One of the fields I specialised in when writing for computer magazines back in the day was communications – ‘comms’ for short. In fact, I wrote so many articles on this topic for Amiga User International that the inimitable editor of that publication, Anthony Jacobson, took to calling me ‘The Comms Kid’!
My first comms article for AUI, entitled ‘Amiga Calling’, appeared in the July 1988 issue. I’d started online in 1985, when I’d begun full-steam logging into dial-up bulletin boards and other, rather less authorised computers (!) via a 300 baud acoustic coupler attached to an Amstrad CPC6128 and PCW 8512. I was using CP/M terminal software, which was great fun.
After the Atari ST came out late that year, I bought a 520 STFM and started using Micronet 800, which was hosted on British Telecom’s Prestel Viewdata system – Britain’s ancestor to the World Wide Web! But I wasn’t using the ST for Prestel access – I was using a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k with a pair of prototype microdrives and a Prism VTX5000 1200/75 baud modem!
Before long I become a co-editor of the Atari ST area ’16/32′ on Micronet. Eventually I bought a BBC Micro Model B as well, because it was designed to work perfectly with Viewdata character sets, and edited pages using ‘Weirdbeard’ software. But when the Amiga 1000 was launched it was inevitable that I would eventually get one, though I never did use it to edit on Micronet…
It was not until 1987 that this came about, however. The Amiga A500 had been launched in January of that year, and I can’t remember exactly when, but not that long after, I wandered into a business computer shop in Wolverhampton, England, and spotted the most beautiful sight – an Amiga A1000 with a Philips colour monitor and second floppy drive.
I well remember lusting after a Macintosh Plus in that very shop a year before; it was way too expensive, which was why I’d eventually moved on from Amstrad to Atari. Now, however, the shop was selling off the 1000 for little more than the cost of a A500, and I fell in love with that famous bouncing boing ball, and the elegant silhouette of the Amiga.
The rest, as they say, is history…
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