Computer '96 Logo

A report on Computer '96, once the largest Amiga only show on earth.
15-17 November 1996, Cologne, Germany.

Below are some thumbnails you can click on to see the full pictures. I have chosen for reasonable quality against very good size/compression. The originals are much better, so if you want these pictures for your own page or magazine, don't hesitate to contact me.

The show started on Friday, and hoping I would get a CyberVision 64/3D I tried to get there as soon as possible. That included getting up at about 04:30 to catch the first train to Germany. Unfortunately I stood up one hour too early and didn't sleep a lot, plus had to wait in the cold at the station too. This resulted in quite a headache and a flu by the time I got to the fair, so my humour that day was not very good. I didn't make a lot of pictures and didn't hang around very long either. The show was about half the size of the year before and had a lot of meaningless PC gaming booths, console and other platforms trying to get the attention. I remember 1989 and this show seemed a mere carcass of that one. Hermann der User would be sad if he still figured on posters. Possibly I picked te wrong day too, because Friday was very quiet, I heard Saturday (and Sunday) was much better.


phase 5 booth The very first booth the prospective Amiga enthusiast goes to: phase 5. Seemed a little empty, in spite of the demos going on, though those seemed a bit basic for "been in development for moooonths" too. The usual professional attitude, nice lady reps without any knowledge whatsoever, and the old "When will it be available? We don't know." answer. That particularly went for the CyberVision 64/3D, though I was a bit surprised one of the reps admitted the old 64 cards were not made anymore to keep the price up (and not to hinder the acceptance of the new 3D too much I guess). I received my CV64/3D just in time for their promise to come true: it was delivered in 1996, about 8 hours before midnight, the 31st of December to be precise ;)

A\Box The news everyone has been waiting for: the Amiga is being developed, if in spirit only, according to some. Whatever the case may be, phase 5 unveiled the A\Box here. Not really actually, it rather gave us a glimpse at some of the equipment phase 5 are using to build one, to be had in 1998. We are (still) holding our breath. In reality a Commodore built A4000T sported some basic software in development, some interesting wiring and a flashy oscilloscope with colour display, connected to a UNIX workstation collecting the data for analysis.

PowerUp project More of the same, but this time more practicable: the PowerUp card in a desktop A4000 running a fractal demo in two windows simultaneously, one on the 603e PPC (240 MHz) and the other on the 68060 (50 MHz). Since the software was extremely basic it just gave a nice inkling of the difference in power. These cards are now out for developers.

Jason Compton Jason Compton, present as guest of Schatztruhe, in his capacity as VISCorp PR person, I talked with him for a bit. He was not exactly happy and twitched his mouth quite a bit when I asked all kinds of pointy questions about VISCorp, Carl Sassenrath, money, the future etc. Much shoulderhitching accompanied sighing and "I don't know"'s. I had the feeling he had made up his mind about VISCorp by that time. Reading AR4.15 he must have otherwise enjoyed himself on the show, though I can't see how he saw it as big, maybe the size of the grounds in other countries is really that small.. He should have seen it in 1989 or 90, it was huge back then in comparison to this year.

The DOpus Duo The Schatztruhe booth, very much near the center of the grounds, it had a VIP kind of air about it, many well known Amiga people hovered around this place. Grinning at you are Dynamic Duo Jonathan Potter and Dr. Greg Perry of Directory Opus and other GPStuff fame. They couldn't help themselves trying to sell me a third copy of DOpus 5.5, this time in German and on CD :) In the upper left corner you can see one of those yellow DOpus 5 T-shirts. I got one of them the week before in Amsterdam and was reprimanded why I was wearing some rag with Amiga Magazine across it, instead of their much nicer shirt :) They were selling quite nicely, especially Saturday I heard. Excellent product BTW, plug plug ;)

Urban Muller During lunch a small group of people sat together, of whom I only recognized Dr. Kittel (apart from already mentioned people) and Urban Müller, Aminet head honcho. Since he collects every mention of Aminet (CDs) the trade of an Amiga Magazine for an Aminet 15 CD was quickly made. I guess he must have been a Commodore 64 fan too, since "Herr von Gravenreuyth", also roaming the grounds, seemed to be a close personal friend of his <G>. Main hobby: devising a better ><> trap :^)


Amiga Technologies as such was not present, nor very much else that could make me overly optimistic. The pictures of pOS went up in smoke due to my lousy photography (and equipment), sorry about that. Looked like MagicWB basically, ran quite nice on an 060, though that doesn't say much of course. After mentioning the witty 'pOpus' directory utility to Dr. Perry he answered with a raised eyebrow and: "hm, I think I'll have a chat with those guys later" :) I don't know if I want pOS myself really. Talking to a rep revealed that it's probably going to be distributed on CD-ROM and for both standalone and AmigaOS parallel operation mode. PPC version being worked on, but I can only see a future for it if some sort of backward compatibility will be available (UAE won't do). PIOS have announced they would bundle it with their PIOS One though, I guess the next CeBIT will tell us more about that. Couldn't find that BeBox anywhere BTW, or I must not have been looking too hard for it..

I picked up a HyperCOM 4 serial card (Z2) and finally bought AmiTCP, withstood the temptation to get a Playstation and an Ariadne ethernet card, although the last decision I am already regretting. There were plenty of other things to see that were of relatively minor importance to myself, like the Picasso IV card (nice demo).

I was far too ill to climb the climbing wall present, or to hang around too long after the show. I decided to go homeward somewhere around seven in the evening.

MPEG at 11: 'The man who held his breath too long'.

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