The Future Was Here.

The Boing BallFew months ago I was searching for Amiga e-books on the Amazon. One of the search hits was “The Future Was Here (Platform Studies)“. It did sound pleasant to my ears. I decided to get a sample. And immediately I got a message that due to customers complaints, it was withdrawn from the catalogue. Luckily rest of the announcement was saying that after some improvements, the ebook will be available again.

After two or three weeks, a next attempt to download the sample was successful. I must say that the formating was not the best I’ve seen on the Kindle. Too much free space on the left side, some words glued to each other (you cannot use the dictionary then), few minor issues with navigate through pages, but all in all, it was not so bad. I can imagine how screwed it was be in the first edition… Lets put the formatting issues aside, move to the meat.

What convinced me to purchase that ebook was pure Amiga-enthusiasm of the author (Jimmy Maher) and his attention to details (The Boing!). Oh, man! It was a weird experience to read something you would write yourself actually, if you only were technically able to do so :) The same feelings, observations, point of view…

The great value of “The Future Was Here” is its broad scope. You’ll get *very* technical details on how the Boing was made, how Deluxe Paint and HAM modes do their magic, how genlock works, but on the other hand you can learn about business aspects, major companies that made Amiga successful and the Scene. Just take a look at the contents table: “Boing”, “Deluxe Paint”, “SSG and Sculpt-Animate”, “NewTek”, “AmigaOS and ARexx”, “The Scene”, “Cinemaware and Psygnosis”. Isn’t it impressive?

Sometimes the advantages are disadvantages at the same time. Here is somewhat like that. Lots of threads and topics make you feel like scratching the surface. The bad thing is when you’d wish to read more about a particular subject, whereas it has been treated superficially in the book. But you simply cannot write a detailed book about everything.

It is really hard to say what I like most (I have to read it one more time:) about that book, but for sure I love the entire story about the Boing Ball. All the fragments about the R.J. Mical’s team are brilliant – you can literally feel the energy and passion they were working with. What I realize too is how the Amiga was cut down on resources such as memory and peripherals before it eventually hit the market. It was great to read though about Scene as something that had been keeping Amiga alive so many years, despite all the business bad moves and missed ideas (I wish someone else acquired Amiga…).

Despite the small issues, it was a good purchase. A recommended read, no doubt.

Here is an on-line addendum to the book: Materials to accompany the Platform Studies volume

Learning new languages is fun.

This is pretty interesting that one of the hobbies and no-work-related activities I’ve been able to find some time recently for is… Haskell. Don’t know if this is a constant trend yet, but it looks like I found a new Python. Not in a technical sense of course.

This is just the same vibe and feeling when I was discovering Python, around its 1.5 revision. Almost like Columbus and his New World :) With Haskell, both new language and new concept behind it, exercising your brain is for free. I hope I will be able to write something about the experience soon.

And now, for something completely different. Recently I’ve been to a nice retro-computing event – “Old Computers and Games”. Although the blog post is in Polish, the photos should be pretty understandable.

To be functional.

The previous post was about a free book on Scala language. Book that introduces Scala and its ecosystem to an impatient person. I have made few attempts to make myself familiar with that language, but…

Java language is something I intentionally left behind some time ago. I am no longer a Java developer and won’t be. I accept JVM presence and do like some new things that runs on it, like Groovy for example, but programming in Java is boring, tiresome and mundane. Of course this is my private opinion. Great I am not a Java programmer for a living :)

What kills my passion to learn Scala is… yeah, the Java heritage. The reason I planned to get to know that language is simple – it is a functional language and its ecosystem is constantly growing. Nothing more. So…

Since my primary goal is to grasp that “functional” thing, I believe Haskell could be a better choice. Haskell is purely-functional (sounds like a flame wars, doesn’t it?), and yes, there is no Java behind the scenes.

“Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! (LYAH)” looks like a great resource to start with. The sun saying “Holy shit!” is killing me :D