For no particular reason at all, I’m writing this post in a text editor within an Amiga emulator on the Raspberry Pi. Let me explain that a bit further – a very small circuit board sitting on top of the PC under the desk is running Linux, which is then running an emulator – simulating the hardware and operating system of a Commodore Amiga – a home computer from the late 1980s. The emulator has allowed me to connect a USB stick as a pretend hard-drive, that exists as a folder on the desktop of the Amiga – meaning I have a roundabout way of exporting the text at the end.

You’re probably wondering why on earth I’m bothering with any of it. I guess it’s partly an experiment – to remove distractions. Twenty eight years ago computers didn’t really “do” multi-tasking – so all this pretend computer can do is run a text editor. If anybody is old enough to remember MS-DOS, it’s kind of the same deal. Or not. The Amiga was years ahead of it’s time – Workbench (the Amiga operating system) allowed a primitive form of multi-tasking, although probably ground-breaking at the time.

The other reason for messing around with the emulator? (always a good reason with me) – is tinkering. I spent a couple of hours late last night playing around with the simulated Amiga, figuring out how to install it from scratch. I think perhaps the most impressive thing is the performance and cost comparison against the hardware this simulates. In the early 1990s, an Amiga 1200 would have cost about $500 – the Raspberry Pi costs about $35, and is in the region of ten times faster.

The Commodore Amiga has always interested me, because I didn’t have one. As mentioned before, our family had an Atari ST – originally bought for music, and never really used for it’s intended purpose. The Amiga was colossally expensive compared to the Atari – I can only remember one of my friends having one, and gazing at it in wonder when I visited his house.

Anyway. Here we are. I finally have my Amiga – a pretend Amiga of course, but it looks the same on the screen. I’ll admit to looking at E-Bay earlier today and scaring myself silly – it turns out retro computers have become collectable.


8 thoughts on “Retro”

  1. That’s excellent! Congratulations! I did not have a computer when they first came out for the reason you mentioned … they were outlandishly expensive (at least they seemed that way to me at the time). Plus they really didn’t do much. What a wonderful world we live in when a tiny, virtually disposable computer nowadays can emulate the wonders of yesteryear without breaking a sweat.

    And for the record, I love my Raspberry Pi! I set it up to be a VPN. Now I can surf the web on sketchy public wifi systems without a care in the world.

    Happy tinkering!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your tech language is above my pay grade 😉 I do remember DOS. I took microcomputer skills in college during a summer session. I did a mediocre job in the class, but was annoyed since I was used to doing well in school and understanding things. My oldest was telling me about visiting a friend over the weekend and his older brother built a computer. I don’t know the details. Only that it was 100? 1,000? frames per second which made the graphics on Fortnight amazing. He said the game is much harder on a PC since you have more buttons than our game system, but that he came in 7th. He seemed I guess that’s a good thing. lol.
    We all have our skills…behind the scenes of computers is not mine. I can see how it would be fascinating though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. I haven’t heard Commodore in ages! I do remember DOS as well…gosh, what did I use in University? WordPerfect I think, in the library. I was too poor to own a computer. 😊


    1. This is where I let on that I can remember my Compuserve ID – 100333,3457 – also my ICQ ID – 15824386. I vaguely remember connecting to bulletin board systems when I had my first modem too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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