Thursday, January 16, 2020

The two British invasions in pop music

In terms of pop music of the 21st century two British invasions occurred. That happened twice, when single artists or brand from Great Britain ruled the music charts of other countries, especially the USA, and scored one number one hit after the other over months and years.

The first British invasion

The first took place between the late 1950s to the early 1970s, when band like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Queen, The Who, Led Zeppelin, single music artists like Elton John, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, od Stewart and others were on the top of the music charts of many countries, not only in the UK. They moved local bands and artists to lower places, depriving them to reach the number one position of their respective chart. Audiences, especially teenagers, went mad and bought more records than of local acts.

The second British invasion

Between the late 1970s and mid 1980s was the era, when the second British invasion took place. Its focus was on synth pop, which emerged around that time. Acts like Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, OMD, Yazoo (known as Yaz in the USA), The Human League hit the number one spot also in charts outside the UK. Local artists were again moved to lower chart positions. Interestingly, while the first invasion was focused on Rock, the second invasion with focus on synth pop also created several new music genres, like New Romantic Wave, New Wave, Ska. And opened the way to cyber punk while competing with Disco Music. This invasion fizzled out around 1983, when American musicians were again able to rule the charts of many countries.

My opinion

Looking back I miss that time of the second invasion. I was a teenager back then and loved to listen to the radio while recording the songs to create mixed tapes (on compact cassettes, kids today won't know). I doubt that there will ever be a third British invasion again.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Ageing music artists

When you think of it you might realize that most music artists have their chart success when they are between 20 and may be 35 years old. That makes averagely five to ten years. Take Pink Floyd or The Rolling Stones for example. They were all over the charts in the 1960s and 1970s with Pink Floyd's The Wall being the last album in 1979 to score a single as hit.. The Rolling Stones kind of fizzled out in the late 1970s while Mick Jagger had a few singles in the 1980s as solo artist.

My favorite pop stars from the 1980s when I was a teen and twen are Howard Jones and Nik Kershaw. From what I read is that Nik was pressed onto the bubble gum pop track by the music label but had huge hits on his 1984 albums Human Racing and The Riddle, scoring several hits from each. Besides one or two singles from the following album that was it for him. Not bound to the label anymore he continued to produce rock albums but never had any chart success. He and most other "80s stars" are still on tour and play their charts hits from the 1980s for their ageing fans.

There are a few exceptions like Madonna. Starting 1982 she had a string of hits until today. But I doubt that for example Miley Cyrus, Rihanna or Beyoncé can follow Madonna's footsteps to keep being successful.

Why is that? I can only assume that most of the music artists are not able to adapt their music style to please the young generation. Seems only Madonna and a hand full of other music artists.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century from 1979

The movie Buck Rogers in the 25th Century was released 1979, marking it the 40th anniversary in time writing this. I starred the hot Erin Gray as Colonel Wilma Deering in a jump suit and a handsome Gil Gerard as Captain Buck Rogers, based on this comic character created in 1928 already.

The intro might suggest this it's a soft porn movie, but it is not. But as close at it gets to be allowed on prude 1970s US TV. I was in my early teens and when Erin Gray was slipping up and down the illuminated letters of BUCK ROGERS... Oh boy. :-)

It's a space soap and rides on the success of this new genre created by Star Wars two years earlier. The movie also spawned a TC series spanning over two seasons the same and following year. After the quality of episodes quickly went down and with it the number of viewers the series was cancelled.

I missed this time just after Star Wars hit the big screen 1977 with all the cheesy space operas movies and TV shows as a result. Another I really liked was the first Battle Star Galactica series from 1978. Space soaps died out around 1982. And He-Man took over. ;-)

Compensation flight delays

Flight delays and flight cancellations during private and business trips are not uncommon. Even airlines can be affected. If the delay is greater than three hours or the flight is cancelled completely, the passenger has the right for a compensation.

Contact for compensation when flights were delayed for more than three hours. We will check your claim for any delay or cancellation of any airline in which you made a trip by air, free of charge and without obligation. The amount of the compensation can be between 200 and 600 Euros, depending on the distance between the departure and destination airports.

We work with experts on all aspects of travel law and enforce their claims in the event a passenger experiences a flight delay airlines, if necessary in court.

Background information

Destinations served are largely located in Mediterranean regions. Other popular holiday destinations, such as the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Egypt or Madeira, are also on the flight schedule. In Germany airplanes usually serve (as of 2016) 23 different airports. These include Berlin-Schönefeld (SXF), Berlin Tegel (TXL), Bremen (BRE), Dortmund (DTM), Düsseldorf (DUS), Erfurt (ERF), Frankfurt (FRA), Frankfurt Hahn (HHN), Friedrichshafen (FDH) , Hamburg (HAM), Karlsruhe (FKB), Cologne / Bonn (CGN), Leipzig / Halle (LEJ), Memmingen (FMM), Munich (MUC), Münster (FMO), Nuremberg (NUE), Paderborn-Lippstadt (PAD), Rostock (RLG), Stuttgart (STR), Sylt (GWT) and Usedom (HDF).

Further information

The German airline was founded in 2007 after the companies were merged. The airline advertises its flights with fair prices and offers as a special service to inform its passengers about any delays on the day of departure. Victims can claim up to 600 € per person

Claim Save

HOW DOES IT WORK?

  • 1 Data entry
  • Find out how high your claim for compensation is.
  • 2 Have the data checked
  • We check your claim within a few minutes and take care of everything else.
  • 3 claims to pay
  • You receive your compensation. If your claim is justified, we will transfer your money. After that the problem is done for you.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

My earliest arcade video game experiences

The first video game I saw was Pong in a restaurant I visited with my parents visited. Must have been 1974 or something. Two years later I saw Gun Fight on a fairground and a year or two after that Seawolf II, or was it Depthcharge?

The pizza restaurant in our small suburb put 1980 the game Asteroids in a corner of the hallway near the entrance and youngsters lined up. He later added Defender and more youngsters showed up, while the restaurant had only few visitors. By 1982 he dedicated the smaller room to arcade games, removed tables and chairs and by the time Donkey Kong by Nintendo or Sega's Astroblaster hit the German market he offered ten or so cabs. Every other week a new game came and each time I was blown away. This room was cramped with teens and twens, while the restaurant was mainly empty.

Now the "shocking" part. On April 1st 1985 the German government put a law into action to protect the youth. Violent video movies were moved into a separate room. Vending machines selling booze were removed and besides more things so were video game cabs. So this pizza restaurant probably went bust that year. If you wanted to play video games you had to go to dedicated arcades where the minimum age to enter was 18. And when the guy in front was in doubt you needed to show ID. I was lucky because I just turned 18 a few months prior. Not so lucky to friends being one and two years younger than me.

Imagine you love to play arcade games and are hooked since a couple of years and suddenly this love is taken away from you. I can only imagine how hard that must have been for them.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Motorola 68000 microprocessor

The Motorola 68000 (MC68000) is a 16/32 -bit CISC microprocessor designed and marketed by Motorola (currently produced by Freescale). Introduced in 1979 deploying HMOS technology it was the first member of the successful family of 32-bit m68k microprocessors. The software created for this processor is usually fully compatible with future versions of the rest of the line, despite the fact that this first version is limited to an external 16-bit bus width. After three decades in production, the 68000 architecture is still in use today.

Notable computers using the Motorola 68XXX processor

The microprocessor owes its name to the number of transistors of which it’s composed. It has been used, among others, in the Commodore Amiga family, the Atari ST line of micro computers, the very first Macintosh, the Sharp X68000 and the first gaming video games used by Capcom. The MC68000 was launched in 1980 and is the first of a family of microprocessors that is made up of the Motorola 68010, Motorola 68020, Motorola 68030, Motorola 68040 and the Motorola 68060. This family of processors is often designated by the generic terms 680x0, m68k, 68k or 68000 family . Motorola also developed a 680x0 successor, called the Coldfire.

History

The 68000 emerged out of the the MACSS project (Motorola Advanced Computer System on Silicon, Motorola Advanced Silicon Computing Systems), which started in 1976 to develop a completely new architecture without maintaining compatibility with any previous processors. It would be the most powerful microprocessor to complement the 6800 8-bit production line instead of designing a compatible line. After all the 68000 provided a bus protocol with a compatibility mode for peripheral devices of the 6800 line. Thus a version with an 8-bit data bus was produced.

However, the designers focused mainly on the future or forward compatibility, which gave the m68k platform an advantage over subsequent 32-bit architectures in its instruction set. For example, the CPU registers were 32 bits wide, although only few autonomous structures in the processor worked in a 32 bits mode at that time. The MACSS team was very strongly influenced by the design of processors for minicomputers, such as the PDP-11 and VAX systems, which have a similar microcode.

Architecture

The 68000 architecture is based on two banks of 8 32-bit registers. One bank represents data (Dn) and the other the pointers (An). It also has a 32-bit program counter and a 16-bit status register, the so called "System Byte" being high and the "User Byte" being low. Data registers (D0 to D7) can be used as 32-bit (.l), 16-bit (.w) and 8-bit (.b) registers. Any of them can be used for the accumulator, index- or pointer registers. This processor is made in HMOS technology and has 64 pins without signal multiplexing.

Address registers

Address registers (pointers) are very similar to those of data registers, but cannot be used as bytes and operations, because they do not affect carry registers when performing calculations. The A7 register represents the stack pointer and is duplicated, with one stack for the user mode and another for the supervisor mode.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The home computer

A home computer is a micro computer, which entered the market with the birth of the Altair 8800 on 1975 and extends until the early 1990s. This encompasses almost all 8-bit computers. Commonly used CPUs were the Zilog Z80, MOS Technology 6502 or Motorola 6800 and the first wave of micros equipped with 16-bit CPUs, mainly Motorola 68000 and Intel 8086 and 8088. The term home computer describes from a computer commonly found in the industry and take it home. Excluded from this group are IBM PCs and compatibles.These are called personal computers.

Development

Commodore 64The Altair 8800 was the first home computer but lacked a keyboard and monitor. 1977 saw what the BYTE magazine called the 1977 Trinity and encompassed the Commodore PET, Tandy TRS-80 and Apple 2. They came with a built-in keyboard. The Commodore and Tandy also sported a monitor. Shortly after Atari introduced their 8-bit line of micros. In the United Kingdom computers like the Sinclair ZX 81 and Spectrum as well as the Acorn Atom, better known as BBC Micro, became famous. Many teenager began coding, mainly writing games. They became soon known as bedroom coders. All home computers but the Jupiter ACE had the BASIC programming language built in. The best selling machine was the Commodore 64.

Some types of computers stayed for longer, others evolved trying to maintain compatibility. For example was a Z80 card available for the Apple II as well as for the Commodore 64, opening the huge world of CP/M software for their owners. However, by the end of the 1980s most were eliminated by IBM compatible personal computers and the newer generations of video game consoles because all used their own incompatible formats. The IBM revolution was triggered in 1981 by the output of the IBM 5150 personal computer, the IBM PC.

I got my first micro with the Commodore 64 in 1984. I also had some BASIC knowledge but soon learned to code in 6502 (the C 64 had a 6510 though) assembly language. I soon wanted a Commodore Amiga 500 but waited until 1988 the price came down. After that I only bought IBM compatibles.