The Pianeta Amiga show proved to be eventful for attendees who made the journey to Empoli in Italy, on the 22nd and 23rd of September. To highlight what readers missed and to encourage others to attend next year, Trevor Dickinson provides a personal perspective of Pianeta Amiga 2007.
Trevor Dickinson's Report
This was my first ever visit to Pianeta Amiga and only my third ever public Amiga show despite being a committed Amiga enthusiast for almost 20 years. The other 2 were the last Amiga show at London's Earls Court where the Walker design was displayed and the BB3 in Peterborough. Pianeta Amiga was quite a different affair. Apparently 10 years ago there were ~4,000 attendees, this show probably had between 200/300. However, I was quite surprised by the quality, enthusiasm and youth of the vast majority of the attendees (yours truly excluded).
Pianeta Amiga is held in the provincial town of Empoli which is situated in Italy's beautiful Tuscany region. The town sits between Florence and Pisa and is surrounded by a rich fertile landscape of green vineyards spotted with red tiled villas and medieval villages. Nearby is the village of Vinci which is the birthplace of the incredible Leonardo da Vinci which to me makes Empoli a fitting place to hold an Amiga convention.
I won't attempt to describe all of the people, exhibits and equipment that were on display as that has been covered in detail in other posts. I thought I would give you my own personal impression of someone who has never attended Pianeta Amiga or visited this part of Italy before.
As this is predominantly a show for Italian Amigans, as you would expect all of the presentations were in Italian. Being a typical Brit I can just about order a beer and a pizza in Italian so I didn't attend many of the technical presentation, preferring to concentrate of the exhibits and exhibitors.
For me personally ACube's Sam board took pride of place although there were a number of other very interesting exhibitors and presentation.
Swisso was there with his long suffering wife having survived a 24 hour drive from Bournemouth (England). He demonstrated his repaired A1-XE which included the new CPU which he sourced himself and which was skilfully installed into his A1-XE by ACube.
He also had a few classic bit & pieces for sales and I relived him of an AmigaLoadsFaster3 SCSI controller.
AmiKit (Jan) survived a 13 hour bus journey from the Czech Republic and was selling copies of his new AmiKit 1.4 CD in a nicely presented case for 5 euros (the production costs). Apparently on the bus back home he discovered they sold beer and after a few bottles managed to sleep through most of the journey.
Michael Battilana of Cloanto addressed the show and also gave a brief update on the work being performed for the next release of the excellent Amiga Forever package. He showed some preliminary outlines for a new one touch download & play classic Amiga games player. He also had with him a Minimig which was passed around the audience and showed a Workbench 1.3 replacement project.
Matthew from AmigaKit displayed a selection of his Amiga wares and despite selling a fair amount of kit, ended up carrying back more than he bought.
The A-Cube partners displayed their various wares and I managed to purchase a copy of Robin Hood to run on my Pegasos 2. However for me the actual availability of Sam boards for sale has got to be one of the most exciting developments for a long time in the Amiga world. I managed to get a private viewing of the “Red One” being put through its paces. I was very excited by what I saw. Unfortunately I am sworn to secrecy under the threat of finding half an A1-XE board in my bed (you tease did I hear someone say!) I did managed obtain an empty Amiga OS4.0 box for my sins.
There were also a number of Macs and an Efika board running Crux Linux for the PPC and I believe they managed to get Crux running on a Sam board by the end of the show?
I had a long chat with Evert of Hyperion and am hopeful that we will see Amiga OS4.0 released for classic PPC enabled Amigas in the near future.
At the end of the first day I attended the traditional Pianeta Amiga dinner which consists of consuming a lot of local wine and traditional Italian food. We started with a “little” antipasti followed by an extremely good “small” pasta first plate. The pride of place went the main meat dish which consisted of “large” plate of Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine Style Steak) which is a delicacy of the region. With apologies to any vegetarians it is served extremely rare with blood oozing over the plate. I must admit I am not a great fan of rare steak and this was the rarest I have ever seen (and I have lived in Texas!) However, I have to admit it was delicious and I managed to clear my plate. Several other Brits let the side down by sending the meat back to be cooked properly! You know who you are (Matthew and Swisso). The food was washed down with vast quantities of local Chianti (but no falva beans). I crawled back to my bed looking and feeling about 4 months pregnant.
The Sunday was a much quieter affair, which is very traditional for the Pianeta show. I was able to wander around the various exhibits and spend a lot of time talking with other enthusiasts about the current plight of the Amiga market. Yaris, the genial manager of the show venue offered to take me and a couple of other attendees (Tony and Andreas) on a tour of the stunning local countryside. We visited Da Vinci's birthplace, took in a local vineyard and bought some of the wine that we had been drinking the night before. Afterwards we travelled back to the show for the inevitable wind down and the traditional Sunday afternoon post show lunch at a local restaurant. This lasts about 4 hours and consists of eating and drinking yourself slowly into a stupor with excellent local meat, pasta, bread and more wine. We toasted with the biggest bottle of limocello I have ever seen. These Italians certainly know had to live well! After this feast I decided I was definitely pregnant and decided name the growing mass in my stomach Sam in honour of the ACube board.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Empoli and the cheap Ryan Air flight from London Stansted certainly made the trip affordable. The show was well organised and it was good to put faces to many of the names I regularly see posting on AmigaWorld. Will I be back next year? A most definite yes!