Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 1st Aug 2012 22:45 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
Hardware, Embedded Systems "It is 30 years since the Commodore 64 went on sale to the public. The machine was hugely successful for its time, helping to encourage personal computing, popularise video games and pioneer homemade computer-created music. [...] BBC News invited Commodore enthusiast Mat Allen to show schoolchildren his carefully preserved computer, at a primary school and secondary school in London."
Thread beginning with comment 529320
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Thu 2nd Aug 2012 13:30 UTC in reply to "Comment by MOS6510"
zima
Member since:
2005-07-06

Of course you could add stuff or upgrade components, but that would have added to the cost.
[...]
* Fix the bug preventing fast disk access! Disk access was very slow compared to other systems. Fastloaders proved disk access could have been much faster. [...]
* Tape access was slow too. [...] It's nice to know something is wrong with your saved program, but there wasn't a way to perform recovery. How could you load the 2nd version? I don't know.
* There was no reset button.

Well, those issues were largely rectified with cartridges later on - which at least in some places were essentially included in the package, you getting a cart without requesting it, or even without really knowing then what it was. And the whole package still remained definitely the least expensive computer available at retail.
(the few ~regions sort of standardising on particular series, it seems; here it was http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blackbox3.jpg - largely about tape fast loader)

It's nice to know something is wrong with your saved program, but there wasn't a way to perform recovery. How could you load the 2nd version? I don't know.

Hm, the few "non-mixtape" (and no fast loader - so using the default routines) official releases of games that I had, essentially filled their tape with multiple copies of the game... which did come handy once, when the first track of one game got corrupted.
(w8, I still have them somewhere - too bad my C64 is most likely kaput)

* The C64 would have been much easier to type on (and look at) had they used the C64-C model from the start.

Hey, it's not like they could choose to use that shape from the start (versus just giving a bit more time to correct faults, such as with floppy controller chip), it came half a decade later for Commodore designs - but OTOH maybe the "soap dish" (that's what it was called at my place) shape gave it distinctive visual identity, in the period critical for adoption? ;p

* When a C64 was turned on LETTERS WERE CAPS. A bit ugly.

Hm, that never bothered me. Just how it was, the standard way - not like typography was particularly crucial (not many people had printers - plus they would likely type & print in some software, I think). OTOH, capital letters probably greatly helped the legibility on the standard-issue small CRT TVs, so it's good they were the default. Oh, and not used that much beyond loading software.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510
by MOS6510 on Thu 2nd Aug 2012 15:03 in reply to "RE: Comment by MOS6510"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Cartridges, in large part, fixed my suggestions to make the C64 better. I.e. they provided what the C64 lacked and the users missed.

If the C64 already had these things it made room for other stuff in the cart or the user may not need a cart at all. You could only insert one. If I inserted my Simon's BASIC cart I didn't have the fast loader and the reset button, if I inserted my Final Cartridge III I couldn't run my Simon's BASIC programs.

The shape could have been better if they did some testing, but instead they used the VIC-20 design (the breadbox). Commodore made typewriters and the PET computers before the VIC-20/C64, so they should have had some experience with professional typists and keyboards. The C128 keyboard was great.

The CAPS never bothered me either, but looking back now it did seem a bit weird.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by MOS6510
by zima on Thu 2nd Aug 2012 15:28 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by MOS6510"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

How long was it, at C64 introduction, since Commodore made an exit from typewriter business? (edit: over two decades http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_International#Founding_and_e... - and CBM didn't really ever design them, it seems: only repaired and license-produced) Maybe a case of organisation as a whole forgetting things.
Oh, and the first version of PET had a horrible keyboard, much worse than Volkscomputer/C64 (and when PET improved on it, I guess it still wasn't really better? ...seems similarly fat)

If one was forced to swap between 2+ cartridges, that could made a difference - but then, it didn't bother vast majority of users, I guess. Their one cart was just sitting there.

PS. Look what I found in PET article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tentoonstelling_mens_en_computer_... (does the narrator say anything curious / funny / quaint beyond what EN-sounding words and the description suggests? And w8, such TV transmissions were still b&w in 1979?...)

Edited 2012-08-02 15:36 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2