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gone fishin'

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  1. I'd imagine the shambles behind the Scottish National Film Studio probably helped in making the decision to film it in New Zealand (it was scheduled to be built outside Edinburgh, then it turned out they didn't have permission to throw the farmers off the land, then it was announced to be built in Leith with The Lord of the Rings rumoured to be filmed there if it was ready by autumn 2019. Guess what... it's not https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/whats-on/entertainment/lord-of-the-rings-tv-series-set-to-be-filmed-in-leith-1-4907179) Knowing Amazon, it wouldn't surprise me if there had been significant tax benefits offered for them to film in New Zealand. Oh.. wait... https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12268736
  2. Spot on, it's all about getting in the "recommended for you" algorithm. But how do you get noticed when you're in a list of dozens of other, similar videos? Have a clickbait title and a stupid mugging photo of the YouTuber in the thumbnail (although I can see why he doesn't do the photo thing, I'm not sure seeing a massive photo of his face making a mouth agog expression would help with getting those views). But the thing with YouTube's algorithms is that it's always changing. Why do YouTube want videos to be longer? Because they want more adverts in the middle of videos now rather than just at the start. YouTube's algorithms aren't based around the viewers or the content makers, they're based around how to best generate income for YouTube through their advertisers. It's why there are very few commercial YouTube channels that have survived from the very beginning, the ones that are commercially savvy and adapt to whatever YouTube's algorithms (and revenue plans) are tend to be the ones that survive. But with Jim's videos, you get the sense of him desperately trying to adapt to the longer video format required of the algorithms and he just doesn't have the content to provide it, because at the end of the day he's working with an incredibly niche subject matter. There's only so many times you can moan about modern video games without repeating yourself. (It's also why you're seeing more YouTubers join up with, I dunno, crossover videos, because the commercial future of YouTube is going to be consolidated channels covering multiple topics and subject matters. Look at Angry Video Game Nerd has extended into this "Cinemassacre" channel, now covering Video reviews, getting guest YouTubers in. It's very different to the early AVGN videos where he was playing crappy, old video games, because he ran out of material and had to expand in order to generate enough revenue. Same with Red Letter Media. YouTube is basically like going to the format of TV Channels.You'll still get niche videos being posted, but there's going to be no money in it, so those will likely be taken up by hobbyists in their spare time)
  3. The funny thing is that from when the Vega+ Indiegogo campaign launched in Feb 2016 to the final update in Aug 23 2018 (so 30 months in total) there were 96 official updates. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-sinclair-zx-spectrum-vega-plus-console#/updates/all The Next Kickstarter campaign launched in April 2017 and in the 29 months since there's been 52 official updates https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1835143999/zx-spectrum-next/posts So yeah, the "reality" is that the Vega+ campaign had almost double the amount of official updates in the same timespan. I think the Next has been let off the hook when compared to the Vega+ because there has clearly been less behind the scenes politics, but the updates from the Next are also very technical which I think makes the audience feel "safer", as well as the audience being more "understanding" (I get the feeling that a lot of the backers are likely engineers, so they're happy being sent techno pr0n images). However, you're right - in nearly 2 years and 6 months the cased Next is in almost exactly the same position as the Vega+ campaign was until that point. Nearly 2 years delayed and nothing in the hands of the backers, except for updates promising that work is being carried out. Even the Vega+ campaign had supposed photos of the manufacturing and demo units at trade shows, just like the cased Next has had. Yet for some reason people seem to be more forgiving of the Next campaign. Even after the last update the Facebook group is filled with posts saying "yes, it's nearly here! Take your time guys!", despite the update again being a disappointing one of the cased Next being nowhere ready. If anything it's like the exact opposite of the Vega+ campaign in that the backers seem to be incredibly unforgiving for a product that is still nowhere near released, even after countless promises of it being nearly ready. I really think that's feeling this "perfection" mentality of the Next team and in turn causing them to likely burn through more cash (even if there is any left). But yes, at the end of the day we're in almost exactly the same position as the Vega+ was/is. Years delayed, updates of "it's nearly ready" with continuous disappointments and now worryingly the prospect of there being no money left, but without the political shenanigans that went with the Vega+.
  4. The problem I have with them is that with every “The technical issues are fixed” update comes a “actually, we’ve identified another issue that needs to be addressed”. Too many times we’ve been given updates like “the keyboard is GO” followed by “another setback with the keyboard” or “we’ll have photos of 3000+ cases and keyboards being manufactured within a couple of weeks” to “we’ve now got make pilot production keyboards and cases which are months away from being delivered and tested” While the updates are definitely different from the Vega+, the amount of times they’ve come across unknown issues does now feel like they’re stalling or to be frank, they’re incompetent. Again what’s been so frustrating is the lack of getting an outsourced hardware manufacturer expert on board, when clearly the current team have no experience of it. I’m sure there would be plenty of people in the Spectrum community willing to help, but instead they seem to just blunder on.
  5. I believe Shadow Dancer is a sequel to Shinobi, certainly the arcade version was. I remember it being a big deal at the time. I think the Mega Drive version is an “interpretation” of the arcade game, so I’m not sure if it’s considered part of the Shinobi series, or not.
  6. Interesting, I never thought of that so Inlooked up Henrique Olifiers on companies house and found out he’s a director of SpecNext, so I’m going to presume that’s the company created for the Next. The last accounts filing made by SpecNext, back in November 2018 which covered up to Feb 2018 (the accounts are due by November 30th of each year). The next accounts are due by Nov 30th this year. But there’s a couple of interesting things about the company. One: it’s listed as a dormant company which again I’m going to presume is to prevent any corporate tax liabilities. Except I’m not sure it’s a dormant company https://www.informdirect.co.uk/business-finance/dormant-company-definition-and-requirements/ They have received revenue income from the Kickstarter backers, I’m not sure why the company would classify as a dormant company. That brings me onto the second point, the only director is Henrique Olifiers. That means only he likely has access to the bank accounts or financial information of the company. It’s also strange why none of the other team were made directors. Maybe they didn’t want the responsibility but it does seem weird that a company that raised over £700,000 in funding has a single director and a “single point of failure”, so to speak. The final point is the filings themselves, the last one was made in November 2018 (EDIT - the original link must be a temporary one, go to here https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/09994678/filing-history and view the Micro Company Statement from Nov 2018) . Current assets (which is defined as “Cash or resources held for the purpose of converting into cash, these include stock, debtors and investments”) are £576k, which is likely the cash from the Kickstarter campaign minus fees from Kickstarter. But creditors (.”Amounts owed currently by the business that are payable in the short term i.e. at any time up to a year from the balance sheet date. “) in year are £629k, giving a negative balance of -£52k. Here's a screenshot Now I have to admit that companies house accounts can be very confusing (even after filing two of my companies accounts just a couple of months ago!) but if I’m reading that correctly, SpecNext paid out £629k to creditors, or owed £629k to creditors to be paid by Feb 2019 and are £52k in the red. Who those creditors are, we have no idea. It might be contracts for manufacturing that haven’t been fulfilled yet or it might be they’ve paid out all the money to themselves as salaries, we don’t know. But what we do know is that the accounts say they’re £52k in the red - and that was in November 2018. I guess we’ll find out when the accounts are published before November 30th what the current situation is, but again it seems strange to wait right until the last minute when the company likely doesn’t have much to account for this year (there’s no revenue for starters). I don’t know if this does say that SpecNext are in financial trouble, and my analysis might be completely wrong, but the account filing doesn’t make a lot of sense. £567k In, £629k Out when only a few boards were actually delivered in that financial period. Has anyone else commented on this? I’m surprised seeing as the amount of shit from the RCL Vega saga that nobody has been doing any financial checks on them.
  7. Yeah, it's still FPGA but another good reason for backing was that the code was going to be open source, meaning others could create their own campaigns using the same technology to make a C64, Amstrad, MSX or whatever 8-bit variant (the FPGA isn't good enough for 16-bit apparently). However they've refused to release the source code until the cased units are in the hands of the backers for fear of cheap clones from the Far East. Which to be honest, would probably have been a good thing for them to have some competition in getting it released. However with them talking about a second Kickstarter, I now doubt the source code will be released for it.
  8. I originally backed the Next because, at the time, it seemed like a great concept. Creating a Spectrum with HDMI video, SD storage support that was FPGA based meaning it could be upgraded to support new features or graphics modes like ULA Plus. I had long since given away my original Spectrum(s) and it would be nice to play the games on an old style machine but with features to make it easy. Kind of like the NES or SNES Mini or even the Analog NT, but with a keyboard! I also backed it because it was "ready to go", the boards had been designed and prototyped, the case and keyboard were also designed and just needed to be manufactured. There was almost a year from the preview of the Kickstarter campaign to the actual launch of it because they wanted the project to have minimum development time, they were literally just manufacturing the things. But fast forward 2 1/2 years and the purpose of the Next seems to have changed along the way quite considerably. The keyboard now has to be modern and feather light (like anyone's going to do any programming with it) with two years being spent on refining it to perfection, the "Next graphics mode" now looks nothing like a Spectrum (it doesn't even look like a Sam Coupe, instead it's like a basic version of an Atari ST or something). It now feels like the Next is being viewed as Rick Dickinson's final legacy, something to be put on a shelf and admired (ooh, look at the KEYS) instead of something to play games on. It's so far removed from the ethos of the original Spectrum (a cheap computer for the masses) it's unbelievable. Except I got so bloody bored waiting for it that I picked up a Spectrum +2B, got a DivMMC Future (to play games via an SD card) and a decent SCART cable that means it works with my television. I'm now not really sure what the Next is going to do over what I can do right now.
  9. I suppose it's not having what seems to be any commercial pressure to get the product released, instead it seems they're engineers spending endless hours perfecting it. But like you've said before, the Next actually being a spiritual successor to the Spectrum is long gone now. The irony is that Amstrad, with their total focus on how to make as much profit as possible from the Sinclair brand, managed to make the Spectrum more reliable and easier to mass manufacture with the +2, +2A and +2B and although those models are probably the best ones to go for now if you're buying an old Spectrum (because they're much more reliable), they seem to be derided because they're not true "Sinclair" models. And another irony is that the Sinclair Loki (aka the Super Spectrum), which was rumoured to be in development at Sinclair just before Amstrad bought them, looked nothing like the Spectrum 128k or Plus and instead looked more or less exactly like an... Amstrad CPC... (Rick Dickinson left Sinclair in 1986 after the 128k was released, maybe he would have designed the "Super Spectrum", but who knows). I'm also beginning to wonder the main purpose behind the Next now, is it to play old games, to play new games or to sit in a beautiful box on a shelf and never take it out? Because they amount of time, effort and likely money they're spending on perfecting it makes me think it's going to be a museum piece.
  10. New update https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1835143999/zx-spectrum-next/posts/2605897 Great to get some news, but again we're seeing another update that spends an incredible amount of text describing how they've found another problem with the keys (even though ihey admit they could barely see it) and they plan to spend time on making sure the packaging is absolutely perfect, yet is annoying still vague on when the Next is actually going to be with the backers. When you see images like this being posted highlighting a problem they've identified with the keys along with "To be honest, I can barely see the issue here, and when laser etched on top... But perfection! Thus fixed!" you can't help but think the manufacturers must think this is an absolute nightmare of a client.
  11. Both Superman Returns and Man of Steel were really disappointing. Superman Returns because it was going to be a true sequel to Superman II and from the trailer looked like it was going to pay a lot of respect to the original two, but it ended up a total mess with something to do with a Superboy, or something. Totally forgettable. Man of Steel because the trailer made it look great and yet it turned out to be a film where Krypton was really middle earth and the last 30 minutes or so was two people just beating the shit out of each other while smashing buildings in the process. I went to see it with a mate who absolutely LOVED the original films (and even likes Superman IV) and yet he was totally downbeat after seeing Man of Steel. I don’t think I watched another super hero film in the cinema for another 12 months after that. What about a film starring a Steve Martin who’d had an amazing run of comedies like The Jerk, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, The Man With Two Brains, All Of Me and Chevy Chase who’d been in Caddyshack, Fletch, Spies Like Us and directed by John Landis who’d previously directed Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Trading Places and Spies Like Us. That’s gotta be one of the greatest comedies ever! Yet the Three Amigos was just total meh. I remember really looking forward to that and being really let down by it.
  12. Haha, yeah! Although not great when your dad promises a new monitor for your Amiga and it turns out to be a green screen!
  13. I think one of the issues has to be that Robert De Niro looks significantly older/different than his younger self, not just in his looks but in his build, whereas Samuel L Jackson hasn't actually aged that much (even his build is very similar to when he was younger), he certainly doesn't look 70! If you think of a young Robert De Niro, you're going to think of something like this: or maybe this... DeNiro looks really different to that now, I think we've all got an image of what DeNiro should look like if he's de-aged and even with the greatest technology it's not going to happen (unless they got a different actor and then had a similar approach to Rogue One). Here's an image of the de-aged DeNiro, which is pretty good but again, it's not what we'd likely expect to see of a "young" DeNiro. Still, it's good to see that it's not all CGI and they're using some practical FX. Like comedy shoes to make him taller.... I just hope the whole "de-aged" thing doesn't become the big focus, hopefully the acting is great - it's been a while since DeNiro or Pacino have pushed themselves, hopefully it's more Heat and less Righteous Kill.
  14. I’m sure I had one of those monitors. Great if you like everything a shade of green!
  15. The retron 2 HD looks pretty good, think it was just released in the States and is getting good reviews (it also does both SNES and NES games).
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