Monday, January 28, 2013

AmiSafe - Amiga OS4 password protection

A new amiga OS4 password protection program

  Some years ago I owned a Palm Pilot. One of the most useful programs I had on my Palm Pilot was called BeSafe. BeSafe had a simple user interface that allowed you to enter all your passwords and credit card information in one simply database, and used a complicated rijndael encoding algorithm to encode the data so that only your specific password could decode it.
  Since I have owned my AmigaOne (2004), I have wanted a program on it like BeSafe. Well, I finally decided to make one myself! With the patient help of the guys over at OS4coding, I began writing the Reaction based GUI and code for AmiSafe. (Thanks guys! You deserve the credit for me being able to get this all working!).
  A demo of AmiSafe can be downloaded from OS4Depot.

  AmiSafe first prompts you for a password upon starting (of at least 6 characters), and then uses that password to decode (or encode)  the data in your AmiSafe.dat file. This is the AmiSafe interface. It consists of four tabs. Each tab is used to store different types of data: Credit or Bank Cards, Internet Passwords, Other Passwords or Insurance Policies.
When you start AmiSafe for the first time, you will not have any passwords or data (as shown above). To enter data, select the tab you wish to enter the data for and press the Add Entry button. A line will appear indicating "New Data". Simply double click on any field on this line and start typing your information. Be sure to press ENTER when you are done entering data for that field!
 To the left, we see some new data added to our first entry for Credit or Bank cards. AmiSafe is very flexible and you can input numbers or letters or unique characters for any field if you wish.
  If you have several entries, you can also sort them by clicking on the title item name of the column. You can sort in forward or reverse with just a click.

To the right, we see a few entries in the internet Passwords tab.
To delete any entry, simply select it so it is highlighted and click the Delete Entry button. You will be asked to verify the deletion before the entry is actually deleted from your password database.


 Here is the "Other Passwords" tab. I made this one so you can out just about anything you want that doesn't fit  into the other categories provided by the other tabs. Notice that you can put notes or comments in your data fields if you wish.

  If you ever decide you want to change your master password that is used to encode all your AmiSafe data, simply select the "change Password" button and you will be presented with a requester that looks like this:
  Make sure you do NOT forget your AmiSafe Master Password! If you do, you will never be able to retrieve your password database because the rijndael encoding scheme uses the contents of your password itself to encode the data.

When you exit AmiSafe, you will be asked if you wish to save your data. AmiSafe will make a secondary backup of your data as well, just in case your AmiSafe.dat file becomes corrupted (this has never yet happened to me in hundreds of hours of use.)

   In case you are wondering, this is an example of the encoded data file of the data shown in the screens above if you try to look at it with a text editor:
  Looks pretty safe to me!

 The full version of AmiSafe is available from the Amiga Jack App Store for a donation of $5 USD. Or it can be purchased directly from Amiga Development for $5 USD by posting a paypal payment to me. Please email me at AmigaDevelopment(at) to obtain the paypal payment address if you wish to purchase AmiSafe.
  Oh, I would also like to thank Tommy Sammy for his wonderful icons!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Adding Menus to Workbench with ToolsDaemon

 One of my favorite tools on my old Amiga1200 was ToolsDaemon. ToolsDaemon by Nico Francois is available on Aminet here.
  Many people really like the AmigaOS4 docky bar, and it is a really great tool for adding menus and program selection .... but I got used to this old hack called ToolsDaemon and used it for several years on my 68k classic Amigas.
There are several advantages to ToolsDaemon over the other addmenu programs available for the AmigaOne OS4 computers. First,  ToolsDaemon is a commodity that is added to your workbench startup. Second, it provides a wonderfully simple preferences configuration interface that allows you to drag and drop icons from workbench into the configuration window to add new menu items. Third, it supports as many new menu titles as you wish to add. Fourth, it allows you to have submenu items for any menu entry. Fifth, it allows you to assign shortcut keys to each menu item. 
  Most importantly, although this is a 68k program written back in 1994, it still works wonderfully with every version of Amiga OS4 that has been released to date.
  Here is what the standard Workbench menus look like:

 Functional, but not everything we would want.
Now, this is what my AmigaOne Workbench pulldowns look like when running ToolsDaemon:
    As you can see, where the normal Workbench stops at the Tools menu, I have added new menus for Utilities, Graphics, SS/WP/DB, Disk, Games, Music, Emulators and Demos!
    As you can also see from this picture, each new menu can have as many items as can fit on your display, and each item can have subitems in the menu as well! This makes ToolsDaemon incredibly flexible and useful in helping me to organize my Workbench.

  The ToolsDaemon prefs tool is shown in the picture above. Note that I can click the checkbox to make certain items sub menus of other menu items. This only goes two levels deep, however. That is, you an have a menu that has an item which has a submenu. But those sub menus cannot have submenus themselves. Although such a feature would be nice, it is more than enough to have menus with submenus for me!
   Another great feature is that when you select Add to the commands section to add a command, a window opens into which you can drag and drop any workbench icon for any program and it's path will be automatically added to your toolsdaemon menu list.
  Notice that the programalso allows you to use CLI commands as well as WB commands to start programs. Why is this useful? Well, here is how I start DeluxePaint 5.2 with ToolsDeamon:

   Notice that I start blitzen from CLI first (it is in my default path...sys:c). Then Dpaint is run from workbench. This feature allows me to write scripts on the fly to help get certain programs working that require special tools such as Blitzen and CIAgent to run old Amiga classic 68k programs so that once I have them added to my pulldown menus, I never have to think about it again. Simply selecting DPaint V from the pulldown will always ensure that blitzen is run first, for example. 
  Another really useful feature of ToolsDaemon is that it's configuration file is simply an ascii file named that is kept in the sys:s directory. It looks like this:
 Why is that useful, you wonder? Well, suppose I decide to change all my games that are under my Action Games submenu to split them into numerous groups (which I recently had to do because I have so many AmigaOne action games now!) to that instead of having one Games/Action menu I now have two, Action A-P and Action Q-Z. Using an editor like notepad or TurboText, I can easily manipulate the ascii text menu preferences to move everything around where I wish. When I save it and restart ToolsDaemon, as long as I have kept my formatting correct, my menus will all be updated per my changes to the ascii file.
  Overall, ToolsDaemon is a great program to add to your AmigaOne software collection. I hope that it continues to work flawlessly with AmigaOS4.2 and beyond!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

AmigaOne Emulation Madness !!!

  One of my very favorite things about the Amiga from the very first day I got my Amiga 1000 back in 1986 was the fact that it could emulate other computer systems. The Commodore Sidecar was a hardware box that attached to the Amiga to provide hardware level MS-DOS compatibility (remember, Windows 95 would not be available for another 9 years!). 
  But even better, there were software only emulators that could do an incredible job of completely emulating an entirely different computer system, even if it had a different CPU (processor). We soon saw C64 emulators, Coco emulators, Apple II emulators, PC emulators, and MacIntosh emulators for the Amiga. One fantastic thing about the MacIntosh emulator for the Amiga when it first appeared was the incredible fact that - because the MAC used the same CPU as the Amiga, namely the Morotola 68000 series processors, AND the Amiga also had additional co processors to offload graphics, audio, disk drive, and other tasks, the Amiga MAC emulator actually ran FASTER than an equivalent MacIntosh! 
  I remember using some of those Mac Emulators, and they were impressive. 
  So what about emulation for the AmigaOne with OS4.1? Well, there are even more emulators for the AmigaOne than there were for the Amiga 1000. Here is a picture of my Micro AmigaOne running 4 emulators simultaneously! Yes, that's right! Each in is very own window on Workbench.

   Here we have the Basilisk2 MacIntosh Emulator. It is actually a 68k MAC emulator that is running MAC OS 7.5.5. It can be found on OS4 Depot . Oh yes, you may notice that I uploaded this program ... I found a few minor issues in the source and fixed them and uploaded some new code that made it possible to use the MAC Internet Explorer, iCab and Netscape Navigator on the MAC emulator on the AmigaOne. 
  Next, we see WarpSNES - a super Nintendo emulator that can be obtained HERE. It runs very well and allows many SNES games to be played - it even snapshots the current state and saves it when you quit for every game so you can restart where you left off.
  Then we have DOSBox. DOSBox is a PC DOS emulator that allows you to run many old PC games that work in DOS mode. It can be obtained HERE. DOSBox is a lot of fun. Can anyone identify the educational game that I am running in DOSBox in this picture? I'll give you a hint - I wrote part of the Radio Shack Color Computer version of this game back in 1984. 
  Finally we have my favorite newest emulator - FPSE from Amidog. This emulator runs Sony Playstation games incredibly well. You can get it at AmiDog's Web Site. Many playstation ROMs are available for it - and it will use actual CD games as well, but from what I hear, rather slowly. Better to use .bin and .ISO files. One trick with this emulator - you will need to obtain a SCPH1001 ROM file for use with it to allow the loading and saving of games in progress to the simulated memory cards. Amidog has a whole database of games and programs that work with this emulator. 
  Emulation on an AmigaOne is really exciting. Interestingly, sevral 68k emulators also work on the AmigaOne - being emulated on the fly (JIT) with the AmigaOne's built in emulation software - Petunia. Such emulators as the Coco (Dragon) emulator, AppleII, AtariST, Atari 800, PC-Task and many more old 68k emulators work properly on AmigaOS4.1 with an AmigaOne.
  I hope you have fun emulating!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

How to allow your wife to enjoy your Amiga as much as you!

  So you got your new AmigaOne (or for some of you, classic Amiga system from eBay!), and now you want to have fun! You open the package and start setting it up, and before you know it, it is 3 days later! What happened! Time warp! 
  Because the Amiga is the best and most fun computer ever created, it is easy to slip into temporal inconsistencies ... and this can, sadly, lead to marital problems. Oh, its true! Your new Amiga (female friend) seems to get a lot more attention that your wife, and you may hear the sound of a voice in the background as you start using your new Amiga saying "honey! honey did you hear me?" 

  Well, if your wife doesn't become an Amiga fan soon, you are going to end up having to make a choice. Back in the day, when you were single, you might have spent days on end playing on your Amiga - trying new games, setting up cool tools or applications or staring amazedly at the awesome demos people were making regularly. Now, with your AmigaOne, you discover OS4Depot and other wonderful sites full of AmigaOne programs just waiting to be enjoyed! But how can you do that and keep your wife happy?
  I'll share my method .. this may or may not work for you... but at least I'm trying to help! There is an old adage "Happy wife, happy life!" It applies very much to AmigaOne owners. You see, if your wife sees the AmigaOne as something that distracts you and takes time away from her, and causes you to stop paying attention to her ... well, you are in for trouble! Before you know it, your AmigaOne might have a little "accident" wink wink, or worse, suddenly vanish into the attic or closet of unmentionable appliances! The horror!
  So how can you overcome this? Well, the answer is to get your wife as enthusiastic as you are about your new AmigaOne. Insane you say! That's absurd! No woman enjoys Amigas! Well, there are a few ... even to this day, like Cammy from Australia and Elena Novaretti who wrote the program ZoneXplorer which works just fine on an AmigaOne by the way!
  So here is the strategy.... first, consider, what sort of things does your wife enjoy? Does she like animals, cooking, puzzles, adventure, mystery? What? I discovered that my wife really enjoys puzzles, but even more so, things that require some long term strategy. Hmmmm... once you determine this, you have found the key! So I set up Dungeon Master on my AmigaOne and started playing it while my wife looked on. "What's that" she finally asked. "Oh, nothing" is the correct response. Don't let on how much you would love for her to become an Amiga addict too! A few days later I got the question "So, how do you start that dungeon game thing you were playing?" Success! At least initially. Soon my wife was spending time playing Dungeon Master, but it was over quickly... too quickly. She is rather smart, the puzzles were not much of a challenge.  On to Dungeon Master 2! That took longer, but still kept her interested in that "AmigaOne" computer. 
  Then I downloaded Battle For Wesnoth for Amiga OS4. Whoo hoo I thought, this will take a while! Oh no! Catastrophe! After playing for a while and getting very interested in the game, she began getting ISI errors! I tried desperately to get someone who was working on the game to understand my plight. "I must have these bugs fixed! It is crucial!" Well, needless to say, they didn't understand the nature of the importance of this situation. No quick fix was forthcoming (although I think it has been fixed since then). My wife's interest in the AmigaOne waned.
  My next strategy was to position the AmigaOne so that it wasn't off in a deep dark computer vault known as the "computer room" in most homes. Our family room is in the basement, and our nice new 32" LCD TV happens to actually be an ACER 32 inch 1080p high resolution computer monitor which we also keep in the basement for watching videos. Summer was coming, and my AmigaOne tends to get hot upstairs in our home, so why not put it in the basement, where it is cooler. While I am at it, why not connect it to that fancy 32 inch TV monitor we have instead of bringing my 17 inch LCD computer monitor down from the computer room?
  The stage was set! The AmigaOne made the transition from upstairs to basement family room, and got a bigger display to boot! Hmmm.... what good strategy games are there? 
  My rescue came from an unexpected source! Amiga OS4 user Amidog just updated his Sony Playstation emulator. Trying it out, I discovered that it worked wonderfully! Good work Amidog! I found a farm simulation game named Harvest Moon from a little site called Playstation ROMs ROMS for Droid and began playing it - unobtrusively of course, at times when my wife happened to come down to the basement. "What;s that?" she asked! Aha! Success!
Here is a picture of my lovely wife playing Harvest Moon on the AmigaOne Sony Playstation emulator on our 32 inch 1080p computer monitor ... uh ... TV. 
  Happy wife, happy life!

Now, if I can just figure out how to get some time on my AmigaOne myself. Hmmm... perhaps we need TWO AmigaOnes? 
  That AmigaOne X1000   sure looks nice! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My custom Micro AmigaOne 800MHz Amiga

  I got my AmigaOne motherboard in December of 2004. Wow, it seems so long ago! It came with the pre-release version of AmigaOS4 installed on the 80G hard drive. The motherboard and hard drive were tested and bought separately from the rest of the system. Here is what the motherboard looks like installed in my new case.
 What an exciting moment it was when I first connected everything together and powered up the AmigaOne and was greeted by the Amiga OS4 workbench! The first thing I remember thinking was how wonderfully amazingly Amiga-like it was! I was expecting OS4 to be sort of like the PIOS or BE-OS demoes I had seen, nice and fast and clean, but just not Amigas. 
  But this thing was as good and nice and fast and clean as those other OSes, but it was the real Amiga OS! It has all the same directory structure - S:, Libs: SYS:, L:, C: - everything I had learned from my original Amiga days on my first Amiga 1000 that I got back in 1986! 
  And then when I began starting programs from their icons on OS4's workbench! Man, this thing was unbelievably fast! The Amiga OS was always fast and efficient - but I had never run it on an 800MHz CPU before! It was like greased lightning! 

  Above is a picture of my AmigaOne system - it has an internal 80G IDE hard drive, a r/w DVD drive, and an IOMega 100M ZIP drive installed in the case. I also wired up the front and rear USB connectors and sound. Why an IOMega ZIP drive, you wonder? Well, I used a 100M ZIP drive on my A1200 Amiga system (the last classic Amiga system I owned) and stored copies of everything on ZIP disks, including my system backups, graphics programs, games, emulated MAC disks, programming tools and source code - everything. That's why I bought a case that had both a 5.25 inch AND 3.5 inch external drive bay. I also bought a SIL0680 IDE interface card and plugged it into my single PCI expansion slot in my icro Amiga One so I could use all 3 IDE devices. 
  It ended up taking me some time to figure out why the ZIP disks I had were not readily useable on my AmigaOne. People from the forum gave me advice over the next few weeks and I learned that at some point, IOMega had started reserving portions of each ZIP disk for file system use on PCs. IDE ZIP drives therefore, unlike my old SCSI based amiga ZIP drive, reserved the first 2 sectors of each disk. I simply had to modify my devs/dosdrivers/ZIP information to exclude these two sectors, and also had to ensure that the ZIP drive jumpers were set correctly, and then, lo and behold, I was able to read my ZIP disks on my new AmigaOne that had been written a decade or so prior on my SCSI based A1200 ZIP drive. 
  The next trick was - I had to ensure that I could read all the different file systems I had used to format my ZIP disks. You see, the Amiga easily and readily accommodates the use of multiple file systems for any device seamless into the OS through the use of DOSdrivers, mountlists and library files. So you can insert a ZIP disk formatted on a MAC, and by having the crossMAC file system set up on the Amiga with the appropriate mountlist file, it is recognized automatically by the Amiga OS and Workbench. Similarly with DOS formatted disks, or older Amiga FFS disks, SFS, AFS and the new JXFS file systems used over the years on Amigas. 
  The question was - would old 68k based device drivers work on my fancy new PPC AmigaOne? At first I thought - "No way!" How could they make such low level things as libraries and device drivers work on a completely different processor without some sort of kludge or hack to the driver software? 
  But, being adventurous - I tried it anyway. Guess what! My old 68k device drivers worked perfectly in OS4 on my AmigaOne! I was amazed!
  Well, it was even better than I had imagined. Not only did the built in Petunia JIT 68k emulation on the AmigaOne OS4 system allow drivers to work just fine, it also allowed many many old 68k based Amiga programs to run just fine too, including most productivity software such as graphics programs, database programs, word processors, spreadsheets, money management software, all sorts of tools an utilities. It was unbelievable to me! 
  Man, was I enjoying OS4 and my new AmigaOne!

My first post!

  Well, I've finally decided to do it!  Yes, it is a blog site dedicated to my favorite computer, the Amiga! But even more specifically, to the next generation of Amiga Computers, the AmigaOne.
  I hope to add new blog entries periodically that give information about the AmigaOne computers that run AmigaOS4 and beyond. Amiga OS4, for those who do not know, is the next generation PPC based Amiga OS operating system licensed from AmigaInc to Hyperion, and is the original Amiga 3.1 Source Code updated to run on PPC AmigaOne Machines.
  What AmigaOne machines you ask? Well, in the past couple of years several new AmigaOne computers have been designed and released in a number of varieties. The low end of these machines sport a PPC 667MHZ CPU, while the high end, the AmigaX1000, uses a PA-Semi CPU that has Dual-core PWRficient PA6T-1682M 1.8 GHz PowerISA v2.04+ CPU! Wow - I wish I had one!
  You can find out more here: Amiga X1000 Wikipedia
  I bought my AmigaOne back when the very first new AmigaOnes were introduced by Eyetech. I got it on Christmas 2004 and have been using it almost every day ever since.