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Old 20 June 2016, 12:11   #1
lubaki
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Amiga for a writer

Hi everybody!

Last week my sister in law gives me as my birthday present an Amiga 1200 with more than 300 floppies. I can say that this computer was the second his brother owns and has less than 30 hours of use until it was retired. She turn on the power two weeks ago and works perfectly, so she gives me because she knows that I like this machines when I was young. I am a professional writer and journalist, I spend more than 8 hours in the streets or working in other countries and I use the PC only for this purposes the 98% of the time:

1.- Writing articles in RTF.
2.- Listening MP3 music (100 GB in the hard drive)
3.- Looking Wikpedia
4.- Sending email with attached articles and images

My question is, can I use the Amiga for this purpose?

1.- As far as I know I need to put a 128 GB HD, put a MP3 decoder to help the processor during the work.

2.- I like to use Word Perfect 4, because it was my main writing software and I like it very much. Is it possible?

3.- It is possible to install Wikipedia like in the PC downloading it and watching offline?

4.- Is it ok YAM to send attached RTF and some little JPEGs (1-2 mb)?

Thank you in advance.
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Old 20 June 2016, 12:25   #2
ajk
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Welcome!

Most of what you suggest is possible with an upgraded A1200, but not really with a basic one. What kind of a setup have you received?

Also, if the A1200 has been unused in the years between, it should probably be inspected for failing capacitors.
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Old 20 June 2016, 12:29   #3
lubaki
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The Amiga 1200 that I receive is the basic one, no upgraded. I know that I need to upgrade for my purposes (for example for internet). But what kind of upgraded is recommended? I will not retouch any picture (for that I have my PC) but will be OK to have all my "portfolio" in the Amiga to send one or two if my newspaper or editor ask me.
I have speak with a local electronic "manforeverything" and he said me that the capacitors are OK.

Thank you for your quick answer ajk !!
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Old 20 June 2016, 12:46   #4
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1) yep, if you have some external MP3 decoder then you don't need a very powerful cpu
2) you are in luck, WP4.1 actually does exist for the Amiga (this is too much of a coincidence, are you for real? :-)
3) if wikipedia still offers some kind of light html dump, then yes
4) if you can find servers that yam talks to, then sure.

Get at least an 030 board with lots of RAM. Preferably an 060..
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Old 20 June 2016, 12:57   #5
lubaki
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Hi!
Thanks for your answer!
Yes, during my school years they teach us Wordperfect 4 and 5 and in the old PC I was using WP 4. I know all the shortcuts and I feel very confortable with this software. My question was that I know that there is a port for amiga but I donīt know if it will work with the AGA chipset (in the OCS I know that it works perfectly).
What servers can YAM speaks ? I use Gmail so I donīt know if this will be a problem for me!

Thank you!
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Old 20 June 2016, 13:12   #6
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YAM supports POP3 but not IMAP. You can still enable POP3 support with most mail providers (including GMail),

I don't know WordPerfect, but if it's a system friendly application (and it should be), it should work fine on any chipset.

To play MP3s of any decent quality you need either an 060 or a hardware decoder. While an 060 would also be nice for productivity work, they cost a small fortune these days. A hardware decoder like this MAS player will let you play at good quality with a much more modest accelerator. You'd still be well advised to get some sort of accelerator however for using things like email etc., I would suggest an 030 as a minimum.

You should be able to use more or less any size of hard drive that you like, but you have to be careful about how it's set up. There are many guides around that bring you through this, and this sticky gives you lots of reference information.

As for downloading Wikipedia for offline use - there's nothing specifically for that purpose that I know if, though there were discussions about developing a client to do that a while back. Even a relatively light web site like Wikipedia would be considered heavy in terms of requirements however - many elements won't display properly without CSS support, which is absent from most Amiga web browsers since they stagnated well over a decade ago. One browser does support it (Netsurf), but it could well be too slow or RAM-hungry to be of any use on a modestly expanded A1200.
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Old 20 June 2016, 13:18   #7
lubaki
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Thank you Daedalus!!!

I prefer to use WordPerfect instead of Final Writer or Wordworth, because I donīt need to edit pages, only to write articles in RTF. I will buy this MAS Player as you told me, because listen music for me is important while I am writing.

For the wikipedia problem I was thinking in Kiwix. Kiwix is a software that allow you to look the wikipedia off-line and I hope that in Amiga I can do something like this.

Definitely I will:

Install a HD with 128 GB for music, articles and images.
Install a 030 accelerator with a lot of RAM

The link for Kiwix is this:

http://www.kiwix.org/wiki/Main_Page

Thank you!
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Old 20 June 2016, 13:32   #8
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No problem - just bear in mind that even with the hardware decoder you won't be able to go much above 192kbps, or maybe 256kbps. So make sure your collection would be playable because otherwise a stand-alone MP3 player might be a better bet. Also, remember that it can *only* decode MP3s, not M4As, AACs, FLACs and so on.

Yep, I've seen that sort of thing on the PC, but never on the Amiga other than some vague talk of someone writing a client, so the only way to do it on the Amiga is to save the pages. I would recommend sticking with a PC for that.
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Old 20 June 2016, 13:49   #9
lubaki
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Thanks again!

Yes, all my music collection is in MP3 and in 192kbps. I have more than 100 GB in music (and catalogued). Anyone can recommend a good pair of amplified loudspeakers for the amiga?

And I think that you are in the right way when you said that for wikipedia I will stick with the PC. But to have in the future the possibility to read all the wikipedia in our amigas I think that will be a good fresh air for our systems!

Another question will be if with a 030 accelerator will be enough to see (only see, not edit) a 1-2 mb pictures. When I send the articles I need to send also the pictures attached in the email. Anybody has experience with this?

Thanks!
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Old 20 June 2016, 15:14   #10
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Personally I've never used a pair of PC speakers for any of my computers, connecting them all to a decent stereo amp and speakers instead. But any set will work for you, and the MAS player has a 3.5mm jack output so standard PC speakers will plug straight in.

An 030 with some RAM will be able to decode images fine, but it will be slow. It will also be limited to 256 colours (HAM screens can use more, but again, are slow), and chances are it will be larger than the screen due to the low resolution of the Amiga's output, so you might have to scroll around a bit to see the entire image. Scaling the image to fit the screen will be very slow so most viewers don't offer it as a default.

Visage is an excellent example of an image viewer that does a good job of showing modern images on Amigas.
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Old 20 June 2016, 16:01   #11
lubaki
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Thank you!

The images will be more or less 1,5 mb jpegs.

My idea is:

a 128 or 180 GB HD divided in:

1.- 2 GB partition for the system and software
2.- 100 GB more or less for the music
3.- the rest for text and images

Is it ok?
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Old 20 June 2016, 16:09   #12
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Decoding 1.5MB jpeg's is going to be painful.... and keep in mind you cant view them at 24bit depth, 256 colours with nasty dithering or HAM 18bit with artifacting.

You might want to reconsider to do your job using this....
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Old 20 June 2016, 16:11   #13
lubaki
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Ok!

So I can send the images througt my Iphone and the text via Amiga. So:

1.- 2 GB partition for the system and software
2.- 100 GB more or less for the music
3.- the rest for text and documents.

What do you think?
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Old 20 June 2016, 16:57   #14
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That sounds ok to me. Traditionally Amigas have had a smaller system partition and a separate Work partition for applications, but that's entirely down to your preference. Personally I have a couple of Workbench partitions as backups / older versions around 100MB each, then a Work partition of about 5GB and the rest for data, but it's entirely up to you. Just make sure that any partitions you boot from are entirely within the first 4GB of the drive!
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Old 20 June 2016, 17:01   #15
lubaki
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Thank you Daedalus!

So, with your experience I will do a 100MB partition for the system a 5GB Work partition for software and other two for music and text. That is ok?

I will post a review about how is it work with a 25 years alternative computers nowadays. I promise you!
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Old 20 June 2016, 20:41   #16
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25 years is nothing - William Gibson wrote the classic 1984 sci-fi Neuromancer on a 1927 typewriter!
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Old 20 June 2016, 21:01   #17
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I think your main concern here should be your monitor. If you use a standard 1084 your eyes will die long before you finish what you write

If you don't mind going newschool I'd get an LCD screen that supports the 15Khz of Amiga display resolutions.

Otherwise I'd honestly get a Mac Classic, the higher refresh, black and white screen is perfect for writing.
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Old 20 June 2016, 23:26   #18
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writing with 256 lines res, ouch. Now imagine doing it in laced mode so you have more screenlines......

^- and see here why 'Amiga for Business' was never going to fly.

Other option is ofcourse the Glorious ST in Monochrome High, lovely 72Hz mode ;-)
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Old 21 June 2016, 03:23   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lubaki View Post
My question is, can I use the Amiga for this purpose?
Sorry, to rain on your parade, but IMHO the Amiga isn't good at any of those things:

Quote:
1.- Writing articles in RTF.
The Amiga's native resolution sucks for writing - 640x256/512 pixel, without AntiAliasing? Painful. Non-standard Keyboard. Non-standard keyboard shortcuts. PDF support badly outdated, same goes for printer drivers.

Word Perfect is a bad choice anyway - it's basically a mostly unchanged DOS program running on the Amiga. You might want to check out Final Copy instead - much better integrated with AmigaOS and hopefully fast enough on your A1200. Check if it has RTF export.

Quote:
2.- Listening MP3 music (100 GB in the hard drive)
I don't think there's a player for the Amiga that supports music libraries. Start the player, then pick the files or directories you want to play - that's how Amiga players work. Doesn't sound like much fun with a 100 GB collection.

Quote:
3.- Looking Wikpedia
Amiga on the web = baaad idea. Offline solutions for Wikipedia do not exist for the Amiga.

Quote:
4.- Sending email with attached articles and images
YAM doesn't support IMAP, which turns checking mails from several different machines (like your Amiga and your smartphone) into a PITA. It's also having troubles establishing secure connections recently - probably due to providers disabling old, insecure ciphers.

I get that "doing this with the Amiga!" sounds like a lot of fun if you're into old computers. But it isn't, honestly. There are a few things the Amiga is still good at, but word processing isn't one of them.
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Old 21 June 2016, 10:08   #20
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Yeah, I was concerned with the monitor aspect too. The thing is though, productivity modes and DblPAL/DblNTSC are perfectly useable for word processing and aren't interlaced, and will work on almost all VGA monitors with a simple adaptor. Modern LCD monitors will often remove the interlace from Laced modes but they can still show tearing and be tough on the eyes that way.

What Korodny says is generally true too. A lot has happened in the 20-odd years since Commodore went bust, including things like improved font rendering for reading on screen. However, people did manage it just fine back then so there's no reason it can't be done again if one is willing to forego such modern luxuries as AA fonts and modern raster printer support. Postscript support is still perfectly useable however...

OS4 has a couple of library-style music players, but I can think of one music player that does support a library on OS3... mainly because I wrote it. It's not really meant for desktop use and *only* supports MP3s because it is written for use on my MAS-based jukebox, but I use it with a 20GB library without issues. It's going to be slow to work with a 100GB library of course - it's a lot of information for a 25 year old computer to process, and the GUI isn't ideal (it's not really intended to be seen), but it's an option. It's called AmiTunes-Jukebox, and it's never been finished (I should work on that), but if you want to check it out, screenshots are available on my website.

You'll need to make sure YAM leaves a copy of mails on the server if you don't want them to only be available on the Amiga, and you'll need the latest nightly build to work around issues with outdated encryption. Perfectly useable though, and YAM is a pretty decent mailer. SimpleMail is an alternative that does support IMAP and works with GMail, and still has most of the features you expect from a mailer.

At the end of the day, every task listed will be easier and more comfortable on a modern computer, but I think web browsing is possibly the only absolute no-go if he's willing to make the necessary sacrifices (which it appears he is).
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