Saturday, 1 July 2017

Interview with Richard Lake

1. Hello and welcome from us at BlitterWolf. For our readers could you tell us your name, country and occupation please?
A. Hello there, my name is Richard Lake, I am from the picturesque English county of Lincolnshire. My career is in the online world, I am a Web Developer by trade, working mostly on WordPress sites and projects right now - my core languages are CSS/SASS, PHP, XML, JavaScript and of course HTML. I am also a DJ, a lifestyle which has seen me travelling the breadth of Northern England over the last 16 years. Ten years ago (phew where does the time go!) I was basking in the Greek sunshine on the isle of Corfu in the lively resort of Kavos for the Summer season. Last year I turned 40, and so my lifestyle has changed once again - now I am into cycling and keeping fit, generally looking after myself - my Red Bull years are behind me!
Richard Lake
2. When was your first experience with the Amiga and what were your thoughts?
A. I was 11 years old when my Dad first bought an Amiga, I was lucky enough that he often let me play on it for a few hours after school, on weekends and during school holidays. Back in the day I was heavily into gaming, but I did also dabble in BASIC on other platforms and then programming on the Amiga using Francois Lionet's AMOS language.
Prior to the Commodore Amiga, looking back I find that me and my Dad shared everything when it came to computers and computer games, the family computer pre-Amiga was a C64 and before that a ZX Spectrum 48k, even further back we had an Intellvision console thingy-me-jig in the house.
When the Amiga arrived it was such a massive leap forward from the 8-bit era, apart from the odd cheap ports, anything before the arrival of the Amiga paled in comparison.

3. What Amiga systems do you currently own?

A. Nowadays I purely own an AmigaOne 500 from Acube Systems. Originally bought in 2010/2011, wow cannot believe how time flies.

4. How many Amiga systems have you owned in your lifetime?
A. Well that's an easy one, an Amiga 500, CDTV, CD32 and the king of them all the mighty A1200.  The A1200 got me through my college years, in a world of monochrome Macs and the Amiga rip-off that was Microsoft Windows '95, I continued to use it for study and play up until 1998 when it ceased to work no more. In the later years of its life it was re-homed in a Tower, fitted with a Cybergraphics card of some description and a PowerPC accelerator card with an enormous amount of FAST RAM. It had numerous peripherals such as a CD-ROM drive, a Hard Disk and a Squirrel storage device.

5. Do you prefer using Classic or New Gen hardware?
A. Nowadays, I don't have the time or patience to fiddle with Classic machines and so much prefer more modern solutions - having said that I do not like emulation; if I do ever get into the Classics I'd rather than the real deal.

6. What Amiga Operating System between 1.x and 4.x do/did you like to use most?
A. Back in the early 90s I extensively used all versions from 1.x to 3.x.  Its hard to say which I liked the most as it was the software that I enjoyed the most. However, if we talk about Workbench, I would say Workbench 3.0 was light years ahead of anything else on the market at the time.

7. Have you ever been a member of an Amiga group and if so when and where?
A. Regrettably I have never been a member of an Amiga group, however having said that I have in the past few years been to my local get together, the Lincolnshire Amiga Group 3 times.

8. Did you have your most favourite played games on Amiga and what were/are they?
A. In the early 90s, me and my Dad would spent hours and days together playing games, my Dad got me into DnD and RPG games, Dungeon Master, Might and Magic; and all the SSI games featured heavily in our game playing from 1988 to around 1992.  I would have to say my absolutely favourite what nowadays we refer to as a Dungeon-crawler would have to be Tony Crowther's epic Captive. Such a ground-breaking game in many ways, I was also a big fan of strategy games such as The Settlers, Sim City and Mega-lo-Mania.
Point-and-click adventure games also featured heavily in my informative years - I have to admit completing The Secret of Monkey Island was such an overwhelming and joyous experience! So many positive memories from the Amiga years.

9. Best Amiga system of all time for you?
A. Well my first encounter with Amiga was the A500 so for me that was the best Amiga for me.

10. Best Amiga game of all time for you?
A. Too hard to call had so many memorable favourites. If I were to choose a publisher though, I'd say that it would have to be Psygnosis, Sensible Software or Core Design.

11. What are your thoughts about what happened to Commodore - Amiga?
A. When Commodore ended so did my love for computers for a good wedge of time, I hated MS Windows and got through my college years as much as possible by extending the life of my Amiga 1200 and buying add-ons. I must have endured 6 years were computers just didn't interest me anymore. Then in the Summer 2001 on a trip around my local PC World, my eyes opened wide as eyed up this iBook G4.  At the time I knew nothing about MacOS - all I knew is that it wasn't Windows. Finder shares so many similarities with Workbench; it almost seems like the most logical choice for most Amiga users.

12. How do you feel towards AmigaOS4 and reincarnations like AmigaOne?
A. Well I've come to learn that it is nothing more than hobbyist system, there is no-one willing to throw serious amounts of money at it; and because of my learnings my feelings and attitude toward AmigaOS4 remain positive.

13. What do you make of the Amiga spin offs like MorphOS or AROS?
A. I don't really have an opinion about either, I've never used MorphOS, as for AROS - from the little I have used all I can say is that it is it way behind despite being open source.

14. What do you think about accelerators like the Vampire?
A. I think its incredible that even today there are individuals out there who are dedicated in furthering advancements of Classic Amiga systems. Although I do not currently own any Classic systems I do read about such innovations and it is indeed exciting to see. For anyone wanting to buy to one I am sure they will not be disappointed - I think when and if they release a model for the A1200 it will be an instant success.

15. What do you see as the future for Amiga or Amiga like OS?
A. Unfortunately unless anything changes anytime soon its decline into absolute obscurity will continue unabated. Software development is glacial and the cost of new hardware is prohibitive. Someone really needs to bring an entry-level, highly affordable Amiga/AmigaOS to market. Aside from hardware though we (AmigaOS users) desperately need new software and existing software bring up to date. A powerful browser that supports all the current standards and a comprehensive office productivity suite are central to any such conceivable success moving forward.
I wish I could be more positive, but there just doesn't seem to be enough of an cash-injection into Amiga. I would love to be proved wrong! In the meantime I am sure next generation Amiga users and Classic hardware owners will continue to enjoy many more years of running AmigaOS whether it be games or for productivity software.


16. I understand you are quite an active supporter of AmigaOS, can you please tell our readers more about this?
A. Yes of course. I am fairly active on social media; especially Facebook. You can often catch me posting on a couple of prominent Facebook pages; facebook.com/Amigafans (the big one: 126,000 likes) and facebook.com/AmigaOS (a more respectable 3,500 likes). What else, in 2011 I became a "benefactor" of Zach Weddington's Kickstarter film "Viva Amiga" pledging $150 toward making it happen - and what a fantastic job he did!


17. Who is Jack?
A. Haha, I assume you are referring to the software by that name I wrote for AmigaOS a few years ago? Jack was my first venture back into software programming for a significant amount of years, Jack was the very reason I stuck with AmigaOS (4) for so long.
For those who have never heard of Jack, in his current incarnation Jack is essentially an AppStore. However, without OS4Depot.net Jack would not even exist as he is tied inextricably with it. Everything that you can imagine that you can do with an AppStore Jack can do, besides downloading software, you can also comment and review titles and even send donations to developers through PayPal. Then there's Jill as well for AmigaOS, Jill sits on your Workbench showing as a discreet calendar in the top right of the screen - behind that calendar is a multitude of useful features waiting to be explored; both are available from OS4depot.net - have a look.



18. Any further comments to make?
A. In recent years I haven't really been able to dedicate much time into developing for AmigaOS. My most recent worked on project continues to receive little in the way of attention due to lack of user feedback. Evolve, is a development tool for AmigaOS that sets out to make graphical user interface development a doodle. It ties in nicely with MUI and the Hollywood language to make rapid software development a breeze. To find out more you can visit https://myevolve.wordpress.com/.  I really hope I can find not only time, but inspiration to get back into development.

Evolve Layout Panel

Evolve Menu Panel

Evolve Functions Panel

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