ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

For experts to discuss very technical stuff and newbies to ask why the Spectrum they bought off ebay doesn't work.
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Bizzley
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ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by Bizzley » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:53 pm

I started this Thread because of a meme I posted recently about the ZX Spectrum Next computer and the comments that followed. I don't think it's fair to people who only want a laugh and don't care too much about the Next to fill up that Thread hence this one.

If anyone has anything good or bad to say about the current state of this project then please feel fee to post here. The same goes for anyone who chose the 'Just the Board' option and are currently using it to code or play games on, what do you think of it? You don't necessarily have to be a backer of this project as all comments are welcome. If you want to know a bit more about this project then check out the Kickstarter page for it at...



...and read some of the latest updates and comments to understand where this project is going.

I and many others backed the Next back in early 2017 via Kickstarter (backer No. 3034) choosing the standard boxed version which was extimated for delivery in January 2018. Currently there is no ETA for the delivery of the finished Next other than a comment to "get it out as soon as we can."

A follow-up to the meme I posted where I list some of the current reasons for the unease I - and some others - are starting to have for this project can be read here...

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=739&start=200#p16018
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Ralf
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by Ralf » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:29 pm

I'm not a backer but if anybody is allowed to share their personal opinion, I will.

For me all these crowdfunding projects are well... toxic. It applies both to Vega and Next.

It goes this way:

- some guys announce a new project with big plans about it

- everyone gets crazily excited, it's going to be the best thing since sliced bread

- a lot of hype happens, people are suggesting more and more features they would like to see

- creators use money to go to some trip to Thailand or Las Vegas to "discuss their project" there ;)

- first problems emerge

- creators realize that it's more complicated than they thought. You have to order parts, have accounting,
deal with Chinese factories and do a lot of other business stuff

- criticism from other retro hardware designers emerges. They start to claim you should use their ideas
or you stole their ideas or they have bigger dick than yours etc.

- delays appear

- backers start to moan about the delays

- more delays appear

- hype goes off

- backers moan even more, some turn into pure hatred

- everything and everyone becomes bitter
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beanz
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by beanz » Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:52 pm

Had my "just the board" for about a year now, housed it in a classic 48k case. Very happy with it, tis a wonderful thing. Also ordered the cased version which is very near to completion, I expect they will start to ship end of Jan or so I'm guessing based on progress so far.

Sure the final product is a bit late, the board was only slightly late (and after all that is THE computer...the case and box is just fluff). When the final boxed item arrives I plan on upgrading it (filling the memory slots and adding a internal speaker..the rest is already populated as I got the accelerated model) then storing it as a "collectable" while I continue to use my "just the board" as the workhorse.

I knew the ship date wasn't going to happen and was VERY optimistic...the wait isn't that big a deal when you have the board anyway.

I expect a few will go on ebay for silly money...I thought about buying 2 just to sell one...regret I didn't now it would have paid for mine and the board.
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Bizzley
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by Bizzley » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:42 pm

beanz wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:52 pm
I expect they will start to ship end of Jan or so I'm guessing based on progress so far.
I genuinely wish I had your optimism and all I ask is that the backers be told what is going on. If they want to say the thing won't ship until July 2018 then OK, I may not like it but I'll accept it and bide my time. Even a generic "sorry, you won't get it for Xmas" would do me.

I wouldn't take reported progress as a reliable indicator though, otherwise they'd have shipped four months ago as stated in the July update.....The testing membranes are now in production and will be ready on July 17th for final approval, the last hurdle between the project and the backers. Fingers crossed this is it, folks!

Apparently we didn't cross our fingers hard enough.
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namco
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by namco » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:38 pm

...achingly familiar for those who followed the Vega+ saga...
Sure. I've lost count of the amount of times that the Next Team:
- produced stock footage videos of production units being "made"
- repeatedly failed to deliver because of "teh trolls"

Oh wait.

At least with the Next Team you could physically talk to them at events that they've always shown up at, with a working board. They have also released a dev board that, as far as I am aware, has nowhere near the problems that the "final" version of the Vega+ had.
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Bizzley
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by Bizzley » Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:45 pm

If you want to point out a certain subset of problems that the Vega+ had that the Spectrum Next hasn't then I can't stop you. I agree with you, the two points about stock footage and trolls fortunately have not afflicted the Spectrum Next but I think you have to agree that there are other similarities...

Failure to reply to questions about delivery dates or name a current delivery date.
Failure to update backers regularly (it was supposed to be every 2 weeks)
Changing of hardware from original specification.
A case design that keeps on changing including the design of the buttons\keys.
Spurious reasons for delays - e.g. the wrong colour cardboard.

I could go on but I don't want to seem confrontational. Certain aspects of the Vega+ campaign can be seen emerging in the Spectrum Next one - just as they do in a lot of crowd-funded projects, these problems are not unique. That's why I said it was familiar not because of the failure to actually supply quality working devices at the end but because both the Vega+ and the Spectrum Next seem to be following a script that Ralf so succinctly described in his post above.
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richl
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by richl » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:43 pm

I have to say that I disagree about any similarities between the Vega+ campaign and the Spectrum Next.

I never wanted a Vega+ and I'm certainly glad I didn't back it. The whole project should have stopped as soon as the only two people who knew what they were doing left. The so-called "updates" were a complete joke and anyone with more than half a brain cell could see where it was going. Trump-like tactics were used to discredit any naysayers and this seemed to be the only area the "team" spent any time focusing its efforts on. Its association with certain individuals has left a permanent stink that will never go away and it certainly helped fracture the "scene" into loads of smaller groups. Spectrum Computing is a great successor to the once great WOS but a lot of people now mostly lurk somewhere in Mr Zuckerberg's walled garden and it's a completely crap alternative to a decent searchable forum such as this one.

But back to the main topic. Yes, the promised updates for the Spectrum Next have often been late but comparing what's in them against the laughable Vega+ ones is like comparing a primary school kid's story about how magic time travelling pixies stole his favourite toy with a PhD student's thesis on worm holes. I don't know if you've read any of the updates put out by the Next team but the attention to detail is light years beyond anything you got with the Vega+ campaign.

As a backer (yup, I paid for a boxed version) I'm disappointed that it's been delayed but am I worried? Nah. Not at all. If they really had been ignoring people for months at a time and then only posting complete gibberish to fob people off then I'd be getting concerned but that just isn't the case here.
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namco
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by namco » Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:57 pm

Bizzley wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:45 pm
Failure to reply to questions about delivery dates or name a current delivery date.
Is this asking questions about when it's out? Maybe they're not quite sure and don't want to keep promising dates and never delivering. They have had some setbacks.
Bizzley wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:45 pm
Failure to update backers regularly (it was supposed to be every 2 weeks)
They are still updating regularly - on average I'd say about 1-2 a month. I expect in hindsight they thought things may have gone quicker and you'd have gotten more regular updates but unfortunately things took longer than expected.
Bizzley wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:45 pm
Changing of hardware from original specification.
A case design that keeps on changing including the design of the buttons\keys.
Feature creep happens or maybe the original specs looked good on paper but just didn't turn out well.
Bizzley wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:45 pm
Spurious reasons for delays - e.g. the wrong colour cardboard.
You can't say that they aren't passionate! They are trying to get things right and this may be a knock on effect from the lack of detail that the Vega+ had.
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Bizzley
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by Bizzley » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:13 am

namco wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:57 pm
[Is this asking questions about when it's out? Maybe they're not quite sure and don't want to keep promising dates and never delivering. They have had some setbacks.
I'm not sure when asking for something as basic as a rough give-or-take-a-few-months date for delivery of an almost completed item became such a negative thing. Delivery was proposed for January 2018 and like the rest of the backers I've waited patiently well past that date. I don't and never have wanted it right now, this minute, I'm prepared to wait along with everyone else. It's OK if some backers are happy to wait without question just as it should be OK that some backers be allowed to question the wait.

I'm not aware that any delivery dates have been promised apart from the one in the original offering, the July the 17th possibility came and went without any troubles or raised voices from backers. I think we're all grown up enough and aware of how crowd-funding works to forgive them if a given date slips because of something serious but are they really THAT afeared of a small proportion of their backers reactions to attempt even a rough guess at a date?
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Alcoholics Anonymous
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by Alcoholics Anonymous » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:53 am

There are about 400 boards that have been out almost a year. I have one and can say it's a great machine and a lot of fun to code for.
Bizzley wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 10:45 pm
Failure to reply to questions about delivery dates or name a current delivery date.
Failure to update backers regularly (it was supposed to be every 2 weeks)
The delivery date is not known because it depends on the timelines of 3rd parties. They can guess but people have asked not to guess.
Changing of hardware from original specification.
A case design that keeps on changing including the design of the buttons\keys.
Spurious reasons for delays - e.g. the wrong colour cardboard.
The original hw specification changed because of the kickstarter goals. 1MB base memory was promised. Sockets for expansion to 2MB. Upgrade the fpga to SLX16 from SLX9. These required a new pcb and contributed to the delay of the board-only delivery to 400 backers. Since then some more issues were found and corrected for the cased pcb. This may not have necessarily delayed the case as work on the case could be done in parallel but being ghosted by the original manufacturer and having to start again early this year meant that work was lost.

The hardware on the fpga does evolve and will continue to evolve after the machine is released, as will the operating system and other sw provided with the machine. These are easily updated by the end-user and do not contribute to any delays.

Things like wrong colour are not holding up the project. However when people asked to be kept in the loop, this includes all issues that come up not just the one or two that is delaying the project.

The case design itself has not changed but problems in the manufacturability can be found and have been found as test cases are produced. Not correcting the issue you mention means the keys made may have indentations in them after injection. You could accept that but would you want to? Making this case is a one time opportunity and doing a half-job out of it would be a shame. There is also a sense that they want to make sure it's a proper tribute to Rick given he can't be around to shepherd his final contribution to the spectrum.

It's harder to bare delays from the outside; I'm lucky enough to be at least a little bit on the inside so I can see some of the issues that come up. This also means I can see the progress (or lack of :P ). No one is happy about the delays but at the same time, the people involved are not interested in reducing due diligence to deliver earlier. They see this as a one-time opportunity for something and don't want it squandered. The physical case, unlike much of the hardware, cannot be redone or fixed by the end-user after it's been built and delivered.
For me all these crowdfunding projects are well... toxic. It applies both to Vega and Next.
...
- criticism from other retro hardware designers emerges. They start to claim you should use their ideas
or you stole their ideas or they have bigger dick than yours etc.
- backers moan even more, some turn into pure hatred
...
It's not the kickstarter projects themselves - it's a small portion of the community that is toxic. There are personal flaws on display; just stay above it and the spectrum community can be a fun place to be.
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