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03.Apr.2002
Daniel Miller


Amiga Expo 2002: Show Report by Daniel Miller
The Amiga/Alternative Computer Expo 2002 was organized by ImageFX's Kermit Woodall and took place in Hunt Valley, Maryland, which is a nondescript but nice town about 80 miles north of Washington DC. Not wanting to spend the entire weekend I attended Saturday for several hours which gave me enough to author this very basic report for the readers of www.amiga-news.de.

The Hunt Valley Marriot Hotel had one large exhibition area where about 24 vendors, user groups, and others set up their stands. Additionally there were downstairs meeting rooms where special seminars took place, on subjects like Lightwave, Video Toaster, robotics, Javascript, ImageFX, and more. The seminar I attended featured a panel of 3 former Amiga engineers: Dale Luck, Dave Haynie, and Andy Finkel. Each spoke for a few minutes about his experiences with the Amiga computer at Commodore and thereafter. They then accepted questions from the audience.

Dale had injured a leg muscle in a skiing adventure, and he sat and took it easy while the others did most of the talking. Andy and Dave spoke about the early years, and about the Commodore bankruptcy. They spoke about their common work at PIOS on the Metabox set-top box. I can't recall who, but one of the three spoke about the 3DO system as the reinvention of Amiga OS, and another about the AmiJoe PPC-accelerator card. When asked about Amiga Inc.'s DE product, Dave said that it was "a good idea" and that someone named Gary had sent him two of the latest DE programs, but then accidentally let slip that the programs crashed on his Zaurus.

Overall the men seemed happy talking about their time at Amiga, and a bit wistful. Andy and Dave agreed that the single biggest mistake was wasted time and a failure to seize the moment when technological advances had been within the company's reach.

Upstairs in the large exhibit hall, a vendor with a mild speaking impediment ushered people over to try his Arcade in a Box. It is a sturdy joystick, button and trackball cabinet, which interfaces with MAME to play hundreds of arcade games with the feel of the real thing.

The people who produce the X1200 (which is an emulator-running PC in a compact A1200ish case) were there demonstrating that unusual product, which is rather spiffy in appearance. The X1200 is a pretty good idea. It runs Amithlon, which seemed to be selling very well at the show. Amithlon was getting positive comments all around. Amiga Inc.'s DE was a non-issue. Nobody is into that, from what I saw. There was a lot of anti-Microsoft sentiment. People resent having to use products by that company, because the Windows monopoly is such a fact of life and the consumer does not have much of a choice.

An example of the vendors present at the show was Compuquick who were very knowledgeable and had a good variety of stuff including A1200s and the oldish Phase5 PPC accelerators which can run MorphOS.

MorphOS felt a bit like a taboo subject. The MorphOS/4.0 question is the most politicized issue ever for followers of this platform. Some of the vendors were taking preorders for AmigaOne/4.0. Ben Hermans from Hyperion was reached on cellphone and was interviewed for at least 15 or 20 minutes. Ben must be given credit for putting himself out there and being a salesman.

I liked the fact that this convention doubled as an "alternative computers" convention, however this good idea has not been realized. There wasn't much representation from alternative computing systems. No Linux people, and I don't think anyone from QNX appeared either. And of course it would have great to see a MorphOS stand.

On the whole, the event was positive. There are several different Amiga platform projects in the pipeline now, some of which seem realistic. If some new products materialize, the dynamics of the scene will change, and we could continue these conventions, only bigger and busier. (ps)

[News message: 03. Apr. 2002, 12:40] [Comments: 0]
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