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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Commodore 64 vs VIC-20

Commodore 64 vs VIC-20

How do you compare the Commodore 64 vs VIC-20?

The Commodore 64 and its predecessor, the VIC-20, look a lot alike, and the VIC-20’s design certainly influenced the 64. The 64 is the best selling computer model of all time, and I argue the VIC-20 was the first really successful home computer. The success of the two machines allowed Commodore to surpass Radio Shack as the sales leader in the computer industry. Yes, both Commodore and Radio Shack outsold Apple.

But even though the two machines are closely related, there are significant differences between them. It’s important to remember that in the 1980s, two years was a comparatively long time because the market was moving so fast. Plus, the VIC-20 was always supposed to be an entry-level machine. In 1982, the 64 was supposed to be fairly high-end. Let’s compare and contrast the two venerable machines.

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The best e-book site I’ve found

The best ebooks site I’ve found, by far, is the archive at the University of Adelaide in Australia. The selection is outstanding, but the presentation is even better.

Steve Thomas, the curator, takes tremendous care to ensure Adelaide’s e-books display their best on any device. Most e-books, even commercial books, pay little to no attention to formatting, and the result all too often is books that are difficult to read.

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What it was like owning a Commodore in the 1980s

Since questions occasionally come up, and I remember well what it was like owning a Commodore in the 1980s in the United States, I’ll share my recollections of it.

It was very different from computing today. It was still interesting, but it was different. Technology moved fast in the 1980s, so if you blinked, you missed stuff.

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Calibre turns 1.0

Calibre, the free e-book management software, hit the magic version 1.0 this past week. That’s not to say the previous versions were unstable, because they weren’t. In the world of open-source software, frequently software doesn’t hit version 1.o until the authors decide that it’s reached a certain level of feature completeness.

In that sense, Calibre’s time has come.

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Barnes & Noble’s fate is just more evidence that being better isn’t enough on its own

There’s news today that B&N’s founder is looking to buy the store’s retail and web business, but not the Nook business, and the Nook business could be spun off or even discontinued, but whatever happens, it’s likely to be de-emphasized.

My family owns two Nook Simple Touch e-readers, and we like them, but they have one very big problem.

I got a $25 Nook gift card for my birthday. I’ve seen a couple of books I wanted in the past 3 months, but nothing available as a Nook book. As I recall, all of those books have been available for Kindle.

The Nook is the better device, and I’m not sure it’s even close. But better hardware and better technology isn’t enough. You have to have something to buy. Especially when the consumption device is break-even or near-break-even. I remember, some 20 years ago, having a conversation with a friend. My Amiga was a much better computer than his unremarkable Dell PC, but he retorted, “None of that matters if you, you know, like having software!”

A year later, Commodore was out of business. Twenty years later, Dell is struggling, but by Commodore standards, Dell’s bad years would have been pretty good.

I’m impressed with the Nook tablet range too, but there again, being locked in to what Barnes & Noble has to sell makes me hesitant to buy one. Will everything I want to run on a tablet be available for it? If I’ve learned one thing over the last 20 years, it’s that when in doubt, you’ll be better off going with an open system over a closed one.

So, with no books to buy, one of our Nooks spends the bulk of its time displaying library books; I loaded the other one up with public domain e-books and other stuff I converted into epub format to keep handy. We’re happy, but neither of these uses makes B&N any money.

How abandonware gets abandoned

From time to time on classic computing and/or videogaming forums, the question of how to track down the current copyright holder to a particular given title comes up. Sometimes someone knows the answer. Frequently they don’t.

This week, when George Lucas announced he’d sold Lucasfilm to Disney, illustrated precisely how this kind of thing happens.

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The Byte digital archive

Here’s a treasure trove for retro computing enthusiasts. Archive.org created the Byte digital archive. It’s exactly what it sounds like: A collection of digitized issues of Byte magazine available online, free.

Numerous archives of vintage computer magazines exist, many of which are of questionable legality so I’ll refrain from saying anything specific about that.

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If you need a deal on a Nook Simple Touch, they’re on sale

Sears has the Nook Simple Touch on sale for $70. That’s about a 30% discount. (Thanks Dealnews!)

I guess I’ve had mine for about six weeks, and I like it. It’s the #2 e-reader, and I’ve run into problems in the past buying the #2 just on the basis of technical superiority (Amiga, anyone?), but if being able to load books on an SD card and the availability of free public domain e-books isn’t enough, you can root the device, load the Kindle Android app, and turn it into a Kindle.

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