Friday, December 24, 2021

Packard Bell : PC-Compatibles for the Masses, 1990s Style

In the history of personal computing, we often discuss the great pioneers who brought digital computing from the universities and the state to ordinary people, companies like Apple, Tandy, Commodore, Atari.  These companies, which had big successes in the late 1970s and through the mid 1980s, did succeed in exposing millions of people to computer technology.  But these non-PC compatible computers did not become ubiquitous household items, they were very expensive and offered little assistance for day-to-day non-business activities.  The PC became dominant in the late 1980s in the US market and not too many years afterward in the rest of the world.  One of the key players in that success was Packard Bell, and in this blog post I will talk about the company and my recent experience with one of its PCs.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Nintendo Board and Chip Manufacture and Third Parties

I have often read that Nintendo, as of the Nintendo Entertainment System and everything thereafter, made all cartridges for its systems and required third parties to buy chips, board and other raw materials from them in order to have their software run on Nintendo's systems.  While this was often true, the rule was not an absolute one and at times exceptions were made.

Nintendo does not make anything, it does not construct silicon wafers, it does not extrude plastic into molds, it does not own factories or fabrication plants which do these things.  Nintendo designs and patents chips and products, but turning those designs into reality is a function of contractors.  Obviously Nintendo has to work closely with those contractors to ensure its designs can translate into workable devices, but it is not correct to say that Nintendo really "made cartridges".  In this article we will look at instances where Nintendo permitted third party cartridges to be made.