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/// ONLINE WEEKLY Amiga Report Online                The lines are buzzing!

Below is a message from a friend who has decided to take the plunge and
get a PC.  This is partially due to GEnie's recent Commodore Insider's
Conference.  This conference was, in my opinion, in extremely poor taste.
It portrayed Commodore as a company that will be dead in six months.  Yet
this is not true.  The answers given by these so-called "Insiders" whose
handles are DEEPMODEM and DEEPTHOUGHT were simply speculation.  None could
be confirmed as fact.  Most of their answers were "Nope" or "Don't know."
The air of the conference was of doom and gloom.  Why on earth GEnie ran
this conference is beyond me.  All it has done is cause more Amiga owners
to sell out for other platforms.  It has managed to pour salt into a
long-open wound.  I will not print the conference for two reasons... first,
we do not support GEnie anymore, and haven't for several months.  Secondly,
it did enough damage just on GEnie.  I'm not going to have a hand in
circulating it further.

This is my friend's message:

> After using some high end PC's lately, I have to really disagree with
> your die-hard staying away from them.
> As sad as it is, it's really foolish to buy anything else now.  PC
> technology is SO far ahead.
> I'm very seriously thinking about getting a PC very soon.  I've been
> running Norton's Desktop and it's really amazing.  It has lots of
> Amiga similar features, but has lots that blow the Amiga away.  For
> instance, it has a built in viewer program similar to MultiView, but
> WAY superior.  When you click on a file on drive c: for instance, it
> will show the file in a small, resizeable box.  It recognizes like 100
> types of files and shows them in native format.  GIF, PCX, BMP, Excel,
> Word, WP, ANYTHING you can think of.  You don't even need to native
> software to see an Excel document for example, and it even looks like
> you have Excel running!
> It's built into the desktop, and is REALLY cool.
> Also I've been reading some write-ups on OS/2 lately and it's pretty
> impressive.  True protected pre-emptive multitasking.  I just read a
> write up where the guy said it's really wierd, as you can go MONTHS
> without even rebooting or resetting your machine.  It's that stable,
> and if a program bombs, it's protected and you can just shut it off.
> You can get a 486DX2-66 w/ 256k cache, 345meg hard drive, 1 meg Vesa
> Local Bus video with 1280x1024, 15" monitor, etc. for $2299.
> You can get Dell's top line Dimension 466V XPS for a list of $3199.
> It has a 486DX2-66 (upgradeable to Pentium), High-speed 256k static
> RAM external cache, 12ms *450mb* Local Bus hard drive, double-speed CD
> ROM, 16 meg RAM upgradable to 64 meg on the motherboard, 15" UltraScan
> .28dp monitor, and last but not least:  The Vesa Local-bus Viper Video
> Card.  "Thanks to the Viper, the 466V Ultimate features a flicker-free
> display at all resolutions.  You can work with a palette of 16 million
> brilliant colors.  Oh, and before we forget, the Viper has 2 magabytes
> of it's own VRAM for the kind of face-warping acceleration that leaves
> others blinking in the dust...At 60 million winmarks, it's the fastest
> PC graphics accelerator on Planet Earth.  For $199 more you can add
> two amplified, fully powered Labtec CS550 stereo speakers and a
> Dimension XPS 466V Ultimate..."
> WOW!  That's unblievable performance.  Pretty good at $3198.  That's
> for a Dell too, with the best customer service anywhere, plus no
> worrying about incompatible add-ons.  Nothing else to add.  Photo-CD
> compatible CD-ROM, Vesa Local bus, huge hard drive, etc.
> Slap OS/2 on that, or Windows with Norton's, and you have access to
> the best software in the world, at speeds that would make even Windoze
> blaze.  Plus, my scanner could really come alive at those 24-bit
> resolutions!!!
> I'm getting damn tempted right now.  Every time I go into any store
> here and see the mountains of software and have to explain to someone
> "No, I can't run that..." I get tired of it.  Even lots of the VAX
> software expects PC mating software on the other end...
> The Amiga's the best system, but I fear it's way behind and will only
> fall farther.  You did know that Compute's Amiga Resource (the mag Denny
> edited) is gone...
> A modern top-line PC is really cool dude.  I've been using one for a
> long time, and with the proper software they really come alive.  QEMM
> makes DOS memory management EASY, and OS/2 does away with the limit in
> the first place.  There are utilities to make it do most anything the
> Amiga can, too.  Think of all the accessories you have running on the
> Amiga to make it do what it does.  Same deal.
> Protected pre-emptive multitasking, the ability to run apps the Amiga
> can only dream of, and MUCH better graphics.
> Dell's video even has the ability to have "virtual" screens just like
> the Amiga.
> As I sit on my Amiga, I keep telling myself "Damn, this is sooo cool.
> I can't imagine anything else."  Then I go to work and the prejudice
> slowly wears off.  I find myself more and more saying "Damn this is
> cool.  I wish my Amiga could do/run this."
> Have you ever used MS Word, or Ami-Pro, or Excel?  Light years ahead
> of the Amiga.  The list goes on... TrueType fonts, etc.  I have a
> Corel-Draw CD with hundres of TT fonts, all scaleable, and tons
> of Postscript clip art.
> All the jive you read about the nightmare of setting them up and
> getting them configured right, etc. is just a joke.  Sure, for the
> average guy it might be something, but for someone versed in computers
> like us it's EASY.  Windows is MUCH easier to setup and make run than
> the Amiga.  Remember how the Amiga looked when you first got it, and
> all you had to do to make it work right?
> The Amiga's a hackers computer.  You don't think about it because you
> are used to it.  You should see what a PC can do with a hacker aboard.
> Ok, enough.  I've already decided to get one.  My honest advice coming
> from a long-time Amiga head is for you too also when your Amiga
> becomes obsolete.

> My only decision is when to do or later.  I could probably
> get enough for my setup right now to get that Dell, or come close...
> I think that, then I imagine life without Amiga.  Damn, that would
> just feels so natural to me.  It's really sad that it
> worked out the way it did.  I remember when other computers besides
> the PC had a chance.  No more.  Everyone is pouring development into
> PC's.  All the new stuff is there now, and it will become more so in
>the future.
> God I feel bad about this, but the thought of 24-bit high res
> super-fast video, 16-bit sound, huge hard drive, awesome speed, and the
> CD ROM has me going...

If you want a PC, buy a PC.  I'm not going to try to stop you.  It's just
that I refuse to purchase inferior technology (be it software or hardware)
just to have what everybody else has.  I refuse to help make Microsoft any
richer.  Intel chips SUCK and that's all there is to it.  The design stinks.
When PC's go RISC, I'll consider it, but as long as they use the current
Intel chips, no way.  Talk to any programmer that has written for a Motorola
chip and they'll tell you how bass-ackwards Intel chip design is.  I sure
hope the PowerPC chips aren't like this.

If you have to buy a PC, at least wait until the first of the year... by
then, 486's will be really cheap, what with the Pentium out in force by
that time.  Upgrading a 486 to a Pentium is a bad idea... you're getting a
32-bit version of a 64-bit chip, so you gain nothing.  If you want a
Pentium, get a Pentium.  Otherwise get a 486/66 and leave it at that.

When I can get a PC that can multitask as well as the Amiga (which means
being able to format four floppies at once, download at 14.4K and who
knows what else), for under $2000, I'll consider it.  I don't have $4000
for a top-of-the-line Dell, Gateway, Insight, Zeos or whatever.

Now, the side of me that loves playing with new technology would LOVE to
have one of those PC's to augment my 1200.  And I'd also like to have a
Falcon.  Just because it's new and different.  But I refuse to replace a
superior machine with an inferior DOS box, no matter how good the software
has gotten, again, just to have what everybody else has.  The software on
the Amiga is very, very nice.  I have no problem at all with Final Copy II,
ADPro, Directory Opus, ImageMaster, GPFax, etc.

But it all comes down to the fact that clones have become so popular, that
nothing else is considered very seriously.  People buy them without a 
second thought.  Then they bitch and moan about not being able to use it.
Far too many times have I volunteered to help somebody that just bought a
PC learn to use it.  I should have said "Did you ask me BEFORE you bought
it?  No?  Then why are you asking me now?"  And let them lie in their own

I must disagree about PC's not being difficult to setup.  My roommate has
a loaded Gateway 2000 486DX/33, and is constantly bitching about how hard
it is to make things work.  He's a hacker-type too.  He has four different
config.sys files that he has to use to make various programs and games
work, thanks to the ever-present 640K barrier.  And no matter what front-end
you use (Windoze, Norton Desktop, etc), you'll STILL have to use that damn
DOS prompt at one point or another.  On the Amiga, the CLI is an OPTION,

You should have heard him the night he tried installing OS/2!  About every
fifteen minutes he'd scream "This isn't so [censored] hard on an ST!"
(he's a former Atari ST owner, like myself).  To this day, OS/2 is NOT on
his machine.  It just didn't want to run properly.  Gee, maybe eight meg
of RAM and a 340 meg hard drive just isn't enough.  <grin>

I didn't find my Amiga hard at all to get running.  Once I had the hard
setup, it was just a matter of tinkering with my preferences until I liked
what I saw.  It's the same thing in Windows really.  But you still have to
create your config.sys and autoexec.bat files.  And there are all the
different IRQ settings to deal with when installed new boards (Soundblaster
for example).  And let's not forget that a minimum useable Windows environ-
ment is a 486 with localbus video and a 200 meg localbus hard drive.  Any-
thing less is a waste of time.  So by then you're looking at around $2000
for a reputable brand (remember, you get what you pay for) with decent
support.  Thanks, but I can have a really nice A4000/030 for that kind of

                            Rob @ Amiga Report


A public response to GEnie's Commodore Insiders Conference by Denny Atkin:

Yeah, it was depressing. But I also think things aren't quite as bad as they
seemed. There are still how many companies out there doing Amiga stuff right
now and doing well enough to take out multi-thousand-dollar ads in AmigaWorld?
Recent products like Brilliance, VT4000, and Emplant have done great. And the
conference hosts said that the 4000 is selling very well and only problem with
A1200 sales is that Commodore can't afford to manufacture enough to keep up
with demand -- which means the machine's popular.
Also, some of the comments have to be taken in perspective. It was obvious
that the conference guests were employees or ex-employees in the development
department -- they knew technical stuff, but they wrote off many questions
with "that's a marketing question." So many of the answers were from an
engineer's perspective. Some of them bothered me, like the comment about the
Amiga being technically behind the times. Well, perhaps, compared to the new
IBM PowerPC or the SGI Indy. But compared to this month's local bus PC design?
Or the latest Mac running System 7.1? I don't think so. (Okay, maybe the AV
Macs...) Anyway, I thought a lot of the tone of the Amiga being behind was
from the perspective of someone who's hot on the latest technology, which is
not necessarily what's in use out there -- or what will be in use out there a
year from now either.
YES, it is disturbing that development may have stagnated at CBM. But that
doesn't mean it's time to write off the Amiga. It may be time to consider
getting a new computer two or three years down the road, but guess what? You'd
need to consider that no matter WHAT you're using. Two years ago games were
designed with 286 machines in mind, and many were EGA. Now there are actually
games that need a 66MHz PC to play smoothly. And on the Mac... Apple has
publicly said that Motorola processors are on the way out and they're going
PowerPC, so you'll probably want to replace the Mac in a couple of years too.
And RISC and PowerPC machines may be the hottest things for the technical
literati two years from now, rather than Intel machines. In other words, the
Amiga is competitive RIGHT NOW. (IMHO, anyway.) If development is indeed
stagnated and Commodore will be behind the times in a year or two, that won't
be good. But chances are pretty good that whatever else you buy today will be
just as outdated then too. (A couple of months ago I bought a 486DX2/66 for
work -- at the time it was literally the fastest PC you could buy. Now there
are PCs available that are twice the speed.)
Another thing to consider is how much doom and gloom to accept from people
named DEEAnyway, yes, I'm wary of what's going to happen. I think a lot of the
future depends on how CD32 does overseas this Christmas. I certainly doubt
we'll see AAA this year, or AA+. But I'm not ready to pronounce Commodore dead
How does what Commodore's working on RIGHT NOW affect what how well your
computer works RIGHT NOW? It doesn't. There's not the quantity, but there
IS the quality.