Thursday, April 24, 2008

ARS Technica Articles on Commodore Amiga

Jeremy Reimer of ars technica is running an interesting series of articles on the birth and death of the Commodore Amiga.

It handled graphics, sound, and video as easily as other computers of its time manipulated plain text. It was easily ten years ahead of its time. It was everything its designers imagined it could be, except for one crucial problem: the world was essentially unaware of its existence.

We pretty much laughed at the primitive video capabilities of 1985-1990 Mac's and PC's as compared to an Amiga. Those two platforms were pathetic. And when we combined a $1500 Amiga with a $1500 Video Toaster card, we had a decent video editing machine nearly as functional as dedicated editors costing far, far more. My guess is that few people today realize how far advanced that computer was compared to its contemporaries, and how long it took the rest of the industry to catch up.

I use Windows Movie Maker and iMovie to play around with video, and other than the vast improvements in storage that allow direct editing of on-disk digital video files, the capabilities of today's software isn't that much greater than the 20 year old Amiga. We should really be ashamed at how little progress we made in two decades.

Links to the series:

Part 1: Genesis

Part 2: The Birth of Amiga

Part 3: The First Prototype

Part 4: Enter Commodore

Part 5: Postlaunch Blues


Part 6: Stop the Bleeding


It's worth a read.

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