CommVEx v4 - second report (fwd)
27/08/2017 12:57
----------------Forwarded message------------Fourth Annual Commodore Vegas Expo a Success By Dick Estel July 26, 2008: It's late July and for the lastfour years that has meant the annual CommodoreLas Vegas Expo (CommVEx). This is a smallgathering of enthusiasts who continue to workwith and advance the 1980s era Commodore brandof computers. Although the C64 was the biggestselling computer in history, and the firstintroduction to computing for many, it has beenreplaced by faster, newer machines, andrelegated to the category of classic, alongwith its immediate successor, the highly popularC128.

Even so, diehard Commodore fans have developedways to make their machines come close inperformance to more modern Windows-based PCs - including high-speed Internet connections,printing with laser printers, and workingwith CD-ROMs.

This show was the brainchild of RobertBernardo, president of the Fresno CommodoreClub (FCUG), along with a couple of otherdedicated Commodorians in Canada and Nevada.

Las Vegas was chosen, because it's ahappening place, and the local club wasable to provide support and equipment.

Although I virtually never use my Commodoreany more, I have remained a loyal member ofFCUG and planned to attend all the expos.

Various circumstances prevented me fromcoming to #1 and #3, but I was here in2006 and again in 2008, at the Plaza Hotelin old downtown Vegas. In addition tohelping Robert carry in and set up equipment,as club treasurer I am the registrar, ticketseller, and accountant.

We put in a few hours setting up last nightand have been here since about 8:30 thismorning, with the official opening of theshow ten minutes away at 11 a.m. We alreadyhave eight people here, most of whom willbe doing some kind of demonstration duringthe show. Since the expenses come out ofRobert's pocket, everyone pays admissionregardless of their duties or level ofparticipation.

In the early days of Commodore, there wereseveral print magazines devoted to thebrand, as well as one disk-based magazinecalled Loadstar. Amazingly, although allthe print publications are long gone,Loadstar continues on, and theeditor/publisher, Dave Moorman, and hiswife, Sheri, are here for their firstCommVEx show.

Also in attendance is Justin Pope, whosefocus is the Amiga computer, a Commodoreproduct that followed the highly successfulC128. The Amiga uses a graphically-basedinterface (like Windows and Mac), but itwas an innovator in quality sound andgraphics before they were routine on otherPCs. Justin has four different Amiga modelsset up for demonstration. His family had avideo production company when he was a kid,and he started working with the Amiga ataround age 11.

A repeat attendee is Yul Haasmann of LasVegas, who has set up a MIDI keyboardconnected to his Commodore. These computerswere known for good sound in their heydayand work well with various musicaccessories and programs.

Robert Bernardo showed off the 20-minutevideo he created which gave a look at theclub proceedings of the Southern CaliforniaCommodore Amiga Network, The Other Group ofAmigoids, and the Fresno Commodore UserGroup, including our giant club storage andhow the band, Warp 11, is connected toAmiga. He had shown this video in England,the Netherlands, and Belgium, and thecrowds at those European shows and clubswere very entertained.

My contribution was a discussion of theFont Resource Directory (FRD), a printoutof over 1000 fonts used in the GEOS program.

GEOS was a disk-based, alternate operatingsystem for the Commodore 64/128 that turnedit into a point-and-click machine, similarto Mac. When I was editing the club'snewsletter, I wanted a way to see what thedifferent available fonts looked like. Istarted with about 30 pages, and the FRDeventually grew to ten times that size. Imade it available at cost to fellowCommodore users, selling around 100 copiesover several years.

When the show ended for the day, abouteight of us enjoyed the hotel's $7.77buffet, then came back to the meetingroom. After this, everyone did their ownthing -- some went home, I went to myroom with my current novel, and a coupleof diehards played with the toys tillnearly midnight.

July 27: We're getting ready for the secondand final day, starting in about 90 minutes.

Attendance yesterday was not what we hadhoped, and we were afraid that interestmight be declining. Also some of the regularCommodore people who attract attention couldnot attend this year. Even so, everyone ishaving a good time - meeting and talkingwith other Commodore enthusiasts, looking atrare equipment, and watching thedemonstrations. The highlight yesterday wasa teleconference with Bil Herd and AndyFinkel, two men who worked for Commodoreduring the early days, and helped designthe C128 and Amiga.

In the realm of equipment, we have someitems that were made only in Europe (theCommodore was heavily promoted and verysuccessful overseas), and lots of neweritems made to enhance the computer'sperformance for the 21st century.

Two more repeat visitors are Jeff Krantzand his 9-year old son, Connor. Connor hasbeen pressed into service to draw thetickets for the various raffles for thelast three years and is eager andenthusiastic in performing his duties. Ifhe had his way, the event would be one longraffle.

We had three or four drawings this morningbefore Connor arrived, so we chose the nextyoungest person present, Josh Shiflet, whois over 21 but probably under 25. Josh didhis best Connor impersonation, jumping upand down excitedly when it was time todraw, although his enthusiasm waned a bitby the fourth drawing. Fortunately, theKrantzes arrived in time to take care ofmost of the work in that area.

We've had a few more people in today, plusmost of yesterday's attendees havereturned, and we have a full schedule ofdemonstrations. My contribution was goingto be a discussion of Big Blue Reader, aprogram that allows the conversion ofCommodore text files to PC format. Thishas been a boon for many former Commodoreusers who have their life story, genealogyfiles or even a book they were writing ona bunch of Commodore disks, which can't beused in any existing Windows PC. BBRconverts most Commodore formats to plaintext files, which can then be loaded andedited in any PC word processor. Our clubhas provided this service for two or threeyears and has made a number of folks happywho thought their old files were lostforever. Sadly for the attendees at thisevent, we ran out of time before I could domy demonstration.

There were several interesting demos today.

The highlights: SID-to-MIDI music by Al Jackson Al used a C64 program which converted SIDmusic to MIDI music on-the-fly, withimpressive audio results.

Dot.Basic by Dave Moorman DotBASIC Plus, an object oriented BASICextension for the C-64, with a library ofsome 90 commands now, including bitmapsand SID playing.

C64HDriver by Dave Moorman Using Robert Bernardo's 64HDD LoadstarTower, Dave demonstrated this graphicaluser interface which simplifies use of the64HDD. He mentioned that a C128 version ofthis HDriver GUI is being developed.

The Video Toaster by Justin Pope During the prime years of the Amiga, athird party company developed an accessorycalled the Video Toaster. Combined withthe Amiga, this amazing $1500 deviceallowed the creation of special videoeffects previously possible only withexpensive professional equipment costingten times as much. Justin's family madeuse of the unit as part of a videoproduction company they operated for anumber of years.

1541 Ultimate by Josh Shiflet After Robert Bernardo showed his interviewwith the developer of the 1541 Ultimate,Josh gave his presentation. The 1541Ultimate is a European SD-card product thatemulates the classic Commodore 1541 drive,right down to the familiar grinding andhead-knocking sounds (digitally reproduced).

Among other things, it allows loadingfiles directly from D64 emulation disks.

Amiga Forever by Michael Battilana Michael is from Italy, where he works for asoftware developer whose products include aCD ROM package [Amiga Forever] thatpreserves thousands of Amiga games anddemos. The package includes everythingneeded to run different emulation engines,operating system versions, games and demoproductions in simple one-click steps.

Michael generously made a copy of theproduct available as a raffle prize.

We finished up around 5 p.m. and began thelaborious project of hauling everything outof the meeting room. I had brought a smallluggage carrier and took about three loadsof stuff to my car -- up a ramp, then upthe elevator one story, and out to thegarage. Robert had to return a carload ofitems to Al Jackson of the Las Vegas club,who kindly provided a half dozen or moreset-ups, including monitors, keyboards, anddisk drives. We made about five trips, upthe ramp, but at least not up the elevator.

Then we had another carload of items thatRobert had brought from his home in Visalia,which all had to go up the elevator to hisroom on the 8th floor. We made at least fourtrips with this material. Our thanks go outto Dave and Sheri, and Josh, who helped withthis project.

We had dinner at the buffet again, stayingand talking long after dinner was finished,until we got kicked out by employees eagerto clean up and go home. We headed for ourrespective hotel rooms, with anothersuccessful Commodore Vegas Expo behind us.

Dick EstelClovis CA

Source is Usenet: comp.sys.amiga.misc
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Answer score: 5
27/08/2017 12:57 - Leo <> wrote in message news:g8omv7$df0$

What I mean is that it would be beneficial to have all stories, reports pictures and links on one page for archival purposes and convienience.

A hub of information instead of multiple postings in every Commodore related group and forum makes more sense IMO.

Source is Usenet: comp.sys.amiga.misc
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Answer score: 5
27/08/2017 12:57 - RobertB <> wrote in message

Ok pat yourself on your back Robert and well done, we get the picture. May I suggest that you set up a dedicated commvex website or personal homepage and post any relevant information and reports there? A simple post in c.s.c advising of new content would be enough, and anyone inerested can go and view whatever interests them.

Source is Usenet: comp.sys.amiga.misc
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Answer score: 5
27/08/2017 12:57 - Simple short posts and this group will be much cleaner, or shouldI say empty?You suggesting this group has problems with too much posts, or withtoo big posts? As I can see, only problem here is lack of posts.

Source is Usenet: comp.sys.amiga.misc
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