Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the Amiga computer. On July 23, 1985 what is still arguably one of the best personal computers I’ve ever owned was unveiled by Commodore at the Lincoln Center in New York city. The original Amiga 1000 was years ahead of its time and was the first truly preemptive multitasking personal computer to hit the market. The Macintosh was still living in a black and white world and the PC was struggling to do more than 16 color graphics, but this new PC from Commodore was capable of displaying all 4,096 of its available colors at once in a special display mode called Hold and Modify (HAM). Let’s not forget the debut of 4 voice stereo digitally sampled sound playback and a massive (for the time) 256K of system RAM. It was the fastest thing going at 7.16 MHz and had a boatload of big name software developers singing its praises.
Alas, Commodore was run by cheeseheads that never fully understood what they had acquired in their purchase of Amiga, Inc. Despite having everything in their favor, Commodore started making blunders from the very beginning including pissing of some of the big name software developers that had been showering the Amiga with praise by not giving them development machines to work on. I can clearly remember the big full-page ad Borland took out in the first issue of Amiga World magazine to promote their upcoming release of Turbo Pascal for the Amiga; a release that never happened because of idiocy at Commodore. Commodore could have taken over the market at that point. Microsoft was still on the initial release of Microsoft Windows on the PC and wouldn’t release Microsoft Windows 1.0 until November of ‘85. Hell, Windows was considered a joke until version 3.0 hit the market five years later. The Macintosh was only a year old itself and wouldn’t support a color display until the release of the Macintosh II in 1987. There wasn’t anything close to the Amiga on the market and it should have gone on to own it, but Commodore seemed bound and determined to screw things up any way they could. Looking back on it now it’s amazing the Amiga was a successful as it was for a short time considering all the idiotic things Commodore did along the way.
I still own three of the four Amigas I purchased over the years including my original Amiga 1000. I sold the 1000 to a former girlfriend way back when, but she gave it back to me about two years ago. I still have an Amiga 1200 around someplace (currently packed away) and an Amiga 3000 I bought off my buddy Bob and never actually finished paying him off for (which he likes to remind me of every so often, but we don’t entirely recall how much I still own him for it). I’ve mentioned before that I used to run a BBS in the mid-80’s on my old Commodore 64s, but for a few years in the early 90’s I ran it on my Amigas. The CNet Pro software is still installed on my Amiga 3000 and comes up as soon as I turn it on. It was last available to callers back in 1995 I believe. The database is still intact with a full user list and all manner of old postings. Someday once I’m working again I’d like to pick up a Zorro II network card for the A3000 and get it hooked into my home network so I can put it on the Net, but it’s hard to find those cards these days and they tend to be pricey when you do. I miss my old Amigas as they were a dream to work with compared with most PCs. Oh well, no use pining for the past.
Found via Slashdot.