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/// Show Report:  Amiga Fest at SUNY Cortland
    -----------------------------------------
    By John A. Scotto


This is an unofficial report on the goings on at last week's (22 August)
Amiga Fest at SUNY Cortland.

First let me explain what the Amiga Fest was to start off. The Central
New York Amiga Aggregate (local user group) arranged the Fest as a way for
Amiga users, sales people, and technical people to be brought together under
one roof for one day of Amiga talk and info. The main thrust was to show the
average user how to get more out fo his/her computer. SUNY Cortland was
chosen as the site as it was reasonably centrally located and
cooperative toward the group's aims.


The events kicked off at 10:00 and included the following:

             Video Toaster Demos - both taped and live
             OpalVision Demo - Live
             EMPLANT - running MAC software
             Animations - Award Winners continuously running
             Multimedia Demos - AmigaVision and SCALA
             AGA Graphics Displays
             12 Amiga Computers - 10 AGA, 2 OCS/ECS
             2 Amiga Dealer Displays - ICL and Computer Cents
             Amiga Developers


The above were spaced across 8 hours and were well received by the 100 or so
participants. The Toaster and OpalVision demos were eyepopping as were many
of the animations and AGA graphics. Both of the developers present were
pelted with questions about Commodore software, and etc. The dealer displays
were limitied to info or software demos - no sales on site. Of course, there
was also plenty of music playing on the various systems which provided quite
a good display by itself even if not planned that way. That is a capsule
summary of the Fest, next follows my personal assessment of the Fest's
effectivness.

The official participant numbered no more than 100 or so, however, being a
University campus there were plenty of unofficial participants and a lot
of my conclusions are based on the reactions I saw in them. Toaster,
OpalVision, AGA graphics got them looking but was almost always followed by
questions about what the "average user" could do. The truth is that is a
valid question since most of the high end graphics are marketed toward a
selective audience. However, the answer was there on the 22nd. MULTIMEDIA -
people who started by saying that the "Amiga (once they figured out what an
Amiga was!) was really nice for games but not much else" were silenced and
impressed by the likes of SCALA and AmigaVision. Multimedia is the latest PC
buzzword and everyone from novice to expert associates it with
"professional" computers.  As people who knew very little about Amigas or
PCs learned how easy it was to take those high end graphics and sound and
build office presentations or interactive classroom lessons on an Amiga they
looked at the computer in a different light. Many folks were also amazed to
see MS-DOS and MAC software running on the same platform.

Does this sound too bright? Actually the response to seeing average computer
users able to take the various bits and pieces and put them together with
relative ease brought quite a few compliments for ths Amiga.  One flub
though - the EMPLANT due to operator error crashed several times con-
siderably dimming the initial excitment it generated. By the time the
problem was corrected most of the MAC interested folks were gone. I believe
that overall this Fest served as very useful way to gain some exposure for
the Amiga to people who do not usually even know it exists. My experience
also reinforced the idea that the Amiga can compete on a level playing field
with IBM/MAC - if the presentation is right. Multimedia, Cross Platform
Performance, and Graphics as a tool not an end seemed to be a winning combo.

Now the problem is that most of these people will go to there local PC hack
and ask about Amigas and they will bad mouth Commodore and then try to sell
a 486DX (plus soundblaster, plus SVGA card, etc). Hey that's enough of me on
the soap box. Overall, a good time was had by all. Amiga enthusiasts in CNY
rarely have had such an opportunity to share good info and tips. The Amiga
got some well earned respect as a "serious" computer. With more of these
type events and a higher profile for those who use their Amiga for
professional ends who knows what we might accomplish?