Amiga and Commodore news and topics not covered in the other forums
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Mr.Toast

by Mr.Toast posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:38 am

Legal disclaimer stuff: The below info is not intended to speak on behalf of, or represent, the local Amiga computer club. Merely, my impressions and interpretations of recent experiences (all positive).

Backgrounder:
I'm a "Returner"... fell in love with the platform in 1985/6, couldn't get my own until 1989 ($$$$). Did a lot of 3d modeling and animation stuff which eventually lead to a 15+ year career-later switched to an engineering career where I am at now. I owe it all to Aegis VideoScape, Modeler, TurboSilver, Real3d, and eventually Lightwave which I rode out until about 2009. As these demanding tasks were system intensive, I had to jump ship about 1995. But, like many of you, I never forgot my roots and always kept an eye on the emulation scene. In the last year or so, I finally decided to dust off the old gals (A500, A1000, A4000) and discovered they all needed some technical love. Luckily, I have been cultivating soldering, assembly and troubleshooting skills associated with day my job, as well as my other hobby-FPV "drone" building and flying.

And, what a great time to reignite my passions for Amiga as well as 8 bit CBM! There's new hardware, software and of course, a vibrant community of people who either are returning to the Amiga, or never left. And I tip my hat to all the YouTube content creators who have kept pushing the envelope on what should be mere museum curiosities. They're my inspiration for getting back in the hobby.

Sacramento Amiga Computer Club:
Earlier this year (2018), when I was digging around for resources, I ran across the SACC. I reached out to them and was directed to the current president. I found the club to be warm and inviting, if a bit aging-which is to be expected for one of the few remaining computer clubs focused on CBM with roots back to the early days. I offered my soldering skills and tools to help the group, and was invited to bring my kit to the venerable "AmiWest 2018" show and do on site work. This event was a hoot and I wish I could have stayed for the whole thing. I got to do some fun repair work and see gear I'd never got to play with when I was a younger man (An A3000T with Varta damage is a very scary experience!).
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You're going to need a bigger soldering iron, kid.

Overall, AmiWest was a great experience. So much passion and energy-and from what I understand represented an uptick in attendance and activity from previous years. I really look forward to participating in this event next year and maybe be a little bit more involved in the hosting of the event. So, if you are around, look for me swinging a soldering iron or test probes at AmiWest 2019!

This is about when the club's president told me about the "Abyss". Over the years, the club had amassed a significant amount of Amiga gear, software, and magazines. During the darker times, schools were dumping their equipment, club members were literally dying off, as well as some rescue operations took place to save machines. At one point, it occupied at least one full storage unit. Amiga upon Amiga upon Amiga of all flavors. Storing this gear represented a substantial recurring financial drain on the club. So efforts have been made to reduce the physical footprint and convert it into some sustainment funding. Over time, they have been either selling the assets, or finding new homes (like the newish http://bayarearetrocomputing.club/). Items have been gradually making their way out to new owners, typically with a modest donation. These donations help cover a fraction of the storage costs.

ENTER THE ABYSS (©) :
I was recently invited down to the Abyss and given access to help organize some stuff and maybe grab a few picks myself. Unfortunately, much of the meat on that bone has been pared down. I'm not into collecting physical software-nor magazines.

*Box upon box upon box of Amiga magazines and software collections-many "backups" as well as originals*

Although it was quite fun to dig through boxes of magazines from AmigaWorld, Video Toaster User, and Amiga Video. Unfortunately, I just neither have the space nor the patience to try and collect any of this stuff. However, I did see a WALL of empty A2000 and A3000 cases. Many of these cases were in great condition likely from users who relocated their gear to tower cases. I'd bet many of them regret that years later. I grabbed a few Amiga 500s and scavenged motherboards that were marked as dead for future projects/donor boards. Also, there were a few boxes that were clearly from people who tinker with electronics. They contained old components, hand tools, some chips (74 series logic). Lots of cool stuff to me anyway. I also picked a Mediator USB board which will come in handy when I get my A4000 fully back to health.

I offered to sell a few things at a time for the club on ebay with the goal of helping to offset some of their storage costs. I know others have done this before and it eventually leads to either burn out or drama. So I only took a small set to try and resell for them at first. This included a very impressive box of Amiga 1000 keyboards. Literally, about a dozen A1000 style keyboards, which I personally think are the most elegant of all the Amiga keyboard implementations! They need some love and cleanup before selling, but I think there'll be some new home in their future!
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A1000 keyboards OH MY

I am looking forward to returning to this dusty shrine. Maybe next time, I'll grab a few A3000 cases and clean them up for resale. For now.... Anyone looking for an A1000 keyboard with no cable? Send me a PM with a reasonable market rate offer :D

All in all, it looks like I picked a great time and place to re-enter the Amiga hobby and very very fortunate that there is a local community of sorts to share my passion with.

At the upcoming February 2019 club meeting, I plan to be demoing SMT recapping on an A3640 board. If you can make it out here to the Sacramento area, stop in and say hi. Details at http://www.sacc.org/.

2019 Amiga Cheers from Mr. Toast
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:16 am

Super inspirational, man - yes! And good on you for helping out to give those keyboards new homes to help fund the club. That club is easily one of the longest running in the country no doubt. I know of a few SAC folks that are deep into retro (including/especially Commodore and Amiga). Maybe they'll join that club and add some new blood in 2019.

I can say from personal experience that founding and participating in a local Commodore club has been one of the most fulfilling things I've done in years.
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EzdineG
Springfield, MO

by EzdineG posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:19 pm

Here's a toast to Mr. Toast!

As a fellow returner, it's great to see another enthusiast among us. You came to the right place with those A1000 keyboards, that machine is a favorite around these parts ;)
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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

by Zippy Zapp posted Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:49 am

Awesome story!

Hey that's why there is so many Amiga 1000s sold with no keyboards! ;) :lol:
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Dynamic_Computing

by Dynamic_Computing posted Sun Dec 30, 2018 9:50 pm

I would be willing to buy some A3000 case parts to fund the club. Specifically looking for a Ppower Supply and the internal drive holders. Mine have vanished. I have jury rigged a temporary solution, but would love to have a permanent solution and help the club, too!
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dalek

by dalek posted Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:03 pm

If you come across any 3000/UX cases I could really use the front plastic to replace my badly yellowed non-UX one that currently runs amix :)

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