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Advent Calendar: Door 24 - Michael Rupp / wishes Merry Xmas
The Christmas door and thus the conclusion of our Advent calendar premiere is Michael Rupp.

More than a year ago, Michael familiarised himself with the Hollywood programming language and wrote SonosController, an application for AmigaOS 4 and MorphOS that can be used to control the "speakers" distributed by Sonos. In the meantime, he has further developed this to version 1.2, which now also supports AmigaOS 3.

But his main project is certainly a different one: at the beginning of 2001, and of course we reported on it, Michael Rupp published the result of his work on TAWS - The Amiga Workbench Simulation - for the first time publicly with version 0.5: a JavaScript project with the aim of bringing the look and feel of the Workbench to the browser. The idea came from the fact that many Amiga-themed pages are based on the Workbench for their navigation, which he aims to perfect with this. Michael has been working on the project for over 20 years now and we would like to mention a few "milestones":
  • Version 0.9: Firefox support
  • Version 0.11: the first application, "Clock", which look like the Amiga original but offers some additional options
  • Version 0.13: support for Opera and AppleWebKit browsers (Safari, Google Chrome and OWB), MultiView loads JPEG, GIF, PNG, HTML and Text
  • Version 0.16: complete simulation of AmigaOS 1.2
  • Version 0.17: complete AmigaGuide interpreter
  • Version 0.23: all AmigaOS versions are simulated
  • Version 0.26: Simulation of Amiga Shell
  • Version 0.30: TAWS Early Preset Selection
  • Version 0.31: new AmigaOS 3.1.4 Preset
  • Version 0.34: MultiView support for IFF-ILBM files, new presets "AROS One" and "OS 3.9 AfA One"
On the occasion of his Advent calendar door, he has today put the current version 0.35 online and, in addition to numerous new features and improvements, has also included a little Christmas surprise at our suggestion. Before we close our calendar with the last anecdote, we would like to use it to thank everyone who participated in the calendar once again. We hope it was a welcome change for everyone away from the usual news ticker.

We wish our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We would like to thank you for your continued loyalty over the years and would like to encourage you to continue to contribute in the new year: both with feedback on the software and hardware projects presented here by the developers, but also with news reports via our Amiga News Feed (ANF). On the one hand this makes our voluntary work easier and on the other hand it is a service to the community and an expression of appreciation. Thank you very much! And now please, Michael :)

"Pirate copies

Yes, that's right, I said the unword:

Pirate copies

No "backup copies" or "not-quite-empty disks", but plain and simple:

Pirate copies

And the following story tells us that these can be dangerous. Even if it is somewhat different from what one would expect ... but everything in order:

Trading pirated copies was the most natural thing in the world for us at the age of 14 (ok, yes, even later). There was a reason that we had not saved up a stupid console with its impractical cartridges, but a real computer with recordable floppy disks. Buying originals didn't even occur to you, the thought was so absurd. They cost a fortune! No, the money was needed for the memory expansion, everything was already expensive enough: over 200 francs for 512 kilobytes, just imagine.
But I still think that all the piracy at the time contributed to the success of the Amiga to an extent that should not be underestimated, at least for the hardware manufacturers. Less so for the software producers, of course. In other words, success and decline rolled into one. Well.
And where better to do this than in the schoolyard, before, after or even during lessons? Exactly. Nowhere. So there was nothing unusual about always having a few floppy disks at hand at school.

So, one fine summer's day in 1989, the following happened: No, wait, I have to go a little further:
I grew up in a rather rural area, in Teufen, an idyllic village of 5,000 souls in the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, which already counted as a somewhat larger village in Switzerland (at least at that time). The school was undergoing renovations, so some subjects had been moved to a provisional location, including the cooking class, which I was supposed to switch to during the break. However, the provisional school was on the other side of the main road from the school itself, and the school itself was on a hill. And nice weather meant I was on my bike (CH German for "bicycle"). So, that brings us to all the important facts.
I ask you to visualise this: We have a hill, a steep road that leads across the well-travelled main road incl. tram to the makeshift. And at the top you see young Michi swinging onto his bike, in his left hand a pack of freshly exchanged disks with ... right:

Pirate copies.

"Everything's easy", I think to myself, I can brake well with my right hand, and off I go, down the steep road. The main road quickly approaches, I pull on the brake, and it does:


Brake cable snapped and there is no time left for further reflection, only reflexes remain. And these tell me that I must not let go of the disks under any circumstances, because at that age they were worth more than pure money. And apparently also more than life and limb.
The road is rushing towards me, luckily there is no tram coming, but while I'm chasing across it, a station wagon gets in my way, so I slam into its side with full force. Suddenly I can fly, and then the lights go out for a moment.
When I wake up, the police are already there and the ambulance is not long in coming, and I wonder how long I was away.
As it turned out, I had probably not been unconscious for a minute, and there was a very specific reason why the police were at the scene of the accident faster than anyone would think possible:

The car was the police

Of all the vehicles whizzing past, I had actually chosen the police car to demonstrate the full power of kinetic energy. By the way, Yvonne, who I secretly had a huge crush on, had observed the whole thing, and she immediately informed my parents. In retrospect, I often thought that I should have used this circumstance somehow to get closer to her. But at the time I was probably just embarrassed, and unfortunately nothing ever came of it.
And the disks? The ...

Pirate copies?

They were scattered all over the road, but the nice policeman, who seemed a bit worn out himself, collected them for me and gave them back to me. A car must have driven over one of them, it was gone, but all the others were still in perfect working order!

I still find it remarkable today - and somehow also sweet - how absolutely clueless the authorities were about this issue back then, at least in rural Switzerland.
Oh yes: About a year later I received an official letter informing me that a case against me had been dropped, of which I had known nothing at all. But even then it was only about the damage to the police car and not about ...

Pirate copies!" (dr)

[News message: 24. Dec. 2022, 07:26] [Comments: 2 - 24. Dec. 2022, 13:55]
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