The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'amiga'
The Amiga was the future in the 1980s, and let it not be said that the Amiga community is not still at the forefront of innovation. This time, though, the innovation is one with a tinge of pathos about it, namely a gel which reverses the yellowing of the plastic used in old computers. With the unabashedly 133t name of "Retr0brite" (or perhaps "Retr0bright"), the gel is used along with an ultraviolet light source, and the formula is in the public domain.
First there was Jeri Ellsworth's 21st-century Commodore 64 and the highly hackable TV game it spawned; and now, a Dutch hacker is building an Amiga in a FPGA chip. Dubbed "MiniMig", Dennis van Weeren's project implements the Amiga's custom chips on the FPGA connected to a 68000 and RAM, and uses disk and ROM images stored in a standard FAT file system on a MMC card. At the time of writing, it is close to completion.
After what seems like ages, the Amiga is on the verge of a comeback... again. This time, it's brought to you by Hyperion, a British company contracted to write Amiga OS4 who had the foresight to get the contract to give them ownership should Amiga Inc. go bankrupt (as it did). Developers can now buy PowerPC-based Amiga boards, which will boot a prerelease of OS4. The article has screenshots, which look like GNOME or Xfce on Linux, except for conspicuous gaps in the range of supported applications (for one, there are no modern standards-compliant web browsers for Amiga OS4).
The target market for the prerelease is ostensibly developers wishing to get a head start on the next killer platform, though in practice it may well be nostalgic Amiga users and/or collectors of world-changing machines from alternate timelines wishing to put an AmigaOne Micro next to their NeXT Cube, BeBox and Acorn Archimedes. The jury is still out on which is cooler: the AmigaOne Micro or the C-One.
Video Toaster, the classic Amiga video-editing system, has been released to the open-source community. Mind you, since what made it so useful is dependent on the Amiga's video chipset, it's more a historical curio than anything else.
Sony announce new, improved MiniDisc. Remember those? Well, the new ones will be able to hold 30 hours of sound, and to store video. Of course, since Sony is beholden to the copyright industry, the format will be crippled from birth; you won't be able to mount one as a disk (as you can do with, say, an iPod) and copy files to or from it, as that would allow the user (who, by definition, cannot be trusted) to steal music. The best you will be able to hope for is something like "NetMD", a deliberately proprietary, crippled and nonfunctional protocol running over a USB cable and allowing you to laboriously check in/out some media, and only if you run Windows too. And don't even think of a USB/FireWire/IDE MiniDisc drive, as there's no way such a threat to global economic stability would ever be allowed to see the light of day. In any case, it doesn't sound like the New, Improved MiniDisc is going to do much to threaten the supremacy of MP3 players/recorders (including the upcoming mini-iPod).
(MiniDiscs? Yes, I remember those. I've even got a MD recorder gathering dust somewhere. I haven't used it at all since getting my Archos Jukebox Recorder.)
Meanwhile, the same section of The Age has a
press release article about Personal Paint coming out for AmigaOS 4.0, just in time for the Amiga to reconquer the computer world. Personal Paint is supposed to be "a mainstay of the application base for the Amiga platform", though it's the first I've heard of it; wasn't Deluxe Paint the most popular Amiga application throughout that platform's working life?
As the Amiga claws its way out of the grave and prepares to reconquer the world, it brings its own twist to the virtual-machine era: a virtual assembly language. That's right; rather than add a C/Pascal syntax or doing something doovy like Python, the Amiga people stayed true to the hardcore demo-jock traditions of the faithful and made it look like assembly language, only with infinite registers and other enhancements. 'Cause high-level languages are for pussies. Not quite sure whether it'll catch on, but it's interesting.