Thursday, December 08, 2005

Remember when computing was fun?


Anyone that knows me, knows that I get passionate about things I like or love. Movies, music, art, computers, etc. One thing that I have been passionate about for a long time is computers. It was Wargames that got me hooked on wanting a computer and led to the years of me pestering my mom and dad for a computer.

Like a lot of others, I got a Commodore 64 (C=64) for my first computer. I loved it. And all my friends were getting C=64s as well. So trading and sharing software was how we all got to play with new things. But later on, things were getting more powerful and bigger in the computer world. The Commodore 128 (C=128) came out. The IBM 8088 was going out and 286 models were coming in. It was the very beginning of the IBM clone days. But there was one computer, that put all IBMs and even Apples, to shame! This computer made computing even more fun! I didn't think it was possible, but it was. I look back on the days I had one of these machines and all I can do is start to get passionate about it. The nostalgia just rushes in and courses through me. Like standing on a holodeck in Star Trek, I can see it all so clearly. My old computer desk, my old monitor (Which I still have and still works!!) All the software, my old dot matrix printer (Color too!). Then my trusty old machine....

My Amiga.....

Lately I've been visiting some of the Amiga News sites I used to regualarly visit. I still have some Amigas in my posession. A couple of A3000s, 2 A2000s, and an A4000 desktop! But my first Amiga was the trusty Amiga 500. I remember when I ordered it. I used what was left from my tuition grants for college after I gotmy books. I had enough left over to buy a new Amiga 500 and get a used 1084 monitor that a D&D buddy had. He had an Amiga but got rid of it. No clue why, but his loss was my gain! When I got my A500, I was on top of the world! I put every penny I could get my hands on into upgrading my Amiga. The Amiga at the time was the best computer you could buy. Preemptive multitasking, low power usage, small but powerful OS. Man! You couldn't beat it.

That's about the time the OS wars started up. IBM and Amiga. Everyside has their points about why their OS was better then the others. I personally could have cared less. I liked what I had, and enjoyed it! Let the IBM people have thier DOS. I had a fully functional GUI, 4086 colors and stereo sound out of the box! And it was all running on 512K (Yes, kilobytes!) of Ram. I later upgraded to 1Meg and was then able to do oh so much more! I added a hard drive and expansion chasis and could plug in cards and I was doing everything I could ever want. I would even spend hours in front of it just tweaking it! Seeing what I could get it to do.

The of course that was also during the latter end of the BBS days. There was at least 3 Amiga BBSes in the area, and maybe 2 or 3 IBM PC based ones. I would call them and that is how I ended up organizing a 13 person D&D game in my parent's cramped cellar. Then the internet started to take off. Dialup was the thing. This was the days of Windows 3.11 and windows 95. Microsoft had established thier dominace. Commodore had gone under and the Amiga was in limbo for an owner. But the userbase was loyal and kept it all together. Aminet was online and anyone with an Amiga could get just about any piece of free software out there. Even software for getting online. How you may ask, do you get software to get on the internet from a site ON the internet when your computer can't get on the internet? Why BBSes of course. People would get the files on PCs and upload it to a BBS here or there, or the authors would post it all on the BBSes. So the software was there, but you could also just use command line to navagate the net. That's how I started!

So I had the software, I learned to set it up and run it and got some of my friends with Amigas set up too! We were getting online and connecting in new ways with fellow Amiga users. It was fantastic! But soon the PC world caught up to the Amiga and it's accomplishments, but it took them 10 years to do it! And I'm sure you're wondering what all these neat things are? Well, the offical Amiga OS4 website can tell you all about it! Then you can see why I had such passion for a computer. The things I could do and imagine doing. Wow! Yeah I could probably do it all on my PC right now, but you know... I just don't think it would be as fun...

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