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The Icon Bar: News and features: Wakefield 2005 show report
 

Wakefield 2005 show report

Posted by Phil Mellor on 01:00, 22/5/2005 | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
 
The Live Show Report contains more photos and information from throughout the day.
Peter Naulls' Firefox presentation is covered in a seperate report.
I've scanned in the A9Home brochure wich has a full spec and price guide.

The A9home

The star of the show was, undoubtably, the A9home. It was kept under wraps until Advantage Six's presentation when it was unveiled to a round of applause. It really is a compact - no, tiny - machine. It's so small I had to put set camera to 'macro' mode to be able to focus on it. Fantastic.
 
The A9home measures 168 x 103 x 53mm, and has a rugged, cobalt blue aluminium case. Inside is a Samsung ARM9 processor and graphics co-processor, 128MB SDRAM and 8MB VRAM. There's a 2.5" 40GB IDE hard drive too - although using Compact Flash was option considered earlier in the design process. There are 2 USB ports on the front, and another two at the back, along with Mic in, headphones, PS2 keyboard and mouse, 10/100BaseT network, serial port and the power in. The power supply unit is a standard laptop size (I think), offering 5V, 20W. There are a few lights on the front - power, status and disc drive.
 
The A9home will be marketted and sold by CJE - it's not known yet whether other dealers will be available to sell this; it depends what sort of profit margins are possible I suppose. The A9home with keyboard, mouse, power supply and IEC cable costs £499 + VAT. Options are an external DVD drive (£79.95 + VAT), colour matched wireless keyboard and mouse (£39.75 + VAT), 17" TFT monitor (£199 + VAT) and a flight case (£10 + VAT).
 
The A9home won't be available from CJE for the general public for a couple of months - but A6 are already shipping to developers, so this certainly isn't vapourware. This is because RISC OS Adjust 32 is not fully complete for the desktop yet - although the machines I tested worked well, bar a few bootup irregularities. The developer editions come with RISC OS Adjust 32 Preview Edition.
 
The mysterious Project Simon is apparently destined for the A9home, providing graphical acceleration. The computer rendered draw files very quickly, even the infamous Artworks Apple. Dragging large windows around was a tad sluggish, but something A6 will be working on.
 
Like the Iyonix, the A9home comes with a 32 bit only processor, so 26 bit applications like Impression and Sibelius won't run natively. Amazingly, Adrian Lees managed to get an ARM9 version of Aemulor that emulates an ARM6 running by the end of the day - in fact it ran first time! That man is some sort of programming god, I tell you.
 
There was a tremendous good feeling from everybody about the A9home. It may be small, but it's going to be BIG.

Castle and ipSign

Castle revealed one of their big developments today - ipSign. It's an ARM9 RISC OS device that is designed for digital signs, information hubs, and the like - the sort of displays you see crashed with a Windows error message in the middle, but better.
 
Jack used his presentation to demonstrate CableNews on the ipSign. The idea is that the content can be updated over the internet. The scheduling system is very comprehensive, allowing different content to be shown in certain locations at particular times.
 
Castle also demonstrated USB2, a nifty Canon photo printer (which works best if you connect the camera directly to the printer as there aren't any RISC OS photoreal drivers for it) and a large TFT monitor/TV.

Omega

Liquid Silicon had an Omega on their stand. It was in a long, thin 1U server case, and had a touchscreen monitor attached. You could emulate the Menu and Adjust mouse buttons by holding your finger down on the screen. Liquid Silicon's plan for this is interactive displays (You know, the sort of displays you see crashed with a Windows error message in the middle... I may have mentioned this before...) and Point Of Sale (POS) machines.
 
They said the A9 was less useful for this because it lacked multiple serial ports (a lot of POS peripherals and the touchscreen still use serial input), and the Iyonix motherboard couldn't fit inside the 1U case.

Browsers

Oregano 3 was on display - with a real interweb connection for people to test their problem sites against. The CSS support is much, much better than on Oregano2, which makes the browser look far more capable straight away. Some of the annoying bugs from O2 have been fixed, including the close-window crash. There are some new features such as "Save text" and better printing - the page reformats to fill the page for example.
 
Obviously release schedules are difficult questions; I was given an estimate of 2-3 months.
 
Peter Naulls was demonstrating Firefox on his stand and in his presentation. It's impressive to see it working on RISC OS. The speed isn't there yet - it takes about 45 seconds to start up on a Risc PC, and the overall rendering is rather sluggish - but it's early days and Peter is working on it. There are a few buggettes like the drop down menus appearing in the wrong place, but Peter explained that eventually it would be able to use proper RISC OS menus.
 
Peter couldn't say when Firefox would be ready for release, but admitted it would either be "before or after Oregano 3"; probably a few months wait.
 
Netsurf also made an appearance on Ian Chamberlain's stand.

Geminus

The Spellings stand had a sparkling demonstration of Geminus providing an Iyonix with a 2560x1024 display, with rotating screens and everyfink. It's on sale now, folks.
 
The latest version of Cino was in action too, running at between 8-10 frames per second; it's a bit faster if audio is turned off. There's still some optimisation to be done then, but it's still impressive.

Virtual Acorn - Mac style

There was a Mac Mini on the VA stand, running Virtual Acorn. Performance wasn't bad at all; with a Power Mac G5 it should rock. The Mac Mini is very tempting, and for those requiring facilities that the Mac OS can provide over RISC OS, this might be the ideal solution, especially as you end up giving money to Microsoft.
 
VA were less sure about releasing a version for Linux; it's technically possible, but they are worried about providing support, as there are so many different system configurations possible. Perhaps if you're willing to brave it alone without support, you might be able to persuade them?

Orpheus Internet

Paul Vigay was promoting his new ISP, despite the efforts of the Iconbar team to put him off with various impromptu photo shoots. He said that business had been good, and was informed last night that Voyager was now working with Orepheus Internet.
 
Paul was listening to music using ROTunes (his iTunes clone), and showed off some fancy new features such as VDU bars on the icon bar icon. Version 0.07 has basic playlist support by dragging directorys on to ROTunes.

Other stands

There was loads of other stuff going on - here's a brief rundown.
 
Qercus had the latest issue for sale; subscribers will be pleased to know it's in the post now. X-Ample were showing off their excellent Enigma machine again; I didn't get time to ask about Impression-X, sorry. CJE had a fancy three dimensional mouse for sale; you could drag windows by squeezing the trigger and waving your hand around. Steffen Huber had DVD writing on the go, and Martin Weuthener had a long line of Artworks 2 customers.
 
Mathmagical's stand was very lavish (and very purple), and showed off ArtGraph generating some pretty mathematical and yet pretty pretty pictures. R-Comp had a massive TV monitor for under a thousand quid which came in handy for watching the football, as well as their Virtual Acorn running PCs, MusicMan, Datapower, and the rest.
 
The RISC OS packaging project was promoting the, erm, RISC OS packaging project, and a RISC OS toolkit for developing desktop applications in C++.

Overall

An excellent show. Lots of new products and hardware available; very positive feeling. Thanks to everyone who said hello; if you didn't make the journey today you can join in the fun on Sunday.
 
WROCC members said that they were "ecstatic" at the show turnout, and put a lot of it down to the A9Home.


Videos

The videos are in MPEG format - playable using KinoAmp. Warning - some of the videos are not that exciting, so if you're on dial up wait until you get into work on Monday... ;o)
 
Video: Omega Touchscreen (2MB)
 
Video: Castle presentation (2MB)
 
Video: Cino (1.5MB)
 
Video: A9 booting up during the presentation (7MB)
 
Video: A9 during the presentation (4MB)
 
Video: Chocky (1.4MB)
 
Video: The Vigay (2.3MB)

Photos

JPEGS approx 100K each.
 
Win this car! Win this car!
 
Denbridge Data - this is running on a PC Denbridge Data - this is running on a PC
 
Denbridge Data, running on RISC OS Denbridge Data, running on RISC OS
 
Denbridge Data, running on RISC OS Denbridge Data, running on RISC OS
 
Omega on the Liquid Silicon stand, in 1U server case. Omega on the Liquid Silicon stand, in 1U server case.
 
Omega on the Liquid Silicon stand, in 1U server case. Omega on the Liquid Silicon stand, in 1U server case.
 
Touchscreen Omega Touchscreen Omega
 
Mathmagical stand - very, erm, purple Mathmagical stand - very, erm, purple
 
Mathemagical stand Mathemagical stand
 
Geminus Geminus
 
Firefox running on an Iyonix Firefox running on an Iyonix
 
A9 running in a mini PC case A9 running in a mini PC case
 
A9 running in a mini PC case A9 running in a mini PC case
 
Enigma Enigma
 
Virtual RPC running on a Mac Mini Virtual RPC running on a Mac Mini
 
A9home A9home
 
Crowd at the Advantage Six stand after their presentation Crowd at the Advantage Six stand after their presentation
 
Oregano 3 - sorry, no traditional iconbar.com screenshot Oregano 3 - sorry, no traditional iconbar.com screenshot
 
A5 tablet PC with VRPC A5 tablet PC with VRPC
 
A9home A9home
 
A9home A9home
 
A9home - comparison with a 50p coin A9home - comparison with a 50p coin
 
A9 home compared to a Mac Mini A9 home compared to a Mac Mini
 
A9 home compared to a Mac Mini A9 home compared to a Mac Mini
 
APDL APDL
 
Mine's bigger than yours Mine's bigger than yours
 
RComp Virtual Acorn PCs RComp Virtual Acorn PCs
 
CJE CJE
 
The Vigay The Vigay
 
Chocky Chocky
 
Chris Williams Chris Williams
 
Oregano 3 Oregano 3
 
Look! Oregano 3! Look! Oregano 3!
 
Mr Aemulor Mr Aemulor
 
ITC ITC
 
Charity stand Charity stand
 
Dr Wimp Dr Wimp
 
RISC OS Packaging Project RISC OS Packaging Project
 
This man said his wife would kill him if his picture appeared on The Icon Bar. Sorry, Gordon. This man said his wife would kill him if his picture appeared on The Icon Bar. Sorry, Gordon.
 
Team Qercus Team Qercus
 
Firefox Firefox
 
Photo printer on Castle's stand Photo printer on Castle's stand
 
Look! A girl! Look! A girl!
 
Peter Naulls Peter Naulls
 
Firefox presentation Firefox presentation
 
AndrewD. Nice shirt. AndrewD. Nice shirt.
 
Icon Technology Icon Technology
 
Qercus chat with Stuart Tyrrell Qercus chat with Stuart Tyrrell
 
Latest issue of Qercus Latest issue of Qercus
 
MW software MW software
 
Chocky again. I'm obsessed. Chocky again. I'm obsessed.
 
Archive Archive
 
Steffan Huber Steffan Huber
 
Chris Evans Chris Evans
 
X-Ample X-Ample
 
Advantage Six's indoor shed Advantage Six's indoor shed
 
General atmosphere General atmosphere
 
RiscCAD RiscCAD
 
EFF EFF
 
John Ballance talks to X-Ample John Ballance talks to X-Ample
 
WROCC WROCC
 
Chris McDrobe interrogates Matt from A6 Chris McDrobe interrogates Matt from A6
 
F12, *Modules F12, *Modules
 
It was Chris that did it, honest It was Chris that did it, honest
 
Interesting module, there Interesting module, there
 
A9home in action A9home in action
 
Aemulor running on the A9home. Adrian is some sort of God. Aemulor running on the A9home. Adrian is some sort of God.
 
Impression Publisher on the A9home, thanks to Aemulor Impression Publisher on the A9home, thanks to Aemulor
 
The Vigay has left the building The Vigay has left the building
 
Venue Venue
 
Venue Venue
 
Venue Venue
 

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The Icon Bar: News and features: Wakefield 2005 show report