Pianeta Amiga 2000 is not SMAU (the most important italian exhibition regarding computer stuff held every September in Milan). This one requires several days to explore entirely, the other is managed to see in few minutes. The latter is really plenty of people, in the former you can feel a "more breathable air".
But under a particular aspect SMAU can't sustain the comparison with Pianeta Amiga: the humanity.
I know, sad delight... we all want the SMAU to be an Amigan fair, but anyway we don't have to forget the useful function of Pianeta Amiga, wanted and organized by Jasa: an occasion on which we can meet and talk together. Pianeta Amiga has become the meeting point of all us, old Amiga friends...
And in this view we're starting to tell you about it... like two old friends that speak to each other.
Empoli - Saturday, September 30th 2000
The Exhibit Space
OgniX: Then Paolo, even this year, fortunately, we managed to see us again at Pianeta Amiga.
Petty: Well... we are not so many. Some exhibitors have seen a strong presence reduction. The organizers, instead, say that the flow is almost equal to the past year.
"Simply", tell us Jares of Jasa, "the exhibit space is bigger and so the reduced people density leads to wrong conclusions."
OgniX: Even you appear to be in different dimensions... it seems you put on some weight, don't you?
Petty: I'd be tempted to say that I varied my exhibit space... anyway, you have a clinic eye! I get fatter of only 10 kilos: how did you notice that?!? ;)
OgniX: It seems there are less exhibitors compared to last year's.
Petty: Jares renewed the booth displacement, and he used different areas from last year's ones. Surely, the psycologic effect of reduced stand concentration push you to think a strong fall of people presence. Anyway this edition seems more "empty".
OgniX: But one who don't let it go is always here: it's The King of Sucking-Pig! :-) Even the day is not among the best ones, speaking about the weather; moreover the trip on the train has been quite annoying (read delays).
But let us go inside the exhibition room for looking at who's in there (and who's not - see Amiga Inc.)... I know you already know, but who is following us has no idea.
I see this year the organizers used the big central room entirely...
Ohh... the Virtual Works stand.
There is a lot of nice stuff, especially software (on the other hand, in this times, we can't ask so much on the hardware side): CyberGFX V4, TurboPrint V7, ScanQuix V5.3, Aminet CDs, the lastest release of Amy Resource... ehi, there's the Amiga OS 3.5 at the special price of 32.5 Euro/65 DM, and even Amiga Writer V2.2 and Art Effect V4 special offers! (respectively at 80 Euro/160 DM and 95 Euro/190 DM)
Effectively on this table is hosted even Haage & Partner (there's Jurgen, maybe).
Speaking more about new hardware: here at the center there's a towered A1200 with the new Mediator board installed, and the image on the monitor is done via a PeeCee PCI video card based on the Virge chipset! Well, it seems to work...
Petty: Of course spending millions of lire for buying historical relics like the Virge doesn't seem to me an intelligent idea. The nice thing about the Mediator would be to exploit the GEForce at least... but who'll program the drivers?
Does they exist? And even if it would be, can a 680X0 manage those kind of cards? Ok, if you have a PowerPC this thing might be convenient. For the non-PowerPC amigans UAE JIT (Just In Time) under Linux costs less.
OgniX: Of course, but this is not a "real" Amiga... anyway, how do games run with a GEForce under... we should ask to the nice English girl from Epic Interactive, with her load of software (mainly entertainment stuff) for our beloved computer.
As the past year, together with Epic we have the guys from Darkage Software, with the demo of Earth 2140, and other software productions (you could see the game "Tales From Heaven").
Come on Paolo, let's go to the other booth, shared between Amiga Active, a superb quality english printed magazine (it's a pity for the price: see the bad Euro/UK Pound exchange rate; normally it costs 15.5 Euro/31 DM - at this fair it's 12.5 Euro/25 DM per issue), and the very famous, always UK based, Power Computing, that together with the always present Tony Ianiri, offers us the long awaited Mediator 1200 board to sell (at 212.5 Euro/425 DM).
This stuff together with some accelerator boards (Viper 1230, Viper 630, Blizzard 1260), networking cards (Ariadne II, PowerLAN), controller (Catweasel Zorro and Clock Port, PowerFlyer 4000) and other minor hardware and software things (Punchinello, ROM 3.1, flicker fixer, etc.). A good selection of things... and you, Paolo, what do you say?
Petty: I'm not interested in hardware anymore: it's just a way to get the remained money. Badly used money, that could be invested in developing innovative software for the new Amigas. Of course it's risky. It's a matter of recreating the Amiga community around technologies radically different, that have nothing in common.
But if it's true that Amiga is the people who is using it (with all the ideas, ideals, abilities), why don't try?
OgniX: That's your view, but I still support the Amiga-only hardware. But let's go to the next stand, the AmiQuipment one, our German friends.
Here we have stacks of oldish software, mainly games, a big bunch of CDs, joysticks, and even tower cases and scanners (not too many, to be honest). Even these guys are here for the second year, aren't they?
Petty: Yes, they are. SNIFF, SNIFF.. I feel the smell of Danelon! Here he is, together with Franza ["Posthumous" Editorial Note: for journalistic honesty and for preventing annoying charges, the AmiWorld editorial staff want to underline that the previous expression is a merely rhetoric note: nobody has never notice strange smells from Luca Danelon].
OgniX: Ok, ok, now will go to the Enigma Amiga Life booth, but wait for while...
Petty: Ok, good guy, take a photo with the mythical Luca Danelon. Call Daniele Franza... but he has to be turned back because [Editoral Censorship: we omitted the unplesant comment for a valid reason].
Petty: Enigma Amiga Life celebrates today its first year, although it's the heir of the long run Enigma Amiga Run (a now defuct italian printed magazine). Although I am on this side, because I write on it, I can't refrain from saying the quality levels caught up until now are comparable to the Amiga Magazine ones! (another now defuct italian printed magazine)
OgniX: Look over there... there's a "special items corner": an new A570 (Commodore CD reader for A500) for 17.5 Euro/35 DM (bought!), an black external floppy drive for CDTV (like A1011) at the same price, joysticks, plus other nice things and old software (everything always managed by Virtual Works).
Let's continue here, on the left, in the "Geek Zone"... ahhh, and here you are, AmiWorld OnLine!
Petty: Eh, this is the last time I attend Pianeta Amiga as AmiWorld director: I entrusted the management to Emanuele Di Matteo, a long time cooperator of our magazine.
So I'll have more time to spend on two new ambitious projects: the AmiWorld NetWork and Quantum Leap. But we'll speak more later, I'm busy now...
OgniX: Come on, come on, leave Spawn's girlfriend...be aware; if he brings you... you know how he's made, don't you?!
You're rightly next to AGI, due to your complementary.
For those (few) who don't know, AGI (Amiga Group Italia) is a network, or better it's THE network of Amiga user groups around the country.
Here I see they distribute some fylers for promoting Notizie Amiga, an italian mailing list that reports daily all the news, curiosities and things related to the Amiga (I subscribed, and I have to say that the service is really efficient and fast - a great thank to all the guys that manage it).
Then I see the paper suggests to visit Amiga Page, a your competitor, eh?
Petty: And so, since it's a competitor, we don't speak about it! :) Leaving irony, the present Amiga situation doesn't leave many spaces for competing, neither between similar projects like AW and AP.
Amiga Page is specialized on news and it founds its success on them, updated nearly in real time. Marco Lovera (the director), with the great Claudio Marro Filosa from Notzie Amiga behind, update the site frequently posting the lastest news rapidly.
Inside AmiWorld we strongly beleive on cooperation and complementary: we closed our market section in favour of the AGI one and, never having so much interest on news, we let others do this task with pleasure. Instead of competing, it's preferable to bring additonal services.
At this point any director will take advantage of this occasion for speaking well about his/her magazine. I prefer doing the opposite.
Presently AmiWorld is a bit "down" compared to its history.
We need to renew our staff (if you know someone interested in, please notify me!) and restart with frequent updates. Sadly the crack of the Collas' adventure demotivated almost all of the historical cooperators... except one: Emanuele di Matteo AKA Spawn PPC. I entrusted the direction of AmiWorld to him, and he'll rebuild everything better than before.
I'm strongly optimist. AmiWorld has many things that no one else has. AW has 3 years of history and experience (and it's so much not only for an on-line magazine). AW has a big articles archive that features all the aspects of the Amiga uses. Some of our articles have been translated in Portugese, Danish, German, English, Japanese and Persian. Some of them appared on international printed magazines. Among our interviews: Fleecy, Bill, and NASA...
We recently signed an expensive contract with one of the best italian ISPs, that will offer unlimited space and good bandwidth. We created a network of magazines that tend to offer a quality information, EmuIsland (already hosted on AW) and Amigazette are just two examples.
The only thing we need is good willness: if someone want to partecipate to this adventure, do a step forward.
OgniX: And always staying inside differentation here is Diff, a competent italian on-line magazine that speaks not only about the Amiga, but even Linux, BeOS, QNX and any other alternative platforms.
It seems there is even NonSoloSoft in some way, in a reduced situation compared to the last year's (it was the bigger Amiga dealer in Italy): here I see Directory Opus Magellan, other Amiga software, but especially some versions of Linux at reduced price...
Petty: Ferruccio Zamuner is a person with an active and creative nature. He'd probably has something interesting in his hands, but it's not sure it's something regarding the Amiga.
OgniX: And we start with the used market place: here I see the famous Benedetto di Lorenzo, with a magnificent Amiga 1000 in good conditions! (at 125 Euro/250 DM)
All of this together with a A1200 Magic Pack, a 500 and other minor stuff (even PC floppy drives?).
Doh, now we come back with geeks with the usual presence of BBS System Shock, the crazy AMOS lovers, ProTracker modules and so on: well! Real Amiga users!
Ehi, but here is a continous flux of hardware, software (we don't know if it's for sale), computers, monitors and much more: we can't see where a stand finishes and where the next one starts; but it's ok, we are all brothers (amigans)!
These guys seem the AmyMarket ones, if we take in consideration the sign: they are playing in full screen a videoCD with Frogger... it seems a bit jerkily.
Ehi Paolo, take a look upthere, in the Nexus Development (by Emanuele Cesaroni) stand: there's a C-64C in its original box, together with the cassette recorder at 35 Euro/50 DM! Are you interested in? :)
Petty: Ehm... I'd prefer in an Amiga fair seeing something new to sell instead of a C-64. Anyway there are many people collecting old computer systems (including Amiga). I hope this helps to keep up the memory and to remember how things shouln't be gone this way.
OgniX: You're just right: let me take a DeLorean... well, moreover there some old magazines, some CD-ROMs, a Commodore 1804s monitor...
...the flux of Amigas, joysticks, CD-ROM readers continues... there's even one guy repairing his monitor on the fly!
There should be Pietro Ghizzoni, Mirko Cipolla, and Amiga.It, the CD-ROM based italian magazine by Giorgio Signori, at the end of the table: remember, he debutted just an year ago here, at Pianeta Amiga.
Petty: Yes, Giorgio is one of the most hard core amigans. Extremely active, extremely shrewd, extremely motivated, usually.
Today he doesn't seem so. And to be real, with the present numbers, there's not too much on being happy. Maybe it's a personal impression, but now we can speak about impressions only.
OgniX: Well but, speaking about magazines, go back to the other side, I'd like to subscribe to Enigma Amiga Life: on the other hand it's the only printed italian magazine; fortunately it's really high quality (as the included CD-ROM).
Petty: It's late; it's time for another sandwich... Ooops, s***t! It' conference time... ah, do you see? We are late. We missed the projection of the Deathbed Vigil video by Dave Hayne, presented by Pietro Bianchi from ATML (Amiga Transactor Mailing List). The guys from ATML are so active and even this year they planned a meeting at the AmiWorld stand for a nice banquet...
Anyway, let's see what other conferences are planned.
Ok, let's go...
OgniX: I see Paolo start speaking...
He's introducing the AmiWorld OnLine project, its future developments, and the Amiga based no-profit associations; but let him speak.
Petty: With a bit of emotion I metioned the difficulties the on-line publishing has to face and this troubled transition period in the waiting of the new "Amiga". I mentioned also my new magazine Quantum Leap, availble at ql.amiworld.it; and many other things I won't say to prevent this report from becoming an hymn to the AmiWorld NetWork...
OgniX: We have to praise Paolo for his efforts. But also Claudio Marro Filosa, who manage the Notizie Amiga mailing list and Stefano Guidetti, head of the italian section of ATO (Amiga Translators Organization). So it's a meeting of the most important no-profit organizations of the Amiga community. The work of Filosa & Co. is extremely visible: updated news, fresh, available to everyone for free.
Also ATO has to be mentioned: a result of volunteers' passion, ATO executes translation jobs on programs of every kind (freeware, shareware, commercial). The ATO efforts are repaied only by glory and, in the case of no-freeware programs, by a copy of the software.
Well, now it's probably the most awaited moment, since Alessandro Enrietti is going to present the development kit for the "new Amiga".
But now I have to go, because the train is going to leave.
Bye Paolo! Goodbye to everybody! See you next year (at least we hope so).
Petty: Bye OgniX!
Article by Luca Ognibene and petty
English translation by Luca Ognibene.
OgniX thanks Gianmatteo De Luise for borrowing his digital photo camera.
Thanks goes to Joachim too for photo downloading on his laptop.