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                               Reader Mail
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From: aTmosh@amiga.ow.nl (Thomas Tavoly)
Subject: Re: Cologne report...

[In this case, it's Writer Mail.  Thomas provided one of our insightful
looks at the Cologne Amiga show last issue, and these details just barely
missed our release time for AR 3.20. -Jason]

As a side note: I forgot to mention that I also saw a protoype MPEG decoder
for the Squirrel interface in an external box, I think it played a Star
Trek movie.  Availability or price unknown.

Also, I managed to get the CD-ROM player going with ShapeShifter, for this
I used the empcd.device included with the ShapeShifter archive and the NEC
CD-ROM driver available from (amongst others) the Next Generation BBS.
This is a ShapeShifter support site, Tel.: +49-261-805012 or +49-261-84280.
It recognizes a 'PC' ISO-9660 disc I bought and even the CD32 version of
Impossible Mission 2025.  I don't have any Mac HFS discs yet, but those
should be supported even without the NEC driver on the Mac side.

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From: Jeff Massie <jdm7703@silver.sdsmt.edu>
Subject: Reader Mail

   Well here are my two cents on the Amiga situation and where I would like
to see things go.

1.  Compatibility, I would like to see some of it retained but not to
include everything.  We all know that the loss of demos and games could be
made up in no time, and if you do not believe that just look at the new
files that come into aminet every day.  A good point of cut off is the 2.04
OS or even the 3.1, as these are the places where the OS really started
straitening itself out.  Aga could be included as long as no one had to
bend over backwards or have to pay through the wallet for it.  Not to sound
condescending but the official word from Commodore with 2.04+ were not to
bang the hardware.  Tough lesson, maybe.

2.  Since we are getting new cpus lets see a better serial port.  RTG is a
definite must too. 

3.  64 bit system, I do not know how feasible this would be but I think
that it would keep amiga on the cutting edge of computers again.  (only
considering home computers).  To make room for the power pc a rewrite for
the OS needs to be made anyway, I sure do now want a non native OS. 

4.  Custom chips, I think that they should be left in.  I hear a lot of
people who complain about what they represent, 1985 technology.  If they
were put on a board so they were removable and RTG implemented, the
ultimate system could be had.  The most troublesome thing that I hear is
how a lot of people want the next amiga to use regular SVGA cards.  
Doesn't it sound like we will then just be following the clones.  When the
Amiga came out it had a 32 bit OS, no one had that, there wasn't a home
computer that could touch the graphics, and lets not forget sound.  Now it
just seems like some people just want to follow the industry.  3d chip sets
seem the way to go to me, now I have no problem with using standard
components and chips that are available, but I still want to be able to do
things like have a ntsc screen and pull it down and view my vga, pal, etc.
screen at the same time.  Basically use standard components to make a VERY
unstandard custom chipset. 

   The only reason that the amiga is still around is that it might be a
little outdated but it is still not far off of the mark, and the machine
was basically designed in 85.  I want the next Amiga that I buy to still be
at the cutting edge 10 years later while clones and macs are still trying
to catch up.  To do this we need AT to really take a hard look at what will
be coming in 10 years and try and put it in the Amiga now so that we can
look other users in the eye again and say can your machine do this, I think
not.   AT lead us into the future, not let us follow!

                                Jeff
                       jdm7703@silver.sdsmt.edu

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From: Eyal Teler <teler@CS.HUJI.AC.IL>
Subject: Amiga advantages

Reading Nickolas Marentes' article in AR 319 brought back a few memories. 
Memories of last Saturday, actually, when I moved some more stuff from my
old and now unused A500 to my PC.  Apart from the hassle of renaming files
(actually, I think that OS/2 has an LHA or LZH compatible archiver, so I
could have used that, and just pack and unpack with the full names -- but
it's too late for this), I again encountered the one valuable Amiga feature
that I haven't seen in any other OS -- regular expression filenames.  I
mistakenly copied a bunch of files without renaming them, so I wanted to
erase them, but keep the file "list", so I just did "delete a:~(list)" and
it did what I wanted ("a:" is my PC compatible drive).  How I miss this
feature.

Nickolas mentions the MPEG cards for the PC.  In fact, MPC3, the next
multimedia standard (i.e., the minimum hardware necessary for playing new
games) will include a 75MHz Pentium, Quad-speed drive, MPEG and a wavetable
card.  And shortly many PCs will actually arrive in this configuration,
likely for under $2000.  AmiTech will have to work hard and quickly to have
the Amiga show any comparable qualities.

Regarding Jake Hamby's open letter to AmiTech, I have a few comments.  
First of all, regarding the target audience, I think he's a bit off.  I
have no doubt that I know less than Mr.  Hamby when it comes to the
American market, but somehow I'm doubting that Unix users will flock to the
Amiga.  The PC happens to be cheaper and more powerful, and has enough Unix
clones of its own.  With PC ethernet cards being extremely cheap, and very
high resolution/multi colour graphics cards are much cheaper than Amiga
equivalents, and with Unix users typically not interested in any other OS
(good as AmigaDOS may be), I can't see the Amiga as a very attractive
proposition. 

The other targets may well be valid, but they are not in the consumer
market.  If the American public is only interested in power at a low price,
instead of functionality, then I can't see how the Amiga can succeed
(considering the success of the PC, innovation is not what the American
public wants). 

Regarding hardware innovations, I'm again not sure if it'll work.  One can
try, I suppose, but I think it'll be more beneficial to start with standard
technology, like a quad speed CD-ROM drive -- this is cheaper than the ZIP
drive, and the cost for companies to distribute software on CD-ROM is way
cheaper than on a ZIP drive (or even on diskettes).  When the CD-ROM drive
is there, the ZIP could be given as an option, with bundled backup
software.

Okay, I'm already going more with what I want than with what the American
public wants (which I'm not sure anybody really knows).  So the other thing
I want is an upgradable processor, like on the PC.  I admit, a processor
without an MMU won't run UNIX, but most PC users don't run UNIX, and I
don't want it, either.  A low clock 68EC040 will probably cost less than a
fast 68030 (the 68EC040 cost $50 in 1K quantity a year or two ago), and
will probably run faster (just like the 486SX replaced the 386 in the PC
world).  The great thing about the 68EC040 is that you can easily upgrade
by swapping a full 68040 in, or even a 68060 (although a small daughter
board might be required).  This also saves designing a special 68030 board
for the A4000, or using a 68030 board for the 68040 (making memory access
slower than possible for the 68040).

For the above expandability reason I'd also like to see a 68EC030 in the
A1200.  It won't give any significant speed increase over the current
68EC020, but it will be easily upgradable to a full 68030.  Add build in
memory expansion, and you can at last leave the single expansion port for
graphics cards, hardware PC emulators, and so on, cards which nobody today
develops, simply because the port is reserved for processor and memory
expansion.

    Eyal

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From: Gabriele Peterle 338446/IF <ray@maya.dei.unipd.it>
Subject: Hello from Italy !

Hi Jason,
a big CIAO to you and all the AR readers!  After I looked at the empty
Reader's Mail column in AR3.19, I decide to write something, so here is my
short opinion about the Amiga today.

My name is Gabriele Peterle (if you don't remember me look at AR2.27). 
Many things have changed since then, something in better, something in
worse.

I see the Amiga's situation has get better (what's worse than be dead ?  ;)
; I think the AT team is working quite good, in particular because they are
a small company.

Obviously I would like to have _now_ a Power Amiga but this is impossible,
thus I will wait until I can (my trusty 500 is at the beginning of "her"
8th winter but her 030/882 hearts are still beating regularly : the doctor
says the pulse are 33.000.000/second; a little over(clocked) but her body
is responding well; she runs the MIle in 0.184 seconds and the MFLOP in
1.136 seconds :D ).

The problems are for the people who want buy a new computer today; the
Amiga is unknown, now more than a year ago, by the large computer users;
plus, the Amiga offer is quite small (in quantity, but not in quality) and
the Mac&Clone offer, instead, is bigger than ever (in quantity, but not in
quality ;).  So if someone of you must jump ship today I don't blame you,
but be ready to jump back when we'll overtake you with our rocket tomorrow
!  ;)

I see the BeBox as a "fire exit"; if there will be a fire (=> no more
Amigas) I'll escape through it, but until then....  ( NOTE: before the
BeBox creation there was no possible escape !  I would be killed by a PC !
).

AT has to work hard in the research, development, production and marketing
sides (and I'm almost sure they will do), and us, Amiga users, have to
support our "friends" (and I'm sure I will do).

AT, I hope to be introduced soon to one of your "powerful girls" !  ;)

..hEy..nO!...WhAT arE yOu doiNg ?  ...gIVe me BACk thE CoNtROl oF The sHIfT
keY...No i'M noT uNFaiThfUl !...oK, ok I pRoMIse iT; I wOn't LEavE YOu
aPArt; You'Ll bE ConNeCTed toGEtHeR !...Ok?........  .....Phew!...  ( my
500 is very jealous!  :)

Again, these are only words, but again I had some fun writing it and it
wouldn't been so if there wouldn't been the AMIGA.

Thanks.
Ciao.
                        Gabriele

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From: Theodore Hatzikostas <teohatz@med.auth.gr>
Subject: Thanx..

I am an simple amiga user. 

I'd like to tell you that I appreciate all the things you are doing for all
of us.  Thanks again, from a Greek reader of your excellent mag.

Yours,
Teodore Hatzikostas.

    You're welcome. -Jason