RISC OS South West Show 2005

In association with Bristol Acorn Risc User Group
and Wessex ARM User Group

Saturday 26th February 2005
The Webbington Hotel
Loxton, nr Axbridge
North Somerset

This year saw my second visit to the South West Show, and I have to admit that I had been looking forward to it for most of last year.

Hopes were high of what new developments the RISC OS scene would have to offer.

There were 23 exhibitor's in total, one up on last year's show, they were, in alphabetical order;

Aemulator/Cino, APDL, Archive Publications, BARUG, Castle Technology Ltd, CJE Micro's/4th Dimension, David Snell, Fortran Friends, ITC, Icon Technology, John Norris, MW Software, Mathemagical Software, Oregano, Qercus, R-Comp Interactive, RISCOS Ltd, Risc Packaging Project, Serious Stastistical Software, The ARM Club, Unix Porting Project and Virtual Acorn

Brief comments on some of the Exhibitors I visited.

Castle Technology Ltd - As before, quite a bit of interest around this stand, tho I thought It looked a bit smaller this year with only 2 machines on display, a clear case and a Panther cased Iyonix.

A standard cased Iyonix was running on the Oregano end of the stand whereupon the latest version of the Oregano Web browser was being compared alongside the current version.

APDL - I intended to visit this company for two reasons, firstly to get some more memory for my RiscPC. Currently I have a single 64Mb FPM Simm onboard, so I asked for another, It was suggested that I use EDO Ram, so for less than the price of 1 stick of FPM memory from another dealer not far from this stand I bought a matched pair of 64Mb EDO Simms, I also bought a CDRW drive and CDBurn software and a STD Mouse Mini, which enables modern PS2 style mice to be attatched to the RiscPC. To acompany this I bought a Optical wheel mouse as the wheel will work under my RiscOS Adjust. A Great stand and a really helpful guy.

The ARM Club - Some total hardware bargains were to be had here, various Hard Drives were being sold for 1UKP each, there were also memory upgrades not going for much more, oh and of course, DiscKnight, that all important disc utility.

CJE Micro's/4th Dimension - My visit to CJE's stand this year didn't start out on a good note, they all seemed a little "tense" and my initial request for a Refurbed A4 battery was brushed aside by the first member of their staff, I then waited a further 5 minutes without a hint of being served. Unbelievable!, I wanted to stick 60 odd UKP in folding in their till for a refurbed battery and they didnt want to know.

I returned to this stand just before I left and eventually got served by a more enthusiastic member of the team. After having many good transactions with this firm via the telephone I felt a bit "let down" by their approach at this show. Most out of character.

Qercus - I purchased the latest copy of Qersus again. Its still a "reasonable" read, but obviously still lacks the funding that the old Acorn User's of the past had. Still you have to admire Mr Cartmell for his work.

I had a good chat with Mr Cartmell were we discussed future idea's and layout of the magazine. And things look to be going from strength to strength. Lets hope Qersus can become a mainstream magazine again.

R-Comp Interactive - This was my first stop on entering the show. Primarily to upgrade my copy of Messenger Pro, the News/E-Mail software which is outstanding. The new version appears to be 26/32bit neutral so If I eventually get an Iyonix then I should be able to use it without hitch.

As usual R-Comp are a really friendly and helpful bunch, more than willing to demonstrate, explain or just listen to customers idea's as to future features.

Theatre Presentations

There were 4 presentation during the day;

Jack Lillingstone of Castle Technology explaining their latest developments.

"QERSUS & RISCOS: A new year" by John Cartmell

The Unix Porting Project by Peter Naulls

Future of RISC OS, Paul Middleton ( RISC OS Ltd )

I sat in on the first of these as it was Castle Technology.
A full transcript of the presentation can be read here.

I have to say that the audience seemed a little smaller than the previous year, and to be honest I wasn't that impressed with the presentation. This mainly due to the fact that there were no groundbreaking developments to announce.

The reason for this is that over the last year Castle have been focusing their efforts on the Tematic side of the business ie the embedded market, where understandably, this is where the money is being made. The positive from this is that developments in the embedded marked can filter down into the desktop market, the negative, It makes the punter feel a little left out as they cannot see any real noticable developments to the 1200ukp+ machines that they have bought.

But credit where its due, Castle have just released USB 2 for the Iyonix. Ironically the USB card on the Iyonix was USB 2 compatible from the outset, but only USB 1 was implemented, now that they have sorted the USB 2 drivers, users are expected to "pay" for the driver update.

A bit rich really I think as the hardware is already in place, if it meant you had to replace the USB card then fair enough.

To be honest, from my point of view if Castle don't do a little more for the desktop market, then my next RiscOS machine could well be the newly developed (and yet unreleased) A9Home from STD, which will be running with an ARM 9 processor.

Final Thoughts of the Day.

My second RiscOS show, and even tho It was a good day out I still came away with a feeling that the show was a little "flat" compared to last year, probably because last year saw the first public viewing of the X100.

Another disapointment is that Stewart Tyrell Developments do not attend the show, yes some companies do have to travel far to get to the Bristol area, but its no different to say travelling down to Guildford, and as they are fast becoming a major player in RiscOS, a little more exposure countrywide would do them the world of good.

Rich - Classic Acorn

Below are images of the event and items I picked up on the day.

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The main sign outside the Webbington.
Interestingly it's signed as the "Acorn Show"

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The R-Comp stand.

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A view of the Charity stall, about twice the size of last years.

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A real good demonstration of duel monitors at work on the Iyonix.
The right hand monitor as swiveled from time to time from landscape to portrait.

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A view from the hotel looking across the M5 to Burnham on Sea.

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APDL - A good selection of wares, also this year a fair few RiscPC's were on stands for sale.

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Peter Naulls of The Unix Porting Project

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A very good demo of WebWonder with the projector making the demonstration easier for casual observers.

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The Mathemagical Software Company.

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Risc OS Ltd's stand with Paul Middleton (M.D) (Green Shirt).

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Castle Technology Ltd. Jack Lillingston M.D. (Centre white shirt)
Also the Arm Club, far right.

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CJE Micro's

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General view up through the hall.
John Cartmell (QERSUS) can be seen in grey shirt, centre rear.

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2x 64Mb EDO Simm's

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CDRW Drive and CDBurn Software for my RISC-PC

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APDL Carrier Bag

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STD Mouse Mini and Optical Mouse

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Messenger Pro V3

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Messenger Pro V3, rear shows 26/32bit

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R-Comp Carrier Bag

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The latest edition of QERSUS magazine.
And Show Guide.

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