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  1. So, the next version of the C256 Foenix was announced about a week ago. There's a short video that shows the proposed design and goes through the features: And also this longer one (2 and a half hours) where the creator talks at length about her plans, philosophy (design and otherwise) and talks through the various features. The new one is called the "Gen X", which I at first thought was just yet another use of the notoriously cool letter X, but in the longer video she implies its a reference to Generation X - that is to say, the people who were active in computing in the 8-bit era, and probably most of the target audience for the project (as well as the X16). Here are some of my initial thoughts on the project. As a platform for eight bit computing: it has a 65C816 built-in, but also a slot for expansion cards that offer other processors. This will allow people to use their favorite processor. she talks about how she needs to be better at building a community, but the swappable "2nd processor" will probably fracture the potential community into cliques around the different processors it has both Atari style controller ports and NES and SNES ports, all built in. I think the idea is to make it versatile for game programming, but will all the options just fracture the community further? As a tool for music creation: The audio setup is plentiful: lots of built-in chips plus two slots for SIDs, and built-in MIDI ports. Not sure how easy it is to route the MIDI data to the chips, to assign MIDI parameters to commands relevant to each sound chip, etc. Not sure if that's in the hardware, or if users are able to route things themselves via programming (read: "will have to write code to handle MIDI input themselves"). A fractured community won't matter if someone is using it as a tool for sound creation. Once I output the chipsounds into my modern DAW for mastering I can export audio, and the fact that no one else has my exact setup won't matter, same as with any other synth I might use. likewise, for music creation, the various swappable processors let you access the robust audio hardware with whatever your favorite flavor of assembly language is. Misc: The price means it's not just a fun toy to mess around with. The base system is at least $500 dollars (I assume USD, but I'm not sure, as Stefany is based in Canada), plus $100 or more for each of the additional processor cards. If she's trying to do a better job of communicating, she hasn't quite mastered that yet. For example, the website still has almost no information about what the Gen X even is; you have the watch the videos to find out. I know she's doing this all herself, but still, I'd have gotten the website in order before making the announcement. So who's the market? I feel like it'll be best appreciated by people who exist at the intersection of "enjoy buying expensive music gear" and "enjoy programming in assembly (in order to use that gear)". Not sure how large a group that is. Then again, If I were to get one, my ability to use it for music-making won't depend on the amount of community support it has. I'm still considering it. Anyone else have thoughts on it?
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