Using My Computers

by Eric Schwartz
from the AmiTech-Dayton Gazette, April 2009

I've mentioned now and again that I have a wide range of machines that I use on a regular basis, largely for different preferences and applications. My Pegasos 2 running MorphOS is my primary graphics machine. I might be able to get more ability or performance out of other systems I have, but there's a level of familiarity and comfort with the tools involved here, My Amiga 4000 takes up some of the slack from the Pegasos, mainly running the Amiga software that doesn't run properly (or at all) through the Amiga compatibility of MorphOS. I also have the Mac Mini and the Linux Laptop, both of which are primarily Internet machines with some occasional productivity here and there. Since getting the laptop, it has taken the lion's share of web browsing work, while the Mac does more creative work, usually centered around specific applications like iMovie or Comic Life, and stuff I can't currently do (at least not easily) using the Pegasos or Amiga.

How much each individual machine gets used depends on what work needs to be done, and the convenience involved. For a while the Amiga was falling out of favor relative to my other machines, even though I still needed to do work that required it. The reason for this was a paradigm shift. In times past, the floppy disk was the standard for moving files between machines (sure, I could try networking machines together, but I didn't), but it's harder and harder to find a machine with a floppy drive anymore. People often cite things such as the Zip disk, or CD-Recorders as "floppy disk killers," but in my opinion the true murderer, or at least the final nail in the coffin, is the USB flash drive, being smaller, faster, larger capacity, and more reliable than the average floppy disk. It's also an extremely convenient way to move files between machines -- except my USB-free Amiga. As a result, the Amiga wasn't used as much as it could have been, since shuttling files on and off the machine required a different, less convenient method than my other machines, like Zip disks or e-mailing files to myself. Later, I was able to procure a Deneb USB card for my Amiga, which opened things up and leveled the playing field again. Each machine gets its own rightful slice of my time, as it should be. I'm sure they're all happy about that.

By the way, the newsletter is being put together using the Amiga, in case you'd like to know.