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24 HOURS UNDER THE GEORGIA SUN
By: Jason Compton
Lamar Morgan's has been a familiar voice on my answering machine. For a
long time now...something like a year, we've talked about the Amiga and
where it's going.
In addition to being the guy who calls me from work a lot, Lamar's also the
president of the Amiga Atlanta user group. So when he invited me out to
Atlanta, expenses paid, for a taping session of a documentary on Amiga
users, how could I say no?
After all, Dave Haynie and Fred Fish would be there, too. I'd already met
Dave in Calgary, but the idea of meeting Fred Fish was good enough for me.
Anyway--Amiga Atlanta is comprised largely, although certainly not
exclusively, of a bunch of guys with more video experience in their little
fingers than I have in my entire family. They've produced Amiga demo tapes
off the job, and it occurred to them that it would be a good idea to
document the users of the Amiga as well. So, with professional equipment
in hand, they set out amongst their club, filming hour after hour of
testimonial and interview. After 23 hours of that, they decided it was
time to branch out, so they called the three of us.
It was a really pleasant day in Atlanta when I arrived on Kiwi Airlines.
(Note: If you're in the Eastern US and get a chance to fly them, do it.)
I was met at the airport and taken over to Video Tape Associates, the
company where the work was being done. After taking a quick tour and
sitting around during Fred's interview, killing time with Dave and the
guys, it was time for lunch. I got to meet Fred--if you've never met him,
but are familiar with American TV and want some sort of insight, just think
of a younger, nicer looking Archie Bunker.
After lunch came The Haynie Sessions. Something like 3 hours of tape went
by as Dave related stories of product development, highs and lows in
engineering, and a special tour through some of his finished and unfinished
hardware items, such the world's first 16 meg Zorro-III, the world's first
040 card, and the "2000 to 3000" card which provided an 030 and SCSI to the
2000. That guy can talk, let me tell you.
Finally, it was my turn. The guys moved the equipment from the conference
room where they'd taped Fred and Dave to the lobby for my interview. They
miked my shirt, set up the lights, and started asking questions...and
suddenly, it was over, 80 minutes had passed and I'd barely started
talking, it seemed. But no, we'd actually done 80 minutes of interview,
with the time flying by so quickly it seemed more like 10. The only reason
we stopped, other than the fact it was already around 5:30 at night, was
that they were completely out of tape--Beta SP 30 minute tapes at $30
apiece, to be exact.
So Dave and I returned to our hotel room for a brief while until the dinner
party they'd arranged at a local pizza dive was on. All day long (and for
weeks beforehand) Lamar had tried to get the local news media to cover our
presence there, both at the taping and at dinner, but they just didn't
bite. They did get an exec from a regional Internet service provider,
Mindspring, to come for the food, and he seemed pretty impressed with the
event as a whole. Me, I've had better pizza, but the company was great.
Other than the really great gifts we got (two t-shirts and a demo tape, for
example), we were awarded lifetime memberships in the club and, maybe most
importantly, got to hear really nice things about ourselves that we
probably don't deserve.
After beating Dave at a round of Galaga, splitting a pizza with Fred and
talking to countless AAi members, suddenly it was after midnight and
everyone was getting very sleepy. We went back to the hotel room, found
out that Atlanta TV is no better at night than any other TV, and then it
was the morning and time to leave.
All in all, the experience was great. I'm anxiously awaiting the results
of the now 33+ hours of footage Amiga Atlanta has on file-the initial
concept was a one hour video, but with that much volume I have a hard time
imagining doing one comprehensive tape. If there's one thing I regret it's
not having a better memory for faces and names, but when you meet dozens of
people in a 24 hour period, it's hard to keep everyone straight. But the
entire day was well-planned and executed, and I was honored to have been a
part of it.
Random Snippets of Trivia:
AR Contributing Editor Addison Laurent drove for hours just to make it to
the dinner party.
One of the T-shirts was a standard-issue AAi membership polo-style shirt.
The other was an absolutely gorgeous black t-shirt with the best Amiga
rebirth emblem I've ever seen. "Death is only the beginning..."
A number of people brought Dave their machines for autographing. Oh, and
we discovered that yes, the batteries in A2000s/3000s/4000s tend to leak
and corrode the contacts and even possibly the motherboards if you let them
discharge, then re-charge them.
Oh, did I mention I beat Dave at Galaga? :)
The tram in the Atlanta airport has a speech synthesizer to tell you things
like (to paraphrase) "hold on so you're not flung around." The synthesis
is provided by a C64.