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Profile for RichardHallas

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Username: RichardHallas
Realname: Richard Hallas
About me:Things of significance I've done in the RISC OS world: 1. Editor of RISC User magazine, volumes 9 to 11; 2. Producer of the RISC User ...in a Nutshell CD-ROM; 3. Winner of the RISC OS '99 Award for Editorial Excellence (for RISC User); 4. Founding editor of Foundation RISC User (CD magazine, 20 issues plus 2 DVDs); 5. Producer of the first ever RISC OS DVD-ROM (Foundation RISC User DVD Edition); 6. Author of the DTP Principles guide; 7. Designer of the RISC OS 5 desktop icon set; 8. Designer of the RISC OS cogwheel logo; 9. Programmer of various small applications (Flag Day, OmniDesk, KeyWindow, Charges etc.).
Homepage: http://www.hallas.net/
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Comments posted:69 (show all)

Recent comments

On Science Museum hosts 'fathers of Beeb' reunion:

ninja: Yes, I know about the A3000. In fact, you're mistaken about the A300 series: those machines also had the owl and the nominal BBC link (top-right of the keyboard, where it said 'Acorn' on the A400 series).

It's true that those machines were still linked with the BBC and officially recognised as the successors to the previous generation of 8-bit BBC Micros (and, of course, came with the 65Host and 65Tube software to allow them to run more BBC software than BBC Basic would allow on its own). So I agree that Dr Blyth's book should certainly acknowledge them.

However, my point is that the BBC Computer Literacy Project as such was really over by then. The good relationship that had been established between the BBC and Acorn allowed the tie-in to continue into Acorn's next generation of machines, probably in acknowledgement that they were the logical successors and capable of a high level of compatibility with existing BBC computers. But the Computer Literacy Project had run its course before the 32-bit range arrived. In terms of looking at the story from the Acorn perspective, clearly the launch of the 32-bit range was massively important and the ability to continue to use the BBC name on the new machines, for a few years at least, would have been very valuable to Acorn in terms of helping its users to make the transition from the 8-bit generation to the new 32-bit one.

But from the opposite perspective, that of the BBC Computer Literacy Project (which is what Dr Blyth's book is about), all the interesting stuff happened long before then, and it was all pretty much over by 1987, so there's not a lot of reason for the 32-bit machines to be much more than an appendix to the meat of the story. Of course, they are very important in terms of the lasting ramifications of the Computer Literacy Project, and I don't know to what extent her book will consider those. But the Computer Literacy Project was all about teaching people about computers in general, not tying them to the Acorn platform. The undoubted success of the project didn't actually do all that much long-term good for Acorn's 32-bit platform, sadly, as we all know. It would have been a major factor contributing to the use of Archimedes machines in schools, but it certainly didn't get them into private homes in the way that it had done with the earlier (and much cheaper) 8-bit BBC Micros. The world had moved on by the late 80s, and there were lots of cheaper machines with better games to attract the kids.

NB I should make clear that I don't know anything about the contents of Dr Blyth's book. She may want to discuss the 32-bit legacy in some detail; who knows? All I can say for certain is that it's a book about the Computer Literacy Project rather than a book about Acorn, so I'd fully expect it to concentrate on the 8-bit micros and what happened in the early to mid-1980s rather than anything later than that.

 is a RISC OS UserRichardHallas on 26/3/08 7:53PM
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On Click right on with RISC OS:

thesnark: That behaviour was first invented by BackIcon (the application), I believe. I've found it immensely useful for years. It first appeared 'officially' in an early release of RISC OS 5 (but not the very first release).

I think you can also hold down Shift with Select/Adjust to step the window through the stack (unless that's a BackIcon-only refinement; I forget).

 is a RISC OS UserRichardHallas on 23/3/08 8:35PM
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On Click right on with RISC OS:

adrianl: (Tip: do not do this to check your memory whilst actually composing this post in a NS window!)

LOL!

 is a RISC OS UserRichardHallas on 23/3/08 9:22AM
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On Science Museum hosts 'fathers of Beeb' reunion:

Tilly Blythe's book is actually about the BBC Computer Literacy Project, not Acorn as such. (Neither Drobe nor the original BBC story makes this very clear.) There's no reason for her to consider anything much beyond the 8-bit era.

 is a RISC OS UserRichardHallas on 21/3/08 11:19AM
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On Icon Technology boss Mike Glover retires:

When I did my Open University maths/computing degree in the early 1990s, my tutors were bowled over by the typeset quality of the work I submitted, and one of them commented that my typesetting was better than the course materials that the OU supplied at the time. Thanks for that can largely be credited to TechWriter, which is what I used for setting my assignments.

Icon Technology has always been one of the true stalwarts of the RISC OS scene, with a best-of-class product that was superior to the best equivalents on other platforms. And Mike himself has always been a pleasure to deal with.

So I'm very sorry to see Icon Technology go, but I wish Mike Glover all the best in his retirement. And the products themselves couldn't possibly be in better hands, which must be a great comfort to him.

 is a RISC OS UserRichardHallas on 1/3/08 11:19AM
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