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John Zacharias

AmiWest'2000-Berichte von Rick Rudge und Brian Deneen
Rick Rudge's Bericht teilt sich in zwei Texten auf. Im Artikel beschreibt er kurz seine Eindrücke von der Messe. Im zweiten Text gibt er den Inhalt der Rede wieder, die Bill McEwen auf dem AmiWest-Bankett hielt.

Brian Deneen hat uns einen ausführlichen englischen Bericht zur Verfügung gestellt, er beschreibt sowohl die Messe als auch das Bankett:

AmiWest'2000 Report
by Brian Deneen, President, Sacramento Amiga Computer Club

From the moment I walked into the room, I knew something good was happening. I saw people that I knew (Roger Berry, Bill Clay and John Zacharias) being helped by someone I didn't know (Rick Rudge) to get ready for AmiWest 2000. Registration packets were being stuffed, AmiWest 2000 banquet tickets printed, and special show edition Amigazettes being stapled. I joined that last activity on Thursday before the show.

The reason I knew something good was happening was the evidence of smiles and the cameraderie being shared. Many have commented, both inside and outside Amigadom, about the spirit of the Amiga community. We are a very creative group of people for whom no other computer platform will do. And that very creativity, shared and enhanced, is what made that Thursday (and the rest of the weekend) special during AmiWest 2000.

Those who are less creative, who need some sort of huge corporate presence to hide behind, might think that "spirit" is amusing. If that's your style, you are more than welcome to it. I, for one, have worked for the two largest organizations in the entire world while they held that status (AT&T and the US Army) and would rather be smaller and more creative than suffocate in corporate gridlock. The current spectacle of the PC world is ample evidence of such gridlock for any who want to observe. I'll take my opportunities with "leaner and meaner" platforms and companies.

This creative spirit was evident in all of the vendors present. Hyperion Entertainment was an example, with Hyperion Belgium represented in force along with the US representative, James Sellman. (As an aside, James Sellman had NEVER MET his boss from Belgium, Ben Hermans, until AmiWest this year, after 10 years of working with him long-distance!) They loaded up their software and had it running during the show, a graphics and sound tour de force for the serious gamer. Another example was ProStation Audio with Jim Sutcowicz and Floyd Diebel, both members of our club. They have seen great development of their software with their Italian partner and had what they deemed a successful show.

Another example is Kermit Woodall of Nova Design, who sold out and said he'll be back next year. We met on Saturday night at the banquet in the buffet line, having a nice conversation about music and musicians prompted by my wearing my musicians' work clothes (a tuxedo) to the banquet. On Sunday, I sat down at his booth and asked him to show me what his software does, explaining along the way that I'm kind of the village idiot when it comes to image manipulation. Half an hour later, I was writing a check for the latest version of Image FX, the first absolutely brand new Amiga software that I have ever purchased. After I watched his booth for a few minutes, we discussed ideas for AmiWest 2001. He had some good things to say and we may be using some of his ideas in the future. For any of you who have used his software or seen the results of those who do, I think it safe to say that Kermit is one of our most creative community members. He was begin ably aided by Darreck Lisle, present at previous AmiWests as a Gateway Amiga representative.

Our own Jim Sutherland was also present, observing and helping us arrive at prices for software and hardware that he donated to benefit the club. SACC members like Jim make our club great and we a glad that Jim is with us. SACC as a club is full of creative people who use the Amiga because nothing else will do. Reliable, flexible, programmable and configurable, with an OS (1.3-3.1) called by Byte magazine the most elegant available, the Amiga demonstrates staying power like no other platform in the world.

Other vendors who did very well were Pagestream, who sold out of product even while the company was moving to Wisconsin through an innovative rep arrangement; CompuQuick, who did very well and commented that people buy more at AmiWest than at other shows they had attended; and Eyetech, who had some amazing things to show and sell (including a new developer machine that combined an Amiga 1200 and a 500 MHz PC in a DESKTOP case) and said they will be back next year - FROM ENGLAND! FWD Computing was very friendly and gave an address of someone handling hardware and software. Merlancia Industries was selling both Amiga Hardware and Software and probably should get the "overflowing booth" prize for having the most on hand. AmigaZone with Harv Laser, founder and SYSOP, was there signing up new customers. G & G Publishing Enterprises, publisher of "The New Amigans" magazine, also signed up new subscribers. NorthWest Amiga Group, Inc. (another User Group selling Amiga memorabilia and T-shirts) made at least their second appearance at AmiWest. Anti-Gravity Products of Boxer fame had Joe Torre as their rep onsite. AmigaOnLine.NET (a nationwide just for Amiga Internet Provider) was demonstrating the advantages of their service. Lostman Robert Hamilton was selling his original design T-Shirts, shorts, and sweats. AEMail was ably represented by programmer John Zacharias. The vendors were a healthy representation of the major players in today's Amiga scene.

Then there was a significant list of 10 seminars given throughout the two days of the show by very knowledgeable people, some of them (such as Kermit Woodall, Joe Torre, and Floyd Diebel) developers of the software/hardware they were demonstrating. We were priveleged to have such a crew of knowledgeable presenters and look forward to having them back and expanding the list next year. We also hope to see Bob and Diana Scharp, organisers of the Amiga shows in St. Louis and producer of "Bounce Back Videos" (video taping the show) back next year.

SACC's own Jack and Rita McCann headed up this year's raffle effort raising money for AmiWest. They did a raffle every hour on the hour and provided a sense of structure for the days of the show. The highlight of each raffle day was the raffling of a new A1200 computer, donated to the show by Petro from Germany. The raffle stage was also graced on Saturday morning by a group singing a song about Jay Miner. Lots of enthusiasm and smiles were obvious all around.

The Jay Miner Memorial Library was also exhibited for the first time. Bookcases loaned by Michael Salcedo and Ray Washburn, both of SACC, housed the library for its first exhibition ever. This software library was the personal software library of Jay Miner, father of the Amiga 1000 computer. It contains many original and one-of-a-kind items proudly displayed on the show stage.

User Group Network's new chair Bill Borsari gave a seminar, assisted by Robert Hamilton, Joanne Calhoun, and others. This is a focus for our club, as the UGN is serving as a quasi-official channel for information from Amiga Inc. While Amiga Inc. also has their corporate user-group liason, UGN is also being employed as an information channel. Bill Borsari called for a new look to the UGN as a cooperative body, freely and creatively sharing information between user groups. One function of this sharing might be the development of a database of newsletter articles so that information could be quickly disseminated through the UGN server. Moderation of this forum is an issue but the idea is a good one.

One thing the UGN is helping with is the Amiga road tour, announced at AmiWest by Amiga Inc. president Bill McEwen. The tour, to take place in October, will highlight developments by Amiga Inc. using the larger user groups as geographical centers. SACC was the first one on the map with our larger membership and assignment to reach out to a 200-mile radius around Sacramento. You will see more on this as we get more information.

Amiga Inc. was represented at AmiWest 2000 by President Bill McEwen, Randall Hughes and Bob Cosby (the COZ). Bill, Randy and Bob were very cordial and forthcoming, very knowledgeable veterans of the computer wars. Bob was joining the company the evening of the banquet and I witnessed what he said was his first meeting with Bill. Bob has done everything from hand-building industrial hard-disk drives for Ampex somewhere in the dim, dark past to, most recently, telecommuting from Walnut Creek for a software firm located in (if I remember correctly) Pismo Beach. He is now in quality assurance at Amiga Inc. Randy worked for QNX before signing on with Amiga Inc. 18 months ago and is travelling with Bill to see things.

The Saturday night banquet was truly exciting. Access Sacramento was there with multiple cameras and portable control booth to get a good video of the banquet. One of the original Amiga beta testers, Annette Daniels, was running one of those cameras. (Another member of the original Amiga team, Dale Luck, paid a visit to AmiWest late on Sunday afternoon.) I was seated at the head table in order to present our SACC Ken Barton memorial award. Others there included John & Jan Zacharias and granddaughters, Bill McEwen (Amiga Inc. president), Bob Cosby (the COZ, to those of you who know), and Randall Hughes (of Amiga Inc.).

John opened the banquet by inviting us all to line up at the buffet, a sumptuous meal whose equal would be difficult to find at any but the finest restaurants. (And yes, I am an experienced diner, having dined extensively on two continents.) Good conversation was had by all while serving. Then we presented the Ken Barton memorial award to John Zacharias, who received it with appropriate ceremony.

Then, it was on to an Amiga television commercial featuring BB King and several others who were using state-of-the-art Amigas (circa 1988) in a variety of creative ways, from undersea exploration to flight simulation to graphics design and production to music. Then the featured speaker took the podium.

Bill McEwen, of course, was our featured banquet speaker. I won't try to summarize the speech for you, just highlight some of the things that stood out to me.

  • One of the things I was glad to hear was that Amiga Inc. does have a corporate development group working on hardware configurations to run the new OS. In other words, there will be a new Amiga computer, the Amiga One. Third party manufacturers will build them specifically for the new OS software.
  • Bill showed film clips of two interviews (one on CNN and the other on another network) that he had done within that past two months. A news feature on that other network was also shown. Bill has been busy promoting the product and doing it well. And the tapes he was showing were, he mentioned, provided FREE OF CHARGE for public presentation, something that just doesn't happen in the media world (others are charged up to $10,000 per tape). Unless, of course, you're Amiga!
  • A New York Times reporter came to Washington state to interview Bill and see the new corporate headquarters. The standard time frame for such visits is about 30 minutes to an hour at most. She spent four and a half hours talking to Bill, touring the building, etc. Probably found more creativity per square foot there than most anywhere else on the planet!
  • Discussions with Corel, Red Hat and many unnamed software producers are progressing well; you can read about the agreements reached so far on the web site at
  • Another welcome development: the new OS will run classic Amiga software. Bill said, in a passing comment, that "we have something better than emulation" that will accomplish this.
  • The OS software was actually demonstrated on two screens on either side of the speaker's platform and covering most of the wall there (probably about 15 by 20 feet per screen). Complex images were loaded and performed flawlessly, manipulated in real time at any speed desired. Bill kicked the OS up on Linux and on Windows, then plugged in a diskette to load a program (the same program) called "Tunnel" into BOTH systems. It loaded very quickly and flew along without a hitch. Clearly, something revolutionary is happening here.
  • The new company acknowledged their debt to the Amiga community. "If you hadn't stuck it out there would have been nothing for us to buy" was, I believe, the gist of Bill's very laudatory comments. By the way, Bill McEwen had never even SEEN an Amiga computer until AmiWest '98 here in Sacramento. Now he heads up the company. No gridlock here!
  • The Amiga road show was announced for the end of October, designed to showcase the current state-of-the-art of Amiga. More details as they become available.
  • Bill also announced the new Amiga developer program. After highlighting the huge sums of money other companies ask of their developers up front, before any sales are made (from Sony at $250,000.00 to Microsoft at a cool $1,000,000.00), Bill announced that Amiga Inc. is asking $1.50 per unit sold from its developers to participate in its programs. Those programs are to include purchasing retail space in computer stores (endcaps, etc.), using the official Amiga logo on packaging, and having access to technical developer information. That $1.50 per unit is, of course, a minimum, but my information source (an Amiga developer) has it that the MOST they are charging anyone is under $50,000.00 for access to everything accessible, clearly miniscule compared to even $250,000.00. Bill said they are doing this to include everyone who has been faithful during the lean times; they don't want to leave anyone out. They intend to reward those who have been in the community the whole time. Again, the creative approach to software creation.

I'm sure that other things were said; these were my standouts. The banquet was a very exciting evening. I'm glad that I was there and plan to attend next year.

AmiWest 2000 was the place where substantial announcements were made, people got acquainted and re-acquainted, and a good time was had by all. It was a lot of work but, like anything worthwhile, the reward came in a job well done. Thanks to all of you who participated. Come back next year and invite your friends and business associates. As the T-shirts that Amiga Inc. handed out to everyone at the banquet said, "It took them 15 years to catch up - now they never will." (sd)

[Meldung: 21. Aug. 2000, 00:00] [Kommentare: 0]
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