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Old 10 May 2004, 20:19   #1
dirkies
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Belgium
Age: 44
Posts: 1,181
Eek Reviving my A4K: hard choices

Take some time to read my story and maybe you can help me out!

After not having powered on my A4000 for almost 3 years, I finally wanted to revive it, just for nostalgia reasons, and also because it was a shame not to use this mighty machine anymore. After all it's an A4000 with OS3.1, a 68060 Cyberstorm II CPU, SCSI2 I/O addon, 146MB RAM (maxed out), PicassoIV GFX with Paloma capture/tuner module, Toccata analogue soundcard, MaestroPro SPDIF soundcard, 2x1.68 floppy drives, 2x SCSI HDs, SCSI CDR, SCSI CD-ROM, 17" VGA and plenty of legally purchased software installed on it (esp for sound applications). I guess this machine has costed me at least 5000 euro back in the days, and todays resale value is so silly it's better to keep it. And since I put all my Amiga soft on 4x fully crammed & lzx'ed DVDs, it might be interesting to reload some software for fun (I still got my OS1.3/1MB A500 aswell, but that one hasn't been switched on since at least 5 years!)

Step 1: get it network prepared for use with my ultra-tuned PC!

After a long search I found & bought an Algor Ethernet+USB Z2 addon card, 159 euros plus postage, installed it in the machine (the USB connectors & 2 of the Tocatta plugs no longer have a rear slot, the cables just hang out lack of space!), booted it, didn't work at all, rebooted and holla, now it worked (well, I dunno if it really works, but the card is recognized and there is some (annoying) Algor gfx intro everytime I boot the machine). But I haven't tested any USB device and have not yet succeeded in any network test because I'm too novice yet with Amiga & TCP/IP

Step 2: prepare the PC to be hooked

I got a 3com 4 port 100MBit hub, and my DSL PC has RJ45 ports available, that's already fine!
I bought the Cloanto Amiga Forever 6.0 CD to have the Amiga Explorer & all the other nice stuff on it. Now the idea is to have the Amiga hooked onto the PC with the hub and just use it for file transfers, not to surf with it (the way of Amiga surfing is too obsolete IMHO)...another 55 euros

Step 3: get the machine's OS refreshed !

the next logical step is finding OS3.9... H&P website... nothing!?!! Other websites were dead or didn't mention OS3.9 at all.
So unable to locate anywhere a copy of OS3.9 I went to eBay and found a copy there, another 40 euros.
Installed it (since I have the hardware specs to do it) with quite some difficulties (you need to use a bootfloppy if you install it on a clean partition, otherwise it's crash & burn!)
I kept my OS3.1 bootpartition and changed the bootpriority of the partitions, just in case OS3.9 sucks.
Installed boingbag 1 & 2 aswell, all fine & works (seemingly)

Now since I haven't followed the Amiga scene since 1997, I was surprised how much I 'forgot' about the Amiga, even the simplest things were hard to do
Unbelievable since I was a pro 10 years ago, I am the author of Disksqueeze, a DMS rival, which ended at pos 17 in CU Amiga's Top 100 of utlities, and even wrote a 300 page tech paper on Amiga for my university dissertation. Now I feel like a total nerd having to go through all menus to find out stuff like DEVS drivers, changing scsi IDs in drivers, simple edit commands & prefs... argh! But I expect it's like riding a bike, it will come back if I spend some time to refresh my brain

Now with OS3.9 & the network card installed, I noticed I needed some network software, but since I never used the Ami on a network, I had to look again around and try to find info. Most networking info is about null serial cables or parallel, all not interesting for me (I want speed and my hi-end PC mainboard doesn't even have these obsolete ports anymore!)

OS3.9 'prepares' for TCP/IP but doesn't provide you with a layer, right???
I guess the program of choice for a TCP/IP stack would be MIAMI. Great, but where the can I find that software? (ignoring demo versions on Aminet of course)
The Miami website (http://www.nordicglobal.com/) doesn't have any Miami Deluxe related updates since FOUR YEARS :eek And another $60 for something which looks so common these days (and esp. after coughing up the over 200 euros for NIC + OS3.9) I don't feel too comfortable about it :disgusted So here my first questions:

does MIAMI work with OS3.9?
is it still for sale at all?
where to find and can it be cheaper, I'm sure the prices should be revised lower in 2004 than what it was in 2000, no?

Other issue: Directory Opus...
I always used v4 with OS3.1, love it to death, and DOPUS 5 Magellan II looks pretty nice and more in line with OS3.9, but the same question arises as with Miami:

does it work with OS3.9 at all?
their website is all about DOPUS for PC, and http://www.gpsoft.com.au/AmigaIndex.html isn't updated since January 2000 (FOUR YEARS again!)
the price is ridiculous ($99), still listed in German Marks (...), and the 2000 price is actually more expensive than the windoze version! Again I assume it's discontinued...
Now isn't it nowhere else available but Australia??? All the resellers listed don't sell it anymore...
Is there some alternative to DOPUS for use with OS3.9? A simple file explorer will do, no need for complex stuff, I just want a good file manager.

As you can see it's a really sad situation, I'd like to give my dear Ami some new breath but it seems impossible to find the right stuff anymore...
most Amiga links on the web are totally outdated or return 404s...
And it was sad to see yesterday eve on the Amiga Forever CD the original 1985 introduction show of the Amiga (about 20 minutes), it really made me silent how such a talented machine went down the drain...

So if anyone can help me to answer my questions feel free to post here or contact me through my "dirkies at hotmail" addy

Many thanks!
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