ScuzzBlog: Diaries October 2021

Entry 15th October 2021: Chasing Clive Lomas - GEM, Checkmate, PowerPC and KCS.

Chasing Clive Lomas - GEM, Checkmate, PowerPC and KCS.

In the early 2000s I was fortunate enough to acquire not only a
fully populated original Checkmate complete with MegaChip and SCSI
drives, but also the entire contents of an Amiga attic. In amongst the
kit was packs of PowerPC cards and boxes of software and disks.
The PowerPC is a MS-DOS/PC emulator card that fits in the trap
door slot of the Amiga 500.

A few weeks back, when going through various DOS 5.25" disk boxes
I discovered a set of GEM desktop disks plus lists of files. What
I also discovered was more KCS configuration disks, both 3.5"
and 5.25" disks. This ties up with the activity already documented
on the blog regarding the then owner of the Checkmate Clive Lomas
and the makers of the KCS board. This, however, was the first
time I had tied in the 5.25" drive as part of the process.

The Checkmate currently displays a KCS icon on the screen that has
no link in respect of software on the computer. I have long held
the belief that the KCS was at some point fitted to the A500.

Anyhoo I decided it was time to checkout the 500 with the KCS and
see if she was still working. I did a little head scratching to
start with as I was getting an error screen and no indication as
to what was causing it. It then struck me that I had been using
an A590 external drive with the 500 and the KCS. Trouble was all
the disks I had were configured with an external hard drive. Then
I investigated the rogue disk in the GEM desktop pack. Sadly the
one file was broken and I couldn't copy the disk. Fortunately I
have many Amigas I can use to undertake the task.

I moved to the Amiga Technologies machine up here and was able to
copy the disk. I quickly made an ADF of the disk for safe keeping.
What you must never do is use the original disk for the process
as the software writes to the disk both the configuration and the
settings for floppy or hard drive installation.

Back to the A500 and I inserted the disk. It very quickly went to
the readme file and requested a reboot to start the process. I was
then prompted to enter selection 2 for the floppy. This gave me the
disk as a boot disk and I then was able to configure the card and boot
from the STANDARD version for the A500 computer. And she fired up
MS-DOS first time. More work was done and I soon had loaded the
support drivers for EMS, CLOCK, MOUSE and VIDEO. I was on fire.

Sadly MS-DOS is real boring.

The GEM disks are possibly something that was being used with the
emulator. The software is on DD disks and not the PC HD type. This
is the same as for the MS-DOS 4 that runs with the emulator. I could
try I guess but I believe the whole system needs the hard drive set
up and the battery on the card replacing.

Daylight hours ran out on me and the night was upon me and so I
bid farewell to Mr Lomas for yet another day. I have retrieved one
of his many disk boxes and plan on chasing Clive and his amazing
world again tomorrow. The man was a very keen Amigan, and as much
as modern Amiga users are significant to the campaign, they pale
into dust when compared to real enthusiasts of the original era.
There really is no comparison. On one hand we have a dedicated
Amiga user who was pushing the boundaries of the platform to its
limit and on the other we have gamers, ADF pilferers and their
WHLoad and Goteks. Just not the same.

More tomorrow.

Chasing Clive Lomas - GEM, Checkmate, PowerPC and KCS.

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Last updated 15th October 2021

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