Categories
C64

Freespin – a 1541 demo

Demos come in all shapes and sizes, 4k, 64k, intros, demos and more, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen a demo running on a Commodore 64 disc drive, or 1541 drive. You can read more about it on the Freespin homepage.

The 1541 family of drives have the same CPU as the Commodore 64 so adapting code to run on it will be easy for anyone familiar with the machine but what’s different here is that the drive is hooked up directly to the monitor to display the demo.

Sound is supplied by the drive, and as expected is the usual buzzing sounds until the end when it changes and becomes slightly more musical.

Worth a watch, even if you have no interest in demos. The idea of running software on a disc drive like this blows my mind!

Categories
Ireland

Murphy’s, first of the year.

Outside dining FTW.

Categories
Ireland

Excited to see the solar eclipse

You can only see a partial solar eclipse from here but I was excited to see it.

Looks amazing.

Categories
Ireland

New EU VAT Rules in July

If you live in the EU and bought cheap goods from China or anywhere outside the EU you may have been surprised when you didn’t have to pay customs duties or VAT on the product.

To be honest, the extra payment required by An Post/a third party carrier to pay for more expensive goods is probably what surprised most people buying from outside the European Union. That can be €10 to €15 or more.

Well, from July 1st you may have to pay that fee regardless of how much the goods you bought are. If you’re looking for a cheap phone case, or book or whatever from the UK you better do it ASAP because if it’s delivered here (Ireland or elsewhere in the EU) after July 1st you’ll end up paying extra.

The Irish Revenue website has a page explaining how it works and it’s not pretty.

From 1 July 2021, import VAT will be payable on all goods entering the EU, irrespective of their value. VAT will always be collected, irrespective of the amount due. If you order goods valued at €22 or less before 1 July 2021, that arrive after that date, you may have to pay VAT.

A pair of socks costing €17 may end up costing you €30. Must be a hell of a pair of socks!

Here’s an RTÉ article on the change.

The revenue.ie page does not mention that non-EU sellers can charge VAT at point-of-sale. A paragraph on this page explains how this works:

The EU has therefore agreed to scrap the import VAT exempt threshold. Instead, it will require EU and non-EU sellers to charge VAT at the point of sale for consignments of €150 or below. This will create a more efficient ‘Green Channel’, with quick and easy customs clearance. Note – the delivery agent may still act as the import VAT collector (see below).

Sellers will charge VAT at the rate of their customer’s EU country of residence at the point-of-sale on the website. Sellers can use the delivery address of the customer to determine the country VAT rate. No VAT is due at the point of import in this case.

This already happens for digital sales, such as those for games and software.

I suspect this change to the VAT rate will also apply to UK magazine subscriptions since periodicals are charged(PDF) 9% VAT in Ireland while they are 0% in the UK. If that’s the case it’s not worth it (An Post will charge €10 to deliver a magazine worth let’s say €6.) unless the seller is registered in the EU and charges VAT on the subscription.

Categories
Tech

Google Photos ends free storage tomorrow

That photo taken today is a helicopter rotor

Google Photos will start counting your uploads against a storage limit from tomorrow. Make sure you upload anything you’ve been meaning to upload in the next few hours!

Also go into your shared albums and click the “Save photos” button if you want “local” copies of any photos shared with you.

I’m sticking with Google Photos. The ease of sharing photos and AI search make it worth while, but I will be disabling automatic upload off my phone. I take too many snapshots that I don’t care enough about to pay for them.

Categories
tv

Matt leBlanc is the winner of the reunion

If you look at one thing today on Twitter, it should be #mattleblanc as Irish Twitter went on a journey of appreciation for Matt leBlanc as he appeared in the recent “Friends: The Reunion“.

He looks like an Irish uncle and people added typical things that uncles say.

I doubt I’ll ever watch Friends again but Friends Reunited was a wonderful trip down memory lane.

Maitiú deFaoite is welcome here any time!

Categories
Tech

Firefox: bookmark all the tabs

Browser tabs. We all love them, and then we hate them when there are too many. Sprinkled among the litter of blog and Facebook posts, Twitter and Reddit threads, are the nuggets you want to keep.

Too many things

You could just close them, you probably won’t miss them but my brain rebels against the thought. Instead I’d like to bookmark them somewhere so at least in some distant future I can review them at my leisure. Thankfully it’s easy, in Firefox at least. It looks like it’s even easier in Chrome!

First of all, right click on a tab and click on “Select all tabs”.

All your tabs will be highlighted and “Bookmark Tab” helpfully changes to “Bookmark Tabs”.

Clicking that will bring up a familiar bookmark window. I opted to put the my browser windows into different folders. I had a lot of tabs open..

But now I’m back to one window and a handful of tabs related to my current project. Out of sight, out of mind! 🙂

Categories
Books

RIP RBDigital. Boo to the Libby App

Libraries Ireland recently switched from the RBDigital app that my wife loved to an app called Libby. She reads magazines on a very old iPad so she made the reluctant switch to Libby.

It was a nightmare. By accident she selected the county library rather than the city library and we couldn’t see where to change library. I reinstalled it as that seemed to be the easiest way of fixing that issue.

Once into the app she entered her details and attempted to read a magazine. Unfortunately it was so slow it was frustrating. I realise this iPad is old, but the RBDigital app was quick and responsive on the device. The Libby app is not. Pages load slowly, the whole device lags when Libby is running. Downloading magazines is very slow.

We had the same experience on a Kindle Fire Android tablet, but it was marginally faster. From snail’s pace to sloth’s pace. What the hell is the app written in? Some high level framework that needs the latest hardware to run it?

Then I saw you can use their website, libbyapp.com instead. Firefox on the Android tablet, and Chrome on the iPad were a lot more responsive. While it was still slow to load magazines it was usable. Libby even makes it easy to add a new device.

Their website works just fine in Chrome on my ageing iPad, and the immersive view of Firefox on the Android tablet looks even better so I must see about putting Firefox on the iPad too.

Categories
C64

Yes, it is at home

My Commodore 64 is in my home office. How did they know?

Categories
C64 demoscene

Mahna Mahna

There were some great demos, music and graphics released at Transmission64 2021 yesterday but one of my favourite demos was Mahna Mahna by Mahna Mahna. You can watch it above but if you have a C64 emulator or real hardware then grab it from CSDb and watch it there. So fun. I love it.

I loved the PETSCII King Tut too. An amazing piece of work when you realise it was made from the characters available on the C64 keyboard and not drawn pixel by pixel.

Find more of the releases on this page at the Transmission64 website but before I leave you here’s a selection of the stunning graphics entered in the competition this year.

The entire stream of the Transmission64 demoparty is available on Twitch.