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%% Reader Mail %%
Subj: Please Post in AR! :)
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
I am writing this letter to the whole Amiga community to give my
perspective on the situation of Commodore, and the Amiga. First of all,
some background about myself.
I'm the Associate Producer (sometimes Executive Producer) of
a local Cable Access show called Cyberspace 3D (blurbs have appeared in
various magazines about the show - including AR a while back). On the show
we began covering JUST the Amiga, and still continue to cover the Amiga.
BUT, we've started doing other things including Interactive Television,
Desktop Video, Home Entertainment, and other computer platforms. This
wasn't a decision based on the Amiga's past/present/future. It was simply
to broaden our audience. Anyway, because of this show, I've had the
privilige of dealing with some big companies in these industries. Just
recently, we attended the 1994 Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las
The very FIRST thing I'd like to address is Commodore's financial
situation. (This is going to be a LONG, LONG letter so sit back and get
comfortable or stop reading now - this has been brewing for well over 9
months!) Many people tend to believe rumors and VERY outdated information.
Commodore is in a bad situation, but by no means has it ever been as bad as
the public has perceived. This has been confirmed by various people at
NewTek who I've had contact with (I've even visited NewTek in Topeka!).
If you're really curious about Commodore, I suggest you read the Bandito's
comments about Commodore in the Feb. '94 issue of Amazing Amiga. He has
some CURIOUSLY informed opinions (almost like he'd been told some of it!)
about C=. Commodore is on the upswing (from all that I can see - remember
this information is MY opinion from my perspective). Accelerating sales of
the Amiga 1200 and CD32 in some countries has bolstered their profit
Now, the next thing concerns the very heart of signals from Commodore.
Before I write what I'm about to write, don't panic. But I've heard a
rumor (that is pretty much COMPLETELY confirmed) that Commodore and their
distributors have discontinued shipments of the Amiga 1200 and Amiga
4000/030 to the United States. They continue to sell on average about
30,000-40,000 Amiga 4000 '040 units in the US. And I smell a hint of
NAFTA's affect in this decision. They are still shipping to Canada. As a
matter of fact a 1200 is cheaper from Canada now - and has been for some
time. One other thing I forgot to mention...where I work used to have a
dealers license here in Portland, OR. So, this gave me an idea of dealer
prices. For quite a few months, a place out of Canada has been offering
Amiga products cheaper than we could get them from CEI (our distributor).
As a matter of fact, a 1200 can be had from them in US for $339 RIGHT now.
I'm told that the sales of 1200's in the US wasn't enough and they didn't
have high enough profit margins to make them worth-while. It's unclear
what affect this will have on Commodore's plan to market and sell the CD32
in the US.
CD32: These have been selling VERY, VERY well. I spoke with David
Pleasance (sp?), Commodore UK's co-President of Operations, and he informed
me that sales of 16-bit console sales have all but stopped in the UK since
the release of CD32. Further he stated that CD32 is outselling the Sega CD
4 to 1. I heard this from him at the WCES, and tried to confirm it with
different game companies while I was there. (There's a lot of Euro people --
especially UK people at CES). From what I can tell it is true. I spoke
directly with a Nintendo representative about it and they were less than
pleasant after that! :D The CD32 is NOT selling well in Germany because
Germans appear to use computers and don't necessarily like gaming consoles.
This was true across the board for all consoles though. While CD32 isn't
selling well there, the Amiga 1200 is. This is another point. Commodore
is having trouble manufacturing enough 1200's and CD32's at the same time.
This could have had some influence on the US 1200 decision.
AR: I can't say enough to express how much I appreciate the work you
guys put into these on-going online reports. I can speak for at least 5
people in saying that we haven't missed a release in quite a while. I'm
sure you have quite a few silent readers who never write, but don't get
discouraged. I'm sure that by now, you have thousands of readers. If not
tens of thousands. Anyway - THANKS A MILLION.
ATARI JAGUAR: I saw the letter from the guy complaining about your
coverage of the Jaguar in AR...and I must say I applaud it; however, the
games list was a little misleading. After playing some of the Jaguar games
listed at CES - and a local software store, a good majority of the games
aren't finished. To top the list Aliens vs. Predator (The stage of
completion at CES, to me raises doubts about it being done by spring of
I believe the Jaguar to be a SERIOUS threat to Commodore's US CD32
sales. Many C= executives have written off Atari claiming, "Even Commodore
has better marketing than Atari!" Atari has quite a few BROAD claims that
are untrue, but they might be able to pull out quite a few sales just because
of the hype they've created. One claim I'm talking about is the elusive CD
add-on. And the fact that the Jagaur was originally intended to sell for
$200, but now is going to sell for $250. And the CD unit probably will
cost AT LEAST an additional $200-$250 bringing total cost to $500. A unit
costing that much is not likely to have many sales. This will be major
downer for any CD games for the unit. Also they simply don't have the
capitol to run a national advertising campaign. They could borrow it, but
I doubt they will...look at the Falcon! You say Commodore is in worse
shape because they owe money! Well, Commodore is getting it back, and will
have QUITE a few innovative titles available - there's already some GOOD
GOOD games for the CD32. Microcosm looks AWESOME - so does Liberation and
Pirates Gold! Anyway, the next 6-9 months will tell the tale of the Jagaur
vs. CD32 in the US.
In closing, I'd like to apologize for all the spelling and grammatical
errors - it's REAL late here! And I'd like to say I'm open to any feedback
to all that I've said. I can be wrong about these things, but I've stated
them, and it's up to all of you to prove me wrong. Until then, I assume
I'm right, and if I am wrong, I'll admit it! Oh, one last thing, I've
heard people saying, "Commodore sucks, and they don't support their
users-so I'm not gonna buy any Amiga stuff!" Well, I have one thing to
say...I've bought my computer (AMIGA) because it does what I need/want, not
because a company is going to pat my on the back and say good things in my
ear or on TELEVISION! Television is EXPENSIVE - I know, I deal with it on
a very small scale, and even that is expensive! ;D Commodore doesn't have
the money to get the results they need out of Television right now! I've
been told they're negotiating with QVC to sell CD32 in the US - QVC is
located across the street from Commodore in West Chester! This would be a
GREAT thing. Anyway, I'm going on too much, so if you have a comment write
to me at the E-Mail or U.Snail mail address below. In the mean time - to
all Amiga users, you have the most creative computer in the world...don't
forget that fact or lose sight of what you really need in a computer!
Some Kind of Producer for Cyberspace 3D! :D
c/o Cyberspace 3D
P.O. Box 230123
Portland, OR 97281-0123
Subj: Picasso II errors
The Picasso II review you published in ar204 was very inaccurate. Please
put these changes in the next issue. I have contacted the author who
now agrees with me that the Picasso II is the better board.
> [MODERATOR'S NOTE: Over the years, there has been much discussion
> and debate on USENET about the meaning of the term "retargetable
> graphics" or "RTG". In this review, Humberto Gomez uses the term
> "RTG" as it is found the Picasso II documentation.
As it was explained to me, the Picasso II uses intuition - the REAL
intuition whereas other boards "EMULATE" intuition. (Hence, Workbench
EMULATION instead of RTG in the adverts) The Picasso II supports front-to-
back gadgets, screen dragging and all the other intuition functions. The
other boards use an intuition emulator which means they are not "RE-
TARGETING" they are "EMULATING" and do not support the whole of intuition.
> Resolutions include 640x400 with 16 million colors, 800x600 with 16
> million colors (with 2 megs installed), 1280x1024 with 256 colors, and many
> others. Anything higher than 800x600 may be displayed with 256 colors. But
> I noticed in ADPro, all of these resoltuions had the ability to display
> 64,000 colors with no problem. Many intermediate resolutions are also
You can now create your own resolutions. Also, 1600x1200 has been available
for many months.
> - Minor problems with the screens in 3.0. They wont drag correctly
> and the pointer sometimes gets stuck at the menus.
Some of that is due to intuition bugs. Hold the left Amiga key, click the
left mouse button and "drag" the motionless screen until it moves. Then
pull the mouse down until the screen comes back up. This is reported to be
fixed in OS3.1.
> - Some of the programs supplied are in German, not English.
They are being translated as quickly as possible.
> - It requires AmigaDOS 3.0 to select more than 16 colors in the
> resolutions for programs such as ProPage, DPaint, and others.
Any board that advertises 256 colors on an intuition screen under OS2.0
or 2.1 is using very illegal/serious patched techniques to do so.
Compatibility is forsaken.
> - TV Paint JR always says it does not have enough memory for UNDO
> buffer, even if you install a full two megs on the board.
> [MODERATOR'S NOTE: I suspect that TV Paint Jr. is limited by the
> amount of RAM in the Amiga, not just on the Picasso board. - Dan]
* TV Paint uses FAST RAM as a buffer. TV Paint opens all screen in 32-bits
of resolution (24 color bits, 8 alpha channel bits) No matter what screen
you open, TV Paint will allocate ((((X * Y * B)/8)/1024)*2) kilobytes of
RAM. If it can fit half that, it will disable UNDO and open anyway. The
moderator was right.
> COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS
> Besides that, the boards compare well. They both autoswitch, and
> they both are RTG. But in my opinion, the EGS is a better board than the
> Picasso. But the EGS Spectrum is also more expensive.
I contacted the author with my aforementioned points and he agreed that the
Picasso II was the better board.
> VENDOR SUPPORT
> Although friendly with regards to my question, they seemed
> unknowledgeable. I asked what advantages are there to having 2 megs on the
> board and they just did not know. They did not know of specific AmigaDOS 3.0
> problems, just that there were some. The board packaging also shows an
> AmigaDOS 3.0 A3000 Workbench screen with 256 color pictures, but the
> representative I spoke with said that 3.0 is not fully supported.
The Picasso II uses the same chip that the Spectrum and Piccolo boards use
(Cirrus Logic 5426). By adding the extra meg, you can have all the same
resolutions and colors available with those boards. (There is a myth that
the Picasso II can't handle as much as the other boards, which is not true.)
There is also a new mode called "chunky" (available only with 3.0/3.1) which
I am told by other Picasso owners it about as fast as a 2 or 4 color 640x200
From: Mr D G Cassidy <email@example.com>
Received: from localhost by lily
id LAA14801; Fri, 4 Feb 1994 11:55:14 GMT
Subject: AR sub
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 1994 03:55:12 -0800
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I've just read Amiga Report and was very impressed! Some of the news in there
was excellent, although I do feel that some of the opinions expressed
regarding the Amiga's "death" are somewhat US-based.
In Europe Amiga is the biggest home computer platform (discounting PC which
is regarded by many here as mainly a business machine). Amiga has sold
thousand of units here over the Christmas period, with CD32 taking many of
I am a partner in a company called CYNOSTIC (information of which is below
for your Dealers section) and we distribute Amiga public domain software
across the world. In the past two months sales have never been better; people
are queuing up to buy either software or hardware; only today we sold a new
A4000 system to an eager new owner.
In short, I think that your readers' views about the Amigas' death are
CBM *ARE* going through a hell of a lot of problems, mostly caused by gross
mis-management on the part of their higher exceutives. The delay in upgrading
Amiga technology HAS taken too long but it's still ahead of the competition
as far as operating system and sheer ABILITY are concerned.
Naturally, the price reflects this; to expand a basic A1200 set-up to a
productivity level is expensive, especially here in Europe, compared to that
of PC. However, if you compare a made-to-fit Amiga system, such as an
A4000/030 to a standard PC then the difference is noticeable, in both price
and performance terms, in the Amiga's favour.
To be blunt, the Amiga never really took off in the US. Europe is where CBM
has made its fortune and, stupidly I feel, it is beginning to ignore this,
its core market.
More and more people here are beginning to realise that Amiga is not simply
a games machine and it cannot be regarded as such anymore. Look at the high-
quality software and hardware which is being released now; the Toaster (even
if a PAL version isn't available - COME ON NEWTEK!), Wordworth 3, Pagestream
3, and others, not to mention Emplant.
Emplant is the best thing to happen to Amiga in a long time. This is the
piece of hardware which will give Amiga the edge. If you look at a Mac or PC
owner you can look then straight in the face and tell them you own an Amiga,
plus a Mac, plus a PC all in THE SAME BOX.
Moreover, when the AAA chipset is released, with its PC front-end (as it will
have) then I hope we will see people beginning to take more notice of our
humble machine. It will outstrip other systems at a stroke, it will be
quicker, more useable and more STANDARD than any other system.
No matter how much i hate saying it, far more people are familiar with the
front end of a PC than an Amiga and, by employing a Windows(-like) user
interface CBM should hopefully capitalise on the ignorance of the majority
of the public.
I read a letter in AR204 from a man who said he'd bought a PC and never once
regretted it. I suggest that he never used his Amiga to its fullest. PC
cannot achieve HALF of what Amiga can do, without major expansion
(SoundBlaster etc) or severe wallet-whacking.
Anyway, enough of this ramble. My final point is this: although PC may have
many more machines than Amiga, the fact remains that PC is a system based on
criteria laid down over a decade ago, and retains compatability with systems
which went out of date with the Ark. We CAN'T let this outmoded type of
system be the future for our world's computer networks.
We are on the brink of another computer revolution; computer communication
networks are the future and if we let them lie on the rocks of the PC
hardware standard then I, for one, am likely to forget computers altogether
and go back to the chalk and board. After all, they're far more user
Information regarding Cynostic for inclusion in your dealer section:
Little Heath Industrial Estate,
Old Church Road,
Tel: +44 (0)203 681687
Fax: +44 (0)203 638508
David Cassidy email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cynostic can provide public domain software for all Amiga systems, ranging
from the very latest in European demos (most on day of release) to the best
in utilities and games.
We are distributors of licenseware, including the AM/FM (Amiga Musicians
Freeware Magazine) series by Bjorn A Lynne and The Final Frontier, the Star
Trek disk magazine, now the biggest selling disk-magazine in the world.
We can also supply the best in hardware at the best prices, with a
guaranteed back-up service unsurpassed by any of our competitors.
Give us a call, send us a fax, send me an e-mail. Whatever, just DO IT!
CYNOSTIC - BRINGING THE DOMAIN TO YOUR DOORSTEP.
Thanks for producing such a great magazine!!