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.
The weekend has arrived and I really hoped I would have received my EasyNet PCMCIA Wireless Card from AmigaKit by now. But it has not arrived and with the time being the afternoon while normally we get packages early in the morning I have given up hope it would still arrive today. Having had all the time in the weekend to play with it I could have really maximized it’s use but I would have to wait till next weekend since during the week I would not have any time for it. While waiting for it to arrive I dreamed up all the things that suddenly would be possible. With high on Nr. 1 the ability to get access to unlimited amounts of games and write them back to a floppy disk and play all those great games. This would also allow me to write massive amounts of game reviews. One review I wanted to do was about Lethal Weapon. I saw a review in a magazine the other day which said nothing but positive things. My recollection of it was that it was not a very good game. It is just stuck in my mind that it was not very good so I want to give it a good try again to see if I still feel the same about. I might have given it a quick try back in the day and it was not just my kind of game for that moment.
Coincidently Old School Game Blog did a review about this game just when I started writing this column. I suggest you head over there and read the review.
Currently I am laying the groundwork for the new disk magazine that I am going to create in Amos. I am depending on the network card so that I can move stuff to the Amiga that I will be needing for it. But for now I can brush up my knowledge about Amos. I have Amos Basic 1.3 installed on my Amiga 1200 so I already can try out some stuff. It surely brings back some great memories. While going through my huge amount of floppy disks I noticed Hudson Hawk and it suddenly hit me that I might have confused those horrible controls with Lethal Weapon. Did Hudson Hawk not have those horrible controls? That when you moved left or right it sort of kept going even when you wanted it to stop? Like being on an icy underground. Or did I confuse it with The Blues Brothers? I will dive deeper into this once I have the time for it. Let’s hope that when I write next week’s column I have the network card and can do a nice story on it.
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.