Sunday, November 13, 2005

Historians, take note!

Reading a post by tdragger about a site that listed a compilation of toys from the 60's and 70's (and really, of the 80's as well), I bumped onto a picture of a ZX Spectrum computer from 1982 - what do you know, my first computer!

It's funny how the brain works - the synapses triggered into overload mode and got me itching to once again get my hands onto one of them smarmy little things. Even with its rubber keyboard, the smaller than expected keys, the easily breakable power supply connector and the necessity for a tape recorder and TV screen, for lack of storage and display facilities, the ZX Spectrum was a miracle in its time.

By 1983, at the tender age of 13, I had already learnt what a floating point number is, what the words mantissa and exponent mean and how to program in ZX Basic. The year after that, I was already hacking my peeks and pokes into the Speccy, ultimately getting my first job as an editor for "Pixel" magazine, writing articles on "how to add infinite lives in your favorite games".

Looking around to purchase the Spectrum again, I found there's an active web ring of ZX Spectrum lovers, you can find it here - there are also several places that sell them (RetroTrader, etc.), used of course, and you can even get them on eBay, if you're willing to go through the auction process, which I find excruciatingly painful, because I've never been able to succeed in winning one. ;-)

There's also something even funkier: A site where people discuss making their own interfaces for modern-day hardware to their beloved Spectrum. Check them out - they have even connected an IDE Flash hard drive to their Spectrum for storage! Spunky!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More cool videos about the PMDG 747-400

Robert Randazzo alerted me to some more cool videos that our friends in Japan have created, all featuring various 747 liveries and paints. I wish I were so creative, sometimes!

Take a look at them, here.

And so it began...

It's been a very interesting couple of months.

Our current flagship product, the 747-400 Queen of the Skies, has been receiving great reviews by almost every flight sim site out there. We're actively working on the Service Update at the moment, so I get to spend quite a lot of time reading our forum users' comments on what they perceive as "bugs", trying to actually figure out where those critters might have slipped into the code. A lot of times, what a user might report as broken turns out to be proper functionality of the 747. How do you tell them, without making them feel stupid or ignorant? Usually, a direct approach I find works best!

I am also working on some very interesting stuff: Interfacing the Engravity CDU with our 747 and 737 FMC code. This is a nice side project which, even though it has already taken up more time than I originally envisioned, I hope will prove helpful for those hardware cockpit builders and/or hard-core enthusiasts out there who want to go a step further with their simming. I'll be posting more details about that, along with some nice pictures, later on...

Hey- having loyal customers is really nice sometimes: Here's a beautiful video that one of our friends (goes by the nickname "The Arkitekt") made about the 747-400 - he's a post-production video editor, by profession, and his work shines. Give it a looksie - it's really great!

Also- make sure you take a look at some friends' blogs, over at Microsoft FS team HQ - I posted them on the right hand side column, for your viewing pleasure. These guys ROCK!