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intric8
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Ultimate Nerdgasm: Getting my Amiga 1000 online

by intric8 Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:42 pm

Amiga Love has had a few articles on getting various Commodore machines back online and into the BBS world. From C64s to Amiga 500s (et al) as well as the terminal programs we use; PETSCII capable (i, ii) in case you're trying to hit an C64 BBS from your Amiga or ANSI capable, like A-Talk III, for most other boards. There are a lot of options out there, and the BBS scene is vastly smaller than back in the day, but it's not dead by any stretch. Oh no, dear reader, it is not dead. (I see four lights!) If anything, the interest in this form of socializing and connecting seems to be growing lately as hardware options become easier to build and less expensive to source.

Tonight, I finally got my Amiga 1000 online for the first time ever and connected to some of my favorite BBSes. And oh my god, have you ever seen a more beautiful sight? I doubt it. Well, at least not for about 30 years, give or take.
IMG_0605.JPG
Menu screen for The Keep BBS, hosted since 1983 out of Oregon (shown in ANSI mode). The Keep has been around since 1983 and is not a C64 board. I needed to launch A-Talk III from Workbench and hop to ANSI.

Here's what I used to accomplish this pièce de résistance.
  • Amiga 1000 with 1MB of total chip & fast RAM. It could probably be done with less, but guaranteed no issues.
  • Paul Rickards wifi modem with 1MB of total chip & fast RAM. It could probably be done with far less (maybe .5MB), but this guaranteed no issues. Also required the use of a serial port gender changer, due to the Amiga 1000's port.
  • Kickstart 1.3 disk (it's an Amiga 1000 after all)
  • 64Door terminal program to connect to Particles BBS and Centronian BBS (there are lots of other active C64 boards, too), both PETSCII capable board that are run off actual C64s. You can connect to them in ANSI but it's not as pretty.
  • A-Talk III simply my favorite ANSI terminal program, for hitting non-C64 boards. It requires that you load Workbench (1.3 in my case) to run from there. Or a hard drive. I ain't got no hard drive on my 1000. Old school, yo!
That's it!

And since I already had everything in the list except for the gender changer, once I got it today in the mail it took me all of one minute to hook everything up and get to BBSing.

Damn the 1000's keyboard feels good when you type. They never made another keyboard feel this good.
IMG_0583.JPG
Using a gender changer with the Paul Rickards modem makes requires it to flip upside-down. But it really doesn't matter, to be honest, unless you need to hit the reset button (which is almost never). The modem can be seen here behind the red/black audio cables. I should probably put that extra Kickstart chip in a safer place.

IMG_0584.JPG
When you load the 64Door terminal, you get a pretty crazy intro screen that was written in 1993, then updated somehow in 2013.

IMG_0586.JPG
Particles BBS is my hood. It was first on my list to try. When you load 64Door you have to tap the Amiga's "HELP" key and switch the baud to 9600, and the cols to 80 or 40. Particles looks great in 80.

IMG_0588.JPG
Interior menu screen for Particles BBS
IMG_0589.JPG
Centronian, another C64 BBS, needs to be viewed in 40 columns. No problemo.
IMG_0590.JPG
IMG_0591.JPG
Going to the subs. The sub message board, that is. Bloop bloop glug. Ping!

Happy BBSing!
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LambdaCalculus
 
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Re: Ultimate Nerdgasm: Getting my Amiga 1000 online

by LambdaCalculus Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:34 am

Dude, it's always so awesome to see old tech managing to communicate with the greater outside world like this in 2017! It brings a smile to my face to see the love you give to your Amiga 1000! :)

I hope that Paul makes some more WiFi Modems again soon; I missed out on the last batch and I want one so badly! I have a bunch of machines that could use some BBS loving, like my TRS-80 Model 100, my Mac Plus, my Amiga 500, and my Apple IIc+!
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Re: Ultimate Nerdgasm: Getting my Amiga 1000 online

by Bladerunner Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:20 am

Great to hear! I’m another one hoping a new batch of these cool little devices are made. Got several Amigas and other retro computers would love to BBS.
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intric8
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Re: Ultimate Nerdgasm: Getting my Amiga 1000 online

by intric8 Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:44 am

@Bladerunner welcome to Amiga Love!

Hey, so I've talked to Paul about this before. He has a day job and these little Wifi modems are very time intensive for him to construct. However... if you're willing or capable of doing the soldering, he sells kits for far less. Something to consider.

Also, Amiga Love member and C64/Amiga guru Jim Drew is planning on shipping his own Amiga WiFi modem later this year. Probably pretty soon.

The advantage of Paul's modem is it is platform agnostic. But Jim's will be aimed directly and completely catered towards the Amiga. Things to think about.

P.S.
I've reached out to Jim to see if he can give an update on the status of his cool upcoming product.
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Re: Ultimate Nerdgasm: Getting my Amiga 1000 online

by LambdaCalculus Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:44 pm

intric8 wrote:if you're willing or capable of doing the soldering, he sells kits for far less. Something to consider.


Aaaaaaand guess who has to get his soldering skills back up to snuff? ;)

intric8 wrote:Also, Amiga Love member and C64/Amiga guru Jim Drew is planning on shipping his own Amiga WiFi modem later this year. Probably pretty soon.

The advantage of Paul's modem is it is platform agnostic. But Jim's will be aimed directly and completely catered towards the Amiga. Things to think about.


Jim's sounds awesome for my A500s. But yeah, the reason why I wanted Paul's is because of its agnosticism. Having four computers it can be used on means it can be a "one size fits all" type of deal for me, and less hardware to buy. However, I won't rule out Jim's project and will definitely grab one if the price is right. :)
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Re: Ultimate Nerdgasm: Getting my Amiga 1000 online

by Pinacolada Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:52 am

Boy howdy, those are some sweet pics. Thanks for them! BBSing is totally up my alley. I'm an Image man myself, but I sure do love the character and variety of other BBS programs. :) Even been working with an Apple BBS, Dura Europos, and its sysop here in Tacoma. I am porting a game from it to my C64. The sysop was featured in an article not too long ago: https://arstechnica.com/information-tec ... e-in-2017/ :) A few small inaccuracies in the article though, his real name is Skip and his handle is Trajan. Overall, a fine article.
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intric8
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Re: Ultimate Nerdgasm: Getting my Amiga 1000 online

by intric8 Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:34 am

Skip? There's a Skip that frequents Particles fairly regularly, and I think he hosts a BBS, too. Surely there can't be that many Skips out there! I bet that's the same guy.

I had no idea he was based in Washington! I thought he was further east for some reason, if he's the same guy. Is he a member of your User Group?
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Re: Ultimate Nerdgasm: Getting my Amiga 1000 online

by icbrkr Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:14 pm

Yup, that would be -the- Skip :)
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Re: Ultimate Nerdgasm: Getting my Amiga 1000 online

by Pinacolada Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:15 pm

intric8 wrote:Skip? There's a Skip that frequents Particles fairly regularly, and I think he hosts a BBS, too. Surely there can't be that many Skips out there! I bet that's the same guy.


Could very well be, although I had him pegged for more of an Apple guy than anything. The way he's extended The Land of Spur blows my mind. What a crazy little scripting language it's written in... :)

I had no idea he was based in Washington! I thought he was further east for some reason, if he's the same guy. Is he a member of your User Group?


Yup, he is. Y'know, I've never met him, he's even more of a recluse than I am. I bugged him to come out to PSCUG, he politely declined. Majorly bummed me out. We just correspond via email or his BBS. I need to call it again. I've sent him some notes on my reverse engineering of The Land of Spur over the years, I highly recommend playing it if you're into MUDs... :) Hard as heck, though he added a god mode which negates any attacks from monsters... I have yet to play with it enabled, maybe I should get a clue and try it that way, might actually finish the game. :)
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Re: Ultimate Nerdgasm: Getting my Amiga 1000 online

by JimDrew Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:01 pm

intric8 wrote:@Bladerunner welcome to Amiga Love!

Also, Amiga Love member and C64/Amiga guru Jim Drew is planning on shipping his own Amiga WiFi modem later this year. Probably pretty soon.

The advantage of Paul's modem is it is platform agnostic. But Jim's will be aimed directly and completely catered towards the Amiga. Things to think about.


So, here is the update...

My WiModem-232 has always been "RS-232" based, so it works with anything that has an RS-232 port (Amiga, Atari, Mac, PC, etc.) It was never designed around the Amiga specifically.

I have been in the middle of moving a commercial building and a house for the last 5 weeks. I postponed all of my Commodore projects until the relocation is completed. I did do a quick experiment with making an adapter board for my existing WiModem for the C64. That works on the Amiga, but I did not have much time to test it thoroughly, or test it on other RS-232 devices. I plan to get to that at the first of the month. If it really works (fully), that will be perfect as I would only need an adapter board that has a DB-25 connector (your choice of gender) and a barrel connector for the wall-wart power supply to support any computer with a RS-232 based serial port. If that doesn't actually work with all devices (like my Tandy 102 laptop), then I will go ahead and produce the WiModem-232 that I had finished and ready for production prior to my move. I really would prefer not to produce two different modems, so the WiModem with an adapter board would be a great solution for me. :)
Jim Drew, CBMSTUFF.COM
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