Issue 43, August 2010

http://www.commodorefree.com/
Free to download magazine dedicated to Commodore computers
Available as PDF, HTML, TXT, SEQ and D64 disk image

CONTENTS



Editorial

Commodore Bust

The Commodore Amiga really started some heads turning when it was initially released. Commodore’s purchase of the Amiga hardware right from under the nose of Atari must have been upsetting; well for Atari at any rate. The Amiga was a special machine, with true multitasking and a huge colour pallet, the machine stood next to some high end so called “workstation” machines and towered over them. Commodore were on a roll, a superb launch with celebrity names like Andy Warhol and Debora Harry poked fun at lesser machines with Commodore shouting to the press, “Weeee look at us!”

For me the Amiga’s operating system was a joy, having used many Pc systems the Amiga seemed more straightforward somehow. The Amiga 500 with workbench 1.3 seemed so logically laid out and easy to use, how could it fail to be a top seller. I especially liked the way the windows and desktop were arranged and now looking back, I liked how uncluttered and bloat free the system was. A machine with very little memory, just managed to do so much with very little resources; throw in the multitasking and the fact you could if inclined run pc software, you had a very powerful machine. What then could possibly go wrong for Commodore they were on with a winner, a little marketing and placing the machine in good sales outlets it should as they say “fly out the doors” The Amiga 500 received an upgrade to a 500+ Commodore then produced various desktop versions emerging with the 1500 and 2000 the 3000 (ok so my timing may be out on some but you get the idea) the Amiga 1200 then the A600 (With the 600 I never got where commodore were going with this model I know it seemed more girl friendly as it was “cute” and did possess a PCMCIA slot) then Commodore released the A4000. I purchased one of these 4000 machines and was totally disappointed! how can Commodore get it all wrong! the Video chip upgrade was dropped the DSP (digital sound processing chip) was dropped the proposed midi interface was missing. I seemed then to have purchased an A1200 in a big box with a fast processor and slightly more upgrade options in the form of Zorro slots.

It was then fairly obvious Commodore were now in trouble. After Commodore went bankrupt and various people fought over the machines and name these people also started to file for bankruptcy leading to the term “curse of the Amiga” I feel the Amiga scene split into so many fragments it would be impossible to come back together. There were so many options then in the end I stopped really following the Amiga scene. My A4000 was upgraded in its time with a variety of hardware and software but what now. Would anything be able to take its place, would the magic return for me?

My Light

This issue I tracked down and interviewed Trevor Dickinson (A-EON Technology CVBA) could this be the next logical progression for the Amiga, here is a man with a passionate history about Amiga and Commodore, could we really see some light at the end of the tunnel? No I am not putting down any other Amiga like operating systems or machines but to me I think I have with A-EON Technology CVBA seen some light, something to really get excited about. Commodore Dead! Heck no, re reading the interview and I feel excited again, nothing like while I was saving for my Amiga 4000 but the excitement is still there I think this is a real answer for me as to what to do next with my Commodore Hobby, see what you think after reading the interview, Will the Amiga make a comeback (assuming that is you think its ever gone away!)

I Am The Server

Fear not reader as this isn’t just All about Amiga, we still have some Commodore news especially with the interview I had with the creator of www.commodoreserver.com this looks like an exciting project web based project allowing users to access files over the internet with just a Commodore 64 and a specially created modem. “Wow how cool and geeky is that” This is a very professional setup and has been demo recently to a crowd of Commodore users in America where the software almost left gasps (according to one of my sources)

I have mixed in the usual news and hope it’s another worthwhile read of course news and items are always welcomed please contact me for details, I am especially looking for reviews and tutorials

Best Regards
Nigel

www.commodorefree.com

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NEWS


Amiga Forever and C64 Forever 2010.1 Released

Amiga Forever (http://www.amigaforever.com ) and C64 Forever (http://www.c64forever.com) are the easy to use emulation, preservation and support packages published by Cloanto, Commodore/Amiga developers since the 1980s. Beyond nostalgia, the packages make accessible to a wide audience a wealth of content and history that is engaging yet casual, and which can still teach a few lessons in game play.

Features of the new 2010 versions include:

For the new CD and printing support we worked closely together with Toni Wilen (http://www.winuae.net), so a big thank you again goes to Toni for his help.

The latest versions of Amiga Forever and C64 Forever work side by side to play games directly from a variety of emulation sites, as well as from some types of original media. Content is recognized using the built-in RetroPlatform Library database, which helps identify and automatically start the correct hardware configuration (different PET/CBM models, VIC 20, C64, Amiga, etc.)

In addition to the hundreds of titles which come preinstalled with the software, tens of thousands of games and demo scene productions have been released by their authors for publication on preservation sites. And that's not just C64 or Amiga content, as you can try for yourself... Some of our original favourites include a Space Invaders clone for the PET 3032 (only 7 KB, download or open to play directly with C64 Forever):

http://www.zimmers.net/anonftp/pub/cbm/pet/games/english/
(scroll down to "space invaders.prg", right after the simpler PET 2001 version)

Or what about this Galaga clone written in 10 KB of pure machine language:

http://www.wening.de/deutsch/spiele/pet-assembler.html
(second from top - German page, but software is in English)

The above were written almost 30 years ago. With C64 Forever 2010 they can still be click-and-played today - no complex configuration or technical knowledge required. If a more modern system is preferred, Amiga Forever 2010 can recognize, auto configure and play most CDTV and CD32 titles (Commodore's Amiga-based game consoles). This includes both original media, and RP9, ISO and .bin/.cue CD image files.

The 2010 versions of Amiga Forever and C64 Forever had originally been released a few weeks ago, and were announced on private forums. Features like the new Open RP9 file format and CD support were so successful among emulation "power users" (who often have thousands of games and gigabytes of CD-based content), that we spent some more time to optimize the experience when the software is used under heavy load. The updated 2010.1 versions, released now and available as free updates to existing 2010 users, reflect this community feedback.

Amiga Forever and C64 Forever passed official Windows 7 logo tests on both x86 and x64 systems. Prices start from $14.95 for C64 Forever, and $29.95 for Amiga Forever (downloadable Plus Editions, with discounts for upgrades and for bundles of both packages).

For more information:

Amiga Forever
http://www.amigaforever.com

C64 Forever
http://www.c64forever.com

RetroPlatform Project
http://www.retroplatform.com

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IDESERVD For OSX

IDE64 Mac users now catered for with an IDESERV application to transfer files to and from there IDE64 devices, The ide64 is a hardware add-on for the Commodore 64 that adds the ability to add standard 3.5” IDE hard disks and CD-ROM drives to their machines, version 4.1 also adds a CF card reader.
http://www.jamtronix.com/blog/2010/06/26/ideservd-for-osx/

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SIDIN Issue 13 Released

http://digilander.libero.it/ice00/tsid/sidin/

General Index
Editorials
News
Goatracker at SF
ACID 64 Player 2.2-2.4
HVSC #49
Catweasel MK4plus
High Voltage SID Collection Search v1.4
C64.sk Sidcompo 8 Radiostream
MSSIAH
C64.sk Sidcompo 8
iPhone Sid Player
GoatTracker v2.68/2.69
Sidplayw2.5
XSidplay 2.0.3
CGSC updates
ACID 64 Player Pro v3.0.0-3.0.2
HVMEC 0.9
HVSC #50
HVSC #51
HVSC #52
HardSID Uno/UPlay
HVSC #53
TSM & Freedom Interview!
JITT64 Tracker
Main screen.
Tracks.
Pattern
Instruments
Table of Values
Instrument examples
Conclusion
Inside JITT64
Init &Play (IRQ) routine
Play Pattern
Instruments definition
Play Instrument
Play Command
Play Hard-Restart
Conclusion

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WinUAE 2.2.0 Available

Major Game Ports and Input GUI update (finally!):

*) Possible compatibility issue with old configuration files in Configuration #1-3 mode. Workaround: set Game Ports mouse and joystick to none.

Other new features:

Bugs fixed:

Updates:

and more, check winuaechangelog.txt for (technical) details.

You can download the installer from here: http://www.winuae.net/files/InstallWinUAE2200.exe or the archive here: http://www.winuae.net/files/WinUAE2200.zip

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PC World Wesbite Looks Inside The Amiga 1000

http://www.pcworld.com/article/200083/inside_the_amiga_1000.html?tk=nl_dnx_t_crawl

Commodore Free
Ahhhh the Amiga was a special machine, with marketing glitz to out-glitz the best, shunning the PC by running Pc applications on a bridge board, colours that could only be dreamt of by other machines, sexy designs that Apple must have seen with envy. The Amiga had it all he is homage to the machine by way of a slideshow of its internals (warning pictures of this machine are shown without its casing.. View at your own risk) I have reprinted the text...

Inside the Amiga 1000

Twenty-five years ago, Commodore released a revolutionary multimedia machine. We take a peek inside this classic computer to see what made the Amiga so amazing.

1. Meet the Amiga 1000

In July 1985, Commodore released an impressive new multimedia PC called the Amiga. This system, once the object of a legal fight between Atari and Commodore, made waves in the press with its high-resolution colour graphics and stereo sound. The Amiga supported 32 colours on screen simultaneously (from a lush palette of 4096), at a time when IBM PCs supported only four colours and the Macintosh supported just two (white and black). The Amiga also shipped with a multitasking user interface that arguably rivalled Mac OS in power and flexibility.

Join me as I take apart this legendary machine to see what made the Amiga unique in the computer world.

Photos by Benj Edwards

2. The Amiga Base Unit

Commodore's first member of the Amiga line, shown here, launched for $1295 with a base unit, a keyboard, and a mouse. The base unit included 256KB RAM and an 880KB floppy drive. This system shipped under the sole name "Amiga" at first, but Commodore rechristened the machine the Amiga 1000 after the launch of the Amiga 500 in 1987.

The Amiga series ran a 32-bit pre-emptive multitasking graphical operating system known as AmigaOS. However, AmigaOS also included a command shell called AmigaDOS for more-powerful keyboard-based input.

3. A Side View

The Amiga shipped with two user ports that could accept mice, joysticks, or other pointing devices. To the right of those, you can see the Amiga's only official means of expansion: a bus slot that allowed complex add-on accessories such as third-party RAM upgrades, SCSI controllers, real-time clocks, and even an IBM-compatible expansion box.

4. I/O Ports

Here you can see the left half of the Amiga's rear panel, which contains a nice array of ports. The Amiga's responsive and well-designed detachable keyboard tucked under the bottom of the unit when not in use, and it plugged into the socket here via a phone cable. The parallel port typically hosted a printer, the serial port usually connected to a modem, and the floppy port allowed the Amiga to use a second (external) floppy drive.

5. Audio and Video

Here you can see the ports that made the Amiga a multimedia powerhouse: stereo audio outputs and three separate video-output connectors that increase in display quality from right to left.

Whereas the Atari ST line found its niche in audio thanks to its MIDI ports, the Amiga specialized in live video production. Recognizing the Amiga's graphical capabilities, numerous TV studios used the Amiga and its successors to generate on-air weather maps, station logos, captions, and other on-screen text for live newscasts well into the late 1990s.

6. Lifting the Lid

Now it's time to take this unit apart. After undoing a few screws on the bottom, I've removed the lid and set aside the metal RF shielding, giving us our first view inside the chassis. A long, bricklike power supply dominates the left side of the case, while the floppy drive sits on the right. However, the green stuff is where all the action is.

7. A Little Miner in Every Box

Like the creators of the original Macintosh, the team who designed the Amiga signed the molding used to cast the top half of the computer's plastic case. As a result, the names of everyone involved are permanently embossed within every Amiga 1000 shipped. Most prominent is the signature of Jay Miner--the father of the Amiga--and the paw print of his dog Mitchy.

8. RAM Expansion

Commodore designed the Amiga to accept a user-installed 256KB RAM module, shown here, to raise the system memory to 512KB. It plugged into the front of the computer under a removable plastic panel. With third party add-ons (usually connected to the external expansion bus shown earlier), a user could bring the Amiga's RAM up to 8MB

9. A Massive Kludge

When it came time to ship the Amiga in 1985, Commodore engineers found the OS too buggy to include on built-in ROM chips in the computer. (And that's too bad, because it would have allowed the Amiga to boot instantly just as other early PCs did.) Instead, the engineers devised a workaround called the "Writable Control Store" (WCS) that fit on a daughterboard attached to the motherboard via long multipin headers where chips would normally reside. The WCS included 256KB of memory used specifically to hold a basic OS that had to be loaded from a floppy disk at boot time.

10. Face Off

With the daughterboard set aside, I've now removed the front bezel of the case, getting one step closer to the ultimate goal: complete Amiga dismemberment.

11. The Floppy Drive

The Amiga 1000 shipped with a floppy disk drive that could store 880KB per 3.5-inch disk--an impressive capacity for 1985. At the time, most IBM PC floppy drives stored 360KB on 5.25-inch disks, while Macintosh floppies held 400KB.

12. Liberating the Motherboard

Here I've removed the motherboard from the case and set it aside. The motherboard contains all of the circuitry that truly makes the Amiga function. To the left, you can see the Amiga's power supply sitting in the lower half of the case.

13. The 68000 CPU

On one side of the motherboard sits the Amiga's 16/32-bit Motorola 68000 processor, which ran at a relatively speedy 8MHz. To its left sits a pair of MOS 8520 CIA chips that handle serial and parallel communications for the computer. Below those are the Amiga's bootstrap ROMs, which contain the firmware that tells the computer how to load a complete operating system from a floppy disk.

14. Sister Chips

The secret sauce of the Amiga is in its custom-designed co-processing chipset, visible here in the form of three chips with female nicknames. "Paula" handles the computer's sound and controls the floppy drive. "Agnus" performs fancy memory-management magic and a few graphical coprocessor functions. "Daphne" is an early version of a later, more common chip named "Denise" that generates most of the Amiga 1000's impressive graphical output. Together, these chips form the heart and soul of a powerful computer that, while quickly surpassed by IBM PC clones in the market, was far ahead of its time. Legions of loyal Amiga fans still cherish the machine today.

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Vintage Computer Festival

The First Vintage computer festival held place this year at Bletchley park, Unfortunately I was not in any state to attend due to ill health. Still its nice to see the event had some coverage, and here is a clip from the BBC, showing amongst other machines the ZX Spectrum, Oric, Amiga and of course the commodore 64. Not sure about the comment “Microsoft office coming on a floppy disk and now its supplies on a DVD but its just the same, from the use I have with Microsoft office; I would say the application has changed a heck of a lot; almost beyond recognition. ( Well Ok you still type letters with word ), some of the comments I found a little strange, and I don’t think retro machine are all great, how many times have you sat waiting for something to load without a turbo loader only to find the machine just reset at the end. YES we have lost something, I work in IT support and some of the most basic, questions are asked; It may be of benefit for some of our users to own an 8-bit machine anyway read some of the Classic helpdesk calls I received over my time

USER “my machine is dead”
ANSWER “have you turned it on!”

Is not an unusual question to be asked on a Monday morning along with the now famous?

USER “the fax machine has stopped working”
ANSWER “is there any paper in the machine”

I think user nowadays would have gained so much from the older 8-bit systems, I still shudder to think about going round to peoples homes to set there video recorder to record a program, because I can power on a machine, I am considered an expert.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/8782344.stm

Retro computers on display to fans at festival

More than 2,000 retro-computing fans have descended on Bletchley Park for Britain's first Vintage Computer Festival hosted by the National Museum of Computing.

LJ Rich reminisces about typing lines of old code, discovers the source of the multi-media revolution, and finds out how old PCs have inspired today's developers

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Cottonwood BBS Update

For the past few years, I've been running what has been, for most of that time, the only Commodore-run dial-up BBS anywhere in the world. Borderline BBS has been running on a C64 in my home in southern California, and while it has never received a huge volume of calls, it has had calls from all over the world. People have called in from places like Australia, the Netherlands, and even Israel. I always said that I'd keep the BBS up and running as long as people continued to call. Well, for the past two weeks, Borderline BBS has not had a single caller. I hate to keep equipment up and running if no one is going to use it, so I've decided to make a change. As of today, Borderline BBS has been taken offline, indefinitely. I may bring it back online in the future if there seems to be interest, but for now, it's been taken down.

I have, however, brought a new BBS online. It's called Cottonwood II, and it's running on Colour 64 v7.36 software. I recently discovered a way to get Colour 64 v7.xx and earlier running via Telnet, so that's what I've done. I've been testing this setup for the past couple weeks, and it's been running in place of Cottonwood BBS. The setup is rock solid, and I've decided to run both Cottonwood BBS and Cottonwood II via Telnet simultaneously. Cottonwood BBS, which runs on All American BBS software, is now on the standard Telnet port 23. The "new and improved" Cottonwood II is now running on port 6400 New users are always welcome, and I hope everyone will check out both of these BBSs.

Here are the addresses:

Cottonwood BBS
cottonwood.servebbs.com

Cottonwood II
cottonwood.servebbs.com:6400
(use a space in lieu of the colon if you're using CGTERM)

New BBS setup photos and information has been posted on the Cottonwood Informational Website at http://cottonwood.servebbs.com

EMail
From: Cottonwood BBS
To: Commodore Free
Subject: Update

I just added a new way to connect to both Cottonwood BBS and Cottonwood II. You can now connect from a web browser with FlashTerm. This is a great way to connect that does not require any additional software to be installed other than a flash-capable browser, perfect for when you're using a public computer or are behind a firewall that has ports 23 and 6400 blocked (as is the case for me at work). The downside is that FlashTerm, at present, does not have PETSCII support, so you'll be stuck in ASCII mode. Still, it's better than nothing!:)

To connect using FlashTerm, just go to the following addresses:

To connect to Cottonwood BBS:
http://cottonwood.servebbs.com/cottonwood

To connect to Cottonwood II:
http://cottonwood.servebbs.com/cottonwoodii

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RGB Video Update

COMMODORE FREE
Ok everyone has done it before and been using it for years, problem is if you use it with anything like GEOS or WHEELS you know the A22 board does have some problems, in an attempt to get perfection from the device Allan from www.commodorescene.org.uk has been working on the board and some other options I have included some off his emails about the unit .


To: Commodore Computer Club
From: Commodore Scene
Subject: VGA Update

Hi Guys,

I finally have some time to myself. I spent all yesterday trying to simplify the C=VGA into a single cable (RGBI>SVGA), unfortunately schematics for the RGBI>SCART cable do not work on the SVGA socket so that has been shelved for now.

RGBI>SCART = Already several schematics available, more testing later to produce a good quality output.
RGBI>SVGA = Not feasible yet, more testing late - I WANT this one ;-)
RGBI>SVIDEO = Working, prototype units later this week.
RGBI>Composite = Not viable as the output signal quality is very poor.

As most LCD panels can be bought with SVGA & SVIDEO I think the best thing is to concentrate on the SVIDEO adaptor we already have as this seems to be the most workable and adaptable. Despite my best attempts I can't get the output 100% correct but the current configuration is pretty close so I'm going to build a couple (from Nigel's) and tidy it up a bit so it looks nice. If its okay with you Nigel I will send one to you and one to Shaun. That leaves me with my two, the one I butchered for the test rig will stay that way for future testing and the other one I will try to make look like a finished project.

I'm busy tomorrow but this afternoon I'm going to set up the existing adaptor test platform and remind myself how it all works, then on Wednesday I'm going to build several units (hopefully boxed) and send them to you both for testing later this week :-)

Make sure you guys have access to an LCD with svideo, preferably more than one ;-)

Meeting up, I'm okay for a meet up later this month but I just have to make sure I'm not working or on kid duty !

All the Best, Allan


To: Commodore Computer Club
From: Commodore Scene
Subject: VGA Update

Hi Guys,

As you can see from the pictures the unit is nearing completion.

This first unit is not quite right as some of the holes are out of alignment, your units should be okay :-)

At the moment there are a couple of small hold ups,

(1) my local Maplins didn't have the required variable resistors so I've had to order them,
(2) Maplins also only had one enclosure (jeez they're useless), again I've had to order some.

I'll do what I can but until the parts arrive I can't finish the units off. Good news though, I have Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to myself next week again :-)

Other differences to the pictures supplied, providing the variable resistors actually work, the unit will have a total of six adjustment screws ! On the top of the unit will be R G B (on the A22 board) - these should not need altering as I will set these up for optimum gain. Probably on the right hand side will be three further adjusters for the intensity of the three colours Ri Gi Bi - this is the bit that most people will need to alter, again, I will set the units up to function on my monitor but they may need adjusting to suit different LCD panels.

Let me know if you don't have an SVIDEO (male to male) cable or the 9 pin (male to female) cable and I will make sure your unit comes with one/both.

Also, make sure you have a 9v DC power supply (I use the CS-SuperPSU). The A22 board can use anything from 9~12v but I have been using it at 9v without any problems.

All the Best, Allan


To: Commodore Computer Club
From: Commodore Scene
Subject: VGA Update

Hi Guys,

I can't tell you how excited I am right now !

Just take a look at the attached shots, these are the C128 in 80 column mode in Wheels128. Everything is there - the desktop background, the cursor are now visible even on the washed out background, all the shading is correct and even the colours are 99% correct (I'll work on the other 1% later).

After all the messing about with the LCD monitor settings over the years I forgot to reset them, when I did it all came back into focus and a bit of fine tuning the monitors colour & contrast brought it to life.

You'll have to excuse the poor photography and take my word for it that they are crisp and clear. The last picture shows the final combination of resistors and diodes.

Please feel free to report on this if you wish to and you can use the pictures if you like. Once I get the building procedure correct I'll do a step by step article so anyone can make one, although it will be a bit fiddly.

Nigel : you'd better hold the front page on a future issue of CF, we can do an interim report on the testing rig version if you want ?

Its only taken me the best part of 9 years to accomplish!

Right, I'm going to have a sit down and calm down before I build two finished units for you guys. I've been at this for the last 5 hours and I'm tired out.

All the Best, Allan


To: Commodore Computer Club
From: Commodore Scene
Subject: VGA Update

Hi Guys,

Attached is a picture of the first prototype production unit (this one is Nigel's - 002, Shaun's will be 003).

I've ditched the 9pin socket in favour of a direct lead from the device, several reasons

(1) its less soldering for me
(2) it has better shielding
(3) less screen interference/noise
(4) less cable for the signal to travel down.

I still need to make a tiny circuit board for the additional resistors and diodes but I should have both your units done this weekend and I will post them on Monday.

After testing I will cost out how much each unit will be now that I have a good idea which parts are now needed. Each unit will have a serial number with the persons name on it. I am hoping to get some professionally printed (very sticky) plastic labels as paper sticky labels will fall off the plastic casings eventually :-( Anybody know who does this ?

I also think we need to keep the S-Video cable to a sensible length, say 1/2 metre if you can get one. This should reduce signal loss. At the moment on my testing rig I have an open circuit (no shielding), 9pin cable running 1m and an SVideo cable running 1m ! This is definitely having an effect on the signal quality so we need to shorten it.

The only real problem left is that the socket to the A22 board and the mini circuit board will have to be built by hand - this is a real pain for me as it is so fiddly and I can only see myself building one or two units a day - providing I have a completely free day :-( Otherwise I'll go insane.

One thing that would help immensely is to find the correct plug pre-wired so I don't have to make them up. If anyone comes across these then I would be most grateful.

Anyway, I'm off to do some soldering :-)

All the Best, Allan


To: Commodore Computer Club
From: Commodore Scene
Subject: VGA Update

Hi Guys,

Its been a busy and hot day soldering and burning my fingers ;-) But I've done them and they will be in the post first thing in the morning :-)

Building these two test units taught me quite a lot and if you look closely you will see that they are different.
Nigel’s was first (002), it has a longer lead to the c128 and a composite output, also, the internal daughter board is not quite as tidy as Shaun's.

After testing Nigel's I made a few modifications

(1) I removed the composite output as the quality is absolutely rubbish and removing it made it easier to insert the main A22 board and it is also now possible to remove it too.
(2) The daughter board (which I have to make) is neater and tidier. The c128 lead is shorter but this is only because its all I had left over - all future units will have the longer lead (its a standard cable cut in half).

The final production models will look like Shaun's (003) but with the longer lead of Nigel's (002). I still need to get a supply of nice rubber feet (the current ones are just ones I had lying around from old kitchen unit doors). I need to find a good way to make some nice high quality stickers for the top as the current stickers are just printed on paper and glued on - these won't last and are no good for general units.

The great news is that they don't need any adjustment and when I plugged them in, they powered up first time. Please note that as the c128 80 column powers up slowly so you won't see a display for a few seconds. It usually takes between 5~10 seconds before you get a display.

Please fell free to open them up and take a look inside, just be careful with the daughter board as it is not secured to the casing, it can't move if you leave the top on though. Final production models will have one of the screws covered to prevent people opening up the unit and then expecting me to repair it ;-)

Have fun and I hope they work for you as well as they do for me, let me know how it goes.

All the Best, Allan


To: Commodore Computer Club
From: Commodore Scene
Subject: VGA Update

Hi Guys,

Important news :

1) I have found a couple of electronics engineers who are going to sit with me to perfect the adapter :-)

2) The next prototype boards will have a removable/plug in daughter board so upgrades can be done just by unplugging the old board and fitting the new one :-)

3) I still need to get hold of some more A22 boards, I might have to buy some from China :-(

4) I will need your units back to me for the upgrade - when you've finished with them. No rush.

5) It appears that modern TV's that 'auto switch' between input signals need a strong, clear and stable signal to activate the onboard circuitry. This explains why mine keeps disappearing from time to time and also why it doesn't work on some TV's at all ! There is a way to stabilise this issue but I need to learn more about it before I can correct it.

6) The next step (after perfecting the SVideo) is to turn our attention to the true SVGA adapter and it seems that this should be do-able if I can sort out the voltages but it will need an oscilloscope apparently so we can test the signals :-(

Things are looking up at last :-)

Did you have any joy with the adapter in its current configuration?

All the Best, Allan


To: Commodore Computer Club
From: Commodore Scene
Subject: VGA Update

Hi Guys,

I really should be in bed!

I've just completed the v3 daughter board with better colours and ALL the colours displaying (including the tricky Medium Grey - 13). I have also written a BASIC test colour program so we can all be viewing the same program when we test it, I'll include it (along with a screenshot of what is should look like) when I upgrade your units. Your upgraded boards will come with a 3.5" test disk, information/guide sheet, your upgraded unit & x4 daughter boards (v1, v2, v3 & v4) - these will be pluggable so you can try them all out. The v3 board gives superb results on my LCD display but the v4 board is a bit 'too much colour' for me.

I've attached two shots of the v3 for you but as it is VERY difficult getting accurate screenshots I had to take one with the flash on so you could see that the colours are all okay.

Bed now !

All the Best, Allan

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C64 - Archiv Updated To V3.2

Introduction

New in Version 3.2:

http://www.purmike.de/documents/index_en.htm

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CBM-Command Special Release

Download from here:
http://cbmcommand.codeplex.com/releases/view/48615

SPECIAL RELEASE

This release should only be considered a preview release for VIC-20 functionality.

New Features

* 32K Expanded VIC-20 now supported

Changes

* (VIC20) Panels are not displayed side by side, only one panel is displayed at a time.
* (VIC20) D64 support is removed, the RAM was needed elsewhere.
* (ALL) The screen has been made more scalable.

Known Issues

* (VIC20) CTRL-D and CTRL-E don't work.
* (VIC20) The launcher doesn't yet know about the VIC, so it loads the wrong version of CBM-Command.
* (VIC20) The configuration tool cannot save.

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OpenSSL 1.0.0a (Rev#2) for AmigaOS

OpenSSL for AmigaOS have been updated (again)! The OpenSSL Project is a collaborative effort to develop a robust, commercial-grade, full-featured, and OpenSource toolkit implementing the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL v2/v3) and Transport Layer Security (TLS v1) protocols as well as a full-strength general purpose cryptography library.

OpenSSL is based on the excellent SSLeay library developed from Eric A. Young and Tim J. Hudson. The OpenSSL toolkit is licensed under a dual-license (the OpenSSL license plus the SSLeay license) situation, which basically means that you are free to get and use it for commercial and non-commercial purposes as long as you fulfil the conditions of both licenses.

The OpenSSL binary for AmigaOS is provided fully native (no ixemul), with support for the following ciphers:

mdc2, md2, md4, md5, hmac(md5), sha1, rmd160, rc4, des cbc, des ede3, idea cbc, seed cbc, rc2 cbc, blowfish cbc, cast cbc, aes-128 cbc, aes-192 cbc, aes-256 cbc, camellia-128 cbc, camellia-192 cbc, camellia-256 cbc, sha256, sha512, rc5, whirlpool, aes-128 ige, aes-192 ige, and aes-256 ige.

Developer material can be found in the included devfiles.tar.7z file, read first the devfiles.txt if you want to check the provided files. Tree structure is keep with GeekGadgets compatibility in mind. Static libraries are provided for libnix and ixemul including builds for 68020, 68040 and 68060 - more info at the included amiga.readme.txt file.

For further info and downloads, please go to
http://amiga.sourceforge.net/OpenSSL/

NOTE: A week ago or so we've released 1.0.0a, this one is a new build including the following changes:

1. Compiled using GCC 3.4.0 for better speed (please report any issue, I didn't trust so much this compiler)
2. Optimized bzero/bcopy/memmove/memcpy functions to achieve a somewhat faster speed. (libnix)
3. Implemented alarm() to perform the tests, we'll no longer have to wait those long times.
4. Time spent on speed tests are now calculated using ReadEClock()
5. OPENSSL_assert() will now open a ReAction/Intuition requester (useful for WB-only progs)
6. Enabled MD2 and RC5 which was disabled by default..
7. Added 68040 build (user and dev)
8. Added new set of root certificates
9. Included Installation script.

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Amitopia TV 11th of July - Giana's Edition!

Program for 11th of July

17.00 Amiga News
17.05 Play! Giana Sisters
17.15 Play! Giana's Return
17.25 MusicBox

Watch or download:
amitopiatv website http://amitopiatv.com/

About Amitopia TV:

Made for Amigans, by Amigans! Created to Entertain everyone with News, Reviews and Reports about Amiga Today in living pictures. Thanks to Pawel Stefanski for Titler which have been used for 3D and 2D animations. Also a big thanks to all contributors which helps Amitopia TV!

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C64 Memories Frontend For The Commodore 64

I always wanted to make a frontend for my favourite computer of all time, the Commodore 64!

My main goal was to write a frontend that can help me to build a relatively small and personal subset of games and applications starting from the big and "chaotic" set that is Tosec. So... here it is C64 Memories.

Just download and install this file: C64 Memories Installer. zip

Or, alternatively, you can download the Special Edition: C64 Memories Special Edition Installer. zip (the special edition contains a pack of games that are my favourites, one for each letter of the alphabet, but apart from that the main application is the same)

REALLY IMPORTANT: Vista and Windows 7 users should run the frontend AS ADMINISTRATOR or it hangs during the splash screen.

C64 Memories is written in AIR 2.0 so you must have the AIR 2.0 runtime installed: however it should be automatically downloaded and installed when you install C64 Memories. If you get any error during the install process, try to download and install the Adobe AIR 2.0 Runtime first: http://www.adobe.com/go/getair

Right now I have only made the Windows version: it is more than likely that sometime in the future I will make Mac and Linux versions.

If you find C64 Memories useful, please consider making a small donation to show your support!

http://www.genereavventura.com/hosted/C64Memories/

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Silo 64 Game

----------Original message------------
From: 8bitweapon
Date: Tues., July 6, 2010

Silo 64 is a two player, simultaneous, action shooter extravaganza for the Commodore 64/128 personal computer!
The Earth has been destroyed by nuclear armageddon. Your family, as well as other families in your home town, took refuge in the local underground fallout shelter, Silo 64. Only your trusty robo-companion is all that's left of your life before the blast. All your rations and supplies have been depleted. There's just one thing left to do...

Venture out, and seek your fortune in the wasteland! Available on 5.25" floppy disk version of the game for your Commodore 64 / 128!

The Soundtrack:

This is the soundtrack to the S.E.U.C.K. created 2 player post nuke C64 / 128 action game "Silo 64". Pop this collection into your media player to summon your inner mutant and dance your half-life away! The songs mutate to form a mix of rock guitars, elektro beats, electric bass, analogue synths, chip music, and Industrial drums. As for the game itself, you can play an emulated version free! Check out the game & download 2 free mp3's at http://www.silo64.com

We opted for sound FX vs. music in the game so we made a score to accompany the game via cd/mp3 player.

Track Listing:

1) Fallout in the Wasteland *
2) Rocktronic Plague *
3) Terraforming Time
4) Safety Comes First
5) Mutation (featuring NU-TRA)
6) Fallout in the Wasteland (8580 remix)
7) Silo 64 Title Screen (8580)

*Free downloads at www.silo64.com

CD Soundtrack: $6.95
C64 Game Diskette: $4.95
CD & Game Set: $9.95
CD, Game & T-Shirt Set: $19.95

http://8bitweapon.com/store.htm

Enjoy~!
-Seth & Michelle

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SEUCK Vault Update News

"The Shoot 'Em Up Construction Kit" revealed the secrets of professional games programmers and gave you the power to produce games to rival the biggest chart-topping blasters. You didn't need any training or programming experience to use the selection of utilities designed by Sensible Software. Using your joystick you could build your own Spacecraft and Weaponry, design your own Landscapes, Sound Effects, Levels and Attack Waves. You could start from scratch or redesign one of the 4 FREE games included in the pack. SHOOT 'EM UP CONSTRUCTION KIT was an essential part of every Commodore 64 owner's collection, with the Amiga and Atari ST versions following soon after.

The aim of the SEUCK Vault is to gather together the very best games created with SEUCK on the Commodore 64 and the Amiga. We are also looking for previously unreleased titles, your stories about how you used the Kit, and also the tips and tricks that make using the Kit easier.

July

More Amiga games
With thanks to Ricky Derocher for his help
Archive fully updated

New pages for The Raid series

Andrew Fereday
Sector 1 and Intense
The Serene trilogy
Skyflyer 1 and 2
Tomcat and Super Tomcat

http://www.seuck.retrogaming64.com/

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WookieChat For Amiga OS Update

WookieChat allows you to connect to Internet Relay Chat networks (IRC) and chat with other users in a text medium in real-time. Some of the server groups are preconfigured to join an Amiga chat channel upon successful connection. Executables are provided for AmigaOS 3.x, 4.0, MorphOS and AROSWookieChat is uncrippled SHAREWARE. If you like this piece of software, please register! Registration is NOT mandatory! No feature is disabled!

Latest News

This version tries to introduce an Empathy or Emesene style contact list, with scaled avatars next to people’s names. Also, their personal message or music is now shown underneath the person’s name, so those details are visible on skinnier windows.

The default "no avatar" image has been replaced with something better.

The Settings window has been redone with a tabbed style display. Saves screen space. Especially when you're not running 1920x1080 24" monitors like me. :P

The all in one style interface (with the contacts and chat windows combined) has been removed, due to not being able to test all 3 possible settings thoroughly.. and the hassle of maintaining three separate GUI modes. So now we have a tabbed mode, and a windowed mode. Keeps things simple think.

There’s a few annoyances left in this release. The display pictures in already opened chat windows are not re-scaled when you change the scaling prefs (but they are updated properly when using chat tabs). And also, if you have a line of text, and the cursor is positioned in the middle of your text, when you hit enter, the program doesn’t catch the Enter key press before the message is sent and the message gets a newline inserted there (effectively getting split into two lines).I will correct these hopefully minor issues in the next release.. but this has been getting tweaked for too long, so I wanted to get something new out the door.

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ASCII -- PETSCII Converter

King Durin has released a windows utility to convert to and from PETSCII and ASCII test

ASCII -- PETSCII Converter
Rating: No reviews yet
Updated: by plbyrd
Dev status: Stable

Recommended Download

ASCII--PETSCII Converter Setup.msi
application, 455K, uploaded Thu - 4 downloads

Release Notes

Overview
Converts between ASCII and PETSCII files in either direction.

Usage
Select source file (ASCII or PETSCII)
Select target file
Select target file type
Click Convert

http://cbmcommander.codeplex.com/releases/view/49023

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4GB CF IDE Hard Drive

www.amigakit.com

AmigaKit

We are pleased to announce that we have just secured a large batch of 4GB CF IDE hard disks prepped/formatted ready for Amiga 1200, 600 or 4000 (specify on ordering from AmigaKit store)

The advantages of our drives are:

- completely silent operation
- responsive drives that run cool
- fully prepped and formatted with our installation software pre-installed
- high quality media fully compatible with Amiga

Direct Product Links

USA Store:
http://www.amigakit.us/product_info.php?products_id=883

UK Store:
http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/...roducts_id=883

European Store:
http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/...roducts_id=883

Canadian Store:
http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/...roducts_id=883

www.amigakit.com Amiga Computer Store

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BASIC point

http://basicpoint.jamtronix.com/

Bringing the power of CBM BASIC to the world of presentation software!

what do you want to present?

h1. BASICpoint
h2. Features
* list items
** indented list items
 *bold text*
 _emphasised text_

presentation uses the following textile conventions:
h1. - creates a new page containing just the heading
h2. - creates a new page with heading at the top, and following text below
*bold text* - bold text is in inverse char set
_emphasised text_ - emphasised text printed in black
* at start of line becomes list item
** at start of line becomes indented list item

COMMODORE FREE although it looks basic at the moment this could be really useful, if development continues, I will be watching this project, as I have been looking to do PowerPoint presentations on a Commodore 64 heck it will amuse people if nothing else

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UFE Floppy Drive Emulator


UFE is an SD/MMC floppy drive emulator for old computers. It connects to the floppy drive port of the host computer and behaves like a real floppy drive, except that the data comes from the SD/MMC card

http://retromaster.wordpress.com/ufe/

Features

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A-Eon Updates Revison 2 Nemo Motherboards and AmigaOne X1000 Beta Test Update

We are pleased to announce that we have finalised the design of the revision 2 "Nemo" motherboard. Following an extensive testing programme, as well as implementing a number of minor hardware fixes, we have opted to specify an upgrade to the "Xena" XMOS subsystem to provide greater functionality and performance.

The revision 2 standard will be the version shipping under the AmigaOne X1000 Beta Test Programme. With the design finalised, Hyperion Entertainment will soon be sending out the Beta Test information pack to everyone who registered their interest in joining the AmigaOne X1000 Beta

Test programme

In other good news, the Hyperion Entertainment software developers have made excellent progress since the AmigaOne X1000's public debut at the Vintage Computer Festival in June, and AmigaOS4 is now running stably at the fastest CPU speeds. Two AmigaOne X1000 machines will be on display at the "Amiga Event 2010" in Essen on the 24th July, demonstrating the latest developments.

Trevor Dickinson
Director, A-EON Technology CVBA

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Not Another Sprite Editor V1

Yep looks like it a sprite editor for the Commodore 64 for use in windows the file is a self executable and as such doesn’t need installing just saving somewhere and running

Download :
http://noname.c64.org/csdb/getinternalfile.php/90388/notanotherspriteeditor.exe

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10 Year Anniversary Concert With Press Play On Tape

Yeah, we know it has been quite low on news from PPOT recently. We have been focusing a lot on recording new material for the next CD. There is still a lot of work to do with mixing it and recording the final pieces, so we do not have a release date yet.

In the meantime we have our 10 year anniversary coming up so we thought we would celebrate with a concert :) We are planning something special to celebrate the past 10 years of PRESS PLAY ON TAPE so don't miss it!

The concert will take place at The Rock in Copenhagen on Saturday 11th of September 2010.

We will be back with more details later. In the meantime put a mark in your calendar and have a look at our event page which will be updated when we have more details:

http://www.pressplayontape.com/?pid=concerts_therock2010

Regards, PRESS PLAY ON TAPE

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"The Unofficial CMD Homepage"

Email
To: Commodore Free
From: Milo aka MacGyver

The page "The Unofficial CMD Homepage" - http://www.cmdweb.de - is a home page with information about the most interesting CMD products. It has been created by my brother Malte (ThunderBlade) many years ago because of the fascination for the devices.

7 or 8 years ago I have taken over the hosting and since then I have been making some small updates from time to time.

During this years I have completely paid the costs for hosting by myself. At no time there has been a business relation between me and CMD and/or the current holders of the rights.

I have recently set up a PayPal donation button and would be happy if you could support the site and thus me and my C64 activities with a donation.

As the saying goes: "Every Euro helps!" ;-)

Best regards,
Milo aka MacGyver

COMMODRORE FREE
Nice informational webpage about CMD products, for the curious and owners of these now highly sought after and collectable devices

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Interview with Trevor Dickinson

A-EON Technology CVBA

Q. Please introduce your self to our readers

Hello my full name is Robert Trevor Dickinson but I’ve been called Trevor as far back as I can remember. I am British by birth and have always been a Commodore enthusiast since purchasing my first computer, way back in 1981. At the time I was the Technical Applications Manager for the company I worked for and one of my responsibilities was to manage the hardware and software development team. The company provided a real-time data acquisition service for geological, engineering and safety monitoring on offshore drilling rigs and oil platforms. Initially we used HP9821 & HP9830 desktop computers but were in the process of converting all the systems to Dec PDP 11/03 & 11/23 minicomputers. Although I had worked as a Data Engineer with both systems at the well site I knew very little about computer hardware or software. It was not really surprising; I had trained as a geologist!

Q. How does your computing "past" link in with Commodore and the Amiga?

OK there I was, Technical Applications Manager, supposedly in charge of all the company’s computer development but with very little knowledge or experience. I decided I needed to buy my own computer and get up to speed in my own time. Remember, this was 1980 and the home computer business that we know today did not exist. The Apple II was available, as was the Commodore PET and Sinclair ZX80 had just been released in kit form. I was initially tempted to build my own Sinclair but soon realised if I wanted to do any serious work then I would have to go for either the Commodore or Apple machine. In the UK there was more support for the Commodore PET which also came with its own built-in monitor. So, in early 1981 I took my Christmas bonus and bought a Commodore PET 4032. I taught myself Basic and Fortran, dabbled with machine code and generally got to understand computers. Like many other Commodore users I became attached to the Commodore brand which had a very strong UK presence. I followed the usual “upgrade” path to C64, C128 then C128D and by this time I was living in Houston, Texas.

In 1988 I acquired my first Amiga. My C128D system had just been zapped by lightning and I used the insurance money towards purchasing an A2000. I was really into GEOS on my C128 so the move up to the Amiga’s “WIMP” system was an easy and natural transition. During the 1990's I used A3000's and A4000's in my business for DTP, graphics work and video editing but eventually moved to other platforms as software and support for the Amiga dried up following the collapse of Commodore.

Q. You have a huge collection of old Commodore computers - do you still use any of them regularly?

Yes, hmmm! Most of my time these days is spent running, AmigaOS4, Windows and various Linux distros (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and Mint). I occasionally get a little nostalgic and fire up my PET 2001 or one of my C64’s. I also get a lot of fun from tinkering with my Classic Amigas and enjoy working with the big box Amiga range 2000, 3000 & 4000. There is an elegant simplicity to the design and feel of the Classic Amiga hardware and software that is very addictive. I also use MorphOS, “Amiga Forever” and play with AROS on my iMica Atom.

Q. What in your opinion is an "Amiga"

That’s a very difficult question and the answer is very long and quite convoluted. In Commodore times the question was very simple to answer. An Amiga was an advanced multimedia computer manufactured by Commodore in whatever form or shape they decided to build and market which ran the multi-tasking AmigaOS. Since Commodore’s demise, the lack of clear leadership and the failure to produce a natural successor the “Amiga” community has become somewhat fractured. I wrote an article for “Amiga Future” with the title “What is an Amiga?” in which I attempted to answer this question. (See my expanded answer later on).

Q. What is your favourite Amiga game?

Again another difficult question! By the time I acquired my first Amiga I was playing a lot less games. My most active game playing period would have been on the Commodore 64 with games like “International Soccer”, “Superstar Soccer” and “Commando”. On the Amiga I have fond memories of “Dragon’s Lair”, for the graphics and “Sword of Sodan” for the voice over “Hold Stranger” & “Jump over Barrels”. Not forgetting the excellent platform games “Superfrog” and “Zool” and of course games like “Beneath a Steel Sky” etc, etc - did I say I didn’t play a lot of Amiga games? ;-)

Q. What is A-Eon what is the company’s history and what is the company’s aim?

At last an easier question. A-EON Technology was formed in 2009 to fund the development of new AmigaOne hardware for AmigaOS4 and beyond. There are three principle owners, Tony Moorley, my long term friend and business partner, Ben Hermans of Hyperion Entertainment, the developers of AmigaOS4 and now the effective owners of the AmigaOS name & trademarks and, of course, myself.

Q. How many work for the company?

A-EON Technology is working in partnership with a number of contractors, suppliers and consultants and as such does not have or need a large workforce.

Q. Who are the company’s partners?

We have negotiated agreements with several companies. Our software partner is Hyperion Entertainment, the legally licensed owners and developers of AmigaOS for desktop computer systems. Our hardware partner is Varisys Ltd, a UK company based in High Wycombe, who has an excellent track record designing specialised PowerPC and FPGA hardware for embedded, military and industrial applications. Our worldwide distributor is AmigaKit, based in Wales, who is the world-wide market leader in the retail and distribution of Amiga hardware and software.

Q. What is the spirit of the Amiga hasn’t this now gone?

OK back to the difficult questions again. Sometimes when I read the FUD and negativity on some of the Amiga forums, I think the Amiga spirit died out many years ago. However, I’m soon uplifted and heartened by the many personal messages of support and encouragement I regularly receive from the otherwise silent Amiga majority. IMHO the Amiga spirit is still very much alive and well.

Q. Can you tell our readers about the hardware specifications and price point of the machine.

The A1-X1000 will be supplied with the AmigaOS 4.1 Update in a branded tower case.

The current pre-release specs* include:

Note -: Subject to change

We have added a couple of enhancements to the Revision 2 Nemo motherboard to provide even more functionality. More details will be revealed at a later date. The initial sale price is still not set in stone and depends on a number of factors including the very variable and unstable currency exchange rates.

Q. What is special about the hardware in this machine that makes it unique to lets say a PC clone.

Well, first of all there is the extremely cool AmigaOS4 which is a direct descendant of the original AmigaOS. Throw in a special low power, high performance 64-bit Power CPU that until now has only been used in embedded industrial and military applications. Add “software defined silicon” in the shape of the Xena XMOS coprocessor and integrate the whole package within the high specification Nemo motherboard and the result is the most powerful custom built, next generation AmigaOne computer. Needless to say I will be buying one for my collection. ;-)

Q. I paid 2000 GBP for an Amiga 4000 when they first appeared I remember having to wait for the machines to arrive, later I went for the company that imported them into the U.K. Silica (prodic plc) I was employed as an Amiga specialist, today however I seem to have lost my way with the various systems that are called Amiga can you comment about this.

For the long answer you should really read my “What is an Amiga?” article published some time ago in “Amiga Future” magazine. ;-) I also purchased A2000, A3000 & A4000 at full retail prices for my business and personal use during the late 80’s to mid 90’s. I used the Amiga as a business tool for DTP, graphics and video work but I also used it for fun (see the games I didn’t play - much ;-))

Today, there are only two companies making new hardware for the next generation Amiga market: ACube with their Sam440 and new Sam460 range and now A-EON with the officially licensed AmigaOne X1000 computer. Both run the latest version of AmigaOS4.

MorphOS is another “Amiga-like” PowerPC OS which runs on Pegasos & Efika hardware produced by Genesi. Unfortunately, Genesi left the Amiga market several years ago and the hardware is no longer manufactured. MorphOS has since been ported to the PowerPC Apple Mac Mini and eMac machines which can be purchased second hand on eBay. AROS, originally the Amiga Replacement Operating system, continues to be developed as an open-source “Amiga-like” OS. Although, it mainly runs on x86 hardware. Several individuals have been promoting hardware to run AROS and in particular “Icaros Desktop Live” but to date only a handful of systems have actually been sold. I know because I bought most of them! ;-)

There have also been attempts to recreate Classic Amiga hardware using modern, FPGA technology. The most successful to date is the MiniMig, by Dutch electronics engineer and Amiga enthusiast, Dennis van Weeren. In 2005 he undertook a secret project to prove that the Amiga’s Custom Chipset could be emulated using a FPGA. The MiniMig is his open source re-implementation of an A500 which re-created the Amiga’s OCS and ECS chipsets in the FPGA. An onboard Motorola 68000 CPU ensured accurate emulation of the original hardware allowing most games and software that were written for the A500 to run normally. A standard SD memory card is used to hold the Minimig firmware together with the Kickstart ROM image and ADF Game files which have to be supplied by the user.
A more ambitious FPGA project is NatAmi, being developed by Thomas Hirsch. It is complete motherboard which will be totally compatible with the original Amiga computer without emulation, abstraction layers or legacy drawbacks. Then of course there is Classic Amiga emulation software with products like “Amiga Forever”, WinUAE, E-UAE, PUAE, and the Amiga super distros: AmiKit & AmigaSys.

Q. What level of compatibility with old Amiga software are you aiming for?

If possible, I would like to see Classic Amiga software fully emulated on the AmigaOne X1000. Chris Handley’s RunInUAE program has removed all the complexities of setting up UAE and allows simple one-click play of many Classic Amiga games under AmigaOS4. However, for better all round compatibility we also need JIT implemented for UAE. I am in discussion with several Amiga developers and hope to have a coordinated approach to Classic Amiga emulation which would ultimately benefit all AmigaOS4 users.

Q. Do you intend to support multi processors, and will they be able to shut down for compatibility with older software?

Yes, the intention is for multi processor support to be added although the first AmigaOne X1000 will not support this. We would wish to retain compatibility with older software.


Q. Will the machine run just version 4.1 of AmigaOS and will it feature a kickstart chip like the original machines?

The AmigaOne X1000 currently runs the latest AmigaOS4.1 Update, although it has been modified for the A1-X100) hardware (just like OS4.1 has been modified to run on the A1, Sam & Pegasos II). Work is still ongoing to optimise the drivers and maximise the performance of AmigaOS4.1 on the new hardware. At the moment Kickstart is installed on a separate compact flash card but this may change in the future.

Q. Emulation and compatibility is often reliant on knowing the hardware tricks and illegal opcodes - will the new machine cope with that?

The whole emulation issue is still under discussion.

Q. Will it still give a Guru Meditation Error when things go wrong?

AmigaOS4 introduced the “Grim Reaper” which replaced the “Guru Meditation” error messages. The Grim Reaper will be retained.

Q. How relevant do you think Amiga is to the modern computing community?

Having acquired my first home computer in the early 80’s I think I may have a different perspective on computer development and use. Early adopters were at the forefront of the embryonic home computer business. It’s fair to say that in recent years the computer has become more of commodity rather than a speciality with hardware manufacturers churning out products with incredibly short shelf life before they are dumped for the next greatest thing. Against this backdrop of fast turnover and inbuilt obsolescent the Amiga computer is really quite an anomaly. I would hazard a guess than most of the AmigaOne, Micro A1-C and Pegasos machines are still in use today and would fetch a reasonable price if placed for sale on eBay. If you view and treat your computer as a commodity to be used and discarded like last years fashions then the Amiga, in whatever form it takes, is not for you. However, if you are looking for fun, interest and community the Amiga is as relevant today as it was 25 years ago.

Q. What software would you like to see developed for the new Amiga?

Software is the life blood of any computer system and fortunately we still have a very active AmigaOS4 developer community. About four years ago, I set up and funded a Hardware Loan/Donation scheme to put next generation Amiga computers into the hands of talented developers to enable them to produce quality software for AmigaOS 4. In total, I've donated about 16 or 17 systems as I believe it is important that we encourage talented software engineers to produce quality software for AmigaOS4. If you check on OS4Depot there are now over 2,600 files available for download. Also with programs like Timberwolf and Open Office (4 kids) in the works, the future is looking brighter than it has for many years. I think we will continue to encourage and sponsor software development to ensure that the new AmigaOne X1000 is well served. I would particularly like to see software that takes advantage of the AmigaOne X1000 new features in particular the Xena and parallel computing applications.

Q. Have you had any responses from Amiga and none Amiga users?

We have been inundated with messages of support and requests for information from both the past and present Amiga users. We also received a surprising amount of interest from the mainstream computer world.

Q. Commercially do you think there is respect for the Amiga name?

Yes, the Amiga name and brand is still well known and respected. The launch of the AmigaOne X1000 at the recent Vintage Computer Festival at Bletchley Park attracted a lot of mainstream computer media attention. The news even made the front page of the Register and the Enquirer. Not bad for a brand that was written off years ago. I’ve always liked the Amiga adaptation of Mark Twain’s famous quotation “News of the Amiga’s death is greatly exaggerated!”

Q. I have been to some businesses recently that still use Amigas for video editing, I even found a company that use the Amiga for video titling, I am sure they are a dying breed of if it isn’t broke don’t fix it, Could you see a machine running Amiga OS in a local business typing letters and editing spreadsheets.

I don’t really see the AmigaOne X1000 as a general purpose computer for office work. The specifications are aimed at power Amiga users and enthusiast who want something a little more special that the run-of-the-mill x86 box.

Q. Do you think you will become rich or just make a living?

I think everyone now knows that the Amiga computer is my hobby and passion.

Fortunately I have a number of other business interests which allow me to devote time and money to the AmigaOne X1000 development. However, it is important to remain realistic and focused. One of the main reasons for bringing Tony Moorley into A-EON Technology was to ensure we make the right business as well as technical decisions. We have worked together in several successful businesses over the past 35 years and he is not a computer enthusiast.

Q. Did you think about using the Commodore name?

Yes, but unfortunately even now it is very expensive. Following the demise of Commodore the rights to the name and brand have changed hands, on several occasions, for many millions of dollars. Even now there is a dispute about the possible illegal use of the Commodore brand and name.

Q. So how many units do you think you will sell?

I’ve no idea. I know how many we need to sell to break even. If we exceed that amount, we will make a small profit and will be able to justify continuing with new hardware development.

Q. You have written for a number of Amiga related magazines, you will have seen the rise and fall of both Commodore and the Amiga; what do you feel is left for Amiga as a machine?

I still think there is a good market for people who do not want to be part of the homogenised PC crowd and hopefully they will see the AmigaOne X1000 as a machine that really does bring the fun and interest back into computing. There is still an incredible interest in the Amiga platform and I believe the addition of the Xena “customisable chip” will appeal to Amiga enthusiasts and developers alike.

Q. Do you feel A-EON would ignite my love of the Amiga?

Like you, I purchased an Amiga 4000. At that time it cost me 2,500. Over the years I added a Cybervision 64D graphics card, a Cyberstorm 68060 accelerator, CD drive, SCSI I/F & HDD etc etc. I replaced the 68060 with a Cyberstorm PPC233/68060 and the 64D with a Cybervision 64/3D. I converted it form a desktop to a tower system using an Ateo conversion kit and up until 2000 it was the system I used every day for most of my business needs. I hate to think what I spent in total on that system. When I began collecting Amigas I suddenly realised there were thousands people, who like me, had gone through a similar evolution with their Amiga systems. Whether it is an A1200 tower conversion or an A500 with multiple attachments hanging from every port, the Amiga was not a computer that was simply thrown away like so many discarded x86 PC cast-offs. Check on eBay and you will regularly see Amiga enthusiasts paying several hundred pounds to buy Phase5 PPC boards or other pieces of Classic Amiga hardware. Contrast this even with an Apple eMac, which can be picked up for 10 to 20 off eBay. What I’m really trying to say is, Amigans love their computers and it is my hope that they will come to love the AmigaOne X1000 - which is truly a computer designed by Amiga enthusiasts for Amiga enthusiasts.

Q. do you have any other comments you would like to add

This year is the 25th anniversary of the Amiga's birth and despite the bankruptcies, disappointments, mismanagement, flame wars and broken promises there is still a small but active and thriving Amiga community. I think Eric Schwartz summed it up brilliantly with “Still Alive”, his humorous and bittersweet animated video tribute to the Amiga's longevity and survival. However, my wife recently read a quote that claimed “there is a very fine line between hobby and mental illness”, and that probably goes some way to explaining the Amiga “condition”.

Thank you for the opportunity of presenting the AmigaOne X1000 to your readers.

Q. I wish you the best of luck

Thanks, we will need all the luck we can get ;-)

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Interview with Gregory Alekel

Creator of www.commodoreserver.com and Comet64

Please introduce yourself to our readers

Hi, many of you know me as "Goog" in the Commodore scene. I spend a large amount of my time tinkering with my favourite computer - the Commodore 64 - and play around with it on a daily basis. In my spare time, I am a professional software developer and Web developer from Portland, Oregon, USA and have worked for companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and contracted out to numerous government institutions.

I recently started a new Commodore Users group in Portland (pdxcug.org) which has been exciting - we are working on some group projects that will help the Commodore community.

It seems that I am always working on something for the Commodore 64. I created a game for Compute!'s Gazette when I was about 15, but never sent it in. I built an answering machine that hooked up the C64's user port and it controlled two tape players and automatically dialled phone numbers. I created a C64 emulator in .NET, just for the learning experience. Mostly I like to dabble in electronics projects for the C64, but I also write programs and play lots of games (my favourite is Dino Eggs).

How would you say Commodore has changed your life

I owe my career to my parents' wise decision to purchase a Commodore 64 in 1983 (even though $595 was a lot in those days). That was the launch pad for my successes in computer science. My parents tell me that when I received my computer, my bedroom was suddenly transformed into a clean and organized environment. In my mind, I was trying to mimic Matthew Broderick's room in "War Games", one of my all-time favourite movies. Of course, his room was not nearly as clean, but he certainly had the goods.

You started working on a Commodore emulator using .NET how far was this project and why was the project halted

Some might recall my discussions about a C64 emulator that I wrote simply for the joy and for the learning experience and that I attempted to port it over to Parallax's Propeller Chip. My port was unsuccessful, however. The .NET edition was also never completed because its speed requirements couldn't be satisfied by the .NET framework (back in 2005). The system boots up, runs BASIC programs and displays some sprites, but that is where it ended. I may decide to finish the project at a later time when .NET can support the demand for speed.

Do you still have your first Commodore machine

Sadly, when I was younger and moving around a lot, I stored all of my possessions in a storage unit which got broken into. Most of what I would consider valuable was stolen, and I was extremely disappointed to learn that my Commodore equipment was gone (except my 1701 monitor, Datasette, and all of my disks which happened to be in other boxes) - especially since I had the first generation C64 (silver label). I was lucky enough that the monitor and datasette were not stolen and I still have them to this day.

Do you still own real Commodore hardware, if so what machines do you own

I started building up my collection of Commodore-related computers and I now own several Commodore VIC-20s, C64s, 128s, various Amigas, a Commodore 16, a Plus/4, a B-128, and an Ultimax. I was able to acquire a silver label C64, but it was not my serial number :(

Personally I like this question; "What did Commodore do wrong, why did they close"

That is a good question indeed. I like to think that Commodore was innovative and ahead of the times in many ways. Innovation is something that Commodore was proud of. But being innovative isn't enough. A company like Commodore in its day had to be forward-thinking enough to realize that the home market differed greatly from the business market. I've personally always thought that PC's, even to this day, are not home computers. Commodore typically released home computers while the world demanded business machines. Can a business machine work in a home, too? Sure. But can a home computer work as a business machine? Not practically, anyway. I think that Commodore should have stuck strictly with the home market instead of trying to compete with IBM and other business machines. As we can still see today, the home game consoles are what drive the multi-billion dollar video game industry. If Commodore had enough sense to see how beloved video games were, they would have continued with that trend and could possibly be competing today with Nintendo, Playstation and Xbox.

Can you tell our readers about any software you created, I believe you were saying you made a Commodore 64 answering machine! can you describe how this worked, do you have any pictures of the setup, and a description of what was needed for the software to work. Also for the curious is this software still available to download.

My first complete game was called "Head On" and was written entirely in BASIC. I created this for Compute!'s Gazette, but never submitted it. It had a custom character set and looked very professional, with a complete animated intro screen. I just showed this off to some fellow CommVEx attendees and they were not only impressed by its completeness, they also recommended that I release it - something I intend to do on CommodoreServer.com, so stay tuned.

My next big project was an answering machine hardware device. It plugged into the user port and a BASIC program controlled things like turning on the tape deck with the outgoing message and switching to the tape deck that recorded. It had a ring detector and was able to determine when the phone was picked up as well. Soon, I started playing with SAM (the speech synthesizer) to do the outgoing message instead of the tape player. It was so cool that in College, a friend of mine was running for student body president and he approached me with the idea to use my device to campaign for him. I changed some of the software with an outgoing SAM message and an appeal to "Vote for Mike." It called every telephone number in all the dorm rooms to make the announcement. It was such great fun. He didn't win, but he should have! Sadly, that was in one of the boxes that got stolen. But I just found some of my original plans for the device and I still have a lot of the original software, so maybe I can put something together to share.

Can you tell our readers about the Comet 64 internet modem, who designed it and how it connects to the internet

The Comet64 Internet Modem is a plug-and-play product that provides RS-232-to-Ethernet (I've been using the term "S2E", for "Serial-to-Ethernet" to help distinguish it from other Commodore Internet devices). It plugs into the user port on any of a Commodore 64, VIC-20, or Commodore 128 computers. It is simple to install and you can get immediate results by opening an RS-232 port and writing data to it. By default, it is configured to integrate seamlessly with activities that are available on CommodoreServer.com, such as D64 disk access and blogging. You can configure the device to connect to any other server and send data through by using the equivalent of OPEN2,2,2,CHR$(10):PRINT #2, "Data to be sent":Close 2. It supports baud rates from 1,200 to 230,400, and can be configured to use any of those baud rates, but with the limitations of a C64, it is currently set to communicate at 2400 baud, but this will likely change in the future because we are working on some faster drivers.

Sometime in the mid-2000s, I ordered an MMC and RR-Net adapter. I was very excited to get on the Internet and start playing around with new software for my C64. One of the things I did first was to load Contiki with some special configuration disk to set your IP address and such. I was able to hook it up and get some basic Web text, which was very cool. What I didn't like was the frequent lock-ups and the difficult configuration (being new to the Internet on a C64, I expected something a little more streamlined). Apparently, Contiki or the TCP/IP stack had a few bugs in it. I was convinced that there must be a better way.

In 2008, I was flipping through a magazine and saw a device for "RS-232 to Ethernet" and it immediately triggered a thought that a stock Commodore 64 could be hooked up to it. Commodore has a native ability to open the RS-232 port and immediately write data to it. So I ordered one and started dabbling with it. After a long, long road of learning all the ins and outs of Commodore's KERNAL routines and how it wasn't fully RS-232C capable, I was finally able to get it working smoothly.

By this time I knew that I was on to something and I started developing a server-side utility to aid in the development of client-side software. My goal was to streamline Internet connectivity for Commodore users out there - something where Contiki and RR-Net left you wondering what to do next. Therefore I thought I would fill the gap and make an easy-to-use, out-of-the-box solution. The Comet64 does not replace what already exists - it simply adds a new option for Internet connectivity. Along with CommodoreServer.com, I hope to make the Comet64 modem usage universal enough so that new software can come along and open the doors for anyone to start programming games and other Internet-based applications.

Has the "Comet 64 internet modem" been tested with any other software? I am thinking here about Wheels/geos users and the wave or any Commodore Comms software maybe something like novaterm, can the device even be used by other software

The Comet64 is a stand-alone product that anyone can use or program easily using the stock RS-232 routines. Cameron Kaiser has been involved in hooking up his Commodore to Gopher services. He recently got a Comet64 and is now using it to use the Gopher protocol. In his words, "it's a simple protocol to speak and Gopher menus are very easy to parse, even with very little memory. A good choice for a stock 64 or VIC-20. There are still quite a few gopher servers out there with Commodore software."

At the time of this writing, it is unlikely that it works perfectly with most other existing software, simply because it is an RS-232 device. I suspect that most, if not all, current Internet software uses the RR-Net or Swiftlink libraries which run on the cartridge port. Since the Comet64 is a user port device, the software would have to be able to open and use the RS-232 port and send the data in that way. As far as terminal programs go, if the terminal program is able to have user-settable configuration strings (like AT commands for modems), then they could be used for basic communication. I tried 4 terminal programs from my 1980's collection and 3 of them worked. I also tried NovaTerm, but was surprised that I couldn't get it to communicate properly. Although any software can be used, the Comet64 wasn't designed to be used with terminal programs - it was designed to be used with new Internet software and also work seamlessly with CommodoreServer.com.

Another area that remains untested is the ability to connect to Telnet BBS's. However, I am confident that the Comet64 modem should work just fine with these services, so long as you have the proper software (probably a terminal program) that can speak RS-232. Most do, but they are often modem-centric and have a lot of hard-coding in them to work with specific modems.

How much does the "Comet64 Internet modem" cost

The modem comes in two configurations: Internet Modem only (U.S. $66.99 kit) and Internet Modem 232 (U.S. $72.99 kit) - Add $20 for assembly. The 232 option allows the device to be used solely as an RS-232 device, so you can hook up a null-modem cable to talk to other RS-232 devices. It just adds an extra option. If you don't need the 232, you can just use the Internet Modem portion only.

How is the modem utilised

It is basically an RS-232 device. You open an RS-232 port on the C64, VIC-20, PET, or C128 and send data through it. Whatever data you send is automatically sent to the IP address that is configured, whether it be a server or another Commodore 64, or hooking it up to other RS-232 devices (I was able to use an RS-232 NULL modem cable connected to my HD television and view and change settings, change channels, etc. from my C64). In its default configuration, the modem is set to communicate with CommodoreServer, but can be changed with either a PC-based utility, or by sending a series of configuration commands (like how modems do it, but the commands are different). You can configure the modem to point to your own computer and send and receive data easily. Cameron Kaiser is also working on a configuration utility for the Mac.

Also I see you have created a Commodore TTF (True type font) is this a full character set?

Although there were Commodore fonts in existence, none of them were true to the character set of a Commodore 64. The "CommodoreServer" font was developed to also provide a more accurate font mapping with true-to-life character substitution (i.e. a lower-case letter a appears as an upper-case letter A on a PC, and vice-versa). The font contains all Commodore 64 characters, both upper and lower case, character graphics, and the reverse video of each. No other font existed to do the same at the time I started. I will also be adding the ability to display other fonts from other Commodore computers in the same TTF, but the mappings will be a little bit different for those, since the primary mappings will be for the C64.

Is the font Free to download and I suppose it could be used with other applications, I have 2 applications that although they display Commodore characters on screen there is no way to print them out on a standard printer due to the lack of a True Type Font will this font help

The font can surely be used by other programs and will print nicely to a modern printer. I used it in a Word document where I wanted to display actual Commodore 64 text in my V-1541 user manual. It is free to use and you may also utilize the font for your own Web site and provide a download to the file, but I ask that you provide a link back to CommodoreServer.com, preferably with the graphic that I created for downloading the font.

Can you explain the idea behind www.commodoreserver.com

CommodoreServer is a destination for Internet-based programs, programming resources for developing Internet-based software for Commodore computers, and a release mechanism for new software (both Internet-based and otherwise). The goal is to build a community of people who want to use or develop new software (preferably Internet-based) and have an easy way to both distribute and find that software.

CommodoreServer is a convenient programming aid for developers, but also provides a storage mechanism for D64 files (other formats will be supported at a later time). You may store up to 2,500 of your own disk images in your own private account. You may share the disks with your friends within the site - both parties will be able to see the disk image in exactly the same way. If the "sharer" makes a change to the disk, the "recipient" will also be able to see those changes. Likewise, you can publish a disk to the public directory and anyone will be able to see it - both from an Internet browser and from a real Commodore computer.

Quick features of CommodoreServer.com: Upload D64s, view BASIC files, Disassemble ML code, view files as a Hex dump, view sectors on a disk, download or upload individual PRG or SEQ files, download the D64, "scratch" files, create snapshots (maintain a complete history of a disk), create newly-formatted disks with a click, view an index of and search for files on all disks, categorize disks by folders, create a BASIC loader for an ML program, and much, much more with more to come!

One of the coolest things I am working on is a set of protocols for a game server and easy development of network games. Programmers will not have to be bogged-down with the mundane tasks associated with game servers so creating new Internet-based games will be much easier. Players will be able to meet up in game rooms, chat, and start Internet games with sync provided by the game server. Watch for this to be released soon.

The website looks very professional how many people are involved in this project, can you name them and list there input

Thank you!

I have put thousands of hours into the site, server, protocol, font, client-side software and just about every other aspect of the project. A close friend of mine, known as "Agent Friday", has helped me greatly throughout the process - mainly on testing, client-side software development, and circuit design and debugging. A few other members of the Portland Commodore Users Group (pdxcug.org) were also helpful in testing and providing initial feedback.

How does the website work, our reader creates a logon for free then does he/she have to pay for a subscription, what does the subscription entitle the to over and above just creating a free logon

You can sign up for free - there is no subscription charge for normal use. You have access to all of the Web site resources that I do - uploading disks, viewing them online, using development tools, blogging, and more to come - all for free. You can also publish your own software from within your account and release to the community. However, if you wish to sell software or hardware, there is a modest $50/year subscription cost which allows you to sell any of your own products.

So you can as a user upload and download D64 and Prg file directly to your commodore machine?

After you upload disks to CommodoreServer.com, you are able to immediately work off of those disks directly from your C64 using software that is designed to interact with the service (V-1541 is used for disk access with LOAD and SAVE, but more software may become available soon). Of course, you'll need an Internet device (such as the Comet64) to connect to the Internet. The software must be capable of using "CSIP", which is the CommodoreServer Internet Protocol. At the time of this writing, I am working on a utility for the Commodore 64 to upload and a real floppy disk to the server, which will create a D64 format in your account. It will also support the ability to download a D64 disk image to a real floppy. My initial tests were successful and this software will be available soon. Other members of the Commodore community are also working on integrating CommodoreServer into their software.

Do you have to save the files to disk before you can use them or do the files work LIVE

You can SAVE files directly to the Internet, just like you would save them to disk. For instance, if you have a BASIC program in memory on your C64, you can type: SAVE"MYGAME",2. Assuming you already "virtually inserted" a disk, the file will be saved to the disk on CommodoreServer.com. You would then be able to view the file from a Web browser. If you shared the disk to a friend or placed it in the public directory, the file would be live immediately to them.

Are you a Commodore Free reader

Only recently have I discovered the Commodore Free magazine and have only read 2 complete issues. But I found it to be a wonderful magazine, filled with a lot of great news and contents and I am thrilled that you folks are working on it - I am a convert and will continue to view, support and read each issue regularly!

Is there anything else you would like to add

I would just like to encourage everyone to try CommodoreServer.com - even without a modem. It is a useful Web application on its own. Upload some D64's, click on some files, and see the powerful features and programming utilities that are available. One demo writer I spoke with indicated to me that it was extremely useful working on the PRG level - without having to deal with a complete D64. You can click on a PRG/SEQ file and see its contents in the Web browser or download the file individually from the D64 image.

Finally why is there such a nostalgic burst of interest still in older machines, (especially Commodore) users are still very loyal to 8-bit systems, and still get heated about the "my machine is better than yours" would you like to comment

Anyone who grew up in the 80s can fully appreciate the era - there were so many aspects of the 80s that make it such a great decade - from computers to music to the arcade to new frontiers in sound generation. All of these things tied together formed a particular image that people just can't let go. As kids, many of us dreamed of being involved in Commodore software or hardware, or having our own software company but were unable to at the time. Now that we are all grown up, we know how to do it and can fulfil our childhood dreams. So we bring back the machines and all of those memories flood back. I have two kids and I fully plan on allowing them to grow up with knowledge of my Commodore computers, but they will never be able to appreciate it the same way. This idea was revealed true in a recent "after party" from CommVEx where we were watching some of the current demos, in awe of how the graphics and sound are pushed to the limits. Something my child would not be impressed by with today's powerful computers. And I would like to say to all other non-Commodore 8-bit computer fans: "My machine is better than yours" (Otherwise you wouldn't be reading this Commodore publication) :)

Thanks for your time and good luck

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about my products and share them with your readers. I hope that what I have created will be useful and fun for everyone who tries it.

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