Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 24th Apr 2014 19:19 UTC
Amiga & AROS

Via Ars Technica.

A multi-institutional team of new-media artists, computer experts, and museum professionals have discovered a dozen previously unknown experiments by Andy Warhol (BFA, 1949) on aging floppy disks from 1985.

[...]

Warhol's Amiga experiments were the products of a commission by Commodore International to demonstrate the graphic arts capabilities of the Amiga 1000 personal computer. Created by Warhol on prototype Amiga hardware in his unmistakable visual style, the recovered images reveal an early exploration of the visual potential of software imaging tools, and show new ways in which the preeminent American artist of the 20th century was years ahead of his time.

Great to have this stuff preserved properly now. At the time, the Amiga was so ahead of the competition that most people didn't really understand what they were looking at. It took the competition - Apple, Microsoft - a decade, or even longer, to catch up. Andy Warhol demonstrated this huge technical lead by creating these works of art on the Amiga in 1985.

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Both?
by peejay on Thu 24th Apr 2014 19:54 UTC
peejay
Member since:
2005-06-29

...discovered a dozen previously unknown experiments by Andy Warhol...from 1985.


Andy Warhol demonstrated this huge technical lead by creating these works of art on the Amiga in 1985.


;)

(emphasis mine)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Both?
by Carewolf on Thu 24th Apr 2014 20:37 UTC in reply to "Both?"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Many of his works from those years were made on the Amiga. These are only a couple of works he never published.

Reply Score: 3

*sniff*
by puenktchen on Thu 24th Apr 2014 21:22 UTC
puenktchen
Member since:
2007-07-27

I miss my Amiga 1000. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Questions
by Bobthearch on Fri 25th Apr 2014 00:20 UTC
Bobthearch
Member since:
2006-01-27

That's very cool news for Warhol's fans (not me) and for vintage computer enthusiasts (me). I would have liked to know some more semi-technical details of the file recovery:

What was the unknown file format? Could it have been some in-house prototype / experimental software that was never commercially available? Or could the researchers have overlooked one of the drawing programs from that era?

What was the condition of the floppies after so much time? Was file reconstruction necessary due to deterioration of the magnetic media?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Questions
by Sauron on Fri 25th Apr 2014 04:00 UTC in reply to "Questions"
Sauron Member since:
2005-08-02

It wasn't a "unknown" file format, only to them. I think they were expecting a PC formatted floppy and files. It all became clear when it was passed to a Amiga user to look at. The images were loaded for viewing in GraphiCraft.
The floppies were in quite good condition and according to the person who recovered them, they could have been recovered using a basic A500/A1200, but a Kryoflux was used for the job instead.
You can find a bit more info here http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=73441. It becomes clear that most of it is the usual media hype and made up stories of woe.

That's very cool news for Warhol's fans (not me) and for vintage computer enthusiasts (me). I would have liked to know some more semi-technical details of the file recovery:

What was the unknown file format? Could it have been some in-house prototype / experimental software that was never commercially available? Or could the researchers have overlooked one of the drawing programs from that era?

What was the condition of the floppies after so much time? Was file reconstruction necessary due to deterioration of the magnetic media?

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Questions
by quackalist on Sat 26th Apr 2014 00:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Questions"
quackalist Member since:
2007-08-27

...It becomes clear that most of it is the usual media hype and made up stories of woe...


Seems fitting, woe is me but at least I know what I don't like.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Questions
by KLU9 on Fri 25th Apr 2014 10:21 UTC in reply to "Questions"
KLU9 Member since:
2006-12-06

More info on the floppies and files in this PDF
http://studioforcreativeinquiry.org/public/warhol_amiga_report_v10....

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Questions
by Bobthearch on Fri 25th Apr 2014 13:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Questions"
Bobthearch Member since:
2006-01-27

Thank you both for the additional links.

Reply Score: 2

With all due respect...
by Savior on Fri 25th Apr 2014 07:55 UTC
Savior
Member since:
2006-09-02

the Amiga was an amazing machine -- as a C64 user, I was always envious when looking at the games published for it. However, these pictures are simply crap. The graphics of many a game are better than that, and let's not forget what the demo groups were capable of. Famous or not famous, when taken at face value, these pictures don't worth a dime.

Reply Score: 3

RE: With all due respect...
by henrikmk on Fri 25th Apr 2014 11:46 UTC in reply to "With all due respect..."
henrikmk Member since:
2005-07-10

The pictures were created, when he was first dabbled with computer graphics, and with an early unstable version of GraphiCraft.

I'm not sure he would have been used to working with pixel art at the time?

Reply Score: 3

Amigas do last
by Chrispynutt on Fri 25th Apr 2014 09:43 UTC
Chrispynutt
Member since:
2012-03-14

I got my old A1200 back from my parents not long ago.

Fired it up after maybe 10 years of being idle. The machine started no problems. The ancient 120mb hard disk span up into life no problem.

Still out boots my Windows 7 box even with its SSD boot drive.

That said my router starts so slowly boot time is less of a worry.

Reply Score: 3

Memories
by Tony Swash on Fri 25th Apr 2014 10:57 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

I remember the Amiga very well and very much desired it at the time, I thought it looked amazing. The problem back then was that PCs weren’t really personal computers, they were just far too expensive for anyone other than the very well off. So most PCs were bought for work by businesses and there were only a few ways in which PCs could add value at work. One obvious one was in general admin, generating text, financial control and admin, business planning etc, and in that arena the dreadful but perfectly functional DOS based PCs were the king because they were simple the most inexpensive for doing those sorts of jobs. Even up until the early 1990s that remained true, I worked in the central strategic policy planning unit of a large local authority (nearly 10,000 employees) by then and our office with 20 workers was considered tech rich because we had three DOS PCs plus a laser printer which we shared. No internet or email of course, I got that first because I worked on EU projects and I had to arrange to get a dial up service via a modem. It wasn’t Windows that beat the Mac it was, astonishingly, MS-Dos.

Back in the mid 1980s the only other business case for a PC, and the one that the Mac dominated, was desk top publishing. Back then I was part of a design and print co-operative that had grown out of the radical counterculture of the 1970s. All our design and layout was by hand using strips of typeset text and hot wax to stick it down. My partner worked in another all women typesetting cooperative and that had a state of the art phototypesetting system. Even that system was cumbersome and involved typing DOS style commands into a specialist terminal and sending it to a machine the size of a large refrigerator for it to printed out on photographic strips for hand pasting. I think their whole specialist typesetting system cost over 50,000 Euro in todays values. Everyday we would send over by motorbike courier a packet of hand marked up text to the sisters in the typesetting collective where they would retype and set it and send back the typeset strips via a courier. It seems farcically cumbersome now.

Then cam DTP which seemed literally like magic. It was my job to asses the various systems and packages that were flooding into the market and I looked at the Amiga long and hard because of it’s price advantage and because it seemed so sexy. But we went Mac in the end because of two things, Pagemaker software and the Apple Laserwriter. Amiga had nothing like that. So we bought a Mac II (with an amazing 8 megabytes of RAM and a huge 40 megabyte hard disk), Pagemaker and a Laserwriter and we never looked back. The whole lot probably cost the equivalent of over 20,000 Euro in today’s values.

It wasn’t my job to do work the system but I stayed on every night to learn how Pagemaker and the Mac worked and of course I fell in love with the Mac, with it’s GUI and with the whole way the system worked. After a decade and half of laying out designs by hand, using glue, to be able to move page elements around freely and easily on screen using a mouse, insert graphics, watch text auto flow into columns, then with a click of a button print out a perfectly laid out page was just stunning.

I think people often forget how important not just Pagemaker was to the survival of the Mac (and the defeat of the Amiga) but also how important the Postscript based Apple Laserwriter was.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Memories
by kovacm on Fri 25th Apr 2014 16:13 UTC in reply to "Memories"
kovacm Member since:
2010-12-16

So we bought a Mac II (with an amazing 8 megabytes of RAM and a huge 40 megabyte hard disk), Pagemaker and a Laserwriter and we never looked back. The whole lot probably cost the equivalent of over 20,000 Euro in today’s values.

yes... you certainly did not hear (or try) Atari with Calamus and Atari Laser Printer ;)
it was only 6 times less money than Mac ;) but Apple is Apple! ;)
piece of overpriced crap.

that in 7 years they were unable to produce a better machine than the Amiga 1000.

commodore disband original Amiga team soon after they bought them.

to bad that Jack withdraw from business to early and left sons to run show.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Memories
by Tony Swash on Fri 25th Apr 2014 18:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Memories"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

yes... you certainly did not hear (or try) Atari with Calamus


Not then I didn't hear of it because it wasn't released until 1987 by which time Macs, Laserwriters and Pagemaker were well established as the new industry standard. There are reasons why some platforms/products succeed or fail, and the problem for the Amiga was that there was simply no compelling business case for going with Amiga and lots for going with the Mac platform. I knew dozens of companies in the London reprographics and print sector in the mid-1980s and none went with Amiga. Most went with Macs, Some went with very expensive high end dedicated hardware packages from the traditional typographic OEMs and all regretted not going Mac. The slightest friction in the productive work flow costs money and the reprographics workflow with the least friction back then was Mac based.

I should add that what made Pagemaker so compelling (although ultimately it was also limiting and led to it's replacement by Indesign) was that it mimicked so well the traditional process of pasting up layout. This meant the learning curve for designers and layout artists was much reduced and thus the transitional costs were also much reduced. I taught myself Pagemaker pretty quickly after work on our Mac rig and although I had to get used to using a mouse and the paraphernalia of the Mac UI the actual work flow being replicated on screen in Pagemaker felt immediately familiar. It was cut and past minus the glue with a nondestructive work flow and machine precision. It was so exhilarating.

Edited 2014-04-25 19:00 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Memories
by moondevil on Mon 28th Apr 2014 12:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Memories"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

There are reasons why some platforms/products succeed or fail, and the problem for the Amiga was that there was simply no compelling business case for going with Amiga and lots for going with the Mac platform.


Unless you happened to live in Europe where only Ferrari drivers worried about buying Apple hardware.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Memories
by PLan on Sun 27th Apr 2014 04:11 UTC in reply to "Memories"
PLan Member since:
2006-01-10

Yes, the original Mac was a solution in search of a problem and DTP came to the rescue. The Amiga was light years ahead of the Mac despite only being around a year older but it never really gained enough traction to take the market by storm(as it deserved to).

Reply Score: 4

RE: Memories
by tupp on Mon 28th Apr 2014 04:18 UTC in reply to "Memories"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

The Mac was not the first GUI DTP machine... not by a long shot.

Here is a video demo of Intran's Metaform software for the Three Rivers Perq machine: http://tinyurl.com/k2peqqh

This video was released in 1983-1984. So, Intran obviously already had an advanced GUI and WYSIWYG DTP package when the first primitive Mac was barely out the door. Note that the video's accompanying text (from the DigiBarn Computer Museum) says that Metaform was launched before Apple's Lisa and Mac computers.

Heck, the Perq was first released in late 1979 -- four years before the first Apple GUI machine!

Sorry fanboys, but the actual truth is that there were several other advanced GUI/graphics players before Apple.

Reply Score: 2

dedicated chips...
by hobgoblin on Fri 25th Apr 2014 11:30 UTC
hobgoblin
Member since:
2005-07-06

The one reason Amiga blew the rest away back then was the dedicated (and in house designed) chips.

This meant that it could pull of things on hardware that the others used CPU for.

But over time the PC, via its expansion slots, gained similar capabilities.

And by virtue of not being tied to a single OEM, competition kicked in to drive the margins right down.

Hell, when i look at Project Ara i find myself thinking of the baseboard of the Altair and similar. The motherboard of a desktop PC is quite similar, except for the on board CPU socket that locks it into a specific generation.

As both AMD and Intel are moving more and more of the northbridge into the CPU, it is quite possible that we could move the CPU and RAM slots onto a daughterboard, and connect the whole thing to a southbridge via PCIE.

Reply Score: 3

RE: dedicated chips...
by feamatar on Fri 25th Apr 2014 12:16 UTC in reply to "dedicated chips..."
feamatar Member since:
2014-02-25

But you see, it was not that the PC had an advantage because of the custom chipsets, or the different vendors. Instead it is the responsibility of the Commodore leadership, that in 7 years they were unable to produce a better machine than the Amiga 1000. The chipset in the Amiga 1200 was just slightly more advanced than the Amiga1000. 7 years with marginal evolution.

It really looks like to me, that Commodore without Tramiel was nothing. Hell, look at the Atari ST, it clearly undermined the Amiga from 85 till 89. It had a superior hires non interlaced mode for production and a midi for musicians and Macintosh emulation all of that for half the price of the Amiga. Even the games were mostly ports to the Amiga for the first few years. If Tramiel had Commodore's production capacity behind him, it could have wiped the floor with the competition. At least the way I see the story is, that the first few years of Atari under Tramiel were constant legal battles and issues with production and distribution.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: dedicated chips...
by Dasher42 on Fri 25th Apr 2014 15:51 UTC in reply to "RE: dedicated chips..."
Dasher42 Member since:
2007-04-05

The engineers at Commodore designed way better than the AGA chipset, literally coming up with products that management killed. It was frustrating seeing what the platform should have been capable of growing into. I'm positive the executives got kickbacks from the competition or something.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: dedicated chips...
by leech on Fri 25th Apr 2014 17:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: dedicated chips..."
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Sure does seem that way, doesn't it. The fact that Commodore broke up the awesome team that created the A1000, so they only ended up with two slight increases, the ECS and AGA, and didn't give enough money to the engineers to get the AAA chipset out...

It sadly all blew up. Atari had so many issues as well, and just didn't have the money to continue without someone buying them up. It'd be nice if there were a new Atari console out to compete with Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo. But who has money to compete with that?

Reply Score: 2

Surprised that nobody has linked this video.
by tupp on Fri 25th Apr 2014 17:05 UTC
tupp
Member since:
2006-11-12
My Amiga memories
by ezraz on Mon 28th Apr 2014 13:38 UTC
ezraz
Member since:
2012-06-20

I did some time on various amiga systems used in animation production and media in the early 90's.

Granted they were already a couple of years old, but I was working on everything from the basic, slab models with mostly stock hardware all the way up to the 3 foot tower with multiple cards and modules sticking out of it.

It's true that the amiga was ahead of it's time. But this is usually reported as all positive and it was not.

The Amiga's crashed alot, and crashed hard. Back then every GUI on the desktop crashed alot (Mac 6/7/8, Atari ST, Win 3). But Amiga, because they could do "more", would crash the hardest, and could also muck up whatever workflow they were part of.

Working on Macs back then meant hitting command-S every 10 seconds to avoid lost work when the inevitable reboot came.

Working on Windows back then meant saving to external disk every night to avoid lost projects when the inevitable reformat and re-install came.

Working on Amigas back then meant doing both, and if you were in a live production environment, usually having a second Amiga with a video card up and running with a copy of the files was a good idea. Amigas taught me about redundancy since they ate it hard so often. At least the good directors knew not to count on the Amiga graphics being there every time and would move on without chyro while the machine took 5 minutes to reboot, and the taped productions waiting on Amiga graphic presentations would block the shot with and without the graphic in case it wasn't there for any number of reasons.

Now it is true Macs, Windows, DOS, Unix, even Atari ST's couldn't do what Amigas could do with media and graphics at that moment. But it's not true that the Amiga did it particularly well, which is why the second Apple or MS added the features to compete people all over shifted platforms. Simply too much handwringing and fighting the inevitable death of the platform for a production environment. So little back then in the way of online help, support forums, or free tech support, especially for this foster-child of an OS.

Compare this to another purpose-built media OS - BeOS - which was rock solid stable for me. I had BeOS running on a PowerPC 603 machine around 1996 and I remember playing 6 distinct movie files while manipulating a VR-image with the mouse and it didn't appear to drop a frame or lose sync on anything. Same exact machine booting MacOS9 could only play 2 quicktimes concurrently before hiccuping. BeOS crashed so rarely I can't remember it's crash screen.

BeOS and now OSX are the most stable desktop OS's I've ever worked with. But BeOS never got the driver and app support to really be a player in media, it was a proof of concept that to this day haunts and motivates all OS vendors.

Amiga was a mixed bag. They pushed desktop computing forward in the 80's, especially in the media market, but the total mismanagement of the platform left it a unstable mess by the early 90's, leaving MS and Apple (and soon linux) more than able to pick up that market.

I do wish they would have succeeded. I think we would have had products like AppleTV and Roku 10 years earlier if Amiga had survived and prospered.

Edited 2014-04-28 13:48 UTC

Reply Score: 1