AMUC AmiWest 2005 Trip Report
Date 25-Jul-2005 21:20:39
|The Amiga Users of Calgary (AMUC) attended AmiWest 2005 for the first time ever and we already plan on returning next year. It was a blast! The amount of positive energy was simply amazing. |
The Sacramento Amiga Computer Club (SACC) sure knows how to put on a great show and their army of volunteers deserve far more credit all than they received.
AmiWest was a larger affair compared to the Ottawa Amiga Show hosted by the Amiga.info user group I attended last November. I d guesstimate around 130 guests attended in person with another 50+ online thanks to the Bill Borsari s tireless efforts. Given how busy I was at the AMUC table I could be way off so take these numbers with a modicum of sodium chloride.
Things started the Friday night before the show when I accidentally bumped into Brian Deneen (SACC President) and friends unloading ton after ton of Amiga stuff and moving it into hotel rooms. Due to security concerns we did not setup the night before the show so everything had to be stored somewhere for an early morning setup. More and more Amigans arrived at the hotel as time went on. Richard Drummond (my hotel roommate) arrived late due to his plane partially falling apart on the runway or something but he managed to get the plane to fly after installing a copy of OS4. My evening closed with a chat about computers with Richard until we finally called it quits.
At some ungodly early hour we were setting up for the show which opened to the public at 10:00. I was surprised to find out I was one of the few people with a roll of duct tape but, as would be expected at such an affair, everybody helped each other out and we all had our tables ready to go by the time the public arrived.
Front and centre was a projection screen where presentations and demos took place. The various exhibitors and dealers were around the outside of the room. The centre of the room had tables setup where patrons could sit and rest while watching a presentation or demo. AMUC had the very fortunate table in a corner right beside the Hyperion table--a brush with greatness!
As the day went on I discovered I was going to be interviewed by the ruthless interviewer tekmage with a presentation to follow. I had a little something prepared just in case after experiencing a similar ambush at the Ottawa show. So much for quietly sitting in the corner.
Show floor news included the release of some new styles/themes from Hyperion, updates on Candy Factory and PageStream, some info about a new X server and info on the upcoming SDK. I heard nothing from the various Amiga API clone systems. There was probably more news than that but I was a bit busy in the corner so please forgive me if I missed anything important.
AMUC successfully cleared out all its free show giveaways by the time the show closed its doors and we had plenty of exposure for our club. I had setup a MicroA1-C running update 3 installed in an Antec Aria case with an IntuitionBase case badge which attracted plenty of attention and complements. Anyone could play on the A1 at the show and many appreciated the opportunity. The big question was where do I buy one of these systems right now and unfortunately we had no answer due to Eyetech s recent part shortage. I also met a few developers while at the show and hopefully they will remain in touch. If you were a developer and didn t get my attention please do so now. What a hectic day. But the show banquet was yet to come with superstar Richard Drummond as the guest speaker.
Somehow I ended up at the head table during the banquet which means you get first dibs at the amazing buffet the Hotel had setup for us. Food was consumed, speeches were voiced, questions were asked and answers were provided. One theme I noticed was the complete lack of the usual corporate management and marketing heads which Brian, SACC president, found quite refreshing and I think the audience did as well. With all the broken promises and missed deadlines of the past the AmiWest attendees seemed to appreciate hearing from someone actually doing the work on the new AmigaOS. Developers don t tend to sugar coat things and there were some frank discussions both in public and in private after the web cam was turned off.
The party continued late into the night as a group of us met in our hotel room and talked all things Amiga and computers in general. Juicy technical bits of info. were exchanged as the beer flowed freely (stop worrying Ben ). Lots of old rumours were flushed out and I discovered just how far off real world truth can be from online forum truth.
The next morning a few of us shared breakfast one last time before we headed off in all directions. There may not have been any earth shattering news but it was still a fantastic event with a general feeling of contentment for the Amigas of years past and a cautious optimism in the air for the Amiga systems yet to come. You can tell that this is decision year for a majority of the fans as the 20 year Amiga anniversary comes to a close.