10-16-03 - 3


It's crazy to me how far ahead the Amiga was back in the day. I long for its sweet fast GUI - instant full-window drags, never a slow refresh, on a 7 MHz CPU for gods sakes! On my 3 GHZ CPU in a damn win-tel box I can see my screen flicker and my icons refresh one by one and windows struggles to draw them. Apps started up blazing fast on my poor Amy, which had 512K of RAM, and a CPU almost 1000 times slower!! The Amy's GUI (BOOPSI) architecture was sweet and fast and extensible; the task-swapping and multi-threading was awesome, unmatched in any OS; the task-swap was literally like 10 clocks, totally pre-emptive. Well written apps would never ever have a GUI stall. The extensive device layer was just awesome; you could map virtual named drives to any location or function, such as COM: , LPT:, HTTP: , XPK: (a compressor), RAM: (a ram disk), etc. Funny people even made SCREEN: devices so you could copy files to the screen, etc. The Amy Screen system was rocking; it let you run multiple apps *in different video modes* simultaneously - and let you instantly switch between them, and even see multiple of them at much!! This was faccilitated by the Copper GPU which was able to switch video modes during a horizontal sync, so you could have totally separate screens across horizontal break lines. I miss programming for the sweet little Amy; I knew her elegant OS and loved it; I wanted to memorize the RKRM (ROM Kernel Reference Manual) and be a master of the many co-pro's. It's too bad I was so young then, I would have loved to work on games on the Amy, it would have been a fun time of simplicity, low-to-the-bone, groovy goodness.

Which reminds me of a huge software engineering rant - for fucks sake, all you bad bad programmers : your GUI should be on a thread, and it should be very high priority; it should just process clicks and run the basic GUI functions; your GUI should *always* be blazing fast and responsive, even if you're doing some major computation or IO or whatever in the background.

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old rants