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Wakefield photos and gossip

By Chris Williams. Published: 15th May 2004, 15:11:42 | Permalink | Printable

The fun has begun

Wakefield 2004 Earlier today, drobe.co.uk webmaster Ian visited the Wakefield show for a while and took some photos as the first day of the weekend long event unfolded. Already news and gossip is seeping to the outside world, and most people we've spoken to have described the show as "busy".

Excuse the lack of thumbanils, we'll gallerise these in time. Notable photos include: Ben Dooks from Simtec, working hard recently to finish UniPod drivers... A glowing Iyonix... Qercus editor, John Cartmell looking happy... NetBSD stand, bringing NetBSD ever closer to the Iyonix... Drobe editor Peter Naulls manning his stand... "I'll put it on the gold card"... The new A75 native hardware... UniPod on display... Castle and APDL stands... Overhead view of the show... And more photos to follow, of course, plus there's Iconbar's live roving camera and gossip page.

So what's been revealed? Well, Castle reportedly have USB2 in beta and have said lots of companies are showing an interest in using RISC OS outside of the desktop arena, with talk of a 50000 unit project in the works. An Omega with a working network card was spotted, and STD have Unipod stocks at the show, with drivers literally hot off the Simtec press.

More details and reports to follow, once everyone's checked in.


Larger photos, smaller photos - unsorted, at the moment, but enjoy. Went to the show? Tell us about it.

Previous: Cino and Castle hype new ADFS
Next: Omega ethernet ships


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 is a RISC OS Userjerryf on 15/5/04 9:22PM
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Can't you make the pictures smaller? THey take forever to download. Some of us are still on dial-up, you know!

 is a RISC OS Userskock on 15/5/04 10:04PM
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There you go.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 15/5/04 11:07PM
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<shameless plug> monkyson has written a great report on The Icon Bar [link] </shameless plug>

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 15/5/04 11:30PM
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Nice photos!

 is a RISC OS Usermonkeyson on 16/5/04 12:17AM
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That's a funky report, Phil, congrats. I wonder if there will be any surprises, or whatever comes close for the RISC OS market, for Sunday.

Chris. Just me.

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 16/5/04 12:46AM
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Boys Boys just in and hit the site eagerly waiting news on the Riscos scene. Read the brief (very) report on the show and took Andy Duffell advice and looked up iconbar (hadn't looked at it in ages) much more informative! You guys are slipping up, a load of pics (even with broadband connection not good enough) no resting on laurels here that is what happened ACORN. Keep up good work!

 is a RISC OS Userpmcd on 16/5/04 6:10AM
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Yes, yes. It only cost me 27ukp to get up there, run around taking photos spending 20mins actually /at/ the show, and then driving back down (242m round trip).

And chris is only revising for his exams at Uni, which it taking rather a lot of his time, and he has already said this on several occasions.

If the show was 1 month later then it would have been a different matter entirely. As it wasn't, tough.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 16/5/04 8:57AM
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So nothing much that was really new then......?

No faster processor for the Iyonix. No genuine RISC OS portable - again!

More VA machines - and a new 7500FE machine.

RISC OS is really going places - just not sure where!

 is a RISC OS Usercynic on 16/5/04 9:00AM
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You missed these

News of 50000 unit project from castle USB 2 Unipod Development of Oregano2

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 16/5/04 10:29AM
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cynic: what _are_ you talking about, there is no faster processor to put in it, no matter how much RISC OS users whinge about it.

As for the rest of the complaints about our "lack of report", I can't help feeling these are incredibly short sighted and selfish. Last week was one of our busiest weeks for news _ever_. Furthermore, no less than 3 drobe writers were extremely busy with their own stands. Another is at a crucial point in his degree.

We will have our report in due course - in the meantime, if you want to see what we thought, then you'll have to wait.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 16/5/04 10:59AM
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 is a RISC OS UserDazzy on 16/5/04 11:10AM
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Why have all the iconbar.com post been modded down? They were not off topic in the slightest? And they were good posts. Do *some* (not all) of the drobe editors have problems with the sharing of relevent info if it involves other sites?

 is a RISC OS UserDazzy on 16/5/04 11:13AM
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I had to read Iconbar to make this comment ! but... I read that not only is Castle rewriting ADFS but so is RISCOS Ltd. Hmmmmm I thought having a split in the OS was bad but now ADFS will go off in different directions as well. This is so ........ crazy (insert swear word that resembles designer label)

Of course there's no way Castle will come to their senses since they're all right jack with the potential 50,000 units. There's now way that ROLtd will come to their senses with the increasing virtual RO sales.

Can someone get the head honchos of Castle and ROLtd together in the same room and knock their obstinate heads together. Here, I'll even help with naming the merged OS in case that's one of the trivial petty problems : "Riscos Select 6"


Even more annoyed Malcolm

 is a RISC OS Usermripley on 16/5/04 11:17AM
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Dazzy> The moderation system is controlled by users, as well as the editors, and there are a *lot* more users than editors. Maybe you would like to think a little first before making such rash generalisations about drobe and it's editors.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 16/5/04 12:04PM
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Nice to see that readers show their appreciation. :( Well done drobe.co.uk & iconbar for great show build up and reporting.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 16/5/04 12:08PM
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The 500000 project is really big news. If customers like this can be found by Castle the RISC OS scene will get cheaper 32-bit RISC OS hardware and faster development as a side-effect.

 is a RISC OS UserJessFranco on 16/5/04 1:00PM
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*In reply to mrchocky and Andrew Duffell:*

There are newer (faster maybe?) processors - and RISC OS will have to migrate to these if only because the current Xscale won't go on for ever.

It is really the lack of a genuine hardware portable that lets our platform down at present. I'd really rather not be dependent on a Windows notebook when the RISC OS solution could be so much more elegant.

The possible large order for embedded units sounds promising - if it comes off. Lets hope so - and possibly in the future this might help produce the hardware progress that will be needed (portable too!).

I agree that current Iyonix is OK for now - but lets hope its not a cul-de-sac! I'm amazed that there is still so much promise and potential in the RISC OS world - I just hope it goes somewhere. I also hope that Castle and RISC OS Ltd don't tear apart what little we have got!

Anyway, I'm not really wingeing - just being cynical!

 is a RISC OS Usercynic on 16/5/04 1:08PM
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There are no faster ARM (compatible) processors available, as has been said a number of times. And before anyone mentions the 80331 again, it is, as I say, not available.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 16/5/04 1:26PM
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JessFranco: it's 50,000 not 500,000. But I bet Castle would like that even more!

cynic> "It is really the lack of a genuine hardware portable that lets our platform down at present." I agree. Commercial projects are being put at risk by this: they will migrate to other operating systems if they have to.

 is a RISC OS Usermonkeyson on 16/5/04 1:55PM
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The availability of faster ARM processors is at the whim of Intel (or whatever other ARM architecture licensees) dictate. I find the Iyonix *plenty* fast, I am sure that if/when a faster ARM processor becomes available the changes in RISC OS 5 are such that porting to a new processor will be easied.

I'd make the point also that further developments depend on people actually *buying* real RISC OS hardware the sort of things you're saying are more likely to discourage that.

As for other developments there have been piles (and I even read somewhere that USB 2 for Iyonix is in *beta* at the moment, so cheer up man and don't sound so glum ;)


The lack of availability of a portable *is* a problem. But it's not a problem that can be *solely* laid at the foot of Castle, to justify the expense they'd need to be sure of sales - and with the open promotion of Windows based RISC OS emulation laptops that probably tips the balance the wrong way ---- that having being said I just get the gut feeling that a *real* RISC OS laptop with a compedative ARM/xScale would probably sell quick nicely (handheld and desktop products seem *less* tied to windows in the minds of customers). In fact promotion *outside* the usual RISC OS enthusiast market may offer other sales that might not exist for an equivilent desktop product (yet...).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 16/5/04 3:08PM
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ams: so you're saying the fault is ROLs for allowing emulators?

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 16/5/04 4:40PM
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From the reports there seems plenty to look optomistic about. The 50,000 units Castle expect to sell, the A75 with the specilist sells that will get, USB2 unipod Artworks 2

 is a RISC OS UserRevin Kevin on 16/5/04 4:58PM
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The new Oregano 2 (which needs to be fully tested before they release it) had flash 5 and a much better refresh rate.

Castle were selling lots of kit - they'd run out of the model I wanted by saturday evening.

There were also new faces there such as X-Ample, Riscos Packaging Project, CD burn, new versions of TechWriter and several companies back in the market such as Argonet. That must be good news...

I left SE Show with a slight sense of disappointment, having found little new to buy or inspire. I left Wakefield feeling much happier (but with considerably less cash).

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 16/5/04 7:45PM
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markee174: Which Iyonix model had they run out of?


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 16/5/04 9:03PM
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X112 (X100 256 meg) version. I think the 512 meg version was sold out as well.

I was also impressed to see Jack helping several customers to carry out their kit to their cars - can't see Michael Dell doing that!

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 16/5/04 9:14PM
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markee174: Can't see David Atkins doing that, either.

I know there was an Omega at the show (the same tired old partly-faulty one at the RISCOS Ltd stand?), but was anyone actually *selling* Omegas at the show?

If not, there's not much future for the supposed "choice" between top-end machines.

As for the Iyonix, Castle had always been swamped by orders for the 512MB midi-tower version previously, so perhaps overlooked the amount of demand for the X100. I still want to know if they can sell me an Iyonix with 1GB RAM ;-)


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 16/5/04 9:29PM
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dgs: There was another working Omega in a very interesting flat, glass-topped case at the Liquid Silicon stand, with working ethernet too.

I've put some photos temporarily at [link]

I suppose it could be argued that Alan (as a RISC OS dealer) was in a position to be selling Omegas, though I have no idea if he actually did or not.

Good to see Castle making good sales. Shame Iconbar's poll doesn't seem to agree though ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 16/5/04 10:36PM
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In reply to dgs:

"Can't see David Atkins doing that, either."

In my experience, David Atkins has always been very helpful and, the first time that I met him, he 'walked' me to my car, just to continue the friendly chit-chat.

I hope you're not attempting a personal slur. If so, it has made me a bit sad. Or did I misread your sentiments? I really hope so...

In reply to tamias:

Thanks for putting up the photos of the Omega in the glass rack. I was hoping somebody took a snapshot! The glass-encased Omega looked gorgeous. As you say, networking was working well; thanks to Alan Gibson for the demonstration and knowledgable advice and support when I've purchased products from Liquid Silicon.

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 17/5/04 12:03AM
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Stewy: David Atkins wasn't even at the show, to the best of my knowledge. Or was he hiding?

"I hope you're not attempting a personal slur. If so, it has made me a bit sad."

I'm sorry if my observation made you sad, but it's up to MicroDigital as to how they present their company and their products (or not).

Getting back on topic, do you know if Omegas were available at Wakefield to actually take away on the day?


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 17/5/04 7:07AM
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Did someone check wich firmware release was installed in RISCOS Ltd's Omega? Either it is very old or they have a faulty machine, in any case they should contact MicroDigital to sort it out. I have not experienced the described problems for at least half a year, probably longer.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 17/05/04 12:06AM
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The faster processor argument is all very well, but you should have a play on one....

The only issue with 600 mhz is that it does not sound as impressive as 3.4 gig as a marketing plug. But you have to see how much usability it actually translates into. I played with an Iyonix on the stand and it felt extremely quick compared to my 3 gig PC. It will vary with usage, but you have to actually try the machine and stop just trying to compare numbers...

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 17/05/04 12:29AM
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So, RISC OS split....

Castle said they're more interested in developing the underlying OS - *not* the desktop. The complaints aimed at RISC OS Ltd in the past have been to do with it all being spangly icons, and no fundamental changes.

Hmmmm.... Is it just me or is there an *obvious* opportunity for each company to compliment the other's work? You'd think they could sort *something* out to benefit them both!


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 17/05/04 12:36AM
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mark: Yes, but there's some things you need "grunt" for - encoding mp3s etc.

 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 17/05/04 12:38AM
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JGZimmerle: If it is faulty, it's certainly not the only faulty Omega that we've heard about.

"I have not experienced the described problems for at least half a year"

It has been said before, that some of MicroDigital's customers seem to get one level of support, some get another. Unfortunate for those who get put in the wrong category; and it doesn't do much to help MicroDigital's image, either.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 17/05/04 12:46AM
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That may be so, but surely RISC OS Ltd can't be in the wrong catagory so how come their machine performed so poorly at the show?

Just to make things even though, I was able to crash Oregano2 on the Iyonix Panther quite consistantly on Castles own website.! Cheers!

 is a RISC OS Useranon/ on 17/05/04 1:01PM
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Naturally beta testers get better support, I can't see what is wrong with that. After all they invest a lot of time into finding bugs and producing high quality bug reports. It is work that all users will benefit from, when the next public release comes around.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 17/05/04 1:10PM
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JGZimmerle: Yes, but if you're a beta tester, then smugly saying "I have not experienced the described problems for at least half a year", is hardly going to make ordinary users with faulty or problematic Omegas feel better.

It rather reminds me of when we were told here that hordes of Omega owners were happily discussing their Omegas in the MicroDigital forums, rather than mentioning them in public... except we then found out the forums were actually only open to beta testers at the time that claim was made, with real customers left out in the cold.

Misleading claims lead to cynical press and public. Poor support leads to bad image and lack of repeat business. Bad image leads to poor sales.

Poor sales might contribute to it not being worthwhile exhibiting at major shows.

Not exhibiting at major shows contributes further to bad image and poor sales.

Sadly, it's a vicious circle.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 17/05/04 1:20PM
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In reply to AdamR:

Brute force is important for some tasks. I've got 2 machine here just to speed up my regression testing...

It may be that floating point/lack of mmx type instructions is a major slowdown on MP3 encoding.

But the issue that pure speed is only one indicator possible of system usability is valid. I've got KDE 3.2 running on a 2.8 meg PC. It should 4.5 times faster in usage than a RISC OS box and twice the speed of my PowerBook on pure CPU numbers...

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 17/05/04 1:23PM
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Julian >

If ROL are exhibiting an "out of date" Omega whose responsibility is that ?

If MD wish to make a good impression of their hardware they should either (a). Turn up with working up to date kit themselves or (b). Ensure that anyone/organisation that turns up at shows like Wakefield are *using* stable up to date kit.

If MD don't do this then there's is little reason for people not commenting that Omega isn't working because (let's face it) if all that people see of Omega are flaky unsupported examples then surely why should they conclude that there *is* anything better --- *seeing really is believing*

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/05/04 1:30PM
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Do you feel more or less positive than you did before Wakefield?


 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 17/05/04 1:52PM
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@dgs: Here we have to differentiate between machine beta testers and forum beta testers. The forum is still in beta testing phase (although it is nearing release) and we wanted to have some users on it we could trust not to exploit it if things went wrong. These are mostly ordinary users. Currently they do not get any more support than all the other users, who phone up or email MicroDigital for support. AFAIK updates are currently distributed by the dealers, so all users should get new firmware releases that way. If they are not, they should contact their dealer.

Now, I am a beta tester for the machine's firmware. There are only a couple of us who do this and of course we get better support, since we have direct contact with the developer of the machine. This has nothing to do with the owners club, though. The fact that I have not seen the described problems for at least six months has nothing to with the fact that I get intermediate releases of the firmware. Since release 14 (wich all users should have received) most problems have been solved. Release 15 (due extremely soon) will solve the last minor issues.

If any problems should remain, they most likely are caused by incompatible RAM modules. Many cheap modules from the PC market do not fully comply to the PC133 specification, and even the specification is not very clear in some areas, so can be interpreted in different ways by manufacturers. This is not a problem specific to the Omega, you get incompatabilities with PC mainboards, too. So it would be a good idea to only use the RAM supplied (or recommended) by the developer.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 17/05/04 2:00PM
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Mark >

Yep !

I am sorry I didn't go (dag nabbit)

Some really positive news there, by all accounts. I still worry about the increasing amount of emulation (but then I *am* a natural worrier), Iconbar have a poll that showed A6 considerably outsold the Iyonix Panther (but then maybe other Iyonices shifted better than that and weren't included as the option seemed to be just for the Panther ?).

I think I'll stick with the platform for a while longer - the potential for 50,000 new RISC OS sales, new ADFS functionality, USB 2 (hopefully shortly) and so on - yep I think I can grin again.....

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 17/05/04 2:02PM
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@AMS: I was not pointing fingers at anyone.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 17/05/04 2:24PM
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I walked away from South-East Show 2003 with a great sense of disappointment...I left Wakefield with lots of new stuff. It was really nice to see some new exhibitors there and the X-Ample crowd seem very keyed-up.

My biggest disappointment was that Castle slightly ducked the question (IMHO) about the advantages of buying an Iyonix over VRPC. (AFAIR) their argument was that while there was a valid place for VRPC, the Iyonix offered a safer, cleaner environment, the prospect of new developments and none of the issues of running Windows underneath. I think there is far more advantages to it than that, but the best argument would be to try the Iyonix on the stand. Numbers/specs don't do it justice...

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 17/05/04 2:28PM
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In reply to dgs:

There are interesting questions to be asked about the Omega -- both in terms of its current state and its future development -- but for some reason you're not framing those questions in interesting (and certainly not disinterested) ways. Rather, you seem to be opting for an ongoing tactic of 'smear' toward MicroDigital. If you feel that they've made mistakes in the past, then it's fair enough for you to hold that opinion. The bit I don't get is why you feel the urge to parade your opinion *every* time the Omega is mentioned. Even more confusing, is why a friendly mention of Castle triggers an 'anti' MicroDigital response from you.

As I seem to remember you saying previously, it's Omega owners who are in the best place to comment. If Omega owners felt that they were being 'excluded' (as you claim) then presumably it's up to them to say so. I've had good support from MicroDigital (and exemplary from Liquid Silicon, who supplied the machine and upgrades, etc.). I am an ordinary user (= not a beta tester) and, as such, in common with other users, have had regular updates to the firmware, had no problem joining the Owners Club forum, etc. None of what you say about support reflects my experience, and, as an Omega owner, I'm in a better position to know, right?

There have been claims in the past that 'smear' and *excessive* criticism on the various open forums have lost RISC OS companies potential orders. When I heard that Castle had a possible contract lined up, I was delighted for them (and it has to be good for the RISC OS market in general). MicroDigital have stated that they too have a larger market in their sights, and it would be a real shame if the constant carping for the sake of point scoring were to endanger any such opportunities.

You do a lot to promote the RISC OS market through User Groups, etc., and it strikes me as a pity to sour those good efforts. Anyway, hope to see you at ROUGOL later, if my commitments allow (not sure as yet).

 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 17/05/04 2:36PM
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With regards to the general Omega stability - I've found recent (ish) versions of the firmware nigh on flawless. Of course, I'm running RISC OS 4 which has been tested by MicroDigital rather than Adjust as the show Omega was doing. Now I'm not saying that I've no confidence with RISC OS Ltd, but their non-Omega machine had some rather embarrassing problems during Paul Middleton's Adjust presentation (let's show off the new Shift-boot menu and have things suddenly go into German produce error messages and fail to return to English for the first few attempts - and then to top it off, have StrongEd still have German messages on the status bar when back in English!) Castle's presentation was less than enthralling in my opinion, largely because they talked about how fast loading a JPEG was too often. They did show a TV card (which was very good), but the coolest thing they had at the show - USB2 - was only shown on their stand. Talking to the Castle people was probably the highlight of the show for me, as it felt like they had both direction and the talent to do it. The most embarrassing moment of Wakefield for me was Brian Jacques doing his HTML presentation and talking about including other files by using a JavaScript file with hundreds of 'document.write()' commands. Then there was the actual HTML of the stuff he was including that was utterly abhorrent. Sorry Brian, but it's probably best if you learn a bit more about the fundamentals of websites, HTML and CSS before you try to pass your knowledge on to others. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Wakefield and came back more optimistic about the future. I no longer hold much hope out for Castle and RISC OS Ltd meeting at any middle ground after hearing what the respective parties had to say, but I do believe that Castle are advancing the OS and that losing a lot of the Select/Adjust features is a small price to pay for what they have achieved.

 is a RISC OS Usernot_ginger_matt on 17/05/04 2:45PM
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AMS The Iconbar poll tells us very little indeed about relative sales figures so there is no need to worry ;o)

It could be that: VARPC/A6+ users are more likely to read the Iconbar than Iyonix Panther users. OR VARPC/A6+ users are more likely to take part in polls on the Iconbar. OR Panther users are so enjoying the IyonixPC experience that they don't have time to go to the Iconbar to check this week's poll ;o)

Even if it were to be a statistically valid poll don't forget that 8% or respondents bought the top spec limited edition Iyonix as opposed to 13% buying an A6+ OR another Windows machine with VARPC installed OR a copy of VARPC.

Note no way of judging sales of 'standard' IyonixPC's as the option is not there. To be certain you'd have to ask all of the companies involved and get honest answers from them about their sales at Wakefield to draw any conclusions :o)

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 17/05/04 2:57PM
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Stewy: I'm sorry if you don't find my questions "interesting". But it does seem like the reason you don't find them interesting, is that you'd rather they weren't asked at all, purely because they may not reflect positively on MicroDigital.

As for "certainly not disinterested", maybe you should leave out the double negative and explain exactly what you mean. The only RISC OS company I've done paid work for is RISCOS Ltd, and I hold no financial interests in *any* RISC OS company.

"parade your opinion *every* time the Omega is mentioned"

Actually I don't. As you'll have seen, plenty of other people are prepared to comment on the Omega. If you object strongly to my being allowed to voice my opinions, then you shouldn't be reading forums!

Quite apart from that, I really don't see why it's so unreasonable to ask if people were able to buy Omegas at the show. If the Omega is being promoted as a valid choice instead of the Iyonix, it's quite fair to compare the two, and how they're sold, supported and marketed.

It seems as if your problem with my opinion is that you don't like that comparison being made.

But attempting to drown out anyone who is negative about the Omega, tends to lead to *more* criticism of it, not less. Trying to shout someone down just because you don't like their opinion is rarely effective.

"None of what you say about support reflects my experience"

It sounds like you're an Omega owner who hasn't had any, or many, problems. That doesn't change what I've said.

"It's been said in the past that"

Was it said by a company who consistently failed to deliver on their promises over a long period of time, or was it said by someone else? Whatever point you're trying to make, speculation based on rumour probably isn't the best way to make it.

"You do a lot to promote the RISC OS market through User Groups, etc"

I did a lot to promote the Omega, too. It's a pity that MicroDigital (and other people keen on the Omega) didn't take advantage of that. Broken promises and ill-tempered rants aren't the best way to promote a computer system.

If you think you can discourage me from asking questions that you don't find "interesting" by dragging user groups into it, then you are mistaken.

"point scoring"

I think you need to re-read your own comments to find some of that ;-)


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 17/05/04 3:27PM
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dgs: "parade your opinion every time the Omega is mentioned" Actually I don't. As you'll have seen, plenty of other people are prepared to comment on the Omega. If you object strongly to my being allowed to voice my opinions, then you shouldn't be reading forums!

To be fair to stewy you did say: "Can't see David Atkins doing that, either." In a conversation which at that point didn't seem to have anything to do with microdigital, so it does seem that you're prepared to comment badly on microdigital for no logical reason.


 is a RISC OS UserRimmer on 17/05/04 3:39PM
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Rimmer: The point was that MicroDigital were not at the show (as far as I'm aware), and the question was whether anyone was actually selling Omegas at the show.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 17/05/04 3:59PM
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For goodness sake, can't anyone accept someone else's comments? David Atkins has acted, over the course of many years, in a totally unprofessional and irresponsible fashion, in my and many other people's opinion. Delays, excuses, broken promises, damage to confidence in the market etc etc. I think dgs has every reason and every right to make comments against Microdigital/David Atkins.

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 17/05/04 4:08PM
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I don't want to make this go any further, but to say that way I read dgs' comment (I'm not saying this was how it was implied, but how I read it) was that he was basicaly saying that David Atkins wouldn't be helpful or nice enough to take a omega out to someones car. You could call DA incompetent or misleading, but dgs appeared to be taking a swipe at him as being unhelpful, with there appearing to be no valid reason for doing so, as I said, the conversation at that point hadn't even mentioned the Omega, it's first mention was in that very post by dgs. I probably misunderstood what dgs meant by saying "Can't see David Atkins doing that, either." But hey I think I'll leave it at that. Other than to point out that I have neither a Castle or Microdigital machine!


 is a RISC OS UserRimmer on 17/05/04 4:18PM
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In reply to Michael Stubbs: Although you are correct in what you say (and I agree with you), it can also be said that the actions of David Atkins and MicroDigital have been somewhat different over recent months (even not so recent months).

Yes, the Omega was horrifically pre-announced. However, although David himself readily admits that this was a mistake and that it has damaged his companies reputation slightly, I personally do not believe that it has damaged the market as a whole. It may have driven some people away from RISC OS, but then it may also have kept as many hanging on for far longer than they would have done without the Omega hope for the future.

I should point out that MicroDigital no longer seem to pre-announce anything. This is wise.

MicroDigital/David Atkins mays have acted in a un-professional manner in the past, but as with the pre-announcing, they seem to have learned from their mistakes and have not repeated them recently. This must surely be a good thing.

They may have a little way to go in some areas but then they aren't the only RISC OS company that does.


 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 17/05/04 10:22PM
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Rimmer: If you choose to call David Atkins "incompetent or misleading" (your words), that's up to you. You sort it out with him.

Can't make any sense at all of the rest of your comment.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 18/05/04 01:28AM
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You claim that dgs "was basicaly saying that David Atkins wouldn't be helpful" - a fair enough comment from dgs, taking into consideration how unhelpful David Atkins has thus far proved to be. I am sure you don't require me to type out the huge list of unhelpful things he has done since the Omega was announced, working and ready to go into production, all that time ago...

The Doctor:

Maybe he has learned from his mistakes, or maybe he is in a desparate position. Who would choose the Omega now, when there is the 32bit, XScale IyonixPC that is full working and available now, from stock, or alternatively VirtualRiscPC? To make the Omega useful, he'll have to get XScale and ArmTwister going pretty soon (simple, since it was announced as ready years ago).

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 18/05/04 02:23AM
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In reply to 'The Doctor' "I should point out that MicroDigital no longer seem to pre-announce anything. This is wise."

Ummm everything been announced long ago, so you can't 'un-announce' it other than to say the project is cancelled.

MD seem to have merely stopped pre-announcing the release dates of the remaining features that are supposed to make up the basic Omega spec (as per MD's own website).

Would we have all been so enthusiastic about Omega in 2000 and 2001 if we had been told that features that make up the basic Omega specifications would still not all be finished by the middle of 2004?

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 18/05/04 11:34AM
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I agree with Rimmer (I interpreted dgs's original DA comment in the same way) and the Doctor.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 18/05/04 12:58AM
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JGZimmerle: What a fascinating interpretation.


 is a RISC OS Useranon/ on 18/05/04 1:19PM
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In reply to Arenaman:

Actually I think if I was going to buy a new RISC OS computer then I'd probably chose the Omega. The main reason being I see this as the natural progression from my RPC whereas the Iyonix would require me to either buy new copies of all my software or use Aemulor.

And, although I like the VRPC hybrids, I'd prefer a native RISC OS machine.

Yes MD have made mistakes in the past but, to my mind, they're attempting to correct them now and thats whats important. Its also important that we have a varied RISC OS market with as much choice as possible. We do not want only one company developing new machines.

 is a RISC OS UserCol1 on 18/05/04 1:42PM
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Colin Funnily enough I have been browsing through some of my back copies of Acorn User from around the time the StrongARM was introduced. Same sorts of comments about upgrading.....

Presumably you would never have upgraded to a StrongARM because of all of the new software you would have had to have bought and stayed with a RPC600?

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 18/05/04 1:48PM
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blahsnr: Maybe he would have bought a RiscStation instead :-)


 is a RISC OS Useranon/ on 18/05/04 2:02PM
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Colin OK some figures to compare the price of an Omega and Iyonix of similar spec for the purpose of the cost of upgrading software issue. I have done my best to be accurate and have double checked my figures. I hope this displays reasonably!

Basic Spec of computer 256Mb RAM 80 Gig hard disc CDRW The Omega prices seem to be EXCLUDING VAT I am assuming UK VAT is still at 17.5%


Basic computer @1149 +VAT 64Mb/40gig CDROM+Del @ 20+VAT =1373.58 Extra RAM 256Mb @26+VAT = 30.55 Disc upgrade to 75GB @90+VAT = 105.75 40xCDRW+Software @124+VAT = 145.70 Ethernet card @ 45+VAT = 52.88 TOTAL =1708.46 Could not find details of internet software supplied with an Omega.

IYONIX 256 RAM 80Gig HD CDRW @ =1299.00 Delivery @ = 20.00 Aemulor Pro @ 99+VAT= 116.33 Total=1435.33 The Iyonix is supplied with 32 bit happy versions of Dialup Lite, Messenger Lite, Oregano 2.

Difference in favour of Iyonix is ukp273.13 over to buy any remaining upgrades. If Aemulor is bought instead of the Pro version this difference increases to ukp 330.7

If Select is indeed required for reliable Omega networking then that brings to ukp 485.71

So where is the economic advantage to choosing an Omega and not upgrading to 32 bit happy software?

Sources: the websites of MD, Castle, ROL and Aemulor 18/05/04.

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 18/05/04 2:51PM
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blahsnr: To make the systems comparable, you would also have to buy the mythical X-Scale upgrade for the Omega, because the Iyonix comes with an X-Scale already. That makes the difference in cost even greater. (Drobe published an article comparing the costs, and including the cost of 32-bit software upgrades for the Iyonix).


 is a RISC OS Useranon/ on 18/05/04 3:13PM
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dgs I chose to ignore the differences in performance between the two machines, ;o) merely going on price and features that someone say upgrading from a RPC600 running RO3.5 or an A7000+ user running RO3.71 might think about whilst contemplating a new machine.

A lot of Omega incompatibilities have been carefully ignored by the 'softputer' advocates. Until the Omega had any sort of networking it was incompatible with many users' existing home networks. If you have a digital camera that uses USB to connect to a computer or a USB card reader then the Omega is one of the few RISC OS machines which would be incompatible with your existing hardware (the Mico being the other one).

I remember the Drobe article. Maybe with the true cost of both Iyonix and Omega ownership and the efficacy of both computers now clearer it would be an idea to re-do the article.

I can find no real argument for buying or promoting an Omega, unless of course you are afraid of Castle being in control of the RISC OS market ;o)

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 18/05/04 5:10PM
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