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Lifting and Amiga 2000

I recently picked up my First Love, namely the Amiga 2000 purchased in 1990, that kept me in love until the inevitable and painful transition to a Windows system.
I found the pleasure of moving in the Workbench, rediscovered the little chores of graphics made with Deluxe Paint IV, Protracker songs, Imagine 3D graphics made with 2.0 version and programming experiments with C and AMOS basic, placed with logical rigor (oh, the modesty) , organized in folders with a criteria that I still have today. 🙂

As long time ago, while using multiple programs simultaneously, I felt the need for greater amounts of RAM and, why not, a bigger hard disk too.
When the Amiga was ahead of the curve, the cost of memory and disks were basically prohibitive, and I have always dismissed the idea with some’ of regret. Today you can find some of those materials costs laughable, and I said it was time to give a nice facelift to my First Love! 😀 Continue Reading

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Amiga 2000 and dead battery

When I was a kid (I was about 17 years) I used to save money for a whole year, with the only purpose to buy an Amiga 2000. I remember with a nostalgic smile on the inner conflict I faced when I gathered enough to buy an Amiga 500, much cheaper and suitable to my age and my budget. 🙂

My sacrifices were rewarded, since I got one of the most beautiful, expandable personal computers ever made until then. Over the years I have purchased an expansion card from GVP, containing a SCSI controller, an hard disk and two megabytes of additional RAM, both mounted on the card itself.
Just before I placed inside a small circuit board that replaced the Kickstart ROM, on which to mount two separate ROM and equipping two different versions of the Amiga Kickstart.
For non-Amigans, Kickstart was a set of routines and system libraries, that made the connection between the hardware and software. The operating environment, named Workbench, did nothing but call the routines in the Kickstart to present you the marvelous multitasking desktop that has made the Amiga. Continue Reading

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Mattel Electronics ECS

Before acquiring the Aquarius project from Eastern Radofin, Mattel Electronics tried to offer a cheap alternative to the original project, named Keyboard Component, proved too ambitious (and expensive) compared to competing products, aimed to the emerging market of home computing. So it was that a very interesting object came to life, named ECS: Entertainment Computer System.

ECS was a form of expansion of the famous Intellivision. It was connected to the console as if it were a (enormous) game cartridge. Once connected, it was perfectly joined to the main console case, looking as a natural extension of the original hardware.

The module, called Computer Adaptor, included 2KB of memory, expandable up to 16KB, a ROM built-in BASIC interpreter, a second chip dedicated to sound, able to add 3 audio channels, a port for connecting a datassette (standard type of recorders) or to connect a thermal printer, also used for home computer Aquarius.
The Computer Adaptor was also equipped with two front connectors, protected by a snap closure flap, able to connect or the computer keyboard or the musical (Music Synthesizer), or two additional game controllers, that, in the original plans, should have allowed 4 people to play simultaneously. Continue Reading

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Mattel Electronics Intellivision

Following the success of Atari, undisputed forerunner of the video games home market, in the late 70s, Mattel (well known for the Barbie) inaugurates the Electronics Division, author of the console that was the first real rival of Atari 2600: The Intellivision.

Mattel Electronics Intellivision

In late 1979 system testing was completed, and Intellivision was released starting from 1980. The configuration was not just stuff. In fact it was the first home entertainment system with a heart at 16 bit!
The microprocessor inside the console, was a General Instrument CP1610 at 895 KHz (less than a MHz!!), which was backed by 1352 bytes in RAM (little more than A Kilobyte!!), a dedicated graphics chip, called STIC (who had 1KB of dedicated RAM), able to operate at 160 x 196 with 16 colors and 8 sprites, while the sound, managed by a General Instrument AY-3-8914, was capable of 3 channels + 1 for white noise, in mono.
The ROM, large about 7KB, contained the graphics routines (GROM) and the heart of the system: a true microkernel called EXEC. Continue Reading