CzAN


AmiWest 2000 Review

We would like to thank all those who attended and exhibited at AmiWest 2000
which helped make this year's show a very successful event.  AmiWest 2001
has been scheduled for July 28 & 29, 2001 at the Holiday Inn, Sacramento
NorthEast.  Mark your calendars now for this very important event and watch
our web page at:

The following is a review of AmiWest 2000 written by Brian Deneen, President of
the Sacramento Amiga Computer Club.  Another review written by Rick Rudge
of the NorthWest Amiga Group, Inc. can be found at:



AmiWest 2000: a review

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

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

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."


John Zacharias, chairperson
AmiWest 2000