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RiscPCs lurk at World Service

By Chris Williams. Published: 10th Oct 2004, 14:31:36 | Permalink | Printable

Big responsibility

BBC World ServiceIt's come to drobe.co.uk's attention that a number of RiscPCs are currently propping up several of the Beeb's radio language services. The RiscPCs are reportedly acting as 'jukeboxes' for a number of the BBC World Service's language services, each running an application called Trackstar - which, we've learnt, is remarkably stable.

And that's a jolly good thing too, given that the Acorn era kit is used "extensively" for Auntie's French for Africa and the Arabic services, which in all totals up to a combined audience of fifty million listeners per day. Per day.

Although, as much as this editor enjoys listening to the World Service when burning the midnight oil, sadly the Beeb's fine output (proprietary format and all) can't (as yet) be heard online with RISC OS.


BBC website Goodbye RiscPC

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Nice, but they'll soon be replaced, and in greater numbers.

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 10/10/04 2:46PM
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During the summer I was a RiscPC being used as a door stop at work (Televison Centre). Seemed quite sad. The place used to have loads of them.

A couple of years ago I know they were still using BBC Masters at Radio Merseyside, but I'm not sure if they are still there.

 is a RISC OS Userdjames on 11/10/04 12:26AM
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That should have said "During the summer I saw a RiscPC being used as a door stop"

(Can posts be edited once submitted?)

 is a RISC OS Userdjames on 11/10/04 12:29AM
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The BBC used to be full of A540's and later RPC-SA's according to a cameraman friend of mine, being used for real stuff like control, editting, genlock etc.

These days they seem woefully underpowered - I was suprised even to see them being used for playing audio on the World Service, presumably single-tasking.

I guess they are probably being used rather than thrown away, but will be replaced with cheaper/more powerful PC's when they die.....

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 11/10/04 3:29AM
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Some years ago we did some work for Endemol in Hilversum. At that time they were not allowed to use Windows PC in production. They didn't want something to go wrong while broadcasting, ever. For 3D stuff they uses Silicon Graphics and in the studio there was a lot of dedicated hardware (and some Acorn machines). The price of PC's is NOT important. It just have to work always, that is what count.

 is a RISC OS UserPeter on 11/10/04 8:40AM
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Peter: So best not use RISC OS or IRIX, then?

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 11/10/04 10:08AM
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mhnnmhn I don't know about the BBC's French service, but the BBC's Arabic language radio service is supposed to be even worse than Al Jazeera for bias. At least this is a great example of Acorn's quality.

Peter: yes some motherboard makers have whole separate lines of motherboards just for industrial environments. You just pay through the nose for them, but they have the quality all motherboards should have.

 is a RISC OS UserClades on 11/10/04 12:53PM
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Its a shame that the BBC are not releaseing their software like they used to! Somewhere around I have a Serial Comms application writtern by them. I'm sure that some of these asily apps they write could be purchsed by someone else?

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 11/10/04 4:07PM
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Ah, so this must explain why the World Service is so flakey. I admit, we haven't had drop outs of twenty-minutes or more (replaced by intermission music) for a while now, but there are still quite a few glitches as they try to stitch the half-hour or hour segments together. Especially like the other day where they forgot to queue in an advert, so they played the theme tune. Then they waited a couple of seconds, and, since it wasn't time for the news yet, played the theme tune again. And again. I think on the fourth time round the pips went.

I can't guarantee that was running on Acorn kit though. I don't think I've ever heard the world service go 'burr beep!'. In fact, the demise in the use of non-PC kit at the beeb is probably only exceeded by the demise of anything free and usable to be replaced by proprietary software, backed only by weasel-worded contracts.

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 11/10/04 7:42PM
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