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RS Portable mailing list opens

By Chris Williams. Published: 19th Jan 2003, 21:20:37 | Permalink | Printable

It's for deposit holders only. Such a great reward for their patience

Ok, get this. Drobe has today become aware that RiscStation, well known for their R7500 RISC OS computer range, is in the process of making an ARM7500FE powered RISC OS portable laptop computer and we've only just found out about it! The last true portable was Acorn's A4 machine and can you just imagine being able to take RISC OS anywhere you wanted - trains, aeroplanes, the library, around the house, in bed for ultimate laziness?

Oh no, hold the phone. Trawling through the archives, we did found some previous mentions of the long awaited RiscStation Portable. It seems people who put down a deposit and were waiting for a machine were expected to get one by July 2002, up to 8 weeks after the Wakefield 2002 show. However things came up and it didn't arrive, busting another deadline; we say "things" because we have no idea what's going on (we've tried asking) and so, RiscStation are welcome to fill us in.

Preaching to the converted?
While we all sit in the dark, deposit holding patient laptop customers were invited today by RiscStation to join the RiscStation Laptop Yahoo group, a mailing list for portable users. You need to be on the paid deposit list to be able to join the mailing list to post and read messages. At time of writing, the list has 32 members; go RiscStation, go. For the record, we think discussion behind closed doors is fine as it mostly all applies to the particular user group anyway; however, we live in hope that any news announcements on the portable are made public rather than being confined to the private mailing list.

Links


RiscStation Laptop Yahoo group mailing list RiscStation Laptop specifications and photos (from iconbar.com early last year)

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Discussion

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Ooooo, vitriol....

You know the score with a NDA - you can't discuss it. If there has been a hold up, you can be sure someone knows why, but be sure that they won't say anything.

When something can be said publically, it will be. Until then, the latest noise is that as RiscStation's hardware partner won't give them a date for completion (due to them not being given a firm date by their suppliers), they are not saying anything publically about a prospective date.

That should also be in your archives.

Perhaps you're now trying sooooo hard to be El Reg for RISC OS, some things have slipped your attention ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserNodoid on 19/1/03 11:44PM
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You're not seriously expecting everyone on the mailing list to sign an NDA before they get to hear anything are you Paul? That's funny. :-)

 is a RISC OS Userian on 19/1/03 11:49PM
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Well it's not, because you never tell us anything. The RS site hasn't been updated since Wakefield 2002; if you let us know what's going on, we'll be supportive. If you tell us you're making a portabe then go all silent, we'll get miffed.

I hope you've learnt your lesson ;)

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 19/1/03 11:50PM
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Oh yeh, that's a good point. If anyone's on the mailing list and wouldn't mind letting us know the score, drop us an email ;)

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 19/1/03 11:52PM
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The mailing list does have the words "not to be discussed outside of this list" - but then, you'd know that. Hold on, you wouldn't as you can't join due to not having made a deposit for a machine. Oh well, suppose a bit of accuracy was a bit too much to ask. And there was me thinking speculation was the province only of usenet ;-)

ian : The NDA I referred is nothing to do with the list.

As for the site not being updated, the server went down and when it came back up, the updates from August suddenly became the May update. I have nothing to do with the website.

chris : learned my lesson? Nothing to learn mate. I'm running the list, yes, getting information direct from RS, yes, but able to control when the hardware is available, nope. Surely you've realised that preannouncements can be very detrimental now...

 is a RISC OS UserNodoid on 20/1/03 12:01AM
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So there's nothing legally binding on the list? Cool. So you won't mind it being published on drobe/usenet etc then. There can't be much of a mystery except you all saying "we spent your deposits on beer down the pub and there is no portable" really, can there? No. Thought not.

 is a RISC OS Userian on 20/1/03 12:14AM
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Paul, I'm not interested at all in any way with your excuses. If your server broke, if you have a delay or if you have something new, you issue a statement. I don't care if you don't control the server or the hardware. The fact that you admit that you haven't learnt any lessons over the past 3 years is terrifying.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 20/1/03 12:22AM
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I think it's very much in the platform's interest to have site like Drobe holding companies like RS and MD to account, it's a lot better than Acorn User's old style of journalism 'They're an Acorn company, so they *must* be great'. Also if Drobe is trying to be The Register for RISC OS, good for them, we need a regularly updated and interesting news site.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 20/1/03 10:11AM
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chris : The RiscStation website is nothing to do with me - it's down to Roy. As he pays for whichever server it's on, then the problem doesn't lie with me (or Roy) but the server's update policy.

ian : what is discussed on the yahoo group is for those who have paid their deposit only and that is made clear. As to the mystery over the deposits, it's an interesting idea, but completely and totally waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off.

gman : spot on with what you say to holding companies to account, but I'm perplexed at AU actually having a style ;-p

 is a RISC OS UserNodoid on 20/1/03 11:01AM
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Speculation is hardly the evil that some would have us believe. Release product, sell product, who cares what's gone before.

As for preannouncements, as the user known as No doid (I can supply you with a new one, if you want) puts it - surely the only detrimental ones of them have come from certain overzealous hardware manufacturers (and then, that detriment is self-inflicted, no?).

As for the El-reg comments - if you want sensible, mature discussion on this topic, look here ([link]) but in the meantime, drobe.co.uk makes me chuckle. Which is more than I can say about certain other stagnant (broke server - bah) sites.

--QUOTE "Hold on, you wouldn't as you can't join due to not having made a deposit for a machine." /QUOTE--

Indeed! The interest those poor, faithful buggers have lost over the years. :-(

 is a RISC OS User[mentat] on 20/1/03 11:14AM
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So, given the move to XScale, faster memory buses, etc., just how exciting is a ARM7500FE based machine these days? So, it has floating point, but surely it's in danger of being still born as 32 bit seems the way forward.

As a non-ros using person, I'd be interested to know how people expect this to stack up against the current state of the art.

 is a RISC OS UserDougal on 20/1/03 12:30PM
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I would say that the 7500FE looks pretty lame by comparison to machines appearing now, but maybe if it was marketed as more of a Psion Series 7 replacement than a full-blown laptop it would fare better, in fact with a price cut to put it in line with the Psion netBook (

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 20/1/03 12:49PM
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Psion-type things have XScales these days. -- Spriteman.

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 20/1/03 1:26PM
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As I predicted nearly three years ago, it's now cheaper to buy an x86 laptop and run Red Squirrel or VirtualA5000 on it, and get a faster, sexier, more "compatible" (ie, transfers with the PC land) machine. Of course, no direct USB and such to it, but for the price difference... :)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 20/1/03 1:27PM
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Oh, I know that the 7500FE is behind the times even in the Psiony market, but processor power matters far less on these platforms. nunfetishist makes a good point above, which is why I think that the laptop should try to sidestep the traditional laptop market, where it does not have a chance except with the enthusiasts. RISC OS boxes in general cannot compete in any way with Macs and PCs these days (for 99.999% of users), so we're better off going for niche markets, and a little laptop like the RS could make a great mobile terminal for sales forces, as it is made of metal it could be easily ruggedized for field use. Turnkey solutions could be built for all manner of businesses.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 20/1/03 2:16PM
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Does the list allow people - who have had their deposits back - onto it?

-- Andrew Harmsworth, Cambridge. www.gcse.com owner and author

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 20/1/03 3:56PM
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nunfetishist: I only that were true! When VirtualA5000 becomes VirtualRiscPC, can run RO4/5 and has network capability will it become acually of any use other than playing old games. I would buy one straight away if it had networking. It would go straight on my laptop and use Messenger and Zap and LanMan98 and be able to use the PC side to VPN to my home office and do work.

 is a RISC OS Userdanielbarron on 20/1/03 3:57PM
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I'd like an ickle RO4 machine with at least a StrongARM or better so I could be lazy and use the internet and work from my bed. Is it too much to ask for? :)

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 20/1/03 11:46PM
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harmsy : if you've had your deposit back, then no.

chris : what you ask for is not impossible either...

 is a RISC OS UserNodoid on 20/1/03 11:53PM
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...but will never happen.

 is a RISC OS Userian on 21/1/03 12:49AM
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Can anyone guess why Riscstation chose to use a 7500FE processor when the StrongARM is readily available and has proven itself as an excellent processor for portable devices? I'm thinking it has something to do with RS having experience with using the 7500FE in their existing desktop machines. -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 21/1/03 1:09AM
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The ARM7500FE is a system-on-a-chip; it has all the I/O, Video and Sound electronics you'll need as well as the processor on a single chip. If they were to use a normal StrongARM, you'd have to source and implement these sub-systems separately, which is extra work and cost and space.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 21/1/03 1:20AM
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Castle have already done it. If you can get portable PCs - why not a portable based on a cut down Iyonix motherboard? Now I'd buy that for a dollar! Or 1400 quid. Even though I already have an Iyonix. That is considering XScale is an embedded processor and already in use in handhelds.

 is a RISC OS Userdanielbarron on 21/1/03 2:11AM
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Yup, the XScale in the Iyonix (80321 iirc) is also a system-on-a-chip, featuring PCI I/O and the processor and more all in one. I was thinking about this earler today.. the iyonix motherboard (as I understand it) uses PCI for video and USB so I dunno how you'd get all that into portable form.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 21/1/03 2:55AM
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The SA-1110 has on-board LCD, PCMCIA and memory controllers, but I'm not sure if the LCD controller is suitable for anything more than palmtop-sized screens. The all-in-one XScale would also be a great choice. 600MHz RISC OS laptop. Yum.

PC laptops use the PCI and AGP specifications but the devices are not normally removable. There's even a mobile version of the graphics processor used in the Iyonix available. -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 21/1/03 3:58AM
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Wow, food for thought :)

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 21/1/03 4:15AM
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Hi all.

one problem with a portable is cramming in all the bits that you need to make it efficient. However, you could dispense with most things by simply using a PCMCIA, eg. hard drive or CF for the data storage/modem/usb etc etc etc. This would mean that the machine would be a simple portable with the main features incorporated when sync'ed to a desktop; but that never held back HP with the jornada 720.

cheers bob

 is a RISC OS Userarmbase on 21/1/03 9:38AM
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Lets not forget the compactness of the Castle Neuron designs. I would expect one of these could be adapted for use in a portable. (I don't think you'll get Castle to admit to any plans in this direction though ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 26/1/03 3:23PM
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