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Last post Author Topic: Any old Amiga users among us?  (Read 28334 times)

zridling

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Any old Amiga users among us?
« on: December 03, 2007, 06:30:47 AM »
Back in the 1980s, Amiga users were among the best programmers and tech people I knew. They always would shake their heads and softly laugh when repairing PCs. There's a History of the Amiga film on usenet under alt.binaries.documentaries that tells the story.

255px-Amiga500_system.jpg
The Amiga 500

Perry Mowbray

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2007, 06:49:04 AM »
Ah... my first computer  :-*

I wonder what I'd really think if I was able to dust it off again... memory is such a funny thing, eh?

zridling

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2007, 07:17:08 AM »
Amiga is another instance of better tech losing out to monied marketing. By making it expandable in a variety of ways (external drives/ports, memory), the machine actually lasted far longer than the traditional 3-year upgrade cycle and saved you money.

Go figure.

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2007, 07:18:51 AM »
I sold Amigas.  Does that count?

zridling

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2007, 07:56:23 AM »
Definitely! I don't remember — were they expensive, cheap, or about the same as other computers, such as Apple and PCs?

Ampa

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2007, 08:09:30 AM »
I had and loved an Amiga 500 - I still fire up an emulator now and again to enjoy some of the games of my youth.

nontroppo

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2007, 08:23:11 AM »
My second home computer after the Commodore Vic 20.

Twas a great machine indeed. I remember when I used MSDOS-based machines (and even Windows 3.x) some years later what a step back it felt...

I also remember the silly tribal animosity between Amiga and Atari ST users; some things never change...
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Ralf Maximus

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2007, 08:26:01 AM »
Whelp, in 1984 an Amiga 1000 (first gen) cost $1295.  That got you 256K of RAM, and a floppy drive.  With a monitor, figure $1700.  For reference, a Commodore 64 sold for $299 at that time without discounts.

As the IBM PC was selling for $5000, that was a big deal.  PC clones (like the Compaq and Kaypro) were in the $2000-$3000 range. 

One thing that sold a lot of Amigas for us was the promise of the "IBM compatibility box" (sorry, forget the product name) that would allow Amiga to emulate an IBM PC for a coupla hundred bucks more.  People bought Amigas like crazy, expecting to be able to do everything an Amiga could + run all the IBM software at some point in the future.  Note that the IBM box was delayed for a loooong time, but that didn't stop people from placing advance orders for it.  It was crazy.

When it finally did come out, it was a bit of a disappointment.  The "compatibility box" consisted of a separate module (and power supply?) that actually had an Intel processor and RAM on it.  It connected to the Amiga's motherboard via a ribbon cable and allowed the user to dual-boot into the Amiga or MS-DOS.  But not both at the same time.  Which was kind of retarded.

Nobody had hard-drives or CD-ROMs; those were freakishly expensive.  I think I special ordered a 3rd party Amiga hard-drive once and it was over $5000.

We started accepting orders for the Amiga 1000 a full year before we ever saw one.  On the strength of the brochure alone we took in many dozens of advance orders.  When shipments first arrived, the machines were beautiful... but very fragile.  One had the impression Commodore was cranking them out the door 24/7 without regard for build quality.  Our technician spent much of his time the first months after deliveries started resoldering broken traces on the Amiga motherboard.

Near riots would break out when we'd get our shipments, as customers learned our schedule and would stake out the store.  We'd get maybe six or twelve machines at a time (despite our having ordered hundreds from Commodore; they were soooo backordered) and I was the lucky one who'd break out The List and call the next lucky customers at the top.  It was almost a lottery atmosphere, with people jumping in the air and yelling if they happened to be in the store when I was reading off The List.

And I took a *lot* of abuse from folks who'd paid their money and were still waiting.  And honestly, I didn't blame them.  The only thing that kept me alive was that they could see the small shipments from Commodore themselves.  Not our fault.  But I could easily imagine a convoy of pissed off customers driving to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania to torch Commodore headquarters.

Eventually the frenzy died down and shipments came in regularly, and build quality came up.  We stopped crossing our fingers whenever we'd hand somebody a new Amiga box.

Then the cycle repeated itself when the 256K memory expansion modules were announced...


cranioscopical

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2007, 09:15:37 AM »
Depends in which sense you mean "old"  :)

You bet!  1000, 2000, 3000.  (Had to drive to Buffalo from Toronto to pick up a FlickerFixer.)
I could do little with the 256K in the 1000 apart from making friends with Guru Meditation Errors  ;)
I'm still using two Northgate Omnikey keyboards that have been in daily use since that era, switchable between Amiga and IBM.
I've never found another keyboard that's nearly as good.


Ralf Maximus

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2007, 09:24:51 AM »
I've never found another keyboard that's nearly as good.

They still make 'em:
http://www.pckeyboar....com/customizer.html

Not exactly the Omnikey, but tough-as-nails, either "quiet" or IBM PC buckling-spring clunky varieties, and they're not terribly expensive.

Lashiec

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2007, 01:04:08 PM »
I also remember the silly tribal animosity between Amiga and Atari ST users; some things never change...

In this case it was a bit more justified than modern animosity. Or at least there was a logical reason :D

Mark0

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2007, 01:38:05 PM »
I had - wait, I still have it! - an Amiga 500, with the usual 512KB+clock expansion, and a 2nd 3.5" drive.
Certainly the computer that I had most fun with!

Daleus

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2007, 02:16:31 PM »
Oh yeah baby!  Those were the days!

I had an Amiga 500 with an external HD that slapped onto the left side via the expansion port and a snazzy wedge shaped box!  I paid 400+ for a HD I swear was 20 MBs!

In those days I was running a BBS on my C64.  I was so thrilled to *now* be able to run the BBS in the background while I continued to play video games.  It was like being alive, but still going to heaven...roflmao!

My favourite recollection was a PC friend asking why in the world I needed thousands of colours on screen and digital stereo sound.  Like someone up top said, all I could do was shake my head and smile knowingly.

I was in my late 20's/early thirties at the time and I remember that hearing comments like that one made me feel as though I was a tenager - you know, on cloud nine, totally empowered and ready to take over the world and solve all it's problems.

Now that I'm in the PC world, I despair...... Okay maybe it's not that bad ;)

The Amiga is dead! Long live the Amiga!
Daleus, Curmudgeon-at-Large

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2007, 04:38:50 PM »
In those days I was running a BBS on my C64.  I was so thrilled to *now* be able to run the BBS in the background while I continued to play video games.  It was like being alive, but still going to heaven...roflmao!

Hehehehe, yes indeed!

One of the most impressive demos we did at the computer store was to format a disk on the Amiga and then open the bouncing-ball animation in a foreground window.  People were just floored. 

One IBM PC guy who bought stuff at our store saw the demo one day and asked, "why on earth would somebody need a disk formatting program that bounced a ball around the screen?" 

When told what was really happening, he didn't believe it, and wouldn't look at the Amiga again at the risk of having his reality shattered.

Another guy (whom I knew was perpetually broke, so I kind of sympathized) said, "if I need to do TWO things at once, I'll just get another Commodore 64."  I just nodded in agreement.

Perry Mowbray

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2007, 08:33:39 PM »
Looking back, one of the most useful things about Amigas was the AREXX port in each programme. It allowed me to tie many programmes together in my office... GoldED was the text editor, PageStream was the DTP, ProVector for drawings...

I remember the first coding I did was to alter the BASIC programme that came with the setup disks; someone had hard coded the response to the question "What's your name?" to "Tiffany's a nice name!"

cranioscopical

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2007, 09:50:59 PM »
Looking back, one of the most useful things about Amigas was the AREXX port in each programme. It allowed me to tie many programmes together in my office... GoldED was the text editor, PageStream was the DTP, ProVector for drawings...
Too true, that and Bill Hawes' WShell !
When Commodore finally woke up and made ARexx part of the Amiga bundle they did many Amiga users a big favour.
The ability to cherry pick applications and create a custom suite of software that was also tied into the shell was great.
I see the 'new' Amiga OS has just been released... finally.

Perry Mowbray

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2007, 05:31:08 AM »
When Commodore finally woke up and made ARexx part of the Amiga bundle they did many Amiga users a big favour.
The ability to cherry pick applications and create a custom suite of software that was also tied into the shell was great.

It's probably what I miss most about my windows experience too.

I've just remembered SBase too... how could I forget??

I see the 'new' Amiga OS has just been released... finally.

I've read some user's posts about it, sounds somewhat temping, but maybe not quite enough.

zridling

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2007, 02:37:44 PM »
Holy crap, cranioscopical, I had a Northgate Omnikey keyboard and nothing's come close since. Damn thing weighed about 20 lbs. I think, made of steel. Even Superman would rip a hernia trying to bend that sucker!

If you had a Northgate on your Amiga, dude, you were living the life.

Darwin

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2007, 03:04:08 PM »
When Commodore finally woke up and made ARexx part of the Amiga bundle they did many Amiga users a big favour.
The ability to cherry pick applications and create a custom suite of software that was also tied into the shell was great.

It's probably what I miss most about my windows experience too.

I've just remembered SBase too... how could I forget??

I see the 'new' Amiga OS has just been released... finally.

I've read some user's posts about it, sounds somewhat temping, but maybe not quite enough.


AFAICT the new OS (AmigaOS4) is available as a free upgrade to anyone who has an Amiga computer. Other than that, I can't find any other information about it and assume that it will not run on IBM clone hardware. A powerpc perhaps, though...? I'm also unable to find a download link for it anywhere.

At any rate, Perry, if you've still got an Amiga machine kicking around it seems you've got nothing to lose!


EDIT: fixed borked quotes...  :o
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: December 04, 2007, 03:43:55 PM by Darwin »

leland

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2007, 03:31:55 PM »
I just noticed this post.  Well, here is another Amiga users.  My third computer was a A500, which I made many expansions to like the 2MB of chip ram, hard drive, etc...  Then later I bought an A2000 used and expanded that like crazy too.  Those were some fun days.  Even now there are many things I find myself missing from the Amiga that the PC still does not have.  Yes, ARexx was great, the VB for Applications doesn't come close to matching it's power.  I did however get one of my favorite Amiga app for the PC when Directory Opus was released for Windows.  That made my PC a much more usable computer.  Oh, those were the days...

Leland
:D

PS I still keep an eye on the Amiga from time to time, but the new stuff just doesn't seem the same to me anymore...  Is it just me?

cranioscopical

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2007, 06:08:30 PM »
AFAICT the new OS (AmigaOS4) is available as a free upgrade to anyone who has an Amiga computer. Other than that, I can't find any other information about it and assume that it will not run on IBM clone hardware. A powerpc perhaps, though...? I'm also unable to find a download link for it anywhere.

At any rate, Perry, if you've still got an Amiga machine kicking around it seems you've got nothing to lose!

I think you need one of the later "T" models. 

I have NO doubt that Windows, now, is fantastically much better than was the Amiga OS on the 3000 (my last Amiga).  What fills me with dismay is the thought of where home computing might have been today had Commodore handled things differently.

I moved from the Amiga to OS/2 as a (poor) second best... same story *sigh*.

cranioscopical

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2007, 06:19:54 PM »
Holy crap, cranioscopical, I had a Northgate Omnikey keyboard and nothing's come close since.

It's true. The keyboards to which Ralf helpfully refers aren't a bad second choice but none of them quite does it for me.

Northgate made the Omnikey dip-switchable between Amiga and PC and sold a keycap-and-puller set to change the few keys that were in different places.  I still have the Amiga keys somewhere -- heaven only knows why!  Anyway, both of my Omnikeys are just fine and each has had a lot of use.  All of the letters are as clear on the keys, now, as on the day they were manufactured.

Quote
If you had a Northgate on your Amiga, dude, you were living the life.

I was having fun, that's for sure  :Thmbsup:

Lashiec

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2007, 11:11:37 AM »
More Amiga goodness for you, guys

Darwin

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2007, 03:54:34 PM »
Interesting find, Lashiec, and answers my questions about where AmigaOS4 is and what it will run under. Good read, but a sort of tragicomedic story!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

cranioscopical

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Re: Any old Amiga users among us?
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2007, 05:05:02 PM »
More Amiga goodness for you, guys
Thanks for the pointer, Lashiec. Seems I was wrong about the 'T' series being required.  Too bad I junked my 3000s during my last (and I hope final) house move.