Over the years I have gone to great lengths to maintain hard drives
on machines. Not simply my own but all those that I have acquired.
For me the hard drive is like the brain, but more powerful. And why ?
Simply cus it saves everything and can call up data without trying
to remember stuff. It also represents a working model of time spent
on the computer. Not only does it have the program files but it
also has the data and created work.
For me the hard drive is a snapshot in time. And so when I find a
hard drive loaded with data I can read the era of its creation. I
can learn from the composition of the interests of the individual.
It is very easy in these days of downloading software to build a
collection of Amiga software. What cannot be replicated however is
the context, the period and more important the raw data.
So each of my computers has a brain .. a hard drive. It has been
a kinda rule of mine from day one that a computer needs a data
store or hard drive. A computer has no soul without one. Even the
Commodore C64s and VICs have their floppy drives and data store.
I have so many 5.25" drives of varying type I can sustain the
entire collection with data. I have to record data.
So when I get an opportunity to fire up individual computers for
a reason I very often find myself sinking down the computers own
personal rabbit hole. I recently received an email about the
Amiga A5000 accelerator card and I first wanted to check the
disk on a 500 before checking further on the A4000. So I decided
to fire up my trusty 500 workhorse in the studio to have a play.
Last year I had one of the GVP sidecar's power supplies fail and
discovered very leaky capacitors. So I pulled my boxed GVP's PSU
and have been storing that lovingly out of the light when not in
use. The boxed version is an unused mint version. The GVP has a
pretty unique power supply.
With the machine readied I set too checking that she was fine. And
before long I was deep inside the computer's brain and enjoying the
content. It really is a wealth of Amiga history in terms of the
various programs. It also represents a time in someone's life when
they obviously enjoyed their Amiga. It's odd to think that the
person probably has the view that it has long since been destroyed.
But amongst the many letters and artwork there are spreadsheets of
accounts and even recipe's for meals and puddings.
All this is possible because of maintaining the hard drive. It is
for me the most significant part of the computers worth. What is
better is the contents of the persons workspace. Having some physical
context is magical and so informative. I have only one such collection
from a users attic and I keep that all in one location. Whilst the
Amiga lives on through the emulator, it is quite impossible to
recreate the actual moment in time the computer was being used by any
individual. That is true retro. And in many ways that is why I do not
refurbish Amigas by cleaning or hack in any modern kit. I am more
interested in the past than the present. I love the machines when
they are weathered and carry the scars of previous use. History is
not about restoring the past to a modern equivalent. It is about
understanding what it was like to live the moment. And that is more
about the usage of the computer than the way it can be used now. So
if you have any fragment of its past then it needs to be treasured,
before it is forgotten and lost forever.
I once knew a car enthusiast who restored old cars. And I actually
saw him remove perfectly good interiors and replace with the actual
originating seats and fascias and carpets, but which were worn , shabby
and deteriorating with age. However when the car was complete even
with the poor state of some of the internal items you were left in
no doubt of what the car looked, felt and even smelt like when it
was originally driven. I always reflect on that when I try to piece my
Amigas back together. So I struggle to keep them all alive and
hopefully respect the period from their originating usage. That
way I can enjoy the Amiga for what it was and not what it became.
It is for others to decide what they do with their Amiga. I am only
saddened when I see computers hacked and scraped of protective surfaces
just cus the owner cannot deal with age. Sad because the computer is
loses it's historical context and becomes just another faceless
computer. Once modern hardware is installed into the Amiga it
removes that physical bond with it's past. Basically cus you can't reverse
retrobriting or mend the case once cut and hacked apart. An Amiga
has a unique serial number and sadly loses that identity. It is no longer
what it was and becomes what it is 'now'. Obvious I know.
In time there will be less and less original machines in circulation
and finding an actual Amiga will become ever more difficult. For me
it is kinda inevitable, but on my watch the Amiga is safe. And truly
that is why I never part with any. Once gone the link is broken and
I can no longer guarantee the Amiga's safety. And trust me when I say
I have been gifted so may computers because the owner wanted to find
a safe home for their beloved machine.
Anyhoo.. here is the A500 with the GVP that I keep alive and kicking.
Over the coming weeks it is my intention to copy the drive and I shall
hopefully show the processes involved.
Cuppa me thinks !!
PS Sorry for appearing hard on the upgrading mob, but it does really
trouble me. More so cus I have the debris of Amigas past here that
I have collected from failed tower and adaptation projects.