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USB in 2002

Published: 13th Oct 2001, 16:02:30 | Permalink | Printable

Place your bets now as there are big plans ahead: think USB, think podules, think digital cameras. Updated: 13/10/01

Firstly, earlier today we published an article reporting on information passed to drobe.co.uk regarding a USB podule. This caused a bit of a concern among some of you and we pulled the article to have a rethink. We've decided to publish it anyway because we want to generate interest in RISC OS, especially RISC OS hardware and seeing as Acornuser are rumored to be also covering this news in their next issue, we felt the drobe readers should be allowed a look see.

At drobe, we take complaints about possible inaccurate articles very seriously. If you have an news or cause for concern, please get in touch as soon as possible so any situation can be resolved as amicably as possible.

USB is the expansion system enjoyed by PC and Mac users and has for some time now been anticipated by many RISC OS users who want to plug the latest hardware into their RISC OS machines. USB is supposed to simplify the connection of new hardware and suffice to say, all the latest gadgets ranging from printers to scanners to digital cameras use USB sockets and interfaces to connect to computers. Many rumors and wishes had been thrown around the RISC OS community as hardware companies refrained from leaking any definiate details concerning their forthcoming projects. Drobe is therefore happy to disclose some information kindly passed onto us for those punters looking forward to plugging USB products into their RISC OS machines.

Earlier this year, the dashing Cybervillage did a little report on the USB-for-RISC-OS saga and hinted at some USB interface kit coming our way. Today, drobe.co.uk was informed that a particularly popular hardware developer is producing a USB podule with the intention to ship it out exclusively to developers early next year.

Having received the USB podules, these developers can write the necessary software, or drivers, to allow USB capable products to be plugged into and used by the podules. The developers can then retail the USB podules with the necessary driver software and respective USB products to the end user. The USB podules, which have a row of standard USB sockets fitted to the front of them, slot into the back of your RISC OS machines like a normal expansion card. USB Devices are then plugged into the podules' sockets, enabling the devices for use with RISC OS.

All very clever and very welcome in our opinion. When drobe has finished its investigations, we'll let you know more.

Yesterday Drobe contacted Simtec, the company rumored to be behind the USB podule, to confirm these reports. In a very helpful and swift reply, Gareth at Simtec confirmed that they are close to finialising a USB podule.
"We have limited stocks for developers available now(-ish), using sample
silicon", explained Gareth. "Production silicon is expected mid December, so I am erring on the side of caution and saying card production quarter 1 2002."

Although Simtec are giving Acornuser a slight head start in fully revealing the USB podule's details, drobe.co.uk should within the next few weeks learn more about the podule and the technical lowdown on the exciting new product.

Chris Williams

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Has anything been done to ensure that this USB podule will be compatible with the USB interface of the Omega?

 is a RISC OS User on 13/10/01 4:45PM
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...or the one allegedly being produced by Caste, or the one Pace have...

Judging by the MAUG report in the latest AU we can't expect RISC OS Ltd to arbitrate and guarantee standards either. Shambolic isn't it??

Good on Simtec though - and it'll be needed. Judging by comments from a friend the industry giants (Intel and co) are on the verge of completely phasing out serial ports, parallel ports and the like in favour of USB and FireWire.


 is a RISC OS User on 13/10/01 8:49PM
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Just a note to say sorry for the loss of previous comments left with this article: they refered to Surftec's digital camera interfaces for those who wish to use digital cameras before the arrival of USB

-- Chris Williams

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 13/10/01 10:46PM
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So, anyone care to speculate on the likelyhood of USB support in the next version of !Printers?

 is a RISC OS User on 14/10/01 11:20AM
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As I understand it, Pace/ROL had a USB API, and Simtec decided not to use it. :-(

 is a RISC OS User on 14/10/01 11:29AM
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MicroDigital supply USB with their Mico computer.

Wot? Are you telling me it doesn't work? Really? Something that doesn't work, from MicroDigital?!?!

Surely not?

 is a RISC OS User on 14/10/01 1:24PM
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AIUI Pace had a USB API and working hardware. Whether ROL had access to it is something that isn't clear.

As for the USB in the Mico not working - I don't believe MD ever claimed you could use the ports under RISC OS.


 is a RISC OS User on 15/10/01 9:53AM
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If machines have USB hardware fitted that gives ROL / other developers more incentive to write drivers because they know there will be a market out there once they're written.

Think of the Mico as the chicken (or the egg?).

 is a RISC OS User on 16/10/01 11:34AM
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USB has got to be the most amazingly sensible addition to the RISC OS hardware stable. A USB podule, when bundled with drivers and one external device (e.g. an Olympus camera) would represent good value - certainly compared to a SmartMedia reader, etc.

It AMAZES me, however, that this USB issue does not APPEAR to be handled centrally by RISCOS Ltd. WHAT do we PAY them for, if they cannot lead our systems forward?

The market will not survive if companies cannot work together on transferable technologies like this. Why do we have to have the wheel re-invented three times? Just a bog-standard USB wheel, and not an all-singing, all-dancing wheel?

 is a RISC OS User on 16/10/01 2:02PM
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Because we're a shambles with no business sense.

 is a RISC OS User on 16/10/01 4:03PM
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We want Firewire.....

 is a RISC OS User on 16/10/01 4:06PM
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