fredag 13. august 2021

AmigaOne 500 9th Years Anniversary


Me in a home office situation
Welcome to a new blog update from me. Now that I have had my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex for exactly 9 years. I had ordered the 1.15Ghz AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex with 2GB DDR2 RAM from the Swedish GGSData around the middle of July 2012. Received it the 12th of August 2012. So yes, I have had this beautiful AmigaNG machine for 9 years, and it still works as new. It has got a new case with 2 extra new USB2 ports, and it's running the very latest AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2 Hotfix and Workbench Enhancer 2.0. A FREE 2.1 update is on the way soon. Version 3 of Enhancer will be released end of 2021, and by then, I need to find a payment solution from my DNB bank I have the debet card from. It would seem that I would need a BankID to be able to pay international, like through PayPal. As of 2021, things are more complicated, due to the terrible Covid-19 situation and its massive mutations, which certainly complicate things.

AmigaOne 500 in new case
The truth is that I have never had an Amiga for so long as 9 years, and still working as new. Because when I was younger, I was also arrogant and naive. Didn't take many things seriously enough, meaning I was also uncareful with having an Amiga. The other Amiga models I had in the past, like 3 Amiga 1200 models (whereas the third was in a Tower with BlizzardPPC and BVisionPPC), an AmigaOne G3-XE and 2 AmigaOne G4-XE systems, all became destroyed one way or another, because I didn't pay attention to take good care of them.

But as I grew up, I also learnt to respect better what I have and take good care of my stuffs. This is the case with my 9 years old AmigaOne 500.

In the new case of my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex, the motherboard is intact and fully working. The 1.15Ghz 32-bit AMCC PPC CPU has never been clocked and works effectively along with the 2GB DDR2 RAM. In the UBoot BIOS from 2015, DDR2 Boost is enable for both read and write operations, certainly speeding up the memory use. I also have an 1GB GDDR5 based Radeon HD 6670 PCIe graphic board, and a 24-bit ESI@Juli XTe PCIe MIDI audio card using the Envy24th AHI driver, which all work as a charm with latest AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2 Hotfix with Workbench Enhancer 2.0. I'm very happy with my Amiga system!

AmigaOS FE Update 2 Hotfix
As the screenshot to the left shows, a lot of improvement to the environment has been done.

Instead of using AmiDock, I now use the new X-Dock from the Enhancer bundle. The same with the Calender and Clock. There's also a Mini dock with CPU, GPU and RAM metres displaying the active use of them. Very handy!

The only thing I do not use in Enhancer is CANDI. Some might like animated backgrounds and that can be cool, but for me it's unneccesary, so I rather use FlipPaper, which swaps multiple different wallpapers within half an hour each time my AmigaOne 500 is running. I like it that way, and I'm very comfortable with it that way.

Using a high speed WIFI 6 router with AmigaOne 500

Huawei Dual Core AX3 WIFI 6 Router
Around a week ago, I bought myself a brand new router, as the other I had was not working.

The one I bought was a brand new, high speed WIFI 6 router from Huawei, able to handle speed as much as 6000 Kbps, which is impressive!

The router is called Huawei Dual Core AX3 WIFI 6 and it works excellent with the Fibre net I have in my new place. The new WIFI 6 standard is very helpful, and it's very easy to set up with a simple net page for configuration through a simple login. It also checks for updates automatically, so when an update is available, you only need to get into the configuration page and check for updates, then it will do the job for you. On the Amiga, I notice that accessing the net is also lot more effective than what is typical for the Amiga. However, it's when you use a PC and wireless stuffs you really will notice the big difference in speed and effectivity.

Huawei router configuration with Odyssey
Using Odyssey 1.23r5 Beta 7 to access certain pages on my AmigaOne 500 might feel outdated and it certainly does, and it hasn't been updated since summer last year. Also, several sites on the net have undergone a lot of changes to security and how to access some sites with proper ID confirmation. Why that is the case is hard to explain, but it's actually the case.

Using the now somewhat outdated Odyssey is not so hopeless. As you see on the screenshot, it's even possible to access the Huawei router configuration of my new WIFI 6 router, displaying a very simple and easy to understand setup.

You only need to login with a username and a password you create, as the WIFI 6 router doesn't provide a password by standard, so I created one which only I know about.

To actually be fully able to access the configuration site even on an outdated browser like Odyssey on my AmigaOne 500 is truly amazing! I am more than happy with my new WIFI 6 router, and it makes surfing the net with the Amiga even more exciting! Shows what is possible to do with such a brand new router and an AmigaNG system. Quite enjoyable!

A new direction with 16-bit Amiga tracker music

DigiBooster 3.1 PPC with AHI support
Sometime in July, I got a nice present for FREE from a former Amiga user, but a music friend of mine, named Krister from Sweden. He knew I was deeply into Amiga tracker music and wanted to provide me an alternative tracker to use.

The one he had was actually latest DigiBooster 3.1, fully PPC native and supporting the AHI sound driver system for the Amiga. The tracker has a very nice and professional GUI. I could play several multi-track mods using the 32-bit HIFI Stereo++ setup of my Envy24th AHI driver. The audio played very clean and clear, and I could play even 24 channel mods of the 32 from my setup! An excellent tracker of its own!

OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c NSM 
Unfortunately, I am unfamiliar with how the effect and player commands of DigiBooster works. It's certainly something I could have learnt, but I am too familiar with OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c, and that is the one I use. The NSM patched one.

I have tried to add the use of the Set68kCpu command to always emulate the 68060 in OctaMED SoundStudio. In AmigaOS4, the Compatibility prefs allows me to use the Petunia JIT engine to run OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c in full speed as possible. OctaMED is so easy to understand and so easy to use. 

I use the latest TheMaestrix AHI tool developed by my friend Damien Stewart, whom is currently busy trying to port it to PPC, which should be very interesting once fully completed.

Because, as most of you know from before, OctaMED SoundStudio never supported PPC and AHI, TheMaestrix is needed to make your AHI sound system to emulate a 16-bit Maestro Pro in order to get audio out, and yes, it works very well! The latest version of TheMaestrix adds the possibility of setting BUFFERS in its Tooltypes. I set it to use 4, while the Mix Buffer Size in OctaMED SoundStudio is set to 1024. This gives an excellent balance and overall quality.

Somewhere on the net, I was also able to find a huge collection of true 16-bit samples of many different MIDI instruments from Casio, Equ, Kawai, Roland, Yamaha and more! Instruments that sound like TRUE instruments, giving Amiga music a truly realistic feeling!

Making music with the Amiga hasn't always been easy and enjoyable as I hoped, as for satisfying the YouTube public is certainly not easy. They're very demanding and their criticsm can often be very harsh and unfair. Most are good people who would enjoy your release. Others might be bad people who got nothing better to do, who love to bully other people.

Nevertheless, I have learnt that it's best to trust yourself in what you do and what you want. Always trying to do your best and keep improving where improvements are needed. Listening to constructive feedback, but ignoring hateful attacks. That's what I am trying to do now.

The track I released 2 weeks ago on both SoundCloud and YouTube, was "Better Person". A true 16-bit 7ch Amiga track. The style is more toward Latin guitar music. The response to the track was good but a little mixed, which I can live with. I know I did my best, so it's okay.

16-bit tracker music is old news in most of the tracker world today, as PC and Mac have both moved far ahead, compared to the Amiga. But for the Amiga, 16-bit tracker music is a bit underrated but underestimated. Great 16-bit Amiga tracker music adds a whole new dimension to Amiga music itself. It's interesting and it's certainly something I will continue to do as long as I am able to, even on an amateur level. I do because I love it. Simple as that.

I have many plans for new 16-bit Amiga tracker music, and I'm still waiting for a PPC-native version of OctaMED SoundStudio with AHI support, which is currently in development. That's all I know and all I can say about it. The less people know of my Amiga music plans, the more exciting it should be when I am able to provide something good. All in a good time.

This ends this blog for now on. Time to celebrate the 9th Anniversary of my AmigaOne 500!
Thanks for reading my blog and supporting my Amiga stuffs. Amiga makes it possible!

Written by
Helge Kvalheim, Norway

fredag 15. januar 2021

The Hotfix is HOT!

AmigaOS 4.1 FE Upd 2 Hotfix on SAM460ex
Happy New Year 2021, everybody! The net is finally up and running from my new apartment in Indre Arna of Bergen City of Norway. Fibre is under development but the net is already now running as supposed to! Very happy for that!

The first thing I did was to grab the Update 2 Hotfix from Hyperion Entertainment through AmiUpdate, since I have the latest AmiUpdate version 2.47. It picked it up right away. At the same time, I checked Updater for an update, and there was some files to update, including a new version of the Emotion Player 1.9 and an update to Updater itself. I also updated the Hurl Hollywood plugin and a Jansion library as well. I'm going to explain how it all worked out.

The installation of the Update 2 with Hotfix went through without any trouble and just updated everything that was from the Hotfix update. You all remember I ran Update 2 with the Update 1 kernel, because of certain problems with the new kernel. The Hotfix solved the kernel issue and even updated the kernel further with version 54.30. A couple of improvements to different libraries and DOS functions have also been installed from the Hotfix as well. If you wonder if the Hotfix is HOT, then the answer is clearly YES! It sure is, and you should install it on your system!

The old MUI-Hollywood apps like Jack and Jill do no longer work, but I also got the impression that these old apps are now obsolete and pointless to use. Jill was the modern calender tool I used to run on the top-right screen. This has now been replaced with both the Calender and Clock from the Enhancer bundle developed by A-EON. The black skin fits right into my setup!

Did some testing again with running the NSM patched version of OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c with a WIP-version of a new TheMaestrix tool. The new TheMaestrix tool is further under update by Damien Stewart. As for the old, famous OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c tracker, it runs excellent under AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2 Hotfix! No GR, no lockup, no slowdown and no problems at all! Runs perfectly and it's fully possible to quit the tracker within the OS and even shut down the computer! This is how I truly like to work, and this is how it should be!

The full list of Ninja Remix 2021 Amiga Music Collection under work already!

Wilderness 2021 WIP Cover

It's surely already known that I'm doing new Amiga music for the famous old game called Ninja Remix. The first was the new 8ch Ninja Remix 2020 Theme, that received surprisingly great reputation on YouTube, following up with Wasteland 2020. Wasteland 2020 was great, too, but tempo is a bit slow and lacks some variety. This will now be addressed with a relaunch of Wasteland 2021, with faster tempo and more variety. Should be really great, and will be relaunched already this weekend!

Wilderness 2021 (as seen from the snapshot above right) has already been worked on, as well as Palace Gardens 2021. Wilderness 2021 sounds different and aggressive. It also needs more variety before release. I'm so happy to be able to work on new 2021 Amiga music already! Thanks to have the net up and running in the new place, I'm able to share my work!

Palace Gardens 2021 WIP Cover
Palace Gardens 2021 is another new Amiga track I'm working at these days for the Ninja Remix Amiga game. It should not be compared with the original Palace Gardens from the same game. It's a Level 3 track yes, but Palace Gardens 2021 is brand new and already sounds very different. Fresher, deeper and more beautiful. Slow rhythm, but very beautiful! It's nearly completed as you read this. Exciting!

New music certainly adds new atmosphere even to an old game. It's a feeling you can't describe but simply have to feel on the body oneself.

Dungeon 2021 WIP Cover

Dungeon 2021 is to be a brand new Level 4 Amiga track for the Ninja Remix game. Oh, I promise it to have a pretty scary intro with a great variety of spooky sound effects, before playing a thrilling new tune for this level!

Despite the similar name reference except of the 2021 number, the new versions of the level tracks are NOT to be compared with the original versions, as the new 2021 versions will be completely different from what you've been used to! This is very important to keep in mind!

Work on composing the new tune Dungeon 2021 will happen as you read this, and will be released as soon as it's completed. You might happen to notice some multi-releases at the same time, but I promise that the work will be done properly without disappointment.

Palace 2021 WIP Cover
Palace 2021 will be a new Level 5 Amiga track for the Ninja Remix game. Also to be brand new and very different. Pulsating, as this marks almost the end of the game. Work should already has started around the time you read this blog, so stay tuned and watch this space!

Playing the old Ninja Remix game with brand new Amiga music should be even more fun!

Of course, the original concept will always remain the best, but there's nothing wrong with having alternatives as well. If you're open for something new and different, you get the option to listen to the new music. If you like it, then that's great. If you don't, then it's certainly not my fault but simply about taste. It's like candies and icecreams. Some don't like strawberry or blueberry, others simply do. See what I mean?

Sanctum 2021 WIP Cover - The End Level

As the title indicates, Sanctum 2021 is to be the new Amiga track for the 6th and FINAL level of the Ninja Remix game. A true anticlimax in both a dramatic and beautiful way. Also to be in hard work the coming days as you read this blog.

I'm proud to reveal that all these new Ninja Remix tracks are to be a complete collection, simply called Ninja Remix 2021, so this is it!

The complete collection will be as MODs and will be brought up to Aminet once completed. That way, you get a full collection of all 6 new Amiga tracks for Ninja Remix, get to read the information to these tracks, and even see the covers that are to be seen on YouTube.

I will of course work on more private Amiga music for the endless Julia MOD collection of mine. To kick of 2021, the first from my private collection will be "Startin Over". A cover is not available yet, but that's going to be a surprise. Many great plans for 2021, so don't worry.

Other Amiga tracks will be "Banzai", "Journey", "A Good Man (Arthur Morgan Tribute)", "Pray For The World", "Outlaws" and new Amiga music for Last Ninja 2 and 3. I have many plans, but lets stick to what is already revealed.

Well, this is my new blog update for now. Hotfix works with the new kernel on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex! Everything works as supposed to, and I'm very happy and back on track!

2021 has just began ;) The journey itself is to be interesting...See you again soon!

Written by
Helge Kvalheim, Norway


lørdag 26. desember 2020

AmigaOS 4.1 FE Update 2 on SAM460ex!

AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2!
Welcome to my new AmigaOne 500 blog update! This time I have updated my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex to run AmigaOS 4.1 FE Update 2, also called Final Edition Update 2. Here I will explain how the update was done. Read very carefully!

On little Christmas Eve - December 23th, Hyperion Entertainment came up with a big surprise for 4 years! Update 2 of AmigaOS 4.1 Final Editon for all PPC supported Amigas, including the Classic!

At that day, I was unable to update because the net was broken down and I'm under the process of moving to another place of Bergen City in Norway. I actually got to update to Update 2 25th of December, on 1th Christmas Day, as the net was then up and running again in good time before moving out from the old apartment!

However, updating from my previous advanced Update 1 setup with Enhancer 1.5 wasn't easy. It appeared that with the new ExecSG kernel version 54.28, Update 2 wasn't properly working on my SAM460ex setup of the OS. Usually, I have the MUI/Hollywood based apps like Jack and Jill to run, especially with Jill running under startup. It's an advanced clock/calender app. Yes, the one on the top right of the screenshot above you. With the new kernel running in Update 2, it causes both Jack and Jill not to run, and a message ask for the neccessary hwp libraries to use, despite already being in my system. Secondly, the new kernel makes the net stall on my SAM460ex after updating to Update 2 right over my Update 1 setup. Very frustrating!

I know Hyperion strongly advice users to do a FRESH install of Update 2 over a FRESH install of AmigaOS 4.1 FE Update 1. I could have done that, if I had a brand new Amiga like the A1222 and not my SAM460ex, which is almost 9 years old and still working very well! I simply didn't want to go all the way back to start. Would take much time and effort to set it up the way you want, and I honestly don't believe many want to do it that way, unless you got a brand new Amiga and simply have to install and update from scratch. Also the new kernel seems to work differently from setup to setup, from system to system. There's no doubt that the new kernel was build with A1222, X1000, X5000 and multicore support in mind. So I asked for advice what to do.

A brilliant solution was simply to just update Update 2 over my previous Update 1 setup without going all the way back to scratch, but instead of using the new kernel version 54.28, simply copy the whole Kickstart stuffs with kernel version 53.89 instead, over Update 2, then it works without any problem at all! It might be a bit odd, but that is the case here for me.

The problems with the new kernel 54.28 has been reported and both A-EON and Hyperion Entertainment will look at the possibility of fixing more of the new kernel, so that ALL of the supported PPC Amigas can benefit from it under Update 2, without conflicting with some apps and without the net stalling, and without having to install and update from scratch! It should even be possible to update the kernel through either AmiUpdate or Updater from A-EON's Workbench Enhancer bundle, which I use on my system! So until then, I'm very happy to run a fully working Update 2 with an older kernel, being version 53.89.

AmigaOS 4.1 FE Upd 2 on SAM460ex! (YouTube video of my SAM460ex with Update 2!)

OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c fully working under AmigaOS 4.1 FE Update 2!!!

OMSS fully working under Update 2!

Something interesting is definitely how my NSM patched version of OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c and a new TheMaestrix AHI tool, actually are working under the new Update 2 on my SAM460ex! Allow me to explain that for you.

Under Update 2, the music tracker starts immerdiately! NO GR and absolutely NO slowdown when playing different tracks! Sound is pretty clean and clear, and that's not all!

Now it's fully possible to QUIT the music tracker within AmigaOS 4.1 FE Update 2 without the OS freezing, so I could even power off my system, too! Very promising! I guess it's because of certain changes to different libraries. Like the graphic.library, dos.library, the 68k emulation and other very important stuffs. Very promising, and all that even without the new kernel!

Making music with the NSM patched version of OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c and a new TheMaestrix AHI tool has never been so exciting and easy as now! Makes me very happy!

New Last Ninja Amiga music and plans for new Amiga music in 2021 in the pipeline!

Wilderness 2020 Amiga track in work!
You probably already have seen and heard the new Wasteland 2020 Amiga track of mine, for the Ninja Remix Amiga game. It took me 4 months to think how great the new Wasteland 2020 track was going to be, and so it became!

It's important to mention that Wasteland 2020 should NOT be mistaken for another copy of the original Wasteland, composed by Jochen Hippel for Ninja Remix. Wasteland 2020 is completely different from the original, and is fully composed by me Helge Kvalheim aka HKvalhe, using my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex, now updated with AmigaOS 4.1 FE Update 2, running the NSM patched version of OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c, a new TheMaestrix AHI tool and 16-bit stereo samples from the ST collection.

As seen from the above screenshot, Wilderness 2020 is in the work as you read this. I hope to be able to release it from the old apartment. Otherwise, it will be released when properly set up in the new apartment. All in good time, so there's no need to rush out. Wilderness 2020 is going to be truly awesome when done! I assure you all that, so watch this space! And before you might wonder; no...Wilderness 2020 is NOT to be a copy of the original but a brand new one!

A Good Man (Arthur Morgan Tribute)

Another track I'm planning to work on, is a track called A Good Man. A tribute to the character Arthur Morgan, whom died of tuberculose in the new Red Dead Redemption 2 game from 2018.

For this track, I hope to do a very beautiful and emotional Country or Westeren version of it. More on that later on. Possible in 2021 already.

I'm simply inspired by the beautiful music that is played within the RDR2 game, which is also the shortname for Red Dead Redemption 2. Amiga doesn't have that game, but it's possible to create beautiful music anyway on the Amiga. The only limitation is your own imagniation, and only you decide what the music is to be.

Pray For The World Amiga Charity track
Pray For The World is another of many Amiga based Charity tracks I want to do, considering so much happening to the world now. 2020 certainly started with a bang, but mostly in a negative way. Firstly, there was the massive fire in Australia back in January this year, then Covid-19 happened, China had to lock down first, then there was the exploision in Beirut, and we're still fighting the virus, but now with 2 more aggressive variants of Covid-19!

Pray For The World is to be a 16-channel Amiga Charity track, and will also happen early 2021. It will also be emotional but important. I feel it should bring a message of its own what must be done and where we stand now in all this together. So yes, the message is clear.

Bonzai - New 2021 Amiga track planned!
Bonzai is another new 2021 Amiga track I have planned. I'm very fond of beautiful, oriental music, and I already made some. You probably remember how good Remember Hiroshima became. A 10ch japanese Amiga track, and it was really good! No kidding, really!

So what is Bonzai? Well, the track will simply be about the beautiful japanese Bonzai tree. A tree not to be underestimated, and it's extremely valuable! In Eastern culture, the bonzai has a very special symbole. A special meaning and connected to the principle of honor. As we all know, honor is very serious in the East. West and East could definitely learn from each other.

Bonzai will be one of the first tracks to start 2021 with on my AmigaOne 500. I look forward to keep doing excellent Amiga music as possible. I have grown much these almost 3 years and learnt to master most commands in OctaMED SoundStudio. We all have to start somewhere.

Well, this ends the blog from now on. Update 2 is fully working on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex, despite the new kernel, as I use the kernel version 53.89 instead for now. Old applications like OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c has been proven to work perfectly well under the new Update 2, and can be quit under the OS with no freeze, no GR and no slowdown!

Even without the new kernel working on my setup, Update 2 is still a complete update and makes my system even better! There's no need to start all the way from scratch, unless you got yourself a brand new Amiga. It's even more understandable to use the new kernel, if you are a lucky owner of either the new AmigaOne A1222, the AmigaOne X1000 or the X5000.

However, as already mentioned, some users HAVE reported a couple of problems with the new kernel with Update 2. Something they just discovered AFTER everything was setup the supposed way. For some users, it's the stalling of the net (which I discovered when I tried with the new kernel) and/or some apps left out, like Jack and Jill. Others could express some other problems caused by the kernel. So you see, without being harsh, the new ExecSG kernel is not as bugfree as hoped for, and is certainly not working for everyone. For most users, the new kernel seems to work, for some of us, not so well. Therefore, the solution was simply to revert back to kernel version 53.89 from Update 1, by simply copy all the Kickstart stuffs from Update 1 over Update 2 setup. Then you get a working Update 2 but minus the new kernel.

It's not that hopeless really. A-EON have been reported about some of the issues with the new kernel and will work to fix the problem. It has even been suggested that kernel updates could happen separately through either AmiUpdate or Updater, making this much easier. The future is looking brighter, and 2021 should be a very interesting year for the Amiga, nevertheless.

That's all for now, folks! Thank you for reading this Amiga blog update of mine, and have a nice Christmas still and Happy New Amiga Year 2021! I will certainly be there! Will you? ;)

Written by
Helge Kvalheim (HKvalhe), Norway

onsdag 12. august 2020

My AmigaOne 500 8th Years Anniversary

DVPlayer playing Highlander 3 on SAM460ex!
On this day, the 12th of August 2020, my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex celebrates its' 8th Anniversary! It's hard to believe it's actually 8 years old, but it's true. 8 years old and still good as new, but with many software and driver updates!

As known to most people already, my AmigaOne 500 is based on ACube's SAM460ex motherboard running an 1.15Ghz AMCC 32-bit PowerPC SoCs CPU with a floating point unit (FPU). It has 2GB of DDR2 fast memory with boost-feature in UBoot BIOS from 2015. It has an onboard 16-bit SM502 soundchip that is not used. My AmigaOne 500 is using a Radeon HD 6670 1GB PCIe graphic board and the 24-bit ESI@Juli XTe PCIe MIDI soundcard, replacing the onboard soundchip. On the PCI slot, a SATA 2-ways controller card is connected to my Samsung 500GB internal SSD harddisk, where AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1 and Workbench Enhancer 1.5 are installed, along with partitions for Work, Diverse and Games as well. I also have a very fast DVD read-write drive.

Latest retro portrait of myself in GIMP
During all these 8 years of owning my AmigaOne 500, it has undergone a lot of updates and configurations. I remember all the AmigaOS 4.1 updates I had from Update 4 and all the way now to Final Edition Update 1 with Workbench Enhancer 1.5 from A-EON Technology.

So what do I use my AmigaOne 500 for? It's not like it's taking over my Win10 PC completely. Unfortunately not, as we know that the Amiga lost ground and fell behind the technology weel after the fall of Commodore in 1994. But the Amiga today is mostly considered more like a hobby. It still gets most of the job done, except for watching Blu Ray or 4k Blu Ray, advanced streaming and video editing. These things are done on PC and XBox.

My AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex setup
It doesn't all have to be bad. There's plenty of things the Amiga still can do. I still surf the net with my AmigaOne 500 using latest Odyssey Web Browser v1.23r5 Beta 7. It gives easy access to most sites, even HTML5 based, so it gets the job done. Same for my latest mailer called YAM. I can read, write and send any email to any contact I like. No problem at all! Oh yes, there's more! I even play some retro games through RunInUAE with free WHDLoad, allowing quick load and access to the classic Amiga games, as well as running some games from the eGame launcher (more on that later in the blog) and the ScummVM engine for different adventure games.

How the NSM-patched version of OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c actually works

NSM-patched OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c

For almost 2 months now, I have used the NSM-patched version of OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c I received from the Norwegian ex-coder - Kjetil S. Martinussen. I found his email through Google and told him I was working on Amiga music, using OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c. As so, I asked nicely for the NSM-patched version, so he was kind to provide me one. It was a simple replacement of the main OctaMED file in the SoundStudio drawer, so I just did.

My ESI@Juli XTe soundcard in 32-bit mode!
For those of you who wonder what the NSM is. NSM is like an Arexx script for OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c, done by the Norwegian ex-coder Kjetil S. Martinussen back in 1997.

By hacking the binary code of OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c, he managed to extend all standard features of the tracker, far beyond the standard limitations! It would actually mean that the tracker becomes more than 200.000 times more effective! The mixing routines, the DSP Echo effects, the speed of the tracker, stability, MIDI support and so much more, breathing "new" life to the old 68k based tracker, that is still very much useable today! I'm very happy!

As seen on the snapshot above, I have configured my ESI@Juli XTe 24-bit PCIe MIDI soundcard, which I call "Julia", to use 32-bit HIFI Stereo++ mode with 32-channels in 96Khz for all Units. Unit 0 is the same as Music Unit, so all Unit 0-3 use 32-channels in best possible quality at the highest possible frequency without slowdown!

You probably wonder how my Sound Prefs can be so clean and tidy? I removed unused audio drivers by making a copy of the AHI drawer from DEVS, bringing it to STORAGE. Then I moved over all unused audio drivers, except of and, from DEVS:AHI to STORAGE:AHI. This might be a good idea to do, to prevent different audio systems to conflict with each other. Remember to make backup.

Speaking of channel settings in AHI/Sound Prefs, it has never been properly explained the true purpose of setting different channels for all these units. I'm not even sure my setting with 32 channels is correct. There is probably no "correct" choice to this, but at least I would be happy to know what the RECOMMEND channel choice for all unit is.

Because I use the Workbench Enhancer 1.5 expansion from A-EON Technology, you can see from the snapshot that the PPC version of AHI is intergrated into the Sound Prefs. It makes sense, considering it has to deal with different soundchips and soundcards.

When setting TheMaestrix, a unique tool that tricks AHI to think your soundcard is a MaestroPro 16-bit soundcard, to use AHI Unit 0 for music production, it allows TheMaestrix to use the 32-bit HIFI Stereo++ mode to get the very best 16-bit quality from the MaestroPro 16-bit emulation in 48Khz. It works marvellously, and even 16-channel Mix modes sound much clearer with both this setting in TheMaestrix information, together with the NSM-patched version of OctaMED SoundStudo v1.03c!

My very first 16ch Amiga track was "You Are Someone", from my Helgis collection of 10 personal Amiga tracks. It's a very good Synth Pop Ballad with very nice flow to it. The fact that all the channels are so clear to hear, makes it more exciting to do 16 channel Amiga music in the future. There actually seems to be an increased interest into that.

The OctaMED Music Club I created on Facebook earlier now has over 70 members and is still increasing. It's not that the club is reciving new members every day, but as for every month that goes, there seems to be at least 2-4 new members showing up.

This proves there is still a huge interest in using any OctaMED version for tracker music, even today, being on Amiga, Mac or PC that supports it. Originally, the club started with focus on the OctaMED for Amiga only, but realized that also PC and Mac users have the possibility to play around with OctaMED in a way or so, so therefore it was better to spread this group, or club we call actually, to PC and Mac users, in addition to Amiga.

These days, I'm working on 2 "charity" Amiga mods called "Pray For Beirut" and "Remember Hiroshima". So much happening in the world these days. The Covid-19, Trump vs Bieden, the explosion in Beirut and the 75th Anniversary or Memorial of what happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago. Shows just how important life is.

I even have a Boya microphone to use for picking up new sounds to sample for my Amiga music. The one I have isn't the best for vocals, but it's possible to do most of the editing of samples with Audacity on PC, then test them out on the Amiga through OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c. I have a lot of fun doing this. It's so very cool!

Checking updates with Updater and playing with AmiCygnix 1.6 stuffs

Latest AmiCygnix 1.6 environment is faster!
Recently, I got to download the latest AmiCygnix 1.6 from The new update to the Linux environment to run on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex is a lot faster and more stable than before! It's using a newer GTK+ programming language done by Edgar Scwhan. I was one of his beta testers for new graphic drivers to use for his AmiCygnix environment and standalone applications like AbiWord and GIMP.

AmiCygnix could best be described as a Lite version of a Linux environment. You have the possibility of either running the AmiCygnix desktop (snapshot left above), or to run the standalone applications and games that run under AmiCygnix environment. Apps like AbiWord, Gnumeric and GIMP. I mostly run the standalone GIMP to edit my many photos and snapshots you see in this blog. Along with plugins like Beautify, it makes GIMP extremely powerful and flexible! Based on Layers might be annoying, but as long as you stick to photo editing with GIMP, you don't have to bother with Layers.

As AmiCygnix 1.6 is getting all its' stuff updated these days, there are also plans to port a newer version of GIMP to AmiCygnix. GIMP version 2.8. This one should be even better and more powerful to use. Hopefully, plugins like Beautify should be available also for this new version once it's ready for AmiCygnix. It all looks very promising! So in a way, you actually get quite a pretty advanced and modern office bundle from AmiCygnix!

Pidgin MSN with Facebook!
Another cool standalone app to use under AmiCygnis is actually the Pidgin Messenger, and now it has a new Facebook plugin that allows you to chat with your Facebook friends. You can also add your Yahoo Chat contacts, Twitter and ASL connections. Although, I limit myself just to Facebook here. As I happen to often have much to do, I rarely get time to chat a lot, so it's mostly limited to small talk now and then, and that's ok, really. I like it that way.

But when I really need to talk to someone urgently, like some people who are working on important updates to AmigaOS4 and hardwares, like Trevor from A-EON, then I can just send him an instant message through Pidgin, and just wait to see him connected to leave a chat with him.

All in all, Pidgin is very useful and is probably currently the only Messenger that is working on the Amiga. The snapshot to the right here should just make you excited to use it.

Latest Odyssey v1.23r5 Beta 7 running!
Aside updates to AmiCygnix, the native AmigaOS4 version of Odyssey Web Browser - the HTML5 browser based on WebKit, is now to be found in version 1.23r5 Beta 7. Kas1e is very kind to help updating this excellent AmigaOS4 browser, making it faster, more stable and more modern, more supportive as possible to use! Kas1e also has plans to port version 1.25 of Odyssey from MorphOS platform to AmigaOS4!

The browser is really fast and nice to use for most surfing purposes, and its' spoofing abilities has extended to spoof as more modern browsers and versions of these. The new additions is to spoof as Edge 80 from Windows 10 and Nintendo Wiiu. You can spoof as Firefox 74, Internet Explorer 11, Opera 67, Safari 13, Chrome 80, Nintendo Wiiu, IPhone 13 and IPad 13.2.3. Lots of choices!

Still, there are some sites that don't open up so well with Odyssey, no matter the spoofing or the default setting. Sites like Google and YouTube have done a lot of changes, so this would mean that new scripts for Odyssey have to be written in order to be able to access the changes the way they have become. It's a natural result of progress in technology and functionality, and Amiga needs to be able to handle them.

Fortunate, it's not all that hopeless, as things are certainly improving also for Odyssey. Did you know you can access Facebook with Odyssey? You sure can, but due to the limitations of the old Javascripts, running Facebook appears a bit slow with Javascript enable. There is a way around this, and that is to DISABLE Javascript. The look of Facebook won't appear pretty, but it will make it much more efficient to browse!

Odyssey 1.25 for AmigaOS4 shouldn't be so far behind, but when it's ready, then the real fun begins browsing more demanding sites, making your Amiga more of the main computer to use in your days. While waiting for 1.25, get yourself the Beta 7 version of 1.23r5 and make the best of it. It's a really fine, fast and efficient Amiga browser to use.

Updater from Workbench Enhancer 1.5
The Updater app from A-EON's Workbench Enhancer 1.5 is really helpful. It's possible to update a wide range of system files as well. Mostly files that are connected to A-EON's own bundle of upgrades, drivers, games and apps.

Version 2.0 of Workbench Enhancer is to be a FREE upgrade from the paid 1.5 upgrade. I paid for upgrade 1.5 by buying the Radeon Driver Upgrade around a year ago, so version 2.0 will be received for FREE when this one is ready, AFAIK.

It's a bit strange that Hyperion Entertainment didn't do these updates the way A-EON did. It gives a little impression of either a small "conflict" between A-EON and Hyperion, or just a matter of competition. Of course, it's a bit dangerous to speculate on something like that without evidence, but still you can hardly ignore the impression. Whatever the truth behind it is, it's still very nice that A-EON are able to provide something as important as the Workbench Enhancer, and other goodies for AmigaOS. They certainly improve AmigaOS a lot!

While the Covid-19 pandemi certainly complicates things, Hyperion Entertainment are still stuck in quite a limbo battle with Cloanto over Amiga rights, especially the Amiga brand. We all hope the trial between Hyperion Entertainment and Cloanto will end later this year. Until then, we have to be patience and just have faith. There's a lot going on behind the scene we don't know much about. A-EON are working on bringing their X5000 and A1222 out to market, and updating drivers and support for these in AmigaOS4.

Hyperion Entertainment are believed to help updating the core elements of AmigaOS4. Optimizing these as much as possible. The most important element to update is the ExecSG microkernel. It might now reach the third generation of the ExecSG kernel, supporting SMP multicore, memory protection and other modern features. Support for A1222's special SPE functions and the X5000, as well as improved support for all the other existing AmigaOne and SAM models, including Classic Amiga as well.

The future is looking good. The progress might be slow but steady. AmiWest 2020 might happen, but probably in a more digital way. The show will go live in October this year, and we should by then learn more what will happen with the AmigaOS4 and hardware.

This is probably wild speculation at the moment, but as Apple now have moved to use ARM CPUs for their new Mac systems, putting an end to x86, it is possible that Amiga might choose the new open source platform called RISC-V. RISC-V is like a successor to PowerPC, being backward compatible and based on much of the PowerPC and Power technology, pushing that technology as much forward as possible. The RISC-V foundation was established in 2010, so it's relatively very new and promising, as rumours say that all PowerPC development will end in 2020, completely fasing out all support for it by 2022. If that's the case, moving to RISC-V is the best for the Amiga! But only time will tell what will actually happen. For now, we enjoy PowerPC on Amiga!

Nostalgic and modern gaming on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex system

BlobWars from 2017 is smooth on SAM460ex!!!
Who remembers BlobWars? BlobWars is an excellent, smooth but modern 2D platform game to play! Version 2 is the latest, being released in 2017, ported from the Linux environment to AmigaOS4! It's quite smooth to play, even in full screen! I believe it's ported with SDL2 engine, but don't know for sure. Anyway, it's smooth and a lot fun to play. Music feels cool and modern, too! Never boring to play BlobWars! 

Graphic is awesome, and so is the sound effects along with the music that add atmosphere to the gameplay.

eGame launcher with many games
The eGame launcher is a handy little tool that allows all standalone games to be launched with a single click, as seen of the snapshot.

As the snapshot shows here, you can also see many of the games that run in RunInUAE emulator, but now with the FREEWARE WHDLoad, which allows the classic hardware-banging games to run straight from harddrive!

The WHDLoad based games allows you to jump straight into the classic Amiga games without waiting! Loading is lighting-fast, and if you run the 68040 support configured for UAE, most games should run very smooth!

Unfortunately, AmigaOS4's USB support for using joypads and sticks, could have been more like MorphOS's Poseidon USB system, so I don't really get to play the old games that demand the use of a joystick or pad in a way, but I can play some of the old adventure games using WHDLoad, so that's cool.

Latest ScummVM 2.1.1 based on SDL2 engine!
ScummvM is a very cool engine that allows you to play any 2D nostalgic adventure games on most platforms today, even AmigaOS4. Latest ScummVM is version 2.1.1, although there is a small 2.1.2 update, but not made for AmigaOS4 yet. It might be ported soon.

I have a wide range of different adventure games to play through ScummVM 2.1.1, that is based on a faster, more flexible SDL2 port with resizeable windows. The games are everything from Larry 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, Police Quest 1-3, Space Quest 1-6, Indy Last Crusade and Fate Of Atlantis, Broken Sword 1 and 2, Monkey Island 1-3, DOTT, Quest For Glory 1-2, King Quest 1-6, The Colonel's Bequest, The Sorcerer 1-2 and some others. Many great adventures!

Broken Sword in latest ScummVM 2.1.1!
I always enjoy playing the Broken Sword adventure games. Both the first and the second game. The snapshot shows the first game near the end of the game. Very thrilling, very beautiful to play!

Both graphic and audio are awesome in Broken Sword. The voices are loud and very easy to hear. A really fine game to play. It plays quite smooth on my SAM460ex with Radeon HD 6670 card. It's even possible to stretch the window the way you want it, which is very useful!

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Adventure
Indy 3 and 4 are other adventure games I love to play in ScummVM. The VGA version in 256 colours look very beautiful and modern. I think the snapshot speaks for itself. Very beautiful and exciting to play. You never get tired of these old adventure games! Certainly brings the nostalgic feeling back, and it's all possible on the Amiga! How cool isn't that, eh? I bet you think it's cool!

Indy 4 I play has the Voice version, adding more excitement to the atmosphere of the game. Indy 4 has more puzzles and an interesting story about discovering Atlantis - the lost city.

Monkey Island 3 running in ScummVM 2.1.1!
Another adventure game I love to play is Monkey Island. From snapshot to the right, it's Monkey Island 3, which looks very different from MI1 and 2. MI3 uses cartoon-like graphic and animation.

I remember. The game gave me a lot of laugh, with all these funny talk and play!

Simply another fine adventure to play with awesome graphic, sound and music!

Playing DVD movies with DVPlayer on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex!

DVPlayer playing The Ortagon DVD on SAM460ex!

DVPlayer is a fantastic handy movie player that allows you to play most DVD movies on your AmigaOS4 system! The snapshot here shows me playing the old movie The Ortegan with Chuck Norris. A Ninja movie, actually.

DVPlayer supports AC3 coding and subtitles. As you can see of the snapshot, I can view Norwegian subtiles and have great AC3 sound of movies supporting these. The Ortegan is a very exciting movie with a lot of action! If you like Ninja fight, this one is one to watch! It's believed to be Chuck Norris' greatest success ever!!!

It's such a nice thing to watch old DVD movies on your Amiga. Just simply turn off the lights, make yourself some good food or snacks, and something to drink. Lean back and play a good DVD movie in DVPlayer on your Amiga, and simply relax!

Highlander 3 The Sorcerer DVD in DVPlayer!
Highlander 3 The Sorcerer DVD is another great thrilling action movie by Christoffer Lambert back in the mid-90s.

Movie plays smooth as other supported DVDs on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex, with AC3 and subtitles.

All of this works as a charm, and playing old DVDs on your Amiga is just so cool!

In the future, the Emotion player, that is quite new, handling faster video playback in higher quality, might be used to play DVD, Blu Ray and 4k Blu Ray stuffs. Only time will tell, but it's exciting and very promising!

The Emotion player is to have a new update soon, that allows even 4k playback of movies! No kidding, really! New codecs make that possible, and with these Radeon GFX cards like the Polaris with Warp3D Nova support, it should be fully possible to playback 4k contents on your AmigaOne system!

Amiga's future is certainly very promising, and all the thing you have read from this blog is fully possible on the Amiga. Never a boring moment to use your Amiga system!

As this concludes my blog for now, I would like to point out that I'm very happy my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex is still working as new, even 8 years later after I bought it from GGSData in Sweden and lives in Norway. I'm taking good care of my little baby!

Thank you all for reading my Amiga blog and supporting my Amiga music. There will be more music, as these days I'm working on "Pray For Beirut" and "Remember Hiroshima". After these, the funny parody, called "Who Let The Trump Out".

Enjoy the blog. It's a long read, but if you love the Amiga as I do, you'll enjoy it.

Written by
Helge Kvalheim aka HKvalhe, Norway

mandag 20. april 2020

Covid-19 Amiga Isolation

Dark wallpaper for my AmigaOS 4.1 FE Upd 1
Hello everyone! Been quite some time since I last wrote an Amiga blog.

Been busy doing some Amiga music and learning my way of the sampling with my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex.

Since my last blog, my Amiga setup has undergone quite a lot of changes and improvements. More on them later in this blog, as you read on.

The most noticeable changes I have done to my AmigaOS 4.1 FE Update 1 setup with Workbench Enhancer 1.5, is that I have improved the look of the old AmiDock.

The users of the new X-Dock from Workbench Enhancer might wonder why still using AmiDock. Simply because most applications and functions in the AmigaOS4 are still greatly tied to AmiDock, and AmiDock still has a better look than X-Dock, in the way you customize the look. For instance, I have made my AmiDock look like a fully transparent, skinny black MacOS-dock, wich you can see on the snapshot below.

Black-styled fully transparent AmiDock

That not to say that the new X-Dock isn't great. I'm pretty sure it is, and it will improve and gain more support, but it might be difficult for X-Dock to fully replace AmiDock. My favourite is AmiDock and might always be.

Covid-19 Amiga Isolation

The Covid-19 Pandemi
We all know that the Covid-19 pandemi started with China in the end of December 2019 in Wuhan.

Since then, it has spread to just about all countries in the whole world. Belgia, Italy, Spain and USA were greatly affected by the virus. Also countries like UK, Sweden and Norway were affected as well. Many died as well, and others were hospitaled. Others in quarantine and those of us not infected, are in what we call a self-imposed isolation, to prevent infection by following the recommendations the world have gotten from WHO and governments in our own country.

So far, my family of my mother at age 76, my brother at age 47 and myself turning 45 in June, are NOT infected by Covid-19 but we have chosen to isolate ourselves as much as we can and to simply follow the recommendations from our governments in Norway.

Norway reacted a little late as a start. That's back in February, but since then, Norway has done an incredible job closing most of the country down, keeping the infection as low as possible. Some schools are opening up slowy these days. The children need to be able to see their friends and get some education, but in a limited way still keeping a clear distance between others, as already heard from the news so many times.

Still looking good in self-imposed Covid-19 isolation
While the Covid-19 pandemi certainly causes quite a different daylife, it also brings back a so-called "bedroom-creativity" that the Amiga had in its' golden years of the 80s. No kidding!

Where others are trying to do unique things from home, Amiga users are now also able to use the pandemi to create something again with their Amiga. To actually use the Amiga to its' absolute limit and create something straight from the bedroom! Being games, apps, design, coding, programming, music, animation, video, writing or anything.

All this is really possible if given time to be creative. The isolation itself from the pandemi is frustrating enough but necessary for survival. Rather than being frustrated and negative, why not simply do something good with this difficult situation, and what better there is to actually use your Amiga to create or compose something, both for the Amiga itself and for personal reasons? You see what I mean? The bedroom-creativity!

The more we all around the world follow the recommendations to avoid more infection and death, the faster and better we can get back to normal once the pandemi is over!

Odyssey 1.23r5 Beta 5 - The latest improvement of Odyssey Web Browser

My Aminet stuffs with Odyssey 1.23r5 Beta 5
As you see from the snapshot to the left here, I am now using latest Odyssey 1.23r5 Beta 5, which has been improved by Kas1e and 2 other guys working with him.

It was a great welcome to see the old browser version 1.23 from 2012, being improved and updated! 

This is another fine example of how you can use the pandemi-isolation to do something useful with your Amiga.

It doesn't stop here. Kas1e is even working on porting Odyssey 1.25 with latest Webkit to AmigaOS4! Odyssey Web Browser is the most modern browser the Amiga has, and it's really great to see this excellent browser being developed further. We certainly need that!

OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c running a permanent NSM plugin

The OMSS NSM plugin in User_Startup
The snapshot to the right here shows how the NSM plugin for OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c is set to always run, when running the tracker program. Allow me to explain.

The NSM plugin is an extremely useful and flexible plugin for OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c, which I run on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex, along with the unique TheMaestrix AHI tool created by Damien Stewart, that tricks your AHI soundcard into thinking it's a 16-bit Maestro Pro soundcard. This one runs in WBStartup.

The NSM plugin is like an Arexx script of sort, but it far extends the features of OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c, ways beyond its' standard limitations! For instance, what I have noticed when running OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c with the plugin, is that it doesn't show a GR message anymore! Well, you can't quit the tracker within AmigaOS4, but that doesn't matter.

Even the mixing routines to use more than 4 channels in 16-bit stereo are greatly improved and feel more effective. Sound also seem to hear much clearer. Everything far more effective than what it was in standard form! I greatly recommend to put the NSM plugin to always run in the User_Startup, since it uses a RUN command anway. It certainly works great for me!

Atlantis 13ch track in OMSS with NSM plugin
To demonstrate an example. When playing multi-channel tracks like my Atlantis 13ch track, it sounds a lot clearer when NSM plugin is always running with the tracker.

No wonder that the NSM plugin brings new life to the old famous tracker!

It's now more fun to use OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c to create music!

In addition, I have also learnt to do some sampling by using my Huawei 2019 Smart mobile as a digital audio recorder. It's really easy!

The mobile has a recorder app that I simply just can use to record any sound I pick up. Then I send them to my email and open them up with the Freeware application called Audacity on PC. From there, I convert to 16-bit stereo WAV samples, then I further edit them in OctaMED SoundStudio v1.03c's own Sample Editor on my AmigaOne 500. It's really cool!

If you got to listen to "Spirit Of A Reindeer", which is currently my latest Amiga mod uploaded to both Aminet and YouTube, you'll notice that it uses my sampled voice! Some whistling, some singing phrases and talking. The track is really nice. Short but nice.

In the coming days, I will jump into my very own Covid-19 Amiga project called "Isolated". A collection of 13 different Amiga tracks related to the Covid-19 situation. My first track from this collection will actually be "Covid-19". It's intend to be a Hip Hop track with some rap from myself and some fancy rhythms. More on that later on. Work starts this week as you read.

If you want to optain my Amiga music, you can go directly to these links below.

If you want to look at my Amiga videos, learning of my Amiga system and how I use it, then you can visit this playlist on YouTube: HKvalhe's Video

Well, that's all folks! See you in another blog in not too distant future.

Remember, keep safe, stay at home, and follow the recommendations to survive the Covid-19 pandemi, avoiding infection and further spread of the virus. God bless you all!

Written by
Helge Kvalheim, Norway

AmigaOne 500 9th Years Anniversary

  Me in a home office situation Welcome to a new blog update from me. Now that I have had my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex for exactly 9 years. ...