fredag 17. august 2018

Doing Amiga Music with 16-bit Stereo Samples!

AmigaOS deserves a beautiful sunset!
Welcome to a long expected update to my well-known Amiga blog! Been a long while, and I had a lot of work to do regarding my Amiga music.

This year in August, my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex, is 6 years old, and still going strong just like when I bought it the first time 6 years ago! Amazing!

Even the good old OctaMED SoundStudio is working very well under latest AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1, as long as you don't quit it under the OS. If so, the OS freezes and a hard reset would have to be done. Such a freeze makes it impossible to click any icon to be activated. Instead, I just do a soft reset pressing Ctrl Amiga + Amiga the way we know it, after working with music.

Amiga music with 16-bit Stereo RIFF Walkabout Music Samples

OMSS doing 16-bit Stereo MAUD recording!
Since my previous Amiga blog, I have done a lot of work re-composing all of my Amiga music, including Ninja Remix, Last Ninja 2 and 3, with 16-bit Stereo RIFF WAVE variant of the famous, high quality Walkabout Music Samples, for far better dynamic and clearness, making quite a difference!

Amiga music sounds so much cleaner and better using 16-bit stereo samples! That is of course if the tunes are great themselves. Then the quality is truly worth it! I have even improved my Amiga music of tracks like Airwolf Theme, The Hobsyssel Hobbit Theme, LOST and Jan Hammer's Super-hit from Miami Vice - Crockett's Theme, all using 16-bit Stereo RIFF WAVE Walkabout Music Samples! The quality is just amazing, and where there are vibrations from certain instruments, these sound now much more realistic, and bass sounds to have a deeper more powerful tone! All in all very impressive indeed!

As you can see from the screenshot above, it's fully possible to use OctaMED SoundStudio to record directly-to-disk in 16-bit stereo, even in MAUD format, thanks to the new MAUD Sound Datatype Support, provided with latest version of A-EON's impressive Workbench Enhancer. But because my MP3 converter program - CodeAudio, doesn't support converting with MAUD files, my music has to be recorded directly-to-disk, using 16-bit stereo AIFF instead, as CodeAudio for now only supports AIFF. That's actually quite okay. The result gets perfect anyway.

Image improved with HDR in GIMP!
Last Ninja music and other well-known tracks are not the only music I have done. I have also started to work on instrumental Blues on my Amiga. A collection I call "Norway Blues".

On YouTube, I already released my first 2 Amiga Blues tracks, titled "Bergen City Blues" and "Nordic Women". They were also re-composed using 16-bit stereo samples!

My next Amiga track is under work as you read this blog, titled "Mushroom". It will be a beautiful Ambient track, giving you the feeling of actually being out in the nature, listening to beautiful music. You'll love this.

Also improving several images for my music to look at on YouTube is also very exciting! Using GIMP - the open source variant of Photoshop, I can even improve poor looking images with HDR, and then they look much better, as seen in screenshot! GIMP is a truly powerful photo editor program!

A-EON vs Hyperion conflict rumours

Hyperion being silent for almost a year...
Not everything is going well in the land of the Amiga. Since December 2017, Hyperion Entertainment have been dead silent, complaining about a license issue with Cloanto.

The result also made them being removed from the Belgian site, but has until summer this year 2018 made them appear back to the Belgian registered site. After that, silent...

More important, Hyperion haven't updated anything to AmigaOS4 since the release of Update 1 for AmigaOS 4.1 FE.

There appears to be rumours circulating a more private conflict between A-EON and Hyperion Entertainment. What hasn't been known by many until recently, is that Hyperion actually went into partnership with A-EON, when A-EON was established a couple of years ago. Three persons formed a partnership. They are Trevor Dickinson, a person named Timothy and the controversial Ben Hermans.

Without jumping to own conclusions and thoughts, rumours say that Ben Hermans especially took money from his partners, for his own purposes, and because of the inside chaos that appeared during Ben Hermans infamous actions, they also created complications for any further AmigaOS development, which surely explains why we haven't heard or seen any further AmigaOS progress since Update 1 for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition. It's a great shame with such a pointless drama!

Much can be said about Ben Hermans. Personally, I always suspected him for being quite an...arse, also because I got personal impressions about him during a couple of emails several years ago. A real bad-ass guy whom has no right to lead the development of AmigaOS the way he has done the past 10 years now...

This is also the same controversial person whom once said in early 2000s that MorphOS was an "emulator", and that the company Genesis, whom is behind the development of MorphOS, was stealing the AmigaOS 3.1 sources. In my opinion, it was quite a bold claim, and in later years, it turnt out that Ben Hermans never could prove what he claimed, and was valued as a "controversial, stupid rude man with a big mouth"!. The same man that has now also messed up AmigaOS development!

It's ironic that Ben Hermans tried for years to prove that MorphOS is not a value AmigaOS-clone candidate, but look where MorphOS has headed now. MorphOS is already in version 3.11, and has become quite a modern mainstream AmigaOS clone, next to AROS, that is. AmigaOS4 unfortunately seems to be some steps behind both AROS and MorphOS in support for newer standards. It's a shame!

Much could have been avoided if the conflict Hyperion now have caused with A-EON never happened. The very last thing the Amiga needs is a drama that could very well mean a certain death of the AMIGA! We can't allow that to happen!

Because, according to rumours, A-EON actually pays Hyperion Entertainment for still being an active company, trying to help them, AmigaOS development would have speeded up very much and the future of Amiga would be much brighter, if A-EON only took control of the whole Amiga concept and the rights for AmigaOS.

As seen with the current situation, if believing the rumours, neither Ben Hermans nor this Timothy are able to stear Amiga and the AmigaOS development into the right direction. It is clear that they're really damaging and hindering AmigaOS4 development with their pointless drama, that make you think of it as some political circus, very much as you see with the insane situation around president Trump!

However, we haven't heard enough of these rumours. It's expected that an official announcement of the situation between the two companies will be published in the near future. I'm sure we'll learn more what is actually the case and what solutions there will be. What is important is that AmigaOS development must continue!

Until then, we can only wait, see and hope for the best. That's all for now...

Enjoy my great Amiga music with 16-bit stereo samples on YouTube here:

Written by
Helge Kvalheim

mandag 26. februar 2018

My Musical Amiga Projects

AmigaOS 4.1 FE Update 1 Enhanced
Welcome to 2018, all Amiga users around the world! Been quite some time since I last wrote an Amiga blog.

The reason is simply because I had to complete my Atmosphere collection of 16 amazing Amiga songs, which you can find here below, following this link:

It's been a long journey to complete this amazing collection, which you can both find on my HKvalhe account at SoundCloud (that's where the link comes from) and on my YouTube channel HKvalhe. The link to my YouTube channel is:

Doing Amiga music of Ninja Remix

Ninja Remix Amiga Cover
Now that the Atmosphere collection is completed, I wanted to do something nostalgic and special for the Amiga community. A gift...

The work I do now is to improve the Amiga music for the Amiga version of all Last Ninja games, including creating NEW music for the unreleased Last Ninja 4! No kidding, it's true!

However, here is the complete Ninja Remix music I have done for the Amiga version, which you find all of them on my YouTube channel HKvalhe:

*Ninja Remix (Amiga Faithful Theme)
*Wasteland (Amiga Club Mix Edition)
*Wilderness Loader (Amiga Version)
*Wilderness (Amiga Beat Boost Edition)
*Palace Garden Loader (Amiga Harmony)
*Palace Garden (Amiga Edition)
*Dungeon Loader (Amiga Scary Nightmare Edition)
*The Dungeon (Amiga Edition)
*The Palace Loader (Amiga Pulse Edition)
*The Palace (Amiga Edition)
*The Inner Sanctum Loader (Amiga Edition)
*The Inner Sanctum (Amiga Edition)

OctaMED SoundStudio V1.03c on SAM460!
OctaMED SoundStudio V1.03c continues to do wonder on my vastly improved SAM460ex computer, also known as AmigaOne 500!

The goal with these songs is to improve them in a way that they sound modern for the 21th century, but still remain as faithful as possible to the original creations.

A goal I believe the Last Ninja fans will truly appreciate, also on the Amiga platform.

Converting from AIFF to MP3 with CodeAudio
Making music on the Amiga is true fun, especially when you understand most of the unique effect commands you can use in OctaMED.

Alongside saving songs in MOD format, I also record-to-disk in 16-bit as AIFF files of the songs, then I run CodeAudio to convert from AIFF to MP3, so that these songs can be uploaded to my YouTube channel.

The MP3 version of the songs are of very hiqh quality MP3. Very clean and a lot of boost to the bass, without blowing up the amplifier, hehe ;)

Such wonderful music work should show that the Amiga is still very much capable of creating fantastic music, even in the 21th century, in any way!

Does it mean I am proud to own an Amiga? Oh yes, absolutely, until I die! There's no other computer system I would use to create amazing music! Only on Amiga!

Working on Amiga music for Last Ninja 2

Amiga music for Last Ninja 2
These days I'm currently working on improved Amiga music for Last Ninja 2. The first one I'm working on now is The Central Park Loader, which I hope to make as faithful as possible to the original version, but modern as possible.

The problem with the original C64 music for this game is that most of the songs were far too noisy, due to the Arpegiggo effect. Too much of that through a whole tune becomes overbearing to listen to, so for the Amiga version, this one is dumped to make the songs much more pleasant to listen to.

There are total of 13 songs in Last Ninja 2, so when all of them are completed, probably closer to May, work on Amiga music for Last Ninja 3 can start. A long, but lovely journey.

Amiga to get Polaris support in 2018!

Polaris-support coming to Amiga in 2018!
Amiga is to get a couple of really nice surprises in this year 2018! A-EON revealed that Hans De Ruiter is working on drivers for the current Polaris-based Radeon Rx 400 and 500 series of PCIe graphic boards, with both full 2D and 3D support!

Polaris is quite an advanced and modern chipset housed in latest Radeon RX cards, and with Warp3D Nova, Amigans will finally be able to experience true 3D capabilities and 4K support! Another great thing is full hardware-acceleration and being able to use ALL of the video memory found on your chosen Polaris card!

A Polaris-based Radeon RX card with 2GB of video memory should be more than enough power and speed for the SAM460ex, hopefully with a single version of such a card, that fits nicely into my AmigaOne 500. That's the plan for me anyway, as I also want to play 3D games like Wolfenstein - Return To Castle and Jedi Outcast.

Buying AmigaOne A1222 in 2019 instead of 2018

AmigaOne A1222 Tabor

My plans have been to actually buy the upcoming 32-bit PPC dual-core AmigaOne A1222 Tabor from A-EON Technology, which is based on a 32-bit dual-core Freescale PPC CPU at 1.2Ghz, with a unique FPU co-processor doing math operations.

The main reason why I'm waiting to buy this new A1222 in 2019 instead, is that I want to spend money for a nice vacation in 2018 for a chance, and perhaps have money still for something more important.

My SAM460ex is still more than good enough for the kind of stuffs I do, like creating music, editing my photos, browsing the net with Odyssey, doing emails with YAM, converting my songs to MP3 with CodeAudio and playing retro adventure games using ScummVM.

The only thing I need to improve my SAM460ex with, is once driver is ready, to buy a really good Polaris-based Radeon Rx 500 single slot GPU card for 1000 NOK, that fits nicely into my AmigaOne 500. Then I'll finally get full hardware-acceleration, and I can use Warp3D Nova to play 3D games like Wolfenstein - Return To Castle and if I'm lucky, to get the game Jedi Outcast.

I think that is probably the wisest things I can do with my money in 2018, and rather wait with the AmigaOne A1222 for 2019 instead, which is a wise decision.

Another reason for this is simply that there are still very little of new Amiga software and games, and not enough drivers to justify a buy of the new A1222.

It would be pointless to use HALF of the new A1222's resources, as the new long-expected AmigaOS 4.2 is not completed yet, which will have both multi-core SMP support, full memory protection and probably OpenGL. This new AmigaOS has been under development for the past 5 years now, and there is no indication that AmigaOS 4.2 will be completed in 2018. It's probably more likely that it will be completed for a 2019 release instead. So there's no reason to rush out to buy the new A1222 immerdiately when it's released. Waiting until 2019 is better, I think...

There's still a lot of nice power and speed left in the SAM460ex, at least for what I use it for ;) I'm happy and proud of that, and I have had SAM460ex for the past 5 years now and it's still running very nicely as never before! So yes, still very good :)

Well, this completes this blog for now on, so it's time for me to get back to working further on my Amiga music, as well as doing my photo work. See ya soon ;)

Written by
Helge Kvalheim, Norway

fredag 11. august 2017

Atmospheric 5 Years SAM460ex Anniversary

AmigaOS 4.1 Final Update 1 Enhanced Version
Welcome to another new Amiga blog after a good while. Now there was time to write a new blog, so here we start.

As most of you already know, I own an AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex, which I bought from GGSData in Sweden back in 2012. Exactly 5 years ago on 12th of September! Pretty amazing, isn't it?

I therefore thought it would be nice to celebrate a 5 Years Anniversary for my AmigaOne 500 computer, running latest AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1, with latest Workbench Enhancer from A-EON. But sometime in 2018, hopefully with AmigaOS 4.2, I plan to buy a complete A1222 Tabor.

Atmosphere - Progress on my Amiga Music Album

Cover for my Atmosphere collection
Sometime in early 2017, I began work on a new personal Amiga Music album, using OctaMED SoundStudio to compose the tracks, then convert them from AIFF to FLAC using CodeAudio on SAM460ex.

The album bears the name "Atmosphere", and will contain 20 new songs when completed. 7 songs are already available as "singles" on SoundCloud. I will provide a direct link as we progress further this blog. We will get to that soon enough.

Some of the songs were changed in later time to better fit the "Atmosphere" album.

Many songs are Ambient, especially using guitars and other more lifelike instruments, while other songs are more rhythmical and exotic. What is cool is that there will be many different styles, making it a truly awesome album, full of fantastic modern Amiga music! Amiga being 32 years old this year and STILL going strong! This awesome work proves that the Amiga is STILL capable of making great creations, like wonderful music! I'm very proud of this!

Cover for the song - "Different Man"
The song "Different Man" is the replacement for the first song of the "Atmosphere" collection. A great 5-channel Up-Tempo Dance song opening, reflecting the man I have changed to become, in both good and bad. The song is deep indeed...

A lot of hard work has been spent on planning and composing this excellent FIRST song of the "Atmosphere" collection. "Different Man" is that song, worth listening to! A great opening!

One of the best songs on the "Atmosphere" collection, is simply the title track "Atmosphere". This is a 6-channel Ambient masterpiece with wonderful guitar riffs! This song shows why the album deserves the title "Atmosphere". And it just gets better as more work is coming!

Cover to the song - "Midnight Sun"
The song "Midnight Sun" is the 7th addition to the "Atmosphere" collection, composed & written by me - Helge Kvalheim of Bergen City Of Norway, composed on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex.

"Midnight Sun" is a 7-channel, very beautiful Ambient Ballad. Some elements are even inspired by asian music, hence the motive for the song is not to be asian at all, but simply a melodic, ambient ballad that want your hair on your body to rise! Yes, THAT impressive!

The song is a great inspiration of the beautiful midnight sun, often seen in
places like Lofoten, further north of Norway, close to North-Norway.

As I personally never have seen a TRUE midnight sun in my life, i wanted
to create a song that was deeply inspired by it, so the result simply became
the song - "Midnight Sun". Hear the beautiful harmony of guitars and pianos!

Hope you'll love this song! As always, hard work has been spent into this song!

You'll find my "Atmosphere" collection on SoundCloud under my nick HKvalhe.

Plans for my 8th Amiga song for the "Atmosphere" collection are under work. The title for the 8th song is to be "Donuts Cops". When completed, it will be added as the 8th song with information about the song. Just like the other songs on the album. Stay tuned ;)

Well, this completes the blog for this time around. Hope you will enjoy it :)

Written by
Helge Kvalheim, Norway

mandag 8. mai 2017

Bringing Back Great Music On The Amiga

AmigaOS 4.1 Final Update 1 Enhanced
After a long delay from Amiga blogs, it's now time to return active to my Amiga blogs again. Here we go!

We're now greatly into 2017, and Amiga is still alive and kicking as never before! Great things are happening!

It might be surprising to read me saying this now, despite all the frustration that has been with Hyperion Entertainment earlier...

Speaking of Hyperion Entertainment. There has actually been a huge, important change in management inside the company, owning all rights to AmigaOS. The controversial Ben Hermans is no longer in charge, but stepped down to maintain other things within Hyperion Entertainment. In January 23th of 2017, two persons filled the position as director managers of Hyperion Entertainment. They are:

Timothy De Groote
Costel Mincea

During a recently done interview with Timothy De Groote, he revealed interesting views the company have to different CPU architectures Amiga could use, stating that the company are not "married to any CPU architecture". Read interview here:

The interview was very positive and surprising to read, knowing that Ben Hermans used to have a "weird" view of sticking just to PowerPC (shorted PPC), even that PPC still got a lot to show, but the new directors of Hyperion Entertainment seem a lot more open-minded about different CPU architectures Amiga could use...

ARM and x86 could turn up as CPU of choice for the future of Amiga?

ARM could be a CPU of choice for the Amiga
Now that the new directors of Hyperion Entertainment have expressed their open views of other CPU architectures for Amiga, the term ARM and x86 would be brought up again as potensial candidates.

x86 is challengig enough to support fully under AmigaOS. Although, this has been proven possible in AROS, as AROS is both available to x86 and PPC with full SMP and OpenGL support. Should also be possible for the native AmigaOS as well, when that happens. Time will tell...

ARM is these days a very interesting and promising CPU architecture! Personally, I don't know much about ARM, other than that it's very fast, powerful and uses extremely little power. ARM has dominated the embedded mobile market for a couple of years already, and is now heading its' way to the PC desktop market!

A bit off-topic, but Microsoft have actually succeeded in bringing ARM support to Windows 10, and new ARM-based PCs will house the ARM-version of Windows 10 in new PCs for 2018, which itself is quite interesting (just to give you the idea)!

So where does this leave the Amiga? While the directors of Hyperion Entertainment didn't say anything about supporting other CPUs in AmigaOS now, they are in fact very open to support other CPUs when that time comes. Who knows? Possible after AmigaOS 4.2 has been completed, and it gets the features that are needed for a modern OS, to be considered ported to other CPU architectures...

This is where ARM could fit nicely as the best choice for Amiga, being very fast, powerful and using very little power! The best choice for the Amiga? No doubt!

The possibility is undoubtly there, so it would be very interesting to see ;) But for now, we're eagerly waiting for AmigaOS 4.2. Lets hope it will be finished this year!

Bringing great music back on the Amiga!

Amiga can still create great music!
Many of you might already know that I have spent a lot of time, in almost half a year now, to create wonderful, instrumental music on the Amiga again, using OctaMED SoundStudio.

It still works nicely under latest AmigaOS 4.1 Final Update 1 on my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex, using TheMaestrix AHI tool in conjuction.

The collection (or album to call it) "Atmosphere" is the title for my new collection of great Amiga music. I have currently released 6 great songs to SoundCloud for my "Atmosphere" collection. All that have been composed and written with OctaMED SoundStudio! Songs vary from 4, 6 and 8-channel in 16-bit Mix mode, using the high-quality Walkabout Music Instruments Samples! Then the songs are further recorded-directly-to-disk in 16 bit, with SMOOTHING, in AIFF-format. Really a great possibility to do!

CodeAudio converting AIFF to FLAC
Another great program i use to record my final Amiga songs, is the program called CodeAudio. Fully registered, CodeAudio can convert AIFF files to highest quality MP3 formats, like FLAC, which is the case with all my songs!

Then the songs can be played in any MP3 players, like AmigaAMP, which also supports FLAC format.

AmigaAMP playing various FLAC songs
With these different Amiga programs, they just prove what is possible on the Amiga, even in 2017, which is amazing! Amiga is more alive than ever, and that's no lie, but the truth!

Amiga STILL makes it all possible! It's easy, cool and fun all at the same time!

The songs are then further uploaded to my HKvalhe channel at SoundCloud.

The link is the following seen here:

"Atmosphere" is currently my best and newest collection of great instrumental Amiga music composed by myself. Many of the songs have amazing realistic guitar riffs! Check out the following songs in this collection on my HKvalhe channel at SoundCloud (see link above)!

Songs to look especially for, are the following:

* Different Man
* Alone Again
* Funk It Up
* Children Of The Future
* When White Does Black
* Atmosphere 

Other songs are from my earlier collection called "Julia's Diary". They are various so-called mood songs. Not with guitar riffs, but other cool rhythm effects.

This ends the blog for now. In 2018, i hope to buy the new AmigaOne A1222 (also known as "Tabor") from A-EON. This new AmigaOne will be my main computer in 2018, and will also use it to produce music with brand new PPC-AHI native OctaMED SoundStudio. We might get to know more later this year!

Thank you for reading my blog! Amiga truly makes it possible ;)

Written by
Helge Kvalheim, Norway

lørdag 6. august 2016

Defending My Character To AmigaWorld

The failure of Hyperion continues...
Greetings everybody and welcome to my Amiga blog again. I felt the need of answering the community of AmigaWorld, after different reactions on my last Amiga blogs criticing Hyperion Entertainment for their 2 years of extreme silence...

The threat has grown to become very boring and annoying, as we can all agree on that, but not because of me mentioning it, but because Hyperion Entertainment themselves have chosen a situation that is no longer acceptable by most...

1. Helgis has mental issues?

A question raised by some in the AmigaWorld, especially from members whom had bad experiences with me, wondered if i had or have mental issues. It's easy to think such of people you don't like without even knowing them in real.

Without revealing too much of my private life, i can say i never had any mental issues and still don't. I have been to my doctor now and then just like anyone, and never had such issues. Instead, i was suffering from depression many years ago for a very long time. Because i lost too many people i love in my life to death. My life has never been easy and i had to suffer for it...Medicines i take today are for high blood pressure and colesterol. Nothing else. Health is just fine and normal in general.

I'm known to be rather tough in the way i speak and write. Words can truly be sharper than the sharpest sword and they can do either a lot of damage, being very charismatic, straightforward or simply leave people thinking...So there you have the explanation to the fact that i don't have any mental issues, simply because it's NOT true at all. There is absolute NO edvidence of me having mental issues!

2. The choice of CPU not the main problem with Hyperion Entertainment

A member of AmigaWorld pointed out that the situation with Hyperion Entertainment is not about what CPU we want to focus on, but on the fact that the company possible only publish about 2 posts a year, compared to A-EON being very active by always letting the community know what they do and what they are up to. This is very true, and i couldn't agree more on that. So forget the focus on PPC or x86 at least, and rather focus on the main problem with Hyperion.

Another thing everybody have to understand is something i have said the whole time. NO company acts unprofessional by being extremely silent and peeing on their "customers" or "clients" that way, leaving them worried and unsure about what the company is up to. Such information can be published without breaking the NDA. Just look at how well A-EON handles such things the whole time. Regular news updates, joining interviews now and then, posting blogs (especially by Trevor himself) and even uploading videos to YouTube, both from certain Amiga shows and to demonstrate/announcing their new or upcoming products.

So what do Hyperion Entertainment do in such situations? Maybe they publish just about 2 posts a year and then making an excuse that they are working behind the scene. Perhaps they actually do, but there is absolutely NO EXCUSE of being so silent that people could wonder if the company is about to fade away or something!

There you have it. NO professional company behaves like that! You have to ask yourself how a company like Hyperion can be professional in any possible way, when they have a background as a former game company, and when analyzing how it poorly handles the Amiga situation today by being deadly silent. Yeah right!

3. ARM might the the best choice as the CPU of the future for Amiga

Well, this is actually very interesting. Personally i don't know much about ARM, but i know this has become extremely popular in the mobile and otherwise embedded market. It's increasingly making a huge impact, and the computer industry is opening their eyes for supporting ARM technology even more. ARM is known to be extremely low power consuming, very fast and extremely cost-effective.

So what does it mean for the Amiga? For Amiga, this can mean a whole lot, and it's probably the best way to secure the future of the Amiga. Nobody truly expected Amiga to be number ONE again. That's not the point. The point is to allow the Amiga to be on THE PAIR with the best out there, which are Windows and MacOS. To allow Amiga to finally break free from its' hobby limitations and to become a serious working platform as well, supporting the most of state-of-the-art components being industry standard today. All based on modern technology.

What is however interesting, despite having different means about me and my motives with Amiga blogs, is a common agreement that Hyperion Entertainment lacks the right vision, courage and probably resources, to ever make such things possible for the Amiga. It is said that Hyperion had the chance of making it happening, but actually ended up SCREWING it all up, as we see the situation now.

4. A-EON can do what Hyperion Entertainment doesn't manage to do

Personally, i wouldn't be surprised if A-EON Technology actually ends up taking over all AmigaOS development, if Hyperion Entertainment doesn't really "pull itself together". A-EON always impress greatly, and they seem to have a hell lot of money than Hyperion Entertainment ever had! We see edvidences of that from products A-EON releases and projects revealed. These are much more than we can say about Hyperion Entertainment in general. It's not hard to see that being the case.

As of today, A-EON seems to be Amiga's best chance to secure its' future, and to develop AmigaOS further. Time will show what actually will happen.

5. AmiWest 2016 will finally let us know what will happen

No doubt, the upcoming AmiWest 2016 show will finally allow us to know what will happen with Amiga and AmigaOS. It's also a show that will be very important, and it will undoubtly somehow "forces" Hyperion Entertainment out of their "self-imposed, dark exile", either they want it or not...As always, time will show what will happen...

This ends the blog, clarifying the whole thing based on my own point of views. All this has been written in a professional attitude without anger and shit-throwing.

Written by
Helge Kvalheim, Norway

tirsdag 12. juli 2016

An Uncertain Future

Unhappy with Hyperion Entertainment...
Hello everyone and welcome to another Amiga blog to read.

Just recently, i was tempted to write an unreal Amiga blog in an attempt to force Hyperion Entertainment out of their extreme silence. The blog was more of a direct attack against Hyperion Entertainment.

Unfortunately, i realized soon enough that doing personal attacks to cause a reaction, isn't the smartest thing to do, so i deleted that blog right away, and decided to write a far more professional blog without any form of personal attack. A straightforward, professional blog telling the truth, even from my own personal point of view.

AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1 and Hyperion's Silence

Rumours say that Hyperion Entertainment will release the first true Update to AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition, which has some certain, annoying bugs that need to be addressed. AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1 is believed to be the update that will not only bring some new improvements, but also fix the bugs that still remain.

As we all know, Hyperion Entertainment have seemed to go into a self-imposed exile and have been very silent for the past 2 years. Beta testers and developers might know that they are supposed to work on AmigaOS 4.2 and supporting new A-EON hardwares like AmigaOne X5000 and AmigaOne A1222 Tabor.

Users are unfortunately left in the cold with NO information about what Hyperion Entertainment are up to, without breaking the NDA. It's not the first time Hyperion leave users in the cold with lack of proper communication. This is a very bad business strategy from a small Amiga company that struggles to be serious and professional in any possible way. It's surprising that the company is still running, despite having little money, especially after they spent money on the trial case against Amiga Inc back in September 2009. A case Hyperion Entertainment won, but at a great cost, which made them loose a lot of money. I say a LOT of money.

Hyperion Entertainment differs very much as a company in which they remain deadly silent about what they do and are up to. A-EON Technology in the other hand are very supportive against the whole Amiga community. They spend time posting news about their projects and plans when ready, without breaking the NDA, they join certain interviews and write blogs (especially the CEO - Trevor Dickinson), and they even upload video clips to YouTube, demonstrating their projects and/or even announce them, like in Amiga shows like AmiWest and such! Hyperion Entertainment don't even do HALF such work of informing the community!

It's clear that Hyperion Entertainment would need a great "kick-in-the-arse" and really start pulling themselves together, if they want to gain their lost respect and faith the whole community once had into the falling company that is Hyperion.

AmigaOS - Where will it go from here?

Uncertain Future For AmigaOS

The biggest question might be what direction AmigaOS is to take forward.

Okay, we know that AmigaOS 4.1 FE Update 1 is coming. We might know work continues on the mystical AmigaOS 4.2. After all that, it's logic to ask what direction AmigaOS will take into the future. A future most of us don't know about.

With the whole computer industry already long ago, gone x86 and increasingly supporting ARM, even MorphOS is heading into that direction. Only AmigaOS remains as one of very few OSes still choosing to support the expensive, unsafe PowerPC platform based on POWER architecture. Technically, it might be more advanced than x86, but it's also far more expensive to produce and support. Two important reasons why PowerPC is not used for desktop computers of today.

Of course, some Linux distributions also support PowerPC, so it's not completely left out. Generally, the truth is that PowerPC has long lost the battle against x86 and the new upcomer - ARM. Both x86 and ARM are extremely cost-effective, being ultra-cheap to produce and support in massive scale! An unbeaten truth, actually.

AmigaOS would be completely on the pair with Windows and MacOS of today, if AmigaOS only were natively ported to x86 and ARM, and still keep legacy with PowerPC for applications and games to run, in virtual emulation mode.

Such a modern AmigaOS having "everything a today's OS has" on ultra-cheap x86 hardware, would be extremely attractive and fun to use! Deadly-easy to buy just about any place everywhere, and have the advance of being the coolest OS on the market's cheapest x86 hardwares out there! A completely win-win situation!

If that only was the case, things wouldn't seem so dark in Amiga land as things tend to do in such a small world of Amiga. Hyperion love to spend time criticing Amiga Inc for that old trial case, which cost Hyperion Entertainment a lot of money, despite they actually won the case back in September 2009, at a great cost.

But one could probably ask if Hyperion shouldn't blame themselves for not only being extremely silent about what they do or plan to do, but also in how they actually handle the overall Amiga situation these days, while A-EON handle the situation with great success, it's almost ridicilous to see Hyperion fail to impress.

Simply put, all this values Hyperion Entertainment to be more or less DEAD, until they decide to come out from the dark, learning the lesson so many of us have tried to teach them for years...

Permanently banned from Hyperion Entertainment Support Forums

Believe it or not, but it's actually true. The strange thing is that i wasn't even rude when it happened. I replied to a user about a situation he had with his Amiga system at some point, and i replied saying it wouldn't be any surprise if it was the case that Hyperion Entertainment wouldn't be able to give what the community expect from them. That caused the admin of the support forums to react in anger, and as a result, i was permanently banned from using these support forums. I can download updates from the main site and control my account, but not in the forums. Well well, shit can happen whereever and whenever you go...

For more than 20 years ago, i would probably be very sad and frustrated of such a ban, and being very upset about it. Today, i feel i don't really care. I know i spoke my point of view. I'm very clear to what i think about the way Hyperion Entertainment handle things these days in Amiga land. It's like i have become their "enemy". One of many, i would guess. One should know that the company have lost faith and respect from almost the whole Amiga community. An undeniable truth, really.

As we are close to the end of the blog, you probably want to ask where does all of this leave me. I'm not really sure. I might still use my AmigaOne 500 aka SAM460ex, alongside a cheap Windows 10 PC i have next to my Amiga system.

I will get AmigaOS 4.1 FE Update 1 and take it from there when it's ready. Other than that, i don't know. I'm not even sure i will ever be able to forgive Hyperion Entertainment, both for how they handle the general Amiga situation, the lack of proper communication with the whole Amiga community, including users, and for what they did to me. They embarrashed me by threating me as a fool, just because i dared to stand up against them, telling them that their silence methods are NOT acceptable, and what they need to do differently, if they want to gain their lost respect and faith from the whole Amiga community. A task difficult for them...

While we all wait...again, i will try to spend time on other, more important things and watch the whole thing from distance. The rest is up to Hyperion Entertainment. Either they do the wise things, or they start digging their own grave for real.

This ends the blog for now, and it's a blog that is far more straightforward. No personal attacks, no breaking the law or something like that. Completely clean and probably one of the most professional Amiga blogs you might have read.

This is the Amiga blog meant to be...

Written by
Helge Kvalheim, Norway

torsdag 9. juni 2016

Basic Tutorial With GIMP

New darkness rising in The Force Awakens
Hello everyone and welcome to the basic tutorial of using GIMP. We are taking a close look on how GIMP can improve your photos in easy ways.

First we need to upload a photo from a good camera. I have two different compact photo cameras. One is a 14.1Mpx Casio Exilim Z-2000 with many different scenaries, the other one is an 18.1Mpx Panasonix Lumiz TZ40, also with many scenaries, including HDR (High Dynamic Range). A feature that has also become very popular with Ultra HD TVs and new Ultra HD Blu Rays for fantastic use of colours and black level. A holy grail for movie lovers like myself. In term of photography, HDR can vastly improve a unique photo with many different colors. Say if the scenary was of an old tree house and the heaven full of different colors. You want to make that photo more "alive", so HDR is the thing in that situation. Multi-exponation.

An original photo before editing in GIMP

GIMP - The Basic Tutorial

You hopefully have a nice photo you want to edit, making the photo more alive and beautiful, without affecting the excellent quality of the photo.

You can also improve a poor-taken photo in easy ways. I will explain the basic procedures using GIMP, based on my own self-taught experience.

As you see to the right, there is an original photo ready to be edited. Right after it has been uploaded, i choose Image from the menu and move the pointer to "Scale Image". From there i choose to scale it down to 800 x 600 resolution, as the original size of over 4000 x 4000 becomes way too big. 800 x 600 is the most supported resolution most sites want to use for showing off high quality photos.

Scaling the image to 800 x 600 with GIMP
After scaling the photo to the decided resolution, it's time to adjust levels and curves to balance the colour and brightness. This to make the photo more alive and beautiful without affecting the quality of the image.

From the menu, you go to Colours and choose Levels first with the pointer. I usually adjust the levels to 20, giving the right balance of colours to the image, and choosing "Set Levels as Curves" from the same window. The long button near the end of the little AmiCygnix window. See screenshot.

Here you adjust the color levels in GIMP
The screenshot to the right shows you how to adjust the color levels to make the colours match the image more correctly. Before adjusting, the original photo can look a little weak in colours. You want to make the colours clearer, then you adjust the color level. Here i set it to 20, and you notice quite a difference in colour strength.

At the same time, you click "Edit these settings as Curves", which takes you directly to the Curves menu, as seen on the screenshot below. My advice here is that you slightly adjust the middle point of the curve as close to the center of the lines. That should give the right level of brightness to the photo. You will notice improvements.

Here color curves is balanced in GIMP
Soon there will be time to do some other small improvements. This time you click the menu with the right mouse button to "Colors", and move the pointer to "Auto", and another sub menu shows up. There you choose "Color Enhance", and GIMP will scan the image to see if it will need the Color Enhance to improve the image or not. 

This one greatly improves the image and makes it more alive and realistic.

You are now ready to save the image into your destination. I have a drawer called Foto on the partition called Diverse, formatted with latest SFS2, just like my other partitions. 

Same image after some editing in GIMP
Now go to the menu saying "File" and choose "Save As". I save my photos as JPEG, which is used mostly by photographers around the world.

I should point out that i use WarpView to compress images into Progressive JPG format, with 100% quality. Makes life easier with big photos, keeping the file size as low as possible. Cool, eh?

Now you have learnt something cool the basic ways with GIMP. Excited yet? There is more to come. Lets now try with a portrait of a person. The procedures are the same using Scale Image, Levels, Curves, but NOT Color Enhance. Instead we are going to use the Beautify Plug-in tool in GIMP.

Here you choose how to save an image

Beautify and Skin-Whitening with GIMP

The greatest features i love with GIMP are what i would call "make-up effects". You might wonder what Beautify, Skin-Whitening and Simple Border do.

Beautify is the most impressive feature, which is a powerful plugin for GIMP with many impressive effects, especially useful for portraits, macros and old photos, giving them new life.

Skin-Whitening is used for portraits. It's like putting on a little brighter mascarena on your face. This can be chosen in three levels of white or pink.

Portrait after using Beautify and Skin-Whitening
Beautify has many cool effects to really give a different or improved look of an image. Everything from basic color effects to Studio effects, and more.

In the section called LOMO (no, it's not a Gay-thing), you will see several unique effects. Two impressive effects are HDR and Classic HDR. While they are so-called "Pseudo" effects, they can truly improve old rather "weak" photos with new perspective!

You can also give an old image a more retro-style look, depending on your taste. Back to portrait. As seen on the portrait of myself above, it's in an ordinary situation, so no Elegance here.

Beautify has numberous cool styling effects
Seen on the snapshot just below, it shows Beautify's many unique styling effects. Here i went into the Studio section and chose "Little Fresh".

This was AFTER i chose to use Skin-Whitening with moderate pink color to make the color of my skin more natural looking in suitable situations.

The Elegance effect, as you will come over when using one of many different styling effects with Beautify, is a styling effect suitable for "party-like" images, or in portraits where you are dressed in very beautiful clothes in beautiful situations. It could be a portrait from a wedding, an important meeting, a romantic date or simple a nice, cool party. Elegance is perfect for such situations, and truly gives such an image a luxurious look, if you know what i mean? Try yourself!

Skin-Whitening in GIMP
We're now close to the end of the tutorial. Perhaps you want to put a nice, simple border on your beautiful portrait? How to do that, you think?

Very easy, go to the menu called "Filters" and point at "Beautify". A sub-menu should show up. Choose Border - Simple Border. From there you can choose what kind of border you want to put into your portrait. Very nice, isn't it? It will be like having a true portrait hanging on a wall.

Give you portrait a nice border 
VOILA! You have made your first steps into the basic of photo editing in GIMP!

Exciting, isn't it? Now that you have learnt the basic, you should try to take some really good pictures and edit them. Perhaps you even have some old photos you want to improve?

With GIMP and its' plugin Beautify, you get a really powerful photo editing tool, able to use many impressive effects to give you the kind of look you want in your pictures at highest possible quality. Better still - it's 100% FREE!

It should be noted that GIMP can only be run if you have AmiCygnix installed. AmiCygnix is a Linux-like environment that can be installed into AmigaOS4.

See Elipson's blog about installing AmiCygnix, to learn how it's done if you haven't.

This ends the basic tutorial for GIMP. Next blog update, we'll take a look at how to manipulate two different images into one. A feature very popular in the Amiga scene where we love to put the beautiful Amiga Boing Ball into different images!

Thank you for reading. I hope this tutorial will be very helpful. Happy editing ;)

Written by
Helge Kvalheim