The ugly tower next to me, with its several cooling fans and monopolistic application platform (windows), represents what is wrong with my life... it is ugly, expensive (comapred to my income level), unsatisfying, and yet, the alternatatives don't really exist.
Linux PC vs Windows PC vs Apple OS X PC.
Yeah, lot of choice that is!
The problem is that PCs are minicomputers, not microcomputers. They're not arcade gaming machines adapted for home use, either (which is what the C64 was). They don't make sense for realtime interactivity, which is what games are... and what GEOS approached (well, you might have needed additional RAM on the C64 to get that "snappiness").
The problem that the C64 and other microcomputers had was that they were all rivals, but the PC was a concept of a customer-driven family of computers. You bought a low-end PC today, a high-end PC tomorrow, and an IBM mainframe for the office. The idea was never that you just buy one and then be happy.
The C64 was virtually unchanged over the years. Even with the complaints about power supplies, and the development of better IO routines (like JiffyDOS) and memory expansion, Commodore packaged GEOS with their systems but never thought to change the system itself to better support newer technologies. Perhaps they had fired their engineers, or had them busy working on the Amiga, or didn't understand that they needed to ease people slowly up a product line rather than competing with themselves.
Moreover, reprinting software (esp. games) on cartidge, esp. as ROM and PROM prices fell, esp. since Commodore owned a chip fab (MOS technologies), would have helped because the effective cost of software is the one-time development overhead... liscence software and pay only royalties, with the developer absorbing that overhead, and you can't lose, really... unless you make too much software units, but simple market analysis can show you where to put the supply levels.
No, but, Commodore didn't want to rule to world. Their management was busy in-fighting and stuff. They never new what greatness they had (accidentally) unleased upon the world.
... In my own life, I've been following the "groove" cut out for me.... I hated school since I was 6 or so... I got my C64 when I was 8, and with the BASIC and stuff it included, I learnt some stuff liek Trig... with the C64 Programmers' Reference Guide, and issues of Computer Gazette (which was still in print back then, so you can tell, I'm rather old).
The magazine articles were more instructive than the manuals, but then again, the manuals never claimed to be instructive.
I was astonished when I met other people with computers and they only used them to play games.
However, that explaisn why gaming is such a big market now... even the Nintendo Famicom and Sega Genesis (MegaDrive) were actual home computers, with keyobards and stuff, in Japan. Sega's machine wa MSX compatible, based on the Master System, which was totally MSX compliant... MSX was bascially "PC" but based on the Ziglo Z80 rather than the intel 8086. Well, in the US, the MSX never caught on because Ziglo is Italian and Intel is American... so, protect the American company, eh?
But, MSX and PC were influences heavily by Microsoft. MSX is Microsoft, Sony, and ... this other japaneese company, I don't remember the name. Actually, the S might not have been sony, either... but anyhow, the PC was IBM's idea but Microsoft was getting into every platform as a supplier of low level software.
Writing low-level software is rather boring, but being a monopoly is rather advantageous... so now, even free solid stuff like Linux can't compete because drivers are needed, and hardware manufacturers are paranoid and moreover, drivers aren't as simple as just adapating intentions of the application... when you look at printing and video display, the application level support for advanced features is tedious to implment... non-one would really do it for a hobby, because they're so many RPGs to make and other games to play.
Of course, the Linux devleopers don't think that they have a problem. They think that the industry is at fault for being close-fisted with information about their hardware. However, that's not the main problem. A developer can get info in most cases, if they're signing NDA and writing proprietary drivers... but if the application support is not there, then it doesn't matter much if you can access the latest OpenGL stuff or whatever.
The confusion between free as in "I spend no money" and free as in "I can do what I want" means that Linux has a lot of the former but not much of the latter. For example, on my Ubuntu box, I can't run the GUI in anything above 800x600, despite the fact that the onboard graphics chip support much higher resolutions beyond 1024x768. The simplist thing to do would be to run a virtual desktop and pan, which is necessary because some dialogues are bigger than the screen and un-resizable (Windows apps often have the same problem), but although I could do that under Debian 1.3, now with Ubuntu 8.10, I've gotten tired of editing text files and just don't care to much about with it anymore.
My time isn't free... it is costly... and rather than invest it in wrestling with Linux, I chose to invest in in solving the core problem of my life: I'm not rich, despite having the will, desire, and raw capability of creating wealth.
Creating wealth is an alien concept to my upbringing.
It's not that people don't do it... but the focus is on hard work, and not the results and rewards which come from effort.
Me, I'm more pragmatic and at times it appears that I'm lazy or disinterested... but yes, I'm disinterested in intrinnsic sacrifice, esp. when they are better, doable ways.
I thought that I would be able to leverage my knowledge of programming and microelectronics to create wealth, but it is not as simple as that... my body became weak thought working too hard, and my mind became dark thought not getting any real rewards for this work.
I've worked at an offshore company, at various local companies, part time, full time, for friends, for strangers.... and I know that I can build better, or at least, comparable systems.
But knowing it and crossing the gap from employee/consumer to director/producer is another thing.
So I signed up for a degree in Management and Computer Science, a while back... and I discovered that they were just teaching from the book... most didn't even have experience, outside of the academic setting, of what they were talking.
So I lost motivation, but I kept going, because I didn't have those books, yet, not the finances... and so slowly, I bought them...
But I didn't have a way to study without being on campus. Actually, even on campus, it was hard. My body was weak (but I hid that) and I needed a cool quiet place to work. Home was hot (and still is) and noise (actually, it's noisier now).
So I tired to succeed. I chose only two subjects. I forced myself to sleep more. I tried to study at home, but just fell asleep from the heat... and began to get insane with frustration, so I gave up.
The degree is worthless to me, anyhow.... I was hoping to get it anyways, esp. if I want to immigrate, but, if I can prove my talent in the business world, then I can immigrate anyhow... it's not like doors close to rich and talented people.
I still need a starting point, and right now, I have nothing going for me in terms of environment... I can barely focus enough to write this rant, much less think in terms of abstract concepts....
But, Commodore started in calculators... maybe I can start small as well... perhaps with web-based games.
Well, I need to resolve a direction but there's no-one I can really talk to... and it is difficult for me to cheer myself up because I feel like I'm going against my own fate, changing from what is "supposed to happen" according to the physical environment, to what I want to happen according to some spark of passion that might as well be a delusion of grandeur.
However, I believe in myself, despite everything.... I was just sleepwalking before... I need, first of all, to move out of the path of fate and into real life.