Amiga 500 – my „2.5th“ computer
The Amiga 500 was either my second, or the third, computer I’ve owned. Not sure which one came first. For sure I’ve used the *CENSORED* first, but can’t say the same for owning them. We are talking about 1998, 1999 here btw, I was like 13, 14 back then.
My legacy with the Amiga 500
Funny thing about the Amiga is, I can’t say I how I got it. Not sure if it’s just lost to time or my lifestyle back then… wild years lol. Back then I wasn’t living at home with my parents. I think I got it from one the mates living with me.
What I can say: I got the Amiga 500 – together with an additional external floppy drive, some floppies and a joystick. And yes, I didn’t even had a mouse for it. I barely touched Workbench, or applications, back then. My focus was gaming. Not even sure I had Workbench disks back then. But I can remember toying around in Workbench 1.3 so I guess I must had at least the bootdisk. For sure I never had any mass storage / harddrive back then. So Workbench would have been of limited use anyway.
Why the Amiga 500 left a mark on me
I can still remember sneaking into the kitchen one night to cook a can of coffee to stay up all night to copy all DOS commands I could find on all my floppys onto another floppy – so I end up with a kinda complete DOS. This was possible because games and applications usually were self-booting and often contained a subset of DOS and sometimes even additional utilities. Of course it didn’t stayed at one can of coffee. This was one of the first times I’ve dabbled deeper into the inner workings of something. Damn, that were good times *sniff*.
The Amiga is also kinda special in that it was my first GUI based system that wasn’t a PC (and PC in this context of course means „Wintel“). Back then I didn’t thought much about that. But I still remember how impressed I was by it versus the Commodore C64 – though that comparison is kinda unfair.
Maybe that paced the way for me to try QNX and then Linux from some magazine CDs around the millennium? Who knows… For sure I haven’t realized back then how advanced the Amiga was. Even these days the system is just impressive, even more if you consider the age of the platform.
What happened to it?
To be honest, no clue. Maybe I traded it away, maybe I left it behind when I left that place. I really don’t remember (which annoys me, but well – can’t change it).
My current Amiga 500 setup
Today I’m using a German (previously stock) Amiga 500. Sadly it came without dustcover, but I’ve got a matching one on some auction site which we all know the name of.
It’s having a 8GB CF-Card for OS and „Day to Day“ storage and another 8GB CF-Card for data transfer, WHDLoad games etc. Overclockable CPU, RTC and 100Mbit ethernet networking thanks to Individual Computers brilliant addons. Which in my case means: ACA500+, RTC Module, 512kb Trapdoor and X-Surf 500 network card.
ClassicWB, with AmigaOS 3.2 base. For WHDLoad launching I’m using TinyLauncher. Other applications are the usual suspects: DOpus, iSurf. In the future I hope also more DPaint and REDPILL.
Audio & Video
My „daily driver“ video output is a HDMI connection, thanks to the awesome „RGB2HDMI“ project and c0pperdragons adapter board. Like the C64 I also have the RGB-Output connected via the SCART Hub. Audio is routed from the chinch outputs to the audio switch.
There is only one proper mouse for an Amiga 500: the Amiga Tankmouse! Which of course is what I’m using. For joysticks I’m using the same ones that are also used on the C64. So mainly the MonsterJoystick.
What I am using it for – except nostalgia
Similar to the C64: trying stuff I couldn’t try back then when I had it.
Recently I watched a YouTube video on it, downloaded directly on it. Imagine that, downloading a video from YouTube and playing it – on a computer first built in 1987. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. Even if the application is cheating kinda, since the conversion happens on a server in between the Amiga and YouTube.
While we are onto it: I claim to be the first YouTube user on an Amiga 500 (real hardware) worldwide. Feel free to prove me wrong, but afaik that is true. I’m kinda certain since I helped the developer of AmiTube to fix the last bugs on plain 68k builds.
Thanks to programs like iSurf you can also even browse the web on the Amiga. But SSL is an issue on lower spec machines like the 500. For those you can use frogfind.com, which is a search machine, but also a kind of „web proxy“ to access sites to modern to visit without it (i.e requiring SSL). It was created esp. for retro computers.
But what I mainly use it for is to play games of course. Thanks to WHDLoad and the ACA500+ without any floppies. I plan to try to create some game using REDPILL, too. But we will see if that actually happens, let alone result in something playable.