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  • A. Stuart Williams 1:17 pm on February 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Ch-ch-ch-changes… 

    cropped-meditations-header.jpg

    Just a quick note to say that a bunch of forgotten photocopies of some of my other 1980s-90s articles, on various computing related  topics, not just the Amiga, have recently come to light, and as soon as I have time I’ll be posting them on this blog.

    Accordingly, while I don’t currently propose to change the domain name from amigameditations.com, I have decided to amend the title of the site to reflect the wider remit. This has other advantages, as I can add my current work on other ‘retro’ topics to the site as well.

    The title of this blog is, from now on, ‘AMIGA and other Micro Meditations’. Note the new header!

    Stuart Williams

     

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  • A. Stuart Williams 12:35 am on November 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: PD Software   

    Amiga User International articles rediscovered 

    AUI Feb 1990 Vo 4 No 2 p53

    AUI Feb 1990 Vo 4 No 2 p60

    AMIGA meditations has been on hiatus for a while, partly because I have been ill and busy with other matters, and partly because I have been continuing the search for more ‘Missing In Action’ issues from the years when I wrote for Amiga User International magazine.

    Rediscovered

    The good news is, not only am I feeling much better now, but I have managed to track down three more of the missing issues of AUI containing articles written by me!

    The three in question date from February-April 1990. Out of these, only the April issue does not contain one of my articles, though I am still listed as a contributor. I am not listed as a contributor in the August 1990 issue, so I must have finished writing for them some time between the May and August issues.

    My ‘latest’ two articles – on public domain software – from the February and March 1990 issues have now been given their own pages on this blog, and you will find them under the Free, Gratis menu. I hope you find them interesting.

    Still searching

    I am still looking for a number of issues of Amiga User International, preferably as scans or pdfs, but would also be interested in physical magazines, if they are cheap!

    The list of issues which remain ‘missing in action’ as of today are as follows:

    • Volume 2, Issue 5, May 1988.
    • Volume 2, Issues 10 to 11, October-November 1988.
    • Volume 3, Issue 10, October 1989.
    • Volume 3, Issue 12, December 1989.
    • Volume 4, Issues 5 to 7, May-July 1990.

    It may be that I do not have articles in all of these issues, but I really need to know, if for no other reason than to eliminate them from my research.  If you can help, please email me: stuartwilliams@amigameditations.com

    Other magazines

    If you also come across any of my work in copies of Amiga Computing, Atari ST User or Micro Computer Mart magazines especially, probably between 1987-1990, I would also be glad to hear of it.

    Thanks for your interest – and hopefully, thanks in advance for your help!

    Stuart Williams

     
  • A. Stuart Williams 12:05 am on May 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Something wonderful happened… 

     

    Amiga A1000

    It’s International Amiga Day. And nearly thirty years have gone by. I never saw that coming.

    I was aged twenty-five when the Commodore Amiga A1000 was launched.  No-one knew at the time, at least in public, what a struggle that glorious machine had to be born. But whatever difficulties it had, it was written in the stars that it would have a mighty destiny. And so it came to pass.

    From my personal point of view at the time, working for the local Council and not getting paid very much at all, there was no prospect of me ever owning that remarkable machine.

    Just like the Macintosh Plus it was far out of my reach.  Being a computer-mad twenty-something, having owned a succession of 8-bit computers since 1982, and not being all that interested in the rather boring and overpriced ‘IBM-compatibles’ as they were known, when the time came to move up a level to 16-bit computing, and wanting something that was both useful and fun, the Atari 520STFM was the obvious choice, and I had immense pleasure from using that machine until, one day, in 1987…

    I live in Walsall, England, a town in an area which is known as ‘The Black Country’ (it inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s dark land of Mordor in The Lord of The Rings…) and not far from another, similar town known as Wolverhampton, which I occasionally visited.  One dark, rainy Saturday I happened to be in Wolverhampton when the heavens opened, rain fell like a hammer blow and I was forced to seek shelter in a nearby shop, which just happened to be a business computer store.

    I can’t recall the name of the shop, but it was in a stately Victorian or Edwardian building, on a corner on the main road leading into the town from Bloxwich.  I’d been past there many times.  I’d even been in once, to lustfully ogle the Apple Macintosh Plus that had been coupled with a twenty inch paper white monitor to show off the possibilities of that then-new miracle of the age, ‘Desk Top Publishing’. One look at the price, however, had sent me scurrying, but not on this day. No, not on this day…

    I tried to look businesslike as I sidled into the showroom, but the salesman chatting up the boss’s secretary in the back office glanced at me with a supercilious smirk and turned back to more pleasant matters as I dripped gently on the worn carpet and mooched about looking for something, anything, interesting to occupy a few minutes until the clouds might have hurried over and I could get on about my business.

    A pile of leaflets on Wang, ICL and IBM business computers were deathly dull, so I put them back in their dispensers and noted that the Mac was switched off so there was no chance of a furtive play.  As I rounded a display cabinet, however, I beheld, lurking almost shamefully in a dark corner of the showroom, something that I could hardly believe at first sight.

    An Amiga A1000. With a second floppy drive. And a Philips colour monitor showing the now-legendary boing-ball demonstration…

    Much as I’d loved my Atari gear for the past couple of years, I knew that one day I must have an Amiga.  I could see it was the future, at least in spirit.  Even if it went the way of all digital flesh in due course, as technology comes and goes in generations shorter than dog years.

    The Amiga A500 had been launched earlier in the year, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to lash out all that money on something that didn’t look all that much different from my ST.  I know, I know, but there it was. Subjective, certainly, not objective.  I’d fallen in love with the A1000, although it had seemed doomed to be unrequited.

    Maybe not.  You see, this shop (I really do wish I could remember the name) had been trying to sell their one and only A1000 for six months as a business computer and, well, you can guess the rest. “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” they used to say.  They also used to say “Garbage In, Garbage Out”, and as the son of a binman and a lifelong geek, back when it wasn’t fashionable, I knew all about that.

    Anyway, to cut a long story short, they’d had no luck shifting the A1000, and not long before I arrived they’d cut the price back, to just above that of the new A500.  I had a grin a foot wide, as you might expect. It had been payday that Thursday, and I didn’t need any persuading when the manager leapt out from behind his desk.

    “Can I help you, sir? Lovely machine.  A quick dust off and you’ll never know she’s been on demonstration.”

    He looked wistful for a moment, as if half-expecting me to ask which version of MSDOS it used, but his slightly lop-sided smile turned to a grin nearly as wide as mine (and mine would have embarrassed the Cheshire Cat) as I pulled out my cheque book.

    Twenty minutes later, my Amiga was boxed up and we were away in a taxi, heading for an unknown future. All I knew was that something wonderful had happened, and my life would never be the same.  For one thing it launched my writing career with Amiga User International and other magazines, though that eventually took a few strange turns.  However, that’s another story.

    Jay Miner and his dog Mitch

    It’s almost thirty years now since that remarkable computer was born, thanks to the genius of engineer Jay Miner and others, and though Commodore is long gone and technology has moved on by leaps and bounds, the Amiga still has the power to make me, and thousands of today’s retro enthusiasts, grin.

    It did point the way to the future, and what was so amazing about that all-singing, multi-tasking, windowing, colourful, multimedia computer, born into a world of dreary DOS and black-and-white Macs, is commonplace now, though somehow, it doesn’t seem quite as much fun.

    Which is one reason why I’ve set up this blog, ‘AMIGA meditations’, in tribute to happy days gone by and yet to come, and to a work of genius loved by many and not forgotten despite the way of the world.

    Thank you, Jay Miner, and happy birthday. International Amiga Day would have made you proud.  Even though you’re no longer with us, the work of you and your colleagues still has the power to inspire us, and to raise a smile fit to embarrass a Cheshire Cat.  My recently-acquired A1200 still does so, even though my dear old A1000 is now lost in time, like tears in rain…

    Stuart Williams

     
    • steve ulrich 10:55 am on May 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Great article. The A1000 was a dream machine, I sold all my commodore gear and the money i had made meant i could fork out for one of these beautiful machines. So much forward thinking in the design, you can see engineers ran the company when it was built. Shame what happened afterwards… Anyway, a machine way ahead of its time, I got a sidecar with it….upgraded to a A2000 with a A2286 board (but the A1000 was always special). Probably the most amazing time for home computers for me, anyway.

      Like

      • A. Stuart Williams 11:46 am on May 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Steve, and I couldn’t agree more, the whole system was way ahead of its time, but bad management can kill the best of products. Still, the legend lives on.

        Like

    • Johan Andersson 2:54 pm on May 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Nice article, I started out on the Z80 myself, SpectraVideo 728 MSX actually, but when I found the Amiga 500 with it’s sleek design ac custom graphical chips, I was sold… I cant remember, but I am sure to have read some of those articles you wrote, since that Magazine was one of the many I read at the time.
      It was amazing to see how much more mature the Amiga’s OS was compared to others of that time, sadly Commodore went under for all the wrong reasons, but that is how it works…

      Like

      • A. Stuart Williams 12:27 am on June 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Johan, glad to hear you were a reader back in the day as well. My first computer was a Texas TI 99/4A, I bought it after the Sinclair Spectrum I ordered from the first batch turned up d.o.a.!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Arnt Rune 4:12 pm on June 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I still to this day remember the biggest computer-shop that did not mainly aim for compony clients in the biggest city near where i grew up. The name, the building and where i stood the day me and my brother had finaly saved up to replace the C64 with an A500 back in 1988.

      I also remember all the verbal fights with my mom about going outside or doing something else than sit on the computer. Trading floppies with everyone at school, looking at boxes of software and games and having no clue if they were any good.

      I concider myself lucky to have grown up in such a time when it comes to technology and the huge leaps that came about in that time.

      Like

      • A. Stuart Williams 10:48 pm on June 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Arnt, I loved the diversity of those days as fars as computers were concerned. I know we all had our own favourites at different times and the friendly rivalry that created was fun too. But there was always something new coming out that did things differently. Sadly, today there are really only two computer systems out there and they basically do the same thing. More practical, maybe – but not so much fun!

        Like

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