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Events   Events : AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
   posted by ssolie on 25-Oct-2006 21:19:35 (24383 reads)
Everything you need to know about AmiWest 2006... with links!

The second leg of my flight to Sacramento out of Seattle was delayed. Turns out they forgot something. They forgot to schedule a captain. A quick search and about 20 minutes later and we were back on schedule and rockin' after that mishap....
Friday evening many of the AmiWest vendors were sitting around a table discussing the state of the universe when Carl Sassenrath (designer of Exec) walks in. A nice surprise indeed. The conversation quickly turns to Rebol and the Amiga origins. After some time a few of us continued discussions in the AMUC/Troika/Hyperion hotel room. Warren worked on the Panda board while I made sure my MicroA1 was still alive. We all took a quick look at AmigaOS 4.0 on the MicroA1 while it was up and running. After some assembly concerns, Warren and I concluded it was not safe to power up the Panda in such an environment. I decided to scrap the idea of showing it running Linux at the show. I'd much rather have a working board for testing when I get home now that I am a part of the Troika testing team. Besides, it was only Linux and not OS4. Carl really did like the look of that Panda board with all those I/O options and I think he would even have purchased one right then and there if he could. Sadly, I had to explain the current state of things as best I could. This would become a common problem with the Panda board at the show the next day--people genuinely wanted to buy it but couldn't. The evening continued with discussions regarding Rebol and the future of computing for all of humanity. Carl begot us with stories while everyone mellowed out. Some of us got a bit too mellow and the party ended abruptly with hotel security pretending to be in charge. Oh well, we needed to get some sleep anyway.

Early the next morning the AMUC/Troika team was very busy setting things up for the show. Warren was a great help again and I can't thank him enough. Given the nature of an AmiWest show I was quickly pulled into a UGN interview with Bill Borsari where I didn't offer much in terms of useful info. but I gave it a go. The most important bits were that Hyperion had Panda boards and there would be rework on the design using a professional board design company for the final consumer version on the Panda.

In between my duties at the AMUC and Troika tables I had a look around the show room. The Amiga Users of Calgary (AMUC) had a MicroA1-C with all sorts of OS4 native software installed and some 68k apps as well. Everyone was invited to sit down and click away. The Troika table with busy with visitors all day. Pretty much everybody pointed to the boards and said they would like to buy one if they could--especially the Panda board. Beside the Troika table we had Hyperion showing off Gorky 17. SACC had a bunch of older Amiga software and hardware for sale near the entry. Software Hut had all sorts of goodies for sale and I heard they had good sales. AmigaKit and Individual Computers were in the corner and seemed to have brisk sales as well. Jens and Oliver had their amazing Clone-A project on display where you could see chips like Denise and Paula replaced by some small circuit boards with all sorts of wires running every which way. Warren took some time off and played Shadow of the Beast on this Franken'A500. I think Clone-A is a definite winner with all sorts of possibilities and Oliver has done a brilliant job reverse engineering the chips. Next door was Amiga Inc. which had a table but nobody to man it. Bill McEwen was supposed to have shown up with a prototype PPC board but bad luck struck when his son was hit by a hockey puck. Go ahead, blame Canada if you must. Bit by Bit Software Group had a busy table showing off their latest software development tools. Finally, we had Computer Connection with a mint condition AmigaOne-XE already patched and ready for sale complete for only $1000 USD. I was surprised to find out it did not sell and just about bought it myself.

During the show I had an opportunity to show off whatever working hardware I had running AmigaOS 4.0 and that meant firing up my trusty MicroA1-C box. I wish I could have shown off OS4 on some new hardware, I really do. Making the best of the situation I demoed Remote Desktop, Digital Universe and the latest ablit library still under development. Remote Desktop enables you to remote control a PC from your A1. Digital Universe is a work in progress port of a popular astronomy package started on Amiga, moved to Mac and is now coming back home. The ablit library adds alpha channel support to OS4 and is now being expanded to included Mesa, an OpenGL implementation. Only software rendering is currently supported but hardware acceleration is planned. The author decided not to wait for Hyperion's solution and I know I thank him for his efforts on this because we developers don't want to wait either. I was of course running the very latest OS4 beta on my machine so I showed off a couple of changes like the addition of built-in time zone support (finally!) and dragging files between screens with the screen dragging feature. I'm not sure if anybody noticed how much faster the machine ran thanks to the revamped memory system but I heard a comment the next day about how it felt like I had a G4 in that box.

The evening banquet had a high quality roast beef dinner. Not the largest selection but what was there was very high quality and I'd rather have high quality any day. A chair was left empty in Bill McEwen's absence as a sign of respect. The SACC awards were handed out first which was quite nice. Unfortunately, I don't remember who won what but I hope they do post that information on their web site. Jens did a light hearted presentation proving that the Amiga chip numbering system were actually coded messages from aliens that designed the Amiga. Not only that, using anagram techniques he was able to show more information hidden in the names of the Prometheus (Amy'05) and ColdFusion projects. Yes, it was sarcastic and entertaining but I think it also had a message for those obsessed with web forums and the like--you can figure it out. Carl continued with a "fireside chat" where Bill Borsari asked unprepared questions and Carl just talked to them. You can pick up most of it from the audio broadcast but you really had to be there to see the subtle body language and crowd response for the full effect.

The official show was over but a few of us continued the show in Borsari's hotel room. Once again Carl joined us while Jens and Oliver took a soldering iron to an A3000D which was stuck with a green screen. After much effort the A3000D just could not be saved but it was great fun watching the masters at work and enjoyed the conversations surrounding the surgery. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, what happens at AmiWest stays at AmiWest so next time you might just put in that extra effort to show up.

Sunday morning we met for breakfast as planned the night before. Discussions continued with how to save Amiga and get things back on track. I think Carl was genuinely inspired by our stories of woe and you can see some of his thoughts on AmigaWorld.net and also in his blog. Again, it is a real shame nobody had any new hardware to sell and we all lamented. Another year past and another year of lost opportunity.

The fun didn't end there as I had coffee with Individual Computers and friend and closed my evening with dinner with Brian Deneen (SACC President) and his lovely wife. Amiga in all its various forms was always the topic of conversation.

Show attendence was down this year (I'd guess about 80 at the show and 50 at the banquet) which I think is to be expected given the show date change and the lack of new hardware and software to buy. AmigaOS 4.0 is still not released and it felt like last year all over again but with a hint of something new for OS4 thanks to Troika's table display. The classic Amiga group was still holding out with a nice inflow of used software and hardware recently donated to SACC. Clone-A is poised to boost the classic Amiga scene even further for next year. There was absolutely nothing from the AROS, MorphOS or any other Amiga API clones at the show. So much for an Amiga community effort guys. Looking at the various web forums it seems to me that those other groups are all bark and no bite and I'm very disappointed in them. This was a golden opportunity to show off how they are a key part of the larger Amiga community and yet they are totally absent. Let's hope they get the message and actually come next year instead of cowering in web forums and IRC channels all day. 'nuff said.

A big thanks to the SACC volunteers for another great AmiWest show! Next year they are shooting for a two day event so I'm hoping to be able to host an OS4 DevCon and more thanks to the extra time. I'm remaining optimistic Amiga will make a comeback despite the state of things as they are now. Otherwise, why bother?
    

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AmiWest 2006 Trip Report

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ne_one 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 25-Oct-2006 23:37:00
#1 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 13-Jun-2005
Posts: 383
From: Unknown

Thanks for the summary... much appreciated for those of us that couldn't be there in person.

Any speculation on this prototype board that Amiga was apparently scheduled to display? As much as the circumstances surrounding this exhibit demand compassion I'm still surprised that someone (or something) didn't appear as a contigency.

Kudos as well to Carl S. for making an appearance. To many of us he will always be a bit of a hero.

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_PAB_ 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 25-Oct-2006 23:44:17
#2 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 20-Sep-2003
Posts: 188
From: Germany

Indeed, very nice read this article. Thanks for the report !

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DiscreetFX 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 25-Oct-2006 23:57:13
#3 ]
Super Member
Joined: 12-Feb-2003
Posts: 1539
From: Chicago, IL

Great report, thanx a bunch.

:)

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herewegoagain 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 2:12:30
#4 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Jan-2003
Posts: 3269
From: Charlotte, NC

Thanks for the show write up Steven. I'm glad to hear that there were some positive points in the show. Hopefully next years show will be buzzing with new hardware, and lot's more visitors. I would love to make the trip one year.

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spotUP 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 2:49:48
#5 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 19-Aug-2003
Posts: 2875
From: Up Rough Demo Squad

thanx a lotsters SSolie! A lovely read!

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JamieKrueger 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 3:32:42
#6 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 20-Jun-2004
Posts: 139
From: From the BITbyBIT lab: USA

Thanks Steven for the report,

It was great to meet you in person at the show this year,
I know I was very happy to have made the show and plan
to be back next year.

For those interested in some more content that was presented
at AmiWest by myself for BITbyBIT this year, I have uploaded
the PDF documents for the flier that was handed out, along with
the Hollywood2 slide show that I used in my presentation of AVD.

The files are a bit large, but you can find them here:

Edit: Added links to "lores" versions of the AVD flier for faster online viewing
(Thanks for these Eliseo)

AVD Flier (cover): avd_flier_cover-lores.pdf [145 KB]
AVD Flier (inside): avd_flier_inside-lores.pdf [113 KB]

(Download larger "hires" versions for better printing)

AVD Flier (both PDFs): avd_flier.lha [5.8 Meg]
AVD Flier (cover): avd_flier_cover.pdf [2.4 Meg]
AVD Flier (inside): avd_flier_inside.pdf [3.4 Meg]
AVD Flier README: AVD_FLIER_README

AVD Slide show (requires AmigaOS4(tm) to run): avd_amiwest_slideshow.lha [2.2 Meg]

Special thanks to Dario Soccoli and Eliseo Bianchi for thier efforts in creating these documents
and presenting them at the Pianeta Show in Italy!

Best Regards,

Jamie Krueger

Edit: Typo, sorry Eliseo

Last edited by JamieKrueger on 26-Oct-2006 at 06:27 PM.
Last edited by JamieKrueger on 26-Oct-2006 at 01:58 PM.

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wegster 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 5:21:32
#7 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Nov-2004
Posts: 8554
From: RTP, NC USA

Good report, ssolie, and some painstakingly made links in there, too! Thanks!

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Zorro 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 9:22:50
#8 ]
Super Member
Joined: 30-Apr-2003
Posts: 1081
From: Italy

Great report, ssolie

Thanks...

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NoelFuller 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 11:50:27
#9 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2003
Posts: 922
From: Auckland, New Zealand

@ne_one

Quote:
Any speculation on this prototype board that Amiga was apparently
scheduled to display? As much as the circumstances surrounding this exhibit
demand compassion I'm still surprised that someone (or something) didn't
appear as a contigency.


It has surprised me that people posting here do not seem to have noticed
there is another unnannounced hardware project on the go. On June 23 Rogue
remarked:
Quote:

I am just saying that I hear from these companies so I think they are
being worked on (especially those that have not gone public yet).


He later confirmed that he referred to more than one company,
Ack and Troika already being announced. Within a month we were onto
Samantha but did not know its name, so that was one down. Since then
Bill McEwen has said that he has been talking to someone for even
longer than the Samantha team and at Pianeta went so far as to say
he would be at AmiWest with a high-end prototype.

So it appears there is a project of some substance in the offing.
If OS4 is to be publicly released by the end of the year, which is
rather close now, it implies a belief that the hardware will be
available for sale. Neither the modified Troika Panda, nor Samantha
are likely to be in production this side of 2007. Ack could have
some hardware with OS4 already just about there, but may be frustrated
at his current inability to supply OS4 with the hardware. I think
this undeclared project, perhaps like others awaiting some sorting
out between Amiga Inc and Hyperion, is the most likely prospect.
It was rather disappointing therefore that Bill McEwen could not
show this prototype board.

Still it seems Hyperion should be awfully busy with three ports
of OS4 to new hardware already lined up, Samantha, Panda and ???.

Noel

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The_Editor 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 12:33:36
#10 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 7-Mar-2003
Posts: 7625
From: 192.168.0.02 ..Pederburgh .. Iceni

Nice report Steve. Thanks.

I couldn't stay up for the whole event but...


As a Viderographer.. can you have a word with Mr Bosari about get someone to live man the camera please ? He does a great job but he needs an extra Bod to help him.

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TrevorDick 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 13:25:23
#11 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-Dec-2004
Posts: 2493
From: Wellington

@ssolie

Thanks for the report, it was very informative. As always I, like most other dedicated Amigans, live in hope that new hardware will soon be available to complement the official release of OS4.0.

TrevorDick

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Bodie_CI5 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 13:59:13
#12 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 29-Jul-2003
Posts: 6739
From: Unknown

Thank you, ssolie. I'm too tired to read the round-up, but you seem to have put in some real effort. I think it should make for some nice, Saturday morning, reading.

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AmigaClyde 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 15:30:09
#13 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 2007
From: Noranda Canada

An excellent report Steve. Very well described.

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ssolie 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 15:31:33
#14 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 2637
From: Alberta, Canada

@The_Editor
Quote:
As a Viderographer.. can you have a word with Mr Bosari about get someone to live man the camera please ? He does a great job but he needs an extra Bod to help him.

Sounds like we have a volunteer for next year. Thanks!

But really, nobody wants that thankless job. We are all having too much fun at the show and shine to care about the video really.

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ssolie 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 15:41:35
#15 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 2637
From: Alberta, Canada

@NoelFuller
Quote:
Still it seems Hyperion should be awfully busy with three ports of OS4 to new hardware already lined up, Samantha, Panda and ???.

You are not the first to notice all the choices lately. And who knows how many more are behind the scenes with their own projects. Odds are good at least one of these groups starts selling one of their boards with OS4.

There is the tiresome distraction of "the license" but I really think that is none of our business. Those with the power to change things are busy at work negotiating and I refuse to believe Amiga Inc. are just going to snub out every single new hardware option. Ideally, I wish Amiga Inc. would license several players and see what happens instead of trying to limit things from the gate. Then again, I don't know any more about what is going on inside Amiga Inc. than any other obsessed fan with a fetish for court documents.

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logicalheart 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 16:29:51
#16 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 2-Dec-2003
Posts: 619
From: Sandy, Utah. USA

Thanks very much for your report. I enjoyed reading the whole thing. I was not able to go this year because of other expenses, but I do hope to be there next year. - Lars

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redfox 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 16:53:07
#17 ]
Super Member
Joined: 7-Mar-2003
Posts: 1568
From: Canada

Thanks for the great summary Steven. I went out for lunch with my family and missed your part of the show. Got most of the rest on audio feed.

I hope you can share more about the Panda as time goes on.

---
redfox

Last edited by redfox on 26-Oct-2006 at 04:54 PM.

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BobC. 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 17:13:39
#18 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 556
From: Mid Atlantic State USA

@ssolie
Great job Steve,
Both with this report and the show presentation.


@NoelFuller
I had very high hopes for Bill McEwen's presentation in great
anticipation of this “project” as well. It was hard to hear his
son was injured... I couldn't even be upset with him.

But real things seem to be happening ..... now... again......soon ..... I hope.

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ssolie 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 18:12:10
#19 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 2637
From: Alberta, Canada

@redfox
Quote:
I hope you can share more about the Panda as time goes on.

I was playing with Linux last night on it from flash. Plan to install Linux to an HD soon so I can do some more interesting tests with it like X Windows (e.g. run GIMP from the A1 to the Panda) and other insane things. Doing some exploratory testing for now to get used to the system.

My Troika overlords may allow me to share more but we'll see as time goes on.

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ne_one 
Re: AmiWest 2006 Trip Report
Posted on 26-Oct-2006 18:39:41
#20 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 13-Jun-2005
Posts: 383
From: Unknown

Quote:
I don't know any more about what is going on inside Amiga Inc. than any other obsessed fan with a fetish for court documents


And that's the problem. The perception right now is that there is one guy running a dog and pony show.

Yes, a private company isn't accountable to anyone but if you want to be taken seriously and convince people that your 'products' are worth buying you have to make good on these opportunities.

As Carl S. pointed out, the driving force behind any effort is a clear vision and the determination to make that happen. There may be a vision here but the game plan and delivery have long passed their best before date.

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