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Acorn website back.. kinda

By Chris Williams. Published: 11th Jun 2003, 14:51:22 | Permalink | Printable

Hello? No, I'm in 2003. With an XScale. Hello?

Provided you don't subscribe to the "Castle is the new Acorn" school of RISC OS, it's true to say that Acorn is very much in the past. However, while active RISC OS users have been following the various changes to the platform's landscape since late 1998, there's still a lot of people who associate RISC OS with things like the BBC B and the Acorn A3010 that they may have used at school. The curious trying to visit Acorn's previously used acorn.co.uk address (as pointed to by many old sites) ends in frustration as the domain is no longer used.

Which explains why Roy Johnson set up acorncomputers.co.uk. For the weary web traveller looking online for information about Acorn, Roy's site guides them into 2003 with links to Castle, RISCOS Ltd., ITC (for spares) and other companies.

"I started it a few years ago (few months after Acorn went) as I realised that with no www.acorn.co.uk, people who were not on the 'Acorn Scene' would just think Acorn had gone bust and there were no new machines, OS or support", Roy told us. Having contacted Acorn/Broadcom (who own element-14, one of the few remaining shards of Acorn that formed after the corporate breakup), Roy asked if the acorn.co.uk domain was available but sadly, it had been sold on.

"Been fairly successful", Roy continued to comment about his website, "in that have had a few thousand visitors that I have been able to re-direct to get help, either from their local dealer, RISC OS Limited or Castle and the other makers. Answered some myself and put others in touch with people that could help them. Few bizarre requests like a company wanting Herman Hausser [Acorn founder] to do an interview etc, gave them his company's press office web address. People wanting BBC Micro's, Atoms etc. for exhibitions, tv etc. Also seems to be fairly highly listed on Google and others when searching for Acorn Computers."

Nothing like the present
Around the time that Acorn were touting their Clan membership scheme and trying to roll out web related stuff whilst trying to concentrate on internet kit like the NetStation, Chris Cox was quoted as saying he wanted as many Acorn users online as possible so they could make lots of noise about their favourite platform. The idea was to increase awareness and perhaps invite users to the platform and this still goes on today with sites like IconBar, riscos.org and (ahem) us. The big difference now is that there's no central website to point to. Back in 1997, when Acorn was the centre of the market, users would link back to acorn.co.uk; however, given the de-centeralisation of the market, we have now have various websites and companies to link to.

And while we're not calling for a central RISC OS website, we are instead rather fond of sites like acorncomputers.co.uk that seek to spread awareness and platform information to anyone interested. Acorn may be in the past, but it's a good thing to remind everyone that in 2003, we're still here.



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You mention you're not calling for a central RISC OS website - IMHO, this is exactly what the platform needs.

If we could point people to one official website which brought together RISC OS and all the available software and hardware, this would be an easy way to market the platform.

We need a site not just for enthusiasts, but also for people who know nothing about RISC OS.

I've been knocking a few design ideas around myself. I really think a professsional RISC OS website is a must. Every business has one, and RISC OS needs one too.


 is a RISC OS Userrdennis on 11/6/03 3:15PM
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Could not agree more, all the websites for MD,Castle,ROL, and RiscStation are hardly ever updated, apparently the competition to win an Iyonix is still going on...

I suppose at one point it should have been ROL, but now maybe Castle is in a better position.

Anyway, IMHO a proper, non-hideous, frequently updated website with online ordering is very important. I have almost bought a few things, and on realising that I would need to send a cheque (paper! in the post!), have not bothered. It's incredibly easy to set up online ordering using one of the many third party services available. The design atrocities which are most RO-related sites should also change, for a platform which is (for it's userbase) quite big on graphics it's amazing how bad the design is on most websites. Would you do a web design course advertised on a website like this [link] ?

Maybe you (rdennis) should let us see your designs, maybe offer them to MD or someone?

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 11/6/03 3:32PM
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I hate to burst your bubble, but:

One of the points of this article was actually the problem of _where_ you would put such a site. It needs to be easy to find etc.

Secondly, drobe.co.uk already itself provides a central resource (not comprehensive, but getting there). drobe.co.uk turns up in many Google searches, etc, but perhaps it's not the most obvious domain.

Such a site would need constant (and I do mean constant updates). It's no good getting all hyped up, and then doing stuff, and letting it fall into disrepair (look at riscos.net). I don't have to point out that drobe.co.uk is regularly updated.

MD has been approached by many many people offering their services to improve their terrible web design, but have refused or flat ignored people. RS? Well, we won't go there.

We're happy to expand drobe.co.uk into various areas if people are willing to maintain things. What we don't need is more people telling how things should be done, yet not willing to make an effort themselves.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 11/6/03 3:58PM
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The competition to win an Iyonix is still going on. "2nd draw will be on the first anniversary of the launch."

 is a RISC OS UserIvanDobski on 11/6/03 4:07PM
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Wooo! ;-)

I think the site should be 'official' i.e. run by a company rather than a news site, although these days it's not that clear who the company should be. I don't think a news site is very appropriate as it might make people think that there is no company in the scene serious enough to maintain a web site. Also, news/forum sites have opinion (by their nature) and an 'official' RO site should have fact rather than opinion/rumour/gossip.

www.riscos.com seems the most obvious domain, but obviously it's taken. Maybe ROL could be encouraged to spruce it up a bit make their site *the* RISC OS website.

I'd like to help out with website design etc. but I am entirely useless with an art package.

drobe.co.uk *is* by far the best RO site, but I think new users would like to see *fact* about what is and is not available on RISC OS and exciting news direct from the horses mouth, rather than rants from the likes of me (that can quickly be fixed though).

Maybe MD and RS would be more likely to admit they are alive if they felt that they could release news onto *the* official RISC OS site.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 11/6/03 4:16PM
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IvanDobski: Hmm, did not see that, fair enough.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 11/6/03 4:18PM
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There's question of moderation. If for instance we published all the press releases in full that we got from Castle (and I'm not pointing them out to make an example of them), it'd be dominated by price lists and such.

If you have someone decide what is and isn't relevant, then you just have another RISC OS news site - something we really don't need. A strict no editorial comment policy doesn't really work - you need things talked about in context by an editor for it to make sense to outsiders.

At the same time, as you know, drobe.co.uk always strives to publish facts. Whatever the ideals of the situation, drobe.co.uk remains the best place (in terms of content anyway) for this kind of site.

Yes, Castle will give away another machine in November.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 11/6/03 4:31PM
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I don't think drobe.co.uk is ideal, for comment/forums and stuff great, but while a news/forum site is perfectly within their remit to (say) criticise MD for (append list), an official site should not.

I agree we do not need another news site, although to have more than one might be nice, no offence to TIB, but it does not see much action.

I think we're talking about different things here, I think you want a kind of Drobe++, an equivalent of (for example) amiga.org. I'm more after a serious,business-like RISC OS site which would be updated frequently and have cast-iron facts about new and forthcoming products.

Editorial comment is fine, but I imagine it puts off some companies from sending you stuff for fear of bias/piss-take.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 11/6/03 5:06PM
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RDENNIS: there is/are a central risc os site/s - just too many of them!

THEGMAN: The Iyonix PC competition IS still going on - there's another prize offered at the anniversary of its launch. As has been pointed out. Oh. Silly me.

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

 is a RISC OS Userharmsy on 11/6/03 5:51PM
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re acorncomputers.co.uk: lovely icons :)

 is a RISC OS UserHertzsprung on 11/6/03 6:32PM
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tgm: read again what I said. Such a site simply isn't possible for the editorial reasons I stated. In any case, whose facts? ;-)

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 11/6/03 6:58PM
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Ideally, we could do with an umbrella organisation which could represent all the businesses associated with RISC OS, especially to the "outside world". Such an organisation could run the website which has been suggested here.

Who might best head such an organisation?


 is a RISC OS UserMartyn Fox on 11/6/03 11:03PM
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 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 11/6/03 11:17PM
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RISCOS.ORG would be a good "central RISC OS site" (it certainly has a nice domain name), however at present it is rather unhelpful. For instance, some regular (weekly?) news and reviews would be nice.

Martyn: The umbrella organization idea is great. What would be good is a central site which has contributions from all the RO news sites. There is a website: stuff.co.nz, which has contributions from several newspapers across the country, which works much the same. You get a broad view of things.

 is a RISC OS Usertimephoenix on 12/6/03 5:29AM
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Oh well, chocky if you say so, it *must* be true.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 12/6/03 10:04AM
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Give the cynicism a rest; it only serves to undermine your argument. If you have anything to say, then please address my points.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 12/6/03 10:23AM
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Jeez, why so serious? What we're talking about here is pretty much a 'nothing' issue.

What I understand your point to be is that a site which covered news with editorial comment 'simply isn't possible'. Let's say for the sake of others reading this thread, I agree with you. My argument is this:

We should have an official, well-designed, quality site without arguments between the likes of you and I, and one without any bias towards/against any company. Of course it would have an editor to filter out the shit, but the editor would not voice any kind of opinion on matters covered, as I believe *should* be the case with proper new coverage in quality newspapers. It would not have editorial content any more than [link] for example.

Whose facts? Well as with almost anything, what is or is not fact is debatable, but I would hope that the contributors to a 'RISC OS Consortium' site would be professional enough to tell the truth. If the 'facts' published on the site were not true, the company involved could be asked to withdraw or explain the comments. And of course, we're all free to flame them on the newsgroups and forums like this.

Myself and Martyn I think agree on this, but i don't think it should be a .org site run by enthusiasts or it would just turn out like Drobe or TIB, nothing wrong with those sites, but we already have them.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 12/6/03 10:53AM
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I forgot, yes I am cynical, it is difficult to be an optimist in this market, and indeed this 'community'.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 12/6/03 11:02AM
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I'm an optimist. If I wasn't, I wouldn't still be here ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 12/6/03 11:12AM
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Good for you moss! ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 12/6/03 11:19AM
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I am slightly biased. If I wasn't, I wouldn't still be here too.


 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis@work on 12/6/03 3:12PM
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I'm an optomist but then I am to stupid to be anything else. :)

 is a RISC OS UserRevin Kevin on 13/6/03 12:36AM
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tgm: yes, it's all a very nice idea, but you're still missing some important points, that I think I need to restate.

You can't compare with a Newspaper - the issues are largely non-technical and don't need explanation. Plus there are many of them, competing on a commerical basis. And it's pretty hard to find a newspaper which isn't biased in some way.

But that's getting off the topic. The point is that it's impossible to have a biased-free, factual RISC OS news site of the type you suggest. Apart from the things I said above, RiscStation and Microdigital don't actually _have_ much/any news of any significant amount.

Castle/ROL? Lots of stuff from them, but some of all needs explaining to the less technical savvy. That means editorial.

Ok, let's say you've solved all these problems. Who's going to do it? Which person is able to spend several hours _per day_ maintaing such a site.

Let's take this one step further and consider this mystical RO Consortium - frankly, you need a hard nosed manager - I know just the type (a friend of mine, but he can't be had for love nor money). Got 50K/year to pay them? No, didn't think so.

The last thing RISC OS needs is another news website, regardless of its intentions.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 13/6/03 4:56PM
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Some interesting comments.

The site was a quick effort to get something on the web to redirect people at the new companies in the Acorn market.

If people want to use it as a central site or create a 'proper' site layout and look to make it more 'commercial looking' I'm happy for this to happen. I'm not a web designer as you can tell from my hopeless effort !

rdennis or others if you want to discuss etc drop me a line at info@acorncomputers.co.uk


 is a RISC OS Userjohnsor on 14/6/03 8:30PM
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