Breaking new ground...
Amiga 98 - St.Louis USA
March 13-15, 1998

Friday Night Amiga Inc. Party

Friday night, after a day of developer seminars, Amiga Inc put on a lavish (yes, Lavish!) party in the main show room with lots of free food, beer and wine.  There was also an act: The Blues Brothers came in to entertain the crowd!!!  It was a very festive spirit--as was the overall show.  Everyone seemed to be looking forward to the future and the truth re-birth of the Amiga.

Later on that night, Bill Borsai from the National Capital Amiga User Groups presented Joe Torre (senior hardware engineer- Amiga Inc.) with a surprise.  Custom made "boing ball" shoes that actually work!! When you take a step the shows say "boing", "boing"!! There is a built in speaker and circuit board that perform these functions!! Everyone was clapping and laughing.... Joe was honoured (or should I say embarrased!) to say the least.  But for the remainder of the show Joe did wear those Boing Ball Shoes!!  Joe stated that he would have to come up with something at a future Amiga show to top this.  (If you remember back at the Ohio Show, Joe debued the first Amiga Inc  pet project: The Boing Ball Levitator Machine.  The National Capital Amiga User's group have certainly upped the ante when it comes to wild and wacky projects! Lets see what Joe and Amiga Inc can show us at the next show!!

Saturday - Show Day

The show opened, really, friday night, when many users were browsing the booths that were being setup.  But the real action came Saturday... Saturday was extremely busy, with nearly the entire day being packed full of amiga users.  Most of them buying too.  National Amiga, the largest Amiga dealer in Canada, had the largest booth of the show.  A nice surprise was the arrival of the Blizzard PowerPC board for the A1200.  National Amiga was also first to be showing Quikpak's new PowerTower.  This is an A4000T motherboard in a larger case with a built in LS 120 floppy drive and SyQuest 1.5 gig removable drive.  The final version of the PowerTower will also have a new CPU card with 68060 at 66 MHz and PCI slots.   Look for this item to be available in one month from Quikpak's distributors.   Other hot items were the Picasso 4 graphics card, the Siamese 2.5 RTG system, and all accelerator boards.  Other large dealers present were Wonder Computers and CompuQuik.

Paul Nolan from Siamese Systems was on hand from the UK.  He was demoing Photogenics NG.  Wow! Did this software look impressive, and easy to use.  It should be available in a few months.  Paul was also selling the Siamese System for a discounted price.

Kermit Woodall of Nova Design was at the show demoing Image FX 3.0.  I didn't see much of this software but it did look impressive.  Kermit told me PowerPC support will be forthcoming.

Don Pence of NewTek was also at the show, giving away free copies (Yes Free!) of Lightwave 5.0 on CD (to those who owned a Video Toaster).  Don said that NewTek will continue to support existing Amiga products and that many of its programmers are very excited about the PowerPC chip and the Amiga.  NewTek already have Amiga PowerPC boards and will continue to monitor the Amiga market and determine if future upgrades to Lightwave are possible.

The full Amiga Inc team was present at the show.  This includes Jeff Schindler, Joe Torre, Darreck Lisle and Marilyn Flint (Operations Manager).  Petro of Amiga International was also browsing the show floor and talking to amiga users and Developers.  The previous friday evening Petro gave a seminar on licensing from Amiga International.

The Banquet

Saturday evening there was a sold out Banquet featuring guest speakers.  173 people crammed into the banquet room to hear Petro and Jeff Schindler speak.  Petro's speech focused on Amiga International and its current licensing strategy and also Phase 5's OS license and Pre\Box announcement.  Petro also made some rather pointed references to Amiga Inc. and Jeff Schindler, stressing that it is now Jeff's responsiblity to deliver a new Operating System and hardware platform for the Amiga.  Petro is an impatient man, and he would like this to happen as soon as possible.  Amiga International needs new products in order to stay in business, and Amiga Inc. must deliver this, both for Petro and for the Amiga community at large.

Jeff Schindler's speech was very short, but positive.  He apologized to the Amiga Community and also to his staff for ignoring them, but he said this will not be the case in the future.  Jeff is finalizing a 5 year plan for the Amiga and he says that this revision (#12) is far more ambitious than the original plan.  He says what he has planned will knock your socks off!!!  What Jeff revealed is that Amiga Inc is working on alot of things...the only thing public right now is OS 3.5.  They hope to release it this year at the German Computer '98 show in November, but they have made no offiicial announcement yet.  Some of the features they hope to include in OS 3.5 are: RTG (retargetable graphics), RTA (retargetable Audio), an Enhanced GUI, large HDD support, integrated TCP/IP stack (internet), and of course bug fixes.  Please realize that this is not official information.  Jeff stressed that Amiga Inc. will only make official announcements on their web page (look for http://www.amigainc.com coming soon) when they are 100% certain that a product will ship at a specific time with a specific set of features.  So the current plan for OS 3.5 is subjet to change.

There was alot more exhibitors at the show and probably close to 1,000 people in total attendance.  Draws were held on saturday and sunday afternoon, and some lucky amiga owners walked away with brand new A1200's and A4000T's and Video Toasters.  I wish I was one of them!  The next show in North America is the Toronto show International Amiga 98. This show will be 3 times as large as the St. Louis show and is looking like it will be the best show this side of the pond.  Big guns like Phase 5, Micronik, and Amiga Inc. have already committed to going.  The show website is http://www.randomize.com.

Best regards,

Darren Eveland

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