by Eric Schwartz
from the AmiTech Gazette, December 2013
Another holiday season runs up to bite us in the ass, preceded by a shopping promotional rush that keeps pushing earlier and earlier until "Christmas in July" will actually be an accurate assessment given a few more years. At least we have a few things going on in the Amigaverse this season.
First off, A-EON Technology and ACube Systems are partnering up to develop and promote new Amiga systems over the coming years. Both companies have developed interesting new hardware over the last several years over a wide range of capability, so it should be worth keeping an eye on them to see what comes next. Second, Google, heavy hitter in the Internet tech world (and candidate in the upcoming election for Big Brother) showed their portable native client technology, which makes emulation of other computers and operating systems possible (and hopefully easy) through their Chrome web browser. Of particular interest is one of the supported systems is the Amiga 500. Check these pages later for more info as it is gotten.
Finally, not long before I write this, MorphOS version 3.4 was released. The primary improvements seem to be video card related, such as faster drivers for R300 chip cards,faster video playback on G5 systems, and support for non-native screen resolutions on Powerbook laptops. There's also a handful of the usual tweaks, bug fixes. and improvements. Of note is a new password lock for the screen blanker. It's not a big deal, but it is a small step to remedy the fact that system security in MorphOS (and most Amiga-type operating systems) is, aside from its own obscurity, lacking. I have yet to install and try out the new OS. but I should have it available at the December meeting on my laptop.
Over the last several months, I have recounted the Marvelous Misadventures of My MorphOS Mac, AKA my quest to set up a G5 Powermac with MorphOS and have it take over for my aging Pegasos II system. I'm proud to say, as the year draws to a close, the task is mostly complete. My G5 system is in full-time use, and the Pegasos, while still ready to go, is used less. There are still misadventures to be had however. I recently bought a USB scanner which I currently can't use on any of my Morph systems, as I didn't realize the driver had not been ported yet. Hopefully that is just a matter of time, possibly a bit of prodding. I like to remain confident that Santa will bring me a driver -- or the Easter Bunny will, or Santa in 2014, or...
I know many of us, including members of our own group, have largely moved on from Amiga, and even the newer Amiga-styled systems, to some flavor of Linux, or Mac, or mobile systems, or even (urp) Windows. Perhaps this holiday season it's time to give back to the machines that brought us through all those years ago. You don't have to buy a new piece of hardware or software for your Amiga, though it's not totally out of the question. The most sincere gift you can probably give is your time. Fire up your old systems, play the old games, enjoy the classic software. If that's not available, fire up an emulator (or Google Chrome even). If you're lucky, you might just recapture a bit of that warm feeling of nostalgia and a system that was there for you in ways the fancy new stuff never quite managed. Good Luck to you all. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Good Amigamas to everyone.