AmiWest '98 Show Report From Jeffrey D. Webster

Needless to say, there were no overwhelming announcements. However, we did enjoy some exciting guests. I'll start from the beginning.

Upon arriving, after a miserable ordeal with the airline, I was greeted by Christopher Aldi (ClassAct, NewYork). We were waiting for a ride to the hotel. Bill Borsari (UGN Event Coordinator) picked us up. The madness began.

All of us were very high-strung, and excited about doing another show. All of us except Robert Hamilton (Lostman) who was sleeping in the hotel room.

Sleeping?

On Friday morning the setup was underway. I tested my machine from the hotel room, and then assisted Bill Borsari, Wayne Hunt (UGN), and Darreck Lisle (Amiga, Inc.) in setting up the UGN Booth. Not an easy task with 300 pound Destination monitors. There were some difficulties, like the fact that Darreck had to run 50 feet of phone cord out of the room and across a hall to get phone service to the booth.

The UGN, headed by Wayne Hunt, assisted by Darreck Lisle and Bill Borsari had a nice sized booth with one Destination Monitor showing the UGN Kiosk machine. Which was an A1200 running Scala. It was professionally done, and with a lot of help from Casey Halverson, it was even better. Connected with the UGN Booth was Lostman with his Amiga shirts, shorts, an sweaters.

Great looking clothes. We (the royal "We") shared a booth with Lostman, though we had no product thanks to a complete lack of luck during the days preceding the show (it's a sad story, perhaps another time). Instead, we were honored by having the UGN use ChatBox for the IRC conferences. Another Destination monitor showed the IRC conferences. Amiga, Inc. provided these monitors, by the way. They did not have to. And it was greatly appreciated. Good job Darreck.

Again, I have to give a hats-off to Bill Borsari. He dedicates his time to making these shows go off as smoothly as possible for the UGN. He has aided in keeping us well informed, and giving us a "WebCam's" view of the whole event. He is an asset to the Amiga community. Come to IRC channel #Amiga on servers linux.us.amiganet.org, or whiterose.us.amiganet.org and look for Bill to thank him for a great year of service. His IRC nickname is "tekmage".

On with the show.

To the immediate right of our booth was Nova Design. Kermit Woodall showed off the latest capabilities of ImageFX with the help and expertise of Corinna Cohn. She has amazing skills with ImageFX, and knows it like the back of her hand. I bought another copy of Aladdin 4D, as well as Catalyzer Volumes I & II. Big Spender, eh?

Chris Aldi showed off his line of products from Finale Developments. As well as "Digital Quill" by Timothy Ashton. Luck was not with Chris for this show, as his A3000 went on the blink. However, he did a great job in spite of it. He's been dedicated to the Amiga since the beginning.

Harv Laser was right next to Finale Developments. Was he wearing the coveted crown of the mighty "User Representative"? No, he was humbly dressed, greeting people as they passed, and enjoying lots of talk and stories. Of course, he was also promoting AmigaZone.

From the retail standpoint we had Lively Computers, and VisionSoft. They were far too busy for me to even get a look at what they had for any length of time. Both companies had great representatives that were friendly, and loved to talk shop. What a great place to be.

One of the most interesting conversations I had was with Bob Scharp. A very modest individual with an extremely kind wife. He has reason to brag, however, they've done a great job with the St. Louis show over the years. And I look forward to exhibiting there next year. At his display were the nicest coffee mugs an Amigan could ever see. They had a black checkmark on one side and a big black circle on the other side. Gee, sounds great, doesn't it? Well, pour some hot liquid in there -- I suggest coffee, myself -- and the checkmark becomes colored, and the large black circle becomes a smiling face. Bob told me, "This side shows a black check mark because the Amiga died, and this side shows a black circle because the Amiga died. Put a hot liquid in the cup, and the check mark becomes colorful, and the circle becomes a smiling face because the Amiga is alive again." Cheers, Bob! It was great meeting you.

One person that is always a joy to listen to because he is a virtual knowledge bank is Holger Kruse. He knows his stuff, and if you don't have Miami, GET IT! He has worked tirelessly to give us easy internet access, and he's done it with the greatest modesty. And his intentions are unbelievable. Did he do it for the money? Did he do it for the recognition? Why did he work so hard for so little? ($30 a copy is REAL cheap for a professional package like Miami) He did it for the Amiga, and it's users. At first we all questioned his intentions. Like, was he trying to take over what AmiTCP had given us?

Certainly, but without malice. He did it because the Amiga community needed an easy way to get on the internet. And, for those of you that criticize Miami -- because WinSock is "free" -- don't knock it until you try it. WinSock is "FREE" for a reason. That is about all it is worth. Miami is far more complete a TCP/IP stack than WinSock. Enjoy what you have. Thank you Holger.

Now, there were some things I just had to see. I wanted to see Carl Sassenraths seminar on REBOL (sounds like "rebel"). This man has an excellent sense of humor, and he's very down to earth. REBOL sounds like a very exciting language. I can't wait to implement a REBOL interface in some of our projects.

He described, in great detail, how REBOL really works, and what it's meant to do. He is so surprisingly Pro-Amiga. Dedicated to his creation, I suppose. Carl also spoke at the banquet dinner, where he showed slides from the very early days of Amiga. Included in the slides were pictures of the early MOS implementations of the Amiga Chipset. He had interesting stories about the trials of getting the Amiga to work. He shared many funny stories about events that took place at Amiga. RJ Mical blowing up fish in the microwave?

Human society, anyone? ;)

Of course, the event we had all been waiting for. Hearing Jeff Schindler speak about the Amiga. Oops. Something came up, so Jeff was unable to attend (I'll elaborate later). Well, at least now we have Dr. Allan Havemose...

Oops. You know the story. Big disappointment. But they more than made up for it. Frankly, everyone was pleasantly surprised by a man that very few know anything about -- besides his name. Bill McEwen was an outstanding speaker, great motivator, and despite his lack of techno-knowledge, an expert in this field. He should be trusted as a marketing director. He spoke very well, very clearly outlining the intentions and the road map for the Amiga.

Many questions were answered, without the usual thousand more that result from the answers. He covered his speech with good humor, and professionalism.

His speech was long, but by no means unbearable (aside from there being no air conditioner in that room). He should be commended and thanked warmly for making this unexpected trip to Sacramento to stand in for Jeff Schindler and Dr. Havemose. I was not at all disappointed, and left with even more confidence than before.

S.A.C.C. did a good job, this was their first show. There were some hitches here and there, but nothing insurmountable. And they worked hard to make it right, and extremely upset and disappointed when they couldn't.

Despite the sometimes flaring egos and tempers, we thank you S.A.C.C. for bring a show to the western half of the states! Special thanks should go to Michael Salcedo, John Zacharias, and Alan Crandall. Thank you for your understanding, patience, and help.

I'll be working with Bill Borsari and Casey Halverson on some exciting new projects for the MAE (Ohio) show in October. We have some great things for you internet show watchers. Keep your eyes peeled for press releases and news as the show gets closer.

Thanks for your attention.

Jeffrey D. Webster
Mirada Innovations / JDW Developments
VP, Software Development/Marketing


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