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%% European Outlook                                     by Jesper Juul %%
%%                                      %%

Commodore reveals A1200 and A4000 CD expansions!

The CeBit computer fair in Hannover took place on the 16th to 23rd of
March. Around 5800 exhibitors and 650,000 visitors attended. CeBit is
huge; busses help you move form one hall to the next, there's hotels,
restaurants, post offices and even a church.

Apple displayed their new PowerMac, Sillicon Graphics had a huge stand
showing of their latest machine.

The 4000 tower was shown, just like it was a year ago. Yes, Commodore
had it up and running at the last CeBit. Mighty strange. Let's hope
they get around to actually selling it now.

Aaaaaaannd.... Commodore revealed their A4000 CD expansion which is
internal and includes MPEG! This is great, since MPEG is controlled by
a standard system device (mpeg.device) and can run from HD as far as I
know, meaning that it'll be extremely easy to do presentations from an
A4000 including live video, with genlocked graphics on top. I suspect
that programs like the Scala MM package will very soon support the

The A1200 expansion unit (called CD1200) is white, and is shaped like
the CD part of a CD32. It's a stand-alone unit which you connect with a
cable. It apparently was more of a prototype than the CD4000.
Unfortunately, the CD1200 can not be expanded with MPEG for the time

Both units fortunately include the AIKIKO chip of the CD32, which any
texture-mapping game (like Wolfenstein or Doom) is quite likely to use.
So there should be no compatibility problems on that account, CD32
games are pretty likely to work. I have no details of pricing for
either unit, unfortunately.

And IBM were using the Amiga and Scala MM again this year. A video-wall
running some presentation/demo featured some distinctly Scala-ish

The head of Commodore Germany, Alvin Stumpf, shrugged off the
inevitable questions of AAA and RISC machines, saying that he only
wanted to announce new machines when he could ship them a few days
later. But he admitted that he will announce some "new devices" later
this year. Come on, Commodore, tell us, and tell us now!

I went to CeBit last year, walked at least 100 KM in two days. One of
the funny things about the place is that the different restaurants are
styled in their own special ways; La Cuisine Francaise, pizza and so
on. But the most interesting place is the "Muenchener Bierhalle". For
those of you who haven't met that much German culture, you'll have to
know that there is a (Southern) German tradition of wearing Lederhosen
(very large leather pants), small hats with feathers, drinking 1-liter
beers (served by huge women who carry 6 or 7 at a time) and listening
to "Heimat-musik" (a particularly beer-oriented musical style which
includes yodeling) in huge halls, seated along long wooden tables. The
restaurant at CeBit is approx. 100 times 50 meters, and was completely
packed with visitors who relaxed from watching computer screens by
wearing the aforementioned silly hats, going extremely drunk, and
singing "do-de-li, do-di-ley" along to a lederhosen-wearing band. It's
quite interesting to note the amount of contradiction a person can

And let's hope the CD expansions hit the stores soon. Can't wait.

(Sources: Peter Kittel in CSAA, Markus Moenig, and Knut Poeschel.)

The CD32, again

The official "Creation" commercial for the CD32 runs on German
television in conjunction with the SeaQuest series. It goes like this
(I've only seen the English version): A young man in a white coat is
welcomed to a laboratory by a scientist in another white coat. (You can
tell he's scientist because he is old, his hair is white, and he wears
glasses.) The voice of the young man goes "I never understood why he
chose _me_ to share his secret." They see a CD32 machine, "this was
twice as fast, twice as powerful. (Pan over the "32Bit" text on the
CD32.) He goes on about "colors, the sheer number of colors", the
scientist calls forth a robot which is set to play "MicroCosm".
(MicroCosm is a kind of cute flying-through-arteries-in-a-human-body-
game.) This, of course, is so great that the robot overloads, the
scientists hits all kinds of red "stop" buttons, the robot explodes,
and the picture stops at "CD32 - The worlds first 32-bit games
console." It's a very professional ad, but it seems to be aimed at a
very young market. Am I too old, is it too late?