[Coco] CoCo4! 50% done!

Matthew Stock stock at bexkat.com
Wed Feb 5 17:29:29 EST 2014

Bill (and others),

As someone who has put some effort into developing new hardware options, I
think you're correct in your assessment.  For a new product to be viable,
it would either need to hit multiple platforms (like the "generic" FPGA
base that's been discussed), or be essentially designed for free and sold
at manufacturing cost.  Most of the cost-effective opportunities around
peripherals are covered, and while some might not use current technology
(CF vs microSD, for example), the install base is mostly saturated - few
want to upgrade for $50 or $100 if it doesn't gain them very much.

I do like the idea of a modular hardware platform, but for now I'm just
going to keep working on the projects I find interesting and posting my
schematics, code, etc for the community to potentially use.  :-)  I've got
the hardware/firmware developed to make a multi-ROM cartridge, an ethernet
interface, "most" of an FDC, and possibly a logical MPI.  I'm kicking
around using the ethernet interface as a gateway to drivewire.  If anyone
wants to collaborate on the NOS-9 driver for that to work, let me know.

On Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 3:48 PM, Bill Loguidice <bill at armchairarcade.com>wrote:

> I think the notion that a severely financially troubled RadioShack caring
> one iota about a recreation of one of their old computers, let alone
> carrying it in their stores, is beyond a longshot. Let's face it,
> criminally few people remember - let alone care - about the platform, so
> there would be no incentive to mass produce the thing. I think
> realistically this needs to be thought of as a community-based project of a
> few hundred units max.
> On the other hand, in regards to the mention in another post about that one
> Kickstarter failing, I wouldn't necessarily use that as the sign that
> other, somewhat similar projects will automatically fail. The key with
> Kickstarter is to have broad appeal, and there have been plenty of low cost
> computers - many based around the Raspberry Pi - that easily met their
> goals (and then some). The problem with that one failed Kickstarter (from
> my perspective) is that it was meant more or less to go into a CoCo 3 case
> as a replacement. That's way too granular, and again, that's based on the
> assumption that a critical mass of people even know what a CoCo is. Heck,
> the CoCo is one of the few classic platforms without an Android emulator
> for goodness sake. It's hard to think much beyond our community when the
> basics aren't even covered (and again, I'm in no way disregarding the
> immense effort this stuff takes - naturally if it was easy it would already
> be done), i.e., it's difficult to help expand word/knowledge beyond the
> converted because a lot of things that help grow other communities aren't
> necessarily present here (again, with full appreciation for all that has
> already been achieved).
> Maybe that's just a long-winded way of saying we either need to focus on
> the reality of the size of the committed community as it stands today or
> look for ways to help expand knowledge/interest in/of the platform beyond
> our group to open up additional options.
> ===================================================
> Bill Loguidice, Managing Director; Armchair Arcade,
> Inc.<http://www.armchairarcade.com>
> ===================================================
> Authored Books<
> http://www.amazon.com/Bill-Loguidice/e/B001U7W3YS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_1>and
> Film <http://www.armchairarcade.com/film>; About me and other ways to get
> in touch <http://about.me/billloguidice>
> ===================================================
> On Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 3:15 PM, Frank Swygert <farna at amc-mag.com> wrote:
> > What would be really cool is if someone developed a "CoCo4" FPGA
> production
> > prototype that could be presented to Radio Shack with the outcome that
> they
> > market and manufacture it as a product.
> >
> > Imagine walking in to Radio Shack to buy a CoCo again! Surreal!
> > ===================================
> >
> > I could see something like that happening. If RS did something like this
> > it would probably be more like the MCC -- a little box with USB and
> > joystick ports and monitor, you buy the keyboard and monitor. It would
> also
> > need an accessible buss of some sort. Just a DB 25 connector that can be
> > programmed, a connector to a GPIO. I only mention DB25 because that would
> > be 25 pins and it's easy to get, not a custom header. Could emulate the
> old
> > CoCo cartridge port. You couldn't plug in a disk drive controller or
> > anything like that, not without an adapter, but it wouldn't be hard to
> make
> > an adapter. But the main use would be for experimenters -- they could
> > program the little computer as a controller for something like Gene's
> mini
> > CNC machine (apologies if that's not Gene Heskett's project...). THEN it
> > would be a viable hobbyist product that RS might be interested in
> > selling/supporting. It would be a ready to go controller for short
> > run/experimenter projects. There were a few products t
> > hat used CoCo main boards in them as the controller back in the mid 80s.
> I
> > know some excercise equipment used a CC3 board.
> >
> > For all practical purposes the under $200 DE1 board is about as
> affordable
> > as a small group could produce. I don't think a single purpose board
> could
> > be made cheaper, unless at least 50 people want to pony up the money
> ahead
> > of time. Even then I don't think one could be made for under $150. Easy
> > instructions to get the core on a DE1 can be found at the user group
> site.
> > Maybe we just need to get the word out better. As far as the DE1, you
> might
> > be able to get a group buy discount if you can get enough people to
> pre-pay
> > for one. There isn't much of a discount for orders of 10, probably just
> > enough to cover the extra shipping (in the US, not to you Nick!). Someone
> > would have to be the focal point and receive the order then ship out to
> the
> > other buyers though.
> >
> > --
> > Frank Swygert
> > Editor - American Motors Cars Magazine
> > www.amc-mag.com
> >
> --
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