Diary of an Amiga fanatic

Category Archives: Amiga News

If you read one of my previous columns (Designated boot sources) you know I was stuck with getting my OS4.1 installation to work from the SIL card. That has been fixed now. I moved the SIL card to a different PCI slot and it started to boot OS4.1 again. At the time I also moved it to a different PCI slot without any effect. I am sure I did. Anyway it is up and running again which made me really happy.

First up was Update 5 that needed to be installed. The installation went really smooth but after restarting the Workbench screen was frozen with the mouse pointer stuck in the left top corner. I quickly remembered the Kicklayout file in the Kickstart folder which probably was replaced and the USB modules are being loaded again. That was indeed the case and after booting from the OS4.1 installation disc and commenting them out it worked again.

Amiga OS4.1 Update 6

Next up was Update 6 and after this was installed I changed the Kicklayout file (which was also replaced again) before restarting OS4.1 so it will work right away. New in Update 6 is AmiUpdate. Well not new since it has been around for some time but new in the sense that from now on it is the preferred mechanism for the distribution of OS updates. After starting it I was greeted with a login screen.

AmiUpdate loginTo login you can use the login details that you use for the Hyperion site to access the OS4.1 updates.

AmiUpdate updates after Update 6

After scanning for updates I was presented with some new system updates which I installed. So back up and running with the latest updates installed. I missed it. There you have it. After not playing with OS4.1 for some time and using it again I can’t express enough how much I missed it. Even when running it on my A1SE which is more unstable then a junkie at a crystal meth lab. What’s next? I am going to do some programming again and install some new stuff that has been released in the last couple of weeks if not months. You will be reading about it here at the Bucket Diary.

It is Monday the day after the AmiWest 2012 weekend so I am looking for news from the AmiWest show. I had some peeks during the weekend I noticed there was not much news coming from the show except a few announcements.

A-EON Technology announced that development has commenced of the Warp3D driver for RadeonHD graphics cards. The much awaited 3D support has been exclusively funded by A-EON and is aimed at customers who have recently purchased the new RadeonHD driver.

A more important (if you ask me) announcement was the Libre Office port exclusively funded by A-EON Technology. Libre Office is an open source office suite which descended from Open Office. Next to a good browser a Office package is what many users want. I already use Open Office on my Windows laptop so having the same package, or a descended, would be a great step forward. But such a project is a massive one and I wonder how fast they will be able to get this done. There was no news on how far the project had gone already or any indication when it might be ready.

The above two announcements I had spotted already during the weekend but the next one I missed but is a rather important announcement. ACube Systems announced Aros for the Sam460. My first thought was that this must be a Linux hosted version but no it is a native version of Aros. And soon they will have it available for all their boards. It was shown on AmiWest and they will also show it at the upcoming Pianeta Amiga in Italy (30 nov. 1-2 dec, 2012).

The above three announcements is pretty much it when it comes to news from AmiWest. No news on the netbook which is rather disappointed since it was announced at the last show and one year has passed without any news whatsoever. Surely you would release some info (even if it is news about it being delayed) since that is what people expected. Now I am waiting for all the footage they shot to become available.

AmigaOS4.1 Package

I really did not expect it would have arrived already since normally my wife usually contacts me and informs me my precious stuff has arrived. So I was really surprised when I got home and it was there. This was Thursday 12-4-2012. It was packed, just like my previous package from AmigaKit, really good which shows the package has been treated with all the possible care.

I did decide before that if it would arrive during the week I would wait till Friday evening before installing it. I did not want be up all night while I still had to go to work the next day. But you know very well that once it is there you just got to start with it right away. So I decided to install it after my wife and I would be back from shopping. Just before that I made sure I had backups of all my important files since I wanted to do a clean install. I did expect some issues to arise since with only very limited time on that Thursday evening so it had to be a perfect run without any obstacles. And arise it did since the installation screen did not come up at all. I tried it a few more times and at with some tries I also got some errors when trying to load from the disc which made me think it was the optical drive. The one I use is a very old one and I it did gave me some issues before when trying to read contents on a disc. I could not stop now so I quickly decided to open my wife’s desktop and take out the dvd drive swap it with the one that was in my Amiga A1SE. As it turned out this was a good decision since it loaded up the Amiga OS4.1 installation and I could run the installation. The first attempt did cause it to hang on 5% at the part of copying files to the hard drive but after starting it for the second time it installed perfectly. It was already passed midnight and getting close to 1:00am Friday morning so it was time to call it a day and continue exploring OS4.1 that Friday evening and the weekend.

Amiga OS4.1 - Update 4

With Friday evening having arrived it was time to continue with the installation of the OS4.1 updates. There are 4 updates so far and I knew already that Update 4 required Update 3 and after some investigation I found out that I needed to install Update 1 first and after it Update 2 and so on till Update 4. I soon discovered that Update 1 is a ISO file that needs to be burned on a disc and you need to do a complete new installation. This information was not present in the OS4.1 package I bought. So the installation I made on that Thursday was pointless since I needed to do a complete new installation anyway with OS4.1 Update 1. Eventually, and I did, you will find out about the fact that you need to install Update 1 and forget about the installation disc that comes with the package but putting a note in the box informing users about this would be a must if you ask me.

Once I had the Update 1 installation disc ready I started the installation. Unfortunately it gave me a black screen after the Amiga OS4.1 splash screen. I created it on a DVD instead of a CD so I created also (the only one left) a installation CD but this also failed at the same part. Time to start paying a visit to the Amiga sites to find out what could be causing this. I discovered right away this had to do with the USB modules that are being loaded during the installation. I need to comment them out. In the Kickstart folder is a file called “Kicklayout” in which you can comment out those lines.

Kicklayout file

Sounds easy, right? Making the changes is easy but how to get it back on the disc? No matter what I tried each time I booted from the disc it failed to do so. That seems to be putting a hold on my OS4.1 dreams. I also read on the Hyperion forums that Tuxedo created a bootable partition and booted the installation from that partition. I posted on AmigaWorld.net about having two bootable partitions and also contacted Tuxedu by PM. Besides Tuxedo there was also tonyw who both gave me the information to have a go at it and actually succeed in booting the installation from the bootable partition.

Amiga OS4.1 - Partition overview

The trick is to set the second bootable partition to a higher priority than the Workbench partition so the system will start from the installation partition. I had the Workbench set to 0 and the installation partition to 3. You should not not set bootable partitions to 5 or higher since cd’s are priority 5. You have to make sure that after the installation (so before the reboot) you set the Workbench partition to the highest priority. If you cannot get out of the installation and do this but only reboot you can start from the original OS4.1 disc and change the priorities. This worked really great for me. I will keep the partition with the installation files in case I need to install OS4.1 again. After OS4.1 Update 1 was installed the other updates installed perfectly. It would be great if Hyperion could make some kind of option to select what needs to be loaded in future updates so that A1Se owners can install it without any problems.

So what do I think? It is everything I thought and more. It is so much more stable and I actually can use it without having crashes every 5 minutes. I am really happy I purchased although I did started to fear I would never get it to install. I am still getting to learn all the new stuff and applications I can run now. But so far I have been using CodeBench the most which is one kick ass utility and a must have for every programmer. To round up my OS4.1 review and stealing McDonald’s slogan  “I’m Lovin’ It“.

Since I took office upstairs in one of the rooms my A1SE was cut off from any network access. Since the network was the only way to transfer files from, or to, my A1SE I had a bit of a problem. I left it at first since my new office was only going to be temporary before moving to a different location. But since I really like it in my new office and my wife could really use what was going to be my office for her hobby I decided to make the temporary location permanent.  Because of this and because I wanted to start working on some new material for my OS4.x programming section I needed a solution. I was thinking about using a repeater with a LAN port that I could use the connect my A1SE to. I wrote about this in my column (When the dust settles – Week 11) to which JetSetSkippy replied. He suggested I should use HomePlugs so I could provide network (and internet) acces through the power line to my A1SE upstairs. I completely forgot about this option. I gave it some thought before when I was still planning to create my new office in my garage but I thought it might now work because of the distance. I could not stop thinking about this solution so I decided yesterday (Saturday 17-3-2012) that I wanted to go for this solution. After checking online for some prices I came to the conclusion that the ICIDU HomePlug Starter Kit was the cheapest.

ICIDU HomePlug Starter Kit Box

ICIDU HomePlugs

Next up was to get my wife to go shopping (not much of a challange, eh?) and when we would be near Dixons (the place I wanted to purchase it) I would play my part. I would talk about my A1Se not having any network access and since I would be staying in my new office for good because I gave my new office location to my wife I would really love to have a solution for this. Maybe I could have a look in Dixons to see if I could get some ideas for this? Hook, line and sinker. Of course my wife is not from yesterday and after I purchase the HomePlug Starter Kit we had to stop at a shop and she asked if I would not mind waiting in the car and it could take some time but I had my HomePlug Starter Kit already so I would not really mind. It did take rather long but that was a small price to pay to get what I wanted.

I was really hoping it would work. When I got home I plugged one adapter in the extension cord next to the router and the other one upstairs in the wall socket. I decided to test it with my laptop first and it worked just great. Even with the downstairs adapter plugged in the extenstion cord (I know they can give you some problems) it worked without any problems. Next up was the A1SE and also with this it worked really great. It is really out of the box and plug and play. I am really impressed by it and with a price of around 55 Euro you get really great value for your money. I actually wrote most of this article on my A1SE using OWB. Now I can start working on some more articles for my OS4.x programming section.

On Tuesday (21-2-2012) it finally arrived; the package with my A1200 wireless card from AmigaKit. With not much time during the week I knew it would not be till the coming weekend I would be able to get it all up and running. And it was indeed the weekend (Sunday evening) that I got it all up and running. It was a bit of journey to get it all up and running but it was a lot of fun. The card came with a setup and installation guide and following that it was easy to insert the card and have the driver installed. The driver came on a floppy disk and is only half the job. We also need to have the network software installed so we can join our or any other network. AmigaKit supplies EasyNet which is a easy to use utility to setup all the network (AmiTCP) software and settings. This is supplied on a cd and my Amiga1200 does not have a optical drive. What now?

My 720KB MS-DOS transport floppy!

Introducing a well known and proofed concept; the floppy disk transport using a 720KB MS-DOS formatted disk! Once I made a zip file of all the software I needed to split it files that can fit on that floppy disk. You can already imagine it would take a lot of transferring. I never have moved up and down the stairs so much as during this transport. My Amiga1200 has Crossdos installed so it can read the MS-DOS formatted disk. Of course I needed to join all the files again together to one big zip file that I can unzip. For all the splitting and joining I used HJSplit which is a great (free!) utility. Once I had EasyNet installed (I did had to create an ASSIGN during the installation but this was because I was not running it from the CD) I could not get the software to start. When I started EasyNet it was complaining that I needed to start AmiTCP 3 first. I did notice that a lot of file did not have the executable bit set which happened because I zipped it all from the cd on my PC. But after making a lot of them executable it still did not start. Time to try the AmigaKit support which turned out to be a great move. They also pointed out about the files not being executable but also provided me the solution. In the Network Config part I should fill in the domain box field and after doing so (random value) it started the software and everything was up and running.

I had already set up (the floppy disk installation) the wireless info part regarding the SSID for my wireless network and the encryption. I already had the idea it would not work since my router had WPA-2 encryption and the network software on the Amiga would (I think but if not let me know) only support WEP. But it looked to me that my router would support both WPA-2 and WEP but after trying to ping other units on the network it seemed it did not. What I did is use another wireless router to connect to my router from my internet provider and have no security on it at first to make sure it works and I would set it to WEP at a later stage. This worked as I could ping other computers in the network. This set up works just fine for me. I had to use a static IP address on my Amiga1200 and I was wondering if anyone knows if you can use DHCP? Maybe with another TCP/IP stack software package?

My plan was to use AmiFTP on my Amiga1200 to connect to a FTP server I would have running on my old Compaq laptop with Linux. Getting a good Linux distro on my laptop was a nightmare. Since it is not really fast I needed a lightweight distro and ZenWalk seemed to be the choice. But there was no good FTP server in the download packages and I did not want to download a FTP server package from a certain site and having to use a lot of time to get it up and running. So I tried several other distro’s but they use a lot of resources and made the laptop really slow. And by slow I mean really slow. In the end I decided to go back to ZenWalk and see if I could find something myself. I forgot about it but I used CrossFTP Server before which comes as a Java version and it was easy to use on my Windows machine. Turns out it was the same on my ZenWalk installation. It really took me the whole weekend to set it all up and it was already Sunday evening when it finally worked. The first file(s) that I transferred over to my Amiga1200 was the Predator (two adf files) game.

The Goods!

So what do I think about my purchase? I am really happy with it. It does everything I was hoping it would do. Despite what you might think I had fun with setting it all up. Without any challenges there is no fun and all Amiga users are not your average users. Another big plus for me what the support from AmigaKit. Already before the purchase I had a good feeling about it when I had to contact them and the support when I needed to get it up and running was fast and great. They will certainly be my choice for my next Amiga purchase.

Wait there is more! Not only did I order the wireless card but also Issue 94 of Amiga Future. It feels good to hold a “new” Amiga magazine after such a long time. I still need to read a lot (I am taking my time reading it so I can really enjoy it) but so far I have been impressed and sold. At this moment nr 95 has also been released and from now on they will all be in full colour. I also had a cd with mine full of stuff which I still need to check. If you excuse me I will get back to play with my goodies.

I consider it a Christmas gift. What I am taking about? I am talking about RetroGaming Radio. It went of the air in 2008 and till that time it was my favourite radio show I listened to. I don’t even remember how I came across it at the time. I started to listen to it when I was still in Thailand and (of course) continued to do so when I moved to Holland in 2005 till it stopped in 2008. I kept checking the site during that time but never any news of a return. Till this week when I happen to come across a posting on the Facebook page of MaximumRD’s Classic Gaming and Computing in which Rob Daviau was referring to RetroGaming Radio. He pointed out to me that the show was back an so far four new episodes (starting from August) have been released. I can’t wait to start listening to them.

Shane R. Monroe

Those new episodes are going to make the holidays even more fun. If you never heard of the show I urge you to start listening to it. There is a huge archive to check out. Shane (the host) does a great job with the shows. Check it out!

If you read my blog you know about all the great “treasures” I found back in Thailand. But there is one I have not talked about so far. The biggest treasure I still have here in Thailand is my Pegasos Phreeboard. I located it on Saturday (still in mint condition) and ever since I opened the box that day I can’t stop thinking about it. I want to work with MorphOS really badly.

I left the Phreeboard back in Thailand when we moved to Holland in 2005. I was going to get it at a later stage but due to my work I had barely any time working with it. The same goes for OS4 which I have not used as much as I wanted to. But being on holiday and away from work you got time to evaluate things. I want to free up more time for OS4 and MorphOS. First I wanted to know if the latest MorphOS version works on the Phreeboard and it does. So the question arises should I take the board back home to Holland? I would have to purchase some additional items like a case, graphics card, memory and a hard drive. But at least I would have it in Holland at first. The problem is that we are already fully packed so there is not really any room for it. If it goes something needs to be sacrificed. I think this is going to be a last minute decision tomorrow when we are going to pack the bags. At first we planned on going back by train (12 hours) to Bangkok on Tuesday evening and although we called to check if there was place on the train which was confirmed we got a big NO when we arrived at the station on Sunday to book them. We should have booked them much earlier but that is just how my wife and I work. We can’t be bothered so much and we always just do things at the last moment. Another problem presented itself today when we called the hotel for a room and we got told there was no room. At least that is not such a big problem because we just booked another hotel online this afternoon. Instead of the train we will go back by airplane on Wednesday morning. It is not a direct flight anymore so we stop somewhere else first but it will take about 2 hours to get to Bangkok including the stop in between. Of course going by plane will add to the cost of the holiday but what can you do? Both of us think we kept waiting this long on purpose so we had no choice but to go by airplane. On Thursday afternoon at 12:30pm we will fly back to Holland which will be the end of our holiday. I can’t think of anything worse than our holiday ending and going back home. Oh yes I can, going back to work next week Monday.

Decision time tomorrow on whether the board will got or not. I think I would to be really nice to my wife tomorrow and even longer. I am sure it would cost me something if it goes with us. We will find out tomorrow.

Tuesday morning and with just a bit below 30 degrees Celsius it is not a very hot morning today. I decided I would read mpiva’s review (over at Amiga.org) about the purchase of his new Sam460ex system (ACube Systems Srl) purchased from AmigaKit. I made myself comfortable outside on the porch with a nice cup of coffee.

I had already read the first part of the review some time ago but not the rest (not everything was done at that time) so now is my chance to read all of it. I really love these reviews since they give you a review of a user about a product which is very valuable to me in case I want to purchase such product. As previously mentioned on this site here I think the price for the Sam460ex is rather high. Of course I know it is a niche market and we expect only these kinds of prices but still it is a lot of money. Being married and having other priorities like a mortgage for example I would be unable to make such investment any time soon. Would I purchase such Amiga hardware if I had the funds for it? You bet I would. I thought the comments about Amiga OS4 in the review hit the spot for me.

Another thing that would help would be the inclusion of things for the new user to play with. Remember when I said that at one point I just sat there wondering what to do next? Since AmigaOS is so small, it shouldn’t be hard to include a bunch of pictures, music, videos, etc. There should be Pictures, Audio and Video: assigned by default and they should already have a handful of files in them for the new user to play with. What about some programs that simply show off what the system can do? Remember when AmigaOS came with a Demos drawer?

And, why were there no games? For an OS who’s slogan is Remember when computing was fun?” the complete lack of included games is extremely ironic. They don’t have to be anything fancy like Freespace, just simple time-passers. I don’t think Windows Solitaire got so popular because it was amazing but simply because it was included on every person’s PC.

It should come with some extra software so once you have OS4 running for the first time and checked it a bit you can start playing with some software. Sure you can go online and get some software but would it not be great you got installer options to install additional software (programs / games / demos for example) with ease so you can play with it right away and justify the purchase to your wife? “So show me what it can do” is probably something mpiva heard. Saying “I have to download some stuff first since there is nothing on it yet” will surely get you some nice comments from your wife.

Kudos for the review mpiva.

I am catching up on Amiga news to see what I have missed during my moving period. I noticed Amiga Roundtable had 3 new shows released since the “Burnt Banana Bread” show. Just finished the last one which featured Trevor Dickinson from A-Eon Technology. Trevor seems to be a nice bloke and very passionate about what he is doing. I hope we will see the Amiga Roundtable shows on a regular basis.

If I was going to buy new Amiga I think I would purchase a SAM board first due to the price. Don’t get me wrong I would love to have the AmigaOne X1000 but at the moment money is more important. Maybe by the time I want to purchase a new Amiga money is no longer a problem. But at the moment I am still happy with my A1SE. Unbelievable, eh?

I saw OWB 3.30 was released for OS4.x. I was already happy with the improvement of the previous version so I can’t wait to try this new version. Nice to see we are finally getting some movement in the browser department. I tried NetSurf 2.5 also some time ago but it crashed sometimes. Just checked if there was a newer version out but it is still on version 2.5.

The other interesting bit is a Rebol 3 test version that is running on OS4. I gave Rebol a try back in the days but I left it alone for reasons I can’t really recall. I even purchased one of the first books that came out. Of course it has matured more over the years and the fact that it will run on OS4 makes it worth while to give it a try again. I wonder if there is going to be some sort of beta testing group for this? I sure would like to be on that.

Wednesday the latest I should have the Amiga up and running again. The computer room should be pretty much done by the end of tomorrow with a little bit of small work on Wednesday. At least it is going to look great.

Just installed the latest version (3.29) of OWB on my AmigaOne SE with OS4 and to my surprise (and what I was hoping for) it let me login to my WordPress account. I tried it before with the previous version but once you login and try to go to your admin page it asks you to login again. Once you login again it goes straight back to that page asking you to login again. Looping forever much to my frustration. But not this time and I am actually writing this in OWB. It works very well actually. I do still have the problem that when I start closing tabs the system freezes. This could also be due to my OS4 setup. I have been playing around with the system a bit lately doing some stuff that could cause some issues. I am hoping to upgrade to OS 4.1 later this year for improvement purposes. Since I was so excited I thought I would write a short story about it. Which also gives me the chance to test everything a bit. You can download the latest version of OWB on OS4Depot.

This new update of OWB was not the only big thing today. There was also the Vintage Computer Fair at Bletchley Park that started today. It is a two day event so it is not over yet. The first videos are being uploaded to Youtube right now which I will check out later this eveninig. More stuff to make me happy.