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ScuzzBlog: Diaries August 2017

Entry 23rd August 2017: Post: 3

FixDisk to Timm

[ diary entry ]

Discovering Amiga legends is kinda fun especially when you trip upon 
them whilst undertaking emergency issues fixing your computer. I was 
trying to copy a file to the A590 and the poor thing went into an 
endless spin. Enter FixDisk v1.2 from 1990 and available on Amiga 
Computing cover disk #17. ( copyright Werner Guenther 1990 ). This 
software would evidently sort out all my issues. All it did though was 
identify another problem with 1.3 on the Amiga. Specifically how to read 
hidden files in the directory. I was guided to using a directory utility 
to deal with a rogue file and this pointed me to SID by Timm Martin. 
Having read the following short history in his own words I am moved to 
use the term in Red Dwarf ' What a guy '

Fortunately I had SID1.06 within a copy of Workstation on the Amiga and 
quickly found that although I was able to identify the issue I was not 
able to correct the problem. It would appear that Kindwords had created 
a duplicate file on the machine and the key had been set , or something 
like that. In the end it proved quicker to simply format the drive and 
start over. That worked.

And so to Timm...  I sense frustration in his work, although he did 
persevere, but I doubt got the right level of appreciation or financial 
reward from his efforts. So here in his own words is a brief history of 
SID. Pictures on the website.

[ not my words ]

The words of Timm Martin creator of SID

SID began in October 1988 when a friend of mine wanted me to collect 
some public domain software for a friend of his who had just purchased 
an Amiga. Specifically, he wanted some type of program that would make 
file manipulation easier. As a die hard hacker I had always used the CLI 
and had never even seen a directory utility before, but in my search for 
this collection of PD software , I came across DirUtilIII. Now this was 
a very ambitious program for the Amiga in its infancy , but after using 
it for five minutes , the arrogant programmer in me told me I could do 

My best friend Jeff Hoag was also using this program to maintain files 
on his BBS, so when he heard of my interest in writing a new DU, he 
immediately handed me a wish list. The most important thing was an 
improved user interface and no limits ( he had thousands of files in 
each directory but DUIII could only hold 300 )

I released SID v0.49 in early 1989 to Jeff and some friends in the local 
user group. The consensus was that SID had great potential but could use 
some improvement. So I gathered some suggestions and rewrote SID from 
scratch. It took me hundreds of hours but released SID v1.03 locally as 
shareware in the summer of '89 and used it for my senior project in 
college. After a few more revisions, I released SID 1.06 to the world in 
Dec 1989.

What was the beginning of a wonderful period in my programming life was 
also the beginning disastrous part of my personal life , affectionately 
known as the 'Dark Ages'. I moved in early 1990 , and in the hustle and 
bustle lost most of the source code to SID v1.06. ( This is when I began 
a system of seven rotating backups including two off-site ).

Unfortunately , as certain deficiencies were uncovered in v1.06 , I was 
helpless to fix them. The included the 'SeparateDirs' bug that blackened 
screens, a cryptic config file, problems with Kickstartv2.0 and only a 
single configurable button. In the spring of 1990 I decided to write a 
completely configurable SID with interactive editing the way it was 
meant to be on the Amiga. After three months of design I started to 
write SID that summer.

For the next year I spent over a thousand hours writing SID before 
compiling a single byte of code! I was receiving enough shareware fees 
to keep up my interest in SID2, but unfortunately not enough to forsake 
my day job and program full time for the Amiga a dream I have always 
had. Thus while spending nights on SID , I spent the day working and 
finishing my last year in college.

Spring 1991 was a particularly enjoyable time in my life. I graduated 
from the 'seven-year plan' with honors. I accepted a job at Proctor and 
Gamble in Cincinnati, and I released a Beta version of SID2. I fully 
expected to have SID ready for general release in the summer, but look 
out! My new job and life consumed most of my spare time, and suddenly 
SID fell behind.

Then in October I contracted a mysterious virus  (my second in three 
months ) that landed me in the hospital. I spent the whole month of 
October in bed and then the entire month of November in bed as soon as I 
got home from work. I got especially frustrated when a commercial 
developer released a directory utility that looked strikingly similar to 
SID2-beta, so much so that some people wondered if this was the 
commercial version of SID2. ( I guess that's the ultimate form of flattery )

I began to doubt if there was still a future and interest in SID2. But 
having invested so much time and effort I decided to keep on plugging. 
 From December through February I averaged just over five hours 
programming seven days a week on top of the 9-11 hours a day at P&G. The 
result after 2300 hours work from 2.9 million bytes of code is SID2.

Tools of Madness

SID2 was created using a Commodore Amiga 3000 25MHz 68030, 200MB hard 
drive and 6MB RAM. UEdit by Rick Stiles and Manx C.

[ end history ]

SID v2.00 is available on Amiga Computing Jun 92 Issue 49


FixDisk v1.2

SID v1.06

SID 1.06 Directory Utilities

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Last updated 24/08/2017

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