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I bought an Amiga 4000, the insanity of which is only starting to dawn upon me.

I thought I’d write up some notes on how I’m using it in 2019 as I build it out into the ultimate high-end classic Amiga. This is the first post.

I’ve got more pictures here and will update the album as I go.

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    Instead of having a bulky A4000 for tasks you outlined in the commect, couldn’t you just get a little cute A600 with Vampire 600 V2 accelerator (68080 CPU on gate-array, which is a 68060 with fixed bugs and added pipelines, also RTG graphics card beating any MNT product (or any ZorroIII card, but I’m not trying to advocate it over Mediator PCI + Radeon / Vodoo))?

    Soundcard can be added on „clock port” and these are cheaper (and newer, as clockport got developers’ attention pretty recently).

    Of course A4000 is great looking „desktop” machine and I really appreciate it, but currently the only case I would find for it, except some VERY SERIOUS stuff like plugging PowerPC, Mediators, TV cards and so on is to have VideoToaster in it, or other „DraCo-style” setup with few TV/encoding/processing cards, Scala and other video editing software.

    Not to mention you can just simply plug cheap RTL8319/3C589/Prism2 network card into PCMCIA port in A600, add Roadshow to S:Startup-Sequence and release yourself from the need of any other x86 machine, also releasing your CPU a lot from TCP/IP processing from raw serial port

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      I have a bunch of other Amigas, I think I have an A600 in the loft, and my A1200, possibly with 2 A500s is somewhere in my conservatory. Of course, I can do things even faster still with a Raspberry Pi, or with WinUAE on my i7 beast.

      This isn’t about performance though, it’s about youth and love. The A4000 was my dream machine as a kid. It’s not something really for me to own, it’s something for me to take care of, to look after until it’s next owner, probably a museum.

      I do miss having a clock port on the A4000 - I was hoping to build an i2c interface that I could use with some temperature sensors to do some kind of power management. That’s a project for down the line though.

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      This is SO COOL!

      Just curious, you cite using it for writing and other ‘creative tasks’ in the article, but other than writing what are you using it for?

      I have a deep abiding love for DeluxePaint :) I could play with multicycle brushes like, forever :)

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        Ok, I have a ton of stuff lined up for this, but phase 1 is backing up all of my still-working disks with old code, music, art and writing and possibly finishing stuff off. I’ve learned a lot about those things in the last couple of decades, so remixing some of the content and putting it out there in the modern world is high on my agenda.

        I’m still building out the box. I have coming down the pipeline for hardware:

        • A 16-bit soundcard
        • A combo Graphics card, Ethernet card, Coprocessor and Memory expansion
        • A 68060/50 to replace the 040
        • A Compact Flash card to replace the hard drive as heat will start to become an issue once the 060 is in.

        All of the older stuff I’m buying needs to be recapped, so I’m going to look into doing that myself. The Amiga doesn’t do APM or ACPI, so I’m going to build my own device to monitor temperatures and shut the Amiga down if it gets too hot.

        I’m going to use it for:

        • 3D Modelling and Fractal animation generation
        • Pixel art and photo editing (once the memory expansion is in)
        • Setting up a modtunes radio station that records modtune mixes and releases them.
        • Writing an intro/demo for next year’s 44CON
        • Writing short form fiction with Final Writer
        • Managing my finances with Turbo Calc
        • Possibly doing an online zine with Pagestream
        • Trying to edit a podcast once I have the 16-bit soundcard, network card and extended drive set up
        • Remixing old mod tunes I wrote, and writing new ones
        • Adding Amiga hunk binary support to Radare

        One of the 3d world generation tools I want to use, Vista Pro has problems opening up on my RTG workbench, so I’m using that as an excuse to learn a disassembler/debugger called ReSource. I know how to fix the binary, but I want to understand why the fix works.

        Basically I’ve spent nearly 20 years away from the Amiga, in which time I’ve developed (relatively) god-like reverse engineering and hardware hacking powers compared to my teenage self, so I want to put them to good use and have a go at all of the things. Hopefully it’ll give me something fun to do for the next 20 years.

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          I remember Vista Pro!!! I could never figure out how to use it fully but it was amazing for its time.

          Remember Director? The 2D animation DSL? I used that a lot and did a Media internship project in it for college.

          Thinking about this stuff makes me realize how much of the software that made the Amiga great really was way ahead of its time and still has things to teach us today. There are many lessons that breakthrough software can teach us.

          You should totally document this project to the nines as you go!

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            Remember Director?

            Sadly, no. I never used it. I used Scala, but not Director.

            Having said that, if you’re interested, there’s an ADF for use in WinUAE, along with the manual in case you’re feeling rusty.

            I’ve made a note to check it out and spend some time with it though. Might be a while before I get to it.

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              The main thing I took away from reading about the Amiga was that it (IIRC) used a mix of software and hardware offloading. Our smartphones are doing that now. You could say its legacy lives on in that way. Just too ahead of its time.

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                That’s one piece of it, but it’s far far more than that. AmigaOS had pre-emptive multitasking way before any other non UNIX desktop OS did, and it had a message passing ‘exec’ (Most would call it a micro-kernel these days).

                And yes it had an awesome graphics coprocessor (Coppper) and a bit blit transfer coprocessor (Blitter) which all had rich support in the API (Intiution).

                The whole thing was written with a sense of humor and had an … elegance? To it that’s hard to describe in the here and now.

                It also had a full user / application scripting enviornment, ARexx, so you could have scripts that ADRESSed running applications and sent them commands that they exported.

                So you could have a script that had your Telecom program download a ZOO file full of images, tell your unarchiver to unarchive them, and then tell DeluxePaint to load and transform them, saving them back out, and then have your mail program mail them to you.

                The other thing to know about Amiga is that a TON of incredibly ground breaking software was originally developed on that platform. Lightwave 3D started out there for example.

                Also - the games were amazeballs for their time. So yeah, if you were into computing at that time and didn’t have access to super high end workstations, it was basically magic :)

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                  Thanks for the details! I’m slowly trying to piece the picture together one article and conversation at a time. You’re the first to tell me about the scripting stuff. It definitely sounds better than my DOS with graphic shell experience. ;) I think modern audiences could get an appreciation for it today if it was presented comparatively to a system, apps, and games of that time. Not a rigged demo by zealots: someone highlighting realistic use of good apps on both platforms in a way that shows Amiga’s advantage as a side effect.

                  I heard about Lightwave. Closer to home was that the Preview Channel ran on Amiga. Means I used Amiga without knowing it for a decent chunk of my life.

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                    Kinda not surprised. They’re tucked away in some surprising places. There was one that was still running a school’s HVAC in a closet for YEARS:

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                      Amazing. Reminds me of this advertisement about an AS/400 doing something similar. People used to lose VMS servers, esp pizza boxes, too. This kind of thing probably happens way more than we hear about it. The ones that ran for years seem to be on specific OS’s and hardware that aren’t mainstream, though. I still think high-reliability deployments that don’t need raw speed should consider leveraging such technologies where possible.

                      I also speculate that the physics of modern, process nodes that breaks chips means using oldest ones available will always have advantages. The used Amiga you bought on eBay might outlast your brand-new, high-reliability chip from 28nm fab. There’s you a business justification for loading up on them for critical services. :)

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                I used to love Vista as a teen and had totally forgotten about it until this comment :) Deluxe Paint IV, too.

                How’s emulation lately? I guess ROMs are difficult to find. Presumably the hardware can be emulated at native speed though?

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                  You can purchase the full ROM set as well as super easy to use software at http://www.amigaforever.com - emulation is startlingly good on quite a number of platforms.

                  I’ve been playing with getting UAE running on my Clockwork Pi - handheld Shadow of the Beast!!! :)

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            The only insanity is the price tag.

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              I hear that, I’m coming on what must be around $5000 in US money spent so far on the kit and upgrades. Worth every penny though.

              Although, compared to the retail pricing, I’m doing pretty well for the horsepower.