Computers and Me: Amiga

I probably spend way too much time thinking about computers and computer-related stuff. And with the whole laptop thing, I’m maybe getting overly introspective about it.

It’s NaBloPoMo, so I figure I’m allowed to indulge my nerdier tendencies.

Shamus, over at Twenty Sided posted today about his personal experience with various versions of Windows and how Vista is pretty much the culmination of a long history of suck. Well, he doesn’t quite say that, but that’s the gist I’m choosing to take away. That got me thinking of a (cringe-inducing but I’m linking to it anyway) page I posted up on my home page a good decade ago (back when it was fashionable to have home pages) about my personal history with computers. I never liked it much, because I thought it came off as a bit defensive.

You see, all through high school and university, I had a Commodore Amiga. My grandfather bought me an Amiga 500 when I was 13, and I upgraded myself to an Amiga 1200 (with 40MB hard drive!) in my last year of high school. By the time I’d written that page in second year at UW, it was pretty clear that the Amiga was pretty much a dead platform. There was still a community out there on the Internet, thank God, and I was still able to get ahold of a few hardware upgrades when I had the spare cash, but the writing was on the wall.

But I loved my Amigas. Both of them. I kept using my A1200 pretty much till the end of university. Even after I graduated, got a job and bought my first PC, I kept using it. I even bought my Amiga a network card so they could talk to one another.

That didn’t last, though. The Amiga’s external 1GB hard drive died shortly thereafter. I was crushed. I had my whole life on there. (And it’s not like I could do back-ups. It was an Amiga. I couldn’t afford a SCSI tape drive. And I never got file sharing working well enough to get the data onto the PC’s hard drive. I was able to resurrect her briefly with a SCSI hard drive I salvaged from UW surplus, but I never really went back after the drive died.

That was pretty much the end of an era. I was officially a PC user. I’d given in, finally.

I hadn’t really meant to end up running Windows, though. It just kind of happened. When I bought the PC–a dual-processor Celeron 300 on an ABIT BP6 motherboard–I bought it fully intending it to be a Linux machine. And I would run SuSE on it, because SuSE (at the time) shipped with the UAE Amiga Emulator by default. But I could never get the hardware working properly, so I mostly ended up staying in a partition that had Windows 98 on it (thus entirely negating the point of having 1337, hacky dual-processor machine) which I’d only really installed to play games.

I just kinda gave in, and I’ve been running Windows ever since.

to be continued…

2 thoughts on “Computers and Me: Amiga”

  1. Yeah, I miss the Amiga.

    Not so much the hardware, or even the OS when it comes right down to it, but the sense of “cool” that came with it.

    (Demos were the ultimate in cool!)

    Bucking the PC trend was pretty much like the “I’m a Canadian, not an American” argument really — self definition the long way around.

    Anyhow, having just finished a mini-freak-out following installing a crappy Code Generator that pushed about:blank into my trusted zone and subsequently caused IE to freak out on everypage. It pretty much pushed all the wrong buttons (seems to happen a lot these days).

    [Crappy generator wouldn’t even let me run it without requesting a key for the free version that involved giving up every thing including my shoe size!!!]

    Anyhow, to come back to the point… Yeah, I miss the Amiga!

    Look forward to hearing more in the continuation!

  2. You’ll notice I don’t try to describe why I liked the Amiga so much, or why the Windows PC always seems like such a let down (although I might try to touch on that…). I don’t think I can.

    It might just be nostalgia. I’d like to think there’s more to it than that.

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