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Sci-Fi Media Television

The Borg MegaCube 303

Posted by michael
from the your-wallet-will-be-assimilated dept.
Alien54 writes "Paramount Pictures this week revealed plans to release a DVD box set containing every single episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Called the 'Borg Megacube', the box set will include all seven seasons of TNG across 48 discs, thus collecting all the individual DVD sets into one package. As the name implies, the set comes in the form of a Borg cube. Due out at the beginning of November..."
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The Borg MegaCube

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  • Region 0? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mr.henry (618818) * on Saturday September 27, 2003 @02:58PM (#7073246) Journal
    The Borg MegaCube, the ultimate DVD collection, contains the Complete Star Trek: The Next Generation series 1- 7 across 48 discs and is strictly limited to just 1000 numbered copies worldwide.

    I wonder if it's region encoded.

    The press release is full of foofoo crap ("By order of Starfleet Command...") and doesn't contain too many specs, like whether it's NTSC or PAL!

    It makes me cringe to think about people dropping 450 #'s on this thing and then not opening it up for fear of it losing the precious MINT, NIB collector's status. Personally, I'd rather have a complete run of the series in a nice binder. (On DVD-R.)

    • Re:Region 0? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dionysus (12737) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:06PM (#7073300) Homepage
      For people in Europe, it's pretty much irrelevant which region it's encoded for, since the majority of people get their DVD player fixed when they buy the machine.
      • I don't understand why this is modded funny. It is true. I have 3 dvd players in 3 different stores. When I asked whether they were region free they all said "don't buy Sony or Pioneer" and gave me a sheet of paper with instructions on how to set the player to any region I want. Aiwa all the way, btw.
        • by tempmpi (233132) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @04:51PM (#7073906)
          Sony and Pioneer Player can made codefree with a new firmware. The codefree Sony firmware also disables User Prohibitions, so you can skip to the next chapter whenever you want and you can always change subtitels, audio etc.
          Many recent Pioneer Players also can be made codefree with a code entered with the remote control. Sony and Pioneer are both manufacturing really nice dvd players and many retailers here(Germany) are offering them preloaded with a codefree firmware, so there is really no reason to avoid these players. You can get almost every player in a codefree version here, no matter which brand.
      • Re:Region 0? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JonathanBoyd (644397) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @09:00PM (#7074920) Homepage
        The majority of people who by DVDs aren't even aware there is a region system, let alone know how to modify their player.
    • Re:Region 0? (Score:4, Informative)

      by pla (258480) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:20PM (#7073389) Journal
      I wonder if it's region encoded.

      Yes, they released it region coded.

      But wait for the kicker...

      They haven't yet announced a region-1 version!

      Good thing most of the people with an interest in this have the sense to buy a region-unlockable DVD player...
    • Re:Region 0? (Score:2, Informative)

      by fireboy1919 (257783)
      The number of disks sucks as well. At least, I think it does.

      If we assume that the DVDs are storing everything in slightly higher quality than analog television streams, each episode should take about 300MB - which is realistic, since the feeds were made for television and are going to be played on televisions.

      Each DVD holds just over 9GB. We'll leave the extra for "special features" and just leave the 9GB. Actually, why not leave an extra 216MB and only use 9000MB? 9000MB*48(Disks)/300(MB/Episode)=14
      • by lavalyn (649886) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:49PM (#7073538) Homepage Journal
        Your 300MB number is coming from where? Most probably from sizes you can get with DivX - that is to say, MPEG4. DVDs are MPEG2, using slightly different algorithms and definitely a different quantization matrix... one that emphasizes sharpness instead of the H.264 used in MPEG4 that emphasizes low frequencies.
        • It's coming from empirical evidence of the mpeg2 files I've gotten.

          I get clips from various places, and have reencoded them in mpeg2 format. Specifically, I have encoded them at 30FPS, 320x240 resolution, and between 6000 and 9000 KBps depending upon the quality of the clip. I'm also using 44khz stereo for all audio.

          The average I'm getting is about 300 MB an hour.

          It's possible that's low for Star Trek. Maybe Star Trek episodes are particularly hard to compress. I'm willing to concede that it might ta
          • The problem is that your reencoding them. Since a lot of the data has already been thrown away in the first encoding, you probably get much better compression when you get to the mpeg2 step.
          • by technix4beos (471838) <cs@cshaiku.com> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @08:01PM (#7074714) Homepage Journal
            Your empirical evidence is bogus.

            I'm staring at a Star Trek The Next Generation DVD in my hand now. It contains 4 episodes, with each one being ripped to the hard drive producing 1.8 GIG files in size.

            The very first DVD contains Encounter at Farpoint (both parts), making it one of the exceptions. Each season ends with 3 episodes, and a "features" video. There are 48 DVD's in total, spread across the series so that there are on average 4 episodes on each (roughly, some have 3 and a feature).

            One more thing. Each episode on the DVD has approximately 42 minutes running time, since there are no commercials, and that's what the show's airtime was given.

            Just thought you might like to know some facts. ;)
      • If we assume that the DVDs are storing everything in slightly higher quality than analog television streams, each episode should take about 300MB - which is realistic, since the feeds were made for television and are going to be played on televisions.

        300MB per episode? How do you come up with that number? We're not talking about burning MPEG4 DivXs onto a DVD-R here; we're talking about MPEG2 DVD video. I've never seen anyone put more than 7 30 minute episodes onto a DVD-9, and even that many is very rare.

    • NTSC and PAL are meaningless with DVDs.

      DVDs are digital, and it's your DVD player which is PAL or NTSC, not the disc.

      When 'NTSC' is used on DVDs this usually means it is Region 1, and I can still play it on my region free player which is connected to a PAL TV.

      I've never seen a DVD labelled 'PAL'.
      • This is so wrong in so many ways, I can't even begin to describe.

        Suffice to say, you're wrong. And there are plenty of PAL DVDs. Perhaps you should provide others with explanations only when you have the slightest clue [michaeldvd.com.au] what you're on about.
        • Re:Region 0? (Score:3, Informative)

          by J_DarkElf (602111)
          From that article:

          They're Not Really PAL or NTSC
          The first thing I need to clarify about DVD is that PAL and NTSC are words and formats that are applied to DVD for convenience, and because of historical convention. There is nothing fundamental about a DVD which makes it either PAL or NTSC, but for simplicity and brevity, I will continue to use these terms throughout this article.

          At their heart, DVDs are merely carriers of data files with compressed audio-visual information contained therein. This
          • Yes, there is a difference in resolution, but this is compensated for in the player.

            What about the frame rate? That's not something that can be easily compensated for (at least not if you want good video quality). You mentioned playing NTSC discs on your region-free player on a PAL TV set, so you're lucky that your set can display so-called PAL30 signals--a signal with the PAL color encoding scheme, but 30 frames per second. In the US, regular TVs only display standard 30fps NTSC. If you put a PAL region-f

            • Re:Region 0? (Score:3, Informative)

              by Dot.Com.CEO (624226) *
              It's not PAL30. It's PAL 60. 99% of TV in the market today support it. 99% of the TVs in Europe support NTSC, as well. Basically, PAL is a superior format, resolutionwise, and has no problemwith inferior resolution NTSC video. Anyway, most DVD players convert NTSC-60 to PAL-50 flawlessly. You only there is some kind of conversion in extreme pan shots.
              • Yeah, I goofed on the PAL30 thing. I agree that most PAL sets support PAL 60, but I think you're overstating it when you say that 99% of TVs in Europe support NTSC. This list [geocities.com] shows which formats various TVs support, and while just about all of them support PAL and PAL 60, only a few also support NTSC.

                And I do think PAL is superior to NTSC both in terms of resolution and color quality, but the 50Hz bothers me. I almost always see flickering on TVs when I go to PAL countries... but maybe I've only been seeing

            • Whoops, the 30fps PAL is known as PAL60 [techtronics.com], not PAL30... 60 fields per second.
      • Re:Region 0? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Dahan (130247)
        NTSC and PAL are meaningless with DVDs.

        Incorrect.

        DVDs are digital

        Correct.

        and it's your DVD player which is PAL or NTSC, not the disc.

        Sort of, but not exactly correct.

        When 'NTSC' is used on DVDs this usually means it is Region 1, and I can still play it on my region free player which is connected to a PAL TV.

        Incorrect.

        I've never seen a DVD labelled 'PAL'.

        That may be, but I highly doubt that you've seen every DVD. I own a few DVDs that say PAL on them. Here are links to the NTSC version [blackstar.co.uk] and the PAL [blackstar.co.uk]

  • by FatSean (18753) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:01PM (#7073263) Homepage Journal
    I heard that there will be 'pop ups' on the screen. You press 'enter' and text will explain why this episode contradicts other episodes...
  • by PoitNarf (160194) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:02PM (#7073269)
    From TrekToday:
    "The Borg Megacube is currently scheduled to hit stories in Region 2 (Europe) on November 3, 2003. It is not known whether a Region 1 (North America) version will also be released, but only 1000 copies will be on sale worldwide."

    http://www.trektoday.com/news/260903_01.shtml
    • "The Borg Megacube is currently scheduled to hit stories in Region 2 (Europe) on November 3, 2003..."

      Those darn news sites, with their region-encoded text... good thing I cracked my browser so I can read Region 1 stories...
    • One word. Linux.

      Nuff said?

      • Three words: built-in region coding. (Or is that four?)

        Computer DVD drives built after a certain date (a few years ago) have a region code built into the drive itself. You can change the region through software up to five times, after that further changes are locked out.

  • There go my savings. (Score:4, Informative)

    by SixDimensionalArray (604334) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:02PM (#7073271)
    Considering that in the US each single season goes for ~$100, how much could this cost?

    Oh well, there go my savings! And retirement benefits! And computer gadget money! :)
    • by Judg3 (88435)
      Well, if you RTFA you'd of seen that it retails for 449 pounds, which as of right now is about 750$ USD.

      It's a shame that there's only 1000 copies released. I'm not the biggest Trek fan, but I used to watch TNG fairly religously (still catch it now and then) and a whole set like this would of been real nice to have. But, like others have said, I'm going to guess that about 900 of those 1000 copies will be bought by die hard trekkies, never opened, and either safely tucked away in a nitrogen filled, cooled,
    • If you're paying $100 per season, you may not be looking in the right place [half.com].
    • Considering that in the US each single season goes for ~$100, how much could this cost?

      Amazon.co.uk has it on pre-order for 338.23 which currently is US $561.66 (excluding exchange costs).

      Obligatory affiliate link to item here [amazon.co.uk].

  • by mr.henry (618818) * on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:02PM (#7073274) Journal
    Paramount should market some 'Starfleet Lube' that fans can buy to ease the pain of merchandise-related anal rape. Berman personally tested it out on Brannon Braga.
    • Star Trek has always been about merchandising. Leonard Nimoy's famous falling out with Saint Gene started when he wouldn't wear some Junior Star Fleet item they were merchandising. Even all that fancy philosophising is just marketing -- Roddenbery wanted to be studio mogul, not a Great Thinker. Alas, he had no talent for either.
      • Star Trek has always been about merchandising. Leonard Nimoy's famous falling out with Saint Gene started when he wouldn't wear some Junior Star Fleet item they were merchandising. Even all that fancy philosophising is just marketing -- Roddenbery wanted to be studio mogul, not a Great Thinker. Alas, he had no talent for either.

        I remember reading this story in Shatner's ST:Memories autobiog. The item in question was the IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infitite Combinations), and Nimoy and Shatner ultimately c
        • It's astonishing how many strange projects Roddenberry was involved in. I remember seeing a pilot for a half-hour lawyer drama he made, starring DeForest Kelley. Then there was this weird movie [imdb.com], populated by some major stars, some recycled Star Trek actors, and an unlikely number of miniskirted teenage girls. Then he came to UC Riverside to make a movie/tv pilot called Genesis II [imdb.com]. (I was there at the time. Ever since, I can't look at a certain kind of campus architecture [usefilm.com] without wondering if it's specifical
    • My gosh, if you don't like the price, don't buy it. I'm tired of people making comparisons to sexual violence when it simply doesn't apply. It's not as if people are being tracked down in some back alley and molested. I think it dilutes the meaning of the act.

      One person's worthwhile purchase is another's rip-off.
  • by Exiler (589908) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:03PM (#7073279)
    the nerd's collective personal hygine screams
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You will be Slashdotted.
  • Storage... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SharpFang (651121) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:03PM (#7073283) Homepage Journal
    I guess if they used full DVD capacity (4-sided recording, 16G/disk) and some decent compression, they could fit it maybe in a typical 4 CD case.

    But then it wouldn't have such a marketing impact. 4 DVD set? What's so special about that?
    • by herko_cl (533936)
      " full DVD capacity (4-sided recording..."(Emphasis mine)
      No wonder it's called The Next Generation! <grin />
    • Re:Storage... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SlamMan (221834) <squigit@nospAM.gmail.com> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:38PM (#7073489)
      True, but most people don't like to deal with dual sided dvds. Easier to damage when there's data on both sides instead of a label on one, plus they just seem cheaper.
      • Re:Storage... (Score:5, Informative)

        by ameoba (173803) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @05:08PM (#7074000)
        Actually, not having a label would make the disk -less- prone to damage. The label side is the one that, if damaged, causes a loss of information. If you look at a CD/DVD, you'll notice that the 'shiney side' is a fairly thick slab of clear plastic; the reflective surface is just a thin foil layer on the label side, which is poorly protected (you may notice that video rental places have been putting thick stickers over the labels for extra protection).

        Scratches to the media side can often be buffed/polished out without losing anything; scrathes through the label are uncorrectable, as the material carying the data is lost.
        • Re:Storage... (Score:5, Informative)

          by xkenny13 (309849) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @05:30PM (#7074099) Homepage
          Actually, not having a label would make the disk -less- prone to damage. The label side is the one that, if damaged, causes a loss of information. If you look at a CD/DVD, you'll notice that the 'shiney side' is a fairly thick slab of clear plastic; the reflective surface is just a thin foil layer on the label side, which is poorly protected (you may notice that video rental places have been putting thick stickers over the labels for extra protection).

          This is true for CDs, but not for DVDs. DVDs have the data layer sandwiched between two clear polycarbonate layers. Here's [cdplayright.com] a [lastfactory.com] few [cdrecordingsoftware.com] links [gadgetsexpress.com] on the subject.

          In other words, having a label or not having a label does not truly affect the "safety" of your data layer, when it comes to DVDs. Apparently, all it affects is your overall capacity.
        • I don't know if you can answer this, but: Why don't they just put the extra layer of plastic over the data layer anyway (and the label on top of that) even if it's just a single-sided DVD? This would also make every single DVD the same dimensions and weight.
    • Re:Storage... (Score:4, Informative)

      by shepd (155729) <slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:58PM (#7073586) Homepage Journal
      Mmmhmmm...

      There's 168 [everything2.com] star trek: TNG episodes total.

      Each episode is about 45 - 50 minutes long, IIRC.

      A "well encoded" DVD will fit not much more than 2 hours per layer. Since a layer change would be acceptable, but not a side change, during an episode, that's no more than about 5 episodes a side, or about 10 episodes a disc.

      That leaves us with a 17 disc _minimum_ requirement, which doesn't leave much room for enhacements. I agree, 48 is a bit much, but perhaps they want art on each disc for readability purposes? That leaves only 14 "extra" discs.

      Either way, since a pressed DVD costs less than $5 CDN to produce (evidenced by WalMart crap movies sales) even at 48 discs, that's a hefty premium for an already paid-up show.
      • There's 168 star trek: TNG episodes total.

        No, there's 178.

        I'm guessing that number on Everything2 counts all the two-part episodes as being one, which they're really not, especially in terms of how they'd fit on a DVD.

    • Surely that should be 6-sided?
    • The Complete nth season issues were each composed of 7 dvds, except for the second season, which came on 6 dvds. Thus, 48 dvds.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:04PM (#7073285)
    The Borg MegaCube
    The Complete Star Trek: Next Generation Seasons
    1-7DVD Collection

    Captain's Log 3rd November 2003

    By order of Starfleet Command, The Borg MegaCube, a DVD Box Set Collection unlike any other is to be released to commemorate the legendary voyages of the Starship USS Enterprise-D.

    The Borg MegaCube, the ultimate DVD collection, contains the Complete Star Trek: The Next Generation series 1- 7 across 48 discs and is strictly limited to just 1000 numbered copies worldwide. This collection is presented in the shape of a Borg Cube - both in recognition of the crew's struggles against one of mankind's greatest threats - The Borg - and in remembrance of the thousands of Starfleet lives lost at the battle of Wolf 359.

    A collective intelligence, formed of organic beings with cybernetic enhancements, the Borg wander the galaxy, seeking out cultures to assimilate. The Enterprise Crew are first introduced to the Borg in the second season episode 'Q - Who' and the Cyborgs have since become the single greatest threat facing the Federation......

    In 'The Best of Both Worlds', voted as the best ever TNG episode by the US public in a recent poll, the Borg arrive in Federation space to assimilate their people and technology. They capture Picard, turning him into 'Locutus of Borg' in an attempt to conquer the human race and set course for Earth. Acting Captain Riker must find a way to stop them before the Enterprise has to break off the pursuit.

    In 'I-Borg', the Enterprise discovers a crashed Borg scout ship with an injured survivor. Dr Crusher insists on saving his life, despite the concerns of the others. She is shocked when she discovers that Picard intends to use him to spread a virus that would destroy the Borg completely.

    'Descent' sees the Borg return to do battle with the Federation, boasting a new individuality. Things become complicated when they enable Data to feel his first emotion and an injured Borg starts to show individualistic tendencies.

    This Star Trek Next Generation box set collection also includes an individually numbered certificate of purchase commissioned by Starfleet Command and holds a special limited edition Star Trek Next Generation Clock, specifically designed for this exclusive release.

    The Borg MegaCube Box Set, with digitally re-mastered picture quality and Dolby surround sound, is available from Paramount Home Entertainment on 3rd November and costs 449.99 from major DVD retailers.

    Live Long and Prosper

    The Story of the Borg Ship

    At the time of the filming of 'Q-Who', there were two visual supervisors: Dan Curry and Rob Legato. They each had their own specifications for the design of the Borg ship:

    Rob Legato - The Borg ship should be a ball with a trench of detail around the middle.
    Dan Curry - The Borg ship should be a cube that looked smooth at a distance. As you got closer and closer, more detail would be revealed. (Dan had hired Special Effects for this job).

    The Rob Legato team experienced problems and the job of building the Borg Ship went to Special Effects. It took 14 modellers two weeks to finish the job. That is nothing short of amazing when you consider that while the specifications called for only one side finished, Special Effects supplied a Borg ship that was finished on all sides. In order to achieve that level of detail, F/X put everything in they could find, including R2-D2, toy soldiers, plastic model "rails", and the F/X logo.

    Highlights of Next Generation Seasons

    Season One includes the very first Next Generation episode, 'Encounter At Farpoint' which introduces us to the Crew of the Enterprise. Episode Guide - Q challenges the crew to prove the humanity of the human race through a series of tests on Farpoint - if they fail, they face certain death! When an unidentified ship begins firing on the old Bandi city, they learn that the people of Deneb IV have captured its mate and are holding it against its will. Will the crew of the Enterpris
  • by CGP314 (672613) <CGP AT ColinGregoryPalmer DOT net> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:04PM (#7073287) Homepage
    With 48 discs I'm sure it would take the combined financial resources of the collective to purchase the set.
    • A complete season of ST:TNG goes for about $120 on DVD from Amazon [amazon.com], so I'd imagine this Borg Cube "value-pack" would retail for close to 1,000 god-damn-dollars.

      --

  • watching all these will ruin your eyesite...

    Rus
  • by CGP314 (672613) <CGP AT ColinGregoryPalmer DOT net> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:06PM (#7073304) Homepage
    What a perfect story for those reading slashdot on a Saturday night instead of going out.

    Err...

    Excluding myself.
    • What a perfect story for those reading slashdot on a Saturday night instead of going out.

      There's a whole hemisphere of the planet where it ain't Saturday night yet.
  • However, I found this link [trektoday.com].

    And this site [dvdtimes.co.uk] says that just 1000 copies worldwide would be released. :-/ Hope they got their facts wrong.
  • How long? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ceadda (625501) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:07PM (#7073309)
    So, its making its appearance in Europe.. so that means it'll take what... 3? 4 hours for the bit-torrent links to start popping up to fresh encoded episodes in dvd quality with surround sound? They might be making a HUGE mistake not putting it out in more than one market. And you know they're gonna throw a fit when everone in the rest of the world gets pirate versions.
    • Re:How long? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Kufat (563166)
      All of the DVDs have already been released by season; only the packaging and pack-in items are unique to this set.

      And yes, pirated copies did start appearing when each season of ST:TNG was released, but they've all been out for quite some time now.
    • If you're getting the DivX versions, I don't think you care if they come from the separate sets or the Megacube...

      Kjella
  • As a big Star Trek fan I can only like this. How much it will cost though? As a piss poor high school student (spends all money on music instruments) my budget is limited for stuff that can be... er.. acquired for free if need be.

    Btw, where are all the usual jokes? "Imagine a Beowulf cluster of Borg cubes?, "SCO has prior art", "CowboyNeal lives in my Borg cube", "In Soviet Russia Star Trek episodes watch you" etc etc.
  • Mr Data, Make it so!

    Engage!
  • cbb (Score:3, Funny)

    by meeotch (524339) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:25PM (#7073420) Homepage
    Mod me down (or up) for typical Slashdot carping, but the packaging looks pretty weak. I was expecting some sort of detailed plasitc model, not just a painted box. For 750 bucks I think I'd rather have a hooker.

    o.k. o.k., fine - a hooker dressed up as Seven of Nine. Sheesh!

    mitch

  • by Shaheen (313) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:27PM (#7073435) Homepage
    See, they announced this box set right after I completed my collection of the single season releases.
  • Packaging!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GrouchoMarx (153170) on Saturday September 27, 2003 @03:50PM (#7073540) Homepage
    Good grief, look at the image of the packaging. It's awful. Rather than a binder-esque design, they've taken all seven of the horribly over-engineered boxes for the individual seasons that are an absolute pain to use or transport (my parents have the full set, naturally), and cramed them all into one over-sighed padded cardboard box.

    Come on, people! I want the movie, not lots and lots of plastic and foam and "collector's edition" space wasting. JUST GIVE ME THE BLOODY DISK!!!
  • by Executive Override (605018) <spam@skewed.de> on Saturday September 27, 2003 @04:46PM (#7073884) Homepage
    Someone should buy one, set it on a metal plate or in a trash can, set it on fire, tape it while it burns, and put it on the Internet so Trekkies can feel the horror people who like good sci-fi feel when they watch Star Trek, specially Next Generation.
    • It must be very nice for you, to be so superior. As someone who enjoys Star Trek for what it is, AND many other forms of science fiction for what they are, I take offense at your attitude. Purists in art and literature are like dry cleaner bags. Sure they keep things nice and clean, but they strangle small children when not kept out of the way by adults.
  • by scovetta (632629)
    How about a DVD box-set of TOS?

    I would sure like to purchase legal videos of this series.

    I still have crappy copies I made from the SCI-FI channel, I want good quality ones on DVD.
  • play.com [play.com] have been selling this for a few days for 338.23 (including delivery), actually probably longer but a few days I have known about it.

    I bet the 1000 boxes are already sold, just ont hat site alone, never mind everyone else who seems to be selling it.
  • This is a good example of marketing. The episodes themselves are pretty much freely available in "IP-space" but the slick packaging means people will buy this. Oooh! Shiny Ones!
  • I don't know if the price will be comparable, but Amazon has a list price of 450.99 pounds, which would be the equivalent of $748.50.

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.

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