Jeri Ellsworth & Her Commodore64 Clones
I came across this great lecture given by Jeri Ellsworth, the original developer of the "C-One" Commodore64 clone, and the designer of the C64DTV games joystick manufactured produced by Mammoth Toys. The lecture is date Jan 30, 2006 and runs for 79 minutes.
The lecture is quite interesting as she starts by giving a small biography of her life and how she got into electronics. For a short period she built and raced dirt-track race cars, before setting up a chain of PC manufacturing centers. She then sold these off and starting teaching herself about chip design and developed the C-One as a demo project. She was asked by a few company's to design a board for a games joystick clone of the C64 (much like the one for Atari games already available at the time). She finally struck a deal with Mammoth Toys and agreed to taking a cut from each unit sold rather than a lump sum. So far over a quarter of a million units have sold.
She also goes into detail of the design and building of both the joystick and C-One. A lot of the electronics stuff went over my head but I could appreciate what she was explaining. Most who already know about this C64 joystick will probably know that it's hacker&modder friendly. That is to say, you can break the unit open and solder a PS/2 keyboard and CF flash drive onto the board. This allows you to easily escape out of the predefined menu system and games and load your own stuff on or even program. When she was explaining this I was so taken with the idea that I decided to buy one. Well I soon found out that they don't make them anymore (even though in the video she promises more will continue to be made). In this scenario, ebay is your friend!
The C-One is what initially struck my interest though. I was searching around the net for "Commodore" related info. I saw that the current owner of the Commodore name has released a series of mini notebooks and I pondered if they were worth a buy just to get a computer with a C badge. I then came across the C-One. I became interested when I read that it wasn't an emulator and was based on modern chips. You can actually buy one but it's not a fully fledged unit as such, it's more of a kit thing, and it's not exactly cheap at €333.
Posted at 15:16