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FeaturesMain »» Show Reports
|Pianeta Amiga 2006 |
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|It's early in the morning when I arrive in Empoli and, luckily, it's a beautiful day. Empoli is a peaceful and relaxing town: very little traffic, cordial people and a sensation of order that cannot but be welcomed by all who come from a chaotic city like mine. Soon after briefly looking around, I ask for directions: "Excuse me, could you tell me where the Pala Esposizioni is?". It is pleasant to find out that it is really close, just a short walk away from the train station.|
While I walk to reach in time the venue of the most awaited event of the year, I watch people relaxing on the comfortable chairs of the elegant cafes along the main street and groups of youngsters happily hanging around the streets in a time when they are supposed to be at school (which reminds me of something and somebody). One of my weakest points being thus stimulated, I step in a bar where the nice owners - who strictly talk in the dialect of Empoli - advice me to try the delicious apple and jam "sfogliatine". After the short refreshing break, I walk through a crowded open market and finally get to the Pala Esposizioni. Immediately, I catch sight of the anxious faces of the first fans in front of the building gates. High above the gates dominates a huge banner carrying the writing: "Pianeta Amiga 2006 - Decima Edizione" ("Pianeta Amiga 2006 - Tenth Edition"), and it makes me feel happy inside.
Pianeta Amiga Palaesposizioni Gate
(Nubechecorre - os4games.it)
Left: Palaesposizioni Entrance
After buying a ticket, I anxiously enter and explore every corner with the eyes of a child, and I am not disappointed. The Pala Esposizioni is nice and welcoming. There are already many people right at the doors. I hang my identifier badge and, rather than looking for the friends' faces, I try to read the nicknames, immediately recognizing many of them. There are AmiTV, afxgroup, Varthall, Lecta, Shoman, Delsig, Mordock, Petarray, NubeCheCorre, and then - yeah - "them": m3x, Amiga-One and Heyvid, excited and busy, as if they were in front of a delivery room waiting for the joyful event of the birth of their first child. Somehow, it is exactly like that, and below I will explain why. After looking and touching with my own hand - despite of the signs saying "DON'T TOUCH" - something I had been eargerly waiting for, I go and search for the friends that honoured us with their presence: Jan (Amikit), Nicolas Mendoza (nicomen), and Andreas (GuruMeditation), with their own surprises.
Left: Jan Zahurancik (Amikit)
Right: Nicolas Mendoza (Aminet)
Besides them, others came from different parts of Europe. For example, I met some Polish friends and I can hear others speaking German. At some point, the hall is so crowded that I cannot get to know in person all of them. You can breathe a very thrilling atmosphere, and I let myself be involved. I return to jewel that I grazed earlier to have a deeper look, this time with a more critical eye; even if, as hard as I can try, I can find nothing to pick at. The board, as already said, is a real technological jewel. Libero Moschella (Amiga-one) is enthusiastic about it, as everybody else, after all. I'd like to add that his enthusiasm is contagious and his that words let some euforia and a good deal of optimism shine through, which certainly does not hurt the Amiga community. The same can be said of his fellow colleagues: Massimiliano Tretene (m3x) and Enrico Vidale (Heyvid). Now, after accurately taking some high-resolution pictures, I move on to the next stands. I begin with a visit to Nicola Morocutti and Lecta. Nicola Morocutti (Mordock), at his stand, displays the wonderful last issue of Bitplane, which previews detailed information about Samantha. The cover title, in fact, is: "Nome in codice: Project Samantha" ("Codename: Project Samantha"). I buy mysefl a copy, but I will read it later on the train, during the return journey. On the table there are several Bitplane back issues, and I can ensure they are all printed with quality, care and devotion.
Left: Nicola Morocutti showing off the Bitplane Magazine and an Amigaworld Flyer
Right: Bitplane #15: Codename Samantha
Some past Bitplane editions
At Stefano Guidetti (Lecta)'s stand I can see the latest AmigaOS 4 beta in action, showing off icon.library's brand-new feature: sparkling 32-bit icons, with shadowing and alpha channel. Hyperion e Massimo Tantignone really did a great job. Moreover, icons keep the much beloved feature of AmigaOS: the double state (clicked and unclicked).
OS4 32 Bit with Alpha Channel and double state Icons (Note the Boing Ball shadow)
Picture by Nubechecorre - os4games.it
At this point all the AmigaOnes are turned on and running all kinds of software: games, demos, applications, emulators and much more. MilkyTracker runs happily on many of them, contributing to the frisky rhythm that wafts in the air of PA 2006. We are joined by some Cloanto representatives who bring many free copies of Amiga Forever 2005 Web Edition, even with video DVDs and Amiga historical movies. I rush to get one. Thank you Cloanto for the unexpected gift!
Cloanto Amiga Forever 2005 Video Edition
I try to stress-test an AmigaOne, launching a few movies while MilkyTracker keeps on rocking and using, at the same time, the marvelous screen dragging function of AmigaOS 4: incredible! The system does not stumble at all and keeps on working as if undisturbed.
Left: Milky Tracker Cool
Right: Amigaone machine
Moving on to other stands, I realise that many fans brought lots of stuff: old Amiga and Commodore 64 magazines; old videogames; hardware pieces that can be found nowhere else. At the Pianeta Amiga there is pretty much everything. I sit at the first GX2 stand and, later, at the C64 DTV: I can only say they're both something I'd like to own.
Left: Some software at the Virtual works stand
Right: The C64 DTV
Left: Setting up a Morph OS stand
Right: Very rare C64 old magazine
Left: A little Hardware Market
Right: Virtual Works (again)
I get to a stand where I see Amithlon in its latest incarnation and with the most recent kernel. What can I say... wow. I like it very much. Further on I can finally see the last MorphOS version running. The system is very quick. On it, some demos run at incredible speeds.
I go back to play around with Varthall's AmigaOne, which Quake 3 Arena runs on. In my opinion, the frame counter must be broken, as the game runs at impressive speed. Now I get closer to Jan's stand. People are very interested in his great Amikit package, whose latest version shows to the fair attendance the AutoUpdate function. I can hear many positive comments about it and several people buying a copy. Congratulations, Jan!
I approach Nicolas Mendoza's stand while he is still preparing the stuff for the developer conference and I exchange a couple of words with him. Now, at GuruMeditation's stand, I take the time to look at the two boards by Troika: Amy'05 and Panda. They are very well done. I can only wish them that soon they will find a good place in the market as I know that the Troika guys have worked hard on these boards. I would be happy to see them in action.
Andreas Loong (Gurumeditation)
Right: Project Panda
They are very well done. I can only wish them that soon they will find a good place in the market as I know that the Troika guys have worked hard on these boards. I would be happy to see them in action. Here we have the nice Andrea Palmate with Andrea Vallinotto (whom I call "the boot man", even if he does more than that) and Nicolas Mendoza. It is clear that they are excited by the developer conference they are going to hold in the afternoon.
Left: Afxgroup (Andrea Palamate) and NTN (Andrea Vallinotto)
Right: Afxgroup (Don't use this photo for your Dart game)
Some press agents arrive and right after them the television crew, which begins to interview the people in the know and film. I am looking forward to seeing the reportages, when they will be broadcast.
Samantha is already famous and ready to be interviewed
The moment of the official presentation of Samantha gets closer and finally "the triad", along with da Andrea Vallinotto, steps on the platform equipped with a projector that illustrates the main features of the baby. I see Libero Moschella laying it down on a support just like a father would do when putting his baby daughter in the cradle. The job done by these guys is incredible. It has been carried out with passion and devotion.
The room of Samantha public presentation
Left: Andrea Vallinotto, Enrico Vidale & Libero Morchella
Right: Massimiliano Tretene & Libero Morchella
We learn that what has been done is really remarkable. Samantha has been made from scratch in just seven months. Considering the quality of the product and its features, we can state that it is almost a miracle. Finally we will have new Amiga hardware. Enrico Vidale explains how the three companies (Soft3, Alternative Technologies and Virtual Works) have moved to realise their projects and announces that a single company will be born from the merge of the aforementioned three. We congratulate them for how they managed to work together, becoming an example of excellent cooperation and synergy. Libero Moschella, in my opinion undefatigable, explains where in the market the board will be placed and how the newboard company will move in that regard. It is Massimiliano Tretene's turn. He and Andrea Vallinotto talk about the technical features of the board. At the end, the numerous audience will burst in a spontaneous applause.
Libero Moschella talks about their creations
Samantha in all of her beauty
The developer conference, held in a separate hall, would have been very interesting. The competence of Palmate, Mendoza, Vallinotto, Delsig and others alone would have been enough to keep me glued to the chair. Unfortunately, other commitments kept me away from this interesting conference for Amiga developers. I warmly hope that the initiative will repeat in future.
Left: Andrea Vallinotto and Nicolas Mendoza at the Dev Conference.
Right: Andrea Vallinotto and Andrea Palmate controlling the consolle
Just a little before the conference started, a message arrived like a bolt from the blue, stunning everybody. Bill McEwen himself, CEO of Amiga Inc., greeted the show through a message that sounded positive and reassuring - not just for the people at the fair, but for the whole Amiga community. The cooperation between Amiga Inc., the Samantha team and Hyperion is very positive news that really strenghtened the faith of the fans. They have been waiting for the return of Amiga for a long time and now they can feel that it no longer is just a chimera.
Report by - AmigaBlitter