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Ex-AU editor sheds RISC OS kit

By Martin Hansen. Published: 20th Jan 2004, 16:57:51 | Permalink | Printable

Couldn't wait to jump ship, eh?

Media Watch Editor of the now defunct Acorn User Magazine, Steve Turnbull, was today spotted on ebay selling off some of his old Acorn kit. Due to go by midnight tonight is a RiscPC StrongARM machine which Steve bluntly describes as "barely used". Of considerably more interest, and finishing a day later, is the A4 laptop which was very much a part of Steve's life when he took time out from producing Acorn User to go adventuring.

An A4The trusty A4 that is now up for auction went with him on his journey by bike across the Sinai Desert in Egypt in 1998 and also up the Great Wall in China in 2000. On the one hand, you could take the view that this particular machine is going to be pretty much clapped from a hard life although, personally, I think there would be something rather nice about owning a machine that belonged to someone famous within the RISC OS world and which carries with it some history.

At the time of his trip to Egypt, tying to compute whilst on the move was quite a challenge. Steve kept an electronic log in which he recorded his charity bike ride with text and digital photographs, downloaded from a digital camera onto the A4. On the trip, the A4 and digital camera aroused a lot of interest from his travelling companions who would crowd around to see Steve at work on it. He's particularly fond of recounting how he nursed the A4 along for two days, camping wild each evening, typing in brief diary entries and efficiently downloading the photographs in the shortest possible time so as to conserve battery power.

By the time of his second charity bike ride, even in China, the technology was old hat. One chap had a digital video camera, but Steve's heart sank when another on the trip whipped out a large Nokia Communicator mobile phone and announced that he was going to update his website. Steve's smile returned when the chap dialled his free ISP from China and it refused to accept the call.

Ah yes, technology - sometimes it's lovely when it doesn't work.


Stevie T's RiscPC and A4 auctions

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It would be worth getting the A4 just for the fact it apparently runs RISC OS 3.6. (see auction)

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 20/1/04 5:06PM
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I thought A4s where A5000y laptops, so shouldn't it be RO3.1

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 20/1/04 5:41PM
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Infact A5000s were desktoppy A4s. I remember reading in one of Steve's bike ride articles that the A4 ran RISC OS 3.1, and he had to ask for the digital camera software (3.5+) to be made compatible before he went!

 is a RISC OS Usermonkeyson on 20/1/04 7:26PM
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This isn't a news article. It's just bollocks. Drobe's standards for "news" are REALLY slipping.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 20/1/04 7:40PM
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imj: hence the "Media Watch" heading in bright read letters ;)

 is a RISC OS Userjmb on 20/1/04 8:16PM
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Perhaps steve's bought an iyonix :-o

...NOT ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis@work on 20/1/04 8:38PM
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Not a very good media watch then! Steve advertised his auctions on the newsgroups days ago! I agreaa with imj - this article is about as good as somethng from AU (and that includes the ones I wrote!)

 is a RISC OS Userrobert79 on 20/1/04 8:56PM
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I can see drobe's next headline right now - "drobe.co.uk apologises for the lack of dedication shown by its editors, who deign to have day jobs"

 is a RISC OS Userjmb on 20/1/04 9:12PM
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I don't see why every single article on Drobe has to be HARDCORE, IMPORTANT NEWS. It's just a bit of fun :)

Oh look. I've managed to defend Drobe without being obnoxious. That's a first.

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 20/1/04 9:31PM
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Hmm perhaps I was overly harsh last night. It is actually a fairly interesting piece.

 is a RISC OS Userrobert79 on 21/1/04 12:59PM
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The A4:

"Current bid: 103.00"


 is a RISC OS UserMENTAT on 21/1/04 3:01PM
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and up to 50pounds postage with a minuimum of 25pounds? A total postage ripoff

Are they flying it to you? Max for this is 12pounds

cheers bob

 is a RISC OS Usernijinsky on 21/1/04 4:30PM
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It's going..... ........going...... .........gone !!!

142 for one 1992, much travelled, A4 RISC OS laptop.

(I think Steve's buying the next round of drinks !)

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 21/1/04 10:43PM
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Slightly off topic, but I cant seem to find the answer to an A4 question i have: How big is the screen in inches?

 is a RISC OS UserFedorenko on 22/1/04 12:05AM
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In responce to Fedorenko The part of mine that is illuminated measures five inches high by six and three quarter inches wide. There is a non illuminated boarder so the LCD panel itself is a little bigger. There's a picture of the LCD panel out of the A4 at [link]

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 22/1/04 1:35AM
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Ooops - Try again... [link]

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 22/1/04 1:40AM
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Thanks, 9" Passive Matrix. Hey Martin, what you think of your A4 :)

 is a RISC OS UserFedorenko on 22/1/04 1:54AM
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Fedorenko I've got it set up next to my Kinetic for software testng as it's a lot smaller than an A5000, even with the AKF50 monitor attached - If you don't have an AKF 50 get one ! - You can then run the A4 with the desktop in MODE 21 in full colour at quite a decent resolution: 640 x 512 in 256 colours. AKF 50s are popping up regularly on ebay at the moment from I lovely chap in Manchester who, I think, has got around six left - If you collect, it'll only cost you around 5 !!! Most old VGA and SVGA monitors can't displat MODE 21. Acorn was so technically ahead of the competition in those (1992ish) days. Oh -To answer your question - I think the A4 is really cute !

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 22/1/04 7:32AM
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Cute, maybe. But is it sexy?

Ian. Da person who asks da pertinent questions.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 22/1/04 6:50PM
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Yo! Fylfot. Sexy ? - No. Sort of like the way you might feel about that elderly filmstar you used to admire, now way passed their prime, but in which you can still see a glimmer of what it was that made them special, way back when. Sexy ? Yes. That is what the RISC OS could do with having a little more of.

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 22/1/04 7:00PM
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Found a nice link, so why not share: [link]

A4 - Acorns first portable machine. The A4 is functionally an A5000 in portable form. Featuring power save modes, an LCD screen and software configuration of the power saving features it was released July 1992. It is called the A4 because it's footprint on a desk is apparently that of an A4 piece of paper. It is interesting to note that the A4 is not an A5000 squeezed into portable form but rather the A5000 is the A4 in desktop form, whereby the A5000 design was largely a spin off from the design of the A4.

2048k Memory. Advanced Disc Filing System by default with High Density drives. ARM 3 processor. (24 MHz normally, 6 MHz in power save mode.) 12 MHz RAM. (3 MHz in power save mode.) 2048k OS in ROM. ~13.25 MIPS.

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 24/1/04 12:49PM
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I find this strangely depressing. Steve must have some RISC OS kit as he says he will continue to contribute to the RISC OS world.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 24/1/04 1:19PM
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Maybe he has VirtualRPC? Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 24/1/04 6:42PM
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Or an Iyonix? There were quite a few Iyonix articles in the last few issues.

 is a RISC OS Usermonkeyson on 24/1/04 8:11PM
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He is dumping an A7000 now [link]

 is a RISC OS UserFedorenko on 1/2/04 8:18AM
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Maybe I should get Steve to autograph my A5000 - It will clearly treble its value....

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 1/2/04 9:40AM
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I remember when I had an A4. Eventually, the puny motherboard ended up in a Full Tower PC case, and had around 4 full-height SCSI disks attached to it (long story).

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 26/4/04 10:25PM
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