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Amiga Fest Show Report
Steve Collins email@example.com
The following is a brief description of Amiga Fest '96 which took place
Dec. 29 thru Nov 1. The Canadian Amiga show was produced jointly by
Amazing Software and the people from Computer Fest. This material is by no
means comprehensive and may not be 100% accurate. With that out of the way
here is my take on Amiga Fest '96.
Arriving at the show Friday I found the Amiga section of Computer Fest (The
main show which Amiga Fest was a part of) tucked away in the back corner of
a giant warehouse. It seamed to have all the organization of a back yard
barbeque, but there was definitely more here then met the eye.
Their slogan "Now things are happening with the Amiga" was basically true.
Quikpak introduced two new computers. The A5050 is a tower 4000 computer
with a Pentium CPU card, Zorro, PCI, and ISA slots. With a touch of a
button one can swap from the Amiga to the PC side. The prototype on
display also had an LCD monitor built into the side of the tower. When
flipped on it's side the monitor flips out making it the worlds largest
portable computer. This was a "surprise" feature and would only be
implemented if there was enough demand.
Quikpak also introduced the A4060 L which was definitely a hit, at least
with me. Basically a complete A4000 with an attached LCD monitor,
keyboard, and 060 processor. The A4060 L was more compact than I imagined.
This computer brings the dream of a portable Flyer system to reality. Now
if someone would design a portable, hot-swapable, hard drive box, I'd be
set. NewTek and Quikpak should get together on this one.
There was also great news that Quikpak is now the front runner for the
purchase of Amiga technologies. This would make sense because they have a
vested interest in the Amiga. They hoped to make an announcement
Don Ballance was demonstrating the Flyer, and even though I own one and use
one every day I was still struck by the simplicity and power of its
It was also implied by a source that NewTek had no immediate plans to
incorporate Firewire with the Flyer and that this was best left to Third
Wolf Dietrich was showing off their Power PC/'060 board. For demonstration
purposes Wolf played an Mpeg movie in one window while in another window he
used a fractal generating program. As Wolf zoomed in and out of the
fractals the Power PC chip recalculated and re-drew the fractal in
real-time. The Mpeg movie, being played by the '060 side never missed a
beat (can you say dual processing?). Wolf went on to say that the board
would be 10 to 20 x's faster than an '060 and significantly faster than a
Mac running an equivalent chip.
On a side note, Phase 5 is talking to NewTek about possible ports to their
Power PC board. When asked if the Power PC board would run Windows NT for
the Power PC chip, Wolf replied in a Schwarzenegger accent, "we won't be
getting into that our main concern is Power PC Amiga." He did imply that if
someone wanted to get Windows NT up and running on their board he would not
Wolf also went over the specs for Phase 5's proposed A/Box machine. The
A/Box will run an Amiga compatible 3.1 operating system. It will also run
Unix and Linix, in windows directly from the Amiga compatible operating
Asimware displayed their Audio Thunder software along with their CD
recording software and a 100 disc CD-R machine.
Applied Magic demonstrated their very impressive Broadcaster Elite,
non-linear editor. The quality of their digitized video was excellent.
This company's lack of advertising makes me wonder if they are just biding
their time until the PC port of Broadcaster Elite comes out.
Anti-Gravity products were on hand along with their President Dan Lutz.
While I was video taping the A5050 T Dan tapped me on the shoulder and
asked me to take a look at a computer in his booth. Low and behold it was
a 200mhz DEC Alpha machine running Photogenics in a window right out of
Windows NT. This of course was due to the fact that the machine was
running a new version of the Siamese System by Hi-Q. If parts of AmigaDos
were to be ported to the DEC Alpha there would be great possibilities here.
I was informed that this was exactly what was happening and that the Amiga
Math Libraries would be the first to be ported!
On a side note, Dan Lutz is a knowledgeable Amiga enthusiast. I listened
to him turn several Amiga nay-sayers back on to the Amiga.
In conclusion I would have to say any time you get the hottest developers
together at a show it is a success. Most developers, retailers, and many
end users know each other on a first name basis - and it showed.
Developers, retailers, and users expressed there interests, ideas and hopes
to each other. The Amiga community is a unique one and definitely worth
saving. To coin a phrase, the results of the Amiga's death have been