almost "spiritual" aspect of feeling the "soul" of your machine! Perhaps that's a weird thing to say, but most of us had a personal connection with our home computers, and many tried to program their machines and learn all its secrets. Now, that's impossible; PC's are just too complex. And thus, they're rather distant and cold.

And plus, they've pretty much topped out on what they can do. Computer music was awesome back then, but you really can't impress me now, with computers able to do surround-sound MP3's and such. And graphics, while you can occasionally get a "wow" out of them, is generally just pushing more polygons per second, but the games are largely the same.

Bill Loguidice
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The old argument - branded versus generic boxes
Catatonic wrote:

The hardware wasn't what I loved about the Commodore 64. It's the fact that I used it as a kid and played on them with my friends and learned programming with it. You can't really do it over again as an adult. I'm sure there are teenagers today who feel the same fondness over a Pentium 3 with Windows XP on it, it's what they used when they were 6 years old.

Do they have the same fondness, though? I think it's much harder to be fond of a generic computing box than something like a C-64, which was always and will always be a C-64. I'm sure kids today will be fond of their DS's, Xbox 360's, Wii's, etc., because those are unique platforms, but a generic PC box, I just don't know. I *guess* the same fondness could apply to say, Windows 7, or the latest MacOS, but I don't know, as those are still more abstract/universal concepts than a specific inside and out computer hardware brand and operating system (and yes, I know that the Mac platform comes close, but there are so many different - and constantly changing models - can anyone *really* identify with even a particular generation of Mac's?).

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Catatonic
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The hardware wasn't what I

The hardware wasn't what I loved about the Commodore 64. It's the fact that I used it as a kid and played on them with my friends and learned programming with it. You can't really do it over again as an adult. I'm sure there are teenagers today who feel the same fondness over a Pentium 3 with Windows XP on it, it's what they used when they were 6 years old.

retroc64
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I would love a computer like

I would love a computer like that too.

Bill Loguidice
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To me, retroc64, since I

To me, retroc64, since I consider all of these original platforms dead, I would be more apt to pay for a turnkey super emulation machine than a modern day rebranded PC that makes use of a classic name/brand. I'm thinking something like a tiny box with a preconfigured emulator that boots straight into it and has removable storage (like an SD card) that I can add additional software to (though of course I'd want it to come already preloaded). That to me would be a "Commodore 64 - 2" or a "Commodore Amiga - 2", you know? Sort of like the perfect realization of the original platform. It should also come with a keyboard with remapped (and relabeled) keys to ratchet up the authentic experience and have both S-Video and HDMI outputs, and be optimized for either. I would gladly pay $300 for something like that, even if in theory it's something I could go to the trouble of setting up myself. Of course if this "Box - X" could be turned into perfect realizations of other systems by replacing the SD card and they offered matching keyboards per system, even better, and I'd even pay a little more for the base system.

I realize what I'm talking about is embodied in this project: http://www.c64upgra.de/c-one/ , but they're trying to do in FPGA what can probably be done nearly as well with today's budget processing power and good emulation software, and for cheaper.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
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retroc64
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So ...

If I shove my IPod components into a hollow TI-99-4A Case, will I have TI-99-4A 2 or an IPod? Sounds like a regular zero footprint computer trying to get ahead in a crowded market by using the Commodore brand.

I do wonder about a real commodore 64 2. If it happened to be made today by the original commodore team but using today's modern specs, would it be fun? Would you have the same or similar experience as the original? Even if it didn't use Window or Linux?

To me, it is all about the software. To me that is the games. They don't seem to make games, especially CRPGs like they use to. I wonder if that is due to the hardware limitation or how developers imagined games during the period. I just can't imagine any remake of "Seven Cities of Gold" being better than the first, even with all our computing power. So a Commodore 64 - 2, no matter how legit, would come even close to the original. Thankfully we still have these original games.

Bill Loguidice
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Pluses and minuses
Catatonic wrote:

It looks like a late-90's laptop only twice as thick and with the lid cut off. I'd also like some proof the claim "use far less energy — than any other desktop computer" especially compared with the Mac mini .

The form factor is really nothing new, as there's been at least one other company selling zero footprint computers like that for over a decade. I do actually like the concept, though, depending upon the pricepoint, it probably makes sense to get a gaming-centric laptop versus something like this. I would also prefer that they add an HDMI output, even if it was at the expense of the S-Video output. Regardless, something like this would still have its useful applications outside of being a transportable computer, for instance as the driver for a MAME arcade machine or cocktail cabinet.

Really, though, the only reason why I reported on it was the idea that they want to license the Commodore name, which I have mixed feelings about. In the end, it's not a bad thought, though if they get the name, they should take it to its next logical conclusion and offer an option to preload and preconfigure the "official" Amiga and C-64 emulators.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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