Fresh Off The Block


Dec
02
2014

The ZX Spectrum is returning – as a retro gaming device

Back in the 1980, when computers were expensive, far more basic and far less capable, a number of computers that tried to keep everything simple gained cult followings. The landmark of these was the ZX Spectrum, a simple plug-in-to-your-TV affair which was inexpensive (for its time), but had a wide variety of uses and many additional options such as modems and printers. It also was easy to develop for thanks to its simple BASIC programming language, which caused it to turn a number of children, teenagers and adults working in their bedrooms overnight into game and software developers; and the ZX quickly gained a following in Britain as an early game console with classic home-grown hits such as Elite, R-Type and Manic Miner.

A 3D model of the ZX Vega Controller, which may not be the final design. Image courtesy IndieGoGo.

A 3D model of the ZX Vega Controller, which may not be the final design. Image courtesy IndieGoGo.

Flash forward to today, and now – thanks to efforts by Retro Computers – the Spectrum is being reintroduced to a modern audience. The Sinclair Spectrum Vega is an all-in-one controller and console that's styled after the original, but uses modern advancements to reduce the cost and streamline the design. While designed to look similar to the most well-known and iconic of the original Spectrum designs, with that classic rainbow motif in the corner, the Vega's design is focused solely on playing those classic Spectrum games of old, to the extent that the full QWERTY keypad of old has been simplified to just the five most commonly-used buttons – R, F, S, 1 and 2 – plus a brand new D-Pad for directional control and a dedicated "Reset" function.

Retro Computers – a startup backed by Sinclair Research, the company founded by ZX Spectrum inventor Sir Clive Sinclair – are pitching the new computer on IndieGoGo after successfully completing a prototype model of the device. The company are aiming for an initial production run of just 1,000 of the new devices, and are asking for £100,000 ($157,115 USD) to begin work; with pledges of £100 ($157 USD) or more bagging one of the first models. Retro Computers says it'll come with 1,000 games pre-installed and support additional Spectrum titles loaded from an SD card, plus further free games are planned to be added down the line.

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    Previous Articles


    Nov
    11
    2013

    Angry Birds is an addiction? [Infographic]

    It's no secret that Angry Birds is a popular series of mobile games – having originally made its home on the iPhone and respinning the original idea into several different titles all based on the same concept, at least one Angry Birds title or compendium has appeared on almost every mobile platform under the sun (including Android, Blackberry and Nokia phones both pre- and post-Windows Phone, just to name a few); as well as on Smart TVs and even handheld game consoles like the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita. In fact, the games have been downloaded a total of 300 million times to date. But is it TOO addictive? Take a look at the following infographic by aytm.com and draw your own conclusion (click to enlarge):

    All I can say is… wow.

    Aug
    06
    2011

    15-year-old Brit girl is “world’s best Excel user”

    A British teenage girl is the world’s best Excel spreadsheet user, and has been crowned ‘Microsoft Excel world champion’.

    Rebecca Rickwood, 15, from Cambridgeshire, won the competition by being the best user of Excel 2007 among some 228,000 international entries, according to The Telegraph. If the fact that there are World Championships for Office software is news to you, you’re not alone – no-one who works on or with Technically Motivated knew about them either until this story landed on our doorstep. Read the rest of this entry »

    Jan
    09
    2011

    US wants Twitter data of “Wikileaks activists”

    Ever since Wikileaks caused drama by leaking United States diplomatic cables – something I’m sure most people have heard about by now, and if not just look it up on the net – the US government has started an investigation to try to bring Wikileaks “to justice”. I put “to justice” in quotes not because I am taking the side of Wikileaks (I am neither pro or anti Wikileaks), but rather because not everyone agrees on this matter.

    Anyway, apparently as part of this investigation, the US Attorney’s office has convinced a District Court judge data held by Twitter is “relevant and material to [the] ongoing criminal investigation”; as a result, Twitter was earlier in the year served a subpoena, and now is forced to give over data related to various Twitter accounts believed to be related to either Julian Assange (the founder of Wikileaks) or Wikileaks itself – including Julian Assange’s own Twitter, plus those of Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic MP; and Bradley E. Manning, a militant supposedly responsible for the leaking of some of the cables; among others.

    The reason we are aware of this subpoena is because Twitter was recently able to overturn a gagging order originally served with it. A gagging order prevents a person from revealing information under penalty of law. After getting the gag, Twitter fought back and successfully got the gagging order lifted; so Twitter is now legally allowed to let the public – and the respective account holders – know about the US Attorney’s Office’s demand to hand over data.

    According to the BBC, the data demanded from Twitter by the US Attorney’s office includes “mailing addresses and billing information, connection records and session times, IP addresses used to access Twitter, email accounts, as well as the ‘means and source of payment'”.

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Feel free to discuss in the comments below (consider this an open politics discussion thread), but keep it civil.

    [Many thanks to BBC News for breaking this news!]

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    Sep
    18
    2010

    Avast! Antivirus gets into the spirit of Talk Like a Pirate Day with opt-in “Pirate English” language pack

    Security vendor Avast! takes a cue from its own name and a slightly aged Internet meme to bring you a pirate-themed approach to home computer protection.

    Since last night, Avast has been preparing to celebrate the international “Talk Like a Pirate Day” that comes every year on September 19. Users using Avast! will at some point receive a prompt from the program telling them about Talk Like a Pirate Day and give them the option to install a special “Pirate English” language pack. This tongue-in-cheek new feature rebrands four of the main screens in Avast!’s user interface to use Pirate Speak for people who opt in to the feature through September 22.

    The changes are actually quite minimal, but somewhat humorous. A skull-and-crossbones is added to the avast! logo, and the “Secured” text to confirm that the program is working correctly changes to say “Ship-Shape”, also stating, “Yer ship be secure.” Menu options are also renamed to a more pirate-y theme, with the Scan options being renamed “Scour the Ship”, the Virus Chest becomes the “Dead-man’s chest”, and so on. If you like a little bit of pirate humour, then you’ll like this new feature.

    Digiprove sealThis informative article has been Digiproved © 2010
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