The democratic blog
This information was provided by a famous hacker called Mathew, who would tell me nothing more than he used a prism modem, routed the information via his hacker friend in Switzerland, before printing it on a dot matrix printer and snail mailing it to me to protect his identity. Therefore I can't reveal my sources past this statement.
This document is the first draft of a blog to be used in the book “Creating the Sinclair ZX Vega and Vega+”.
Monday 15th February, 2016
The Vega+ Indiegogo campaign opens, hoping to raise £100,000 to turn the fully working prototype into production models.
I’m absolutely positive they’ll soar past that and produce a great product that exceeds all our expectations ahead of time. I’m not that familiar with the people behind RCL but, from what I’ve heard, they seem to have a long history of success in business. It seems companies house says otherwise but what would they know about it! Great people shouldn’t be taxed, just look at politicians and Amazon.
Sunday 27th March, 2016
Wow! The Vega+ Indiegogo campaign closes, having raised £366,655 (367% of the product's goal). RCL have posted that they hope to even beat their September delivery estimate since they raised so much extra money!
It’s good to see a company finally taking the bull by the horns and not just resting on their laurels. Too many of these so called “crowd funders” have folded or run into problems because people got greedy. RCL, on the other hand, seem to know exactly what they’re doing and I’m pretty sure they’re going to deliver an absolutely dynamite product with the best handheld ZX Spectrum experience on it, built from the ground up by their in-house team of hard working geniuses.
I can’t wait!
Friday 15th April, 2016
A little birdie tells me that 2 of the former directors have recently resigned. Normally this would spell the beginning of the end for a company, but I personally believe a regular purge is required to be successful in business. From what I’ve heard, they’ve retained the most competent people at RCL and it should be business as usual.
I’ve also been told that RCL are bringing onboard one of the world’s leading PHP developers. This guy is apparently so good he restores databases manually by ripping the text from archive.org! No lame SQL backup files for this guy. He also refers to himself as “the owner of world of spectrum” in many of his posts. I find anyone that talks about themselves in the 3rd person like that comes across as incredibly intelligent and knowledgeable.
The naysayers said that RCL would never be able to afford someone with such a unique skillset, but they have proved everyone wrong again! I have an extremely good feeling about this chap.
Incredible news! RCL have re-assured everyone that shipping is still on track - they posted today saying "We are due to ship mid to late September. Next week we will be at Games Con and will have something to show then."
I am very tempted to book a flight to Games Con and buy them all a beer for running such a smooth and drama-free campaign!
I was expecting the device a little earlier, to be honest, but September sounds great. I realise now I was being selfish and thinking more of myself than RCL. They know what’s best for us! After all, we’d not want them to release something that’s not quite perfect yet. I believe in RCL and, what’s more, I trust them and know they’re going to provide the best handheld ZX Spectrum experience ever - something that’s way ahead of everything else and is truly an experience unique to the Vega+
Friday 30th September, 2016
Good news! The first shipping date has been missed, but that must mean they’re doing some serious testing before they send them out. All crowdfunders are late anyway. Not long now!
Definitely, definitely get ready for release soon. They’ll be releasing in October if not sooner so hold onto your hats. Also, don’t forget - “We’re all really excited by all this!”
According to an RCL spokesman (who gets pissed off when people call him a spokesman yet falls over himself at every opportunity to speak on their behalf), he saw for himself the devices being produced at the factory in April. It’s a LONG way from SMS to RCL HQ but the blind, directionally challenged charity courier they employed will be here really soon.
Did we mention how excited we all are about this?
Saturday 15th October, 2016
Fantastic news! RCL have received ”Arrow certification", a design review to ensure the campaign is ready for production!
That doesn’t in any way mean it’s going to go into production, though, as sadly all of RCL’s energies are being sapped by bullies at the moment. In between posting 80’s garbage on their facebook page and making snippy comments on indiegogo it’s no wonder they don’t have time to produce the device they’ve taken £500k+ for.
We should all feel sorry for RCL. Certain pillars of the community are trying to keep things right by attacking anyone who has a bad word to say about them.
Just to reiterate. It’s NOT RCL’s fault that they’ve yet to produce the product. It’s the fault of their backers and the community at large.
Sadly, this is yet another reminder as to why humanity can’t have nice things.
Having said that, I believe we’re all still meant to be “really excited by this” - so keep your chins up and please don’t contact paypal or your banks to do chargebacks yet. It takes about 14 hours for Suzanne to make one Nik Kershaw/Army of Lovers post on facebook so bear that in mind. They’re working 24/7 and are a small team.
Monday 31st October, 2016
Hoorah! The second shipping date has been missed - but this is a good thing. I’d rather wait than have a rushed product.
It’s important to note that, although the product was in production in April, it does take a very long time to assemble a product. There are tales of computers being put into a production and not coming out of the factory until about 15 years later, it really is that long a process!
In that respect, RCL are still doing absolutely great and we’ve every right to be both excited and impressed by their progress thus far.
Friday 25th November, 2016
Great news! RCL have identified an improvement that would make the feel of the product far better, including a correction in the design of one of the buttons. RCL have completed the necessary revisions, produced the first batch of custom made modified buttons and will be spending the next few days manufacturing units, and will announce the delivery schedule. It’s great to see RCL ensuring a quality product will be released!
Obviously their fingers have been finely honed over the last few months by posting valuable updates on indiegogo and filling their facebook page with adverts for music and events best forgotten (anything from mainstream culture of the 1980’s basically).
Without them working 24/7 to ensure the product is the best it possibly can be we could have been left with something that was not 100% what we wanted it to be.
Again, we’ve really got to thank RCL for this.
Monday 28th November, 2016
A super day! RCL can no longer promise Xmas delivery, but I’m sure they are just under-promising so that when they deliver by Xmas everyone will get a great surprise.
RCL have also confirmed that backers' money has been ringfenced, which should shut up the trolls!
Suzanne confirms that RCL have been deleting comments which is great, as I’m sick of the reading the campaign comments and annoying posts such as “when is the device shipping?”,“why are you ignoring my refund request?” and “why do my comments keep disappearing?”
The people asking this kind of thing are clearly plotting to derail the entire project and don’t actually want anyone to get their devices. This is just jealous, bitter thuggery of the highest order. Also, anyone who writes in all caps all the time is just a complete scumbag, regardless of the fact that everything they post seems to be checking out 100%. I just switch off when I see caps or any dissent whatsoever on Indiegogo. Who do these people think they are? RCL are so busy that they’ve missed three deadlines. As we all know, deadlines are merely advisory so what is everyone complaining about? It’s not like someone lost a kidney!
Suzanne says they will not be giving any delivery dates unless they are 110% certain, so when the next date is given we can be 110% confident that it will be the final date.
It’s important that we trust Suzanne. 20 years in journalism and PR means she really knows what she’s doing and, what’s more, she knows how to diffuse an angry mob. I’m sure any day now she’ll drop some bombs of truth on these scumbags who keep posting rubbish on Indiegogo. Any day now.
Thursday 8th December, 2016
Yippee! That annoying backer Peeto (probably a fake troll account) has been refunded, so we won’t have to put up with his annoying questions about delivery dates and suchlike.
I’m getting really fed up of people complaining day after day on indiegogo. The human life is often about waiting, these people just expect everything way after the original deadline (and multiple others) pass. Who do they think they are?
We’ve been told that RCL are doing their best and I for one believe that. I’ll keep waiting and although they don’t have time to post any actual progress on Indiegogo I’m really enjoying the pop videos they post every few minutes on their facebook page.
Friday 23rd December, 2016
Awesome news! The console won’t be coming out in time for Xmas, and RCL have announced the console will now ship in February! It’s great to see the device getting another couple of months of development, it’s going to be so much better than the rushed-out-for-Xmas device would have been.
My children are in fits of tears but I’m planning on cheering them up by showing them some Culture Club videos from the RCL facebook page. Got it bookmarked and everything. It’ll blow their Christmas socks off! (Which is what they got as a main present as we couldn’t afford anything, however it’s best to have our money with RCL, it’s ringfenced so it’s safe!)
Saturday 7th January, 2017
I’m appalled! One of Lee Fogarty’s lifelong friends Nick Roper has had his name dragged through the mud today. The poor guy died 20 years ago and all Lee did was create an account for him, pledge £5 and start answering questions to backers - and he gets jumped on! Seriously, what’s the big deal? Lee’s explanation and evidence is watertight - move on, trolls!
Unfortunately I seem to have been banned from the RCL facebook page for saying Boy George was better as part of Culture Club and wasn’t a great solo artist especially when he chained that boy to a radiator and had to go to prison. It seems Suzanne and the rest of RCL have strong views about that. To be honest it was my own silly fault, I should have known their opinion was better than mine.
Friday 10th February, 2017
Amazing news! A blog post on the RCL website says the first Vega+ units will ship after the 20th February 2017! The trolls will only have 10 more days before they’ll have egg on their faces!
I hope they’ve ordered a pack of 24 eggs (at least) because a lot of omelettes will be needing to be made that day. The arseholes!
Lee has said to a few people now that the devices are in hand but there’s been a slight issue with the firmware that means they all need to be sent elsewhere in order to have an updated version flashed to the boards. I’m not sure what that means but it definitely sounds like the truth. So, there you go, trolls and haters, the Vega+ exists and there are thousands of them winging their way right now to a factory to have firmware re-written to them. Should only be a matter of days now before they’re being sent out to us backers. I wonder if they’ll ship directly from the factory. I can’t wait to see the box!
In your FACE, trolls!
Friday 24th February, 2017
Good news! Indiegogo have closed down the Vega+ campaign due to missed delivery deadlines and a lack of communication to backers - I’m extremely happy about this. Once they deliver their first perk they’ll be able to go back into the “In Demand” phase anyway, and a little birdie tells me that there’s an amazing new website coming out very soon with a shop! I’m getting excited!
I’m really looking forward to doubling down on my Vega+ investment. There’s a lot of buzz about the product on the web and I’m just ignoring the naysayers. My kids were already upset, they can’t be upset AGAIN! (If they are then they’re just showing off how spoilt they truly must be and, therefore, it’s perhaps good that they learn some life lessons). Thanks to RCL my kids are really learning the value of both money and perseverance. Great life lessons! Thanks, RCL!
Sunday 26th February, 2017
Stop the press! RCL announce that the Vega+ will now be using FUSE - the Free Unix Spectrum Emulator - instead of the hardware implementation originally promised! This is a very positive development!
I already have FUSE on multiple devices but that’s not the point. I’m sure RCL are going to knock it out the park with an amazing case design that really brings back the nostalgic feelings of the ZX Spectrum. Plus, how many other consoles have been through such illustrious hands? The PSP and DS both came out on their proposed launch dates so, really, how much work can Sony and Nintendo have put in? Rushed out botch jobs if you ask me, go go RCL - I can’t wait to wait some more for what will definitely be an exceptional product!
I’ve been really worried about the manual being forgotten too, but RCL have answered my prayers saying they haven't forgotten about it! I will sleep much better tonight now!
Thursday 9th March, 2017
Those trolls at the Beeb have published an article full of lies designed to kill the project. Why do they want to damage this project so much? They’re not going after The64 project like this, it’s totally unfair. I’m sure someone is feeding information to them. I haven’t got any evidence, but I sense it must be true. Don’t tell anyone, but I haven’t actually read the article properly (and don’t intend to as it just makes my blood boil) as the first bit I read is old fake news about the funding campaign being halted by Indiegogo. I refuse to believe it.
RCL should really sue them about this as it’s clearly fake. I’m just presuming that they’re not doing so because they don’t want to lower themselves to that level. No, indeed, litigation for anything is far beneath these good, moral people. They don’t HAVE to prove anything to anyone. The proof is in the pudding and, as everyone knows, you don’t follow the traditional recipe if baking a cake. If the recipe book says “bake for 30 minutes at gas mark 5” you crank up the oven to max and leave it in until it’s bloody well ready and not before. When I bake cakes with instructions like that I tend to leave them in the oven for around 17 hours at gas mark 9. They’re always a little crunchy but carbon is good for you and I’ve got plenty of time to wait. God bless RCL.
Friday 10th March, 2017
More great news today to silence the trolls! An Indiegogo backer had the nerve to ask "When backers ask for a refund, why don't you give them one" and wondering if they will delete his question. Suzanne Martin shut the troll down instantly by saying "We aren't deleting any comments - but we are aware of a number of bugs. Some people can't post. We have never refused to refund a backer." That’s one less troll we have to worry about!
In even more great news, David Levy has said shipping will be in "a few weeks" - I can’t wait! Not long now…
It’s not often that David himself decides to make a comment. It’s a bit like being spoken to by God. I sometimes imagine he is totally bald and that the dramatic wisps of white hair encircling his powerfully intelligent cranium are actually clouds swirling around. When I think of him that way he seems very godlike.
I do pray and there have been times when I’ve caught myself saying “Dear David” instead of “Dear God” and do you know what? I’ve not even corrected myself!
Wednesday 15th March, 2017
I am so excited! I’ve just seen a post from the PR guru Suzanne that says RCL are editing some footage of the Vega+ units and RCL are giving the video the Hollywood treatment! I’m expecting a high-def movie quality intro, full boot-up process, seeing my name on the honour roll, the games list and playing a few games. It will be epic! It wouldn’t surprise me if the special effects rival (or even top) the Star Wars movies!
The only downer is that it seems even the courier companies are trying to scupper this project and I’m fed up with it. I reckon some of that stolen missing money was used over the weekend to bribe the courier driver to deliver the package to the wrong address - it’s the only logical explanation. I wish these trolls would just get lost and accept that the Vega+ is going to be beyond anything their tiny minds could ever even conceive of, let alone produce in the sort of numbers RCL are working on.
Thursday 16th March, 2017
Wonderful news! The "Arrow certification" has been revoked today! RCL didn’t need that anyway, and it’s just another distraction. It’s not like anyone lost a kidney or anything. I’m still happy to wait!
Who needs the go ahead from a crummy bunch of cowboys? Not RCL. They’ve been mavericks from the start, bucking all trends and resolutely refusing to rush out this wonderful and excellent device. Who the hell do these “Arrow” people think they are? No clue. Clearly in league with the trolls. I can only hope they get taken to court but not by RCL as RCL wouldn’t do that. They’re amazing.
Also today I saw this amazing post from one of the real legends of the Spectrum retro scene. He wrote this amazing blog called “mic drop” and started taking out the anti-RCL trolls with the precision of the round-house “off with their head” move in that Barbarian game! It was so exciting to see! I went back for another read but the chap seems to be having some technical problem with the website. I hope it comes back online soon as it’s been down for about half the day now.
Thursday 23rd March, 2017
I’ve just come across a facebook page about RCL which is Retro Computers Limited Vega+ Democracy. It’s run by a couple of great admins who have absolutely no vested interest in RCL or the Vega+ at all, being as neither of them have invested and neither of them seem to know much of anything about the situation. I applaud RCL for endorsing this group by posting in it and refraining from posting in the “other” Vega+ group on facebook which is full of trolls.
I really like how the admins in the good Vega+ group just ban trolls and/or anyone who asks an impertinent question like “where is my refund?” or “where is the product?” immediately. Who do those people think they are? Do they understand how rude they’re being? I’m so glad that the admins are not afraid of banning anyone and everyone in order to maintain a clear channel to RCL and a product that they, as I’ve already said, have no vested interest in.
It’s also great that RCL have accepted these people are going to act on their behalf for the greater good. Too many people get away with too much on facebook and I’ve seen people having run-ins with these admins and it’s been handled expertly. To be an admin you really do have to divorce yourself from reality and/or facts sometimes and these people excel in this area. They’re really not messing around.
RCL deserve some breathing room, especially on facebook, and I for one will be damned if I’m going to let trolls run roughshod all over their legacy and future. It’s just not fair.
Friday 31st March, 2017
"Shipping in a few weeks" deadline missed but, really, instead of thinking of it as a “deadline missed” I prefer the term “deadline surpassed”. They’re really going above and beyond the call of duty here, even smashing through their own self imposed limits. It’s breathtaking. RCL are like the crowdfunded equivalent of Usain Bolt except they’re on a treadmill that just gets slower and slower. God, sorry, David bless ‘em!
I don’t know about the rest of you but I for one am REALLY excited about this!
Wednesday 19th April, 2017
When will these trolls let it go? There’s some more “fake news” story about game authors demanding missing ZX Spectrum reboot royalties on The Register. There’s some stuff about games rights holders having had their software used without permission and no royalty statements etc. Don’t people realise this is just slowing down this great project?
Every time a troll makes an article like this it’s like a pin in the giant, welcoming cushion that is RCL’s heart. The community are wilfully damaging this great project with this nonsense and I wish they’d just stop.
My children are in floods of tears. Again.
Friday 21st April, 2017
A summary to show everyone the project is extremely successful - in a mere 14 months RCL have achieved all this:
- Processed all refund requests (except for a few hundred, but I bet heaps of those are fake troll accounts).
- Made about 30 prototypes, and several of them have working buttons now! Only 4770 to go!
- Being very “secret squirrel” regarding the games list so the trolls don’t know who to bribe to revoke their games.
- Posted at least half a dozen legal notices - these are so interesting, it feels like I'm a cast member in a Perry Mason episode. More please RCL!
- Lee Fogarty has the manual.
- I’m pretty sure I saw something about the dimensions on a Facebook post somewhere, but it may have been deleted? Either way, I’ve bought a case in advance of receiving it.
- Their accounts are only a month or two overdue, nothing to worry about.
- The final battery specification decision is in its final stages.
- The confirmation email for physical addresses of the backers is almost ready to go.
- The confirmation email for the honour roll names is nearly there.
- The PEGI certification will be dealt with soon.
We believe in you RCL and we also BELIEVE you! Everything you say is as good as gospel, better maybe, as the bible was written years ago and your own wonderful legend is unfolding before our eyes and long may it continue to do so.
There’s a chap on Indiegogo who’s posted that anyone making 100 posts on there is just too much and I 100% agree. Infact, I 1000% agree. I think it’s important to note that his post count is way over 100, too, which just shows the trolls they need to wise up and smell the coffee!
It seems I’ve been banned from the new Vega+ facebook group though, which is strange. I think facebook is probably to blame. One of the admins posted “it’s Monday, it’s the start of a new week, what are you all looking forward to playing on your new Vega+ in 2018” and I simply reminded them that it was 2017 and Friday. I’m sure it must be facebook malfunctioning and there is a reasonable explanation for why I can’t see or post in the group any more!