Adelaide Retro Computing Meeting September 2016
Today I am covering the September 2016 Adelaide Retro Computing group meeting with an Amiga theme. For this meeting we had special guests Trevor Dickinson from A-EON Technology and Robert Bernardo from Fresno Commodore Users Group fly in especially for the event!
I didn't know we picked the same t-shirt to wear for the night! heh.
Before the meeting I met up with Trevor (freshly flown in from NZ) and took him to Rundle Mall to grab a bite to eat. Rundle Mall is the main shopping district in the Adelaide CBD.
Here is Trevor in Rundle Mall, standing next to the iconic Spheres (commonly used as a meeting point and known locally as the balls):
We then made our way to the meeting venue. As we were a bit later than usual, George and Theo from the group committee helped out a bit earlier with the table setups ahead of our arrival. I then had to quickly assemble a very large array of Amiga stuff I brought for the meeting!
I decided to bring an AmigaOne X1000, AmigaOne A1222 (Tabor), MIST FPGA (Minimig AGA), and a CD32 with the brand new Classic Amiga CD32 game called Reshoot I received this week - doesn't get much newer than that!
It took a long time for me to set up, everything before the attendees arrived, but Trevor was very keen to start using the systems once I did!
Also pictured in front is the A.L.I.C.E laptop that Trevor brought along especially for the meeting, but more on that a little later:
I first met Trevor at AmiWest 2014, and it was fantastic to have him here in Adelaide to enjoy our Amiga themed meeting this month!
Trevor also brought in and distributed these interesting Boing Ball recycled page notebooks at the meeting! Thanks for these - I am sure our attendees are as glad to have them as I am! :-)
As mentioned Robert Bernardo from the Fresno Commodore Users Group also flew in from the USA to be here - he is also attending the Melbourne Amiga user Group and Sydney Amiga User Group events while he is here.
Here is Robert together at the meeting with a keen attendee running her own business called JMV Grafix, who produces documentation and graphics for Geos and the Commodore 64 for sale:
Here is an example book from JMV Grafix , which were available for purchase on the night:
Given the Amiga theme for tonight's event, we had no shortage of Amiga systems on display, both Classic and Next Generation. Here is a rare A500 Plus model with memory expansion and internal cpu mounted hard disk expansion - very rare to see one of these Amiga 500 Plus machines in Australia:
Here is is running Brilliance:
Aron brought along his trusty Amiga 600 along with doing his usual soldering table duties (thanks for this Aron!). The Amiga 600 was running very nicely indeed with wireless internet access via a PCMCIA wireless adapter card.
Running not so nicely and receiving attention from Aron during the evening was this Amiga 2000HD system that was brought in:
Here is another Amiga 2000 brought in on the night, with the case removed - this system has a SCSI HD internally installed:
Mick brought in his NG Amiga - a Sam 440-flex system running AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition:
Mick works on and contributes lots of Amiga OS4 software ports, and so he is quite active in the NG Amiga community.
Next up was this very cool expanded Amiga 600 system with built in CD drive!
This Amiga 600 has a ACA620 accelerator installed, as well as a special modified laptop power supply, which bypasses the need to use a normal brick power supply.
The star of the machine for me though was the built in slot load CD drive - there is so little space inside a A600 to squeeze it in but here it is:
In addition to my own CD32, someone else also brought in a boxed CD32 and CRT TV: - here running the Alien Breed/Qwak game CD:
Of course we also had other system too, for example this older PC laptop running Amiga emulation was brought in:
A signed Commodore 64 was also in display:
On the Commodore 64, a company called RGCD is continuing to produce new games on cartridge for the Commodore 64 in 2016 - here is Bomberland which was brought in to display at the meeting:
Theo brought in this Altair system:
The event was well attended, and people quickly got chatting about all things Amiga and Retro computing!
As this was the first time an AmigaOne A1222 had been displayed in Australia, Trevor was keen for people to see the system is a very capable system - it was busy running Amiga emulation, productivity apps and games too!
Trevor seemed a little jealous of my progress is Super Tux Kart.. :-)
Some interesting Commodore 16 systems and music making hardware for the C16/64 was also brought in:
George brought in his SX64 portable system to try the music making software and CMK-49 hardware out, with Robert involved too:
We then started out main presentation for the evening, with Trevor Dickinson covering A-EON Technology's current projects for Next Generation and Classic Amiga in 2016:
Needless to say we were all fascinating to here all about what A-EON Technology is working on:
One of the projects A-EON Technology is working on is the A.L.I.C.E laptop, which is A Laptop Incorporating a Classic amiga Experience. It runs on a standard Acer x86 laptop, and can run the Classic Amiga, AmigaOS 4.1 Classic experiences alongside your normal Windows or Linux installations.
It can also run linux applications in a way (called Rabbit Hole) that integrates with the Classic Amiga setup, which is running AmiKit X. Here trevor is using Libre Office running on the Classic Amiga environment for the notes he is using during the presentation.
After his presentation was finished, he kindly fielded questions from the attendees for quite a while, covering topics from Classic Amiga add ons like the Prisma megamix, where he explained the technical software development reasons for the delay of shipping this product (which makes perfect sense), and where A-EON is at with the AmigaOne X5000 and A1222.
He even hinted at some future projects that he didn't expand on, but needless to say they are committed to the NG and Classic amiga platforms in 2016 and beyond. It is wonderful to have new systems and software being produced by them!
It was a great presentation and we are very grateful to Trevor for taking the time for fly in especially for our event!
Let's take a closer look at the A.L.I.C.E system Trevor brought in. Here is the boot menu where you can select from Windows, Ubuntu Mate Linux, Classic Amiga (Amikit X) and AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Classic environments to boot from:
As you can see the AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Classic environment is actually running under FS-UAE on a linux distribution that boots directly into the environment from power on (you can press F12 to see the FS-UAE control options while it is running):
Next, I tried booting it into the AmiKit X environment, which is a highly customised AmigaOS 3.1 build with the new Rabbit Hole functionality:
With the Rabbit hole functionality, you can launch linux applications like Libre Office, Firefox, Skype, VLC, etc, all from within the Classic Amiga environment, and they integrate seamlessly with it:
Here is Libre Office running within the AmiKit X environment:
It was snappy and performed well while I was mucking around with it.
This is an exciting development, as it means we will be able to buy a standard laptop that can run other normal day to day computing needs in 2016, but can function as a Classic Amiga while doing it! Exciting indeed, and I look forward to when we are able to buy one!
Moving back to the meeting itself, my NG Amiga table setup was getting quite the workout by this time, with brand new AmigaOS 4.1 game Amiga Racer with my requested Australian Holden Commodore HSV car being raced quite a lot on the night!
I also had Tanks Furry, Wings Battlefield, Reshoot, Amiga Racer game boxes and games running on the night:
My AmigaOne A1222 got plenty of looks and plenty of questions to me and Trevor about it during the evening:
I covered the case and build of the AmigaOne A1222 extensively in this blog - this entry about the A1222 in the new case is worth checking out for the people (and there were many) that loved the case I put it in and wanted to know where to get it.
Also pointed out to me from one of the guys who made them originally, was this 3.5 inch external floppy drive made in Adelaide for the Classic Amiga:
Never actually seen one of these drives myself before, so I was glad to see it tonight!
The second hand tables were doing good business as usual:
It was great to see the kids really enjoying playing new games on the AmigaOne X1000 - here they are playing Voxelnoid:
Here is Trevor and George chatting about A-EON's current and future plans:
It was a truly great evening and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came to the event and especially to our special guests Trevor and Robert!
I had a great time and I am really looking forward to the next meeting!