Amiga of the Future, Inc.
As I’m sure everyone here is aware, there is currently no future in Amiga. In the past, Amiga had the potential for glory, but that has all been swept away… forgotten by those who were aware of it at the time, and oblivious to those who have been introduced to computers more recently. I’ve always wanted to communicate to others what my desire for a future Amiga could be, and it is not until now that I dare to do so… perhaps because until just recently I couldn’t remember what it was like to own an Amiga. So without further adieu, here it goes.
Owning an Amiga was never solely about the hardware, or about the software, but it was about a sense of belonging, a sense of community, and even slightly about a sense of elitism. I remember frequently receiving freeware, shareware, and demo programs with issues of various magazines that I had subscribed to, which in the past was a big deal. The disks which accompanied the reading material (which I was mostly too young to understand at the time) offered me a multitude of ways to explore the capabilities of the computer without really fully understanding its complexities. I guess you could say, though the machine was complicated (at the time to a 5yr old boy), Amigas and their supporters were always user-friendly.
I realize it’s an odd way to start off this vision of mine, speaking of communities and their relationship to companies, but really, that’s what consumerism is all about. And the Amiga of the future must embrace this fact. People have become disenchanted with the technology industry because of its habit of alienating the consumer, and its lack of responsibility towards the consumer once the product has been purchased.
In order to restore the public’s faith in their technology, the Amiga of the future must be a company which receives input from their consumers, and rewards those who universalize the computing experience. Furthermore, it must be committed to promoting an understanding of the technology, so as to encourage more knowledgeable operation of the product. That is not to say that the Amiga should not be simple to use, but that the company should strive to create a more informed consumer.
The first recommendation that I make here is the creation of a knowledge/rewards database. This forum will provide the following:
i. A forum for individuals who own or are interested in Amiga products, designed to encourage discussion amongst such people for the mutual benefit of the individuals and the company. Such a forum will offer a multitude of services, which includes, but is not limited to product information, tutorials, product maps, and a drivers database.
ii. A points system to reward those who contribute to the “ease of use” of any product of interest to the Amiga community. For instance, those who contribute by writing drivers for unsupported devices and conversion tools for various filetypes, create tutorials for the safe and efficient operation of a computer system (by various audiovisual means, either of its hardware, or software), and even offer advice to those interested in upgrading their system.
iii. Points which can later be redeemed or converted into rewards, such as for prerelease or promotional material, discounts on products or services, invitations to exclusive events, and so on.
iv. A group of administrators and moderators to ensure the appropriate use of such forum, and to assist in confirming or denying the suggestions and recommendations made by various contributors of said forum. This group would also be responsible for the administration of points and rewards to contributing members.
The second set of recommendations that I make is designed more as a direction for the hardware and its operating system.
i. The creation of hardware and software which takes into consideration the dominant computer companies and platforms, and the necessity of creating such hardware and software to be compatible with said companies and platforms, and rewarding private citizens who assist in this effort.
ii. The acknowledgement that no single company can predict the usefulness of services and programs embedded into any operating system, nor guarantee its safe and secure operation (whether known or unbeknownst to the user).
- This serves to eliminate unwanted, unsecured, inefficient services and programs accompanying the installation of either an operating system or any product or service.
iii. The recognition that hardware and its accompanying software is continually being updated to include programs, services, and devices which are not currently being supported.
iv. The recognition that hardware and its accompanying software ought to incorporate support for a multitude of household devices, which can all be accessed from one central computer, or a series of satellite devices. For instance, recognition of the capabilities to replace conventional PVR systems by routing all cable traffic through one central computer, then directing that information to the requesting device(s).
The third set of recommendations is based on the company’s influence on its supporters and competitors.
i. The creation of product maps which details the methods by which devices communicate with one another, including lists of known vulnerabilities (be they hardware or software related). For example, rudimentary maps detailing the mechanisms by which wireless devices communicate with each other, and a list of potential vulnerabilities (i.e. interference, interception).
ii. The insistence on supporting companies and their platforms so as to ensure that Amiga’s products and services are not so exclusionary so as to deter potential consumers or product developers from involvement with Amiga.
iii. A desire by Amiga to involve the public whenever possible, and to consult with them on a regular basis regarding the direction of the company, its hardware, software, and support.
I realize this has been somewhat of a “blanket” document insomuch as there may not be absolute clarity provided; however, these recommendations should not be taken lightly. Far too often I have encountered individuals with a desire to know more about computer technologies, without having any references or resources at their disposal. These individuals are not illiterate, they are just unaware of where to obtain credible documentation, or of what certain technology-specific terms mean. For example, Microsoft’s website is just horrendous if you actually want to acquire any information about a specific topic or device. The average user cannot navigate that site. Secondly, I know of many people who have completely abandoned Linux because of its poor driver support, and somewhat self-absorbed community. And thirdly, it’s been exactly 20 years since I first owned my Amiga… and guess what?! Not much has changed in the way of computers. Sure I can watch TV on it, and connect it an ipod to it, but there’s been little development of devices which are able to access a central computer. For instance, though my $2,000 treadmill is able contain a database of regular workout routines; I have no way of plotting or charting my progress throughout the months, unless I do so manually. These types of technologies ought to be integrated with our computers.