AmigaOne X1000 in the House pt2

….. in the country anyway.

Well, this is exciting. I got a message at the beginning of the week to tell me the order had been shipped and over the last few days have been watching the X1000 slowly inch its way toward me.

As can be seen below, it has hopped through a number of countries making its way towards me and is now residing in the same city in which I am. So close yet still so far away.

Travel History
 
Date/Time Activity Location
 –
4/18/2013  –  Thursday
9:04 am
Clearance in progress
ALEXANDRIA AU
9:04 am
In transit
ALEXANDRIA AU
Package available for clearance
 –
4/17/2013  –  Wednesday
1:23 pm
In transit
SINGAPORE SG
5:44 am
In transit
GUANGZHOU CN
5:03 am
Departed FedEx location
GUANGZHOU CN
 –
4/16/2013  –  Tuesday
11:18 pm
Arrived at FedEx location
GUANGZHOU CN
5:42 am
In transit
ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX FR
4:24 am
Departed FedEx location
ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX FR
3:24 am
In transit
ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX FR
2:21 am
Arrived at FedEx location
ROISSY CHARLES DE GAULLE CEDEX FR
12:13 am
In transit
BIRMINGHAM GB
 –
4/15/2013  –  Monday
8:57 pm
In transit
BIRMINGHAM GB
6:44 pm
Left FedEx origin facility
CARDIFF GB
4:39 pm
Picked up
CARDIFF GB
Package received after FedEx cutoff
10:23 am
Shipment information sent to FedEx

AmigaOne X1000 in the House

… or oh crap, I didn’t did I?

So, I have been using my little AmigaOS4.1 machine quite a lot over the last few years since its purchase and have found myself pushing it more and more and finding the little Sam440ep@533MHz was a little lacking on the power side. A lot of people will think to themselves ‘well der it’s only 533Mhz’ and while there is that, it is amazing what I was able to do with only 533MHz.

The main areas I found the lack of speed being a problem were the heavier 3D applications and the classic Amiga emulation.

So while I found the whole X1000 First Contact announcement interesting, it was still effectively a beta product, albeit a beta at a very advanced stage and polished. I was just not willing to spend the money on the chance there may be a problem with it.

Now, once the people who did order the X1000 started to receive their new toys and relay their experiences via the various Amiga forums out there, I have to admit, I did get a little jealous. At this point, I was starting to consider getting the Sam460ex to replace my existing machine but at the time, the sound driver was still being developed for it so I decided to adopt a wait and see attitude. Well, during the wait and see period, there was an announcement back in March 2012 of a second batch of AmigaOne X1000 and if you were interested to register your interested so I did and about a week later I received an email notify myself that my interest was registered.

Anyway, 2013 roles around, I have been watching people receive their AmigaOne X1000’s but since the first ones to be sent out where to be for the First Contact people, I am not to stressed but by March, I was really starting to get bugged by the limitations of my existing machine since I was finding myself using it for more demanding tasks.

Since I had not seen anything to tell me I had missed out on the AmigaOne X1000 I decided to see if I can get information from the horses mouth about my personal situation. I had seen people being told on the Amigans forum to PM AmigaKit to find out your current position in the list so I decided to do the same. Long story short, about a week later I get an email informing me that they had reached my name in the list and I was encouraged to choose my configuration and order.

I thought about it for a day. I spoke to the other half about it who turned out was less worried about the cost than I was and encouraged me to get it since, ‘If you don’t, you will not get a chance again for this particular system’ and so I placed my order.

So, the deed has been done, the machine has been ordered. While it was a bit more than I would have preferred I know by past experience it will receive constant use. The other point is while I know it is a hobby/niche market, without support it will die so I suppose you could say I also put my money where my mouth is.

Displying PNG Icons on Workbench

Recently I re-installed AmigaOS4.1 on my little Sam440ep due to the fact I kind of broke my old install by being tired and drunk and making stupid changes to the installed OS. The installation of the OS was a breeze but I came across an interesting thing which stumped me a bit since it has been a few years since I did the initial installation. The problem was that PNG based icons were not displaying correctly.

The System would detect that the icon was a PNG but not actually display the icon but instead display the default PNG icon for PNG files which have no icon associated with it. When you double click the deficon, it would display the icon image as it should be and not actually start the programme.

Gish PNG icon before png.iconmodule installation.

Gish PNG icon before png.iconmodule installation.

Turns out that this is relatively easy to fix. All you need to do is go to OS4Depot and grab the PNG icon module and then install it. To install, all I had to do was to create an IconModules directory within the libs: dir and copy the png.iconmodule file from the before mentioned png_im archive. Once the system is given a 3 finger salute, all is well in the world again and you now have access to the multitude of pretty PNG icons which are available for the Amiga.

Gish PNG icon after png.iconmodule installation.

Gish PNG icon after png.iconmodule installation.

NB: Ignore the .exe extension. In Amiga land we usually don’t use such things and I have not been bothered changing it. I am guessing it is there since Gish has been ported to the Amiga from the Windows/Linux world.

On the subject of re-installing. About 9 months ago I bought a new case for my Sam440ep motherboard to go into as the PSU had died on the old one. Now, I know they claim that these motherboards have a low power requirement and they were not joking. With motherboard, HD and CDROM plugged in, the system would not power up since it was not putting enough load on the PSU. I ended up plugging a PCI card into the computer which pushed its power usage up enough for the load to register on the PSU and allowing the computer to power on.

Steam in my Eyes and on my Slackware

Like most people who use Linux I have a dual boot system so when I get into the  occasional mood to play a game I boot up into Windows and satisfy the inner child with a game. This tends to get annoying for a multitude of reasons which I am to lazy to go into right now.

I have to admit, I have bought most of the Humble Bundles that have come out and have also bought a handful of other games for Linux and spent more time than is good for me in playing them but I always get dragged back to some of the games only available on Windows and which are a pain to run under Wine on Linux. This is a little ironic I suppose since my latest hankering for gaming has been Fallout 3 which I ended up running under Play on Linux (on my SLackware box) since it run more stable in that environment than under Windows 7.

I am rambling and getting off the point of this post. Like most Linux users who do some gaming on the side, I have been keeping an eye on Steam being released on Linux. Let me make one thing clear, if the game is available on Desura, I would rather get it from there due to it being DRM free etc but unfortunately, it will be harder to get A grade titles on Desura compared to Steam if they manage to get it to take off.

A little while after the Linux beta of Steam became available to the general public I decided to look into it some more. There was a rather large forum post on Linux Questions but at the time it all seemed a little to hard. I little more after that, I read that a package had been made for Linux Mint which I have been playing with on my laptop so I installed it on there. It all seemed to work OK but since a) I was not sure how long I would be keeping Linux Mint going for and b) It is my laptop and not my main machine, I decided against purchasing any titles.

The weekend past, I decided to again look into Steam for Slackware since it was now out of Beta and found that alienbob had a in one of his blog posts a link to stand alone Slackware package made for Slackware ready to go so I downloaded and installed it. With trepidation I found the icon and ran it, expecting all kinds of evil error messages being spewed at me. I was disappointed since it started up fine, let me log in and after ‘authorising’ the computer to run Steam I was in. Again it just worked except for the videos. It complained about my version of Flash. Another alienbob blog post came to the rescue and I grabbed his Flash packages and installed them and low and behold, Steam videos now worked.

I would just like to take this moment and whinge about this same problem in Desura. To this day I can not get video to play within Desura and it is annoying the hell out of me! Please please please Desura, make it easier for me to see why it does not work so I can fix it!

Back to Steam, so I purchased Half Life 1 as a test subject. Yes I own a copy but I think the media is scratched to hell and for about $3.00 I didn’t have to much to complain about. Once purchased I installed it and it worked. So I then went and purchased two other games since they are having a massive sale at the moment and they just installed and worked.

All in all, I have been very happy with the Steam experience on my Slackware64 box and I can also see that with the way things have been going, the next time I build a new personal home computer, that it will be Linux only.

After playing Half Life one for the last few hours, I am hoping they port Half Life 2 since it has by far, the better game play and from what I have read, there is a good chance of this happening. I wonder who else will jump on the Linux gaming bandwagon, I am seeing various companies alluding to it but until it happens, I will take what they say with a grain of salt. Still, things are looking up for Linux users as a whole.

Dead Monitors and Old iPods

Dead Monitors

It was a sad day last Tuesday. I went to turn my monitor on when I got home from work and it flashed at me then died, a few seconds later it flashed at me again and died ad nauseum. The monitor in question was an old Samsung SyncMaster 206BW which I have been constantly using for what must be close to 8 years now. (Much better than the 2 years I got out the previous BenQ).

The only spare monitor I had on hand was an old 19″ CRT from the garage which I dusted off and dragged into the house and considering the size and weight of the thing, dragging is not far from the truth. Once it was in the house I realised it was going to need more, alot more, desk room than the old LCD so I pushed everything on the desk out of the way, placed it on the desk, stood back and was amazed at the size of the damn thing. Not being exposed all that much to CRT’s, you forget how damn big they are and it also reminded me one of the reasons, besides price, why the biggest one I ever bought in the past was a 17″.

The CRT beast in all its glory

The CRT beast in all its glory

Once setup, I pulled apart the LCD that died but couldn’t make out any bad smells or see any burning/damage to any of the components so went and ordered a new monitor. This time a Samsung SyncMaster S22B420. The next day I picked it up and with help from the cat, setup the new monitor and reclaimed vast realms of desk space.

Gabby comes to help with the new monitor setup

Gabby comes to help with the new monitor setup

The new monitor, wow look at all the space I get back

The new monitor, wow look at all the space I get back

During this time, I stumbled across a web site on my long lost monitor and found some information on the problem I was experiencing. Long story short, I went off and bought three capacitors from Jaycar for the sum total of $3.43, replaced the equivalent 3 capacitors in the old LCD and low and behold, just like Lazarus, it was alive again. While I am bummed at the fact I spent money on the new monitor, I have to admit, the LED has a much better picture over the old LCD.

Onto Old iPods

At this point I was forced to admit to myself that my computer work area could do with a bit of a clean up. Whilst doing so, I came across my old 80Gb iPod. I had been meaning to install iPodLinux on it for some time so thought why not, just like with the old monitor a bit of tinkering would be fine since I don’t really use it anymore. Turns out iPodLinux is pretty much dead, so I looked at RockBox and installed that instead.

The hardest part of installing RockBox under Linux was working out which model of iPod I had. Turns out it is a 5th Gen. Once done, I just downloaded the RockBox installer, ran it, told it to autodetect which it did successfully and install. That was all there was to it.

Scarily enough, RockBox has actually made the iPod useful again. Besides supporting a whole bunch of additional audio and video codecs compared to what the iPod did, it has added a bunch of extra games, utilities etc. A nice little surprise I stumbled upon was when I plugged it into my Linux box, it automatically configured itself as a media device which allowed me to control the volume, pause/play/skip ahead tracks etc.

Eye candy wise it also supports theming and if it is not your cup of tea, it lets you fall back to the original iPod OS, but after playing with it for a bit, why you would want to do that, I have no idea.

The Dr Who Symphonic Spectacular

A long, long time ago, well a few months ago, I came back to my computer at work after way to many meetings to read a cryptic IM from the other half which went along the lines of, ‘Do you want to see the Dr Who Symphonic Spectacular Opera?’ (I am paraphrasing here). Followed by, ‘To late, I already bought us both tickets!’ Well, it was good to see that was all sorted out and settled then.

After many rotations of the earth, the day finally arrived. Besides the weather looking like crap and me suffering from a blinding head ache at the time, we got to the show and had a fantastic time. Below are a few grainy and very poor quality pictures I took. I would have taken more but didn’t want to interrupt the viewing. They had appearances of all the major monsters on stage and the atmosphere was brilliant.

Enough of my rambling, enjoy the crappy gallery of pictures.

New 3D Dungeon Crawler Engine in the Works

There have been posts on the Amiga forums about a new Dungeon Crawler engine currently in the works. A handful of YouTube videos and screen shots have been released and all I can say is that it looks nice and I really hope it leads to a game.

Normal mapping with a torch light

From the developers site.

What is Odyssey:

Odyssey is the codename I gave to my project. It’s a classic dungeon crawler game, like was Dungeon Master, Black Crypt, Eye of the Beholder, etc… but with some modern approch.

On gameplay side, I’d like to be as close as possible to thoses games, giving the same claustrophobic feeling, the same oppressive atmosphere, and, more than everything, the same desire to leave work just to return playing them. This won’t be easy…

The modern approch is only for the technical part. Even a very basic “step by step” crawler desserve a realtime 3D environment, with beautifull textures, rich lighting, animated monsters. It’s a real consecration for such game.

Why a crawler?

Being compared to Dungeon Master is hard. Anyway, being compared to any good Amiga game is.

You certainly know it, our Amiga got real hardware and software problems. The hardware is old, and, even worse, our softwares can’t make the best out of it.

My goal is to offer a visually stunning game (in Amiga terms), using the best of our PowerPC and our old Radeon. A crawler is much more GPU than CPU hungry. The whole logic of Dungeon Master was done easy on an Atari ST or Amiga 500, think how easy it is for a PowerPC. Because we have no 3D collision detection, no physical engine, no need for any CPU hungy code, a crawler is a excellent game to spend all the hard²ware ressources in the visual, but without losing an excellent gameplay.

An finally, last but not least, because a crawler is still very addictive to play.

via Odyssey | Odyssey.

AmigaOS 4.1 Update 6 Released

Looks like a new update is available for AmigaOS4.1. This one seems to really only introduce the AmiUpdate application as a standard system utility so that users can use it to carry out system updates much like Linux does.

I can see this being a good thing for incremental changes since it means Hyperion will be able to release a driver upgrade or bug fix as they are ready rather than waiting for a bunch of updates to be done to make it worth while rolling out an update archive. With the said, I personally hope they keep releasing update bundles along the way. Having the updates on hand can save a lot of time if you have to carry out a reinstall not to mention that the update bundles often have extra information contained within them which is easy to access.

Official release information below.

 

AmigaOS 4.1 Update 6 has now been released.

More details and a place for registered users to download the update can be found at Hyperion’s main web site.

The following AmigaOS platforms are supported:

  • AmigaOne X1000
  • AmigaOne 500 (460ex)
  • Sam440ep and Sam440ep-flex (all variants)
  • AmigaOne XE
  • MicroA1-C
  • Pegasos II
  • CyberStorm PPC
  • Blizzard PPC

Update 6 is a rather unique update in that it includes no bug fixes. What Update 6 does include is a new and more efficient way of delivering bug fixes. A new “Update software…” menu item on Workbench now launches AmiUpdate which will now handle all future AmigaOS software updates.

Since AmiUpdate does not do much without a back end database, a new AmigaOS update database has been created. This database tracks dependencies between components so that users can be assured they are applying the correct updates to their specific systems. The rollback facility may be used to undo updates in the event of problems.

Users are strongly encouraged to install Update 6 as it will be the only way to receive future AmigaOS updates between major releases.

Special thanks to Simon Archer for his amazing AmiUpdate product and the AmigaOS testing team for their invaluable effort on this release.

via Hyperion Entertainment Blog | Development News.

Re-installing Lilo boot loader onto MBR

I decided to try and get my Samsung SII up and running again. To do this required using Kies which is a Windows only afair so I booted into Windows for the first time in weeks, if not in the last 2-3 months.

The good news is that the recovery went through fine the first attempt. This is in comparison to previous times when it would consistently fail at various stages of the recovery process.

The bad news is that it had become obvious I needed to re-install Windows 7 since the existing install was getting a little sick. I guess moving the install to a new motherboard at the beginning of the year didn’t help though I have to admit, Windows 7 handled the affair better than any of the other times I have tried it with older versions of Windows which didn’t handle it at all and fell into a screaming heap.

Windows 7 install complete, I needed to re-install the boot loader. The long and the short of how to do this is:

  • Boot up the Slackware install CD (Slackware64-14.0 in my case).
  • Run ‘fdisk -l’ to determine the partition details are for your linux partition (were /etc is so your / partition).
  • Create a mount point, or not, ‘mkdir /tmp/linux’.
  • Mount your partition, ‘mount /dev/sda4 /tmp/linux’
  • chroot the new partition, ‘chroot /tmp/linux’
  • And finally, recreate your MBR for the boot loader to work, ‘lilo -C /etc/lilo.conf

This will make all your previous Lilo boot options available once you reboot your server.

So Many OS’s and so Little Time

Over the last 2 months or so I have gone a bit spastic with re-installs and playing with various Linux distributions. It started with a re-install of AmigaOS 4.1 due to some new hardware combined with a bit of why not, more about that later, to re-installing Linux on my main desktop computer as well as my netbook and laptop.

So, I now have AmigaOS 4.1 update 5 running on my little Sam440ep, Slackware14 running on my desktop and #! (CrunchBang) running on my netbook. At present the Laptop is running Linux Mint KDE but there is a chance that will change latter on when I have a little more time later on and is another story in itself.

I gave #!  some Google Plus action since I seriously am impressed with it in general as an OS and at how well it runs on my Netbook. I have to admit I am tempted to go with it for my main desktop OS but things have not gotten that drastic just yet ;).

Except for a few niggling issues,  I am pretty happy with Slackware14 and I am really having fun with AmigaOS4.1 update 5. I just wish I had a faster machine but who knows what next year will bring.

Another thing I have found, even though my desktop is dual boot with Windows7 and Slackware14, I rarely find myself using the Windows partition even when playing games. While Linux does not have the plethora of Grade A titles Windows has, I have found myself playing a lot of what is on offer and the idea of needing to reboot into Windows just to play a game not with the bother. To be honest, games are about all I use Windows for now days. For everything else, I find Linux does just as good, if not better, job than Windows.

While all the above are feel good stories, I do have a sad tale to tell. It appears I may have potentially bricked my Samsung Galaxy SII. I have not totally given up hope since it appears to be still gasping but each time I have attempted to update the phone or roll back the update it dies part way through it and not always at the same stage which is a bit frustrating 🙁