So the Amiga was a great platform, technologically superior to anything anywhere close to it’s price range. Unfortunately, Commodore managed to screw it all up and go bust.
Nowadays, the Amiga OS is owned by a company called “Amiga International” who have contracted out development of the OS to another company called “Hyperion”. Now, AmigaOS version 4 is now available, and it promises to be a great OS.
However, in true Amiga style, the companies involved are screwing everything up.
Firstly, AmigaOS only runs on PowerPC. Now this in itself is not a bad thing, all the major games consoles run PowerPC chips, and used macs are plentiful and cheap on ebay, and AmigaOS itself is lightweight enough to run at a usable speed on an older mac that wouldn’t be capable of running the latest MacOS.
Only, the companies behind AmigaOS have placed artificial restrictions in place. You can’t just install AmigaOS on any old PowerPC hardware, you have to buy custom built PowerPC hardware with proprietary firmware. Only, there is no such hardware currently on the market! Apparently some such hardware has recently been announced. There are no formal specs, nor are there any firm prices. In short, this hardware is vapourware and may never actually be sold.
These ridiculous restrictions are supposedly to stop piracy. But all it will really do, is ensure that AmigaOS never gains any new users. Only the few remaining die-hard Amiga users will buy custom hardware in order to try AmigaOS 4. People who might otherwise have tried it out on a spare mac, or under an emulator like PearPC simply won’t bother.
As for piracy, a small platform _NEEDS_ piracy. The original Amiga achieved much of it’s success because of how easy it was to pirate the games. Microsoft achieved their current market position largely through pirate installs hugely increasing their market share. Just think where Microsoft would be in countries like China or Russia where virtually all software is pirated. Very few people in these countries would buy windows if they couldn’t pirate it. They would be using one of the freely available alternatives like Linux or FreeBSD, or have developed their own local software.
With more users, whether those users have paid for, or pirated the OS, comes greater interest. A percentage of these users will develop additional software for the OS, and advocate or demonstrate the OS to their friends. Conversely, if the only people using AmigaOS 4 are the die hard Amiga users who have been advocating Amiga for years, what good will it do?
Many people would want to try out AmigaOS on hardware they already have, or can obtain cheaply. But very few people will be willing to buy a complete hardware/software package for an unproven OS that’s tied to overpriced outdated proprietary hardware, with few applications, and a small user base on blind faith alone (ie, having never used the OS themselves at a friends place etc).
So in these days, everyone is jumping on the global warming bandwagon… Companies are producing more efficient cars, governments are trying to force people to emit less carbon through taxes, processor makers are moving towards more efficient less power hungry designs.
Microsoft however, have just brought out a new, more inefficient, more power hungry OS. Multiplied by all the millions of machines that will be running it, how much power is going to be wasted?
People are very big on managed/interpreted code nowadays, and very few people code hand optimized assembler any more… Multiplied among all the millions of computers running the world over, how much power is being wasted, and how much CO2 is being emitted by running sub optimal code?
I stumbled across the site:
This lists fastmemoryman and details some of his fraud, and how useless ebay/paypal are at responding to them.
It seems that fastmemoryman has also been taking lower clock rate AMD processors, and then overclocking them and trying to pass them off as faster (and therefore more expensive) chips.
As you can no doubt see, it is possible to post comments against my posts to this blog. These comments then come to me for moderation, mainly to prevent spam, and the great majority of comments received have been supportive and from people similarly screwed over by fastmemoryman.
Well, now i got a post from someone called “Jack”. Now jack posted using the email address “email@example.com”, which is not a valid email address. He also posted from the IP address 188.8.131.52 which resolves to dsl-69-210-209-137.dsl.wotnoh.ameritech.net, that is: an american ADSL line.
Now i thought it rather fishy that someone from an american IP would be posting claiming to be from a UK email address, so i checked the mail headers in some of my correspondence from fastmemoryman:
Received: from unknown (HELO elmobile5) (firstname.lastname@example.org@184.108.40.206 with login)
by smtp108.sbc.mail.mud.yahoo.com with SMTP; 16 Apr 2007 14:17:17 -0000
As you can see, the IP address is the same, so fastmemoryman is trying to post lies to my blog supporting his fraud. So here is what he posted:
The seller has about 98 feedback and sells memory cheaper than anyone
else. Try talking to the customers service instead of emails and you’ll
get the best explaination to your problems. These high density modules
that you’re talking about seem to have better performance than Branded
Kingston as we use them in our systems. Yes – they have limitations -
but so do Kingston memory. Would you blame Kingston if your computers
did not work with their memory against working with FastMM’s stuff? Get
your facts straight!
And here is the reply which i tried to send to his email address, which bounced:
Your submission contained a UK email address, but came from an american IP
address which looks very suspicious to me.
He has this level of feedback because most people are technically
illiterate and are easily fooled. For instance, he tried to claim that my
K8T Neo-FSR motherboard contains a via 8237 chipset, when infact it
contains a K8T800. He clearly lists the K8T800 as being compatible, so he
was trying to con me into thinking i was using a motherboard he hadnt
claimed was compatible (and thus the incompatibility was my own fault).
Many people would have been taken in by this, and assumed themselves to be
in the wrong.
You mention Kingston memory, if you buy a module from Kingston, then it
Is NOT compatible with my K8T800 board, despite his claims
Is NOT branded Micron memory (micron do not make high density memory), it
will be a branded Kingston module, and it will also be compatible with all
the machines Kingston claims it to be compatible with. Contrast this to
fastmemoryman’s memory which:
is instead an unbranded module built using some Micron components.
As for performance, when you are comparing like for like (same clockrate,
same timings) high density memory will always be slower due to it’s basic
design. If your branded Kingston memory is slower, then it’s almost
certainly running at a lower rate, or with more lax latency settings.
And you mention speaking to customer service. I have done this, they have
They initially claimed my K8T800 based motherboard *WAS* compatible.
They later claimed my motherboard (an MSI K8T Neo-FSR) uses an incompatible
repeatedly lied and tried to con me:
chipset, when infact it uses the VIA K8T800 listed on their original
They claimed i could not send the item to the UK address, and yet when i
called up the UK company they were happy to accept it. This was clearly
designed to discourage me from sending it back, by artificially inflating
They claimed the item was not defective, but refused to disclose the
procedure they used to determine this.
I was driving along a very familiar road… This particular road consists of 10 miles of dual-carriageway, a roundabout, and 10 more miles of dual carriageway ending in a reasonably steep hill for about the last mile.
I was driving along this road, nearing the roundabout in the middle, using cruise control set to 80mph when some moron in a tiny tin pot little car overtook me at about 90mph. I believe it was a “Fiat Punto”, that had a large aftermarket spoiler, an incredibly noisy exhaust system and lots of neon lights. Not only was the exhaust noisy, but it wasn’t the powerfull sound you hear from a performance car, it was the pathetic whine you hear from a cheap low performance car with broken mufflers.
We then both slowed down for the roundabout, at this point i began regaining ground on him, as his obviously rather shit car had to slow down massively to make the turn.
Past the roundabout, i allowed the cruise control to accelerate me back to 80mph and continue my journey, during this accelerating i overtook him again and put some considerable distance between us as his feeble engine strained to accelerate the weight of his car plus all the accessories.
A few more miles down the road, he had finally reached 90mph again and manage to overtake me again, only to be greeted by the mile-long hill near the end of the road. This hill caused his feeble vehicle to decelerate to around 50mph, resulting in me overtaking him yet again.
Now, his car was a heap of shit, no two ways about it. In it’s default state it performs poorly and is hardly comfortable to ride in. And yet, he spent a considerable amount of money on ridiculous accessories like neon lights, side skirts, a huge sound system, a louder exhaust and a spoiler.
Now on a high performance car, a spoiler will increase downforce. This is needed when a car has more power than it does grip, so it can transfer more of that power into the road. But when a car is underpowered to begin with, a spoiler just causes drag and slows it down.
This idiot, spent all this money and for what, to make his car look stupid and perform poorly. He made a shit car even more shit, while spending so much money on it he could have bought a better car to start with.
Just now i was presented with the following ad:http://www.ev4.org/img/lamead2.png (WARNING: BIG)It seemed able to work out that i was using a mac, but then tried to sell me windows software… Isn’t it a bit pointless to market your product to someone you’ve already established won’t want it?
So still having no luck getting my money back from “fastmemoryman” aka emartbuy, i decided to do some research.
It turns out, that he has defrauded many more people, the evidence is all over the internet… A quick google for “fastmemoryman” reveals several people who have been ripped off by him.
It would seem that he bulk buys tech items, computer memory and memory cards etc, which varies wildly in terms of quality and source. Some of it is good quality branded goods, while other stuff is cheap generic garbage. He attains his high ebay score by selling some of the quality goods at a minimal profit, while also selling cheap unbranded garbage and sometimes masquerading it as branded goods. In my case, he got hold of some DDR SDRAM modules which happened to use Micron branded components.
Now these particular components in question, are intended by Micron to be used to construct 512MB memory modules, some unethical and nameless company has bought a bulk load of these modules, and double stacked them to produce 1GB “high density” modules. Now this is all well and good, cheap unbranded generic memory with poor compatibility has it’s place and if he sold it as that it wouldn’t be so bad. The problem stems from his method of selling, he claims this memory is manufacturerd by Micron, who are a reputable memory manufacturer. Now while some of the components may have been manufacturerd by Micron the final module is not, and the components are being used outside of Micron recommendations. To use a car analogy, A Ford is still a Ford even when it has Michelin tyres fitted. It does not become a Michelin car simply because some of the components were made by Michelin. Ford assemble the various components into a cohesive unit recognised as a car, and Michelin could not be held responsible if the tyres Ford selected for use on their car were intended for different uses, for instance if Ford put Michelin branded tyres intended for use on pedal bikes on the car.
A good description of what high density memory is, why it is almost always unbranded, and why reputable manufacturers such as Micron or Samsung would never put their name to it can be found here:
Another way he scams unsuspecting buyers, is in the postage.
I bought 3 memory modules from him, and he charged me Â£6 (6 British Pounds) per item for the postage, even tho i purchased 3 items at once. These items arrived in a single envelope (he saved money on packaging) and with postage stamps attached to a value of Â£0.95 (the cost to ship a single module in the same way is also Â£0.95). Thus, he reduced his shipping costs by two thirds by sending the three items at once, and yet passed none of these savings on to the purchaser.
Also, Â£6 is rather an unreasonable cost shipping, considering that the padded envelope can be worth no more than Â£0.30, and let’s add in Â£0.75 handling – a very high estimate. This makes the shipping cost to be Â£2 for a single item, and Â£2 for 3 items. Yet he charges Â£6 for one item, and Â£18 for 3 items, netting himself Â£16 profit at no extra work.
Add to this his “returns policy” which states that seller pays for return postage and does not receive their original shipping costs back. Thus, even if the buyer returns the item and receives a refund according to this policy, fastmemoryman makes a profit of Â£4 on each defective memory module sold and returned, while still having the defective module to use against another unsuspecting buyer.
Incidentally, this policy is illegal under the UK’s “Sale Of Goods Act” which states that a merchant selling an item must cover any and all costs associated with repair, reimbursement or replacement of defective goods, for the protection of consumers.
So back to my case, despite repeatedly requesting to send the item to the UK address, fastmemoryman insisted that i must send it internationally at my own cost. However, i called up the company he uses for distribution in the UK and they were more than happy to accept a return. So why would he say otherwise? The only reason can be, that he wants to discourage people from claiming refunds or replacement by hiking up the shipping cost.
So i sent the item to the UK address, and it got forwarded back to fastmemoryman. I then receive an email stating:
Your returned item was received, tested, and determined to be in working order. It seems there is a compatibility problem since the module is working on our end. The
module you ordered is high density (dual in line 128×4). Your motherboard only supports low density modules (64×8).
Your Dell Dimension 3000 has an INTEL 865 chipset, your Dimension 3100 has and INTEL 915GV, and your MSI K8T Neo-FSR has a VIA 8235/8237 chipset that only support low
density memory. The specs may be right but you ordered high density and you need low density. Below is the compatibility list from your auction. You can see that
these chipset are not listed:
Known to work with:
VIA KT266 (except ASUS KT266)
VIA KT333 (except ASUS KT333)
VIA KT600 (except ASUS KT600)
SIS 648, 648FX
KT 400 (except ASUS KT400)
KT 400A (except ASUS KT400A)
NFORCE 3 250GB
NFORCE 4 SLI
You can either upgrade to a compatible low density module for an additional $18 USD each which includes shipping, or receive a refund according to our refunds policy
(see Ebay) for your returned item. Please make payment at the link below. In the payment for box we need “PAYMENT FOR 1GB LOW DENSITY UPGRADE “.
So here he tries to claim that the machines in which i have tested the memory are not compatible. He claims that the Dimension 3100 has an Intel 915GV chipset, and yet the Intel 915 is listed as being compatible, you’d think these chipsets would be close enough together as to be virtually the same. He also claims, that my MSI K8T Neo-FSR uses an incompatible chipset, in this case a VIA 8235/8237. Now, someone less stubborn or with less technical knowledge may simply accept this, and pay him extra or claim a partial refund (and therefore he profits via his extortionate shipping and gets to sell the lowgrade memory to some other unsuspecting victim). But i thought i’d dig into it further. It turns out, that the VIA 8235/8237 chips are not full motherboard chipsets, and that they are “South Bridge” chips, which are the motherboard components that controll USB, IDE, SATA and the like. As opposed to the “North Bridge” chips which are what interface between the CPU and Memory.
So, i find the MSI specs page for my K8T Neo-FSR motherboard, which is at:
Now if you look closely at that spec, you will see it uses a VIA K8T800 chipset, the same VIA K8T800 chipset which is clearly listed as being compatible on his original listing.
So he has tried to trick me into thinking my motherboard is not among the machines listed as being compatible, even tho it is.
He has also failed, despite repeated requests, to detail exactly how he tested the memory and came to the conclusion that it was not defective. I already stated that the memory would in some cases function for several hours before causing a crash, if all he has done is inserted the memory and let the machine do the usual crude memory test most PC’s do at startup, then of course it would appear to be working.
I will make more posts as and when there is progress, for now i will make one last request for a full refund, before reporting this to UK Trading Standards.
I have also taken it upon myself to report fastmemoryman’s fraudulent listings to ebay, that is the listings where he is mislabelling a low grade unbranded high density memory module as having been produced by a reputable brand, and i am in the process of contacting these memory manufacturers to inform them of how this guy is misrepresenting their brands with low quality goods.
I get a lot of calls from companies wanting to sell me something, or offering their services… And here are a few of my biggest gripes:
Calling from witheld number – If you call from a witheld number, i won’t answer your call. I want to be able to recognise who is calling so I can decide if I want to answer it or not. If you don’t hide your number, you increase the chance of the call being answered and/or called back. So, why hide your number unless you have something to hide?
Leaving voicemail… If your leaving a voicemail, think first.
Voicemails like “Hi this is Joe from BlahCO”. Great, now what the hell is BlahCO? Unless your calling from a huge organisation that everyone will immediately recognise, or a company with whom i’m already doing business, you really must qualify what your organisation is. Otherwise, how am I to know? It’s incredibly arrogant to assume i will have already heard of your company.
Asking me to call you back on an 0845/0870/09 number. – This is a NO NO. I will not under any circumstances call you back on an 0845/0870 kickback number. Why should you make money from me calling you? Give me a regular 01/02 number, or a freephone 0800.
Giving vague information on voicemail “Hi this is Joe from BlahCO, i have an opportunity you might be interested in could you call me back”. An opportunity for what? Your not gonna give me any information? Why should i call you back only to find out that it’s of absoloutely no interest to me whatsoever? Even worse if you expect me to call a kickback number, and actually pay you for the privilege of hearing that you have nothing to interest me at all. If you want me to call you back, give some useful information as to why.
Only giving a phone number – I might not want to speak to you on the phone. I sometimes work weird hours, so i’m not available during your working hours. I also want to decide if and when i talk to you. I prefer time to consider things, not be put on the spot on the phone. Leaving me an email address through which i can communicate with you is much easier for me, and far more likely to get you a response.