This is Amiga Roundtable Episode 47. For the week of September 12, 2010.
A Sunday with Trevor.
Rich: Amiga roundtable Episode 47. Rich Lawrence along with you. And Of course Bill P. here as well. And we have got Trevor Dickinson here in just a moment. He's going to answer some questions. Actually, let's go ahead and get started with those questions. We are going to start this question from Wiktor from adknocks.pl. I'm guessing a Polish Amiga site. First question: Did you ever consider cooperating with the MorphOS team, as a hardware provider, as you do with Hyperion right now?
Trevor: Me personally, or A-EON?
Rich: I think they are asking about A-EON.
Trevor: Okay, well A-EON includes Ben Hermans as a shareholder, and so first off obviously his interests must be AmigaOS, as Hyperion Entertainment are the developers of AmigaOS. So, first off, no, we didn't think of MorphOS.
Rich: Okay, Is that something you think you might see later on in the future.
Trevor: Well, I'm an Amiga of all flavors if that makes sense. And, I've been supporting and using all parts or the hues of the Amiga for the last 15 or 20 years. And I include Commodore before that of course, so for the last 30 odd years. So, my second favorite operating system is MorphOS. I can say it. My first is Amiga OS4.
Rich: Okay, so you are basically very moderate when it comes to the Amiga Community.
Trevor: I think I was fortunate. It sounds bad this, but from about 2000 after my PowerPC '060 Cyberstorm went "kaput" and I sent it back to Phase5 to be repaired, just in the late '90s actually. They went bust, and I lost my PowerPC card. So from about 2000 onwards, I drifted away from the scene and concentrated on my main business. And so, fast forward to 2004, I start to read again about Amiga. I started to get more interested again. I logged into Amigaworld. And, I missed all the bitterness that went on for those 3 or 4 years. So, perhaps I was lucky.
Rich: Well yeah, I mean, who really wants to deal with that kind of stuff? Time: 2:53
Trevor: I don't. I mean, I say I like all flavors. But, I think if you lived through that period and you were involved in the various flame wars that went on, I can see why people might still carry some resentment. So I was fortunate enough not to be involved in that. So therefore, perhaps I am a little more open-minded.
Rich: Now, based on that open-mindedness, would you personally, and this is in no way asking what A-EON wants, what about having MorphOS ported to the X-1000?
Trevor: A-EON obviously is a hardware company. Some of the questions are about software today, but we are a hardware company. We were setup primarily to develop new Amiga Hardware. To bring new high level, high spec. Amiga hardware to the Amiga scene. I would like to see all operating systems on it, whether it is AROS, MorphOS, Linux, anything that has an Amiga flavor or can be run on it, because it is obviously good for the computer, good for the hardware. But, obviously we have limited resources. We don't have the funds to pay for the porting of the software and the linux ports will be done free of charge, and so anyone is free to port their software to the hardware when it is out and available.
Rich: How long do you think it will take for the Linux ports? I take it they are probably going on right now.
Trevor: There is a rudimentary linux port already which is used to test the hardware. When I say "rudimentary", it is not for the average user. We've had offers from a couple of people who want to port specific PowerPC linux distributions to the new hardware. One I think will be quite quick, only from the background and experience of the man who will be doing it.
Rich: Allright, can you share who that person is? Or is that...
Trevor: No, all I can say is the person was involved in the... (and of course I'm going to get hit for this)... but, the person was involved in the manufacture of the CPU we are using. So I can't say any more than that.
Rich: That's good, That's allright. I think that will keep people guessing for a while and keep them going.
Trevor: Good. (Trevor and Rich laughing)
Rich: This question is from Leosh. I hope I'm pronounching that name right, another Polish Amiga user.
Trevor: Hello to everyone in Poland. I was very impressed that they turned up at the Vintage computer festival, just to see the launch of the AmigaOne X-1000. They interviewed me at the time and I was very impressed that they came all the way to England just for that show. So "Hi" to the guys that turned up.
Rich: Yeah, they sent in a ton of questions, as you saw. There are a lot of ".pl".
Trevor: We are going to have to put a link on our website to ".pl" because they are very supportive.
Rich: Definately. So, this question from Leosh, he's saying that the Amiga environment in Poland thinks that the AmigaOne is not a real Amiga by virtue or lacking of right to the Mark Amiga. How will you take a stance on it?
Trevor: AmigaOne was an Amiga, a next generation Amiga. It has the word "Amiga" in it. I understand his comment, and it obviously has to do with things that are happening in other parts of the world with Commodore USA. I don't know how that is going to turn out, to be honest. And, I suppose Hyperion will be discussing with AmigaInc those issues. But as far as A-EON goes, A-EON technology is a hardware company. We are bringing out a new AmigaOne computer. It is called the X-1000. And for the last 8 years, next generation Amigas have been AmigaOnes, with of course the SAMs that run Amiga OS4, I should point that out. There are obviously other Amiga-like OS's out there that ran on other hardware or run on other hardware. But as far as OS4 goes, the AmigaOne is the next generation Amiga.
Rich: We got one question here from Germany. This is from Exec over at Amigaworld.net. (coughing) We'll get beyond that... He wants to know, will you be putting X-1000 main boards in the Commodore Amiga case?
Trevor: Which one is the Commodore Amiga case? Is that the Commodore Netherlands, the Commodore Gaming? Because there's no other case out there, is there really, at the moment? If it is Commodore Netherlands, obviously we are bringing the AmigaOne X-1000 system out as a complete system with a customized case with the hard drives, the beta tester is another matter. But, for the commercial system it will include graphics cards, hard drives, CDs, everything. So it is a system, complete. Anyone is free to take out their board and put it into a Commodore gaming case if they wish. Mac people don't do that, but if someone wants to see "Commodore" on their case, I don't have problems with that.
Rich: Well, here is another thing too. I saw a question somewhere else, somebody else sent in, wondering if you were going to sell the motherboard separate from what you have.
Trevor: Everything changes, and as we know, economics and markets change all the time. Our plan is to put out a complete system. Beta testers are the exception. To keep the cost down for them, for shipping. for everything else, they are getting the motherboard and the RAM. But the commercial system will be a complete system.
Rich: Is it safe to say it is not out of the realm of possibility?
Trevor: Nothing is ever. Let's not be hard and fast. Our intention is (only to sell the complete system), but nothing is written in stone.
Rich: Okay, yeah, that is your main thing. Just to reset with everybody who might be joining us. We are talking with Trevor Dickinson from A-EON. The developers of the new AmigaOne X1000 in partnership with Hyperion for the AmigaOS4. TIME: 10:00 I'm Rich Lawrence of course. We've got Trevor and of course Bill P. in there as well. Moving on the next question. This is also from Exec. Will you leave the PPC architecture if the selling goes bad. (And I have my fingers crossed that it won't)
Trevor: (laughing) So do I. We all know the arguments for and against. We've all been through it from 1997, the Amiga Technology days, and post Commodore. To be honest, and this might sound blue sky optimistic, but I see on the horizon on the PowerPC side, there are so many new CPUs coming through, in the works, which is bringing PowerPC and Power architecture up to a level which, and the price will come down. One of the biggest problems with our system is cost, I admit that. But it is only that cost because that is what it costs to build and the CPU is a very expensive part of that. But I see on the horizon other PowerPC chips coming along, which will prolong the life of the AmigaOne X-1000 or X-whatever range. And if it goes to form, then I think there is no reason to move. The biggest reason to move is that you can buy a Netbook or small PC for $300 or #200 that was built in the quantity of thousands or millions. And will be available this year, and not next year because there will be a new model. Because that is what hardware companies survive on, bringing out new models. I guess that is what Commodore survived on, bringing out new models. I don't think we are in that field. We are a dedicated group of enthusiasts, really, who want to keep the Amiga dream alive as it was. Now there are lots of other reasons for changing and doing things differently, but that is the way I look at it. And, if I can keep it going for longer and extend its life and bring something more powerful, then that is what I want to do. That was my decision and my choice. Will we go away from PowerPC? You've got to again remember, A-EON is a hardware company and the effective owners of AmigaOS4 are Hyperion Entertainment. They control the destiny of the AmigaOS4. What their long-term views and aims are, that is a question really for Hyperion.
Rich: Allright, well actually I just found the question from the person who asked about the motherboard only. It was actually from a Russian user.
Trevor: I can understand. You can see when shipping to Russia, you can see why just a board might be better for them. But to start off with, we are selling systems.
Rich: Yeah, to get it rolling first. The same user who asked about the motherboard only, also wanted to know if there were any plans to work not only in the hardware side, but also in the software side of OS4 to bring more full-time developers to help move things along quickly. I would think that kind of thing you probably want to keep close to your chest.
Trevor: Yes, well A-EON, as I said, is a hardware company and we are primarily focused on delivering hardware. Hyperion own the software. That doesn't stop me as an individual from promoting software development for specific projects and that is what I've been doing for the last 6 or 7 years anyway, and I will continue doing that as a personal individual. But, A-EON itself is a hardware company.
Rich: Okay, I'm going to switch over to some of the questions that Eddie sent me. Have you got anything Bill? You've been kind of quiet.
Bill: Not at the moment, No.
Trevor: Bill, just chip in anytime you feel that you want to add something.
Rich: Yeah, don't be afraid.
Bill: I'm not afraid.
Rich: (humor) Don't leave it all to me Bill, come on, it's not like I'm working or anything over here. So let's change gears a little bit. Let me see what Eddie has got here. So, one of the things he wanted to know was, and this is under his "logistics" list. He's got like how many questions? He sent me a ton of questions. He's just as bad as the polish users. Who's deciding on the overall strategy for A-EON and what kind of pedigrees or credentials do they have backing them up?
Trevor: The three principle shareholders are myself, Ben Hermans of Hyperion, and my long term friend and business partner Tony Morley, who is not a computer specialist. Tony and I had a long business relationship for 30+ years. And, we've run successfull businesses, not computer related, but technology businesses. And we are still in several businesses together, again not computer related. That's our sort of business background. Hyperion, Ben Hermans, is a patent lawyer or a patent counselor. And obviously he has been involved with Hyperion for the last 10 years or so.
Rich: Yeah, I remember you saying that. There was a video on YouTube, I remember you talking about that, about Ben being a lawyer. That must come in handy.
Trevor: Well, it also came in handy with this recent spat as you know.
Rich: Yeah, unfortunately. And probably another one shaping up unfortunately as well.
Trevor: Well, who knows.
Rich: Hopefully this gets settled. Whatever is going to happen. Now was there any attempt to try to get some of the former Commodore Amiga "greats" involved? To try and get them in on the project to drum up even more excitement. You guys did a pretty darn good job of drumming up excitement.
Trevor: It was amazing, wasn't it? It shows how an idea which was a little seed, can turn into something else. The Christmas, or the new year publicity generated by the "teaser" website, which we never called it the "teaser" website. It got obviously nick-named the "teaser" website by the community itself. I came up with an idea of let's start to release some information. People need to know we are working on something. We've been doing it in secret for 18 months, but let's release some information. It was Christmas and I thought, "hey, how about an advent calendar"? Let's have some windows open in the Advent calendar. Let's give a clue of something coming up. It wasn't a very good idea, I admit. But fortunately Andrew Korn who was the deputy editor of CU Amiga. One of the big mass circulation British magazines, but I think it was sold world-wide. It was probably one of the better ones. He came up with the idea of turning it into the website that eventually developed. So, that is to answer the second part of the question. To answer the first part of the question, to be honest, I have been looking for two or three years for some way of helping to regenerate the Amiga market. In a way that was organic and part of the community, rather than saying "here you are, this is what we are going to do for you, that's it". If you look at some of the comments by some of the ex- Amiga developers, some are quite pro what we are doing, and some are unsure. We didn't approach any of the former Amiga people mainly because, I would say, finances, money, and plans. If you focus and keep it small, you can control the costs and let's get something first. The idea was "let's get something". If you get someting, then you can expand it. But first of all you need to focus on the prize, and the prize was to get a prototype system built and running. Get something to market. We all know there has been too much talk and not enough action. And I've found that in my business life that people are great at talking, but sometimes you just have to get down and do the work. And then you've got something. Talk is fine, but actions speak louder than words.
Rich: Definately. I totally agree on that one. Expanding on that question, let me ask you this. Let's play "Fantasy Amiga". Who would be the top three people you would like to bring on the team if you could? Former Amiga "greats".
Trevor: Former Amigans. Well, of course, the number one man is dead, so unfortunately we can't speak about Jay. Dave Haynie because of his involvement with Commodore and the early 2000, the 3000, and part of the 4000. He is obviously steeped in that. Carl Sassenrath because of his pre-emptive multitasking operating system. He does have a SAM system and is working to port REBOL to the SAM, to OS4.
Rich: Yep. I was just reading about that yesterday on his blog and I plan on getting in touch with him.
Trevor: I'm not sure whether it was ACube or myself who supplied that SAM. I've forgotten which ones are out under my own hardware loan scheme. But he's got a SAM system. I know it's a little slow, but it is coming along. And then of course you look at all the other Amiga names. There are too many, really, to pick out. We produced, you've seen the puzzle on Amigaworld (cough). I created the puzzle. I created the collage. I left some of the original Amiga developers out deliberately, to make it more complicated. I actually got one of the wives of a developer contact me, asking why her husband was not on the picture. So you have to be careful, but I was able to explain that we left some names out so that made it more of a puzzle and that Amigaworld would be publishing a new picture which included all of the faces we could find from the original development team. That should be going up soon I think.
Rich: Good. That was actually another one of the questions that Eddie had. Who was helping to decide what the technical components are and shape of the system?
Trevor: That's not me. I'm an Amigan and I'm quite technical, but I'm not a specialist so I leave that to the hardware boys, that's Verisys, and the OS4 hardware beta team who are all Hyperion guys. I'm on the distribution list I see all the e-mails that go backwards and forwards. But, they are far more clever than I am and I leave that to them.
Rich: Now let me ask you though, this may be a side question, a tangent, but we are known for those kinds of things. I saw this on one of the forums. Somebody kind of dubbed you "The New Spirit of Amiga" What does that make you think? They are comparing you to Peter.
Trevor: (laughing) It is scary really. In Britain, I don't know about the States, but people are put on pedestals to be knocked off. I don't want to be on a pedestal in the first place, and I certainly don't want to be knocked off. I've been collecting Commodores and Amigas for the last 7 years, and so I've amassed quite a collection. As I got the collection, I became more and more enthusiastic. Does that make sense? And then, I started writing for Total Amiga magazine, which is no longer with us. It was an excellent magazine by Robert Williams and the Seal Amiga group. I started writing a series called "The Amiga Retrospective" which was really a review of the Classic Amigas. That's what it was supposed to be, how we got to where we are today through the Classic Amigas. That got transferred to the Amiga Future magazine. The German and English magazine. As I was researching that, and the whole thing metamorphosed from Classic Amigas to the Amiga scene in all of its flavors. And as I started writing and researching, I got even more and more enthusiastic about the whole Amiga community and all the problems, the fights, the heartache, the disappointments. It was almost like a soap opera. It's a wonderful soap opera. And of course you see very much on the forums people say "get the popcorn out and let's watch the drama unfold." It would make a wonderful book I think. TIME: 24:49
Rich: One thing I definately want to know is, What brand of popcorn is everyone popping? Because I want to buy stock. Obviously the Amiga community pops more popcorn than I know of and I want to make some money. Somebody in the chat rooms, when I asked you about the title "Spirit of the Amiga". He said "The Spirit of Amiga to Come". And, somebody else said "let's make a church", and immediately what popped into my mind was "The church of the Blessed Boing". Save on taxes Nexus said. You are not up for being a church?
Trevor: No, I'm certainly not. As an Amigan, I want this machine to be so successfull because I want one. I want to use it as my daily machine. I'm not afraid to say I use Windows. As I sit, around me I've got two Windows machines on, an A1-XE, a Pegasos II. I've even got an Aries One and an Imica Pro. So, I'm into all flavors. But, I really want there to be a new bespoke, real Amiga computer.
Rich: We are talking with Trevor Dickinson from A-EON Technology. We are talking to Trevor right now and we are asking him some questions from listeners if you are just joining us in Ustream. Getting away from Eddie's questions, because he sent me a ton of them. I still need to go through them while we are talking. I found a really good one. This is from Len, he is also a mechanic over on that other website (cough). Have any of the Nemo design partners hinted at, suggested, or given opinions of possible cards for Xena Xorro, or are they kind of pondering their options on that?
Trevor: We've actually recieved a number of interesting suggestions for use of the Xena Xmos chip. One of the good things is we will be supplying a board to a developer who is going to produce the programming tools for that board. So that is very good. And, it is closely linked to the XMOS company itself. So that is good, but if you take a look at the Xmos website, there is a wide range for the use of these chips. And our partners Verisys are also thinking of various ways to exploit this chip. I particularly want there to be something that goes out with the first system. As a demonstration of an example of what can be achieved with our commercial systems. We are also upgrading the Xmos section and I'll give you more on that later.
Rich: Len also wanted to know if there was going to be, possibly, a rather exclusive web place for owners of X-1000 to discuss things in a non-forum atmosphere.
Trevor: The beta testers obviously will have their own distribution lists and be able to have technical conversations without the glare of publicity. I think there is a Yahoo group for the X-1000. So it would make sense for people to join that.
Rich: You specifically mentioned the A1 linux group.
Trevor: There is a Yahoo group already. There are a few people, but not too much going on there at the moment.
Rich: This is getting more closer to the software side of things now and obviously you are a hardware company. Have you been in contact with any other software developers coming to you and asking you for advice on what you might need to help push sales of your machine?
Trevor: We've heard lots of inquiries from some serious, some not, it's the usual mix, from developers all around the world, so I've actually been quite surprised. There are a number of linux developers who want to develop linux for it. Various linux distros. But, we've also had inquiries from AmigaOS4 developers who've got specific applications they want to look at. You know, to do graphics, or video, typical Amiga type applications. And, I've also contacted, myself, a number of guys who I would like to see them produce ports for the X-1000 which will also benefit other AmigaOS4 users, whether it is on A1-XE or SAM or Pegasos.
Rich: What do you think right now is probably the most important port that should happen? You don't have to give names of specific software, but just generally. What do you think is going to help the community the most, next?
Trevor: It depends on whether you are looking from a daily use point of view or a specific application point of view.
Rich: I would say daily use.
Trevor: If you want to use it as your main computer, then you need to have all of the attributes that people expect to see when they open up a computer screen. I think linux is a good example. Although of course there are so many linux distributions out there, but they really all come down to the same thing. Sorry linux guys. It is one or other of a workbench. We don't call it Workbench in linux, but it is KDE, Gnome, and a bunch of programs like Firefox, Open Office, and those kinds of applications. But of course, with the cloud computing coming along, it is changing the whole game. If we could be compatible with those, and we are already with Google Docs. But with the other things coming along, I did run, sort of, Microsoft's Silverlight on an A1-XE. It wasn't very good, but it does mean that with the cloud computing, perhaps some of these applications will be machine independent. Now, that is just another aspect or avenue that I think is quite interesting.
Rich: Well personally, I can't see myself getting into cloud computing. I've used Google Docs, but...
Trevor: You are "old school" like me though. Do you remember Bill Gates, a long time ago, he wrote his autobiography and said all your computer power is going to be online. You will have nothing at home, but a terminal. Everyone would say "No! No! Rubbish! Rubbish!". But I'm afraid it is going that way slowly isn't it?
Rich: Yeah, but I think also that the whole privacy thing...
Trevor: That is my concern. Do you want all your personal details, bank details, credit cards, personal correspondence sitting somewhere else? If you were commiting a Cyber crime, that would be wonderful.
Rich: Nothing is impenetrable.
Trevor: No, nothing is impenetrable, but neither is your house. And if you have a computer at home, it depends where you draw the line I guess. But I think that is an interesting development. I think that will open up a number of avenues for OS4.
Rich: I'm just kind of...
Trevor: You're skeptical, I know. It's okay. I'm "old school" as well. So, I can see where you are coming from.
Rich: Us old "codgers" have to stick together. Another question from... I'm not even going to try and pronounce the name because I will probably just butcher it. I'm sorry if I'm kind of all over the place here. There are just so many questions, I couldn't group them.
Trevor: Just fire away.
Rich: Is there going to be a full-scale Radeon or any other hardware drivers developed that you know of, so more cards can be added to the X-1000?
Trevor: Third parties are working on drivers for the hardware, like wireless network cards, but obviously it is for AmigaOS incorporated with Hyperion, and Radeon support will be greatly improved. I mean, already in the demos we did, we added a Radeon X-1550 and X-1950 running at the show. Hans de Ruiter will be putting the input on that. So yes, I do expect there will be much improved Radeon support.
Rich: I had another question from Phillip over there in the U.K. about the X-1000 taking the latest high end R800 chipsets for Radeon cards. TIME: 35:13
Trevor: Initially we have said R700, so they are not the latest, but it all comes up to what is available and what we can get at a good price. At the end of the day, you will see Radeon support greatly improved, and then we will use that to source the best cards for the job.
Rich: So basically, just get something out there that is relatively up to date, and then move forward from there. So I'm going to head back over to Eddie's questions here. Going back to the time of the teaser site and all that kind of stuff, were you waiting for the whole legal process to smooth out before you decided to say something to people?
Trevor: Yeah, we didn't want to say anything that might jeopardize Hyperion's position with AI. Obviously we were taking a leap of faith, back to your church idea, a leap of faith in putting money into paying for the development even before the settlement agreement between Hyperion and AmigaInc. So, that's why we didn't want to release anything and I think it was last October when Hyperion made a cryptic announcement on their website about their most ambitious project. And that was the start of getting the information out that something was going on in the background and that was after the settlement agreement was made public.
Rich: Eddie said that up until recently, A-EON has been kind of secretive when it comes to your over-all plans. I understand why you would want to do that obviously. But he also had a question, do you think you are taking yourselves a little too seriously on that? I don't know about the second part of that question.
Trevor: Secretive? It's better not to say anything if you've got nothing to say. If you've got nothing to show, it is better to produce something.
Rich: (sarcasm) Yeah, let's make an announcement of an announcement.
Trevor: I know I've been very communicative with the community over the last 6 months. I have given lots of interviews to all kinds of Amiga magazines, Commodore magazines. I've tried to have been as open and honest as possible within the constraints of trying to run a business. It is not my main business and I got accused by someone of treating it like a hobby. It is more than a hobby. I'm a passionate, committed enthusiast, so it is much more than a hobby. And I've spent quite a lot of money on it. It is obviously important that we come out with a product that people will use and buy. Now if they do that, I'll be happy, because then I'll have a system and then we will have a little bit of money to go onto the next level, the next phase.
Rich: Speaking of next phase, that was something else. Do you have an extensive road map? You don't have to reveal any details.
Trevor: I can be totally honest and say one thing about being small, and A-EON is very small, is that you can be very flexible and very adaptable. You can change course very quickly. One of the things that obviously Hyperion Entertainment want to do, and it started when they got their dual-core CPU way back, is SMP support. I think they will use the A1-X1000 as the prototype for bringing multi-processor support into OS4. And then that opens the door up with a lot of things that are coming along. Some of these CPUs are coming along with 4, 8, 16, 32 cores. The A1-X1000 will open up that door for OS4. Although that is not a direct plan, that is the way I see us developing the system, and that would mean in the future that we would hope to see even more powerful machines, and also less expensive machines.
Rich: So basically you are saying you've got a broad roadmap, but how you actually get there...
Trevor: A broad roadmap, but let's get one step at a time, hopefully forward. With the occasional giant leap. Let's get the AmigaOne X-1000 out there. Then let's see if it is commercially successfull. Let's see if the community really wants it. They say they want a powerful Amiga. Let's see if they really do want one. And then we'll take it from there.
Rich: One thing that I've noticed from my browsing of some of the forums is that a lot of people have not complained that it is an underpowered machine for a modern kind of computer. Granted, you have to use a little bit older components here and there but it seems like a lot of people are very receptive to the whole thing.
Trevor: I've been pleasantly suprised by the support that we are getting as a whole. But of course you are the flavor of the day one month, then you are the devil next month. Let's just go one step at a time.
Rich: So your target market obviously is probably much larger than just Amiga hobbiests. Where would you like to see the X-1000 go beyond the amiga community?
Trevor: Let's be straight. My market is the Amiga market. I am an Amigan. I want a Power Amiga for the Power Amiga users. That is my primary market. I am honest about that. There is obviously the Xmos market, and a very thriving and active Xmos community. We may have a number of systems we can sell to that community. And then there is the power linux community, which is obviously very dedicated to using the PowerPC for linux. That is another community which I think we must make in-roads into. Now, those three alone should make the A1-X1000 successfull, which means we can go onto the next phase which would be: How do we get the price down? How to we leverage some of these new CPUs which have multi-cores.
Rich: Do you guys kind of have an idea of where that might go?
Trevor: I have always been impressed with ACube's products. The SAM boards and the new 460 that is coming out. I think that will be a nice machine. I would like to see an "Amiga laptop". I really would like to see one. I would use one and I think a lot of Amigans would use one. But, it would have to have the ability to run linux as well, I think, just to make sure you have all the applications that you currently want. Unless of course it runs on the cloud then you could get all the information from the cloud. I think in the future we may collaborate with someone on that, maybe ACube. There is always the opportunity for that kind of work.
Rich: So obviously you are a die-hard Amigan. Obviously.
Trevor: I am a die-hard Amigan, for my sins...
Rich: I shall absolve you.
Trevor: My wife said "You really like collecting Amiga computers?" I said "Yes, yes, I'm a dedicated Amigan." She said, "You know there is a very small line between hobby and mental illness." I didn't know what she meant.
Rich: I think my girlfriend has said someting about that too. Getting kind of away, I know a couple of people in the chat room have asked non-Amiga questions about you. What kind of stuff do you like to do outside the Amiga community like hobbies or anything like that?
Trevor: I spend quite a lot of time in New Zealand. I've almost got New Zealand citizenship. So I can spend time in the U.K. and New Zealand.
Rich: Where abouts in New Zealand?
Trevor: A place called Eastbourne, near Wellington. If you think Chicago is the windy city, go to Wellington.
Rich: My sister lives in New Zealand.
Trevor: I hope she didn't get involved in the earthquake.
Rich: No, she was way North of that, so she was fine.
Trevor: It is quite funny, when I lived in Texas, I never once saw a cyclone or a twister. I got bad weather and saw damage that had been caused, but I never once saw a twister. I used to drive from Houston to Ft. Worth, every second week. Because the parent company was up in Ft. Worth, cow town. It was a 5 or 6 hours drive. You saw all these massive weather systems coming across the flat country side, but I never saw a twister. I went to Cyprus. I was living in Cyprus for 3 years in the Mediterranian, and my first week there I saw a twister coming off the sea.
Rich: I lived on the northern tip of tornado alley for a couple of years and I didn't see a thing. I saw a bunch of good storms, but never the actual storm. You would go in the mall and there would be tornado shelters, but I didn't even have to look at them while I was out there.
Trevor: My other interest is, I'm a stamp collector as well. I'm focusing more on Penny blacks. So I'm trying to build my Penny black collection. That's the first postage stamp from 1840 in Britain.
Rich: I have no clue what a Penny black is.
Trevor: It is the first ever postage stamp with Queen Victoria's head on it for one penny, and it was black. Therefore the "Penny Black" I'm into sport in a big way. When I was in Houston, I used to go see the Rockets play, the Astros, and the Oilers. Although the Oilers aren't anymore. I guess there is another team in Houston now. I used to quite like watching the American football and the baseball. Not so much the basketball, but I went a number of times. So I like sport. Although, soccer is my game. I was playing that until about 3 years ago when the knees finally gave in.
Rich: Who is your premier league team?
Trevor: Should I say?
Rich: You might alienate some folks, I don't know.
Trevor: I might lose a lot of potential customers.
Rich: You may get a few hooligans showing up at your door step.
Trevor: My premier league football team is Sunderland.
Rich: Okay, I'm not a real big European football fan, so you havn't lost me.
Trevor: Oh good, good, but I've just lost everyone who lives in Newcastle.
Rich: What about baseball, who is your favorite baseball team?
Trevor: It would have to be the Astros. They got to the play-offs a few years when I was there. I think the Mets beat them one year.
Rich: I bet that was back when they had the rainbow shirts, right?
Trevor: It probably was because the mayor of Houston, Kathy Whitmire, she had a bet with one of the talk show hosts in New York. Who used to do Saturday Night Live?
Rich: Al Franken?
Trevor: The one who was a Mets fan. Sorry, not Saturday Night Live. It's on near midnight on American T.V.. It's the Tonight Show or something.
Rich: Not Jay Leno, Johnny Carson...
Trevor: I'm probably getting confused with the names, but he's a Mets fan. They did a deal that they would wear the other team's colors if they lost. Kathy Whitmire lost because the Mets won. Which it was close, it was good. (It was a bet with David Letterman) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Houston_Astros#1986_season
Rich: If you follow the Mets now, it's not so good. I've got a buddy that works at the radio station out in Eudica and he's a big Mets fan, while I'm a Yankees fan. Everyday that the Mets lose...
Trevor: Rich, you've got to remember what goes around, comes around so I'm always very careful about scoffing anyone else's team because I know it will come back in spades.
Rich: Yeah, it did when Boston won the world series.
Trevor: Yeah, when they broke the hoodoo and actually won something. TIME: 50:15
Rich: I don't think there was a curse, they probably just got a better team. It took them long enough. So you like sports, you do the stamp collecting. What else do you like?
Trevor: I like working. It sounds strange, doesn't it. I like being active. If I weren't active, I think I might fossilize, so I like being active. Although, my other businesses really don't give me the enjoyment or the interest that dealing with A-EON does, but they also bring a lot more money in.
Rich: Obviously. A-EON is only one of your companies, you own a part of A-EON...
Trevor: I've got a number of investments in small companies that do various things. I suppose my main business is my involvement in a property company which has commercial properties but that, well I won't say it looks after itself. Because the person who looks after it works very hard. John, you work very hard, you do very well, but you are not getting a pay raise. Even with the world wide economic climate, that business has stayed steady and is doing well. So, fingers crossed.
Rich: We are talking with Trevor Dickinson from A-EON Technology. Developer of the AmigaOne X-1000. And, the very quiet Bill Panagouleas.
Trevor: It is because I'm not letting Bill talk. I'm sorry Bill.
Bill: No, that is fine.
Rich: He's still asleep. You know what he is doing? He is muting himself so we can't hear him snore.
Trevor: Before you ask your question. I recorded a number of your shows. Can I say IPod? That's what AmigaInc tried to do years ago. They were just too far ahead of the game. Being first doesn't always mean you do it. I put them on the IPod when I was on a vacation with my wife on a cruise somewhere. She made me get out every morning and exercise so I didn't put weight on because they feed you too well on these ships. I listened to Amiga Roundtable every morning as I walked around the deck for two miles.
Rich: Trevor you have just inflated my ego to beyond the size of the capital region of New York.
Trevor: Sorry Bill, go ahead and ask your question.
Bill: When you say maybe in the future Amiga will have multiple cores and be more and more powerful. I was wondering if at some point it would be powerful enough to run the one key application that everyone wants?
Rich: Aw come on!
Bill: Snowman Maker. (ultimate sarcasm)
Rich: Look! Snowman! He can dance and he can jump, and he can run.
Trevor: We shouldn't be horrible.
Rich: You are right Trevor.
Trevor: Yes, that would be nice Bill.
Bill: It's a viable business market every winter.
Rich: Exactly. I'm just going to leave that hanging right there.
Bill: What about some video editing software though, I mean the blueprint is available at openvideotoaster.org for video editing on AmigaOS 4.1 or whatever.
Trevor: What we need to do Bill is get a developer interested. That means supplying him with a board and say go and do something. That would be the way to do it I think.
Bill: Maybe macaroni and cheese and Coca-Cola too. Don't forget to feed him.
Trevor: With the beta test boards, I'm making an exception for myself. I'm going to be buying 5 to give to specific developers to encourage certain aspects of software or porting. What I might do is we could actually ask the community who those should go to. What would they like to see developed? Like a poll.
Rich: That's an idea. Why not? I think that's a grand idea.
Trevor: I've been toying with the idea, but you really want it to go to someone who is going to get the best return for the community and for the people who have the machine. And if it is a spin-back or a bounce back on the other AmigaOS4 users, then so be it, that would be great.
Rich: I think that is a really good idea Trevor. I think that works fantastic. Maybe you and Bill can talk about it after the show. I don't really have anything else for you Trevor. Is there anything else you want to say? We've got 80 some odd people watching right now, hearing you. That's actually the best turnout we've had since we started doing some of these recording sessions live on Ustream.
Trevor: It's really nice that people are interested in hearing about A-EON and the A1 X-1000. Hopefully I've been able to portray that we are not just a "me too", like we can stick the Amiga name on something and people will come and buy it. It is not that kind of business.
Bill: Your not selling stickers? That's good.
Trevor: No, I'm not going to sell stickers. Although I've got a bag of them if you want one. No, I'm just joking. Haha!
Rich: Could you send me one? I'll put it on my Mac.
Trevor: I have got some nice enamel badges for the beta testers, so each one will get an enamel AmigaOne X-1000 beta tester badge, which I imagine might sell well on E-bay one day.
Rich: At least your not selling T-shirts.
Trevor: I think you know that AmigaKit are our world-wide distributor. They will be supplying Amiga distributors around the world, any sort of marketing or branded material will come through AmigaKit. So, I would look to them first.
Rich: Someone just posted a really good question in the chat room. What is going to be success for you in terms of sales of the X-1000?
Trevor: For me, I've got to be careful here because I roped in my business partner Tony on the understanding that we wouldn't lose a lot of money. (laughing) I hope he's not listening. If we break even and can then say, "what next?". Even if it means me funding the development of a product. If we get to the stage where it is worth doing it, then for me, that is success. In total business terms that wouldn't be successfull. And that's when I replied to someone the other week, I am passionate about it. I am committed. It is much more than a hobby. It is much more than a job. Hobby is important.
Rich: Yeah! What I'm doing right now, this not only ties in to my job away from these Podcasts, but also just my hobby. It is radio, HAM radio, broadcast radio, all of that. So, I totally understand that.
Trevor: So I've tried to be as honest as possible in my responses and I hope people understand that.
Rich: I'm sure they do. It didn't sound like you were trying to evade or anything like that. Obviously there are things you can't talk about.
Trevor: Good, I won then. Just joking. Is it evasion or avoidance? Which is the tax man? One is allowed, and one isn't.
Rich: So now we turn the tables Trevor. Do you have any questions for us? Seeing as how you said you listen to us.
Trevor: Yes, I do listen to you. What I found quite interesting is when we were working on this project in the background for two years, and I was listening to all the trials and tribulations. It was interesting that you were reflecting the mood of the community at the time. If it was up, you were up. If it was down, you were down. How do you think the community is now? I think in the last year or so we've seen so much more of a positive feeling now in all flavors of the community. I'm really impressed by developers who are developing for all the platforms. Whether it is for MorphOS, OS4, AROS, or OS 3.x. Do you think my optimism is mis- placed? From what you've seen over the years, being involved with it, do you think there is a mood change or will it be the "same old, same old"?
Rich: Everything goes in cycles. I think right now the community is in a low end of the cycle. There is a lot of negativity right now. For members that live here in the U.S. you watch the news, for example, and the whole political thing, and undecisiveness about everything. And now in America with 9/11 just going by, I think the Amiga community is in that down cycle right now. There is no place to go but up. The question right now is, where is the bottom? Kind of like the economy. I think we are kind of leveling out right now. I know there have been a lot of blow ups and a lot of ill-will here and there. I personally think it can't go anywhere but up. I think the X-1000 was a shot. I think you walked into it at a perfect time Trevor. We were on that lower end. I think you stopped the momentum from going lower. When you and your partners announced the X-1000 you really slowed the momentum of going down the hill in a wagon with broken wheels that could crash into a shack full of dynamite. I think everything is going to go up from here. I think my shows with Bill and Sean and everybody is hopefully, going to reflect that and thank you for those kind words. I even did the shows in cycles because that is how I was feeling. I was reading this stuff and seeing people get mad at each other. I obviously got mad on one of my shows. For all you folks over on Moo who thought I didn't have the audio, I've got the audio. It is up there and you can grab it. You can hear me swear to your heart's content. I even used new words.
Trevor: I try not to look at Moo because I thought I was the Antichrist for a while.
Rich: It depends on who is taking the riddling at the time, who is the Antichrist over at Moo. You have to catch them at the right time, when everyone is on their "Meds". That is how I see it at Moo. It is like a wild west shootout. The question is who is wearing their bullet proof vest?
Trevor: There have been lots of suggestions. I always feel negative when I say this because the easiest thing to say is, "I can't do it. It is too difficult." But, do you think there is a way to bring the disparate community together? Or, at least the business leaders or the technical leaders in the community together?
Rich: I'm sure there will be. I don't think we have that answer right now. I think it is coming, and we are on our way to it, but people are just having too much fun trolling and they don't want to hear anything else about which system or software is better. Everyone has basically drawn their lines and once they get it into their thick skulls that we need to be more flexible on this stuff, that is when you will see people wanting to work together. As for right now, I'm just going to buy stock in popcorn companies and sit back and watch until finally somebody else screams "Let's have a beer and take it easy." Do beer and popcorn go together? I don't know, I've never tried it. It's like beer and pancakes. I asked a question on Facebook one time. "Do beer and pancakes go together?" We'll find out. Do you have any more questions Bill? I think we've pretty much gone through everything.
Bill: My Snowman maker question is still up in the air, but I guess that one will be determined later.
Trevor: That's a tough one, I'm going to have to duck that one Bill.
Rich: I think we should get someone over here from Hyperion and ask them if they want to finance a new Snowman Maker application? I think that should be added to the poll. I'm not serious.
Bill: It would be nice to see video editing come back to the Amiga. It used to be one of the premier reasons people used it, at least in the U.S..
Trevor: Of course the Video Toaster was massive in the States with T.V. production companies. We didn't have it in Europe because it was NTSC rather than the PAL system we use in Europe.
Bill: Yeah, that was Sony that didn't make the chips available that NewTek needed to make a PAL version.
Trevor: But, having said that. I look at the USA and it tends to have power users. I used Amigas in my business. I got my first Amiga in 1988, an Amiga 2000. All through the '90s I used them for video editing and publishing material for the company I worked for. All done on the Amiga with Proffessional Page, Proffessional Draw.
Trevor: You can roll off the names of the programs. DOpus, AdPro, ImageFX. It was there, program after program. Now I didn't use it a lot for music. That was another big thing it was used for is sound as well as image. But, it would be nice to think we can get this hook or whatever application we need...
Rich: To get the past users back, or at least looking again.
Trevor: Hollywood is an excellent product. When ever you produce, you can present it on AROS, MorpOS, OS4. When I did one of those little graphic presentations for the Essence show, I produced it in Hollywood. It looked really nice. I actually re-compiled it for AROS, because you can, and gave it to Steve Jones of Cluster for his IMica. So, we do talk to one another.
Rich: Cool. Have you talked about my show? I'm done being narcissistic. Trevor I want to thank you for coming on to Amiga Roundtable.
Trevor: It was a real pleasure and an honor to actually take part in the only Amiga live Podcast.
Rich: There have been a few. I don't think there are very many that are actually active. They are mostly game music remixes.
Bill: Does Windows Weekly count? They talk about Amiga.
Rich: You mean Paul Throts? He used to be an Amiga user. He was going to come on this show. Something happened where our times didn't mesh. I tried getting a hold of him for a good month and a half to 2 months and he never replied. Maybe he lost favor with the Amiga for some reason. I don't know.
Bill: That was broadcasting on Ustream the same time as this episode and they only had 34 viewers.
Trevor: Wow. Only Amiga!
Rich: (singing Doommaster style) Only Amiga, makes it possible!
Trevor: Don't, don't, don't.
Rich: It is an honor. We have to invoke Doommaster. Simply because nobody has heard from him and we can't get anybody to go out and look for him.
Trevor: I bought a SCSI card from him. about 3 years ago and he was really rude.
Rich: Did it work?
Trevor: I only asked him what the shipping costs were and got a really rude reply. But, it did turn up, and it worked, so I shouldn't complain.
Rich: That's one point for Doomy. Trevor thank you for being on here.
Trevor: It's a real pleasure and if I can help you out in the future just give me a shout.
Rich: You have an open invitation to come on the show whenever you like. You are more than welcome. If you hear us say something that is totally false, feel free to come on and set us straight. You can even call us "doody heads" or whatever.
Trevor: Thank you for making it quite painless. I appreciate that.
Rich: We enjoy painless. Especially when going to the dentist. (to audience) And we are going to wrap things up, so stick around, we'll be right back.
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Rich: And that is going to wrap it up for this episode of Amiga roundtable. I want to thank Bill P. as well as our very special guest Trevor Dickinson from A-EON Technology. If you would like to get a hold of us here at Amiga Roundtable, you can do it by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also stop by our website: www.amigaz.org. Amiga Roundtable is a production of AmiZed Studios for Bill P.. I'm Rich Lawrence, thanks for listening.