Amiga 500 memory

Amiga 500

Back in the day, when I had one of my first jobs, I decided to buy an Amiga. I think it was around 1988 or 1989. I had seen a demo of F/A-18 Interceptor (go read), and it blew EVERYTHING else away. No other personal computer could touch that game. The Amiga had fantastic sound and the refresh rate on the game was 30fps or higher.

I decided that afternoon that I was going to buy that computer and that game.

So I bought the computer and brought it home. It was an awesome out of the box experience. Everything was different. I didn’t buy an RGB monitor, since I already had one for my Apple ][gs that would be adequate. However, their sync signals were not compatible. I had to hook up a 7402 Quad NOR gate chip to combine the syncs to the Apple monitor. Once the circuit was ready, the video flickered to life and I was all smiles. I spent days just playing F/A-18 through my stereo at a loud volume. I also tried out all the demos that people created. The Amiga was pretty damn cool. I could even download stuff while doing other things (multitasking, what a concept).

I also remember buying another Amiga 500 later on. I was going to run UUPC (not UUCP, but a PC specific clone) on it to gather Usenet news from a server at University of Miami. I never got that going, but I do remember using it as a terminal on the floor of my room. I had it hooked up to one of my composite monitors and I was reading about this exciting discovery called ‘Cold Fusion’ by these guys named Pons and Fleischmann.

Even more memories. I took apart the computer (yes, surprise… the inside joke here is that I take apart all the stuff I get), and stared at the board. It was definitely a better system than my other computers since the chips on it were huge! 🙂 There was some space left over, though, and the designers etched the words “Rock Lobster” on the motherboard. B-52 fans?

After a while, I ran into limitations with the computer and became more interested in the computers that didn’t have those limitations (Sun, NeXT, SGI, etc.). I couldn’t run Unix. I didn’t have a C compiler (couldn’t afford the compiler or a Hard Drive to hold it). I never had the tools that a lot of the Amiga hackers out there had. I never had the time to really go all the way into that computer. Still, the Amiga was a great computer and the best of its class during that short lived era.

I think my next 68k based computer was an ATT Safari Unix PC, but that is another story.

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