One of those arhhhhhh f#?k moments

Fired up the X1000 today. it was time to get some of the software updated and I thought it would be enjoyable. Instead, I ended up with one of those sinking stomach feeling moments and cursing myself for the last 20 minutes.

I had decided to use Ignition (native spread sheet programme on the Amiga) to catalogue a few items. I remembered there was a Libre Office plug in for it which allows saving/loading .ods files and I thought it would be a good chance to install and try it out, along with the dropbox/google storage application available for AmigaOS4 (Yay, sharing files easily). One of the requirements for the Libre Office plugin is zip/unzip so I proceeded to extract the binary only for them, opposed to the whole archive from their respective archives and then install the plugin.

The installer was not happy and claimed zip was not available so I fired up a shell and had a look. Yup, I had extracted the zip/unzip binaries but it placed it within its own directory within the C: assign, so with my mind elsewhere I copied the binary to C: and proceeded to delete the directory it had left behind.

Next thing I realise is that my shell is scrolling off the screen with the below messages ad-nauseam:

unzip Deleted
zip Deleted
unzip-5.52-bin Deleted
zip-2.31-bin Deleted
MountDiskImage Deleted
fc-scan Deleted
fc-validate Deleted
LhA Deleted

What I was seeing took a minute to sink in but by then it was to late, I realised the entire contents of my C directory was gone.

The first thing I did was copy and paste the output of deleted files to a text editor before doing anything else, sat back and was like well…. f#?k. To those who don’t know AmigaOS, C: is a logical assign as in it acts like a partition but is actually a directory on the Sys: partition. C: itself holds a number of critical and important AmigaOS commands so losing the contents of this directory was not a nice experience.

The next thing I did was look for my AmigaOS4.1 FE install CD. I thought I could potentially copy the C: files from it or worst case, re-install over the top of the existing partition. During this find and seek exercise, I remembered I have an older backup of my Sys: partition and decided to see what undelete options were available bfore going to extremes. Hello .recycled directory!

I am running SFS as the file system on my Sys: partition, it has a .recycled directory. It apparently remembers the last ~360 deleted files and sure enough, there they were. So I grabbed my copy of the deleted output, did a bit of find/replace on the text file to use the backed up C: directory and copied everything back from .recycled into Sys:c/ and so far so good (Currently typing this up on said Amiga X1000).

Mental note it’s not “delete #? zip-2.31-bin/all” it should be “delete zip-2.31-bin/#? all”.  Wow, that was truely a brain fart moment.

New Graphics Card for the X1000 and Other Guff

So I have the next week off. I finished work for for the company I worked for and start at a new one in a weeks time and have decided to get a few things in order.

One of the things which has been bugging me is my AmigaOne X1000 and so I plan to do a re-install of AmigaOS4.1 FE in conjunction with the enhancer pack I just recently purchased as well. One thing which has been causing me to hold back was the fact that the graphics card I bought for the X1000 when initially purchased is an ATI HD 6870. I went for the better of the cards available at the time since I thought it would be a better long term investment ie. would not need to upgrade as soon as if I can a less powerful card. Unfortunately things didn’t quite work out the way I had hoped. A new version of Warp3D was released some time ago for the new AmigaOne computers and it didn’t support the card I have. At the date of the launch, support for the Northern Island (HD 6000) series was promised so I have been holding out but I have seen no hint that it will ever appear so I have given up on that idea.

Now I have the time, and it appears the bearings in my current card may be on the way out, I decided to get myself a new AMD R9 270x off EBay. I was looking at the R7 250x which a local shop had for sale but except for the fact it is supported by Warp3D, grunt wise it is pretty comparable with the ATI HD 6870 so without paying to much more, I found the R9 270x on EBay and look forward to it turning up.

If I remember, I will do a benchmark to compare the old 6870 with the R9 270x and publish them.

Outline Fonts on Workbench

One of the great things and sometimes frustrating depending on your point of viea about the Amiga and Workbench is it’s flexibility when it comes to configuring the way it looks. If it exists you can generally change the way it looks. One of the more common items which gets changed from time to time is the wallpaper in use and since I seem to like a lot of dark coloured wallpapers, one of the things that gets me is that when I use them, you lose the icon names of your drives on Workbench since they are usually set to black.

Where have my icon names gone?

Where have my icon names gone?

It is an easy issue to fix, you just change the text to use outline mode but I always seem to spend a few minutes looking in the wrong locations to do this. My logic seems to send me to the Workbench and GUI preferences first rather than the font preferences. Once in the Font preferences you select the Workbench font gadget and within there, change the mode to “Text+Outline” then click OK and Save and problem is solved. Readable Workbench icons names.

The Font Preferences. The correct place to be at last.

The Font Preferences. The correct place to be at last.

Text+Outline mode. That's the ticket.

Text+Outline mode. That’s the ticket.

Workbench icon names back. All is right in the world again.

Workbench icon names back. All is right in the world again.

And that’s it really. I created this post for myself as well as anyone else who runs into this issue and goes blank trying to remember what and where to do and go to fix it.

Wings Remastered for AmigaNG Systems

There have been posts about the recentish Wings Remastered kickstarter also being ported to the current AmigaNG systems; AmigaOS4, MorphOS and AROS x86. The main item I want to raise is that only 20 more copies need to be pre-ordered for further development to become a reality. So I would like to ecclesiastically suggest that people go and have a look into this if they have not already done so. So rather than complain about software not being produced for the NG platforms how about putting your money where your mouth is.

Hey,

this is Sven from Cinemaware. First thanks for all your support. I want to give you an update and some short information. This physical release is limited to 300 Editions. This will be the only physical release, no 2nd Boxed-Edition will follow. It will be a classic BigBox with the Manual (Aviation Manual included), Poster and a CD which includes the Game and the Soundtrack. Also the classic Wings is included.

One important thing. This is a real community project. Daniel worked for free till now and continues with developing if we reach 150 sales (right now we are around 130) but can only be completed paid if we sell all 300 copies. We, Cinemaware, will not earn anything on this game. If all 300 Boxes are sold, he can also fully concentrate on the Port, so the release of Feb. 2016 is really safe. Sales goes complete to Daniel for the port and the production of the box. So its really important that we get sold out 🙂 If this project and also the “Defender”-Project are successfull, then other ports to Amiga-Systems are realistic.

So please support this game and also spread the word and link 🙂

http://retro.cinemaware.com/product/wings-remastered-amiga-edition

Greetings
Sven

Source: Wings Remastered [Forums – AmigaOS4] – The Amigans website

My Rack Mountable Amiga 1200

It’s been a while since the last time I have posted anything but I would say recentish personal circumstances can be blamed for a large proportion of that.

Back in the days when I lived in shared housing, I came across a strange beast on EBay claiming to be a rack mountable Amiga 1200. At the time, I was after a replacement A1200 motherboard and decided to buy this out of curiosity. The claim was that it had been in use by an RSL club in Australia and performed things such as Club Keno results and advertised upcoming events.

When I received the computer and opened it up I quickly realised there was a decent amount of custom work done to get the A1200 to carry out its required tasks and decided it would be interesting to get it up and going again. As I mentioned, I lived in shared housing which lacked the space to set this up at the time as well as provided an unstable environment.

Move forward to the present day. After my move into a more permanent residence, I have been slowly sorting out my retro Amiga kit out and came across my A1200 Rack Mountable ‘server’. It is currently missing the KS ROMs and an accelerator. I have since dug up an accelerator for it but I only have a spare pair of KS 3.0 ROMs and the A1200 apparently has Workbench 3.1 installed.

I saw a post on AmigaWorld about rack mountable Amiga’s and decided to grab a few snap shots of mine before I carry out any work on it.

Huenison – A Special Sale at the Moment

If you are a fan of wacky, retro and nostalgic type games, then you might want to have a look at Huenison. It is currently on sale where you get to pay what you want and your money will also go to a good cause. The sale link appears to be for the Windows version but I personally purchased a copy of the AmigaOS4 version from RGCD which I have enjoyed playing, I must admit badly, initially on my Sam440ep and now on my X1000.

Java for the Amiga

I have to admit that I have been keeping an eye on this Java porting effort to see how it went. There have been a couple of aborted efforts in the Amiga world to port Java to the platform but this one has managed to get itself to a semi-useful state. While I am not the biggest Java fan in the world, I can see that there would be some benefits for the Amiga community if a relatively recent and stable version is ported to the platform. Be it ports of some useful Java software or Amiga users who know Java and can not develop Java Apps for their favourite platform.

Enter JAmiga, where an usable version has been uploaded to OS4Depot which you can download and try out. If you do decide to install it to have a whirl, it has AmiUpdate support so anytime it gets updated and you run an update on your Amiga, it will automagically update your Java install for you.

A few things to note about this version, it is an early release but:

  • It is Java 1.5 with parts of 1.6 supported.
  • Doesn’t support Swing/AWT at this point in time, making it CLI only.

Regardless, it is good seeing initiatives like this. Even though certain people will more than likely complain about certain features missing, all projects need to start somewhere. So if you wanted Java on the Amiga, have a play and I am sure the author would love to get constructive feed back in regards to his project.

Trevor and Matthew presenting the A-Eon update (Live from AmiWest 2013)

Saw a link in a recent forum post which covered a talk Trevor of A-Eon fame was giving. It covered a number of interesting points such as:

  •  Naming of the new systems. The idea is to keep a link to the original roots of the Amiga and the AX prefix was initially thrown around but there are talks of shortening it.
  • A quick update on the Libre Office port.
  • A new MP3 type of sound card for classic systems being finished up for sale. Clock port and Zorro versions. This is something I am interested in getting.
  • With the newer motherboard  versions, the public will have a choice to purchase a whole system, think of the existing X1000 offer, or just the motherboard.
  • Plus a few other things.

See below for the actual YouTube footage.

 

Development Release: Slackware Linux 14.1 Beta (DistroWatch.com News)

Or… ZOMG! The World is Going to End – Grub for Slackware!

I came across the below entry at DistroWatch today. The announcement is about Slackware14.1 Beta and mentions some of the things to expect with it. One of those items is that Grub is to be added to the main tree. For those who don’t know, Slackware still uses the LILO boot loader.

Today Patrick Volkerding declared the “Current” branch beta which means that the upcoming stable Slackware Linux 14.1 is in the final stages of development. Quoting from the changelog: “Hey folks, I’m calling this a beta! Really, it’s been better than beta quality for a while. There will probably still be a few more updates here and there (and certainly updates to the docs). Enjoy, and please test.” Other important changes include update to Linux kernel 3.10.12, the introduction of GRUB into the main tree (“Welcome GRUB!”), and updates to the just-release Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird 24.0 (the extended support releases). This will be the first stable version of Slackware Linux in over a year. As always, there are no official installation DVD images during this development period, but interested testers can download the latest unofficial build of the “Current” tree provided by Slackware developer Eric Hameleers: slackware64-current-install-dvd.iso (2,331MB, MD5). Pre-orders are also available.

via Development Release: Slackware Linux 14.1 Beta (DistroWatch.com News).

HDAudio driver is complete! | Hyperion Entertainment Blog

As a X1000 owner this is good to hear for a number of reasons and I get a PCI slot back as well!

Caution, technical content does follow and if you want the pretty pictures, please go to the parent Hyperion site as linked to below.

via HDAudio driver is complete! | Hyperion Entertainment Blog.

I am happy to announce the release of the finished HDAudio driver for the AmigaOne X1000!

The driver now supports recording as well as playback. It also now supports S/PDIF optical output.

There have been questions about whether full “32 bit” audio really makes a difference. I’d like to dig a little deeper to better understand the technical specifications.

There are two primary factors that contribute to the quality of a digital sound recording. One is resolution, or how many bits per sample, and the other is sample rate, commonly 44100 or 48000 samples per second.

As you look at the waveform of a sound recording, these two numbers determine the vertical and horizontal resolution of the wave.

I’ll begin with the “bit width” or vertical resolution.

The original Amiga’s sound output supported four channels at eight bits of resolution. Eight bits means there are two hundred and fifty six possible vertical “steps” that can be used as the wave is generated. Now we spread those steps across a -2 volt to +2 volt span and we get 0.015625 volts per step.

At the time of the Amigas introduction, that was a pretty fair sound playback. But only 256 steps is not as “high fidelity” as we might like. As a comparison, Compact Disk Audio is reproduced at 16 bits per sample. This makes for a big improvement in resolution. 16 bits offers us 65536 possible “steps” to spread across the -2 volt to +2 volt range. Now the step size is 0.0000610351562 volts per “step” of vertical resolution. So 16 bit audio is a HUGE increase in accuracy.

Getting back to our driver, AHIPrefs offers both 16 Bit HiFi and 32 bit HiFi modes. But I’ll bet that neither of those modes gives exactly what you might expect. As AHI mixes lots of different sounds together, possibly each sound with it’s own volume and pan settings, it can be useful to have more resolution available to work with. Here’s the clue: ALL AHI modes that say “HiFi” are sending 32 bit data out to the sound device! The “16″ and “32″ only describe what goes IN to the AHI mix routines. if it says HiFi, you WILL get 32 bit output to your card!

Or will you? In truth, while AHI is making it’s calculations using 32 bit registers and 32 bit math, it only promises 24 bits of accuracy. Is this anything to be concerned about? Not at all. I’ll tell you why. 24 bit samples will resolve to a “step size” of 0.0000002384185 volts per step. Wow! That is about one quarter of a microvolt. Those with an electronics background can probably tell you, that attempts to accurately work at those levels are just ridiculous. We have reached an accuracy that is beyond the ability of our amplifiers and speakers to reproduce. Put simply, 24 bits is the reasonable limit of current technology, or at least affordable technology.

So our 32 bit samples are flying out of AHI and in to the HDAudio codec. While the ”container” is 32 bits wide, even the “high definition audio codec” that we have in the AmigaOne X1000 only resolves the top 24 bits. So it seems that in the end, both AHI and HDaudio agree that 24 bits is the reasonable limit for now.

And how about sample rate or the “horizontal” resolution?

How rapidly a sound is sampled and played back can also have a BIG impact on sound quality. It all starts with the Nyquist-Shannon sampling theorem or more commonly the Nyquist theorem. It’s pretty simple. As you record an audio signal, you must sample at at least twice the frequency of the highest pitch being recorded. Any sound that is higher than half the sampling frequency will be converted to noise and nasty noise at that.

So how high do we need? It is generally held that human hearing range is from 20 Hz (cycles per second) up to 20000 Hz. So any frequency above 40000 should be great right? Well Yes and No.

One simple problem is that we still must filter out all sound above half the sample frequency, and most frequency dependent volume controls (graphic equalizers) work with gradual slopes. There is no “hard cutoff” at a certain frequency, so we need a bit of headroom.

But there is another reason. As a high frequency sound approaches the Nyquist rate, we are only sampling about once per half-cycle. While this will reproduce the frequency of the original, it will do it at a bare minimum of accuracy. In other words, as frequencies get higher, they get less detail.

So what does it really matter?

Audio CDs play back at 44100 Hz. Not bad at all.

Television/DVD audio is usually at 48000 Hz. Nice.

With the HDAudio chip in the X1000 we support both of those frequencies.

We also support 88200, 96000, 176400, and 192000.

So we can double or quadruple the sample rates of common media!

At first, I really thought it was all a numbers game, but when developing the driver, I can actually hear the noise decrease noticeably as the playback rates went up!

And that is where I’ll leave off. This was enough of a lesson for one day. I am very happy that I could contribute to the completion of this driver. And the chance to “raise the bar” regarding sound capability was really very nice icing on the cake.

Like many of us, I have been using Amigas for a long time. Today, right here in front of me is an Amiga that supports high definition audio, a modern high performance video card. It uses standard, off the shelf keyboard, mouse, monitor and many USB accessories as well. Most of these we unheard of in the classic days. But with all the new and shiny, it is still AmigaOS to the core.

🙂

via HDAudio driver is complete! | Hyperion Entertainment Blog.