With the Amiga 1200 being hooked up to my home network and having had the opportunity to test it (and finding out it works wonderful) it is time to get started on my disk magazine project. Since I am going to use Amos Professional I really need to get back in to the world of Amos programming. I already installed Amos Professional on my Amiga 1200. Now I really regret I did not bring my Amos books and other reading material with me from Thailand last year.
But I still have some reading material here so I should not worry so much. My plan is to have my mother in-law ship the Amos Pro manual and also the Mastering Amiga Amos book to me. Spending time on Amos really brings back some great memories. There is really something special about Amos. Just reading the Amos The Creator manual or fire up some Amos disk magazines has me all emotional. I really miss those days.
I have also started work on my next OS4.x programming article in case you are wondering if I am still continuing with that. It could still take a bit before it is done but I will really do my best to get it done as soon as possible. In the next article I will explore the world of IDCMP. One problem I have now since I moved upstairs is that I don’t have any network access on my A1SE. I can’t get the cable upstairs to give it access to my network. And the network is the only way I can transfer files since the USB does not work on my A1SE. The only solution would be to use a repeater with a LAN connection port connected to my wireless router downstairs. I would plug the A1SE in to that LAN port so it has network access.
After installing the disk image device software I suddenly could not run my EasyNet software together with AmiTFP any more. It took a bit of memory which was the killer in this case. So I installed the Elbox 1200 4MB card to give it extra memory. I remember having problems with it before in which my Amiga 1200 would crash and not start any more. After I installed it I had no problems at first but after about 1 1/2 hours it happened. Even after switching it off I could not switch it back on any more. The lights would start flashing. The next day it started again but soon after about 10 minutes it happened again. I have placed another card in it at the moment with 8MB memory. At the time of writing this column it still works but I remember that this card had the same problem. If it fails I will try to remove the disk image device software to see if it frees enough up memory so I can transfer my files again.
It is now early Friday evening and this weekend will be all about programming in Amos. Time to get some work done on the disk magazine. I am really going to set some targets for this weekend. The plan for this weekend is to get some code done on displaying text on the screen. I would be really happy if I get some crude form of displaying text on the screen done so I can look back at a productive weekend. I will write all about in the column of next week. Happy weekend Amigans!
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?
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.
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.
Why? All because of the wireless PCMCIA network card I got from AmigaKit. I have not been able to write anything for my blog due to the fact that I am so busy with it. Currently I am writing about it which I hope to post later today. It was a bit of a journey which you can read all about it later on. It is up and running and boy what a joy. The possibilities it suddenly gives you. Being able to get all those games and write them back to a floppy disk and play them like there is no tomorrow. I really have to force myself to stay away from it at certain times so I can at least write about it and have some sort of normal life.
After reading the article at Old School Game Blog in which he talks about his Amiga 500 having died I got worried and I wanted to try out mine. It has been almost 10 years in which I have not even switched it on once. After taking it out of the box and setting it up I flipped the switch and there was the famous hand “waving” at me as it did for so many years already. Phew! I was really relieved it was still working but also took a moment of silence for the other Amiga 500 that died. Brothers in arms, eh?
Besides the article about the setting up of the wireless card on my A1200 I also have a game review in the pipeline. Actually a lot but I am about to start with one first. I am aiming to have it done this week. Another great thing I am (and really need to) about to do is to get Amos Professional installed so I can work on the disk magazine. Playing games and writing code… just like old times. The geek factor in my house is at a all time high. I really have that “old” feeling back. At moments when I am playing games in my room it feels like I am still in that period of time. What also happened is that I have not fired up my AmigaOne with OS4 for some time but only had the classics on. Well time to write some more and play games.
I really needed my own office for some of my projects and since the plans for the big office are on hold for the moment because of the cold I had use one of our rooms upstairs in to my new office. I took some negotiation with the missus but the deal was sealed with the agreement that she could decorate it. With the understanding that I could already set everything up a bit I was happy with the deal.
From the above picture you can see my AmigaOne A1SE and my Amiga 1200HD ready for action. The only thing still missing is my whiteboard which will be up once the decorating is done. One thing I did not mention yet regarding the negotiation is that I also got the go ahead to order the EasyNet PCMCIA Wireless Card from AmigaKit. I really need this so I can transfer files from and to my Amiga 1200. I decided to go for the wireless one since I don’t want get myself all worked up on how to get the network cables upstairs. Surely my wife would not allow me to start drilling holes at random (that is how it would look like) places in the house. With the approval for the card I checked the AmigaKit website and discovered it was no longer in stock. Go figure! I decided to e-mail them asking when they will be on stock again. Very quickly (always something that scores you extra points with me) I got a reply back that they have them in stock again. Yes! I just ordered the card and I am bursting with excitement.
Since I was ordering anyway why not get the (Full Colour Edition) of Amiga Future Issue 94? So that also got placed on my shopping basket. There was really no excuse not to order it.
What also happened is that I can’t stop playing Amiga games. I just had a go at (you can see it on the picture) Predator which is really addictive. This will open the door to do some game reviews which I am really looking forward to. The push to set up the Amiga 1200, and with it the office, was the disk magazine project. I will use Amos Basic for this project and currently I have Amos The Creator already installed on the hard drive. The disk magazine is a project I am really excited about. The plan is to start coding this coming week or anything else that would require me to get started. The wireless card should arrive this coming week and of course I will write about it as well as the Amiga Future magazine.
Due to all kinds of activities I have not been able to start working on my office. But I will start working on my office really soon now. I really need to start with it since I am out of a computer room now. The missus has started clearing it out and turning it into her hobby room. Lucky enough I was able to put up a fight and get some kind of agreement so I can still leave my A1SE in the room for now. As you can see from the picture there is not much male spirit left in that room.
I started a new section on the site called The Bucket List. A list of things a really really want to have. I will keep adding things to it since there is so much I still want to have. First to make the list is a PCMCIA network card for my A1200. I found one on AmigaKit which I might order. I just need to butter up Mrs W a bit so I can place the order. Seeing what happened to my computer room I believe I might get permission.
Also A-EON confirmed this week that the AmigaOne X1000 betatesters have been supplied with the latest version (update 3) of AmigaOS4.1 with their Nemo 2.1 motherboards. I am really considering to purchase Amiga OS4.1. I might do it together with the PCMCIA network card for my A1200. Lately I see a lot of software released that will only run on OS4.1. I think it is time I upgrade.
Something I am really looking forward to is beta testing AmiSystemRestore from Chris Handley. I already have access to it but I was not able to give it a try earlier this week. It will have to happen this weekend. I will write about it in my next column.
On Tuesday I picked up my Amiga 500, 600 and 1200 I had stored and my parents place. I was as happy as a kid in a candy store after having them put in the car and on the way back home. It took me a bit of time to convince my wife they needed to come and be used also. I was planning on setting up the Amiga 1200 first. All three Amiga’s have been stored since April 2003 so it has been some time since they saw the light of day. The 1200 was still of the beautiful color white. I do remember from the last time I used the 1200 it had read/write errors. Sadly enough this was confirmed right after I fired it up.
I have a spare laptop which is faulty so I wanted to use the hard drive from that laptop and use it in the Amiga 1200. At the moment I have it running and created a 500 MB partition on which I installed OS 3.1. The problem I have is that the hard drive does not fit in the bracket. The screw holes on the hard drive do not match the ones on the bracket. At the moment I am not sure how I am going to get this problem solved. Glue? 🙂
Another issue I am looking at is to transfer files to the Amiga 1200. I bought NetWork PC from Weird Science years ago which uses a parallel cable to transfer files between a PC with Windows (95) and the Amiga. Even years ago I did not like it very much since it slowed down the PC a lot and remained so even after closing the program. I tried it now again but for some reason it does not work. So I was wondering if it was possible to do this with the parallel cable between my A1SE 0S4 and the Amiga 1200. I posted about this on Amigans.net but so far no reply yet. I think I might try it with my Compaq laptop and Linux. I will see if I can find some tools that are available that will be able to do this. But I would love to be able to make a connection between my A1SE and Amiga 1200 with the parallel cable.
I have to say that I am really excited about using the Amiga 1200 again. Just opening the box (Amiga Magic Pack) and seeing that shiny white Amiga 1200 was such a great feeling. I can’t wait to try out some software. All that stuff brings back great memories from the past.