Phones and Tablets

by Eric Schwartz
From the AmiTech Gazette
Dayton, Ohio, September 2020

Welcome back to this world we live in, whether we want to or not. For this month we shall again hold the meeting at Prez Mike Barclay’s home. We might even try a cookout with burgers & sausages, weather permitting. If that’s the case, we may ask for about five bucks to cover costs. If things don’t work out with that, we’ll do our typical food SIG activities elsewhere, to be determined. Hope you’ll be able to make it, and We’ll see you there. Duke the dog will be accessible to attendees.

In Amiga-related news, apparently the website of the UK’s Guardian newspaper posted a list of the 20 greatest home computers, with the Amiga taking second place behind the X86 PC. ‘Greatest’ according to who, or by what criteria, is left unknown, so it’s basically as valuable as any pointless web listicle, but I won’t dispute the results. I can’t help but wonder how this list was compiled, considering it was undoubtedly UK-biased, with the likes of Amiga, C64, and ZX Spectrum all in the top five, but also including the likes of the original Altair 8800 and Japan-exclusive systems such as the NEC PC88 and Sharp X68000.

The 20 Greatest Home Computers — Ranked

I’ll conclude by Amiga news section with another new YouTube video, featuring a little overview and benchmarks for the Vampire V2 for the Amiga 1200 (by Ronnie Beck)

Benchmarks for the Vampire V2 for the Amiga 1200

Over the last couple months I’ve been spending much of my articles ranting about various poor fortune I’ve had. I’m pleased to say my luck has moderated to more of a karmic yo-yo effect now (as in — save twenty dollars when the store has the wrong price for an item in their computer system, then have the car refuse to start due to a low battery, and have to wait an hour for a jump start from AAA.) Regardless, I’ll take a net flatline over a total loss any day.

I kinda went off on the subject of mobile technology as well. (the highlights being that I feel it’s stupid that a ‘high-tech’ phone or tablet has to be light and thin, making it actually harder to use and fragile despite whatever space-age materials it’s made from). Anyway, my tablet is finally back from Samsung repair, and I’m trying to be that little bit more cautious with it. Of course it came back with the storage wiped clean, presumably to prevent any unscrupulous repair employees from rummaging through my data. Thankfully, I had the foresight to back up my data before sending it out for repair. It doesn’t exactly all go back on the way it came off, so there’s still some minor headaches, but at least nothing is lost, and I know I have a portable hard drive with three generations of tablet drive dumps contained on it.

One thing I will praise the whole Android ecosystem for (presumably Apple too, but I don’t know), it’s that your Google account keeps track of the applications you got through the regular app store, so it’s easy to get all your apps back for recovery, or when switching to a new device, without having to search them out and download them one by one, or paying for them a second time if they cost money. All I have to do now is avoid dropping the tablet on something hard or otherwise breaking it. I am a little disappointed, both in myself and the durability of the tablet and the little leatherette case I put it in, that I only got about five months of use out of it before it had to go in for repair. Compare that to its immediate predecessor, which had a similar-yet-less-severe drop less than a week after I first got it (as I didn’t get a protective case for it yet), but once that was fixed (under warranty) it served for a good three years before meeting with a much worse accident which effectively totaled it (where you know just looking that repairing would cost more money and effort than just getting a new one). Now compare THAT to that tablet’s immediate predecessor, which has continued to work fine (if with the quirky slowness of an aging Windows PC) since 2012, despite several dings, scrapes, and drops — more than both its successors have endured combined. I might still be using it today if the software support didn’t outrun in a ‘planned obsolescence’ fashion.

Maybe like MorphOS did for all the PowerPC-based hardware Apple abandoned when they switched to Intel CPUs, all these older phones and tablets need their own version of MorphOS or AROS or Amiga OS to get those older-generation ARM processors humming again.