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gone fishin'

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  1. £17 each! Reminds me of seeing the original He-Man figures that were re-released and for sale in forbidden planet. I was going to buy one for my son... they were TWENTY FIVE QUID EACH!!!!!! (I might get Marshmallow Man as my son plays with my original Real Ghostbusters figures, including the Fire Station and the Slimer that spits out slime, but he doesn’t have Marshmallow Man! I hope they re-release the Ecto-1 and Ecto-2, they go for a fortune now!)
  2. Great to hear you’ve got one! Now please can we have The Pit Next?!?!
  3. Jesus, whatever happened to explaining enough in a film so you didn’t need spin offs or post release social media posts to make up for poor scripting or editing.....
  4. Brilliant work, looks amazing and really coming along! The Pit reminds me of another game I’d love to see converted to the Spectrum. O Riley’s Mine I loved this on the C64 but it never got a Spectrum conversion. It does look like the authors took some serious inspiration from The Pit and Pac-Man!
  5. Yeah, I've got a C64 with an SD2IEC and I totally understand that the 1541 disk format is much more common on the C64 than the +3 disk format on the Spectrum, but I think the issue comes down to the Next not actually implementing the Floppy Disk Controller (FDC) chip of the +3, which AFAIK means it doesn't even restrict it to copy protected disks but to the majority of commercial disks. It's another niggle, but it is disappointing to only find it out after trying a few dozen DSK files and then seeing a post on the Next forum saying it's a known issue and unlikely any commercial DSK files will work due to it not implementing the FDC.
  6. Yes, I' have tried all of those thanks. Maybe it's my TV but it works fine with other HDMI devices.
  7. The HDMI issue was reported with the initial board only launch 2+ years ago and it looks like it was ignored or never fixed. There's some "official" feedback in that it looks like some TVs/Monitors are supposed to cut the power, but they don't, but to be honest it's something I've never seen with anything else and there's clearly some problem with the hardware using some HDMI component that draws power. What this means is that you either switch off your TV at the mains or you unplug the HDMI cable from the Next. It's not a deal breaker, but it does highlight a couple of things. First, the reluctance at times for the Next team to listen to feedback from the community, or certainly to be selective with what feedback to listen to. When the board was released, there were reports of the HDMI issue (which hasn't been addressed) and some hardware experts said there could be problems with the edge connector (IIRC, it was missing a basic component that would prevent damage happening to the main board itself) but that too seemed to be ignored. Maybe it was put in, I don't know. The other issue is how shotgun the communication channels and response are. Is it supposed to be the Specnext.com forum (because most of the posts on there seem to be getting ignored) or is it on the Facebook group (which, to be blunt, seems to be mostly filled with crap, but then I guess that's Facebook for you)? The community could have made countless additions or fixes to the Next in the 2+ years since the board only option was released, but the team decided not to make it Open Source until the cased version was released for fear of Chinese clones. While I understand their concern, if it's a hobbyist machine then getting the source code out to the community would have made it even better by the time the cased unit was released and so what if there's Chinese clones out there, after all it's not commercial, right? Hmmm... Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic piece of equipment and I'd recommend it to anyone who is serious about the Spectrum. Yes, it's a hobbyist's piece of hardware, but it could have been a truly amazing (even mainstream) product if it weren't for the little niggles (I've not even mentioned that +3 DSK support is practically useless with commercial games or that the Turbo Mode seems a bit inconsistent - it either works, or it doesn't). That's why I really believe they should hand it over to a more commercially minded person/group who could put in place better support, more professional packaging/documentation and hopefully expand the "Next" concept out to other platforms (Amiga Next, Commodore 64 Next). Maybe even hand it over to Paul Andrews....
  8. Talking of Yellow Magic Orchestra I had no idea that this classic tune was a Yellow Magic Orchestra song until last year!
  9. Maybe, but when it's pretty much the only option that's used now then it kills off so much diversity and creativity. Knowing that a computer algorithm has assisted making everything absolutely perfect, you end up with little creativity. So much of music is based on mistakes that have managed to make something sound different (and amazing), removing any of that just makes everything sound bland. Just as a personal example, a friend of mine said he fancied playing some modern songs, but in more of an accoustic/folk style and wondered if I would play guitar. I looked up the chords of some of the songs and they were literally three chords. But not in the way that maybe blues worked around three chords, it was something basic like C-F-G over and over with a different melody for the chorus. As @Art Vandelay mentioned, the songs are built up over essentially two melodies - one for the verses, the other for the chorus, that are exactly the same chord progression. The background "instruments" (read, MIDI keyboard plugins) are just variations of the melodies with the added bonus of being able to have lots of additional sound building effects, like reverb or echo, to fill in the space. Add in some beats to it and your done. Maybe that's more of a problem with pop music, but sure in the hands of people who can be really creative with it then it is amazing to think anyone can have the equivalent of a multi-million pound studio (in the 60s or 70s!) in their laptop. But how many people are given the opportunity to actually make a living from it that isn't being the front person for a soulless Scandi-pop shite production team?
  10. There was an interesting interview with Billie Ellish on the BBC about her Bond song. But it wasn’t just her getting interviewed, it also included her “songwriter/producer” partner (basically, the nerdy technical guy that does everything except be the front person). They described the process of writing and recording the song, it was literally done over three days on a tour bus. Sure, The Beatles recorded their entire first album in a day, but it was rehearsed to the point that by the time they got to the studio (the expensive part), they could cut it in a day. Technology is so powerful, and cheap, now that you can record a Bond song on a fucking bus. No orchestra needed. Just a laptop, a MIDI keyboard and a microphone. It might also explain why the song is fucking shite with absolutely no fucking soul.
  11. Although the core is now open source, meaning there might be improvements by the community, basically the Next has been available for 2 years now (the board only option has been available for 2 years) and while there seems to have been some improvements by the team since then, I have a feeling that some of the issues probably won’t be addressed by the second Kickstarter. Dont get me wrong, it’s a great piece of kit if you want to get a Spectrum that works in the “modern world” (and it’s still cheaper than buying a 128k toast rack), but the standout issue for me is the unit drawing just enough power from the HDMI to keep in “sort of” on, despite the power being turned off. That issue means you cannot switch the Next on, as it either doesn’t turn on at all or had a garbled screen, unless you either switch off the TV at the mains or you literally pull out the HDMI cable. While this isn’t a huge problem for me, as I’m running the Next on a portable TV which I can easily switch off, I can see it being a massive problem if you’re planning on connecting the Next to a TV that you’re using for stuff like... watching TV or want to have multiple systems connected to it or even something simple like the TV power socket being difficult to reach. It also means that if you’re switching off the Tv, it’s unlikely to pick up the HDMI signal quick enough to get the boot up options screen. Another thing that would have been nice is to include a PSU that has an on/off switch. I know the original Spectrum didn’t have that, but in this day and age - and to be blunt the C64 had it back in the 80s - it should have been included as there’s no On/Off switch on the Next itself. It’s back to the old days of having to reach down to the plug and pull it out! Not great if you’ve got it connected to a power strip or connected to a plug socket that’s difficult to reach. I’m sure someone will come up with an alternative, but it’s something basic that should have been thought about, seeing as they spent 2+ years dicking around with the keyboard. Like I said before, the HDMI issue was highlighted as a problem with the initial board only release and it looks like they’ve not fixed it (or don’t know how to fix it) I also think it’s a hardware specific issue, so it’s unlikely to be fixed in a software update. Maybe it will be fixed by some inventive person who comes up with a cable that doesn’t draw power! I suppose it’s something to expect from a crowd funded product, but if they’re not going to fix an issue like that, I can’t see them doing that much more in terms of fixes or enhancements for the second Kickstarter campaign, especially if money was becoming a problem by the end of this campaign.
  12. I've never played the games (or read the books), but are they 90% rambling dialog along the lines of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace with 10% action? Because the first episode of the TV program certainly felt that way. I'll try with the second episode but I'm really struggling to build up the energy to do it...
  13. I remember seeing him DJ in a club back in the 90s. Bit of a bizarre experience, the music was amazing but he was surrounded by guys from the audience watching intently everything that he did. Guess they were looking for inspiration on what to do!
  14. Modern Popular music has just become like modern video games, it's an amalgamation of every genre funnelled into a generic product to try and please everyone. Plus behind every pop star, there's a whole team of songwriters and producers. Take Lewis Capaldi for example, he's just singer songwriter, from the backwaters of Scotland, isn't he? What a great success story for one guy to come so far! Wrong... his songs are written and produced by a team called TMS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TMS_(production_team) who have produced dozens of other similar artists and sold something like 15 million records. You've ended up with half a dozen writing/producing teams making the majority of the pop music where it doesn't actually matter who's singing the song. And anyway it's better to have one person singing it, because it's lower cost and easier to manage. Pretty much the same as Stock Aitken and Waterman did in the 1980s.
  15. Kind of sums it all up really. It feels like a big difference between this trilogy and the original trilogy is that while the OT did expand out of the storyline in the film in books and comics (and certainly the imagination of my 8 year old self!), it didn’t need you to source additional information to understand the basic story of the films.
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