Not Much News

…by Eric Schwartz
From the AmiTech Gazette, October, 2014

It’s been a curious time, for me personally, if no one else. Checking around the Amiga news sources, there’s not a ton of stuff going on, not that there usually is. A new game from Cherry Darling, makers of Flappy Bird clone “Voxel Bird Saga,” is available, called “Voxelnoid,” apparently a Breakout/Arkanoid type of game, using the same voxel engine as their other game(s). So if you enjoy pixely stuff with 3D effects, and you have an OS4 or MorphOS system, this might be right up your alley. On the hardware front, the ARES-II system is available for 249 Euro. It is described as a “Raspberry Pi on steroids,” and is a complete system with a case, and is pre-installed with AEROS, an AROS/ Debian Linux hybrid with XBMC (media controller). Could be valuable to the right person, even if it’s not the low base price of a bare Raspberry Pi board. In software, an update to AROS Vision, (version 2.8.1) an AROS distro for classic Amiga hardware, is now available. I’m not too certain exactly what the benefits are to using AROS over Amiga OS on your classic system, but I’m sure there’s someone out there interested in finding out.

I had a chance to go to Cincinnati recently, visiting a convention briefly. For me, going to Cincinnati or Columbus is also an opportunity to drop by Micro Center. I was also in the market for a new system or two (or five), as the Lenovo laptop I use as my primary web-surfing system is showing its age, not to mention years of accumulated dirt and crumbs in the keys. Micro Center was advertising a laptop from ASUS for about $220, down from $300. The CPU is a form of Celeron, but as my demands for the system will be pretty low, I believe the system will be adequate to my needs. Like the computer market itself, it’s interesting to think how, out of three laptop systems I’ve purchased in my life, each is less expensive than the last, as the specs increase. One I got around 2007 cost me over $500, with a netbook picked up a year or so later being about $325. This new one for around $220 has a larger screen (not a touch screen this time around) with a 500GB SATA drive and 4GB of RAM. (Since pretty much every other computer I own doesn’t exceed 1 gigabyte, this will be a step up. I’m reminded of when I last shopped for a new car, as I was impressed at all the features and electronics found in even a low-end auto trim package. That 4 Gig of RAM is similar to me, as most PC systems I saw had about 4 gig even on the low end. Presumably the proliferation of 64-bit processing and Windows 8 make that much RAM more a requirement than a luxury. I can only imagine what an Amiga or MorphOS system would do with that much RAM (if they actually can make use of it). Hopefully a nice efficient Linux distro will make that about of RAM seem luxurious too. It appears I’ll have to look into picking a distro sooner rather than later. I tried turning the new laptop on just to check it out, but the first boot procedure under the pre-installed Windows 8 wouldn’t keep going without me setting up an account with Microsoft. Since I have no intention of registering with MS just to preview a system I don’t intend to have running Windows anyway, it would seem I may never see the Windows home screen on my laptop, not that that’s a negative really. I don’t know what state I’ll have the new machine in by this month’s meeting, but I may bring it by regardless. I suppose if anyone has any live CDs for any distros they advocate, I’ll be happy to give them a look-see.