Coleco Gemini: An Atari 2600 clone from 1983

Coleco Gemini: An Atari 2600 clone from 1983

I spotted it on page 597 of the 1983 Sears catalog. “Two big names play the same games,” the headline boasted. Next to the venerable Atari 2600, Sears presented the Coleco Gemini video game system, an Atari 2600 clone.

In 1982, Coleco built an add-on to make its Coleco Vision game system Atari 2600-compatible. Atari sued. And then Coleco poked the bear by making an outright clone. Sears had sold Atari 2600 clones before, but they were actually a private-label version of the real Atari 2600. The Gemini was more of a true Atari 2600 clone.

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Commodore 64 models

Commodore 64 models

Over the course of its 12 years on the market, Commodore released a number of Commodore 64 models. The computer’s capability changed very little over time, but the technology did. The world changed a lot between 1982 and 1994, and that gave Commodore some opportunities to lower costs, chase other market segments, or both.

Here’s an overview of the various Commodore 64 models that hit the market over the machine’s long life.

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Why Jack Tramiel left Commodore

Why Jack Tramiel left Commodore

Retro computing fans, especially Commodore and Atari enthusiasts, all know the story. Jack Tramiel left Commodore, the company he founded, in early 1984 at the height of its success. Then, within a few months, he gained control of Commodore rival Atari.

But why?

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Initial upgrade reports on the HP Stream and Pavilion Mini

Earlier this year at CES, HP introduced its HP Stream Mini ($180) and Pavilion Mini ($320 and $450) mini-desktops. They’re small, inexpensive, and in the case of the Stream, silent. They turn out to be surprisingly upgradeable as well. Ars Technica has details and benchmarks, but of course I have my own priorities based on their discoveries.

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SSDs might be getting less interesting, but that’s not necessarily bad

Ars Technica has a story about SSD news coming out of CES.

Basically, they’re predicting that the big news this year will be consolidation and lower prices. That may be bad news for someone who writes about SSDs for a living (I don’t), but good news for consumers. Read more

Coming soon to Monoprice: WQHD monitors

Monoprice dropped a bomb at CES this week: a 27″ IPS LED monitor with WQHD 2560×1440 resolution for $390.

From what I understand, there are several Korean manufacturers who make monitors from surplus or rejected panels intended for Apple displays, then sell them for under $400.

This looks like Monoprice signed on to distribute them in the United States, which seems less risky than buying them from a small importer or exporter off Amazon or Ebay. These monitors are popular with enthusiasts, but I imagine with Monoprice distributing them, the following will only increase. Monoprice is a bit of a secret too, but I heard of Monoprice long before I heard of Korean-made WQHD monitors.

Monoprice estimates they’ll be shipping them by March.

If you want a lot of screen real estate in the form of pixels, WQHD is useful. If you just want a sharp display, though, calculate pixels per inch first.

The future of 3D printing is now. The next industrial revolution comes in a box and costs $1299

CES is this week, and undoubtedly there will be a lot of different things showing, but I can’t imagine anything being more important than this: The first ready-to-use home 3D printer.  3D home printing is going to change the world, and this device is the first commercially available printer that you don’t have to assemble from a kit.

This is an industrial revolution in a box.
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Happy 30th birthday, Commodore 64

The C-64 sort of turns 30 this week. It was introduced 30 years ago this week, though it wasn’t until August or so that you could actually buy one. It took that long for memory prices to come down to reach the target price, and if memory serves, the machine they displayed at CES in January wasn’t quite production-ready anyway.

I remember the machine well. It was my first computer. It seems like just yesterday the thing turned 25. And not all that long ago that I still used one on a regular basis.

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What the 2011 CES may mean

This week was CES, where companies make a big splash and try to show what’s going to happen in the consumer electronics space in the coming year.

In the coverage of CES, I saw three things that seem interesting, but only one of those three was a surprise.
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