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                  Australian Amiga Gathering 1997 Report:
  By Guy Nathan                                        cyberwlf@wr.com.au
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Welcome to a report of the Australian Amiga Gathering 1997, organised and
Co-Ordinated by Australian Amiga Gazette and held between the days of the
28th of June and 29th of June this year.  The first day went from 10am till
5pm, and the second day from 10am till 4pm.  It was held in a building
within Sydney's Sydney Showground, which in the past has been most noted
for hosting The Royal Easter Show.

The turnout at the show on the first day was extremely good and outdid the
expectations of most who had stands there, and for this supposedly 'dead'
platform in Australia the place was packed almost all day on the 28th
(Saturday).  Although Sunday was rather quieter, there was still a good
amount of people who showed up and even those who attended the show for two
of the days agreed the turn out was great overall.  (923 turned out)

Although I am a freelance writer who has written for numerous publications
including Australian Amiga Gazette my actual job at the show primarily was
to represent the ICOAi (Industrial Council and Open Amiga Initiative).  But
I also assisted with duties such as ticket handling at the entrance to the
show as well as token help at the Australian Amiga Gazette/Shareware booth
stand.


The Companies:

At the show there was a good turn out of Amiga companies who brought along
their product lines and all the stock they could carry.  The general
feedback from alot of companies seemed to be that they didn't expect there
to be that many people, so some companies may have been understocked with
some products in some cases.

The companies which came along were:

* Amadeus Computers
* G Soft
* Software Buyers Service
* GP Software
* Power Computing UK
* Australian Amiga Gazette/Shareware Booth
* Computa Magic
* TechMedia
* Resource Management Force
* Unitech Electronics
* Amiga Genius
* Unicorn Solutions

As well as the organisations:

* Sydney's Commodore Hornsby User Group (CHUG),
* Melbourne's North West User Group (NWUG)
* And also St. Johns Park High School (sponsered by Unitech)

As well as this there was a representative for Amiga International, Basil
from TAEN (The Amiga Education Network), and two ICOAi Representatives,
myself and Paul Morabito.  By no means, for an Australian Amiga show, could
this considered to be a small show.

Some companies who did not show include the likes of Megatron, a company
wishing to be the Official Australian Amiga Distributors.  Alot of other
companies who didn't show, did this due to being unable to afford the
flight to Sydney with themselves and all their stock.


The Product Lines:

All the companies who went along, as well as displaying all the products
they usually retail, they also displayed the products they are distributor
for.

Amadeus Computers:

They are the distributors for Digita and Cloanto, and had their products
there.  As well as a variety of other games and hardware and a huge variety
of CD-ROMs going at cheaper than normal prices.  They also had deals such
as AFS User version going for $25 (all prices in Australian dollars) and
SAS C going for $99.  As well as a range of BSB Books going for $25 or so
and covered the topics of Amiga C and Assembly programming, Introduction to
Workbench, Introduction to the Amiga and more.

G Soft/Software Buyers Service:

G Soft were the representatives for Phase 5, unfortunately upon asking
about the PowerUp boards being available for display I was told although
the board was requested it was never sent to them in time for the show.
Besides this these two companies combined their stands and were selling a
huge range of Amiga hardware and software including Studio (Printer
Software) of which G Soft are distributors for, as well as being an
organisation in which one could officially register Miami.  Software Buyers
Service were distributors for AWeb 3.0 and Village Tronic, and Warp Engine
products, so products such as the PicassoIV and AWeb 3.0 could be bought
here.  Alot of good deals could be found on this stand between the two
businesses which occupied it.  The Infinitiv Micronik tower was also on
display at this stand.

GP Software:

At this stand the infamous Greg Perry and Jonathon Potter could be found,
authors of much notable Amiga software including Directory Opus 5.6 (aka. 
DOpus Magellan).  Here you could buy their t-shirts, play around with
DOpus, or talk to DOpus's authors, or even purchase something from the GP
Software range if you so chose to.

Power Computing UK:

At this stand the head of Power Computing UK could be found as well as two
locals.  All the goods for this stand for the show were brought over with
its' owner from the UK.  Available at the stand was some Phase5 goods (such
as accelerators and the Cybervision64/3d), and even some PicassoIV boards,
but most notable was PowerComputing UK's game Big Red Adventure which was
for sale there for only $60, not bad for an AGA Multitasking Amiga CD-ROM
game.  This game is available no where else in Australia.  It was great to
see an organisation from overseas to have come to such a show.

Australian Amiga Gazette/Shareware Booth:

At this stand was the Shareware booth where one could register on the spot
Dust, Wildfire, Delitracker2, NewYork, Shapeshifter, ST Fax, and more.  You
could also on the same stand renew or subscribe to Australian Amiga Gazette
or talk to the staff of the magazine.  You could also buy an 'Introduction
to the A1200 Basic Tutorial Volume 1' Video, or an 'Introduction to the
A1200 - A Deeper Look Volume 2 Video, going for $15 each at the show.  As
well as this, the stand held host to the ICOAi Representatives, of which we
are most appreciative of.

Computa Magic:

This stand had some amazing deals to be had on CD-ROMs.  Sensible Soccer
CD32, Chaos Engine CD32, Netnews Offline CD and other CDs were going for $5
each, They are also the distributors for ProDAD, DKB Peripherals, Golden
Image, Migraph, and Roctek, so all the products they could bring along from
these companies were there to be had.  On asking about p-OS, I was told due
to it currently being in pre-release form and only in german they did not
have it for sale there, but when it is completed, a period of 4-5 weeks
later one can expect an English version to be released, and at that point
they shall sell it.  In my opinion even a demo of it in German would have
been preferable to not even showing it at all.  They also had a huge
variety of cheap mice going for around $10 to $15.  They were also selling
clickBOOMs' Capital Punishment, most of the Vulcan range of games, and
numerous other Amiga titles, as well as a whole host of old Amiga games.

Techmedia:

At this stand there was a constant running demo of the MacroSytem's
Casablanca, a Digital Video Editing suite, which was running a pre-edited
video done using that suite which was being spooled off the harddrive.
Another Amiga there was using Scala and an MPEG Playback unit to display a
full screen bit of footage the whole time.  As well was MacroSystem's DraCo
in operation also constantly being used to display things (although mostly
left on the Movieshop screen whenever i went by).  Also for sale here was
MacroSystem's VLab Motion card and ArtEffect.  Brochures for the DraCo were
also available.  This stand attracted alot of attention, but I am unsure as
to how many sales were made.

Resource Management Force:

I didn't get much of a chance to see much at this stand, and from what I
already knew about them, they are the distributors and producers of
QuickNet Networking system in Australia, so they had that on display there,
they also appeared to have advertisments for AIC there, (Australian
Internet Company), a Sydney Internet Service provider which offers Amiga
support.

Unitech Electronics:

This stand had alot of small parts sitting around the stand on sale as well
as other Amiga products.  As they are the distributors for Competition Pro
Joypads, Kickboard Plus, Poswiz, and numerous Amiga cables they had all of
these on show.  As well they had other Amiga Software and Hardware for
sale.  You could also buy A1200's and A4000 Towers here.  A product near
completion, which they have been developing, which they planned to have at
the show, but didn't get to, was a Tower expansion for the A1200, but due
to a missing part, this missed out on being demonstrated at the show.

Amiga Genius:

This stand was next to the Australian Amiga Gazette stand, which was near
the entrance so often had alot of people checking out the stand.  Most
notably this stand distributes the Amiga Siamese system and had this on
display at the show.  They also had a variety of chips and cheap (old)
software on sale there as well.  They were also selling the Amiga Graffiti
cards, a card which has similar purpose to that of a graphic card, but has
to have software that is specifically written for it in order to use it
with it, these units also plug into small and big box Amigas.  They were
also selling the AQCVid software which people can use with the product
QuickCam digital camera which captures images, and ideal for Internet
users.  They also distributed The GoldenGate 2 Bus+, which allows the plug
in of PC peripherals such as networking cards into big box Amigas with
Amiga software support.

Unicorn Solutions:

This stand played host to showing the capability of networking Amigas
together from anything from an Amiga 600 upto an Amiga 4000 with 060, and
even linking via a PCMCIA Ethernet card on the A600/A1200 to a Win95 PC.
Most things which happened here were discussions of Amiga Networking
Solutions within Amiga Networks, or Amigas in PC Ethernet networks.  As
well as using the A4000/060 a demo of a new and upcoming Amiga game which
had a graphics engine which looked similar to Quake (albeit not another
Doom-game) from the demo coder Accolyte in Cydonia, an Australian Amiga
Demo group, this game is not yet complete, but it was never the less an
amazing demonstration.


The Other Organisations:

Sydney's Commodore Hornsby User Group (CHUG):

This stand didn't really have much to it, and could be probably most noted
for one of the members of the group sitting there the whole time playing
Megaball.  They also seemed to be helping out those who came to them for
information whether it be regarding the group or about the Amiga in
general.

Melbourne's North West User Group (NWUG):

This stand had about on average four guys sitting around it answering the
questions of people who came up to the stand and asked them both about the
group and/or Amigas.  They had a newsletter available the group publishes
for those who were intrested.  They also succesfully helped to finish off
the last part at converting an IBM user to buy an Amiga (so a great
commendation for that alone should go here).  They were also selling off
second hand parts from the guys computers who came up.

St. Johns Park High School:

This stand un-like any other had nothing to do specifically with any Amiga
organisation, but was sponsered by Unitech Electronics.  About 10 or so
school children attended this stand with their teacher in which they were
designing new graphics in DPaint on the spot and demonstrating via the
means of a slideshow and a very impressive video tape the art work and
video work they had created using Amigas.  The video work was of near
professional quality, an amazing achievement for people that age.  This
stand also represents an example of TAEN, The Amiga Education Network, the
stand where the Amiga International Representative was from.


The Speeches:

There were two speeches made at this show, the one made by me on the
Saturday morning, and the one by the Amiga International Representative on
Saturday afternoon.

The ICOAi Speech:

The outline of this speech basically says that the ICOAi, or the Industrial
Council and Open Amiga Iniative is an organisation with over 1000
supporters already, and is hoping to get approval from Amiga International
to help form a body in which they can set the standards for future Amiga
hardware and software.  They also have a goal towards OASYS, Open Amiga
operationg SYStem, a process of making the AmigaOS no longer hardware
bound.  A copy of the speech is available on this page:

http://www.ozemail.com.au/~cyberwlf/CyberAm_News.html

Paul Morabito and myself were the Australian ICOAi people at the show.

The Amiga International Speech:

Held by the man from TAEN, Basil, he acted as Petro's representative in
Australia, as Petro was unable to in the end attend the show.  Using a
pre-written speech faxed into the country only that day, he read it out to
all who listened.  The outcomes of the speech are as follows:

- They will:
* Support the existing Amiga User base
* Work with developers to further develop the Amiga
* Encourage broad licensing of the Amiga Hardware/Software

- They are working with Phase 5 in R&D
- They are actively looking for Australian partners
- Acknowledged the lack of recognition of Australian market
- Aimed to ensure local market much better cared for
- Talked of the licensing of the first official Amiga clone

Although the first three points have been heard alot of times before, it
did suprise me the points mentioned below it as some details are more
detailed and more local than any other speech I have ever read before.

The actual TAEN/AI Representative also proceeded to go around to every
stand talking to the people working at them as well as meeting with and
talking with many Amiga owners there, a truly dedicated Amigan, and one of
the people who started up one of the Amigas first ever Amiga user groups in
Australia.


The Seminars:

Besides the speeches certain seminars went on.  On the first day there was
demonstrations of the Siamese System by Amiga Genius, Networking Amigas by
Unicorn Solutions, Amiga Sale of the Century (ten rather easy questions
asked to three contestants in a Sale of the Century style manner, and in
which the participants could all win prizes), Directory Opus demonstration
by Greg Perry from GP Software, and Amiga Ethernet card and Casablanca
demonstration by TechMedia.

Besides the above presentations, on the Sunday the place in which the
demonstrations were held also held host to the Amiga User Groups
Conference, and also a WildBench (Workbench Comparison) Competition.  The
outcomes of the Amiga User Group Conference was a very productice
conference with many Amiga User Groups from many states in Attendance.


Overall:

In conclusion, this would have to be an excellent Amiga show, and when one
takes into consideration the current situation with the Amiga in Australia,
and the fact it has been since 1993 we have had such a show in Australia, I
believe it went extremely well.  If there are any future shows, which if
judging the success of this there should, I'd like to see those who didn't
show, show up this time.

This article is Copyright © Guy Nathan 1997.  If you wish to re-publish
this anywhere please email me at cyberwlf@wr.com.au about it first.