Midlands 2006 show photos and newsPublished: 26th Nov 2006, 16:08:23 | Permalink | Printable
Firefox 2, Select 4, SMS A9home fun, and more [Updated]The Midlands 2006 show has been and gone, and in the best possible tradition, it was a small and laid back affair. Organised by Ralph Sillett of the ARM Club, the event saw roughly 40 to 50 people through the doors - generating a more intimate environment for punters and exhibitors to natter away. The two big pieces of news were that RISC OS 6 Select 4 Preview is now available, and Firefox 2 was demonstrated in public by David Ruck. RISCOS Ltd handed out CDs of their newly released beta-OS for paid up Select subscribers, and also amusingly dangled CDs from a Christmas tree as decorations while playing opera music. Playing Phantom of the Opera. Loudly.
Moving right along, Firefox 2 was demonstrated on an Iyonix after port developer Peter Naulls slipped a copy into the hands of David Ruck. Calling for feedback from punters who had a chance to play with the port, Peter said: "I'd appreciate it - both good and bad. I'm not going to endlessly defend obvious flaws [the Firefox 2 port] has; I have better thing to do."
NetSurf team member Rob Kendrick saw Firefox 2 in action and said: "At the glance I had of it, it didn't appear to be significantly or obviously different from the version 1.5 port. It crashed several times while doing something trivial, too. But this is not surprising considering it appears to be a very early effort.
"It was still too slow in my opinion to be usable, although Dave said that his Iyonix did appear to be running slowly that day."
David, who collected 200 quid in donations for the port on the day, said: "I'm sorry I was not able to give a better demo, but without an Internet connection at the show, I was only able to show a few pages saved with NetSurf's full save option.
"People did seem to be impressed that the Firefox 2 port was already up to, if not slightly beyond, the state of that 1.5 reached, rather than being a less complete port of the new code. So the good news is all the work from now on will be improving the usability, stability, and implementing missing features from the versions running on other platforms."
Finally, on another stand, an Acorn Atom was loading software tapes from an A9home - the tape audio was stored in MP3 format and played back using AMPlayer. AdvantageSix were also demonstrating an anagram game on a black A9home, where players send their answers in text messages to the machine.
Update at 00:20 28/11/2006
The Firefox 2 website has updated with extra FAQ entries about https support and other details. Four people donated 50 quid each to the Firefox porting project at the show.
Photos taken by Rob Kendrick. Click on a thumbnail for the full image.
|Retro Acorn kit at the show. This is what appeared to be a BBC Master in a 'portable' case with its own monitor|
|An A9home playing back software tapes to an Acorn Atom, which loads them as programs. The tapes are stored as MP3s on the A9home|
|The portable BBC Master's keyboard|
|RISCOS Ltd decided to hang CDs of RISC OS 6 Select 4 Preview from a Christmas tree as decorations while playing Phantom of the Opera to passers-by|
|RISC OS Now editor Louie Smith and partner Paul Vigay of Orpheus Internet|
|Punters gathering around the NetSurf stand. Apparently many were shocked that the open source web browser is completely free|
|Louie double checks no one has sneaked a few copies of Qercus in amongst her pile of RISC OS Now issues|
|Nope, all there|
|Stuart Tyrrell in shock as Ad6's Matt Edgar blows A9home sales cash on blackjack and hookers|
|ArtWorks and TechWriter developer Martin Wuerthner plays down rumours that the proposed TechWriter feature "Export document as MP3 sung by Professor Stephen Hawking" actually won the recent user survey|
|Users playing Rob's new word game on the NetSurf stand|
|Dave Ruck, seen holding camera and invisible club, fends off users hoping to grab a copy of Firefox 2 from his Iyonix|
|Electronic copies of Archive on CDs|
|Multiple copies of Zarch running on an A9home|
|The anagram game running on the black SMS-enabled A9home. The game is written in BASIC|
|"You are feeling very sleepy, Mr Lillingston, very sleepy indeeeed"|
|The countdown clock to the full Select 4 release?|
|Rob's clone of the word game Boggle|
|The latest issues of Qercus. In it editor John Cartmell says the Egyptians waged war which each other when their leader said there is only one God while his priests worshipped many. In other words, John wants Castle and RISCOS Ltd to kiss and make up|
|The "Naming naming of names" is a deliberate pun, we learn|
|Manuals for Graham Shaw's programming toolkit on sale|
|John Cartmell fails to evade our snappers|
• In unrelated news, forum and news site Iconbar are merging with sister site Acorn Arcade to relaunch this weekend with a new design.
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