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TenLeftFingers

Posted Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:50 pm

I'm from the Emerald Isle and am really enjoying my Amiga at the moment. My first computer was a Spectrum ZX which the family used to play Jet Pac on - great fun. Then I got a Commodore 64 which I mostly played games on. When I wanted to upgrade, my mother made me complete all the programs in the back of the book that came with the C64 first :) I'm really glad she did that because even though it was mostly an exercise in typing (and frustration), it was my first introduction to the purpose for the keyboard!

It took me forever to complete those examples and in the end I got help from a cousin because I couldn't understand the more complicated ones, like the one which made a hot air balloon travel systematically across the screen. I was disgusted that none of the examples made use of the joystick!

Finally, in the nineties, I was allowed place an advert for my C64 and I sold it just days before Christmas. On Christmas day I came down to 'The Wild, The Wierd & The Wicked' A600 pack with titles like Deluxe Paint III, Pushover, Formula One Grand Prix etc. I also had Street Fighter II. I was so excited I was physically sick and I can actually feel the over-excited nausea now as I write this :)

The great thing was that I was a little older (mid-teens) and better able to understand the non-gaming stuff. I got probably no more than five Amiga magazines in my time but tried the applications like databases and graphics. I was amazed at how ready to go games were and how much complexity there was in setting up something simple, like following the example in Amiga Format for Imagine 3D. By the way - that turned out to be a faulty disk! The .adf I downloaded recently has exactly the same bug!! There could have been a career in 3D design there!

I lost interest in games because I don't like solitude and most of them made me twitchy in a way I didn't like (although Settlers was great and Lemmings). I went on to PC and eventually discovered Linux in college while studying software engineering. I was blown away by the visual beauty and coherent filesystem structure and command system. That was around 2002 and I've been running linux ever since - currently Ubuntu, as well as a Raspberry Pi, an Ubuntu phone and a Macbook Pro for professional graphics/print.

Maybe it was a mid-life crisis, but within the last few years I really started pining for certain tokens from my childhood. I started watching old cartoons and shows with my little girl, who was probably five at the time, like Super Ted, Captain Planet, ALF, Sledgehammer, Fraggle Rock. Then I started buying C64 cassette games off EBay (even though I still don't have a C64 anymore). Just the ones I had when I was a kid, which isn't many; Spy vs Spy, Silkworm, Gauntlet, Quartet... Then I went on to buying Amiga games I either had or wanted such as Cannon Fodder, Lemmings, Batman the Movie, Sensible Soccer. Then on my birthday, my wife and little girl presented me with an Amiga 1200. I was shaking like that overexcited kid again - breathing all shallow and putting it together at light speed. I'm glad noone was recording :)

The interest in games wore off quickly as I really need company to enjoy those. But the applications are great. It was a real uphill battle getting a really nice setup but I have a few people to thank for that, most notably Sir_Lucas for patiently teaching me how to set up a wifi card on the A1200. It must have been like teaching a three-year-old about astrophysics but he calmly met me at my level and I'm incredibly grateful to him. I've since learned that the Amiga can have modern day applications in certain scenarios and I want to promote those. I've made some videos which will be posted on www.bambi-amiga.co.uk/amigatoday at some stage. I also have a Stack Overflow style site for Amiga coming soon. I hope to spare people the headaches I had getting setup (it doesn't have to be a headache, but I'm cursed with the combination of impulsiveness and high standards from technology) as well as thank those who have helped me by encapsulating that knowledge into videos, posts etc.

My little girl likes playing Lotus I (she thinks the gear # is her position in the game so she always thinks she finishes 1st, 2nd or 3rd usually :D) and I look forward to the day my wife asks if she can print something from Google Drive and I say, "sure, it's on the Amiga". (Hint, it's already possible).

Outside of Amiga, I've developed a love and appreciation for the natural world - plants and animals - and I've decided I want to eat less meat and be conscious about which industries I support when I spend my money etc. I'll write about that also from time-to-time.

Thanks and happy Amiga-ing!

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Wed Mar 02, 2016 9:54 pm

I'm from the Emerald City (Seattle)! Your introduction post is simply beyond exceptional... well, kindred spirits is all I can say.

Thanks for sharing.

If it's any consolation, Sir_Lucas created an account here, too (!?!), which is a huge honor in itself.

My wife doesn't quite understand my obsessions entirely (C64/Amiga, games in general, or VW Wesfalias), but she tolerates my presence and that's true love in my book. ;) If any of you happen to have a Westy, look out! I'll eat your time away with endless posts about upgrades and what not and we'll have to take it to PM-land, and suddenly I'd need to change the entire site to WestyLove or some such.

Here's the thing: these gaming and computing machines have always been a huge part of my life, but have also become a part of my identity. When I fire up Eye of the Beholder, or Populous 2, or even Final Fantasy III on the SNES (viewed on my Commodore 1702 monitor, natch) it builds a strong connection to my past and, with my son at my side, I can see him relive the wonders I felt back then in real-time. My kids aren't jaded with 1st-persion Xbox experiences (yet) in insanely realistic 3D graphics. They are sophisticated iOS users, to some degree, for their age group. But to still be scared of an 8-bit 2-headed monster in a dungeon crawler is a crazy awesome thing to witness and feel again. To see the frustration my boy (7 in June) experiences when we fire up Super Star Wars is a sight to behold (it's hard!). And, I totally get it. But when we get to level 13, holy crap. The whole family has to hang on a second - we're busy and have work to do. ;)

For what its worth, in Populous he simply can't wait to grow or reduce mounds of earth. It's his isometric version of Minecraft, I suppose. He seems to enjoy it all just as much, even though he's usually watching me build and destroy (such a mean game!) and the way to meet your overall objective is a bit over his head at times. It doesn't matter, though.

TenLeftFingers you have an advantage over me in that you got an A600 at some stage in your youth. I bought into the Amiga more recently in life, as I think you know, as it was one of the few platforms I never had yet always fantasized about. Like you, I never subscribed to magazines when I was a kid and had my C64, but every so often I'd have enough money saved up for some mag to enhance my obsession with pixels. I got $1/week and I lived next to a dollar-movie theatre. Needless to say I saw Flash Gordon 13 weeks in a row.... I also got about 1/2 way through Elephant Man. I thought it was a superhero movie of some sort when I bought my ticket. I left in tears!

In any case, there were countless times I read, and re-read, about games and programs I really wanted yet couldn't afford - and so many times the screenshots were for the Amiga. Well, those days continue but now my economic (and technological, and intellectual) accessibility has changed. These days its more about prioritizing everything. And as I learn how to navigate this flawed yet beautifully elegant platform, I am trying to leave what I discover (30 years after the fact) along the way here.

Thanks for joining,TLF; it's great to share these experiences with you here and on your site!

P.S.
Also outside Amiga: I live in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest (USA), which is hard to beat. I've lived in Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Singapore... and I think Seattle is finally the place I'm going to stay. I've been here for 5 years and I love it. We use our Westy for camping out in new gorgeous locations every summer, at least 3 times each summer. Anyway, I won't bore you with all that. But before my daughter was born, I was a pescatarian for 17 years. When she was about 18 months old, I saw that she was starting to mimic me at the dinner table and, out of ignorance and panic, I added fowl (chicken to be precise, but turkey on occasion) to ensure she was getting a sufficient protein intake. To this day I still eliminate mammals from my plate. I don't forbid my kids - that's their choice to make, if ever. But we can at least eat most meals together as a family with this change I made, which feels right at this stage.

P.P.S.
Later this month I'll introduce them to Civilization (non-AGA) to completely blow their precious minds. When things get too convoluted, I can always fire up Syndicate or Shadowrun (SNES), which we've already finished together once. Good times.

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TenLeftFingers

Posted Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:21 pm

Your anecdote about the cinema is fantastic! Flash Gordan thirteen times sounds great - and the Elephant Man, well, that poor boy won't be helped by me laughing ;) What a lovely and innocent mistake.

See attached :) I didn't know what a westy was until I googled it and found we had one up until only two years ago! My wife is the one who does all the repairs etc so I honestly wouldn't know (or care!) about any technical details of them. She adored it so much and sold it so we could both go to college to do a new course.

I didn't realize Seattle was the Emerald City - we definitely have to put it on the bucket list now. As for kids and gaming, the pirate treasure hunt is a great one for young kids and teaches them a little about the x and y axis too. Kids are a great way to keep our Amigas relevant. It's funny but my girl likes Lotus and Batman as much as anything on her mother's iPhone!

I can relate to your pescatarian pedo-predicament! Our girl decided to follow her mums steps and go meat free when she was very young and she never suffered. For the likes of us old fogies, it's tougher the later you start. And if you're in a cold climate it's especially tough. The more time I spend with animals the more I see the sentience looking back at me and I'll never enjoy meat as much as I used to. I did try the Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type book, which I'm sceptical of now after researching the author a bit - but the diet I tried for over a month (in winter!) was raw veg and steamed fish only. I was loosing weight and always cold.. For now I just try and buy local meat where I know the animals have a somewhat humane existence until their end. We'll see how it goes.

It's great to be a part of your lovely digital dwelling, intric8. Thanks for creating it!

PS: The heart is by far the coolest icon in my browser toolbar! I delete the text from the bookmarks to get a row of pure icons and it's better for the new addition.
Attachments
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The coincidences continue :)


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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Fri Mar 04, 2016 5:11 pm

I think in the UK the VW Vans like mine are called Jokers for some reason (or maybe that was the Eurovan, I forget). But around here it's "Westy" for Westfalia - the town/factory that did the camper-ization. You can see it stamped on the front or rear of the fiberglass top. More precisely, Vanagons (van + wagon) are their official name. The Westy is purely the camper version. But around here at least, for one like you had, folks usually call that a Camper Bus. It kind of helps frame what decade we're talking about. From the pic you've posted, yours looks like the 70s-era "bus" variety (with custom curtains?), I think. I'm guessing late 70s without seeing the exterior. But still a Westy. Vanagons took over in 1980 as air-cooled engines began to phase out the water-cooled power plants. Mine was made in '86... right around the time Commodore ruled the world, coincidentally! I actually just sent it to the shop today for the engine to be removed and replaced with a brand spanking new eng.. never mind. I won't go there.

But I guess I can't really help myself entirely, so here goes a few pics for you, too, then I'll shut up about all this!

Image

Image

Image

That last pic was taken before a lot of upgrades were made. OK I'm done. I swear. ;)

I need to research how to embed pics with a normal file browser rather than this irksome BBCode and let amigalove.com just host them. Linking to other sites kinda sucks (sometimes site security concerns can be quite prohibitive). FWIW I changed the site's permissions to allow any kind of image attachments even in PMs, but inline images could (should) be a lot easier. I will be disabling any/all flash soon. It just doesn't need to be here.

As for the browser icons, I do the same thing for my "main" sites:
Image

I label the EAB simply because so many sites use the boing ball it's hardly unique, so it can be hard to keep track in my mind who's who.

Food topic: Trust me, I get the sentience part. I've been the owner of two birds (not currently) and they are shockingly as smart or smarter than the two dogs I've owned. So bringing fowl to the table was by no means an easy choice to make.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:10 pm

In unrelated news, I wonder why your URL got parsed as text. Hm... I am loving phpBB but it is a cranky old goat.

Your daughter is gorgeous, btw.

Cheers

Update: I edited your post with the URL for the pirate treasure game and removed the quotes you had placed around the "URL" and now it works. Hmph. Also, if I sold my Westy, I'd be able to go to a 4-year state school - not just one class! I need to make a trip to Ireland and ship a fleet of those bad boys to the U.S. I'd make a fortune (they are extremely sought after around the PNW)! :)

Update 2: your post exposed an interesting UI bug on mobile due to the large image attachment as well as my inline images. Your attachment was an easy fix in the CSS, inline images exposed a bigger problem. To be truly responsive I may need to disable smilies for now, but will look into it more soon.

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TenLeftFingers

Posted Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:19 am

Those are lovely pictures, and thank you, your kids look great too. How do they get along on trips? My wife would love to talk about that stuff with you, she misses that van as does our daughter. There is some kind of annual gathering of VW Camper van owners here every year, I'd bet you'd enjoy it. I think they have some kind of 'rally' around the country too. I think she did this one: http://www.cannonball.ie/

Ah yes, the overused boing-ball is the reason I can't 'pin' the EAB and other tabs :)

Here's some good news: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/ins ... ?tid=a_inl

PS: I typed this up elsewhere - just in case you blame your editor for not formatting something ;)

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Mon Mar 07, 2016 2:19 pm

I don't think the Editor has issues per se. It just didn't convert your URL originally because you had used quotes around it.

As for the kids, they LOVE going on trips in the thing. This year we'll be hitting Ft Ebey on Whidbey Island (180 degree views of Puget Sound), Cape Disappointment (historic, looks and sounds epic), and another place called Sequim State Park which requires a ferry boat ride to get to - we have to park the van in the belly of the boat due to his height. They get very excited when the dates approach and simply love being outdoors for days at a time. It also is a wonderful time with no technology, no phones, no Minecraft (or whatever) and we can just focus on each other and the gorgeous surroundings.

Speaking of technology - curious - what WB software are you looking to write? Text editor? File Management?

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TenLeftFingers

Posted Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:51 am

Initially, I need to find a dev environment that I can be productive in. Then I want to create apps that meet modern needs. My fantasy (although out of my league at the moment) would be a simplified Evernote client.

More realistically, I'm thinking along the lines of compatibility with modern systems. So for example, a program to convert documents written in Excellence!, WordWorth etc into .odf and vice versa. Ideally these would be integrated into the applications themselves.

But my first application will be a calculator :) and I will experiment with fundamentals including getting currency conversion rates from the web. If the process is fruitful I'll move on to bigger challenges perhaps.

This is all assuming I get my hardware in order.. I'm currently having major headaches[1] with either my floppy drive or motherboard that are going to take some time to get to the bottom of.

1: http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=81884

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:47 am

Are the disks you're using 2DD or 2"HD"?

My Amiga is brand new - never used since 1995 but I believe it is of the Escom variety, made in France and for the N. American market (and yet it boots into PAL by default, it's weird).

I got 2DD disks for it (IBM formatted) and any disk I put in there I get the DH0:???? Labels on them.

But if I select the disk and go to the top bar Tools I can format them if I don't choose quick format - it has to be a complete format. Then they work wonderfully. I mean, you make it sound like your current problem is what I've always dealt with.

Is the issue your other drive was able to read IBM / PC disks with no hassles? i went the null modem route to just avoid disks altogether (unless I'm installing a game).

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TenLeftFingers

Posted Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:27 am

They are 2HD disks, yes. And it's very like your situation except that I can't even format. I do have wifi thanks to a great card I bought from Sir_Lucas but I'm very attached to the floppy disks as well. I simply have to be able to use them just a little :)

Somebody near me has an Amiga and is going to test it for me. Hopefully I'll be able to narrow it down from there. How did you know yours was Escom?





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