Well, a few things have happened since my Flea86 project introduction from the previous month. This month's latest update will cover the following :
1) Completion of Flea86 case design transfer to CAD.
2) Inclusion of EGA (planar) video support for Flea86.
I almost hesitate to post about Commodore USA yet again, but I have to give the plucky licensor of the "Commodore USA" name credit yet again. Hot on the heels of them designing a new Commodore 64 case to stuff modern day PC components inside, they've now done the same with the Amiga, creating case designs reminiscent of the Amiga 1000, 2000, and 3000, respectively. With their usual hyperbole-filled bluster, they're also describing Amiga Workbench 5.0, which from the description appears to be a fancy skinning of the Linux operating system with Commodore 8-bit and Amiga emulators (as well as of course the option to dual boot or run directly via a standard emulation layer, Windows). For those interested, they've also been doing updates on Twitter and Facebook, so if you're into that sort of thing, you can follow the somewhat scattershot goings on via those services as well. Naturally, I'll continue to check in on the company now and again, but it's with the usual caveat of not expecting much from overpriced PC components stuffed into cases that you may or may not find interesting. On the plus side, they do appear to be offering just the cases for some of the models, so that's certainly sporting of them. No word yet still on when actual products will be available for sale.
As I'm sure you've heard by now, fitness icon and all around good guy, Jack LaLanne, died yesterday at the age of 96. LaLanne had an incredible career and was one of the true fitness pioneers, establishing the first major television fitness program in the 1950s, helping to spread the word on the immense benefits a healthy, active lifestyle can bring ever since. What you may not know is that among his laundry list of accomplishments, he lent his potent brand to the first ever exer-game, Jack LaLanne's Physical Conditioning, which was created in 1980 for Mattel's Keyboard Component add-on for the Intellivision. Unfortunately for the exer-gaming cause, the Keyboard Component only saw an extremely limited release before being pulled from the market and few of the 4,000 units produced remain in collectors' hands today. As with most of the rest of the Keyboard Component-specific software, precious few of the Jack LaLanne's Physical Conditioning cassette tapes remain.
Jack LaLanne's Physical Conditioning took advantage of the Keyboard Component cassette deck's impressive ability to synchronize both data and pre-recorded voice (this underrated feature was on a few other systems of the day, including the APF Imagination Machine and Atari 8-bit). As the graphical represenation of LaLanne would demonstrate each exercise, LaLanne's own voice would give instructions. Original music and sound effects from the system would also play. This was a wonderful way to bring a more interactive version of LaLanne's long running TV show into homes, and easily predated the videotape exercise craze started by Jane Fonda's Workout in 1982, and the next major exer-game in 1984, Spinnaker's Aerobics, for the Atari 8-bit and Commodore 64, which had fewer features and lacked speech.
You can see a brief glimpse of Jack LaLanne's Physical Conditioning, at approximately 44 seconds in from this 1980 Intellivision commercial: