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Article archives

South West Show in Pictures

Posted by Mark Stephens on 18:03, 27/2/2017 |
 
Here is a selection of pictures to show you what the event was like.....
 
(Click on the thumbnails for the bigger image)
 
 











 











 











 











 








 
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South West Show Report

Posted by Mark Stephens on 22:11, 25/2/2017 | ,
 
The 2017 South-West Show took place at the Webbington Hotel, its regular home. It was a bright, sunny day (at least to start with) and attendance seemed good. The final count is still awaited, and there was also a questionnaire for visitors to get information and suggestions. If you were not one of those visitors, here is what you missed.
 
The very quick summary
No major new machines but lots of interesting new software and hardware releases and a good, upbeat atmosphere. It was a great day and R-Comp/Orpheus did a great job.
 
The Talks
There were 4 talks, this year in their own little corner. All talks were recorded so should hopefully appear soon. I have summarized them with the details of their stands below.
 
CJEInfo Micro's
CJE Micro's had their usual large range of hardware and software. They had their usual wide selection and had several ARM machines setup to demo for customers.
 
In their talk CJE MicrosInfo explained that their customers include both users of 'classic' items as well as more cutting edge users. They have now been able to source a new supply of serial mice, a previously elusive and expensive creature. They also mentioned the recent !PhotoDesk release from London and the new drawing tablet (which should work on almost anything).
 
They are always interested in second hand items and will be going on a trip to collect items from Oxford next month. They will probably take a route via any other locations which could be on the route (London, Southampton were mentioned) so let them know if you have any previously-cherished and now surplus items taking up space you wish to have them take away.
 
R-Comp
R-CompInfo had their usual range or Windows and ARM machines, including the new RiscBook Go (a nice compromise between size, batter life and cost). They released a new RAID solution to provide a non-technical and much cheaper solution for keeping your machine backed up. There are some new, MUCH faster drivers for the ARMX6 networking operations (which are free updates for existing customers) and a new solution to partition much larger hard drives for RISC OS.
 
In their talk R-Comp talked about the new software releases. Many of their new developments are the result of the requirements of commercial clients, who provide the funding. The partition software is a good example. They also did a demo on the new RiscBook Go, which has a removable screen if you want to use it as a Windows touch tablet. Andrew recommended a Blue tooth mouse if you want to use RISC OS in this mode.
 
Orpheus Internet
Orpheus Internet were there to talk about their internet and broadband packages (and give out free sweets. Richard was also moonlighting as announcer, technical show trouble-shooter and show organizer.
 
ROOL
ROOL had their range of software, hardware, books and badges. This included the last few fullsize SSD cards, and new releases of Pico.
 
ROOL's talk provided an update on recent events. ROOL is now 10 years old (which was as long as the time from the first RISC OS release by Acorn until their final 3.70 release). It was formed to save RISC OS from obscurity after development stopped in 2003-6. The highlights of the last year have been :- JPEG update bounty, new DDE with updates to the tools and includes BASIC Compiler (which you can get on its own free from www.riscos.fr), and new Pico release. Testing on another bounty finished late last night so watch their newspages in early March.
 
There is still lots to do and RISC OS relies on everyone's help. So they highlighted ways to get get involved - contribute to the forum, try the nightly build, donate money to help them cover the costs of being at Shows and hosting the software.
 
The last user guide was 21 years aga. So it is out of date and needs updates/reviewing as a few things have happened since then (like the Internet). There are now only 23 chapters left to go and it is not a technically challenging task.
 
There are 3 new bounties - extend clipboard, TCP/IP (improving ssl, security and adding ipv6 and wifi), and USB full sync with netbsd code tree.
 
Rob Sprowson was reasonably confident that FontPro Dir would be available next week. He is waiting for the manuals which he was notified shipped at 3am this morning.
 
The Pi3 RISC OS release is still waiting on some final items of software to be fixed before it can be released.
 
John Norris (Bell ringing) & Tasty Treats
John was talking very enthusiastically about all aspects of bell-ringing and offering both software and hardware solutions for bell-ringers to learn and practise. It is clearly a lot harder than it looks and he was explaining how they 'ring in the changes'. Tasty treats was offering lots of enticing jams and spreads.
 
Drag & Drop
The latest release of the magazine was available along with a new set of fonts for RISC OS (both will be reviewed by Iconbar in the next few weeks).
 
David Snell
David was demonstrating ProCad and WebWonder and John showing lots of clients how to get the most from this powerful tool.
 
Organizer
The dynamic duo were there to show off the 2.26 version released at London Show and to ask what users would like to see next in the software.
 
Archive
Jim Nagel had back copies of the magazine and details of the new DVD. The latest release was held back so that it could include all the SW Show news and updates.
 
Soft Rock Software
Vince had the full selection of software and his very cute RiscPC shaped case for a Pi. He was also promoting Riscository where he tracks all the news fit (and unfit to print) in the RISC OS world (always my first port of call when I log onto the Internet). He was also promoting the Bristol user group.
 
Steve Fryatt
Steve had new releases of his software (including Cash Book) and was showing users all the little tweaks in the software.
 
Chris Hall
Chris had a transparent RISC OS box which was receiving GPS data and displaying this on a little OLED screen. He was also showing how you could use this data for alsorts of other applications.
 
ROUGOL
Brian was talking about the groups meeting and up-coming events. If you are in the South-East, their London venue is very easy to reach (and serves excellent curry).
 
AmCog Games
AmCog games have a growing range of games, including Mop Tops (a Lemmings style game with lots of humour), Xeroid (a flying game), Overlord (a shoot-em up), Legends of Magic (a 3D Isomorphic adventure which also has a game editor and 70,000 novel to accompany the game).
 
Several of the games are also available in French and German. They are written in BASIC and run at 800x600 resolution. Users are encouraged to dissect and reuse the code. AmCog may well have the makings of a very good Games library....
 
All their games include extensive original music tracs and AmCog have also been working on a new sound system for RISC OS, which borrows ideas from many places including BBC and C64 sound chips. The theatre talk focussed on how easy it was to use all these features.
 
Ident Computer
Tom had his range of Ident Computers for RaspberryPi. He has put a lot of work into improving the configuration software and making it easier to setup and use. He has lots of developments in the pipeline which will be revealed in due course. Stay tuned...
 
RiscOSBits
RiscOSBits have a growing range of devices to plug into RISC OS machines or provide extra features to RISC OS which were being demonstrated. There was also a prototype card to give the Titanium wireless internet.
 
Show website
 
The show in pictures
 
2 comments in the forums

SouthWest show reminder

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 00:30, 23/2/2017 | ,
 
This Saturday, the 25th, is the date of this year's RISC OS SouthWest show. Organised by R-Comp and Orpheus Internet, the show will take place at the Webbington Hotel, south of Bristol.
 
Exhibitors for this year are set to include:The show is planned to run from 10:30am to 4pm.
 
For more information, check out the show website.
 
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What are you hoping to see at South-West Show

Posted by Mark Stephens on 08:57, 6/2/2017 | ,
 
The South-West Show is now less than three weeks away. Given that Companies often gear their updates around the major shows, we generally see a spike in activity around each event.
 
So this is my top 6 items I am hoping to see at South-West Show....
 
1. More visitors. There has been a general increase in RISC OS activity over the last 12 months and it would be nice to see that feedback into Show attendance. The event is held at a hotel and there is a special rate for bed and breakfast. If you are going to be there the previous night, why not post a comment and see else might be around?
2. New editions of Archive and DragNDrop. My regular fix of news, reviews, gossip, tutorials and new ideas.
3. Font Dir Pro update from Elesar As Rob Sprowson revealed at the recent Rougol meeting, the updated software is ready and the manual is almost done. I would really like to have this wonderful piece of software installed on my Titanium.
4. New Releases from mw-software !Artworks and !TechWriter have not been updated for some years now. It would be really good to see new releases.
5. Dual Screen software It has been demonstrated so it would be nice to see it completed and released.
6. Some new R-CompInfo releases Several items 'missed' the London Show. It would be nice to see them at the South-West Show.
 
What would you like to see?
 
Book a night at the Webbington Hotel
Show Website
 
7 comments in the forums

First Impressions of RComp's TiMachine

Posted by Mark Stephens on 14:52, 11/11/2016 | , , ,
 
The RISC OS shows are a great opportunity to actually see kit in action and talk to vendors. In 2016, we are really fortunate to have the widest range of hardware options ever available, ranging from fast and compact and super cheap Raspberry Pis, through ARMX6 (with their ability to support really large screens) and PiTop laptop, to high end desktop X15 machines. All were on display at the recent London show. I wanted to upgrade my main RISC OS machine (currently a 2012 PandaBoard) with a Titanium, and walked away with a shiny new TiMachine from RComp. Here are some first impressions for you….
 
Both RComp and CJEmicros offer finished machines based around the Titanium motherboard. You can also get the motherboard directly from Elesar and build your own system, and both RComp and CJEmicros have DIY options.
 
RComp’s offering is called the TiMachine and comes in either a standard black case or what they describe as a spangly box. The idea here is actually quite neat - your Titanium inside a ‘Titanium’ box. The box itself is fairly compact (I would describe it as large shoe box), with a nice blue power light and runs really quietly. There is an occasional hum from the DVD drive or the hard drive but otherwise this machine is pretty silent (I believe the cheaper box may be slightly noisier). My 2013 MAcBookPro laptop is definitely more noisy in my office.
 
When Apple ships their machines, they include some stickers and labels so you can personalise the machine. It would be nice to have something with the TiMachine, which can otherwise look a little ‘generic’ from the outside. My 2016 Apple laptop is on order, so I will be able to compare and contrast in few weeks….
 
I was upgrading from a Panda, and the first thing I noticed was ‘I am on a real machine again’. The TiMachine has a DVD drive and loads of ports at the back. The only other machine in my office with 2 ethernet ports is the high end MacPro server I have for continuous software testing.
 
There are also 2 DVI monitor slots (one with a cover on). I tried plugging my monitor into it and get a screen displaying a big Ti symbol.
 
It is also very nice to have a DVD again (especially as much RISC OS software or updates still comes on DVD or CD). There are lots of USB slots and audio input/output and lots of ports at the back. As Elesar says in their marketing, there is generally at least 2 of everything.
 
The Titanium motherboard includes an SD card for adding in Linux which is quite fiddly to access once you put the system inside a case. If you want this I would recommend you order it at the time of purchase and get the vendor to fit it when they build the system. I would recommend Linux for ‘light’ use or curiosity. I stick to my Pi3 and Mac for running Linux.
 
Switch on the machine, and the machine rapidly boots into a desktop screen (I generally stick to 1920x1200 pixels at 16 million colours). Coupled with a big screen, Titanium is currently the state of the art in terms of running RISC OS, with a very fast processor and board, SSD drive and high resolution. It runs all the standard applications extremely quickly and will handle any RISC OS task in its stride. Go back to an older RISC OS machine once you have used this machine, and you will notice the sluggishness. Chris Hall has posted some excellent statistics on speed of various machines and also has a really good discussion of the different machine options available. Things that used to bug me on the Panda (such as when doing Filer big copy operations are much smoother on this machine).
 
The only thing I would have liked faster is the Otter browser which still personally feels sluggish to me and does not run the sites I currently need to use (Trello, BaseCamp and Fogbugz). But Otter is definitely heading in the right direction and opens up a lot of sites to RISC OS.
 
On the IconBar the RISC OS icon in now the Ti symbol from the periodic table and I am running a June release of RISC OS 5.23 - if you buy a machine from RComp, they include you in their update scheme where they offer for RISC OS. RComp package up RISC OS for you and add in lots of additional applications. You can also buy in as a non-RComp customer. If you are upgrading from an older machine, you will find that this now includes lots of useful third-party software as standard (including image editors, development tools, other languages, etc). Some of it is probably more of interest from a historical perspective (old browsers) but there is lots of genuinely useful stuff in there. There is also a copy of PlingStore and PackMan opening up a wealth of free and commercial stuff. So there is no shortage of things to run on the machine. I bought the machine at a show so also got the RComp BundleCD included (also worth considering as an additional purchase).
 
There were some initial concerns about software compatibility and support (especially with the handling of colour). But CJEmicros also had their update for !PhotoDesk at the show and the other issues seem mostly sorted. It should only be a concern if you are running specific old/unmaintained software. I have not had any issues in my daily usage.
 
The TiMachine has a nice 'Getting Started' Manual with the machine and RComp asked me how I wanted the machine set-up so that the machine could come ready to run out of the box. They also sell a nice range of monitors (I have a new 27 inch BenQ) monitor, and they will setup both for you when they send it out. A 27 inch monitor with a 2048x1152 pixel 16million colour display is a really nice working environment (but it does spoil you when you then have to switch back to a laptop screen). If you have any problems after purchase, I have found RComp very helpful and supportive.
 
In conclusion… I really like my TiMachine and I have been switching tasks back from my Mac onto RISC OS. Writing and answering emails in !Messenger on this machine is a real pleasure. It is clearly a premium desktop machine at a significant cost. So, if you just want to dabble with RISC OS occasionally and want a very compact solution at a silly price, it is hard to argue against the RaspberryPi. If you want a proper desktop machine, and you can justify a premium machine which makes RISC OS really shine, RComp’s TiMachine is a very polished and attractive proposition.
 
If you have a new machine (Pi, ARMX6, PiTop, Titanium, RapidO), what are your thoughts?
 
Some photos of the TiMachine on Flickr
Chris Hall’s excellent benchmarks and discussion on different machines
RComp’s website
CJEmicros’ website
Elesar’s website
 
4 comments in the forums

2016 London Show report

Posted by Mark Stephens on 17:15, 30/10/2016 | ,
 
The 2016 London Show took place on 29th October 2016 at its regular location of St. Giles Hotel, Feltham. It was an exciting show, with new hardware, new software and new exhibitors.... So let's give you a quick tour (in the random order I visited them).
 
CJEmicros had everything they could carry in stock including the new update to !PhotoDesk (which now works on the latest machines) as well as their Rapido machines and new RISC OS version of the PiTop laptop. They were also handling sales of CloudFS on the day.
 
RComp had their range of ARM and Windows machines (including a new Windows laptop which doubles as a tablet) and some very nice monitors. They also had a new update for Fireworkz (now supporting global clipboard) and the non-RISC OS version of MessangerPro (including Linux).
 
ROOL were celebrating their 10th anniversary. They had a selection of badges with the dates in Hexadecimal and other number bases, but no cake. On the stand was a Titianium (controlling a robot arm) and their selection of CDs, USB keys and books.
 
On the AMCOG stand there was a new game to see and play and buy. If you missed it, it should be on the Plingstore in the next few days.
 
Archive's Jim Nagel arrived with the latest Archive edition. Given how upto date it was, the copies were probably still wet. He was also offering the Archive DVD with all the previous editions on it.
 
Just across the hall, you could also get the latest version of Drag'n'Drop magazine as a PDF download, or buy all the editions on a USB key in an attractive presentation box personalised for the show (also containing sweeties).
 
Oprheus Internet were talking about their various broadband packages and pricing. I personally use them for my home access and switched my business access to them as well, so I can recommend them.
 
Sine Nomine were demonstrating both their RiscOSM mapping software and also had their whole range of other software and games.
 
Next door, Soft Rock had software and RiscPC cases for RaspberryPi.
 
Michael Emerton was turning your machines into a RiscDJ with his software.
 
Steve Fryatt had his range of software on offer to raise money for charity and a new application (PS2Paper).
  
Organizer had a new release with improved security and cloud handling. They were also gathering ideas and requests for the next version.
 
RPCEmu also had a CD of their software to raise money for charity and a range of past and present machines.
 
Richard Keefe was showing off progress on converting Impression and offering subscriptions and updates.
 
Newcomer Ident Computer wa showing their kits for a RaspberryPi and also talking about how they have been reintroducing the children of 2016 to programming on the BBC and Acorn machines. They have their own licensed version of RISC OS which includes a slightly different set of icons and additional applications. What I found especially exciting, is that their focus is bring new people into the market.
 
RISCOSBits had some interesting hardware, including a very nice hard drive with a big Acorn on the outside and emulator software on the drive so you could take a portable machine with you and plug into any Windows machine. You can now also install a RapberyPi as a podule on a RiscPC and there was also GeminX (which looks like Windows on a box to access from your RISC OS machine).
 
There was also the charity stand and several BBC stands.
 
There was a full set of talks, which were videoed and will hopefully appear soon on the Internet.
 
It really was a busy show and I may well have missed stuff - please add to the comments section.
 
In conclusion, it was a lively show with lots of encouraging developments. Several exhibitors confessed that some developments had not quite made it so there should also be some interesting things to see at the South-West Show (now confirmed for 25th February 2017).
 
Some photos on Flickr
 
Updated 19th November
RISC OS blog has a nice write-up on the talks and show as well
 
3 comments in the forums

RISC OS London Show 2016

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 20:10, 19/10/2016 | , ,
 
This year's London Show is due to take place on Saturday the 29th of October, at the usual location of the St. Giles Hotel in Feltham. The show runs from 11 AM to 5 PM, with tickets being £5 at the door (and under-16's free). Exhibitors this year are set to include:The theatre schedule is yet to be finalised, but presentations are expected to include CJEInfo, R-CompInfo, ROOL, Sine Nomine Software, and newcomer Ident Computer who are showing off their BBC Micro inspired Raspberry Pi keyboard/case (although if BBC Micro keyboard nostalgia is your thing, there's only really one winner).
 
For up-to-the-minute show news, remember to check out the show website.
 
Comment in the forums

Wakefield Acorn & RISC OS Show, 16th April 2016

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 22:15, 4/4/2016 | ,
 
This year's Wakefield show is due to take place on Saturday the 16th of April, at the usual location of the Cedar Court Hotel near Wakefield. Doors will be open to visitors from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm, with tickets costing £5 on the door.
 
The list of exhibitors for this year is set to include:The provisional theatre schedule is set to include presentations by R-Comp, ROOL, CJE, Sine Nomine Software, and MW software (or should that be Microsoft?)
 
For further information and all the latest news and updates, don't forget to check the show's website.
 
1 comment in the forums

RISC OS SouthWest Show 2016

Read article... | 2 comments in the forums

Mysterious new product to be announced at London Show the day before London show

Read article... | 6 comments in the forums

ROUGOL & London Show news

Read article... | 4 comments in the forums

Wakefield Acorn & RISC OS Show, 25th April 2015

Read article... | 15 comments in the forums

RISC OS SouthWest Show 2015

Read article... | 1 comment in the forums

Mysterious new product to be announced at London Show

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