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Archive for the 'Amiga' category

Amiga OS

November 27, 2007

Early Amiga OSAt around the same time I discovered DeskMate, the Amiga OS made its entry into the market as the aptly named operating system for the Amiga computer. Until recently, I had never owned an Amiga machine. I spent a fair amount of time with friends mucking around with various bits of software and hardware. One of my favourite combinations was the NewTek Video Toaster which was a powerful video editing software kit. You could do all sorts of video effects and overlays due to a technology called genlock. Genlock allowed you to synchronize different signals so that their sources become coincident, which made it possible for you to place blackout bar over your sister’s face just for kicks.It also sported several hardware and software features which I had never seen before. Real hardware multi-tasking was available on the Amiga 1000, but we mostly used the Amiga 500 which wasn’t as sophisticated in the same areas but provided terrific hardware for games. A friend of mine had a massive collection of software which were all archived in a custom-built diskette storage case made of wood and decaled with the Amiga logo. When we weren’t playing games and slogging through his massive collection of software, we were programming in Amiga BASIC or the occasional dip into the Lattice C compiler. I didn’t really understand the compiler since it was my first experience with a compiler, and it’s really difficult to learn a new programming technology when you have no means to experiment in your free time and no books available to read. At the time, I really wasn’t that interested anyway because I really connected with the structured BASIC available on the Amiga. It was a technology I could more readily understand because of my experience with Atari’s BASIC and Tandy’s GW-BASIC.

The Amiga OS made a strong impression on me as to what I was missing when I used a personal computer running DOS or Windows. There really wasn’t any comparison at the time. I remember feeling a bit underwhelmed whenever I switched my machine on after returning from a night of Amiga fun. However, after a few hours I was back into full swing. I’m not sure if I came to the realization that the machine I owned presented me with all sorts of different puzzles and tantalizing delights, but I do remember feeling like there was so much more to explore and learn. I believe that is what kept me from begging my folk’s for an Amiga every time I returned home. Although, I might have asked once or twice…