Welcome to Amiga Love! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
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8bitSheep
Scotland

by 8bitSheep posted Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:35 pm

Hello everyone,

I am a new Amiga user having recently purchased my first Commodore computer, an A600. My main interest is in using this as a computer rather than as a games machine. I didn't experience the 16bit computers when they were in their prime (I went from 8bit computers to PCs with only games consoles inbetween) and so I am interested in finding out what they are really capable of. I am hoping that over the coming months I will be able to benefit from the knowledge and experience of you long time Amiga users to keep me going in the right direction and hopefully prevent any serious mistakes on my part.

My research before buying the Amiga suggested that the A600 was the best choice due to the availability and ease of data transfer due to the PCMCIA slot and so far I have been quite pleased with this machine. I have spent the last few months making steady progress and now have my A600 set up with a CF hard drive and clean Workbench v2.1 installation. I was also able to pick up a 4MiB PCMCIA RAM card which brings it up to 6MiB total (it came with a 1MiB Chip RAM slot expansion).

I saw some reports that a current BenQ LCD monitor supported 15KHz signals and so I picked one up. I am happy to say that it works great with a simple VGA adapter and so I run Workbench with a normal PAL:HiRes screen mode.

My current focus is now in learning the Amiga operating system and trying out some of the software from Aminet. LHA files I can deal with but ADFs are still something I have to learn about. So far I have a music player (HippoPlayer), terminal software for logging into my PC via the serial port (Term 4.8) as well as a simple Minesweeper game and a NoClick commodity to stop the floppy drive from driving me insane.

I think my only frustration so far has been the amount of online tutorials and guides that make use of WinUAE. I want to do as much as possible on the real hardware and it can be difficult knowing what applies to a real Amiga when the only source I can find is someone using WinUAE.

Apart from that, I have been having great fun and it is truly amazing what this machine is capable of.

Thanks to intric8 for providing this great place!

Talk to you later.

8bitSheep
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femuruy

by femuruy posted Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:44 pm

Welcome aboard! what 8bit computer you started with?

P.S. ADF are just an image of an Amiga Floppy, very much like nowadays an ISO file is an image of a DVD or a CD
Looking forward to get any of the AGA Amigas!
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8bitSheep
Scotland

by 8bitSheep posted Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:36 am

Hello femuruy,

Thanks for the welcome. Being from the UK you may not be surprised to hear that my 8bit computer was a Spectrum, specifically the Sinclair ZX Spectrum+ 48K. This computer was a Christmas gift from my parents and I can still remember how exciting it felt to have a 'computer' in the house. Previously we had a small number of electronic games such as Race N Chase and Nintendo Game & Watch but to have an actual computer felt so futuristic.

I vividly remember seeing this advert on television (probably around Christmas 1984) and thought the wire-frame model of the car being rotated (all be it slowly) on one of the displays towards the end was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. Does not look quite so impressive nowadays but still a fun advert and a great little machine.

I can also remember spending many hours typing in BASIC programs from magazines into the machine and then the feeling of loss when it was time to turn the machine off as I had no ability to save these programs.

I still have the Spectrum and will look it out again one day soon and take a look at what the retro community has created for it.

Thanks for the information on ADF files. Is there a way to access the contents of an ADF from within Workbench (analogous to mounting an ISO as a virtual drive in Linux etc.) or do they need to be written to an actual floppy? So much still to learn :D

8bitSheep
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femuruy

by femuruy posted Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:36 am

Hey mate, i was exepcting a Spectrum or an Acorn!
There seem to be a couple of ways of dealing with ADFs, the 1st one is not worrying about them, install a GOTEK FDD replacement and just throw all your ADFs on a USB drive and presto! or the 2nd one ...

http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=67110

in my case, since i've got no GOTEK yet so i would try the 2nd option soon (A500, ACA500+ accelerator) on my freshly installed WB3.1, nothing else installed yet besides LHA and other minor stuff

Best,

FemurUY
Looking forward to get any of the AGA Amigas!
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:55 am

Welcome, 8bitSheep! Thanks so much for deciding to join and share your experiences. That's what this is all about.

And to your exasperation on some of the tutorials out there:
I think my only frustration so far has been the amount of online tutorials and guides that make use of WinUAE. I want to do as much as possible on the real hardware and it can be difficult knowing what applies to a real Amiga when the only source I can find is someone using WinUAE.


That's exactly why AmigaLove.com originally came to be. I would hunt for the answers on how to do something (like transferring ADF files) and would find myself trapped in a multitude of forums where the answers were never 100% dummy-proof - myself being the dummy - and often incomplete, cryptic insider-speak. So when I finally figured something out, I'd write down all of my steps and take pictures along the way.

And I'd post those How Tos here - mainly for myself at first - as I was guaranteed to forget something along the way a few weeks later and would need that reference. But I knew there would be others who'd have the exact same questions some day. I've encouraged others to do the same, including home-brew projects. We're a small community, but I do love how folks have pitched in and tried to help others in a very positive way.

The ADF file is a fantastic thing. If you get one, you can transfer it to a real floppy disk and its as if you have an original disk fresh from the factory. At that point one of two things will happen. You'll either be able to access the program from the floppy OR you'll need to turn your 600 off and back on again (or do a soft reboot by holding down CRTL and both Amiga keys) and boot from the floppy. A lot of games did this to snatch system resources for themselves.

Once you get that system worked out, there really are only two other key Gotchas.

1) PAL vs NTSC. Most NTSC games will load into PAL just fine, but will run slower. A lot of PAL games will simply break on NTSC machines. If they do load, sometimes part of the screen might be missing. The games that do load will run slightly faster, which can actually be a bonus for driving sims and the like.)
2) What version of Amiga Kickstart/OS you're running and what the software wants at a given moment. The games from the 1980s are all expecting 1.3. Most major releases in the early 1990s were, too. Some will load fine on 3.1 anyway. But sometimes things get confused.

Welcome to the wide world of Amiga compatibility fun! :)

Note: this is just my personal opinion, but I wouldn't worry about Gotek drives until you get your bearings on the machine itself. 99% of all of my floppies work just fine (as do the drives). This is absolutely not the case for everyone, of course. And there are huge advantages to having a USB drive. But since you have that PCMCIA slot, you can use something sold in the UK called EasyADF that uses that slot and a CF card. It's quite inexpensive, and can accomplish file transfers nicely if you want to avoid the null modem cable while having a cup of tea.
:) For ADFs, though, those really do want to be on a Floppy disk, or a drive that can play them (like the Gotek). Also worth stating that if you move an ADF to a floppy disk, many programs made BITD (back in the day) could then be installed to an internal hard drive. Lots of options!
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8bitSheep
Scotland

by 8bitSheep posted Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:58 pm

Hi FemurUY and intric8

FemurUY:
Thanks for the information, that link about mounting ADFs is certainly interesting and something I will look into. I don't think I ever saw an Acorn outside of school (if I recall we had some in secondary school in our Technical Drawing lab). Another machine I know very little about but would love to play with. Maybe once I have mastered the Amiga I will hunt for a nice Archimedes :D

intric8:
Thanks for the welcome. I spent quite a bit of time going through many of the existing discussions on the forum and the quality of the content and discussion was a large factor in deciding to sign up.

Thanks for the information about ADFs. It sounds like I need to get myself some floppy disks to be able to experience a lot of what the Amiga has to offer, is there a recommended source of disks or do I just go to ebay for some used ones?

I am in complete agreement with you regarding add ons like the Gotek (or even WHDLoad), it is something I may get in the future, but I first want to experience and learn the original system. I can't know what I want to change or improve until I know what I have to start with :)

I do actually have a EasyADF kit but I have only used it so far to transfer .lha files to the Amiga. I need to take another look at the software that came with it. I have mainly been using the serial connection to transfer files (after the initial transfer of essential files) so that I don't have to keep swapping my PCMCIA RAM card with the PCMCIA CF adaptor. The port looks solid enough but I don't want to stress it if I don't have to. Zmodem transfer over 19200 baud is kinda fun for me (can you tell I am still new to all this :lol:).

My A600 has Kickstart v2.05 so I guess I may run into some trouble with some games. I see that it is possible to buy replacement ROMs so I guess that is also a possibility for the future.

Thanks again for the welcome. I expect I will be posting questions in the near future but hopefully I can also add to the community with some interesting posts about my Amiga adventures.

8bitSheep
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:12 pm

Thanks for the information about ADFs. It sounds like I need to get myself some floppy disks to be able to experience a lot of what the Amiga has to offer, is there a recommended source of disks or do I just go to ebay for some used ones?

Honestly I use Ebay for that. You have to make sure you get double-sided double density, which are fairly unique.

I've also learned along the way that - as long as you plan on using floppies for the foreseeable future (which I do) - the larger the box you get the better off per unit price.

In other words, you're highly likely to find a great deal if you find 5 boxes of ten (50) all being sold as a group versus a single box of ten. The folks selling the single boxes.... that's a long game of wait and see for them, I'm sure, as they'll sometimes charge north of $25/box which makes me just roll my eyes. I'm talking about brand new, never opened boxes, by the way. I got a box of 100 for, IIRC, less than $80 which makes each disk literally 80 cents. I think I'll take that over $2.50/ea. You know what I mean? And I reach over and grab then fairly regularly.

The last box I got was for 10 boxes. I've never (never!) had a single one not work or go bad, knock on wood. It totally depends on the source, but as long as the box wasn't left out in some humid or damp shack, you're probably going to have pretty nice results assuming your floppy drive isn't full of dust bunnies. :)

The only issue I've had with these NOS floppies is the glue on the stickers isn't sticky anymore. It'll last a few days then 'boing!' tries to come off. So I've started using my Brother printer labeller instead.
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8bitSheep
Scotland

by 8bitSheep posted Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:25 pm

Ah, that is good to know, thanks. It is reassuring to hear that the disks should be reliable as out of all the disks that came with my A600 only the Deluxe Paint III disks seem to work so I had started to think that they were just not worth the hassle. I will make some floppy disks my next purchase.
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:32 pm

There are some great videos on youtube on how to do some simple cleaning maintenance on the drives, too, in case your floppies are actually still good. Sort of like how we used to clean the tape heads on our cassette-based stereos with alcohol and a cotton swab.

Oof - that brings back some memories!
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8bitSheep
Scotland

by 8bitSheep posted Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:55 pm

According to the ebay seller my A600s floppy drive had recently been serviced but I guess it would be good to know how to do basic maintenance so I will take a look at those videos and try those disks again afterwards. Thanks.

Oof - that brings back some memories!


Haha, yeah along with manually rewinding a tape with a pen :D

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