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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beanz
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by beanz » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:42 pm

Bizzley wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:42 pm

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.
Nah, that was never going to happen...the last update detailed what is left to do, there isn't much left now. Back in July they still didn't have the keyboard figured out...they just completed that which was pretty much the last major step...it's really down to shipping parts from china times now.

..and lets remember the original plastics manufacturer backed out so they had to start over with the case.

This is why I got the board too...again anyone with any experience in manufacturing etc knows the original ship date was never going to happen.

Here's my year old Next!

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Dark
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by Dark » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:31 pm

I backed a cased Next and have kept an eye on the project and read through each update as they have come. The thought of never receiving the computer hasn’t occurred to me, as far as I can see the people delivering are still there and appear to be working on the project. Very much a contrast from the other Sinclair crowd funding project, where it was plain to see that no-one was actually working on anything other than stalling tactics in the hope it would all be forgotten about. Thankfully I didn’t back that one, but did watch it all unfold in the various facebook groups.

As for changes in the spec, I’ve never been that knowledgeable about computer hardware, so I haven’t had much of an opinion on it. I’m buying a Next just in order to have a modern Spectrum that I can go and play some of my old games on and relive a big part of my childhood. So I’ll never use it to whatever potential it may end up having, as I never did with my +2 back in the day, but I got many hours of enjoyment out of it, and I’m hoping to get a few more with the Next.

The fact though that the boards came out I see as a good indicator that the project is being faithfully worked on, even if not as quickly as everyone would have liked.
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toot_toot
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by toot_toot » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:51 pm

I think Bizzley makes some great points. I backed the cased Next kickstarter when it launched and the progress has been frustratingly disappointing, especially over the past few months.

I understand the risks that come with crowd funded campaigns, but the Next project has really hit home just how little project organisers/creators realise how difficult it is getting a hardware project released. First the board only option was delayed for a few months, which was fine, but then there was months of issues where board only users couldn't get it to work properly, it didn't work with their Spectrum case, it didn't work with their television. All of this for 400 units. Looking back it's obviously crazy to have done this - while making a few hundred hardcore users happy, they simply didn't have the resources to handle this.

But the real gripes I have with the project now is, as Bizzley has put it, every update seems to come with a new delay, with the promised fortnightly updates becoming more sporadic. When the delay is announced, my first thought is "you're telling me - eight months after the project was supposed to be released - that you weren't aware of like how to make the case/how to make the keyboard membrane/how to source materials/what sort of keys are going to use etc etc" Again, I understand that these are people where it's not their profession (I think that's showing now), but the lack of a transparent roadmap just hasn't helped.

Then in the last update, they did release a sort of project roadmap. Well a project status summary really. Now while there may have been a lot of items marked as done, but some of the "to-do" list is still worrying - especially the ones in bold.

Keyboard keys printing test (TO DO)
Final Keyboard backplate test injection (TO DO)
Final Keyboard assembly & Case fit test (TO DO)
Manual printing (TO DO)
Manual shipping to SMS (TO DO)
SD cards content copy as SMS (TO DO)
Case mass-plastic injection (TO DO)
Keyboard mass-plastic injection (TO DO)
Keyboard final assembly (TO DO)
Keyboard shipping to case production (TO DO)
Case & Keyboard shipping to SMS (TO DO)
Final Spectrum Next assembly (TO DO)

Shipping to backers (TO DO)

To be blunt, there is no way they're going to test the keyboard, mass produce and assemble 5000+ keyboards and cases by January. At the rate they're going, I'd be surprised if we saw it before April. But what was worrying with that last update is there was no indication at all of timescales - i.e. it being a roadmap with deadlines e.g. "We will have final keyboard assembly and case fit test done by November 30th. "

I know some people don't really care and think "well, it will be ready when it's ready" but I do find it annoying to get an update in July with the title "Production ahead, captain!" and the text "we’ve got two busy weeks packed with production updates, progress and a final test to go through." and signing off with "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!"

Except here we are, 4 months later - and counting - and there's still significant work to be done as highlighted in the last update and with no end in sight.

I think that's why some backers are getting really annoyed now and maybe worrying if the Next is ever going to be released.
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by 1024MAK » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:22 pm

I think some of the above posts are taking things out of context. For anyone who wants to read the latest update in full, click here.

Getting a PCB made is easy compared to the design and production of a bespoke keyboard in a custom made case. More so at the quantity that is involved with this project (only 3000 cases and keyboards). So this was always going to be something that was likely to overrun. And when the original manufacturing company pulled out, the project team had to find another manufacturing company. Not easy when the margins are tight.

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Last edited by 1024MAK on Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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beanz
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by beanz » Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:22 pm

toot_toot wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:51 pm
but then there was months of issues where board only users couldn't get it to work properly, it didn't work with their Spectrum case, it didn't work with their television.
Eh? It worked fine for me...and in my speccy case as the photo above shows...and TV problems were more down to the TVs I think than the next...or configuration issues..not the hardware...sure the firmware has and will continue to be tweaked...but that's pretty standard procedure for firmware, especially firmware for new hardware...bit unrealistic to expect it to be perfect on first release.
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Bizzley
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by Bizzley » Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:35 pm

In my last post I said I wasn't aware of any other promised release dates for the Next, I missed this one.....

""we can now line things up and put forward the completion date of mid July. We’ll have our Nexts this Summer!"

People keep saying that the original manufacturing company pulled out and had to be replaced, yes it did, and this happened almost 9 months ago. The good news was that as of April the new case mould design was deemed to be great, invoices had been paid and production had indeed started and would be ready for plastic injection in 35 days. April 2018 also saw the completion of the keyboard membrane moulds, an adjustment was expected to be made to the prototype and then it would be off to mass production. Everything was well and it was full steam ahead hence the message above. (Kickstarter Update 28)

Again after the date was missed there was no outpouring of negativity, we accepted the reasons given and carried on waiting patiently. We are not children, we know how the process works, we are not going to storm the barricades, contact The Register or email Watchdog if there are genuine problems encountered that couldn't be foreseen. Here we are on Update 40 and all we get is "as soon as we can", something taxi firms tend to say when they haven't got a clue when they'll arrive.
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Pegaz
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by Pegaz » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:51 am

You right of course, but as you can see, history is repeated.
The very same people, who bitterly defended the Vega+ project until his failure, now do the same thing with Next here, with the same "arguments".
Why they do this on sc, not on wos?
Because they couldnt even open such a topic there, we all know why.
After all that happened with the Vega project, each Next backer has the right to be suspicious if there are any signs that something is wrong.
"Be cool and patient, everything will be fine, the sun shines, the birds twirling around us, life is good and all people are honest..."
I'm sick of that sh*t and I'm not gonna lose my time on this, again...
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cha05e90
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by cha05e90 » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:50 am

Pegaz wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:51 am
After all that happened with the Vega project, each Next backer has the right to be suspicious if there are any signs that something is wrong.
"Be cool and patient, everything will be fine, the sun shines, the birds twirling around us, life is good and all people are honest..."
I'm sick of that sh*t and I'm not gonna lose my time on this, again...
Hmm. I did not even think about the "Vega + project", 'cos I had and have no interest in "hand helds". I am a backer of the Next project, though. And I'm not suspicious at all - or, to be more precise, I'm not more concerned than with any other Kickstarter campaign. Why should I? If you personally see a strong correlation because of "Sinclair!", "Spectrum!", "Kickstarter!", "Delays!"... and this makes you sick - then this is of course your "right" to feel so. And - just for the record - I'm *not* defending the Next people, but as I'm rather near to industrialization of products I know that sh*t happens.

And, by the way: If you don't accept to loose all money from Kickstarter campaigns, then don't do it. Sorry for the rant, just my 2 cent...
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Pegaz
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by Pegaz » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:07 am

cha05e90 wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:50 am
Pegaz wrote:
Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:51 am
After all that happened with the Vega project, each Next backer has the right to be suspicious if there are any signs that something is wrong.
"Be cool and patient, everything will be fine, the sun shines, the birds twirling around us, life is good and all people are honest..."
I'm sick of that sh*t and I'm not gonna lose my time on this, again...
Hmm. I did not even think about the "Vega + project", 'cos I had and have no interest in "hand helds". I am a backer of the Next project, though. And I'm not suspicious at all - or, to be more precise, I'm not more concerned than with any other Kickstarter campaign. Why should I? If you personally see a strong correlation because of "Sinclair!", "Spectrum!", "Kickstarter!", "Delays!"... and this makes you sick - then this is of course your "right" to feel so. And - just for the record - I'm *not* defending the Next people, but as I'm rather near to industrialization of products I know that sh*t happens.

And, by the way: If you don't accept to loose all money from Kickstarter campaigns, then don't do it. Sorry for the rant, just my 2 cent...
I didnt point to you in my previous post... how could you possibly conclude something like this after ten days on sc?
Unless, if you dont reveal to us, what is your original wos nickname...
About the rest... Ralf has made some good points, I dont have anything to add to that...
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next Discussion

Post by Ralf » Fri Nov 30, 2018 10:58 am

About the rest... Ralf has made some good points, I dont have anything to add to that...
I'd like to add one thing. Next and Vega+ projects are somehow similar in their fate but there is one serious difference.

In case of Vega creators began fighting among themselves and probably using project money for lawsuits. It ended with main and only hardware designer (Chris Smith) leaving the project and taking all the documentation for work done so far with him. The creators left at the project were unable to continue his work so they started from scratch with lamest but seemingly easiest way - freeware emulator running on Linux. Yet the devil is in the detail, they probably wanted to do it fast and quickly so as we know they ended with very limited number of crappy prototypes.

As far as I know it didn't happen in Next project, the creator remained working together which is a good sign.
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