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.