ScuzzBlog: Diaries July 2022

Entry 12th July 2022: Post 1: Why I don't use a Gotek.

Why I don't use a Gotek.

I read with some interest so many posts on current forums from
new users that having obtained an Amiga they are very keen to fit
a Gotek drive, which often involves the removal of the original
floppy drive. Further, some are even happy to go the whole 'hog'
and replace the Amiga hardware with kit that fully emulates the
Amiga. I have even read arguments suggesting that the Amiga is
really only its operating system and that old kit is obsolete.

Have no doubt that what a Gotek is , is a USB Floppy Emulator.

Interesting. So why do I choose not to use a Gotek. I will now
raise five points of discussion by way of explanation.

01 - Dedicated Computer Stations:

I have well over a hundred Amigas and have spent way too much of
my adult life collecting and restoring Amiga kit. To say I was a
bit of an enthusiast is an understatement.

I never confuse what an Amiga is and what a modern computer can
do. That is why for all my Amiga activities I have dedicated work
stations set up for Amiga activity, and for everything else I have
my various PCs hooked up to big monitors etc. I never cross the
streams [ Ghostbusters ]. The Amiga is and will always be just
that, an Amiga. I have original kit which includes the monitors
hooked up to each Amiga, and they all have specific uses. I never
attempt to work any harder than it did in its prime, and I never
attempt to bring it into the current century with modern stuff.

If I had a classic car, I would drive and maintain a classic car.
I would not give it a new paint job, pimped up interior and or
new mechanical parts. So when it comes to the Amiga I live for
the past and enjoy the period up to say 2000 as a cut off.

I do not play retro games. I collect old games but I do not play
them. Games have always been about the next best thing so I play
modern games and enjoy online PC games. I also do not collect
games like 'trading cards' and make endless efforts to fill USB
sticks full of every game created. Albeit for the most part cracked
and potentially illegal copies. Not interested.

02 - The Look of the Kit:

I seriously love the look of everything Amiga. I guess I have a
soft spot for all retro computing gear as I have always had a
fascination in home computing. I was there at the birth and so I
have enjoyed the full journey thus far. I never parted with any of
my kit so I still have a very large collection that was once new.

The Amiga for me is a most wonderful and quite magical looking
computer. I get quite a thrill from just having the machines out
on the desktops and workbenches. They are part of who I am and I
would be quite lost without them. There is no way I would ever
deface or hack an Amiga. Quite the contrary, in that when I have
obtained junked Amiga tower parts I have rebuilt the Amiga back
to the original state she was. The thought of mutilating an Amiga
to incorporate some modern gadget abhors me. Commodore were very
careful to build expandability into their products and in turn
manufacturers respected the kit and made sure it worked within
the original form factor.

03 - Collecting:

I am a collector, some call me a hoarder. I have always collected
stuff. I enjoy electronic and computer gadgetry and am lucky to
have the time to marvel at their splendour. The modern world has
always had a way too high redundancy factor when it comes to kit
and so much has hardly ever been fully used before being cast to
the recycling centre. For my part I seriously wear stuff out before
I throw it away. I get very attached to everything I have and so
go to great pains to keep stuff alive.

So I look after my collections of what I have and enjoy using and
studying everything.

It follows that when faced with a choice between having a data copy
of something and or owning the actual original software I will always
seek out the originals and obtain them for the collection. Games
are never truly part of the collection until I have the original in
its box complete with all that would have accompanied it. I spend a
good time putting together original box contents for all kinds of
computer software and games media. A game is more than what you play
on the screen, it is the whole package. Until I can hold the box in
my hands and open it up and take out the disks and manual I really
never consider I have the game.

04 - Disks:

What can I say other than I have over 13500 Amiga disks. And that
is just the Amiga side of things. For the most part all my disks
are stored vertical in numbered dust free disk boxes. I have all my
disks indexed and where possible I have created copies of disks.

The heart of the Amiga is its floppy drive and from this port the
lifeblood of the Amiga flows. Without it there is no heart to the
Amiga. The floppy clicks and makes its own distinctive sounds. In
truth the noises the floppy makes are as much a part of the Amiga
as anything else. Take this away and you degrade the Amiga feeling
and destroy that unique quality that makes the Amiga classic.

If you use an Amiga long enough you will listen to the whir of the
drives and clicks from the floppy. You will instinctively know of
problems from the sounds you hear. To this day I cannot use a hard
drive without an original IDE or SCSI. I just have to be able to
hear the drive going through the motions.

05: Emulation:

I use to make this comment on my Yahoo Group before it was closed
down by Yahoo and it went ' Participate, don't emulate '. And 'Give
me love not a facsimile of '. If you grew up during the home computing
era you will be fully aware of the way computer and running system
were integrated. The hardware was generally unique to the manufacturer
and the operating system or mode of operation an integral part of
the kit. BUT... when folk said Jupiter Ace, ZX80, CPC6128, ATOM,
have no doubt they were referring to the computer and not the OS.

It follows that the Amiga is a piece of hardware. It has form and
is made up of a set number of components. All parts are numbered
and  you can go online and track each and every component down and 
read up on just what it did. For the greater part all components 
had a very specific purpose and when put together with all other 
components creates the Amiga.

For me there is no confusing just what an Amiga is and what an
emulator is. The Amiga is the sum of all its parts and by definition
those parts included a traditional 3.5" DD floppy drive at its
heart. The one sings in tune with the other and makes the Amiga
just what it is, the greatest computer ever made. Interestingly I
have in my time purchased nearly every single different model of
home computer to satisfy myself that the Amiga was the best. Trust
me it really is the best. And so why would you ever degrade that
experience by installing quite alien hardware.

It was Eric Schwartz who encouraged Amiga users to be survivors.
He wrote a quite beautiful article about just why the Amiga was
so special. It does take a little more effort, time and resources
to keep an actual Amiga alive. But the effort is more than fully
rewarded with the treasure that she is.

All Amiga users started at sometime on their Amiga journey. They
may have had but a handful of disks and a couple of games. But in
time they expanded their Amiga world with every piece of hardware
and software they procured. Some want to shortcut that process
today and tap into the free download world of the USB emulator.
All I would ask is that when you do such a thing you respect the
Amiga. For whilst in your possession you are custodian of what
is simply the greatest computer ever made. Never forget that. For
me its way more rewarding to stay ' Old Skool ' and be what Eric
defined as a 'Survivor '.

Thank you for reading. 

Why I don't use a Gotek.

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Last updated 12th July 2022

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