Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Taking a break from this blog

After returning from my two week holiday this week with some much needed time to think about things, I have decided to take a break from this blog for a bit. I haven't decided if it is permanent yet.


The reality I have to face now is that I don't have time to update my blogs anymore due to recently undertaking long term study commitments outside of work, leaving me little free time to play with my Amiga systems beyond my beta testing duties.

I wanted readers to know that it is this lack of time, rather than enthusiasm, that is the reason for that.

I want to be up front so you know why I am stopping rather than just leaving people hanging and everyone wrongly assuming I gave up on it. Something had to give.

Thanks so much for following this blog for the past 5 years.

I am happy to see over half a million readers have now read this blog since it began, which is wonderful! This blog should act as a hopefully useful hints and tips archived website for some time to come. :-)

I hope the entries and photos up to now have been interesting, and I hope that you continue to enjoy your Amigas, Classic or Next Gen as I still do. I have no plans to get rid of or sell my Amigas - I couldn't imagine doing such a thing!

I have stopped all my other blogs for the time being too.

For now I will continue to help manage and attend the Adelaide Retro Computing Group meetings with my Amiga systems, as long as it doesn't interfere with my studies. Indeed I was there as usual last friday. So if you are in Adelaide for an upcoming meeting be sure to say hi and chat with me about all things Amiga!

I am still posting Amiga and Retro computing stuff from time to time amongst my other interests like trains, Adelaide and travel that I was blogging about, now via my Instagram account. Look up instagram.com/epsilon2012  if you are interested in following - I am still learning Instagram but it is surprisingly fun and takes less time than blogging and I can simultaneously share my posts to my Facebook, twitter accounts and stream live too (and have already a few times) so I am using it as a replacement of sorts in the interim.

When my time is freed up again I expect I will return again to add more blog posts here and I'll announce that via Facebook and Amiga websites at that time! In the meantime, enjoy your Amigas!

Regards,
Epsilon

Friday, 30 June 2017

Removing Mac index files on my X1000

One of my pet annoyances on the Apple Mac is the autocreation of thousands of ._blah index files for every file on your hard disk, cached by MacOS X.

How does this relate to my X1000? Well, when I copy my music and photos across from the Mac to the X1000 I end up with these really annoying files on my hard disk, which are not visible on a Mac but very visible on anything else.


These files get in the way when selecting a drawer for playing music in AmigaAmp or other music players, adding extra unusable files to my playlist when using the default filters. Also, these index files appear when selecting images for viewing and so on. I want them gone from my X1000!

Deleting them all individually is just not an option as there are thousands of them scattered in hundreds of drawers all over my hard disk!

But fortunately, help is at hand to solve this problem. Actually, thanks to some help from Severin (thanks mate) I have two ways that work under AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition, depending on whether you have Dopus 5 installed under AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition or not.

Let's start with the case that you don't have Dopus 5 installed on your X1000, as this probably applies to more people.

Open up a shell and pick a drawer that has some of the annoying files in it. For my test I used a Photogenics drawer. Don't run it across a whole partition or large drawer with lots of sub-drawers until you test it does what you expect!

I won't be held responsible for losing files on your hard disk from following this so please be careful. I recommend backing up first just in case.

The command I used is:

list <path> pat="._#?" all lformat "delete %P%N" to ram:script

What this does is takes the path you entered and matches recursively anything starting with ._ (which is what Mac index files start with), and then generating a delete command for each file and writing the full command to a file called script in RAM:

In my case for my first test I used the command below in the Shell:

list sys:Utilities/Photogenics5/ pat="._#?" all lformat "delete %P%N force" to ram:script

The resulting script file shows the deletions to be performed and the path too. You can review this to make sure nothing important has been picked up by mistake and remove it if it is.


The force is important as the ._ index files are read only files and they will not be removed without it under AmigaOS 4.1. You can then type in the following to perform the deletions:

execute ram:script 

Here is the example, and showing the clean drawer afterwards:


Neat huh! You can of course do this from the root of your hard disk partition to speed this up, but please be careful and check the script file carefully for anything important before running it.

The other option is using Directory Opus 5 if you have it installed under AmigaOS 4.1.

In my case I have the updated 5.82 Directory Opus 5 updated for AmigaOS 4.1. It was available on a website for download but no longer available there. You can get it from the wayback web archive though here if you want it. I looked at Dopus5 previously on this blog here, here and here. I even covered the toolbar icon functions here.

In any case, assuming Directory Opus 5 is installed and running, I need to turn on the Recursive filter so that Directory Opus applies the operation recursively. You can access this option from the Settings menu:


That done, I then locate a music drawer with heaps of these annoying files. I could select all drawers but initially I will test with a single one:


I then go back a drawer to select the drawer to delete:


I then select Delete from the menu as below, but don't panic - as long as Recursive Filter is selected it will prompt before deletion:


Here is the filter pattern prompt that then appears for the deletion - by default the filter #? deletes all files:


You need to change this to ._#? so it only removes the index files. If you leave it as the default it will remove all the files so please check you have this done before proceeding! Then click OK.


You will get one final confirmation before it deletes. I select Delete All, which deletes all the  ._#? files and leaves everything else.


Here is the clean resulting drawer with no more index files - fantastic!


I then did the same steps starting from the iTunes Music drawer I copied across, which removed all the ._ files throughout the whole structure recursively!

It is a useful tip that works well, and thought it might be useful to share with you all in case you are experiencing the same issue on your X1000 or other AmigaOS 4.1 system.


Monday, 12 June 2017

Celebrating 5 Years of this blog!

Well, today it has now been 5 years exactly since I started working on this Amiga X1000 blog. Amazing that I have been writing so much and for so long about a true passion of mine!


For the past 5 years I have been focused on purchasing and getting the most out of my Amiga systems, whether that be Classic, Next Generation (NG), FPGA or emulation based.

I have looked at countless new Amiga software and hardware products introduced in that time and I am always amazed by the quality of what is produced, as well as the enthusiasm of the community to support these efforts and keep Amiga alive in 2017 and beyond!


The AmigaOne X1000 was the system that really rekindled my interest in things Amiga back in 2012, and following actively the developments of AmigaOS 4 and the latest developments in operating system, applications and games, and even beta testing software has been very satisfying for me personally.


This also logically rekindled my interest in Classic Amiga systems too which I had to buy again, as I sold a lot of them many years ago - although I had kept a few favourites like my Amiga 2000, Amiga 4000D and 4000T. All this I covered on this blog in detail.

After all this work I ended up with upgraded Amiga 500, 600, 1000, 1200, 2000, 4000D, 4000T, CDTV and CD32 Classic systems, in addition to AmigaOne A1222 (AmigaOS4), AmigaOne X1000 (AmigaOS4), Sam 460CR (AmigaOS4), Powerbook G4 (MorphOS), Acer AspireOne (AROS), Minimig FPGA (A500), MIST FPGA (A1200), Amiga Forever and AmiKit X emulations! Whew, how fantastic!




I learnt all about alternative Amiga operating systems like MorphOS and AROS alongside AmigaOS 4.1 and optimised classic setups like AmiKit X, AmiKit Real, AmigaSys4, ClassicWB and had a lot of fun building the systems and trying out all the new software on offer! I have covered these in detail in this blog too over the years!


I hope I have inspired a lot of you to tinker and play around with your Amiga systems again!

It seems so, since I have almost a thousand people reading my blog everyday, and half a million since I started on it five years ago. For an Amiga focused blog I think that is amazing!

I have to thank you, the reader, because it is because of you all, your feedback and questions that I was so motivated to complete my Amiga projects that I have always wanted to do since I was a teenager.


I have been so engaged in all things Amiga I even travelled to the other side of the world to visit the AmiWest 2014 show in Sacramento, USA, and was really inspired by the current developments and developers of AmigaOS, pushing the platform forward.


There I also saw AmigaOS Final Edition and the new AmigaOne X5000 for the first time in the hands of Beta testers, which is of course now available for sale to the general public in 2017 with AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1!


I would love to go again to see an overseas Amiga show some day!

Following this AmiWest trip, I decided to help create the Adelaide Retro Computing Group, and as a result we now have a local vibrant and interesting monthly meeting of Amiga and other Retro systems brought in by passionate Retro system fans - right here in my home city of Adelaide!


We learn so much about new projects for our Retro systems from some very inspirational attendees!

Even Trevor Dickinson from A-EON technology came to visit us in late 2016. This is something I am very proud of!


I even got involved this year in the beta testing of AmigaOS 4 for Hyperion Entertainment for the upcoming AmigaOne A1222 (and Linux too)! Unfortunately this current AmigaOS related beta testing work (very interesting though it is) cannot be shared with you on this blog due to NDA's.


In combination with a long period of illness for me in the first part of 2017, beta testing, and a quiet period in 2017 for new release NG Amiga software means that recently I have not much new NG Amiga-wise to offer to this blog in 2017 as I would ideally like, and have focused instead on upgrading my classic Amiga systems as far as I wanted to keep my Amiga interest (and this blog) going.


In addition to the ongoing release of new Classic software and hardware, I sincerely hope we can see more regular NG Amiga software releases in the future. I know there is plenty of interesting software in the pipeline, but it is taking a long time to get to market.

A-EON Technology is well aware of this and has many projects ongoing as I write this and of course now has an AMIStore Application platform for selling Amiga software directly to the NG Amiga community from their systems. Indeed they are even running a DevCon this very week.

But I think we still really need more developers and a genuine pipeline of development activity to get a constant stream of new releases for Amiga out there.



In my view, the ongoing sales of the AmigaOne X5000 and upcoming AmigaOne A1222 really do depend on a regular release of interesting NG Amiga software to keep people interested and engaged in the future of our favourite OS.


The tools are clearly there, the App store (AMIStore), the AmigaOS/MorphOS SDK, Development environment and IDE's, and even simpler entry level cross-platform software development tools like Hollywood 7 (released in 2017) run on our NG systems.


The Classic Amiga area (on the other hand) after being quiet for a number of years is booming right now for software and hardware in 2017.


Things like ACA500(Plus), Prisma Megamix, Vampire 500/600, Rapid Road USB, HDMI output Zorro graphics cards like VA2000, and Gotek USB floppy drives are great new developments and there is so much more than that too!

We even have Google Drive and Dropbox client software on Classic and NG Amigas!

Emulation has made a lot of progress in the last five years, especially with the introduction of PowerPC emulation under WinUAE, which has enabled PowerPC support under OS 3.x and also allows us to run AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition under our Windows/Linux PC's and Macs!

FPGA too has made massive strides recently in recreating our Classic Amiga systems through Minimig ECS and AGA cores running on inexpensive MIST FPGA, FPGA Arcade and Chameleon64.


The hardware and software developments in particular give the Classic Amiga systems new features they could never of dreamed of when they were original built.


The Apollo team Vampire 68080 accelerator of course being the real talk of the community this year. Performance speeds never seen on an Classic Amiga 500/600, with HDMI RTG video out and plenty of ongoing active and public accessible information about progress keeping people very engaged!


This presents an interesting issue though. Is it better for the community to focus attention on Classic Amiga only, and forget about developing NG AmigaOS, keeping Amiga firmly in the Retro system hobby camp, or should we focus on pushing the boundaries of AmigaOS on NG platforms (AmigaOS, MorphOS, AROS) to see what we can do with it?

Ideally we can do both as a community, resourced sufficiently by passionate people, without one direction affecting the other or pointless fighting of one approach over the other draining enthusiasm to keep things moving forward.

And more transparent Amiga community engaged development of the NG operating systems (AmigaOS, MorphOS and AROS) to keep the remaining community interested and get them more engaged in actively improving the systems for our ultimate benefit.

In my view vendors and developers shouldn't need to hide behind restrictive NDA's and closed development cycles in 2017 for a hobby based system platform like the Amiga.

You only have to see what is happening with the Apollo Team Vampire project with their ongoing core development work to see what is possible when you engage openly and positively with the community through social media, irc, forums and so on.

No one is expecting perfect software, but I think we all want to be part of the progress, and most importantly to know that there is actually progress being made!

This is what I hope for anyway! Probably dreaming but worth putting it out there!

And as you have seen, the Amiga scene is still very much making progress:

AmigaOS 3.9 BB2 with Vampire 500 68080 Gold 2 Core on Amiga 2000 (2016)



AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1 on AmigaOne X1000 (2017)



MorphOS 3.9 on Apple Powerbook G4 (2016)




Icaros Desktop v2.2 (AROS) on Acer AspireOne x86 netbook (2016)



AmiKit X (WinUAE) Classic Amiga Emulation on x64 PC (2017)



So much has been achieved in the past 5 years and I look forward to what comes next!

As mentioned I have shared a lot of setup and build information along the way to show how great Amigas still are and how to make the most of them! I hope this has been useful for you, or at least you could have a good laugh at my (lack of) skills!


I feel that I have reached a kind of peak in 2017, where all my Next Gen and Classic Amiga systems are where I want them to be upgrade and build wise, with all the functionality that I need from them to enjoy using them daily.

Mind you I have said this before and then bought a bunch of stuff so who knows...

I still want to find new Amiga mountains to climb though!

Earlier this year I was debating stopping the blog altogether once I had upgraded all my systems to where I wanted them (which I have now done!). But, I still enjoying blogging about Amiga, and I still believe there is still more good stuff to come on Amiga!

Libre Office, Tower 57, Wings Remastered, Final Writer new version, Octamed new version, just to name a few...

Meeting and talking all things Amiga with other Amiga crazy fans here in Adelaide and elsewhere has done wonders for my motivation too!

Who knows, maybe I take up Amiga programming or something as a new challenge and continue this blog in a new direction to create some new software!!


In summary, I really hope you have enjoyed this blog for the past 5 years. It has been quite a ride and a lot of fun for my personally.

A little off-topic I have finally weakened and created an Instagram account to share my photos of computers, trains and other things of interest. I also share some of these photos to my Facebook page and Twitter account from time to time too. I did this because I don't have time to blog about everything of interest these days and not everything fits my blog subjects either, so this is my easy way to share stuff I enjoy! If you want to follow me on Instagram, search for epsilon2012. I will still blog too of course!

In the meantime keep playing with your Amiga systems and upgrading them, whether it is Classic, Next Gen, FPGA or via emulation! Support the developers who keep our platform moving forward by buying their products when you can.

I don't know how long I will continue blogging about all things Amiga (I never thought in 2012 that I would still be blogging about Amiga in 2017!), but I will continue as long as I continue to enjoy doing it! :-)




Sunday, 4 June 2017

FlowerPot AmigaOS4

Today I decided to take a look at the recently released Flower Pot (AmigaOS 4 simplified installation for Mac and Windows), from the creators of AmiKit X which I also looked at recently.


The big thing in the past few years of Amiga emulation has been the introduction of Phase 5 PPC accelerator support under WinUAE classic Amiga emulation (and FS-UAE under Mac/Linux). This has made it possible to run AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Classic under Windows, Mac and Linux.

However, setting this up is not so easy to do yourself. I have covered in this blog many times in the past about the installation of AmigaOS 4.1 Classic under Amiga Forever, WinUAE and FS-UAE, but it is still not the easiest thing to get up and running.

Flower Pot has been specifically created to make the process of setting up AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Classic under emulation much simpler, to get people up and running quicker!

The payoff for this is that finally we can run AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition on a laptop and take it wherever we want, instead of being tied to PowerPC desktop/tower systems that are not portable.

With the new Update 1 for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition, the memory restrictions of the real Amiga have been lifted, opening up a much more usable amount of memory for running programs under emulation, making the emulated system much more usable.

You can purchase Flower Pot by itself for EUR9.95 for your preferred target platform - Mac, Windows or Linux.

You also can purchase it from AmiKit's website as a combo with AmiKit X as below:

You will need to purchase the Amiga kickstart roms, available with Amiga Forever 2016 from Cloanto or obtained from your real Amiga.

Note that you also need to purchase AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Classic from Hyperion Entertainment, and register an account on Hyperion's website with the product registration number so that you can download the Classic version ISO and the update 1 lha archive as below, needed to open up the memory restrictions under emulation.


With that done, I ran the Flower Pot MSI installer for Windows to get things underway, running on a Core i7 Alienware R3 laptop system with Windows 10 Pro installed. Although they are available, I will not be covering Mac or Linux installs for now, sorry. I will focus on Windows 10 here.

There are not any real options in the installer - it is easy to step through.


The installer finishes and directs you to read the Gardener's Guide, which explains the next steps needed to get Flower Pot up and running with AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Classic.


Here is the Gardener's Guide:


Step 2 is where the manual is left a little lacking to be honest. It says you need to copy kickstart rom, ISO and Cyberstorm PPC rom files to a specific location under the Flower Pot folder, but it doesn't tell you where to get them from!


In the case of the kickstart rom, rom.key and cyberstorm ppc rom files, if you have Amiga Forever 2016 installed on Windows 10, then it is located in the c:\users\public\documents\amiga files\shared\rom folder as below:


Copy the highlighted files into the Flower Pot Roms folder, located in the default installation path as below:


Here are the files copied across, along with the AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Classic ISO, downloaded from Hyperion Entertainment's website as covered earlier. Naming is important, so don't change the names of any of the files.


The steps are all covered well in the Gardener's Guide manual from here on:



Following along I run the Flower Pot program from the desktop:


This gives us the Flower Pot launcher as below. We can't launch yet since we still need to install AmigaOS 4, so select Install OS4 to get started with that, assuming you did the steps above first.


WinUAE then launches, and automatically starts booting up AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition from the ISO.


It then prompts if you want to boot into the live CD Workbench, or just start the installer. I elected to start the installer as I wanted to change the language/country settings before installation:


I then choose English, Australia and the Adelaide timezone settings:




That done, it asks if we want to apply the time settings now, which of course I do, so I select System:


Things then proceed to keyboard selection:



Having selected the keyboard, things move on again:


With the workbench now displayed, there is a big "Click Me" Fertilizer icon on the desktop to run the installation of AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition. Do not run the normal installer:


With the Fertilizer icon clicked, you are given the information about clicking Next through the installer and not selecting any options as the Fertilizer script will set everything up itself afterwards:


After hitting the Enter key, The AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition installer proceeds as expected. Just click Next on each steps without changing any options:


The installation then proceeds as usual:


All done:



When you click on Finish, the Fertilizer scripts appears again and does it's post install configuration work, installing UAE gfx support for higher screen modes, network driver support, AHI Sound blaster 128 support and the ram extension support (which is only effective after installing Update 1):


Now we have to quit the emulation as per the prompt - CTRL + F11 for Windows does the trick. I then launch Flower Pot again. This time I can click on Launch and soon after I have a full AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition installation running under WinUAE, complete with the Windows hard disks mounted on the Workbench and UAE RTG mode 1024x768 set:


I then unpacked the AmigaOS 4.1 final Edition Update 1 archive so I can start that installation to enable the extended memory support. As you can see currently we only have 128MB of memory available to the Cyberstorm PPC rom being used for the emulation:



I then kicked off the Update 1 installation:



The installer pre-installs a python pre-requisite and then we can get to work with the main installation:


The installation is now done, and we have to reboot:


After the reboot, we now have the extra memory, with 646MB memory now available to us! Fantastic. The FlowerPot partition (Smart File System) is 2GB in size, which is ok for most things. You can utilise the windows partitions to store the larger files, music, photos, etc you use with your Windows system as well, which is quite convenient.


Next I pressed F12 to access the WinUAE Prefs and mount the AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition ISO to the CD drive configuration so I can install the extras on the CD as they are not included in the normal AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition installation:


I then got to work installing the optional components:


With that done I then changed the screenmode prefs from 1024x768 to a much nicer 1920x1080x32bit screen resolution, made possible with the uae graphics driver setup by Flower Pot:


After the resolution change, AmigaOS 4.1 is so much better already!


Next I ran iBrowse to download the modern Odyssey web browser to use under AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition. Note that the Download fonts script in the Odyssey drawer doesn't work due to a certificate issue on the internet website it gets it from. So, I copied the fonts I needed from my X1000 Fonts folder to get the files I needed:


While that was happening, I also copied some installers from my AmigaOne X1000 to speed things up a bit, working on Qt 4.7 install here:


I then run the Enhancer Software installation (which you can purchase from AmiStore):



I also got AmigaAmp 3 to listen to music and things are looking better, but something is still missing I feel:


That's it, much better:


FlowerPot certainly does make getting AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition running well under Emulation much easier to accomplish. I think they could provide a search tool to locate the files needed as part of the setup process to fill a small gap in the documentation, but I guess this is a minor quibble.

Note that AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Classic under emulation (or running on a real Amiga with PPC accelerator) comes with plenty of caveats, and is not a full replacement for the real AmigaOne PPC hardware, especially regarding performance, Composition/Warp3D support and newer developments like Nova that need newer graphics card capabilities.

For the time being, a real AmigaOne X1000 or X5000 system will always be best for running AmigaOS 4.1 final Edition with all of it's features and performance available.

I plan to put some games on this system soon so I can see how well they perform under emulation now that the extra memory is available to AmigaOS 4.1 and because I now have a much faster system to run it on than before.

For running AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Classic under emulation on your Core i5 or Core i7 based PC or Macintosh, Flower Pot certainly makes things easy to get things going.