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Username: tamias
Realname: Mark Rowan
About me:Graduate in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Birmingham, now studying Natural Computation. Interested in AI techniques and general computing/programming, including RISC OS (which I have used since the age of 8) and GNU/Linux. I play the violin and mandolin.
Homepage: http://www.tamias.co.uk
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Comments posted:64 (show all)

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On Bug-fixed NetSurf 2.1 released:

Any chance of an updated deb package being hosted on the Netsurf website? The Debian repos are all still hosting 1.2, and I'm unable to fit all the build tools to compile from source onto my netbook's very cramped SSD storage.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 4/6/09 12:51PM
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On Stilt walker offers free sandwich board advertising to RISC OS companies:

Yes, but the only adverts which actually work have a few vitally important things in common: not much text, clear design, simple colour scheme, and a *short* message which gets straight to the point. Look at any billboard advert currently on display for examples of this.

With the amount of (comparatively hard to read) text on the A9 poster, not to mention its small size compared to the 30-foot billboards around, I seriously doubt anyone walking or driving past would have time to notice much more than a man on stilts with a funny-coloured piece of cardboard strapped to him.

Adverts such as "Don't smoke" or "Buy this sofa" in massive lettering, black on white, in a clear typeface and with a single picture in the background, are far more effective. I'd suggest a similarly simple slogan such as "Treat yourself to a computer that works", a picture of the A9, and a link to a website where people whose interest is sufficiently aroused may find further information and all the geeky stats they could want, to peruse in their own time.

There's no point, as you say, writing an essay on a poster for the layman. The current poster is a visual essay.

I'd suggest having a read of the booklet which Richard Hallas (?) produced a few years back. I think it was sold via APDL. (Can someone correct me on this?)

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 19/1/09 5:07PM
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On Stilt walker offers free sandwich board advertising to RISC OS companies:

I have to agree with the comments on the poster. It took me a full minute to decipher the large amount of low-contrast, confusing typeface text on top of the textured background -- and that was the screenshot on my monitor, not the actual printed and laminated version.

The message is good, but I doubt anyone would be able to read more than just the headline before Rob has passed by on his stilts. A lost opportunity for RISC OS advertising, I'm afraid.

Perhaps if Rob carried a donations bucket as well, people may just drop in a few pennies for charity...

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 23/12/08 11:46AM
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On New lead developer for RPCEmu emerges:

This is fantastic news. I use only Linux at home now, so further development on what has been a promising project so far is most welcome if it will enable me to continue to have access to my RISC OS data.

I will try to help by submitting bug reports when time allows, and encourage others to do the same -- even if you're a non-techie type, it's something you can do to help the project along.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 2/12/08 11:14AM
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On Iyonix range taken off the market:

Charlie,

If you want to avoid the eBay hassle, I'm looking to sell my Iyonix (complete with motherboard stability mods, new PSU, lots of software including Aemulor Pro, and a stack of magazines if you want them) at a knock-down price before I move house. If you're interested, contact me at <mark at tamias co uk>.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 06/10/08 3:25PM
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On RPCEmu author mulls future features:

gazza_fp: This problem is resolved on Linux by renaming the 'hostfs' directory in uppercase as 'HOSTFS' - simply a trivial oversight on Tom's part, it seems.

My vote for future development would be improving the Linux version so that sound can work at the same time as the dynamic recompiler.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 27/7/07 12:59PM
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On Apple Mac VirtualRiscPC beta on sale:

Does this suggest that VRPC for Linux may be on its way, or is that still ruled out indefinitely? So far I still have not found a single half-decent RISC PC emulator for Linux, which is very frustrating.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 18/5/07 10:56AM
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On News in brief:

The politics in the RISC OS world are now beyond a joke. It's a wonder anyone is still stubbornly struggling on with developing or even using RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 19/4/07 1:49PM
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On RISC OS 5.12 released with price tag:

hzn: Agreed, for me the upgrade brings no benefits, as my graphics card is fine and I don't want USB2. Yet I must pay a not inconsiderable sum to upgrade, in order to receive future bug fixes? No thanks, I'll wait for the open source build...

It's good that Castle are still showing commitment to developing the OS, and I agree that the recent free updates have been of value, so it's fair for them to try to recoup some money I suppose. But a compulsory 'buying-in' to future bug fixes - of which there are still several I've put up with for years - does not attract me in the slightest.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 14/10/06 10:30AM
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On Intel wheels out 1.2GHz XScale family:

JWCR: Practically it should be perfectly possible (what is the rest of the Iyonix apart from drives, CPU, and the case?) but remember how long it was before Castle sold DIY Iyonix kits; and only for a limited time too. I would be surprised if they offer a straight motherboard upgrade in the first couple of years of any potential new system.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 29/9/06 9:37AM
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On Dual-core XScale due soon:

Heatsink? Fan? 75 degrees?! And it's not even clocked much faster than the IOP321... How long before Intel's "run it fast and hot" Pentium-style engineering ruins a fine low-power processor family, I wonder?

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 27/9/06 4:16PM
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On ROS fan loses Acorn domain in dispute:

Ugh... just visited the 'new' site to read: "Acorn recommends Microsoft ® Windows® XP". There's something I never thought I'd see :-(

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 11/9/06 12:43PM
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On Hallas to study history of Acorn PhD:

timephoenix: I sadly suspect rather more copies of the book will be sold to rather more people for his investment, than new RISC OS machines would be.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 4/9/06 12:09PM
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On Hallas to study history of Acorn PhD:

Best wishes to Richard for his book - it sounds like a very interesting project and, as he says, it would be an injustice to Acorn not to have something to amalgamate all their achievements in this way. Let me know when it's available in a bookshop near me :)

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 3/9/06 6:05PM
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On Adjust users get Select site access:

Druck: "Who in their right mind is going to fall for that for the 3rd year in a row?"

People who want to support ROL as essentially a charity venture, to donate funds for the good of the platform as a whole.

However, if this is the state in which the platform is in, how much longer can it continue, I wonder?

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 22/8/06 2:55PM
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On How to be a Pinboard power user:

A fantastic and clear article showing some of the true power of the RISC OS pinboard. Thank you, Peter!

It may be worth remembering that you can also change the background image displayed for each pinboard - so you could have an image for each 'menu' related to the tasks contained in it, as a visual aid to further improve the user experience.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 21/8/06 9:46AM
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On Interview with a ROS Open shareholder:

It's been tried (or more specifically, a petition to merge Select features into RO5): [link] Results? Well, you tell me...

Until both companies collectively remove fingers from behinds, or someone else forces them to, nothing will happen to move the OS forward in this way.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 16/7/06 10:42PM
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On Who are RISC OS Open Ltd?:

How about, as someone suggested on the Select 4 "tricky date" article comments, implementing Select features but under open-source licensing, for all users to use on their Iyonixes/non-Select RO4 machines?

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 27/6/06 12:08PM
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On ROL: Giving Select 4 date is tricky:

AMS: "UI changes are less important to me than what the hardware does/can be made to do"

For me, the UI is the *only* thing keeping me using RISC OS. Cheaper, faster machines with multitudes of free software are out there now, and I find myself using them more and more. I still come back to RISC OS and use my Iyonix as my main machine but only because it is more pleasant to use, not because it provides functionality that other platforms don't provide.

"...there is no guarantee that a hypothetical buyer (with deep pockets) wouldn't close down ROL to avoid competition"

What competitor would seriously be scared by ROL and their part-time programmers enough to warrant spending money to close it down? This is a ludicrous suggestion surely only now held by conspiracy theorists!

IMO developing RISC OS commercially for desktops simply isn't working; that much is obvious from the troubles plaguing ROL to even release a few updates after 200EUR/subscriber and 18 months of nothing released. Open sourcing the kernel appears to be impossible without a massive change in licensing. We have two competing OS forks held by, for all intents and purposes, rival companies, and the split is getting wider all the time as development diverges each fork. There are huge gaps in required software, only partially filled by expensive commercial software (Oregano3, HTML Studio, PhotoDesk etc) and some excellent work by Peter Naulls and co. on smaller ported applications.

Where now for RISC OS? Something will have to change. The biggest threat to RISC OS isn't Microsoft any more, it's the impossible situation imposed on it by the two companies in charge, and the free and increasingly superior alternatives in the GNU/Linux world.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 23/6/06 6:57PM
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On ROS app could scupper encryption law:

adamr: The Stealth program is more than just steganography, which is indeed a well-known technique implemented across many platforms. I think what the article is referring to as unique are the arbitrary 'containers' Dr Queen talks about, which can only be detected by supplying the valid decryption key for each one, thus allowing other private 'containers' to remain undiscovered as, without the key, you can't prove they even exist.

In case anyone starts spouting the rubbish about "those with nothing to hide" etc. etc., some people on this platform genuinely do need to use programs like GnuPG and Stealth as a matter of utmost importance, for example I have a friend whose family is based in a country with a repressive government, and they sometimes need to hide their day-to-day communications or risk persecution.

VinceH: it's ok, they'd release you after a few weeks by mistake and forget where they left you ;)

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 22/5/06 12:06AM
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On Acorn is a legendary brand says new Acorn:

And the large majority of software in ROM which is still labelled as Copyright Acorn Computers?

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 15/5/06 5:19PM
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On Wakefield 2006 live news:

Multiple processors won't make the Iyonix faster at processing images in PhotoDesk or encoding MP3s. Agreed, the RISC OS desktop is easily nippy enough on a 600MHz XScale, but some things simply require more oomph than even a 1GHz ARM (or several) would provide.

That said, it would be a very nice and potentially useful project. Anyone remember Hydra though? It's been tried, and the development required could be huge.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 13/5/06 4:00PM
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On Acorn brand name in PC laptop launch:

If this seemingly unrelated company really is using Acorn's good name intentionally in this way, I hope Paul's contact with Companies House throws up some dirt, as Acorn is very much a part of RISC OS' history whether we like it or not. People still fondly remember RISC OS as "that quirky system that ran on Acorns", but if the 'new' Acorn becomes a dubious (in the way it was set up) PC box-shifter, all credibility will be lost. It'd be like Watford Electronics all over again...

ajb: It's a simple typo. There is no resulting dodgy website displayed, just a broken link from the exhibitor's page. Perhaps your web browser defaults to searching the web for near matches in the case of a page-not-found error and this is what you saw.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 5/5/06 8:32PM
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On Speak open sourced:

Speak could also be used in Organizer and CallerID, and of course Pluto.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 1/4/06 4:07PM
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On Omega USB project contemplated:

An ambitious project to which I wish all the best of success.

I suppose this project effectively signifies the end of any hope for further significant development on the Omega from MicroDigital. Hasn't USB support been paid for already by MD's customers? I'd be a bit miffed to have to pay all over again to bring my computer up to the specifications it was sold as having...

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 27/2/06 8:53PM
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On Midlands user group formed:

There's a handful of RISC OS-using students at Birmingham University.

If getting from the student areas of Selly Oak and Harborne etc. aren't too difficult by public transport there's probably a couple of us who'd be interested in joining a local group too.

All the best of success to MUG!

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 9/2/06 10:40AM
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On News in brief:

One of the best, but overlooked, new features in RDPclient is that in full-window mode the session's window can now be configured not to pop to the top of the RISC OS stack when clicked inside.

I often work on my Windows laptop in full-window mode (to allow multitasking with RISC OS) with various RISC OS windows in front of it and it's so much more a pleasure to use now that I don't lose sight of all my RISC OS work every time I use Windows!

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 16/1/06 1:24PM
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On Geminus graphics acceleration in beta:

I'm not convinced that it's doing what it says it should do on my Iyonix.

Artworks' apple still takes the usual amount of time to redraw when dragged around the screen, PDFs scroll up and down like treacle, and F12-return is still something to avoid showing your cynical GeForce 7800-owning mates. There's a very slight increase in speed when filling in the rectangles of the screen using RDesktop but that could just be my own perception.

Adjust-clicking to toggle on and off has no noticeable effect except for possibly with RDesktop.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 12/11/05 1:21PM
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On Independent Select for Iyonix interest list opened:

Before I can consider making a pledge I'd need to know what sum I'd be expected to pay for the Iyonix Select (especially now that we have totally new pricing for Adjust from ROL).

Is it a bog-standard 155/yr subscription we'd be expected to pay, is there the extra 15 that's been mentioned, or is it a totally different fixed price for a snapshot release much like Adjust? If we sign up for a year's subscription along with 100 other Iyonix users and ROL produce nothing in that year, what happens then?

Some of these questions need firm answers before I, and probably others, would consider committing a pledge to.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 8/10/05 1:35AM
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On Oregano, Firefox and NetSurf reviewed:

What versions of the browsers were you using, Martin? Bear in mind that even O2 is now pretty much officially out of date now that O3 is arriving, and FF and NetSurf are updated regularly.

The issues with Flash and other similar technologies are *not* a RISC OS browser issue, but a problem with lack of up to date plugins. In that sense, NetSurf and FF have another edge over O2 as they can use newer plugins when they become available, rather than be stuck with O2's built-in ones.

Personally I love NetSurf and use it 90% of the time. For sites requiring JavaScript or other things NS can't do, I RDP into my laptop and use FireFox there as RISC OS FF is still a bit slow and flakey, and is definitely a work-in-progress, although I do use it under RISC OS on occasions.

Oregano2 doesn't get a look-in here. Guess I've been spoiled by the speed of NS (and FF under Windows), but If it loads by accident I'll have banished it from my iconbar before it's even finished loading - which isn't a hard thing to achieve! (And usually invokes a nasty-looking bug too).

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 25/8/05 11:30AM
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On Firefox first beta published:

Jaffa: I haven't yet managed to install *any* extensions. They download ok but will not run. Is it even possible in the beta?

helfpul: on my Iyonix there isn't a noticeable time difference between text entry in Firefox, and typing into a NetSurf text box.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 21/6/05 9:00AM
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On Firefox first beta published:

Fantastic news! RISC OS can show its face in the big wide world once more with a browser that is truly of world-class standard.

I'm at work until 10pm tonight, but I want to go home *now* and play with Firefox! Grr...

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 20/6/05 3:37PM
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On Select for Iyonix spotted in public:

This is fantastic news as long as ROL and CTL follow through with it. Jack Lillingston seemed to imply at the show that the ball was very much in ROL's court at the moment (whether that acutally is the case or not I don't know) so to see them get as far as a semi-public preview of 32-bit Select on the Iyonix is extremely encouraging.

The question then is what will happen to RO5 if Select32 is completely converted to run on Iyonix? I can't imagine Castle would just dump it after all the work that's been done on it. Real merging of features also needs to take place and so far we still haven't seen any co-operation on this kind of level.

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 9/6/05 12:54PM
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On South East show report:

With all the great news regarding a port of Firefox from the UPP I'm a little concerned that, similar to what happened to Acorn with the early announcement of Phoebe, people will get caught up in the hype and wait for a Firefox port (no matter how long that may take) rather than supporting other projects such as Netsurf and Oregano2 in the meantime.

After all, who would pay 50 for an O2 upgrade tomorrow if a Firefox port could be released next week?

 is a RISC OS Usertamias on 25/10/04 4:11PM
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