computers video games

A Mini X68000Z from Zuiki is Early On and Impressive

Spook has this incredible breakdown of the X68000Z by Zuiki, Inc. it’s a new miniature version of a classic part of computing and gaming history, the Sharp X68000 home computer that used various Motorola CPUs and played a collection of arcade games and more. The X68000 has always been a bit of a mystery to me along with other great Japan-only or Japan-mostly parts of history like the MSX, but the thing that blows me away about this mini X68000, is that it includes stuff like a real modern mechanical keyboard, and a mouse that converts into a trackball!

The X68000Z mini reproduction from Zuiki is an emulator machine, so it doesn’t contain original hardware or use an FPGA like the MiSTer FPGA. Although there is an X68000 core for the MiSTer FPGA it is a work-in-progress and looks like it hasn’t been updated since October of 2022. I’d almost rather see an X68000Z box with support for installing a MiSTer if it were a great experience, but the X68000Z looks like it has a lot of custom interfaces and work to add things like save states that have been created to streamline the experience of running X68000 software in 2023.

Here’s captured gameplay footage of the X68000Z from the Sega Lord X:

As Sega Lord X notes in their conclusion, the X68000Z is still very early on, and kinda expensive. Still, the hardware is very impressive. With more platforms being reproduced for a modern era, I just need someone to make a reproduction of the most beautiful computer of all time.


WWDC 2023 Offers Exciting New Opportunities for Acquiring Long-Term Life-threatening Illnesses Including COVID-19

Cuptertino, California — Apple, Inc today announced the dates for their World Wide Developers Conference for 2023. This year to be held from June 5th-9th with a special in-person super-spreader event at Apple Park on June 5th.

Apple, Inc, announced that the super-spreader event would be available for current Apple Developer Program members, Apple Entrepreneur Camp alumni, Swift Student Challenge winners, as well as Current Apple Developer Enterprise Program members.

Apple CEO Tim Cook had the following to say about the super-spreader event: “Last year we had so many developers come to Apple Park and spread COVID both on their way there and back. This year we are more excited than ever to do it again with lower requirements for attendees than ever during the ongoing pandemic that has killed millions of people worldwide.

The lower requirements for attendees include:

  • No COVID-19 testing before, after, or during the super-spreader event.
  • No masking requirements at all.
  • No vaccine requirements at all.
  • If you feel like REALLY sick and you’re okay with missing it, you could stay home if you want to miss it… 😉
  • No mandatory physical distancing. Get close, come cough on real Apple developers.

Interested parties can sign up online at Apple’s website. People who wish to avoid long-term life-threatening illnesses and disease can stay home and miss out on all the fun.


Apple’s War Against the Poor, continued

When I wrote about Apple’s hypocrisy in quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. last week, there was more to say. Few people are as accurate in preserving Dr. King’s legacy than Cornel West. Here is West talking about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. back in 2015 for Salon:

The radical King was a democratic socialist who sided with poor and working people in the class struggle taking place in capitalist societies. This class struggle may be visible or invisible, manifest or latent. But it rages on in a fight over resources, power, and space. In the past thirty years we have witnessed a top-down, one-sided class war against poor and working people in the name of a morally bankrupt policy of deregulating markets, lowering taxes, and cutting spending for those who are already socially neglected and economically abandoned.

Apple has rarely sided with the poor and in my opinion Apple’s “support” of Dr. King is part of the whitewashing of Dr. King’s struggles to free us all from white supremacy and capitalism, and rebrand them as part of a modern liberalism that is perfectly OK with labor exploitation. To ignore and label Apple’s fundamental materialism as part of Dr. King’s legacy is frankly disgusting, and part of why I’ve been less excited to write about the new products Apple has made lately.

There is a deeper conversation to be had here about capitalism, Apple, and the products it makes. That the products are good or bad or just there isn’t as interesting to me today as the question of what these large technology companies do and the lack of criticism about their actions in abusing the legacy of Dr. King.


Apple’s Support for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ignores Dr. King’s Support for Workers

Yesterday, on the holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the U.S, the homepage was updated to proclaim the company’s support for Dr. on the date of January 16th, 2023 with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I cannot imagine a more hypocritical stance for Apple to take when they are so against Dr. King’s messages. Time and again, Dr. King supported labor rights.

Dr. King supported striking sanitation workers in Memphis Tennessee the day before he was assassinated. That was the same day the famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech was given:

The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. Now, we’ve got to keep attention on that. That’s always the problem with a little violence. You know what happened the other day, and the press dealt only with the window-breaking. I read the articles. They very seldom got around to mentioning the fact that one thousand, three hundred sanitation workers were on strike, and that Memphis is not being fair to them, and that Mayor Loeb is in dire need of a doctor. They didn’t get around to that.

Apple has repeatedly worked against workers attempting to unionize. Apple gave out bogus anti-union talking points to store managers. Apple even went so far as to create a phony union to hijack the process and lead workers out of organizing for their rights.

Apple CEO Tim Cook even includes a a quote by Dr. King in his Twitter profile and quoted him yesterday.

It is absolutely absurd that Apple and Cook claim to support Dr. King this year after so much injustice is the direct result of the decisions the executive team at Apple has created.

No vigorous and positive worker action at Apple has gone unpunished.


Notes from Apple’s iPhone 14 Infomercial September 2022

Apple held its biggest event for the year today, another pre-recorded infomercial unveiling the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro MaxApple Watch Series 8, SE 2022, Apple Watch Ultra, AirPods Pro. Once again Apple also removed any pretense of concern for the public, their workers, and the press, or any sense that they understand the ongoing pandemic by inviting people to attend in-person. During the WWDC infomercial at least one member of the press got COVID on the way to California when that was also held in-person and suffered long-lasting effects despite being vaccinated. Photos of today’s in-person attendees depict plenty of people indoors in a crowded theater who aren’t wearing masks and I hope that there is not a repeat of what happened at WWDC but this is definitely how you make that happen. The entire presentation is viewable remotely, but people attending in-person may get time hands-on with the products and get to keep their jobs since the entire western world has decided that thousands of weekly deaths and long-term infections and suffering are now acceptable while any countries deciding to stop work during a pandemic are not acceptable. Death and suffering cannot hinder capital and its product launches. Workers at Apple may have access to the best testing equipment but everyone else doesn’t. Free testing programs are wrapping up left and right. But hey, here are some shiny new products!

Apple Watch Series 8

Tim Cook opened the pre-recorded infomercial with a pre-recorded collection of people who have Apple Watches and had their lives saved by them being able to access services that aren’t available to anyone who is too poor to have an Apple Watch.

Jeff Williams continued by introducing the new Series 8 Apple Watch. Deidre Caldbeck continued the introduction. As rumored, a temperature sensor is in the Series 8 Apple Watch. Caldbeck and then Sumbul Desai said this was primarily for women’s health and would detect women’s cycles retroactively. Desai continued at length to say that is very important to track cycles and said that Apple would take privacy seriously and encrypt health data end-to-end.

Continuing the depressing discussions of accidents, health, and now accidents again, Caldbeck returned to talk about a new feature called Crash Detection that would use new and upgraded motion sensors the Apple Watch Series 8 to detect car accidents.

Low Power Mode is another new feature Caldbeck introduces to extend the battery life of Series 4 and up Apple Watches.

New colors are available for the Series 8 Apple Watch, and new cheaper and more expensive bands.

Series 8 is $400 or $500 for cellular models. Orders today. September 16th delivery or general availability.

Apple Watch SE 2022

Apple Watch SE gets updated with a new design and what sounds like a plastic back case. Apple Watch SE also has almost all of the same sensors, but not quite.

Up until today Apple was still selling the Apple Watch Series 3 that won’t receive the update to WatchOS 9, coming soon. No upgrades were mentioned to the processing power of the Series 8, so most likely this is still using a variation of the same SoC that has been in place for years now. Modern Apple Watches aren’t slow, so that isn’t a huge issue, but it is worth mentioning.

$250, orders today, September 16th delivery or availability.

Apple Watch Ultra

Heavily rumored for the past month or so is this new more expensive Apple Watch Ultra that a presenter returned to say is primarily for people who do real extreme stuff like long-distance hikers. The new design is chunkier, has a more protected display, the rumored new side button in bright orange but customizable in software, a bigger crown with bigger grooves that might be easier to access, cellular by default, a bigger battery that Apple promises delivers 36 hours of battery life or 60 hours using a “coming later this fall” extended battery mode. Bigger and more speakers, better microphones. Of course it also has special bands (designed to be extra flexible for fitting over special equipment) and even a different method of attaching them so compatibility is likely out of the window. 49mm size only.

Another presenter promised that the Apple Watch Ultra would have more accurate GPS support, a special siren, and more water resistance than the other models of Apple Watch.

An obviously rich CEO of an outdoors company I’ve never heard of called Huish was introduced to talk about their special app for the Apple Watch Ultra that is designed for divers to provide them with information while diving and afterwards.

There are plenty of these kinds of special outdooring watches by Garmin and other brands.

$800. Orders available today. Delivers September 23rd.

AirPods Pro 2022

More rumors were accurate. There’s also new AirPods Pros today. New H2 chip with an “incredible upgrade to performance” and longer battery life (6 hours claimed 30% more and 6 more hours with the new case) and upgrades to the built-in speakers. iOS 16 adds personalized spatial audio features, a claim of 2x active noise cancellation performance. There’s also a new extra-small ear tip size. Transparency modes are supposed to be improved as well. The stem is still on these AirPods Pro and improved with more control features. There’s finally a speaker on the case to find the whole case using the Find My app, and a lanyard strap hole.

$250, orders on September 9th. September 23rd delivery.

iPhone 14 & iPhone 14 Plus

As rumored, a larger display option is now available but that’s the only big change this year, 6.7 inches and your good old 6.1 inch size. The Plus name returns for the larger model. As rumored, the SoC is a modified A15 chip from last year. Your performance cores, your efficiency cores, yadda yadda. Performance has been terrific for years. Still just two camera sensors on the back, but they are slightly improved. Low-light performance is said to be improved. Video stabilization, improved with Action Mode. No ProMotion on the display, that still seems to be only available for the Pro models.

As always, Apple shows off professional photography using these devices that’s out of reach for most people.

The SIM tray is gone, as rumored. E-SIM only. You won’t be able to physically move the SIM card from another device to this one or physically take it away when you want to move on. Apple claims that this will be a good security feature for if the iPhone is lost or stolen, but it will make it difficult if the iPhone is broken.

I’m glad that you don’t have to buy a “Pro” model to get a larger size.

Both 14 models also have the car crash detection feature.

Emergency SOS via Satellite is a long-rumored new service that Apple has put in place to put iPhone 14 users in touch with emergency services. Launches some time in November for US & Canada. Service is “free” for two years after buying an iPhone 14 device.

$800 for the 6.1” and $900 for the 6.7” Pre-orders on September 9th. Shipping dates are September 16th for the smaller model. October 7th for the larger model. As rumored the smaller iPhone Mini is gone.

iPhone 14 Pro & iPhone 14 Pro Max

The sensors on the front are now behind the screen in the rumored capsule shape at the top of the screen that Apple is calling the Dynamic Island instead of the notch. Apple says that animations in the operating system will expand out of the capsule area and it can also display background activities like sports scores, music, timers. The display sizes match the base iPhone 14 at 6.1” and 6.7”. The screen is supposed to be smarter about lowering the refresh rate and has the rumored always-on display to dim the screen and just show certain smaller pieces of information alongside parts of the background wallpaper when locked and not in-use.

The iPhone 14 Pro models get an A16 SoC, as rumored. The performance, both in speed and efficiency for power saving are claimed to be very good. Speed hasn’t been a problem for years but it’s gonna be fast, there is no reason to doubt that.

The iPhone 14 Pro models also get the rumored 48 megapixel camera sensor that groups pixels together (Apple calls this a “quadpixel sensor”) but usually spits out 12 megapixels in effect, just with claimed performance improvements for the resulting photos using groups of the pixels in the sensor. Ultra-wide is still 12 megapixels but otherwise improved. Flash is improved. Low-light performance is of course improved. Amusingly most of this was leaked so long ago that I listened to a podcast last week that explained in detail not only how the iPhone 14 Pro models would have the 48 megapixel camera, but also how it would process the images from the camera and still produce a 12 megapixel image.

Battery life still gets claimed “all-day battery life.”

Of course all the satellite stuff and other features of the base iPhone 14 are there.

$1000 for the 6.1″ Pro, $1100 for the 6.7″ Pro Max. Pre-orders start on September 9th, available on the 16th.


I can’t overstate just how stupid it is for these events to be pre-recorded while still gathering people indoors, in-person, mask-optional! That’s even more audaciously dumb when almost every device shown off was advertised for its supposed safety features and coated in greenwashing about the recycled parts and programs for capturing devices to recycle them. Green things need to happen at a regulatory level to lower Apple’s impact on the world and prevent COVID from spreading. The products announced today were not so exciting as to make the resulting infections of in-person attendance acceptable. I’m fortunate that I can stay home and write about this.

Almost everything matched the rumors. It’s good that the Apple Watch Series 3 is no-longer for sale but dumb as hell that Apple was still selling it until today when it won’t receive WatchOS 9. The new Ultra watch is fine, I’m glad it exists for anyone who is rich enough or professional enough to need it. As always, the professional photography and videography are, I believe, a bad way to show off the features of the upgraded camera sensors. Give me a birthday party with a cake as the sole lighting source. A selfie in a bathroom. There are a dozen ways to show off the improvements by both regular people and the (no joke) stunt camera shots where the actor and videographer are on wires.

More than anything else, however, the overall theme of the day was about expanding “you need this or you will die” from just the Apple Watch to every device. Car crash detection, heart rate sensors, temperature sensors. The entire bit is played out and expanded to a point where it is ridiculous and I was glad to see others talking about how ridiculous it is.