Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Adelaide Amiga Meeting Jan 2016

Last night was the first meeting of the Adelaide Amiga user group for 2016 and it was a very full meeting place!

For this meeting the theme was Amiga and other Retro computers, and we certainly got an interesting variety of computers on display!

Here is a Amstrad CPC6128 Plus, Dick Smith 80 and a Commodore 64 which has a Raspberry Pi inside running C64 emulation!

As you can see, there were plenty of people and lots of lively conversation about all things retro computing!

Here you can see an Amiga 500 and A600 too:

Here is a closer look at the Amstrad:

I used to own an Amstrad CPC6128, but never seen or used this later model before! Looks great!

The Dick Smith System 80 was a static display, but great to see it!

Here is a closer look at the Raspberry Pi housed in a C64 running a Commodore 64 emulator under Emulation Station - you can see the Amiga Action replay and Amiga 1000 Digiview expansion on display too:

I also saw this interesting Amiga 500 on display:

It has a Commodore A590 expansion hard disk, using a SCSI2SD converter to run the hard disk from MicroSD card:

Firing up some WHDLoad games from the hard disk:

I then had to get to work setting up my AmigaOne X1000 for my presentation at the meeting - an Introduction to AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition:

I hooked up the X1000 Radeon HD card via HDMI out to the big screen and DVI out to a smaller screen simultaneously, so I could demonstrate to the audience, and still face the audience while doing so!

Unfortunately I couldn't film my presentation and present it, but I am sure some photos will turn up.

George took a photo of me doing the presentation and shared via Facebook - I hope he also doesn't mind me including it here:

The presentation I did ran for 30 minutes and covered some of the history of AmigaOS through the years, web resources to find more information, current vendors and developers, the features of the new AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition, what hardware it runs on and where to buy it from.

I will show one more taken by Paul of Retrospekt, who attended the meeting tonight and shared it via Facebook - hope he doesn't mind me including it:

I also demonstrated the AmigaOS 4.1 GUI itself, the AmigaOne systems it runs on (including emulation via Amiga Forever), showing Classic amiga apps running natively, MP3 playback, internet browsing, games, demos, classic amiga emulation and more.

I fielded a lot of Q&A after the presentation about AmigaOS 4.1 features, and I was glad to see plenty of interest in it.

I was given much thanks for the presentation and I am glad people enjoyed it!

After it finished I then set up the X1000 next to my C64 with a 1541 Ultimate II installed which I also brought along to show this meeting - here they are running together:

The C64 was running some great REU based demos (Ram Expansion Unit) from the 1541 Ultimate II via SD card.

I had some very interesting discussions with some C64 local Adelaide demo scene members and fans - it was great fun and I learnt a lot!

It was really great to see people getting into and trying out all the Retro hardware on show:

An Amiga 1200 was also on display, showing some nice effects on a normal TV:

A Phoenix Amiga 1000 system was also on display - for those unfamiliar, the Phoenix motherboard was a drop in replacement for the A1000 which added Workbench 2.0 and a lot of other functionality, and was designed right here in Adelaide.

The second presentation of the evening was a extremely rare opportunity to see a real MITS Altair 8800 running - courtesy of Theo who brought it in to demonstrate at the meeting:

This unit was sourced from Canada and is fully functional. It can boot CP/M and the original Microsoft Basic from floppy disk:

The presentation was fascinating, with a lot of history about the system and the work involved to make it run well again:

Standing room only by this stage!

Theo used a VT100 terminal to connect to the system:

Seriously, flick switches and flashing red lights on computers are just cool!

Here is CP/M up and running on the Altair 8800:

Here is the first original Microsoft Basic now loaded:

You can even play some games on it - I even had a brief play on it. Wow, I have now used an Altair 8800:

I took two videos of the Altair 8800 running during the presentation, which I have uploaded to YouTube. They are linked below:



The case was also taken off the Altair 8800 so we could take a closer look at the internals of this amazing working piece of history - the first real personal computer!

After the presentations were finished the conversations continued until late and it was really interesting to see lots of new faces for this meeting:

This meeting was a great success, with all the tables full. We also had a Commodore 128D on display and another Amiga 1200 used for video production on static display!

On the way out I couldn't help but notice one of the meeting attendees just had the best car rego plate so I had to grab a photo to include - Respect mate:

Thanks to everyone for coming and bringing their very interesting Retro computer systems to see and use on the night! I got back home after midnight and then stayed up until 2am to finish this blog post!

I really enjoyed the Adelaide Amiga meeting this month and can't wait for the next one!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

MorphOS 3.9 - OS4 Theme and Classic Amiga emulation

After mucking around with AmigaOS4 themes in Linux on my new AmigaOne A1222 last week, it inspired me to see if I could do something similar in MorphOS 3.9 on my Powerbook G4 this week. As it turns out, I could!

Now, before people get too defensive, I just wanted to see if it was possible. I know MorphOS fans generally prefer the Ambient GUI look, but since I predominantly use AmigaOS 4.1 nowadays and use MorphOS less often, I find I personally prefer the AmigaOS 4.1 look better - it feels more Amiga to me. You may feel differently - no worries, the nice thing is we can all have it set up how we want it!

I found an interesting guide on how to achieve this transformation here. I won't explain it any further as this guide does such a good job to be honest!

Now, you can go crazy with it (as per the guide), removing MorphOS features and changing the icons for AmigaOS icons and so on for an exact(ish) match, but I don't want to change MorphOS functionality - it is a different NG Amiga operating system after all. I just prefer the drawer frames, Title bar, etc to look like AmigaOS 4.1.

Job Done!

Last time I looked at MorphOS on the blog was on the Sam460CR and Powerbook G4 in May 2015 when MorphOS 3.8 was released. Wow, has it been that long - time does fly! Unfortunately the subsequent MorphOS 3.9 update in June 2015 has not fixed the issues I experienced on the Sam460CR back then, which is a shame.

That said, MorphOS works great on the Powerbook G4!

While I had MorphOS 3.9 fired up on the Powerbook G4, I took care of some other housekeeping -  namely, updates!

Fortunately the Grunch tool exists to make this less painful by letting you know what versions of games, tools and utilities you have installed on your system are out of date, and a simple install process to update them automatically.

After upgrading it's own database to reflect changes, Grunch gets busy checking my system for updates needed:

For those curious, MorphOS has a very different way of file management to AmigaOS 4.1, and yet still similar in some ways to AmigaOS.

As you can see above, drawer in MorphOS have a navigation bar across the top. This functionality is absent in AmigaOS 4.1 unless you run Directory Opus 5.91 in Workbench replacement mode.

In addition, in MorphOS you have the option to quickly navigate to previous folders by clicking on the directories in the navigation bar. This functionality is similar to Windows and Linux.

You can also choose the icon view, rather than the list view. As you can see it renders AmigaOS 3.1 icons (Newicons and MagicWB icons) very well indeed:

Grunch has now finished it's sweep and reported back with the updates needed - I get into it as there are quite a few I have to do:

Here is MPlayer being updated:

MorphOS 3.9 also has available a slightly newer version of Odyssey 1.24 web browser for it. The AmigaOS 4.1 version of Odyssey is 1.23, and for AROS it has a newer version of Odyssey than both of them - 1.25. Odyssey source code has recently been made available for anyone to develop so hopefully we will see more enhancements soon.

The MorphOS focused Morph.zone and WarmUp websites render well, as expected:

My MorphOS 3.9 system has the Chrysalis Pack installed from an earlier version of MorphOS 3.7 (I did an upgrade to 3.9 - not a fresh install). It installs most tools and utilities people need for a well functioning MorphOS installation, as shown below:

Currently the Chrysalis Pack for MorphOS 3.9 is temporarily unavailable while they fix some issues with it. Hopefully people will be able to get it again soon.

Preferences in MorphOS 3.9 are very different to AmigaOS 4.1. Instead of individual preference icons in the Prefs drawer, MorphOS combines all the preferences into the one Preferences application, in a similar way as MacOS X does:

When you select a setting, it opens within the same Preferences application:

Screen blanker settings - note that GLMatrix works flawlessly on the Powerbook G4:

Laptop specific settings:

USB settings - this is Poseidon, also used on AmigaOS 4.1 and AmigaOS 3.1/3.5/3.9 too.

Last, but not least, is MUI. MUI for MorphOS is different to the MUI developed for AmigaOS4.1 and AmigaOS 3.1. That is a shame, as it no doubt creates little incompatibilities here and there. Unlike the AmigaOS4.1 and 3.1 versions, registration keyfile for MUI is not needed.

Moving away from Preferences, I was keen to try out some of the new games for MorphOS, the main one being the MorphOS port of Amiga Racer, which I have been trying out on AmigaOS 4.1 on the AmigaOne X1000 recently as well.

As you would expect, it runs perfectly under MorphOS 3.9 with the Powerbook G4.

Live update worked well also, as the game was updated from 2.7 to 2.7a while I was testing it on MorphOS! Indeed it has been updated again while I have been writing this blog entry! :-)

Next, I got busy with setting up E-UAE 1.0.0 JIT under MorphOS 3.9. Previously I just used the right click run in E-UAE 0.8.49 WIP functionality added automatically by the Chrysalis Pack.

However, this is a bit limited for me as it is intended for booting ADF floppy disks. I really wanted to boot the backups of my Classic Amiga systems under MorphOS, and also use the new JIT for running AGA demos, as I already do under AmigaOS 4.1 on the AmigaOne X1000.

The setup can be a bit daunting, but fortunately there is a nice PDF document prepared  that explains how to get everything up and running on MorphOS. You can download it from here.

You can download the E-UAE_1.0.0 JIT for MorphOS from here.

The extracted E-UAE_1.0.0-JIT drawer looks like this:

So, time to grab a coffee while I copy the files across to the extracted E-UAE_1.0.0-JIT/HardDisks drawer:

While that was underway I went into the E-UAE_1.0.0-JIT/Conf drawer to start editing the configurations:

I copied the A500-hires.conf to a new A2000-hires.conf so I could setup the Amiga 2000 hard disk I copied across:

Here is the config file, showing the changes made - I highlighted the hard disk line I put in (note that the Amiga 2000 hard disk was labelled Apps: originally (long story), hence I kept the name so that the startup-sequence works without issues. For most people this would normally be called Workbench:

I then run E-UAE and call the A2000-hires.conf file from the MorphOS shell. BTW I am aware that the JIT has no benefit on an A2000 configuration, but bear with me - that is coming:

It works perfectly - my Amiga 2000 system now running under MorphOS 3.9 - excellent:

Here is the Shell showing the successful run of the emulation:

I made a mistake with the fastmem size as you can see, so I adjusted it back to 1 (instead of 3) and then it worked fine.

You can also run the emulation in a window (rather than full screen) by modifying the A2000-hires.conf line that reads:


to be:


It then runs nicely in a window on the MorphOS desktop:

I put it back to full screen to enjoy my favourite thing on Classic Amigas - demos. I ran a number of demos - this one is of course Interference by Sanity:

So having got the Amiga 2000 system working on MorphOS 3.9, next up was the Amiga 4000D system. I still have both of these actual systems  - these are just backups of the hard disks from both so I can use my normal setups under emulation. It is also future proofing for that terrible day when they eventually stop working...

The Amiga 4000 hard disk runs AmigaOS 3.9, and I setup the config file as follows:

I then ran the emulation from the Shell as before:

Here is the resulting Amiga 4000 running with E-UAE JIT on MorphOS:

I had to run a few AGA demos to test out the JIT - Mad Wizards - yes I think so...looking good!

Ephidrena - Fake Elektronik Lightshow also runs well on MorphOS under E-UAE JIT:

As a final test I tried out some WHDLoad ECS games under the Amiga 4000 emulated system - it works well too:

The next MorphOS upgrade is expected to be 3.10, with support for the new AmigaOne X5000 system. This should be very exciting indeed as it should be faster than my current Powerbook G4 is!

For now MorphOS 3.9 is fun to play with...as long as the demos, mod players and trackers are working I am happy!

The MorphOS dev team are also working on MorphOS NG, to run on x86 PC's in the future. So there is certainly plenty of active development going on for MorphOS in 2016!