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AuthorTopic: Fred Fish, Fish Disk #1 and other stuff  (Read 1919 times)

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Offline pkivolowitz

Fred Fish, Fish Disk #1 and other stuff
« on: March 15, 2010, 09:35:56 PM »
Fred Fish was my friend.

He was a gentle easy-going thoughtful person. An inspired engineer. And a tireless worker on behalf of the Amiga community.

A very short time after the first day an Amiga was available for sale (I drove from New Jersey to mid-Long Island to buy one on that day) Eric Lavitsky and I formed JAUG - the Jersey Amiga User Group. JAUG might have been FAUG but FAUG had had their first meeting a few days before our first meeting.

JAUG was a vibrant user group. We were quite large and brought in a good number of important guests. (FAUG, of course, was a legendary Woodstock love-in once a month - nobody could compete with FAUG)

A program I wrote which presented an animated 3D shaded Newton's Cradle appeared on Fred Fish's Freely Redistributable something or other disk number 1. The program is a very interesting thing to look up today as it was one of the two first hardcore (public) examples of using floating point on the Amiga. That's why I wrote it, by the way, and sent it out into the public domain. You couldn't just multiply two floats together in those days. You had to call a library and it wasn't easy. It presented cool graphics, but the actual contribution it made (I think) was demonstrating FP operations. The other "first" public example was also on disk 1.

Fred sent me a copy of the disk and I brought it to the next JAUG meeting.

We set up an A1000 with a number of external floppies and somebody manned the machine during the meeting and people who had brought their own floppy got a copy of the disk.

After this, a demo of the latest disk from Fred was a major highlight of every meeting. Fred Fish's Freely Redistributable something or other was a mouthful. To shorten it, I began referring to them as Fish Disks which became their (obvious)  eventual common name. The first time I used this term however, I accidentally said Fish Dicks, not Disks. I think this might have helped the name become memorable.

Consider that this was so early, you couldn't buy Amiga compatible floppies easily. I used to buy them a case at a time and resell them one at a time at JAUG meetings as a service. Eventually we would come to JAUG meetings with hundreds of Fish Disks pre-copied which we would sell for the price of the floppy themselves.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of Fred to the Amiga. HE personally was the equivalent of the Internet today for Amiga users back then. He brought together examples from all over from people all over that taught all the other people from all over how to program the Amiga and what you could do with it. For a long time he did it himself and he did it for free.

That guy was so quiet and unassuming. Years later we would connect with each other at trade shows sometimes. Once he said to me that he was honored that I let him hang around with me. I looked at him and said, You're kidding right? I'm honored you let me hang around with you.

Fish Disk number 1 is a pretty interesting disk.

Let's take a look at some of the people on it. Admittedly I don't know everybody but here goes:

Charlie Heath (MicroSmiths) - Charlie and MicroSmiths became an important provider of Amiga software (and a fierce competitor of ASDG's CygnusEd).

Michael Mounier - I don't know Michael.

Me.

Robert Pariseau - Bob was the head of software at the original Amiga.

Rick Richardson - I don't know Rick.

Dale Luck - Duck needs no explanation.

Rick Ross - became an important provider of Amiga entertainment software.

John Draper (Aka "crunch") - wholly shit can I tell you stories about the Captain.

Louis Mamakos - really active and important developer.

Eric Lavitsky - a tireless champion of the Amiga from day 0 to the very end -  developed the first Kermit I think.

Larry Hildenbrand - I don't know Larry - the other "first" FP example.

Rob Peck - Rob was the author of the Amiga manuals we all devoured.

David Lucas - I don't know David.

On disk 1 you have a range of Amiga possibilities shown. From Hello World in a window to 3D graphics animation, to paint, to imaging to computer speech. And the people on disk number 1 continued to be vibrant parts of the ecosystem for a long long time.

It was a fantastic start to a fantastic ride for Fred and for us all.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2010, 09:43:33 PM by pkivolowitz »
 

Offline motrucker

Re: Fred Fish, Fish Disk #1 and other stuff
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2010, 01:39:17 AM »
User groups really helped people learn the Amiga back then. Even in Annapolis Maryland we had a fair sized, very active group.
I didn't remember that Rick Ross was on Fish Disk #1. He moved his company to Annapolis, and used to attend an occasional meeting with some of the other people from Discovery. Some talented and interesting people.
The very early Amiga days were extremely interesting, as new hardware and new software evolved. Great times!
A2000 GVP 40MHz \'030, 21Mb RAM SD/FF, 2 floppies, internal CD-ROM drive, micromys v3 w/laser mouse
A1000 Microbotics Starboard II w/2Mb 1080, & external floppy (AIRdrive)
C-128 w/1571, 1750, & Final Cartridge III+
 

Offline Pentad

Re: Fred Fish, Fish Disk #1 and other stuff
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2010, 02:43:33 AM »
Perry,

These stories are great!!   Please keep them coming!   I can't tell you how interesting they are!

Sincerely,
P
2015 15" Macbook Pro Retina * 2.8 GHz QCore * 16 GB RAM, 1TB SSD * Windows 10 via Boot Camp * Amiga via Emulation (WinUAE in WINE Staging)
 

Offline spookyx

Re: Fred Fish, Fish Disk #1 and other stuff
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2010, 03:56:50 AM »
I agree,  these stories are great.  but they make me sad in a way,   remembering how good it was "back in the day"  I purchased my first Amiga,  the 500,  within just a few months of it coming out.  I had to wait because I was stationed at clark air base Philippines at the time.  we got everything a few months late.
spookyx
 

Offline Piru

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Re: Fred Fish, Fish Disk #1 and other stuff
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2010, 08:11:32 AM »
Quote from: pkivolowitz;547730

John Draper (Aka "crunch") - wholly shit can I tell you stories about the Captain.

Oh. That's quite interesting. I didn't even realize he was involved with amiga ;-)
 

Offline Pentad

Re: Fred Fish, Fish Disk #1 and other stuff
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2010, 12:09:47 PM »
Oh Perry,

I wanted to ask you.  Were you one of the 'Bandito's in Amazing Computing?

I heard that for years but since you're here I thought I would ask.  :-)


Thanks,
-P
2015 15" Macbook Pro Retina * 2.8 GHz QCore * 16 GB RAM, 1TB SSD * Windows 10 via Boot Camp * Amiga via Emulation (WinUAE in WINE Staging)
 

Offline clusteruk

Re: Fred Fish, Fish Disk #1 and other stuff
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2010, 01:30:24 PM »
Quote from: pkivolowitz;547730
Fred Fish was my friend.
It was a fantastic start to a fantastic ride for Fred and for us all.


Would you allow me to reproduce this on my http://www.amiga25.com site.

If yes please mail me at clusteruk@hotmail.com

I met fred years ago out for dinner after a show and he was a really nice man.

Steve
Amiga 1000/3000, iMica Silent and NVidia Aros computer.
http://www.imica.net
Lets enjoy the Amigas future, THIS year is 25th Anniversary lets make it special.
http://www.amiga25.org
 

Offline pkivolowitz

Re: Fred Fish, Fish Disk #1 and other stuff
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2010, 01:47:31 PM »
Quote from: Pentad;547822
I wanted to ask you.  Were you one of the 'Bandito's in Amazing Computing?

I heard that for years but since you're here I thought I would ask.  :-)

-P

That's a good question. I've denied it for years and only Don Hicks knows for sure.
 

Offline Orphan264

Re: Fred Fish, Fish Disk #1 and other stuff
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2010, 02:51:56 PM »
Great story, thanks for sharing!

I fondly recall finally saving enough cash to buy myself a single floppy, unexpanded Amiga 500. Having spent nearly all my money, I could not afford to buy any real software for the machine for some time.  However, I had a box of floppies and Fish Disk's were available for copying at my local Amiga Dealer (I miss 'the Memory Location' - had an Amiga set up just to do this!) I enjoyed copying and exploring those disks for a long time!

While I didn't ever get to meet Fred Fish, I am grateful for his contribution to my enjoyment with my amazing Amiga.