Hobbies and Entertainment

By Eric Schwartz
From the AmiTech Gazette, February 2019

We’re already a month into the year 2019, and I can’t speak for everyone, but the year has been treating me OK so far. Perhaps things will be good for our president too (club, not nation) now that the lunar new year has started.

The threat of bad weather caused us to cancel last month’s meeting. On hindsight, perhaps we could have swung it, but better to stay safe than risk getting snowed in. At least we have a few bits of Amiga news to keep us going.

The new A-EON Personal Paint software has an update coming for Amiga OS3 and OS4, with a few additions and bug fixes. Time will tell if it turns out actually useful and not a dumpster fire like the previous version.

The Checkmate 1500 computer case is approaching its production goal. The case is modeled after the look of the Amiga 3000, and can fit a wide range of system boards, from certain classic Amigas to PPC system main boards to mini/micro ATX PCs to Raspberry Pi. For more info, check out:


I have a number of things in my life that I consider hobbies and things I consider entertainment, which has caused me to think occasionally about what exactly constitutes a hobby, as my activities tend to be more of a range or spectrum not so easily broken up into segments, sometimes involving the same materials. The drawing and graphics work I do for the purpose of making a living I can’t really call a hobby, despite being things I may have done as a hobby in the past, sometimes quite literally. Consider it ‘living the dream’ to do work you enjoy as your job, I guess, though making a job of it does kind of change the dynamic.

On the other end of the range, consuming media and entertainment doesn’t qualify either to me, as they are mostly fleeting experiences that don’t necessarily stick with you. For example, watching a movie on DVD or Blu-Ray is not a hobby, but collecting favorite films on disc could be. To me, a hobby is something you do primarily for your own enjoyment and enrichment, something that requires effort and work (and probably money, but not always) to achieve, more than just pressing a button or hitting ‘buy’ on Amazon.

So what are my hobbies? (and how do they relate to an Amiga club, if at all?) I’ve always enjoyed drawing and creating artwork and animation for as long as I’ve been able. That has shifted more into the realm of work nowadays, as previously stated, and I find it more difficult to do more of that ‘on my own time,’ but on rare occasion I still manage. Public examples include the three Amiga animated shorts built around songs, which can be found on YouTube, which were created not as part of a job, nor with any real intent to make money off them, even though each took from months to years to produce.

I collect toys, which I consider on the edge of hobby status, some acquisitions requiring greater work than others.

On occasion I’ve been known to collect Amiga-related hardware or software as well, Without exactly intending to, I’ve acquired examples of nearly every major Amiga model, and have toyed with the idea of trying to complete the set. As Amiga hardware gets rarer and commands higher prices over time, that prospect becomes less attractive, and it doesn’t feel worth dropping a big sum just to own a CDTV that I doubt I’d get much use out of.

I think some of my other Amiga hardware pursuits, like building up a Vampire system or a decked-out CD-32 falls into hobbyist territory, at least until the systems pull their own weight more for work or entertainment. Finally, I keep playing around with Lightwave 3D on my MorphOS system (running the classic V5 Amiga software). I find myself building 3D models of spacecraft of my own design in the style of various Star Trek series, among other things. This is done for a work-related purpose, but it feels more like a hobby to me, largely because I find working on them fun and diverting, and I put more work into them than I might if it was “just a job.” It reminds me in a way of my childhood hobby of building plastic models of aircraft and such. It brings out a different set of skills than I normally use, and it’s a slower, more methodical way of working, almost Zen at times. I suppose the status technically shifts again when I use the models I create in a project, but I can figure out where to go from there.