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Covid-19 update Thursday 23rd April
Good morning from the UK. It’s Thursday 23rd April.
Virus news in depth
North Korea was swift to close its borders at the end of January when coronavirus cases in neighboring China began to skyrocket but by the beginning of April North Korea was issuing a firm denial that it had no cases of Covid-19 with Pak Myong-su, a director at North Korea's Central Emergency Anti-epidemic headquarters, telling news agency AFP on Friday 3rd April: "Not one single person has been infected with the novel coronavirus in our country so far. We have carried out pre-emptive and scientific measures such as inspections and quarantine for all personnel entering our country and thoroughly disinfecting all goods, as well as closing borders and blocking sea and air lanes." The claims were flatly rejected by the four star US army general Robert Adams who commented "I can tell you that is an impossible claim based on all of the intel that we have seen," in a joint interview he held with news sites CNN and VOA. Fast forward three weeks and panic buying is reported to have broken out in North Korea according to a report picked up on the well regarded NK News (and consequently repeated on Bloomberg). One source in the report describes empty shelves and a sudden absence of staples like vegetables, flour, and sugar. Locals have been buying “whatever is there,” an expat said, saying that “you can hardly get in” to some stores. Both the expat and another person in Pyongyang said the surge was particularly notable on Wednesday whilst another source said large groups of locals were seen buying big amounts of mostly-imported products in some grocery stores, resulting in abrupt shortages. Demand sharply increased this week, yet another person confirmed, saying they had been told on Tuesday to purchase supplies of some key products. The range of items offered in shops aimed at diplomats has also diminished, they added, noting that in particular, “imported goods (are) running out.” The situation in North Korea is complicated at the best of times but even more so now with persistent rumours swirling about Kim Jong Un’s health following a heart procedure (he is known to be obese, a heavy smoker and reports suggest ill health has been brought on by overwork). Should he die Kim's demise would risk unwelcome instability in North Korea and with no clear succession plan, his death or incapacitation could cause chaos in a heavily armed and secretive country. Their neighbours to the North are China who already have their hands full with Covid-19 as well as soothing diplomatic relationships with several Western countries over initially denying the outbreak and then failing to maintain quality control on the badly needed PPE exports pouring out of China. A destabilising North Korea is going to be the last thing Chinese President Xi Jinping needs. North Korea may be one to watch over the coming weeks and months. Over in the USAForbes is reporting that three states with Republic governors are set to loosen Covid-19 restrictions. South Carolina will allow some retail stores, as well as flea markets, to reopen Monday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said the “vast majority” of his state’s businesses can reopen May 1, 2020, and Georgia will permit businesses such as gyms, barber shops and tattoo parlors to resume business on Friday. Forbes points out that common among the states, though, is a lack of strict protocols for businesses to follow, or a way to enforce a given mandate, even as health officials warn the virus could spread rapidly again if stringent restrictions on economic activity and a widespread testing system aren’t in place. On the same topic, Fox News is reporting that Oklahaoma will follow suit too and also partially reopen, in their case hair salons, spas, nail salons and pet groomers will be allowed to open their doors. Exploring Georgia’s decision a bit further, Forbes says that Governor Brian Kemp has endorsed a free market philosophy that sees the businesses and residents—not the government—as having the ultimate power to decide how to proceed during the pandemic, though the state did order businesses to follow social distancing practices and screen employees for signs of illness; “It is not going to be government that is going to solve the problem; it is the community at large,” Kemp said earlier this month. Not everyone agrees with him; “We need to, as government leaders, step up and give people an incentive to stay home. But there’s nothing essential about going to a bowling alley in the middle of a pandemic,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Tuesday on MSNBC (Atlanta is in Georgia). Kemp responded to the criticism on Fox News saying, “If people don’t want to open the gym, they don’t have to. But when you close somebody’s business down and take their livelihoods . . . I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.” It remains to be seen how convinced local residents will be as to how safe it would be to recommence their normal lifestyles. I flagged a Wuhan restauranteer’s story earlier this week - now their lockdown is lifted and people can come and go, he’s finding that whilst his restaurants might be open very few people are venturing out. Forbes for their part highlights a Gallup survey released last Tuesday that showed that just 20 percent of U.S. adults would resume normal activity right away once shelter-in-place orders are lifted. Lifting lockdowns is one thing, recreating the pre-outbreak circular economy quite another it seems. But what about America’s doctor-in-chief Anthony Fauci’s opinion? Forbes helpfully has that answer: “That could be setting us back,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the New York Times NYT on Tuesday, referring to Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina. “It certainly isn’t going to be helpful”, he added. Patrice Harris, the president of the American Medical Association, said she too was worried about a possible second wave of infections in the fall on the lines of Redfield's warning to The Washington Post. "I'm worried about a second wave to come sooner. I'm really worried about those states who are relaxing some of the stay-at-home regulations earlier. We could get a second wave even earlier than the fall. That's very concerning," she told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. As for President Trump’s stance on the matter, the president reiterated that his administration has established benchmarks that states should clear before they begin the reopening process. The rules recommend 14 days of declining new infections, as well as 14 days of decling covid-like syndromic cases and influenza-like illnesses, before moving to the reopening phase Kemp has called for. "I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the Phase I guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia," Trump said. "At the same time, he must do what he thinks is right," Trump continued. "But I disagree with him on what he's doing." Were a significant spike to come about through the fall (autumn) it could have serious implications for the upcoming elections in November 2020. As well as the election for the office of the President of the United States, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate are being contested. Notably, the governorships for the four states mentioned above are not being contested this time around but there may be a question whether it’s safe enough to even physically hold the elections if there were a severe outbreak at the time. If interested in the situation around that scenario, try this article here. Back to the economy to finish this bit off; the best-case scenario following aggressive reopening in Southern states, in contrast with more hard-hit epicenters in the North like New York and Michigan, is that it could create test cases of how to reignite the economy while keeping the disease at bay. That would require most warnings by medical and public health experts to be wrong. Opening up now is a huge risk. Just because the curve of infections is flattened does not mean it cannot rise again since the disease has no proven therapies and there is so far no vaccine. If you’re American and want to know more about your own state’s position on reopening, CNN has a breakdown here.
Virus news in brief
Today’s sources: The Guardian, CNN, BBC (unless stated otherwise).
The Disney heiress Abigail Disney (who does not hold a role in the company) has attacked executives at the Walt Disney Corporation after they stopped paying 100,000 operational employees this week and furloughed them. Employees will still receive health insurance from Disney but have been added to the millions more filing for unemployment across the United States. The decision comes after the company paid dividends to shareholders and gave executives big bonuses last July totalling $1.5bn USD. Whilst former chief executive Bob Iger has given up the remainder of his $3million salary for this year and his replacement Bob Chapek said he'd only take half of his $2.5million base salary, as a show of solidarity, Ms. Disney however has flagged up that the bonuses these executives could still receive greatly exceed their salaries. Iger got $65.6million in incentives in 2018 and $46million in 2019. Chapek's bonus is expected to be about 300 percent of his salary. In addition, he could bring home 'not less than $15 million' in long-term incentives; last year he was paid $47.5m in bonuses. 'This is why I was quiet in March when executives at the company made a big pr push to call attention to the fact that they were giving up a portion of their salaries for the year,' Disney wrote. 'I told people to wait until we heard about the rest of the compensation package, since salary is a drop in the bucket to these guys. 'Iger's comp will still be 900 times median wage,' she added, claiming that Disney front line workers fought for years for a $15 an hour minimum pay which would leave them with $31,200 a year if they worked full time. Source (Daily Mail)
Photos have been published by CNN which show seven bodies in the open back of a pick-up truck in Philadelphia being transported from a local hospital to the medical examiner’s office last Sunday. The Philadelphia Department of Health has confirmed the incident and the number of bodies in the truck. “The transportation of the bodies in that manner is a breach of protocol,” said James Garrow, spokesman for the Department of Public Health. "The Medical Examiner’s Office regularly works with hospitals throughout Philadelphia to ensure that bodies are treated with the utmost dignity and respect," Garrow told CNN on behalf of the Medical Examiner's Office. "The Health Department is appalled that this happened, and strongly reminded the referring hospital of the existing protocols. This is not normal or acceptable."
A senior US government doctor who worked on the search for a coronavirus vaccine has claimed he was fired after resisting Donald Trump’s push to use the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. Rick Bright was this week ousted as director of the US health department’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or Barda, and as the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response. Bright highlighted his refusal to embrace hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug relentlessly promoted by the president and Fox News despite a lack of scientific studies. He said “Specifically, and contrary to misguided directives, I limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit. While I am prepared to look at all options and to think ‘outside the box’ for effective treatments, I rightly resisted efforts to provide an unproven drug on demand to the American public.”
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin is self-isolating after a person working at her official residence came into close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.
New Zealand nurse Jenny McGee, who was crediting with helping to save the life of Boris Johnson, has been speaking about her experience of treating the UK prime minister for coronavirus. In an interview with TVNZ, she said she wasn't expecting to be singled out for praise by Mr Johnson. "He was just another patient we were trying to do our best for," she said.
Some Conservative MPs have been raising concerns about the impact of the UK lockdown on businesses.
One of them, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the UK needed to start a discussion "about how we get back to normality" or some businesses would have to cease trading. In response, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said while some businesses were able to reopen with social distancing measures in place, the best way to protect the public and the NHS was to stay at home as much as possible. “One of the most damaging things for our economy would be if we came out of lockdown too early," he said, adding that this would risk a second peak.
The earliest "realistic" point by which schools in England could re-open is 1 June, head teachers' leader Geoff Barton has said. "We cannot see any realistic way that schools could be reopened to more pupils before the second half of the summer term," he said. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said no date has been set.
Germany's Bundesliga could take a step closer to becoming the first major football league to resume. The German Football League is meeting at 10:00 BST (09:00 GMT) to discuss Germany's top two divisions returning on either 9 or 16 May. Final approval would be needed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders on 30 April.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged the nation to remain "clever and cautious" in handling the next phase of the coronavirus epidemic. Speaking in parliament, she said "it's not the end phase but still just the beginning. We will be with it for a long time". She said "I know how difficult the restrictions are, it’s a challenge to democracy, it limits our democratic rights". But she said democratic transparency, such as a free press, helped to make the situation tolerable. "It's amazing how much understanding people have shown for each other," she said. MPs frequently applauded her.
The Spanish parliament has voted to approve the extension of the state of emergency for the third time until May 9, prolonging the country’s stay-at-home order to eight weeks in total.
Leading doctors in Pakistan have urged officials and clerics to reverse their decision to allow prayers at mosques during Ramadan, as it could instigate a spread that would be hard to control. “Unfortunately, our rulers have made a wrong decision; our clerics have shown a non-serious attitude,” Dr Qaiser Sajjad of the Pakistan Medical Association said. Coronavirus has infected more than 10,000 and killed 212 people in the country.
Western attitudes towards China’s handling of the outbreak are hardening says the BBC. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for all members of the WHO to co-operate with an independent inquiry into the spread of the virus whilst his agriculture minister is pushing for members of the G20 group of advanced economies - which includes China - to ban wildlife markets (one of which in Wuhan is where the virus is thought to have emerged). This looks like a concerted push back against Beijing says the BBC, noting that the criticism has been coming thick and fast this week from London, Paris and Washington. The UK’s Foreign Secretary has said there could be no "business as usual" with China now and with Donald Trump turning his fire on the WHO, stopping US funding of the world’s health policeman claiming it was soft on China, the pressure is undeniably mounting.
China said on Thursday it would donate a further $30 million to the World Health Organization (WHO), which is seeking more than $1 billion to fund its battle against the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 180,000 people worldwide, Reuters reports. The pledge comes about a week after U.S. President Donald Trump suspended funding to the WHO and accused the Geneva-based organisation of promoting Chinese “disinformation” about the virus, which emerged in the central city of Wuhan last year.
The Deutsche Welle reporter William Yang is reporting that Harbin (population 10.6m, it’s in NW China) is becoming the latest epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak with an 87 year old super spreader infecting 78 more people, 23 of whom have been hospitalised (Twitter).
A New Zealand man who tried to sue Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arguing he had been unlawfully detained by the lockdown has had his court case dismissed. Everyone in New Zealand currently has to remain at home with the exception of essential movement, though some restrictions will be eased next week. The man, who cannot be identified, asked for a writ of habeas corpus, which declares that someone's detention is unlawful. Justice Mary Peters dismissed this, saying he did not consider the man and his family to be detained. "In my view, the freedom to exercise whenever they wish, to go to the supermarket whenever they wish, to talk to whomever they wish, and to access the internet whenever they wish is quite different from being held in custody," she said, according to local media.
Supply chain news in depth
Failure to extend Brexit talks ‘very risky’, say UK forwarders - Aircargonews reports that UK freight forwarder association BIFA has said that the government’s refusal to extend trade deal talks with the European Union is “very risky” given the coronavirus outbreak. BIFA said that even before the pandemic, there were concerns among BIFA members that the 11-month transition wouldn’t leave enough time to prepare for a potential no deal, with talks between the UK and the EU only getting back underway this week. Robert Keen, BIFA director general, said: “In light of the huge issues involved with a sharp change in trading conditions at the start of 2021, particularly if that were to coincide with another Covid-19 outbreak, we think an extension looks increasingly likely. “There has been little meaningful consultation with UK trade regarding the policies and procedures required in order to ensure that trade with the EU can continue relatively uninterrupted post December 31st 2020. “Trade deals are typically multi-year exercises, but in this case, the UK and EU realistically have until October to agree on terms, allowing time for ratification. And while formal talks are continuing, many of the civil service resources previously assigned to support negotiations have been reallocated to deal with the coronavirus emergency response.” (Cont’d) Keen explained: “Having had their businesses knocked sideways by the virus, many of our members have furloughed staff whilst they work out how they can keep their businesses afloat. “It is unlikely that their companies and the clients they serve will have the capacity to increase readiness for a sharp change in trading conditions in 2021. “In light of those things and with very little information from government on when restrictions on key sectors of the economy are likely to be lifted, and the as yet unknown economic damage done to the sector and wider economy, BIFA members are in no position to respond to a second massive shock if there is significant change in the terms of trade with the EU at the end of the year, because the government has stuck to its guns over the transition period.” “We believe that refusing to even consider extending the transition period is very risky and together with a growing chorus of Brexit commentators, think an extension to the transition period remains likely, and it is really only a question of ‘when’.” The Loadstar has picked up the same story here.
Supply chain news in brief
Danish ferry group DFDS has laid up around 20% of its capacity – 12 of its 50-strong fleet – in response to the coronavirus pandemic says The Loadstar. And it has revealed that it expects first-quarter profits to have fallen 10%, year on year. In addition to closing two routes last month – Oslo-Copenhagen and Newcastle-Amsterdam, which were more reliant on passenger revenues – chief executive Torben Carlsen said some 25% of its cross-Channel departures had been suspended. He believed this was a similar amount to Dover-Calais rival P&O Ferries.
Splash247 reports that the South Korean President has presided over the naming of the world’s largest containership in the world, the first of 12 recordbreaking ships to be delivered to HMM. HMM Algeciras has a capacity of 23,964 TEU. (Personal note: How long it’ll take before it has enough cargo to carry full capacity remains to be seen).
Splash247: Six Chinese government units including Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Health Commission, General Administration of Customs, National Immigration Administration and Civil Aviation Administration of China, have jointly released a notice to further guide and facilitate Chinese crew changes at domestic ports as part of efforts to normalise the transport sector. Under the new guidance, Chinese crews can sign on to ships at domestic ports after testing negative for coronavirus. Ports are asked to provide the necessary facilities for Chinese crews onboard foreign ships to sign off if they can provide a 14-day normal health record when arriving at Chinese ports. Chinese embassies around the world have also been told to assist Chinese crew overseas to return home once their contracts are up. Additionally, authorities have agreed to remove the 14-day quarantine procedure for ships operating on international-domestic combination routes so long as all crew test negative for coronavirus and promise not to disembark at domestic ports.
Japanese carrier ONE’s vessels from Asia to Europe sailed full last month, as bookings delayed by the extended Chinese New Year holiday were finally shipped out says The Loadstar but the magazine warns that due to a collapse in demand via Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, ONE will be challenged to reach anywhere near maximum load factors in April and May, despite the high number of blanked sailings already announced. At 128,000 teu, ONE’s March Asia-Europe headhaul liftings were some 6% below last year, when vessel utilisation hit 82%, suggesting there was tighter capacity management by THE Alliance members. According to eeSea data, THE Alliance members appear to have taken a more judicious strategy with Asia-Europe blankings in March, cancelling 18% or six of its 46 advertised sailings, compared to voiding 10% of its 66 transpacific voyages. Commenting on ONE’s operational numbers container shipping analyst Lars Jensen noted that the figures were measured at the time of loading, thus cargo booked at the end of March would not be included. “The pandemic impact only gathered pace in late March,” said Mr Jensen. “The early part of March was the short period where China was getting back up, and the pandemic impact had not yet manifested itself strongly in the rest of the world.” He added that notwithstanding the “positive” utilisation levels for ONE in March they should not be taken as an indicator as they only reflected the “short window” between the easing of the virus lockdowns in China and the global pandemic. “We should expect April and May to be much worse for all carriers, which is why we are seeing all the blank sailings,” said Mr Jensen.
Kraft Heinz will extend for two weeks a $100 per week stipend for factory workers producing its packaged foods during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has said. "Kraft Heinz has made the decision to extend the $100 per week stipend for another two weeks and we will continue to evaluate this special compensation program as the situation evolves," a spokesman for the US-based maker of Heinz ketchup and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese said in an emailed statement. The stipend covers factories in the United States, Canada and Europe. (Source: ESM Magazine)
Also ESM Magazine: Tyson Foods Inc will indefinitely suspend operations at its largest US pork plant to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the company said, further tightening meat supplies after other major slaughterhouse shutdowns. The closures are limiting the amount of meat the United States can produce during the outbreak and adding stress on farmers who are losing markets for their pigs. Lockdowns that aim to stop the spread of the coronavirus have also prevented farmers around the globe from delivering food products to consumers. Millions of labourers cannot get to the fields for harvesting and planting, and there are too few truckers to keep goods moving. Tyson Foods, the largest US meat supplier, said its largest pork plant in Waterloo, Iowa, was closing after operating at reduced capacity. The plant supplies approximately 5% of the US pork supply.
Air Canada has announced it’s suspending all flights to the US until at least May 22nd (provided governments allow it to recommence flights by that date). Airlive.net
Qatar Airways Cargo has partnered with the Australian Government to restore critical global supply chains through the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM). The IFAM is an initiative by the Australian Government that has been launched to help restorecritical global supply chains for high-value Australian agricultural and fisheries producers, which have been heavily impacted by Covid-19 containment measures around the world. Through this initiative, the Australian Government is partially offsetting the cost of airfreight – reducing airfreight and freight forwarding costs for exporters and ensuring businesses and exporters in the country can swiftly transport their produce on flights and to international customers. (Source: Aircargonews).
Digital supply chain - Netflix says it’s got enough backlog to not run out of new TV shows during the Pandemic reports Bloomberg with fan favourite The Crown already in post production for season 4.
US land freight - The Loadstar reports significant drops are now occurring in intermodal freight in the US. “Since 1988, when our data began, total US railcar loads were lower than last week only during a few Christmas and new year’s weeks, when rail operations are seasonally low,” said AAR (Association of American Railroads) senior vice-president John Gray. “Part of the problem now is sustained weakness in coal loads, but even excluding coal, carloads last week were down 13.1%. We haven’t seen sustained declines of that magnitude since the great recession.” In the week ending 11 April, AAR figures showed a 23.8% drop in overall carloads, with intermodal units down 20%. One of the worst-hit sectors was motor vehicles and parts, with a drop of 15,521 units to 2,185. Truckers have fared better. The American Trucking Association (ATA) reported a 4.3% rise in volumes for March. However, the numbers conceal significant differences between various types of freight. ATA chief economist Bob Costello called last month “the storm before the calm”, particularly for carriers of consumer staples. He said: “There was a huge divergence among freight types. While freight to grocery stores and big box retailers was strong due to surge-buying by households, freight was anaemic in other supply chains, like gasoline, restaurants and auto factories. Because of this, and the continued shuttering of many parts of the economy, I would expect April tonnage to be very soft.”
I hope to publish them today, but being very honest it’s pretty unlikely and if I do get time it won’t be until late evening UK time (so around 10 hrs from now). I'd like to throw up the graphs for both infections and death rates for the four states that want to open because gut instinct tells me they haven't peaked yet so why they'd want to reopen is beyond my understanding.
Invention City: 25 years of selling inventions equivalent to $600,000,000
Hey everyone! This is Rich, from Failory, a site where we weekly release interviews with successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs, inventors and more! A new interview has just been published that dives into the entrepreneurial life of Mike Marks, an innovator, who since 1997 has been selling inventions that have an equivalent to $600,000,000! Mike shares how he started, the obstacles he faced along the way, and everything in between.
A bit about yourself
My name is Mike Marks. I’m 62 and have been living on Cape Cod for 23 years because of a promise to my wife, a start-up business and a need to be near the ocean. In 1997 I founded Invention City, a company helps inventors with honest feedback, suggestions for next steps and, for a select few, the opportunity to earn income from licensing deals. Even though the company was founded over two decades ago, we only recently began running it seriously and it’s in classic start-up mode, with everyone performing many functions. On any given day I’m providing direction to my partners, formulating business strategy, creating new services, negotiating licensing deals and drafting agreements, answering questions from inventors, reviewing patents, shooting and editing product videos, working on websites, writing product instructions, finding manufacturers, having 3D models made, sending out for quotations, filing trademarks, hiring people, making product pitches at trade shows, handling corporate administration tasks, observing and conducting new product tests. Some of our inventions are food-related and there are times when I literally cook and wash bottles. Other invention related companies make their profits by primarily providing services and earn extra income if and when an invention is successfully commercialized. Our model is the opposite. Our primary income comes from successful invention commercialization and we offer low-cost services and free content to serve as magnets that attract good and great invention ideas. Our business model is to filter, identify and license the most promising ideas and then try to monetize them; roughly 1 in 10 succeed. We leverage relationships to develop and test new product ideas at minimal cost so that we can absorb the failures that are intrinsic to our business. Each project starts with the idea of failing fast and cheap but, mindful that sunk costs are irrelevant, we keep going forward so long as the potential rewards far outweigh the known risks.
I grew up in Los Angeles at a time when the air was smoggy but there were opportunities and open space all around. 1960’s Southern California had an open-minded-anything-is-possible spirit and that spirit is a part of me. Photography became my passion when I was 14 years old and my #1 hero was and still is Edward Weston. At the same time, I found the notion of business and entrepreneurship attractive. In high school, when my best friend asked what I wanted to do for a living, I answered, “start businesses.” My early experiences in entrepreneurship were delivering newspapers (I had to go door to door to collect payment), painting houses and, of course, photography - taking pictures at parties and events. In my first economics class in college, I learned that everything has a price, even human life. That fit my view of reality, so I majored in economics. Ever since that first class, an economist’s perspective and structured way of thinking have strongly influenced how I view the world. After college, I took a job with Motorola selling two-way radios. That was intended to give me big company experience before getting an MBA. But photography was a passion I needed to pursue so I jumped off track, moved to New York City and dedicated myself to photography for the next 8 years. I had good success, met people like Mick Jagger and Ted Kennedy, went to exotic places, got to shoot the 1984 Olympics and Live Aid and was making a good living. Then the entrepreneurial urge hit hard. One of my photo clients was a start-up company called Kensington Microware. Shooting photos for their ads and brochures I watched them grow from 3 people to twenty and then sell out to ACCO Brands. It was inspiring in a way that the photo business was not. My brother Joel had invented a cool new tool called theSqueezeDriver so I called up a college friend, Brad Golstein, who was a lawyeMBA and we formed a company called WorkTools. I wanted WorkTools to do what Kensington had done. I left a successful photography career for a genuine garage start-up funded by family and friends. In the event, WorkTools first product was a highly educational grind. We sourced parts from the US and Taiwan, assembled the product ourselves on machines built by Joel and sold in the USA and internationally in all channels of distribution - NAPA private label, Sears catalog, Brookstone, QVC, McMaster-Carr and many more. We received a lot of acclaims, many pats on the back and earned a small profit. Small. We would have made more money working at McDonald's. When it came time to launch our next tool we decided to try and license it because of… perfume.
The Perfume Story
While I was working as a photographer, I shot photos of diamonds for DeBeers, the people who came up with the brilliant business concept of selling diamond engagement rings with the phrase, “a diamond is forever.” While shooting the photos of diamonds it occurred to me that there should be a perfume called Wedding Night, a scent and a brand that embodied ultimate romance. I pitched the idea to everyone who came through my photo studio. Everyone liked the idea but no one did it. Four years later, living in Los Angeles again and struggling on my meager WorkTools salary, I decided to try and make Wedding Night perfume a reality. My idea was to own the brand name “Wedding Night” and then line up businesses to invest their resources into making and selling products using the Wedding Night name and pay me a royalty. I trademarked Wedding Night, put together a stack of market research, had one friend create a logo and another do a photo of a bride and groom and made two phone calls. My first call was to Modern Bride magazine. I spoke to the editor in chief, told him about the Wedding Night concept, said that I was speaking with Avon and asked if he would be willing to provide advertising and promotion on a rev-share basis (the magazine would make a percentage of sales but would not charge anything upfront). He said “yes” and asked when I’d be in New York. I answered, “in a couple of weeks.” My second call was to Avon. There I reached a VP responsible for $800,000,000 in annual sales and told her I had backing from Modern Bride for a perfume called Wedding Night. She asked when I’d be in New York and again I answered, “in about two weeks. So off to New York I went. Both meetings went great. Modern Bride was a solid yes and Avon went as well as a meeting could have gone short of having a signed contract at the end. I called my wife and said, “we’re going to be rich!” But a few days later when I called the Avon VP to discuss next steps, she told me she’d spoken to Avon’s President and the President thought the name Wedding Night was “crude. My WorkTools partner Brad and I tried disproving that thought by making random daytime calls to phone numbers in Bible Belt cities like Lubbock, Texas, and Pocatello, Idaho. Most women had no problem with the name, but they said the reality of their wedding nights was far from romantic. In any case, Avon was dead. But I wasn’t. Wedding Night had come too close to give up. So I decided to try Revlon. I had two angles of attack. One started with cold calls where I set up meetings in NYC with two Revlon divisions. The second angle was to try and market the brand in conjunction with a TV series that I wrote a treatment for called, “The Wedding Knights.” The Knights were party planners who specialized in weddings and each week they’d face a new wedding disaster; perfume sales would ride along. Ralph Kamon, a close friend of my family was the recently retired head of the legal department of Paramount Studios. Director Robert Evans (Love Story, Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, the Godfather) owed him some favors. Robert Evans was also a friend of financier Ron Perelman who then owned Revlon. Evans said he’d call Perelman on my behalf. As for The Wedding Knights, the idea didn’t interest him. Neither my meetings with Revlon nor the string pulled by Robert Evans accomplished anything. From my first call to Modern Bride to my last meeting with Revlon, the process took about a year. Over the course of next year, I made two more attempts to commercialize Wedding Night and struck out again. But the process itself had been amazing. I owned just two words, wedding + night. There was no perfume scent. No bottle. No customers. No manufacturer. Yet I had managed to get senior people at major companies to take the time to meet with me and seriously consider my proposal. It was a revelation. It’s the same process I use in my business today.
In 1988, WorkTools’ introduced its first product, a manual squeeze powered screwdriver called SqueezeDriver®. That same year saw the introduction of rechargeable battery-powered screwdrivers that fast became the most popular tools ever sold. Nonetheless, even in the face of a cordless tidal wave, SqueezeDriver® won the Popular Science Award for Tools, received design awards in Japan and the USA, was written up in the Wall Street Journal, shown as a cover on the Brookstone Catalog, sold in Brookstone stores, sold in Sears Catalog, sold as a private label to NAPA auto parts, sold to McMaster-Carr and Grainger, was licensed to All-Trade, sold in K-Mart, tested in Home Depot, featured on QVC a dozen times, presented by Joan Rivers, tested in a 30 minute infomercial, run in 2 minute DRTV spots and also sold in Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, the Middle East and Australia. SqueezeDriver® was even tested in brain surgery at Johns Hopkins and drawn by Stan Lee in a Spider-Man cartoon. Including knockoffs, an estimated one million units were sold, but WorkTools made little profit. Two years after launching SqueezeDriver, WorkTools team decided to launch a new squeeze-powered tool, a staple gun (known as a “tacker” in Europe). Internally called CounterPoint, the tool worked opposite all other staple guns. Rather than pushing a lever toward the back of the tool and shooting a staple from the front, a user pushed the lever toward the front, toward the staple exit point. The forward action offered two benefits: 1) a user could not only squeeze but also use arm force, so stapling was easier and 2) pressing down over the staple, reduced undesirable kickback so that staples seated better. Developing and prototyping was a two-year process with many dead ends. My brother Joel, the inventor, believed that we needed a die-cast housing to embody all of the features because die casting had the strength that a simple machined piece of zinc alloy would not. 3-D printing was just beginning and very limited. This meant Joel had to machine a plastic model, create a silicone mold to cast a wax replica and then, using a lost-wax process, cast the housing. There were many problems in getting this to work, the primary one being shrinkage after casting. So he invented a clever way of expanding the silicone used to cast the wax just enough bigger such that it would end up the right size after shrinking. It was brilliant and we ended up with a delicate working prototype that could be used to demonstrate the design… if it was used carefully (we briefly considered getting into the prototyping business and made a prototype bike helmet for Bell Helmets and a replacement sink handle for a 737 using the process). WorkTools debated launching the CounterPoint on its own. That would mean raising more money, diluting stock, fighting well-established companies and being exposed to possible lawsuits from people who hurt themselves because the tool worked in the opposite direction of the industry standard. The team was exhausted from the Squeezedriver effort and thinking back to the near-miss with Wedding Night, decided to try licensing. We identified Black & Decker as a prime target for licensing the CounterPoint staple gun at the National Hardware Show in Chicago. We liked the B&D people we met, liked that the company was dedicated to innovation and noted that they didn’t manufacture their own staple guns, but bought them from other manufacturers (private label). This meant that B&D had no investment in existing tooling to consider and would be open to something totally different. We didn’t approach B&D until a few months after the show. Regrettably, while at the B&D show booth we had failed to get the names and phone numbers of the people we’d met. Without a name and number I had to call Black & Decker cold where I immediately ran into the brick wall all companies set up to avoid being contacted by unknown inventors. I made a call to B&D’s main switchboard and asked for the product manager for staple guns. The operator inquired, “Regarding?” and I replied that WorkTools had invented a staple gun that would revolutionize the category. Mistake. I was transferred to the person responsible for inventions and was told we would need to sign a company disclosure agreement and submit our invention by mail. “We can’t sign your agreement,” I explained, “I’m sure it doesn’t protect us and our patents haven’t issued yet. We have developed a new type of staple gun that will revolutionize the staple gun business. It will grab 50% of the market and generate at least fifty million in annual sales within three to five years and could well generate over one hundred million in annual sales. I know your marketing department needs a tool like this. Could you please transfer me to the product manager for staple guns.” “Mr. Marks,” the woman explained, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that.” “Don’t you understand what I’m saying?” I pleaded, “I’m talking seriously, without exaggeration, of generating fifty to one hundred million dollars a year in additional revenue for your company but there’s no way I can go through your standard procedure. I need to talk to someone in marketing.” It was useless. “I’m sorry, the only thing I can do is send you out our submission agreement. It’s up to you,” she said. I thanked her and hung up. How could I reach someone in marketing? Then it came to me. If I wanted to buystaple guns my call would go through. If I wanted to buy private label staple guns (which B&D didn’t make) I wouldn’t get a low level sales assistant, I would get someone with authority. Low level people barely knew the term “private label”. “Private label” sounded important and would surely get me kicked upstairs. Two minutes later I called the main switchboard again, “I’d like to speak with the Product Manager for staple guns please.” “Regarding?” asked the operator. “We’re interested in buying private label staple guns.” Bingo. I was transferred to the Accessory Division where another secretary answered. I repeated my request, “Hello, my name is Mike Marks. My company is WorkTools, Inc. I’d like to speak to the Product Manager for staple guns regarding private label purchases. Bingo. I was transferred to the Product Manager. Now it was time to pitch: “Hello, my name is Mike Marks. I have a small company called Worktools, Inc. and we’re interested in possibly buying private label staple guns from you. We’ve also developed a revolutionary new staple gun that you might be interested in licensing from us. Our new staple gun will grab a 50% share of the market and put a crater in Saddlebrook, New Jersey (headquarters location of Arrow Fastener, makers of the ArrowT-50, the leading staple gun with a 75% market share). We’ve done preliminary surveys with a prototype and 99% of the people we surveyed strongly preferred our design to the Arrow T-50.” “Interesting you called,” came the reply. “We just set up a team to create a new staple gun. The name of the team leader is Gary. You should talk to him. I’ll transfer you.” Bingo again. I was through the brick wall. The subject of private label never came up again. As mentioned above, prior to making its initial presentation to B&D, WorkTools seriously considered making and selling the CounterPoint staple gun on its own. We figured that within 2-3 years we would be able to earn annual profits of $1 million on sales of 200,000 staple guns plus staples. This represented 5% of our guesstimate of the annual US market. We thought that B&D, with its established name and distribution network, would be able to sell 10X as much, a total of 2 million units. Thus if we could earn an average of $0.50/unit on a royalty basis it would be able to earn the same $1 million per year with less risk and effort. We believed in the long term potential of the CounterPoint and, with one eye to making it ourselves, decided on a buyout number of $5 million. Of course there was no way B&D was going to pay $5 million up front. When B&D asked how much it would cost to buy out the rights to the tool. I answered as follows, "We figure that within 5 years this product in B&D's hands should achieve 50% market share, generate upwards of $50 million in annual sales and over $10 million in profits. Further we believe that this product will add a halo of innovation to B&D as a corporation, generating tremendous publicity and effect a rise in the price of B&D stock on the NYSE of at least $0.25 per share. Since there are 80 million shares outstanding we believe that upon introduction of our invention B&D will see a gain of at least $40 million in value. With all of that in mind we would be willing to accept a buyout of $10 million…" I had a big smile on my face that signaled I knew this was ridiculous. I continued with a smile, "…but that's negotiable. In all seriousness we know that B&D isn't prepared to write us a huge check so we'll be pleased to discuss a royalty." And that's what we did. For the initial meeting with B&D we had the following:
Working prototype with a highly evolved mechanical design;
Invention prospectus including strategic analysis of the staple gun market, survey data and a sample ad;
A secret internal understanding that we'd say "yes" to a royalty deal that we calculated would pay out at $1 million/year if B&D achieved 50% market share.
The subject of royalty and buyout was not seriously discussed until subsequent meetings. The working prototype was absolutely critical. The written information helped the B&D staple gun team sell the project internally. The B&D stapler team needed management approval to proceed with WorkTools’ design and required our working prototype four times to get that approval. Even though we had a confidentiality agreement in place we decided that they could only review the prototype for one day at a time. Every time they requested the prototype I flew it out personally – night flight from Los Angeles to Baltimore – drop off to B&D headquarters at 8am –check into a hotel and sleep - pick up at B&D at 4pm – fly home. We wanted B&D to never lose sight of the fact that this was WorkTools’ invention and that B&D had no rights to it until a licensing deal was signed. After six months of reviewing prototypes and doing a great deal of internal development, Black & Decker decided that it wanted to license WorkTools forward action staple gun. B&D called Worktools and set up a specific time and place for negotiations. The big question was how much they’d pay for it. The place for negotiations was a conference room at an Embassy Suites hotel outside of Towson, MD. Towson was B&D’s home turf. The Worktools team would fly in from Los Angeles. One day was set aside. There were four people on the B&D team (including a lawyer) and there were three of us (including lawyepartner Brad Golstein). Prior to flying out for the meeting I spoke with B&D’s team leader Gary. “Gary,” I said, “before we spend a whole lotta money flying out for this meeting I want you to understand that we’re looking for a royalty of 5%. If that’s way off base then please tell me now. We’ll walk out in a heartbeat if you can’t meet our number.” Money was seriously tight and we couldn’t afford the luxury of a practice negotiation. “Mike,” came Gary’s reply, “Everything will be fine. I’m sure you’ll be satisfied with our offer.” So out we flew. On the first morning of negotiations the B&D team told us how wonderful our invention was and all of the great things they were going to do with it. It would be an “icon product”. It would be featured in TV commercials. Then they made their first offer. It was something on the order of a buyout for $250,000 or a royalty of 1.5% of net sales. I turned to Gary and said, “I told you what we were looking for. This is insulting.” Then Brad, Joel and I walked out of the conference room, across the lobby, into an elevator, down a hallway and into our suite. “Well,” I said to Brad and Joel, “I guess that’s it.” A couple of minutes later Gary called, “let’s get together again in an hour.” An hour later we went back to the conference room and talked some more. The offer was improved, but not nearly enough. Deciding it was hopeless, we thanked everyone for their time and walked out again. It was the end of the day and we were getting ready for dinner and a morning flight home when Gary called again. “Let’s try one more time tomorrow. I don’t know if we have any more to give but let’s discuss some possibilities.” Brad, Joel and I had arrived at the B&D meeting with a number in mind. That number was $1 million a year in Royalties if/when B&D achieved 50% market share – we assumed that to be roughly 2 million units a year. Whether B&D paid X dollars a unit or a percentage of net sales or whether the Royalty started high and went low or vice were all “points of indifference.” Our secret number was $1 million a year at 50% market share. The formula for achieving that number was completely flexible. And that flexibility was why there remained hope in continuing negotiations. We began the next morning by making a proposal to B&D. We said we could accept a Royalty that began at 5% for the first 500,000 units sold each year and dropped to 2.5% for all units sold for the rest of that year; each year would have the same sliding scale (we estimated this would pay out at roughly $1.5 million if 50% market share were achieved). We didn’t get a flat “no” so we talked around the point some more. When things were ready to fall apart again we dropped our proposal to 4% and 2.5%. After more discussion on how this might work and why it was fair we came to a standstill. This time B&D was ready to walk. It was very disappointing because we had come a long way and we were awfully close to an agreement. I was fixated on the Royalty starting high and going low because I assumed B&D would prefer that structure. It was a structure that bet on success beyond 1 million units a year… something that WT certainly believed would happen. I was so fixated on this structure that I couldn’t imagine inverting it. Joel thought of that. Joel suggested, “how about each year starting at 2.5% for the first 500,000 pieces and then going to 4% after that?” Everyone stopped talking and the kind of silence that speaks “maybe” filled the room. The B&D team asked us to leave so they could discuss the concept in private. When we returned more discussion ensued. B&D agreed that this would work. We were on our way to closing a deal. Eventually, a final deal emerged. Each year B&D would pay WorkTools a royalty of 2.5% of net sales for the first 500,000 units sold for that year and then 4% of net sales for units sold beyond 500,000 for that year. WT would also receive an advance of $140,000 of which 50% ($70,000) would be refunded via royalty deductions. B&D would advance the cost of patent filings too; that cost would also be refunded via royalty deductions. The maximum royalty deduction would be 50% for any given payment period. We shook hands, went out for a celebratory dinner and had a group photo taken. But we didn’t have a deal yet. The President of the B&D Accessory division needed to sign off on the deal to make it official. We gave him 30 days to do that. It seemed like a formality at the time. 25 days later the deal was still unsigned. I called Gary to remind him of the deadline. He said he didn’t think the deal would be signed in time. “Why?” I wanted to know. Gary hemmed and hawed with embarrassment and said, “He won’t sign off on the deal until we have a final ornamental design.” In other words until the B&D team finalized what the new staple gun would look like, the President wouldn’t sign off and there would be no deal. Exasperated I said, “But you have total control over what the thing looks like.” “I know,” sighed Gary. “So what are you going to do?” he asked. “Well,” I answered, “if our deal isn’t signed by Friday (this was on a Wednesday), I’ll be talking to Stanley on Monday.” Gary said, “We’re going to continue working on this and hope we can still put something together later on.” As soon as I was off the phone I called an acquaintance named John at Stanley Tools. John was responsible for Stanley’s staple gun program. I told John that we had a new staple gun and that I’d like to see him that coming Monday. John lived in New England. We set up a meeting in Boston. If B&D came to its senses I could always cancel the meeting. On Friday I called Gary and asked if we would be getting a signature. He answered no and asked what we were going to do. “We’ll see” I replied. On Monday I met with John in Boston. John liked our staple gun a lot. We gave him a prototype to show to the folks at Stanley. At the start of the National Hardware Show in Chicago that August things stood as follows: Stanley was evaluating the CounterPoint prototype and preparing to give us an answer; B&D was trying to finalize a housing design and sign the agreement we’d negotiated two months before. We didn’t want B&D to know we were talking to Stanley or vice versa. This was difficult since all of the players in this story were staying at the same hotel and there was only one prototype available for both Stanley and B&D to review. In the event, B&D came to its senses and said it was ready to do a deal. At the same time Stanley decided against the radical new design. WorkTools was left with only B&D. Back to the negotiating table we went. “Have you disclosed the invention to anyone else?” B&D asked. “Yes,” we answered honestly. “Who?” they wanted to know. “We can’t tell you because of confidentiality,” we lied. B&D postured, “Since you’ve disclosed the invention to someone else it’s now worth less to us and we need to change the terms of the deal we negotiated.” “You’ve got it all wrong,” we replied, “now there’s another interested party (there wasn’t since Stanley had said “no”), and it’s worth even more. You’ll need to give us something extra to sign the deal.” They reluctantly agreed to increase the annual minimum to maintain exclusivity from $125,000/year to $145,000/year. This gave us a moral victory and didn’t hurt B&D’s ability to proceed with the deal. CounterPoint went on to become the PowerShot® staple gun, was featured in B&D’s annual report and won numerous awards including IDSA/Business Week’s “Design of the Decade” Gold Award alongside the Apple I-Mac, VW Beetle and BMW 325-i. During the course of our relationship with B&D we managed the expansion of the PowerShot™ line by designing additional forward action tools ourselves and recruiting manufacturers and designers to work on spec. When B&D decided to sell its business in fastening tools we steered the sale to a young entrepreneur we wanted to work with. And when the business was sold yet again, this time to Arrow (who wanted to kill it), we lobbied at the CEO level for a management change that helped save the business. Beyond the royalty terms, one of the most important aspects of the B&D licensing agreement was that we reserved the exclusive right to use the forward action technology for desktop staplers. That led to another licensing deal (with equity) and a huge success with a line of spring powered desktop staplers calledPaperPro. I should also add that we had fantastic advisers helping us. One was Ralph Kamon, the former head lawyer at Paramount, the other was my godfather Jess Rifkind who was a head of Xerox PARC when Steve Jobs stole the ideas that became the Macintosh.
In 1998 the Internet was still new and a guy named Jeff Bezos was revolutionizing bookselling with a company called Amazon. I thought I could do the same thing with inventing and Invention City was born. Sort of. The initial premise was to review inventions for free, help inventors get licensing deals and get a percentage of the royalty. We did a few deals but reviewing inventions without charging took too much time because most all of them were not worth pursuing. I tried selling an electronic book on inventing and when that didn’t work I posted all of the content onto InventionCity and made it available for free. I then left the site more or less alone and went on to pursue other projects. One of the projects I pursued was a Kickstarter for a knit beanie for a brand concept called NESurf (shades of Wedding Night). It only raised $12,500, but everything about the project was perfect. It was 100% honest. Nothing was exaggerated. There were no compromises. And it felt great. I wondered if I could do the same thing with Invention City. Could I be 100% honest with inventors about their inventions and, crucially, could I charge them money to tell them that their inventions wouldn’t succeed? That would filter out inventors who weren’t serious and enable me to cover costs while waiting for something good to turn up. I tested the idea and surprisingly it worked. One reason it worked is that during all of the years I had left Invention City’s website alone, the content on the site, combined with the site’s longevity, had produced Google magic: the site had great page rank for invention related keywords. The result was good traffic that cost nothing - the free traffic gave me the ability to try crazy things. Around that time I met Dan Fulford who had resigned in frustration from another invention company and we decided to relaunch Invention City with help from my WorkTools partners. Things are going well today. We are orders of magnitude away from becoming Amazon, but give us some time.
Hi everyone! It’s been a busy month for MAME development, and we’ve got a whole lot of surprises to unwrap today as we continue to celebrate twenty years of MAME. First up, we’ve added some incredibly rare systems to MAME. Omega is an Arkanoid-inspired arcade game with a production run of about ten boards. Dodge Man is a rare Omori title from 1983. The vertical version of Flash Boy, a DECO Cassette title that borrows more than a little from a well known anime is another very rare game that was at risk of becoming nothing but a memory. Westinghouse Test Console #5 is possibly a one-of-a-kind wire-wrapped prototype machine for field-programming some kind of interlocking equipment (it has a rude easter egg – press X|TRAN in calculator mode to see it). Less rare, but still awesome, are arcade titles Galaxy Games StarPak 3, Sega Sonic Cosmo Fighter, and a U.S. release of Puzznic with the digitised photos intact. This release adds support for a number of electronic toys/handheld games, including Atari’s Touch Me (a clone of Simon, which is itself a clone of an Atari arcade game), GAF Melody Madness, Lakeside Le Boom, and with possibly the most awesome title if not gameplay, LJN’s I Took a Lickin’ From a Chicken. Many of these games have colourful, clickable artwork. MAME is dedicated to preserving more than just video games, and these systems are great examples of some of the other experiences you can relive through emulation. If you use MAME’s computer emulation and have been frustrated by modifiers not working properly in natural keyboard mode, you’ll be pleased to know that this release addresses that. Natural keyboard mode now works properly with many more systems, including Amiga, Sun and RM Nimbus. Speaking of Amiga, we’ve emulated a 3rd-party variant of the Amiga 1200 keyboard and added support for many different language variants, so chances are you’ll be able to use keyboard that matches your Workbench language. And speaking of keyboards, the Zorba keyboard now works properly, so you can try out one of the last luggable CP/M machines. Other improvements include fixing the crash on encountering invalid cheats, allowing multi-part software list entries to load each part on the correct interface, emulation of the Poly-Play light organ, a brand new preliminary Interpro 2800 driver and Clipper CPU core, support for VIC-20 and C64 speech synthesiser cartridges, support for the Osborne-1 Nuevo Video 80-column modification, protection MCU emulation in Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja and Bouncing Balls, audio improvements to a number of supported games, and optimisation of the netlist emulation. Some of these improvements might seem inconsequential, or apply to systems you don’t use, but they often lie in common components used by many other systems. For example, the Amiga 1200 and Zorba keyboards use the same MCU family used in a lot of arcade games published by Taito. The same change that fixes the Zorba keyboard also fixes enemy spawning and timing in Xain'd Sleena. The Nuevo Video board uses a common Motorola CRT controller, so improvements made to support it stand to benefit a lot of other systems. Of course there are plenty of other improvements not listed here, and you can read all about them in the whatsnew.txt file, or grab the source or Windows binaries from the download page and join in our 20th anniversary celebration.
MAMETesters Bugs Fixed
05559: [DIP/Input] (nbmj9195.cpp) jituroku: Resolved DIP settings, on Mame most are Undefined (kamilz)
Gamshara (World, 10021 Ver.A) [Bill D., The Dumping Union]
Genesis (French) [PinMAME]
Genesis (German) [PinMAME]
Gold Wings (French) [PinMAME]
Gold Wings (German) [PinMAME]
Golden Pyramids (0100878V, Victoria) [Heihachi_73]
Heathkit H-19 w/ Super-19 ROM [Mark Garlanger]
Heathkit H-19 w/ Watzman ROM [Mark Garlanger]
Hollywood Heat (French) [PinMAME]
Hollywood Heat (German) [PinMAME]
Hot Shots (French) [PinMAME]
Hot Shots (German) [PinMAME]
Margarita Magic (EHG1558, US) [Heihachi_73]
Mars - God of War (Prototype) [PinMAME]
Missile Attack [f205v]
Monte Carlo (Pinball, French) [PinMAME]
Monte Carlo (Pinball, German) [PinMAME]
Monte Carlo (Pinball, rev. 2) [PinMAME]
Panther Magic (0100716V, NSW/ACT) [Heihachi_73]
Pet Shop (0100731V, NSW/ACT) [Heihachi_73]
Q.T. Bird (0500009V, NSW/ACT) [Heihachi_73]
Raven (German) [PinMAME]
Robo-War (French) [PinMAME]
Rock (German) [PinMAME]
Rock Encore (German) [PinMAME]
Rollergames (AD-2) Prototype [PinMAME]
Rollergames (LF-2) French [PinMAME]
Rollergames (LF-3) French [PinMAME]
Spring Break (French) [PinMAME]
Spring Break (German) [PinMAME]
Street Fighter EX 2 (US 980312) [coolmod, The Dumping Union]
Tag-Team Wrestling (German) [PinMAME]
T.T. Defender [ShouTime, Renato Mucciarelli, Jan Stuhler, Surgeville, John Wilke, Rod_Wod, Mr. Goodwraith, ranger_lennier, Antonio Jover, ArcadeDude, Paul Vining, Ryan Gatto, joey35car, Smitdogg, The Dumping Union]
bbcb_flop: Sherston titles, Byte the Apple music demos [Nigel Barnes]
gamate: Fortune 'n Luck [Peter Wilhemsen]
688 Attack Sub (5.25"), Cartooners, Cartooners in Space, Starflight 2: Trade Routes of the Cloud Nebula (Alt), Zany Golf [Octocontrabass]
Aces High, Amnesia, Boulder Dash, Bruce Lee, Bubble Bobble, Double Dragon, Double Dragon II, Double Dragon III, Earthly Delights, Executive Suite, Frederick Forsyth's The Fourth Protocol, The Lost Treasures of Infocom, The Lost Treasures of Infocom II, Mega Man, Mega Man III, Metal Gear, MINIX 1.x, Prince of Persia, PSI-5 Trading Company, RoboCop, Wendin Multiuser DOS [Justin Kerk]
pico: Ecco Jr. e la GrandeCaccia al Tesoro nell'Oceano! (Ita) [f205v]
z88_cart: game conversions and commercial applications [Nigel Barnes]
zx81_cass: over 550 games and applications [Nigel Barnes]
New NOT_WORKING software list additions
ibm5150: Astro-Dodge, BurgerTime [Justin Kerk]
zx80_cass: small selection of games [Nigel Barnes]
Added preliminary Clipper CPU core Interpro 2800 driver. [Patrick Mackinlay]
Amiga updates: [Dirk Best]
Converted the Amiga keyboards to a bus interface with slot devices.
Addes a German A500 keyboard variant, keyboard fixes.
Moved and renamed Amiga sound device, added pinout and description.
Moved audio related registers into Paula device, now independent from Amiga state class.
Made Akiko independent from driver state.
ambush: Rewrote driver. [Dirk Best]
Use tilemap system to draw background/foreground characters (and use generic gfx_8x8x2_planar layout).
Added mario and dkong3 bootlegs running on extended hardware.
Updated and corrected DIP switches.
Documented tile attribute RAM and sprite RAM layout bits.
Use screen raw parameters.
Added connector layout, updated TODO list and ROM filenames.
thayers: Fixed keyboard scanning, inputs and communication. [Curt Coder]
vic20 updates: [Curt Coder]
Emulated the PPP SpeakEasy (Votrax SC-01-A) cartridge.
Emulated the Data 20 Display Manager 40/80 column video cartridge.
Apple Laserwriter II NT: Updated driver quite a bit, improved the overlay emulation and ram mapping, passes more self tests, added as much info about memory maps as could be easily derived without PAL dumps. [Lord Nightmare]
LaserWriter II NT: Hooked up interrupts to 68k, got more self tests to pass. [Lord Nightmare]
freekick.cpp: Fixed sprite rom load order in omega, derived input ports from gigas rather than fully redefining everything. [Lord Nightmare]
arkanoid.cpp: Added detailed memory map with proper mirroring; documented and mapped the joystick ports which, while present and fully functional on the pcb, are unused by the game code. [Lord Nightmare]
Updated FSF address in a few files' license headers. [Luke-Nukem]
arm7: Added support for the second BLX form for ARMv5 and fixed behavior of second BLX form in THUMB. [Alex Marshall]
intvkbd driver improvements: [Frank Palazzolo]
Corrected screen alignment.
Changed to use generic TMS9927.
Aligned STIC and TMS9927 graphics properly.
Added preliminary support for testing intvkbd printer.
Added proper documented memory addresses for tape drive.
TMS9927: added support for driver-specific overscan areas.
pgm2: Fixed address map up a little bit and added notes. [Alex Marshall]
namcos22: Added per-game speaker configurations based on manuals and test messages. [superctr]
namcos22: Added 'bodysonic' speaker to airco22b (name comes from test mode). [superctr]
C352 improvements: [superctr]
Implemented volume ramping behavior confirmed with recording from real hardware.
Rewrote mu-law algorithm - might not be quite perfect yet, but is closer to recordings and sounds a bit clearer.
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