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%% Hey What About The Amiga!?                            by Quint Paul %%
%%                                       oper4@ecvax2.ecn.missouri.edu %%
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Just thought I would add my 2 cents to the pot.  You might say there is 
the big three when it comes to personal computers (Amiga,Mac,& the name 
sake clone). However if you read anything short of an Amiga only magazine
you will find only a rare mention of the Amiga especially when it comes 
to multimedia.  I read several trade journels, Byte magazine, and Amiga 
World, and  you guessed it, no mention of the Amiga except in Amiga World.
Well what I would like to get down to is a comparison of likes and 
dislikes I have about the different platforms.

I am currently using a Mac Quatra 660AV to develope some multimedia
presentations for the introductory Circuits course here at the Unitversity
of Missouri-Columbia.  Why the Mac?  You are looking at a school that has
every kind of computer but an Amiga.  Reason 2, my advisor has a Quatra 
800 with nice fancy Apple laser printer and color scanner.  #3.  There is
just no convincing my advisor the many benifits of having an Amiga.  I 
tried to show him some stuff I did with Amiga Guide and he just shrugged 
it off.

Well enough said there, it is an awsome set up with 24meg of memory and a
500 meg hardrive not to mention the audio and video digitizing built right
into the machine.  Also a CD rom which uses a caddy.  What I don't like 
about it is the way you manipulate your windows.  If it wasn't for the 
finder you would be lost.  I finally discovered that you could use the 
finder to force a window to the front.  The other way is to click on the 
window to bring it forward.  If there are very many windows open it gets 
quite tedious to do much of anything.  On the Amiga you have the left 
Amiga plus N or M keys and a nice gadget for pushing the screen back.  
Just adding a few of the Amigas GUI features to the Mac would make a lot 
of difference.  Other problems, while trying to run some of the 
applications I had memory problems.  It seems most programs need memory 
assigned to them on startup and do not do any dynamic allocation.  Though
when you are digitizing Video /Audio with the Fusion recorder it must 
allocate memory since just a few seconds sucked up about 14 megabytes.  
However, the quality was rather poor, quite a bit of noise in the picture.
Also missing is a shell, no command line though there is a scripting 
language on the system.  Text reading gets a bit tedious at times, there 
are no text readers that use an interface like 'More'.  You are left with
a straight scroll bar, not even scrolling text via the mouse like in 'Much
More'.  Everything seems to be in black & white, quite a boring 
enviornment to work in when the machine is sitting on top of a 24bit 
graphics engine.  Some color Icons but most are monocrome and look plain.
Forbid you would ever want to straighten up your display.  There is a 
cleanup menu item that does nothing when you select it.  I have been 
moving the Icons arround manually which seem to snap to a grid and then 
hitting Cleanup in hopes they will stay put.  But the computer will not 
do it for you.  I think the system saves the configuration you are in when
you exit because when I have turned the machine on windows would be open 
from various folders in the system and you can have Icons laying arround 
on the Mac equivalant of the Workbench.

A few likes, the clipboard works real nice and seems to be integrated into
everything.  Example, I needed some mathmatical equations for part of my
presentation.  I used insert object equation from Microsoft Word, created
the equations I needed then inserted it into a blank document.  Next, I 
copied it to the clipboard and pasted it into Canvas (paint program).  
Once in Canvas I pasted the object and was able to stretch and resize it 
on the fly.  Canvas treats everthing pretty much like a structured object,
though the display redraw slows down as the number of objects increase.

I hope this gives everyone a glimps at the competition and stirs up some
ideas for Amiga programs.  I am still stuck with my floppy based A500 but,
I can do things on my 2 meg machine that would be impossible on a 2 meg
Mac or IBM clone.  Just the OS on the Quatra was using roughly a 2 meg
memory partition.  I doubt an A4000 needs 2 meg to run in.  Driving the
Amiga OS  is like driving a smooth running exotic sports car (take your 
pick). With the competition you get your choice of walking or riding in 
a covered wagon, not very pleasant no matter how you look at it.

I am always getting stirred up about the things I read.  The latest is an
article I read in IEEE Potentials about Multimedia.  Written by a PHD 
candidate who seemed quite unaware that anything but a Mac or Clone 
machine exists. He talked about the MPC minimum standard for multimedia, 
If you had the minimum system you might be able to play an audio CD on 
your CD rom drive and that would be about it.

Well I think thats enough for this bit of text.