Saturday, July 29, 2006

Laser Show - Amiga 500

Cut to 1986. Expo 86 is on, and I've just graduated UBC and am working my first real job. Which finds me in beautiful Smithers, B.C., just getting off a horrible 20 days of bush work. While waiting for my laundry to be done, I wander into a nearby computer store. On display is the Commodore Amiga 500 - a gee-whiz, video editing, stereo sounding, 256 colouring, GUI interfacing machine with a price tag to match my paycheck. It would have been mine, were it not for the nasty student loans awaiting me back home.
The Amiga is a) not a PC and b) not a Mac. It was one of a few true independent machines from the heady hardware days of the early 80's. Commodore Business Machines, of the famous Commodore 64, bought the licence from Amiga, but due to the overzealous management techniques (and probably the marketing of it as a gaming computer - too early), it never really hit the mainstream. Commodore went bankrupt in 1994 and the licencing went to a German company. The Amiga Community is still around though - a little googling will bring up more information and a rabid fanbase.
I learned of all this while trying to get mine running the Pangolin software.
I won't go into details (mainly as they are a fuzzy set of vague memories of frustration and ordering memory chips from Poland) but she works.
I actually love projects like this - months of little triumphs and little setbacks, until it all comes together one day and just works. It's the Journey, not the Destination.

No comments: