Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Interview with Paul Rezendes

1. Hello and welcome from us at BlitterWolf. For our readers could you tell us your name, country and occupation please?
A. My Real name is Paul Rezendes and I am from the USA. My current occupation is with the US Department of Defense where I am an Engineering Technician with the Navy. Its a civilian position and I do a lot of support work for several Navies other than just the US Navy. Before that I worked as a Technician at Intel working in R&D. I also served in the United States Navy from 1991 through 2012.

2. When did you initially conceive the A4000 Replica board and the reason behind it?
A. I first thought of doing this project after seeing the A1K project red A500+ they did. I just didn’t know how I would be able to fund it. As many know I also do a lot of repair work and restorations of Amiga boards and peripherals. I’ve often thought it would be so much easier to replace a dead 4000 Rev B with a new board and transfer the good parts over to it. I am not a designer myself and haven’t done anything as complicated as a complete motherboard, only a few small projects that have been quite simple. The real spark that set this project in full motion though was the preview Hese showed off at Amibay and then started selling his 4000CR board. The day I first saw that board was the day I started the project funding page.

ACILL Motherboards
3. What is your drive behind continuing with A4000 Replica project?
A. My real drive is to have a good foundation to have 4000 Rev B boards available for use in repairs. A lot of the dead machines are from the battery leaking and taking out some very tight traces and key parts that make the 4000 function. It takes way too long to repair these and make any real money from it. Many people know my motivation isn’t to make money off this work and more to save machines. The next step is to take the newly released data and hope someone with the skill can update the schematic design and recreate the 4000 into a more modern form factor to allow better cases and even more features. Everything needed to do that is now released and possible. We just need someone to take up the project and run with it!

4. Accelerators always seemed popular in the Amiga community, how do you feel the Amiga community have reacted to your reverse engineered board?
A. With very few exceptions I have had nothing but positive comments and praise for this work. The speed at which it was funded shows that. In fact I was blown away at just how fast it funded, as did the company I used for a lot of the work. I don’t think they took me very serious at first actually. They are used to doing very big projects and the price was quite a lot for an old board with no real market from the point they saw. When I came back a week later and had over 50% to pay down they didn’t believe it. I think the passion and the praise that came out of everyone along the way so far speaks volumes on just how the community feels. I also think I have given an amazing gift to the community. I could have easily kept this closed and not released everything. That just isn’t me though. 

5. Why did you set out to create the board?
A. As mentioned earlier my primary goal was to have a clean base to do repairs and the ability to restore machines that would otherwise work again easily. 

6. What is the roadmap for the A4000 Replica boards?
A. I hope to see improvements get done to the board and one day see a new design come out of it. The company I am working with likes the project and had a lot of fun doing it with me. They are more than willing to do more in the future on it if asked, and of course get paid.  

7. Do you see yourself selling complete machines such as a desktop or just boards?
A. I have no plans myself to sell complete machines from this work. I only plan to sell boards and to also use them for repairs that would take longer to find the issues and repair than to just replace the entire board. I will be offering boards for sale very soon though. I have the goal at keeping them between $80-90 each if I can get a group buy going. The first step though is to finish a rebuild with one of the prototypes and makes sure it works!

8. Which version of AmigaOS will we see running natively on the board?
A. The board is a near identical clone of the A4000 Rev B. Any version that will run on the original should run on these with no problems. 

9. When it comes to the original Amiga Operating System between 1.x and 4.x which do/did you like to use most?
A. I love the 3.1 version with updates added myself for things like 060 support, USB, RTG and large drives. 3.9 is also nice, but I have found its just got too much in it and is harder to get a stable system running. I also have an AmigaOne X5000 and love 4.1FE on it as well as MorphOS. In all honesty I prefer the modern 4.1 OS over the classic environment installed for a near seamless Amiga experience on fast modern hardware if I had to make one choice. Lucky for all of us I haven’t been forced to choose though right?!

10. Have you ever been a member of an Amiga group and if so when and where?
A. Yes I have been involved with the Amiga since very early on. My first Amiga was the A1000 (Which I still own) that I bought back in 1987. I used it all through school even. I was a member of some very large user groups in California back then too. BAAUG (Bay Area Amiga Users Group) TOGA (The other group of Amigoids) and currently I am a long time active member of the Sacramento Amiga Computer Club. Home of the famous Amiwest show. I was also an active member of the group Lightforce for many years as Acill. I not only did Amiga with them for a short time but also consoles games.  

11. Did you have your most favourite played games on Amiga and what were/are they?
A. Favourites are hard to pick just one, but if I have to name some then my top choices are Super Frog, Lemmings, Speed Ball, Shuffle puck CafĂ© and Gods. Defender of the Crown sold me on the Amiga in the beginning as well! 

12. Best Amiga system of all time for you?
A. I have a soft spot for the A3000. I think it was the best built system of them all. It was done in the best times of Commodore when the money was not an issue for them and it shows. Its built so well and looks so unique that its hard not to love the machine. The 4000T is my next choice and is currently my main classic system. I have mine outfitted with everything anyone would ever want in it. 

13. Best Amiga game of all time for you?
A. The best Amiga of all time? Hmmm…. I think I would have to put the A4000T in that spot. Its just a work horse that not many people can even begin to realize. Its not the best looking, but it is by far the most powerful of them when put together right! The A3000T is a close second. 

14. What are your thoughts about what happened to Commodore - Amiga?
A. I have had an Amiga in my possession from 1987 up to now. I have owned at least one of every single model over the years as well. Commodore was an amazing company that truly brought great innovation and fantastic machines to the masses. I think the money got in the way of management and as a result they crippled innovation. Greed killed them and it made me so angry. It still does in fact. I know for sure things would be very different had Commodore stayed on a similar path as Apple. When the Amiga was released they all feared it. It was never put into the places it should have been and as a result they just let it get wasted. 

15. How do you feel towards AmigaOS4 and Amiga hardware reincarnations like AmigaOne?
A. I love the AmigaOne and own an X5000. I think its exactly what people need. Its got the feel of an Amiga and its modern. Many people say its way to expensive and I strongly disagree with that. If you look back at what systems cost new you will see its quite a deal in comparison! Even people building up the ultimate 4000 of their dreams are spending twice or more the money than what an X5000 will do out of the box at a much better speed.  

16. What do you make of the AmigaOS spin offs like MorphOS or AROS?
A. I don’t have a lot of experience with AROS. I do have a lot with MorphOS. I was one of the early users of it. I loved it so much that I sold my ultimate A3000T back just before the Pegasos II machines came out so I could get one. It’s a great OS and should be taken very serious. It every bit an Amiga in the sense of the way things are today as OS 4.1 is. I would say I use it nearly as much today as I do OS 4.1FE on my X5000. 

17. What do you see as the future for Amiga or Amiga like OS?
A. I would like to see the classic systems preserved for what they are. They are a big part of my life and that needs to be something to save. The future is not the classic machines. I think machines like the X5000 and the FPGA solutions are a great step in the future. The classics are not getting any younger and the custom chips are not available anymore. Once they are gone, they are gone. I want to see a complete and ACCURATE FPGA solution that can be plugged into something like the X5000 to give us the classic experience in hardware form and the ability to move ahead. I’d love to see the MorphOS team and the OS 4.1 team get together and build the ultimate modern OS solution. Both have amazing parts to them and together they would just be incredible! 

18. Any further comments to make?
A. The Amiga is a way of life and something those that have never owned one early on and grown up with them just cant explain to the younger generation today. Why do we love such old hardware and spend insane money to keep it alive and attempt to make it do things that a $50 computer can do in many ways faster and better? Well for me its from a time when computers were more than just a commodity item you got as a tool. The Amiga was my first experience talking with people from all over the world through a BBS or IRC. Its where I met my wife and many of my long time friends. I learned electronics and how things work through it and kept me feeling unique in a sea of plan beige boxes and boring software everyone else was using. Its part of my family and all of you that enjoy it and talk about it the same way online are just as much a part of my family as my real family is at times. I want to tank all of you for making this project possible. It would of never happened without you all and has spark new project that will keep the Amiga alive and well for years to come!!

Michael Holmes

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