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Guest article: Trevor's personal review of the Amiga37
Trevor Dickinson traveled from New Zealand to present A-EON and AAA Technology at Amiga37, which took place two weeks ago. We asked him for his impressions of his stay in Germany and the event, which he has described to us below. Many thanks to Trevor.

Amiga 37 Germany - The show of the Century!

I have just arrived back in New Zealand following my attendance at Amiga 37 in Mönchengladbach. What can I say about Amiga 37? Wow, what a show! With over 1400 registrations it’s certainly the biggest Amiga event of the 21st Century so far.

It was my first international flight since Covid-19 locked down New Zealand in early 2020 and my first Amiga show since Amiga Ireland in January that year. Apart from sponsoring Amiga 37 on behalf of A-EON Technology, I gave a joint presentation with Enrico Vidale of ACube on the Amiga Next-Generation scene. I’m sure there will be numerous reports and updates from people who attended the show, so I am only going to highlight some of my own personal experiences of Amiga 37.

In the hope of overcoming some of the inevitable jetlag, I arrived in Dusseldorf on Thursday a couple of days before the main event. I met up with Matthew Leaman at the airport before taking the train to Mönchengladbach. We had booked into Hotel Leonardo which was recommended by Markus Tillmann. After a few drinks in the hotel bar, we retired to our room to sample some scotch whisky I had brought with me. Although we got to sleep reasonably early just after midnight, I woke up a few hours later and could not get back to sleep. The next day I did a little work on my presentation for the show and in the evening, we attended the Amiga 37 pre-party and enjoyed free pizza and an open bar. It was great meeting up with all my Amiga friends after almost 2 years of isolation due to international travel restrictions. I even made some new ones. Everyone was in a celebratory mood which was boosted by a generous open bar and servings of soup and pizzas. At the end of the night, Matthew and I went back to our hotel room with Dave Haynie and Costel Mincea to finish off the whisky. It was 4:00 am before Costel and Dave left. :) What was that comment about overcoming jet-lag?

After 3 hours sleep, we got up, had breakfast and made our way to the Kunstwerk centre which was a 25-minute taxi ride away. A-EON Technology, Amiga Kit and Amedia Computer were sharing a joint display stand under AAA Technology, a joint venture company they formed to sell Amiga hardware and software in Europe. Laurent and Frank from Amedia had brought along a large selection of Classic Amiga hardware and software as well as X5000 computer systems for sale. Two X5000 systems were set up running the latest versions of AmigaOS 4.1 and MorphOS. A-EON resident Linux expert and beta tester, Christian Zigotzky supplied his MorphOS hard drive, and he and his wife Nadine helped with the AAA Technology display. It was good to see both next-generation operating systems running on the X5000.

Amedia had a busy two days and ended up selling one X5000/40 system at the show and another online. At one point over the weekend Christian had an issue with his MorphOS hard drive and with assistance from Frank Mariak and the MorphOS team they helped to fix the problem and get the X5000 system back up and running. The MorphOS team also had an X5000 running MorphOS powering a wide screen display on their stand. They also showcased a beta version of MorphOS Power-Up v3.13 running on an A4000D equipped with a Phase5 Cyberstorm PPC accelerator running at 420MHz with G-Rex 4000D PCI bus, 4dfx Voodoo 3 graphics card and X-surf Ethernet card.

The Amiga Future stand, supervised by Andreas Magerl, was close to the AAA Technology display area and included Petro Tyschtschenko as a special VIP guest. I had a nice chat with Petro and he proudly showed me a large selection of photos from the time Commodore Germany sponsored Bayern Munich football club. He said Commodore sponsored the team for ~16 million DM during the period 1984-89. He presented me with a signed copy of the Bayern Munich team photo.

The Apollo team had an extensive and impressive stand with a variety of Vampire V4 and accelerator cards on display. Having recently become a new owner of a V4 system they gave me a replacement battery module to take back with me to New Zealand.

I had a long chat with Sean Donohue of My Retro Computer Ltd who was demonstrating his C64 & VIC20 ‘breadbin’ inspired PCs running the latest version of the Linux based Commodore Vision OS. Following the death of Barry Altman, Sean purchased many of Commodore USA’s assets, acquiring the case moulds, website and some stock. We discussed his recent successfully completed Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns which raised a massive £157,078 from 564 backers to create officially licensed Commodore branded C64 PCs supplied in the C64 breadbin case, smashing his initial funding goal of £25,000. If you followed his Kickstarter campaign, you would know that it was temporarily suspended due to Intellectual property dispute claim lodged by Commodore Industries (also known as Commodore Engineering). However, following an intervention by Eugene Van Os of Commodore Corporation BV, who confirmed that My Retro Computer was licensed and authorised to use the Commodore brand, Kickstarter allowed the campaign to proceed. Unfortunately, according to Sean, it is not the end of challenges from other third parties who object to his C64 case design.

In addition to Costel, Timothy De Groote, another former Hyperion Entertainment director turned up at the show on Saturday. We had a brief chat about the future of Hyperion and took the chance for a photo opportunity. Hey, who said 3 wise monkeys? ;) Ben Hermans, the main Hyperion Entertainment shareholder also attended the show. He and Matthew Leaman had a discussion covering several key issues. I encouraged Ben to meet with Michael Battilana of Amiga Corporation/Cloanto to see if they could find any common ground to resolve their legal impasse. They had a long face to face meeting on Saturday afternoon which I attended as an observer. Again, many issues were discussed. I'm not sure if it will produce any positive results but at least they agreed to keep on talking.

There was so much cool and interesting hardware and software projects on display including some excellent retro classic machines for sale. The Akiko 32, a mini-ITX hobby development motherboard was on display along with a portable version build into a laptop case. Marvin Droogsma, the mercurial MC of Amiga 30 Amsterdam had an amazing collection of boxed retro Amiga systems for sale, many of which I have never seen before. Unfortunately, I was travelling from New Zealand with hand baggage only so could not take any of them off his hands!

Of course, Amiga 37 was not just about the vendor display area. A continuous programme of presentations ran throughout the weekend with such luminaries as original Amiga developers Dave Haynie and Ron Nicholson along with Jon Hare, Tim Wright, Mike Clarke from the gaming industry and many others. David Pleasance, the former Joint MD of Commodore UK and my co-author of the ‘From Vultures to Vampire’ trilogy revealed plans for his Commodore Amiga Global Alliance (AGA) initiative, his ambitious plan to provide a centralised resource and information database bringing together the whole Amiga community of enthusiasts, developers, retailers and magazines. Please visit his provisional website for more information.

Apart from the displays and presentations, Amiga37 is also a chance for Amiga enthusiasts to socialise and enjoy some triple-A fun. The buffet dinner on Saturday evening was very well attended with plentiful food and good German beer. Before we tucked into our dinner, I had the privilege of making a short address to thank Markus and his team for organising Amiga37 and to thank the community for keeping the Amiga dream alive.

After dinner it was off to the Retro Party at Projekt42. I must admit, suffering from a combination of jetlag and lack of sleep, I sneaked away with Ron Nicholson just before midnight with Mike Clarke escorting us back to our hotel. I still woke up at 3 am.

My presentation with Enrico was the last event of the show on Sunday and I was surprised how many people were still around to hear our talk. We talked about our respective Amiga Next-generation journeys and outlined our joint plans for release of the A1222 Plus, Enrico alsotalked about the final Sam460 LE production run and revealed details of a PowerPC notebook ACube were developing for the GNU/Linux Open Hardware PowerPC project. During our presentation I made a throwaway comment about not wanting to see AmigaOS 4 running on a PC. I truly believe that any computer that aspires to carry the Amiga name should be a whole system complete with branding. Personally, I don’t care whether it is running on 68k, PowerPC, ARM or even x86 but it must look and feel like an Amiga system. Simply running AmigaOS 4 on any PC hardware does not make it an Amiga IMHO. If you don’t agree with me that is your prerogative and we will have to agree not to agree. At the end of the show, I had the privilege of presenting Markus with a special commemorative Amiga37 framed poster signed by all the VIP attendees. It was a hectic few days but I still had time to be interviewed by Andy Caulfield of Bedrooms to Billions for his latest filming project.

After Amiga37 closed a group of us, including Dave Haynie and Ron Nicolson, met up for a farewell dinner and after the meal we ended up in the lobby of our hotel for a few drinks before saying our last goodbyes.

There are too many Amigans to mention in this short update but here are a few who I remember talking with: Stephen Leary – Terrible Fire accelerators, Stephen Jones – Checkmate Digital, the incomparable Dan Wood & Ravi Abbot, Marcel Franquinet –, John Hertel of ReAmiga fame, Jan Zahurancik – Amikit, Dimitris Panokostas - AmiBerry, Adam Spring – Remotely Interested podcast, David ‘Skateman’ Koelman OS4 & Linux tester, and George Sokianos – OS4 developer, Steven Fletcher – The Commodore Story, Tomasz Marcinkowski – Warp/Pixel Magazine, Jens Schönfeld – Individual Computers, Daniel Müßener – Golden Code - plus everyone else who I talked to but can’t remember your name! You know who you are. ;-)

Finally, I want to thank the Amigan who presented me with a small bottle of Jagermeister to help with my throat. You will be pleased to know that Dave Haynie helped me finish it off. Also, many thanks to Tony Schiffbauer from Pittsburgh who gave me, Michael Battilana and Ravi Abbot a ride back to Dusseldorf airport on Monday morning.

Amiga37, what an event! (dr)

[News message: 30. Oct. 2022, 05:27] [Comments: 2 - 21. Nov. 2022, 05:05]
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