ScuzzBlog: Diaries May 2021

Entry 27th May 2021: Post 1: Amiga 500 - Are you an A500 Retronoid ?

Amiga 500 - Are you an A500 Retronoid ?

Being an A500 'Retronoid' is quite distinct from being a 'technoid'.
Most of what we see on YouTube and discussed on forums reflects
a community of gamers, technoids and electricians. Few are what I
would call 'retronoids'. So what is a 'retronoid' ? That would be
me. So in describing myself I would state that my first love is for
the computer and not a games machine. I live in the era of the
eighties and early nineties, before the internet and more
particularly mobile phones took hold. I use for the most part
the computer equipment that was available in the day. I use only
real disks which for the most part came with actual released
boxed software and boxed games.

For those that imitate the processes with gadgets fed by USB stick
then this blog is not intended for you. If you use SD cards, CF
memory and modern storage devices then this blog is not intended
for you. If you are a WHLoad gamer that feeds the Amiga with ADF
images pilfered from the internet, then this blog is not intended
for you. If you use any gadget, card , interface etc that has been
purchased to upgrade the Amiga in an attempt to use modern kit then
again this blog is not for you. And finally the true purpose of the
Amiga is as a computer and the primary activity of the computer is
just that, as a computer. Never confuse computing with electrical
engineering. Therefore if your only interest is recapping and
repairing electrical equipment than again this blog is not intended
for you. And if you think a Raspberry can ever be an Amiga then
seriously don't even bother reading any more. Just go.

Forums and YouTube videos are littered with technoid and electrical
repair specialists that like DIY paint scraping. So what I say is
go elsewhere and enjoy what ever it is you do with your Amigas
after you are done messing with them. In this blog I explain what
it is to drive stick in an authentic sports car of the late eighties
that hasn't had its fuel tanks replaced, its engine re powered and
the race track straightened cus drivers couldn't handle the bends.
The rules that apply are only those that existed when Commodore
were still around... or very nearly. The words spoken and read are
from people of the day and not some half comment made by a nobody
on a modern social media farming site. For this was the day of the
true Amigan. Master of his/her domain and bedroom jockey to boot.

Onward then to the 'retro' arena to meet up with our trusty new
interns to explain how to take up the 'retronoid' challenge. So
do you think you have what it takes to be a 'retronoid'?

It's never too late to abandon the Toob Cavers shackles and become
a real Amigan. Seriously, you should try it.

Amiga 500 - Are you an A500 Retronoid ?

Your Amigas came in a box. May take a while
but you need to find a box for your Amiga.

If you want the whole package then you
need to find a suitable box for your Amiga.

In the box came the packaging and that
too was unique to the computer. Learn
what the cheese did and assemble all
the plastic bags, wire clips, polystyrene
inserts. Plus the foam supports.

The computer not only came with manuals
it came with a warranty and other leaflets.

It isn't going to be easy reassembling
the whole package, but if you want your
stripes then you better start looking.

If you ever scrape the intumescent off the
case then you will be instantly banned and
thrown out of the club. It is strictly
forbidden to do anything to the Amiga other
than wipe her down every so often.

Leave that scraping behaviour to YouToobers
who get their kicks from making videos.

Never forget what you have in your possession.
Trust me you are not worthy. Remember that.

Whether green or red your aim is to give the
power to your Amiga, and not the other way around.

A kickstart disk is for the Amiga 1000 and
sometimes the A3000 and A4000T. There was
no A1000. Just like there was no PlayStation 1.
The Amiga 1000 was the creation of a team
outside of Commodore. The Amiga 500 or A500
is a product of Commodore. Whilst WB1.2 is
wholly acceptable for the A500, your preferred
weapon of choice is WB1.3. We live and reside
fully in the world of Commodore. They are god.

Any manual will do as long as it is an authentic
paper version and not some internet PDF.

There were different manuals suited to
different eras and different box editions.

Frequent yourself with the manual suited
to your Amiga and try to obtain a copy.

Amiga BASIC is not essential but is a
nice to have in the collection.

The upgrade manuals are pretty useful as
they list all the AmigaDOS commands.

The later manuals of the A500Plus era
are still significant, though only for
historical reasons. Get an older version.

Your computer came with a Quick Connect guide.
See if you can track one down. Very useful.

These types of port connections and
gadgets are the ones you need to
focus your attention on when buying kit.

Think retro. Think 'retronoid'.

The language of the Amiga is AmigaDOS.

There is only one language for the Amiga.

To communicate you use the CLI or AmigaShell.

You need to learn the language. Otherwise
you will never be able to interact with
your Amiga. GET A BLOODY BOOK !!!

If you see any Amiga tips guides for
sale then gobble them up. Immediately.

Tips are like books but 'in short ' which
sometimes is all you need to get by.

These tips will aid and save your life.

Focus on the era you are working within.
I would suggest 1987 to 1992/93. There
were a multitude of magazines published
in the days and they are all relevant.

These magazines are vital to your understanding
of the Amiga. They were written at the time of
it being in the shops and so the people writing
had an interest in the computer and generally
were very knowledgable and supportive.

Magazines are filled with serious comment
on the Amiga architecture. These are not
random comments on a forum, these are
journalists with a working knowledge of
the Amiga. The words are pure gold.

The more information you have the more
you will understand about the Amiga.

The questions and answers are an insight
into a world long gone, but can still
provide important information.

The guides in the magazines are also vital
as again they were written in the day using
the kit, often for the first time, and are
as true a reflection of how the kit performed
as you are ever going to get.

I would trust a written remark in a magazine
more than any comment from a modern forum.

The magazines also give a glimpse of the
goodies that even today you may still
be able to track down. Amiga resource
sites for such information are becoming
ever more rare.

Old magazines may look a bit wordy, but
those words can be so useful. Again the
answers in Amiga Shopper, say, were so
beneficial and informative.

Even today you see questions about the
make of certain RAM cards. The magazines
are always my first port of call in the
identifying of kit of the era.

Few weeks passed in any of the magazines
where a first steps type of article wasn't
written. The aim in the day to encourage
new users. Consequently the articles are
easy to follow and very helpful.

You must have a set of Amiga 500 disks.
There really was only two. Though many variants.
The Workbench and Extras disk.

You really want to stay 1.3 side of the WB.

It is worth mentioning the big sister
to the A500 and that is the A2000. So
much ran in tandem between the two
computers and so it's worth looking out
for A2000 related software and the like.

This ' IS NOT ' a Workbench disk. Never
be fooled into thinking so. It is anything but.

The Amiga 500 uses DD disks. Never forget that.
You feed your Amiga with these disks or she
will die. Everything else is food without taste.

A few essential things you need to have
in your Armoury. First a file manager
like SID, DOpus or Disk Master.

You need to appreciate what CrossDOS does
how it lets you snoop in on the enemy.

Software like MultiDOS will let you
read those pesky DOS based disks.

You also need a good Text Editor. There
were many released. The Amiga version is
known as 'ED' and resides in 'C'. To master
the assign and scripts like for startups and
mount files you need a text editor.

The king of all file managers is DOPUS4.

The A500 has 512K of Chip RAM. The
expansion slot lets you add 512K Fast RAM.

You are nothing without that extra 512K.
Most came with a battery backed up clock.

Commodore provided the A501 inside a
metal shield.

That battery and memory was to later be
added to the Amiga Plus with deadly consequences.
The battery , though shielded, can attack your
Amiga 500, so best remove it if you have one.

Most cards came with an on off switch
so overcome conflicts with some early games.

This is an A500 PSU. They came in lightweight
and heavy. Get a heavy one, but replace the
capacitors. Power is everything. Trust me.

The older tank mice are just fine. but
any compatible mouse will do as long
as it has a roller ball and a mouse matt.

The mouse matt needs to be fabric.

Joysticks are frowned on. However, some
software used the joystick for control.
Therefore any suitable joystick will do
for none game related activities. NEVER
unplug a mouse/joystick whilst the Amiga
is switched on.

The A520 is a load of crap. Nuff said.

Only use the 25 pin RGB to a dedicated
Commodore or similar monitor like the Philips.

A modern SCART TV can be used whilst
you source a proper monitor.

The 1084 does support the SCART also.

See if you can get a genuine CDTV black 1084.

Essential to your kit is the external floppy drive.

Plus the mandatory disk cleaning kit.

And all disks must be stored upright
in a disk box with a lid.

The floppy port is the most important orifice
on your Amiga. You would be wise to look after
it. To be a true 'retronoid' you can never replace
this with an emulator. In doing so you forfeit
your title as an 'Amiga 500 Retronoid'.

Hard drive options come in a variety of
types, though only XT, IDE 3.5", SCSI
drives will be considered suitable. The
more popular types include the Amiga 590.

Plus the GVP A500 HD+. Both use the
Amigas side expansion port.

It is possible to add an accelerator
to the GVP sidecar. Very fast.

For creative work the A500 was blessed
with numerous original titles and these
often came with the boxed Amigas.

They could also be found on cover disks.
Albeit in this case as a demo.

Essential to your collection is the
boxed software. The artwork, manuals
and original disks all add to the true
world experience of the Amiga.

This applies also to games which should
always be boxed versions of the A500 era.

Whilst it is acceptable to view guides
on YouTube, true 'Retronoids' will invest
in a video cassette recorder and acquire
videos of the day.

Having your own avoids the inconvenience
of Google adverts and the like.

Most of these videos do appear on YouTube.

Be minded of the value of your kit.
It is likely to have only ever increased
in value. So look after what you have.

Whilst value isn't important it should
make you appreciate the computer and
deter you from face scraping it and
hacking the case.

What ever you do enjoy your Amiga.

She should always take pride of place.

Learn how to adapt and create your own Workbench.

Delve into the mysteries of disk management.

Expand your library of software and utilities.

Get to know those all important tools.
Timm Martin worked very hard to help
fellow Amigans. Go learn what he did.

If you have a seal then I would treasure it.

Strap in your valuables and look after
your A500 and she will live with you
for the rest of your life.

Your computer has a unique serial number
And so wear your number with pride.

' A thing of beauty is a joy for ever and ever '.
But only if you follow the path of the Amiga
Retronoid. Be true to yourself and your Amiga.
Learn to adapt to a different time and a different
world. Consider your time with the Amiga 500 as one
where you step back to another era. Be mindful of the
historical nature of this fragile computer. You are
privileged to be using this wonderful work of technological
art. In many ways you are not worthy. First and foremost
remember she is a friend. Treat her like one.

There you have it. Your choice. So do you have it in
you to be a true Amiga Retronoid? Think about it.

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Last updated 27th May 2021

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