With banquet attendance exceeding 60 people, there is no doubt this was a well attended AmiWest. Add in the fact original Amiga developers Carl Sassenrath and Dale Luck were present and you had one heck of a 25th anniversary Amiga show!
This year I'm going to concentrate on the AmigaOS side of AmiWest so there is no clone news from me this time. I was also not representing anybody but myself at the show this year. This means everything that I said at the show or that is written here is my opinion and my opinion only.
Friday started with hunting down my Sam460ex board which was supposed to be waiting for me at the show. Yes, it was a tad last minute. A huge thanks goes to AmigaKit's technician Chris for guiding me through the install into my infamous Antec Skeleton case. Engineers and technicians rarely get along so well. Thanks again Chris!
After fighting with the usual assortment of software bugs expected with any unreleased product, the Sam460ex was booting up into an AmigaOS 4.1 alpha software install. The ethernet driver was just not cooperating with the hotel's network for some reason so we had to do without. The rest of the Sam460ex was working well enough and show attendees were invited to play with the new Amiga system at the AMUC table. I noticed the graphics displayed some visible corruption here and there so I suspect the SM502 graphics driver may also need some work.
The Sam460ex hardware included 2 GB of DDR2 RAM and the CPU was running at a nice 1.2 GHz. Thanks to Paul, we also had 4 SATA ports available via a SII3114 card. Full details on the Sam460ex are available directly from ACube Systems and I'm not going to repeat them here.
Friday night I organized a private face to face meeting with several key Amiga people and I was happy to have most of them there. Communication is always a critical problem and I find meetings in person to be the most effective. We all agreed up front that this was a "safe" place to discuss things so I won't be sharing the details of what was discussed. The secrecy has nothing to do with NDAs and everything to do with mutual respect.
Late Friday, Carl Sassenrath delivered on his promise and we had a version of REBOL 3 available in time for AmiWest. For those not up to date on REBOL I invite you to explore the REBOL web site. Getting an Amiga version of REBOL 3 ahead of other platforms like Mac OS X was also quite a thrill. Carl is a tad biased and some of his code is still running inside AmigaOS 4 to this day. And yes, REBOL 3 was running fine on A-EON Technology's X1000 as well.
I am now working on providing the REBOL 3 GUI for the Amiga version of REBOL 3 so if you would like to help test it, please get in contact with me.
Saturday was very hectic as I attempted to toss together a system capable of connecting to the internet to display my presentation. My backup plan (i.e. Paul) seems to have the worst luck and of course his Sam440ep had a capacitor that popped off thanks to some rough security screening. Luckily, we were at AmiWest and thus some very good technicians and the repair was done in short order (thanks Adonis!). For some reason, IBrowse was the only thing that could get us by the hotel's internet screening software and we were up and running. We didn't have time to get into the root cause given I was up right after REBOL Technologies. I presented a bit I called Modern Amiga Programming where I tried to highlight some of the major differences between programming on AmigaOS 3.x and earlier compared to programming on AmigaOS 4.x and later. I do plan to extend this document and I would appreciate any constructive feedback.
Saturday evening was the banquet which included a yummy meal as per usual. Trevor Dickinson headlined the event and did an excellent job showcasing how he migrated from Amiga to Amiga over the years. I remember commenting to the table that this felt a lot like a wedding with speeches and a mic going around the audience. Many people had touching stories about how they fell in love with their Amiga computers and how it affected their lives. I did not have a touching story to tell but I did manage to win the John Zacharias Memorial Award for outstanding technical assistance to the Amiga community for 2010. This was a great honour and a complete surprise to me. Thank you again for this award.
Sunday we had a flight to catch so I wasn't able to be there for the show closing. The crowd is always thinner on Sunday but we still managed to attract people visiting my Sam460ex-based Amiga system complete with REBOL 3 of course. A quick goodbye to everybody and the show was over for another year.
P.S. A much more technical look into AmigaOS 4.x will follow in a subsequent report.
See you next year!