After the success achieved by the 1997 edition, the orgainizers decided to
replicate the only italian fair dedicated to our beloved computer; the
only other attempt to set up a similar event was made years ago by the italian
magazine Enigma, sadly with poor results.
Just like last year's edition, the exibition took place in Empoli (near Florence, Italy) and was attended by many exibitors, among which there were some user groups that sold second-hand harware and software.
Moreover, Petro Tyschtschenko was back to distribute mouse pads, posters and pens. This time he made no announcements about Amiga's current state and future, since he didn't have interesting news himself.
Almost all exibitors were Amiga dealers or producers of Amiga accessories, the only execptions being Refsoft BBS, which had a wide range of second hand Commodore 64 products, and Eurobyte, which promoted their video projectors and some PC-based solutions.
Here is a short description of exibitors and their products.
Let's start with WG Computers, which had at their disposal a large booth filled with
various accessiories, and offered some SCSI and IDE hard disks at interesting
prices. Among the products on sale there were the new release of
Tornado and the program Electronic Teacher.
Tornado v2.0 is a powerful modelling and animation program for the Amiga, directly supporting the CyberVision3D video board and PPC processors. It is developed by Massimiliano Marras and it's completely "made in Italy". We will try to get a copy to review as soon as possible. It implements many of the features common to the best 3D graphics programs, such as particle animation and terrain generation.
Electronic Teacher 5.0 is a very complete tool to help learning the English language. Among its features there are a complete language course (dictionary and pronunciation included), a wide range of exercises, three hours of digitized speech and the possibility to download updates from the WFMH web site.
Atéo Concepts showed two tower Amiga 1200 equipped with
Atéo Bus and Pixel64 video board.
The Atéo Bus gives 4 customized ISA slots and connects to the A1200 via a custom interface. It is capable of a transfer rate of more than 9MB/s. The Pixel64 board can be plugged in one of those slots.
One of our contributors purchased an AtéoBus and a Pixel64, so a review of these products will follow shortly. In the meanwhile, here are main Pixel64's features:
Class-X showed the latest versions of their Desktop Video products, namely FontMachine 3, VideoFX 2, Power Titler and of course X-DVE3.
Fractal Minds showed Cinema 4D PRO 4.2, TurboPrint 6 (which supports a wide range of printers and can take advantage of a PPC board, if present, to speed up some functions), ScanQuix (a program for scanners which has been reviewed by Guido Donzellotti) and MakeCD version 3.2 (a program for CD-Burners by Angela Schmidt).
Robymax (Rome) had a wide range of accessories and programs at interesting prices; among them there were Quake by ClickBoom and Elastic Dreams, the powerful warping program (image deformations, particularly suited for human faces) with PPC support.
Directly from Germany, Amiquipment had a good deal of accessories such
as genlocks, tower cases and IDE CD-Rom readers, together with programs of
any kind. Speaking of tower cases, a visitor bought a tower for his
A1200 with Petro's T. signature on the front panel!
Another large booth was occupied by Ferruccio Zamuner's NonSoloSoft, which had as very special guests Euro Digital Equipment, Logica and Mr. Haage of Haage & Partner.
About NonSoloSoft, visitors could buy the latest software packages as well as all the products from their extensive catalog, among which there where some titles for CD32, all issues of AmyResource and Aminet.
EDE proposed the Picasso IV video board with a discount of 100 DM on the official price, and its dedicated modules Concierto (audio), Paloma (TV tuner and video input) and PabloIV (PAL encoder) with a 10% discount. Of course they also had their good Ariadne network board.
Logica was repairing computers and accessories on place, and had some old products at interesting prices, such as Amiga CDTV for less than 100 DM, external disk drives and manual scanners.
H&P also proposed the latest versions of their developement tools (Storm C, StormWizard) and of course all the products they are distributors of: Tornado3d, STFax and Annex CDs.
Moreover, they had some demostrations of Amiga Writer, their new word processor; the current version only supports a few import formats and lacks some of the features available in other similar programs, but it is a pretty new product and the premises are good. About a possible support for Word documents, it seems that it won't be implemented because of the incredible fee requested by Microsoft for the relative documentation. This is surely a pity, because the ability to exchange documents with that program would come very handy to those who are forced to live with it. Anyway, some little help comes from the RTF export format, which allows other programs to open AmigaWriter documents, retaining some of the layout settings.
Interactive of Luca Danelon offered AmyResource 10 and the
program X-Arc, the Amiga answer to WinZip; they also had the brand-new
IOBlix, a Zorro2 board featuring two high-speed serial ports (460Kbaud)
and two ECP/EPP parallel ports compatible with PC parallel peripherals. Its
cost was about 250 DM. The IOBlix doesn't only provide IO ports, but proposes
itself as a "PicassoIV of serial boards": it features an expansion
port which can be used to plug in modules (currently under developement),
including a sound card, a ethernet card and a module to control infra-red
Another brand new product on sale was Net Connect 2, a complete Internet connection package. It contains the registered versions of AmiTCP-Genesis, Voyager, AmFTP, AmIRC, X-Arc, AmTalk, AmTelnet, AmTerm, NetInfo, MicrodotII and Contact Manager. Everything is easily customizable thanks to some Miami-like configuration tools.
Low Level Productions presented AmyWarp (a program which speeds
up AmigaOS' graphics routines, meant for users with no graphics board) and
SuperToto (whose purpose is to develop winning systems for italian games
Totocalcio and Totogol, thus making us millionaires :).
They also showed Combat Remix, a Street Fighter-like game for AGA machines, with giant sprites and good graphics.
Refsoft BBS had a wide range of accessories and programs for the immortal C64. They also had some Amigas running demos and playing mp3s of cartoons and TV series.
Hurricane Software presented Eat the Whistle, a new game dedicated to all soccer fanatics, whose features are listed in the box.
AmyMarket was the name of a bunch of users who sold second hand software and hardware at interesting prices. Like many others exhibitors, they managed to sell almost everything during the first 20 minutes after the fair's opening to the public. Among the most interesting pieces of hardware there were a Vlab and a VlabMotion, a 1200 tower, some plain A1200s and some accelerator boards.
System Shock BBS had several Amiga 4000 networked via NetBSD and
AmigaDOS; they made some demonstration of the power of PPC boards, using
programs like AmigaAMP, MamePPC e ISISPPC. They had some
second-hand hardware, too, like math coprocessors, tape streamer units,
network PCMCIA cards, 68040 processors and more.
They deserve a particular thanks for lending us the A1200 we used at our AmiWorld booth.
Yeah, one of the booths was occupied by us. Obviously we installed a mirror of AmiWorld on the computers at our own disposal (Spawn's A4000, the A1200 equipped with a Pixel64 borrowed from AmyMarked and the A1200 of System Shock), while petty and me were advertising our magazine and trying to interview Mr. Haage and Atéo.
Another booth belonged to the Enigma Amiga fellows, who sold past issues
and subscriptions to their magazine, gave information about its status and
Amiga current situation, and finally sold some second hand products like
SAS C and Amiga CD32 equipped with Sx-Pro.
They also entertained the audience who came to attend a conference held by Ruocco and Canali, as they came a bit later than expected.
Scattered around the fair there were some booths occupied by AGI people (Amiga Group Italia), who promoted their initiatives. For example, they managed to have an Amiga section back on the italian magazine MC Microcomputer (from the October issue).
The remaining booths were taken by people selling second hand products.
A colorful note was the Amiga Car, the only car which can claim to be powered by Amiga. Inside there was an Amiga 4000 and a portable TV monitor, which is used to run lights and much more. Well, this ends our report of Pianeta Amiga 98, we hope to see more of you in the next edition.