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The Icon Bar: General: Experience with A9home?
 
  Experience with A9home?
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Amin Kharchi Message #113331, posted by AKX at 10:01, 12/2/2010
Member
Posts: 11
Hello! My two RiscPCs are break-down. For gaming I use my old A3010. And for work I use VirtualRPC-SA.

I am interested in the A9home because a real machine is better instead of Emulation. But the review on Iconbar is not up to date?

How useable is a new A9home? Are there many defects?
How is the sound working?
Is the Ethernet port working with DHCP?

128 MB RAM are not much. Is it possible to buy it with more RAM or to upgrade (DIY)?

I think the A9home is generally the only available RISC OS computer. But I can't find up to date informations by owners.
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Rob Kendrick Message #113332, posted by nunfetishist at 10:59, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113331
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 484
Why is real hardware better than emulation?

There are some issues with the OS that runs on the hardware. Most of them you won't notice or there are easy work-arounds.

Sound to the best of my knowledge works; I've never tried it. Others report it does work, including sound recording with the right tool.

DHCP is supported.

The memory is not user-upgradable, and I don't believe any upgrade at time of purchase or after the fact is available. I can't say I've ever run out of memory on it, though.
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Jason Togneri Message #113333, posted by filecore at 11:12, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113332

Posts: 3867
The only reason real hardware would be preferable to emulation is if you're doing stuff with low-level hooks into hardware components, etc. If you're simply programming apps, it's unlikely to be an issue, I'd imagine.
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Andrew Rawnsley Message #113334, posted by arawnsley at 12:01, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113331
R-Comp chap
Posts: 465
One word of warning - we've encountered a statistically large number of A9 users encountering disc problems, data corruption and the like. Most are fixable with DiskKnight, I believe, but it is fairly common. We end up dealing with a fair bit of support on this because programs like Messenger Pro, DataPower, and various other R-Comp apps are more disc intensive than the average word processor or whatever, by their nature (email is essential one large disc-based database). We don't see these problems on other non-A9 systems, so my recommendation is KEEP BACKUPS if you're using an A9 - preferably a network attached drive or something.

AFAIK there haven't been any public A9 firmware updates since the majority of the reviews (haven't checked the iconbar review date though). This has been a bit of a bone of contention, although as Rob points out, by and large it works. I think most people were hoping for another update to polish things and/or add new features. Also, the lack of RISC OS 6 or other OS updates seems to be a matter of disappointment.

Note that I *am* biased on this, given that we sell (and actively develop) the only other line of RISC OS-running commercial systems. Although no doubt I'll get flamed for mentioning that!
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Rob Kendrick Message #113335, posted by nunfetishist at 12:38, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113334
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 484

Note that I *am* biased on this, given that we sell (and actively develop) the only other line of RISC OS-running commercial systems. Although no doubt I'll get flamed for mentioning that!
Cor. Are you really the only third-party reseller of VirtualRiscPC now? How quickly the market dropped out of that!
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Blind Moose Message #113337, posted by Acornut at 16:31, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113331
Acornut No-eye-deer (No Idea)

Posts: 487
How useable is a new A9home?
Fine. Once you get it going. Virtually silent ( you can occasionally hear the harddrive). Also, minimal power requirement, (I'm surprised it's not in a GREEN box!) Angel
Are there many defects?
It's mostly a 50% chance that you can start it with both the keyboard and mouse running, without a restart.
However, it is marketed as development machine and is still awaiting the finished flash ROM upgrade.Flying Piggy
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Rob Kendrick Message #113338, posted by nunfetishist at 16:38, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113337
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 484
It's mostly a 50% chance that you can start it with both the keyboard and mouse running, without a restart.
Try swapping the mouse and keyboard around. I seem to recall that this is due to a race condition in the PS/2 driver in RISC OS, that historically has only ever had to deal with one device.

I use mine with a PS/2 keyboard and USB mouse fine.
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Chris Evans Message #113341, posted by CJE at 18:00, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113333
CJE Micros chap
Posts: 198
I and other find that RISC OS under Emulation doesn't have the same smooth operation of native hardware. e.g. jerky pointer movement, every so often keyboard and mouse operation 'pauses' for second or more, losing key presses and mouse clicks. I guess this is whilst Windows is off doing its thing.
I find this so annoying that I rarely use the laptop at home that I have VRPC on and rather use the RPC in my study which is much less convenient.

nb this even happens on new installation on top of a new installation of xp with all patches applied & only Antivirus installed.

Emulators are amazing pieces of software but can never get away from the fact that there is the underlying WINDOWS OS to contend with and try and keep stable. Various people have said that WindowsXP should be reinstalled every two or three years, a task many RISC OS users will not relish.
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Peter Naulls Message #113344, posted by pnaulls at 19:57, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113341
Member
Posts: 317

Emulators are amazing pieces of software but can never get away from the fact that there is the underlying WINDOWS OS to contend with and try and keep stable.
Of course there is getting away from it. RPCEmu runs under Linux and Mac OS X. It would be perfectly possible to make a very cut down Linux and only run RPCEmu on it. Let's not equate VirtualAcorn's decision to limit its product to Windows to emulators in general, or indeed VirtualRPC with how emulators have to behave.
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Jason Togneri Message #113345, posted by filecore at 20:30, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113341

Posts: 3867
Various people have said that WindowsXP should be reinstalled every two or three years, a task many RISC OS users will not relish.
Getting away, for a moment, from the fact that this advice is complete and utter bollocks - may I also point out that maybe you ought to finally upgrade from a decade-old OS?

EDIT: I'm referring, of course, to Windows XP which came out in August 2001 and is slightly less than a decade old, as opposed to RISC OS 4 which came out in July 1999 and is slightly more than a decade old. Long live RISC OS! etc.

[Edited by filecore at 20:44, 12/2/2010]
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Andrew Rawnsley Message #113348, posted by arawnsley at 21:22, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113341
R-Comp chap
Posts: 465
You certainly shouldn't be losing keypresses etc! I grant you that (depending on your mouse, and configuration) mouse smoothness on Iyonix can seem smoother (but not RiscPC, really), although again, this does seem to come down to the machine you use.

It sounds to me like you haven't been fortunate enough to have a properly set up machine at your disposal.

I can assure you that we aren't plagued by customers losing keystrokes! However we also don't just stick VA on a machine and assume that's an optimal state. It isn't. By a long way.

Many of our systems are now 5+ years old, and haven't required windows to be reinstalled. As others have said, propogating mis-information like that is highly unhelpful.
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Garry Message #113349, posted by thegman at 22:05, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113348
Member
Posts: 64
I had an A9Home for a while a few years back, it was pretty incomplete then, not sure what it's like now.

I also have VirtualRPC running on Vista, generally I'd say it's a better experience, due to the better screen resolution and it's faster too.

If I were to consider a native machine though, I'd definitely be in the market for a BeagleBoard/Touchbook. I think it's fair to say that if RISC OS has a future on ARM hardware, that's where it is.
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Martin Bazley Message #113350, posted by swirlythingy at 23:01, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113348

Posts: 460
I grant you that (depending on your mouse, and configuration) mouse smoothness on Iyonix can seem smoother (but not RiscPC, really), although again, this does seem to come down to the machine you use.
For your information, my now considerably more than a decade old RiscPC, still sporting an ARM 710, is, in practical terms, considerably faster and more responsive than every Windows PC I have ever used. This is a processor not powerful enough to play MP3s (I've tried unhappy ), yet it still beats a performance nominally measured in GHz but bogged down by crapware.
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Eric Rucker Message #113351, posted by bhtooefr at 23:06, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113350
Member
Posts: 336
Then you need to use something faster than a 1 GHz P3 with 128 MiB RAM.

Say, how fast is your RiscPC at playing YouTube videos?

Last I checked, a 5 minute 480x360 YouTube video took 35 minutes to watch, and it was 240x180 by the time I watched it. And mine's an SA233.

On my 1.6 GHz netbook, it takes about 6 minutes to watch, giving it time to preload. Oh, wait, that's in OpenSolaris, it takes 5 minutes to watch in Windows on the same machine.

[Edited by bhtooefr at 23:12, 12/2/2010]
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Gunnlaugur Jonsson Message #113352, posted by Gulli at 23:10, 12/2/2010, in reply to message #113345
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Posts: 138
Various people have said that WindowsXP should be reinstalled every two or three years, a task many RISC OS users will not relish.
Getting away, for a moment, from the fact that this advice is complete and utter bollocks
That depends largely on how you are using your computer. If you're only using windows to run a limited amount of applications and not changing much, reinstalling Windows is a complete waste of time.

On the other hand, if you're installing and removing software frequently or even upgrading software from one major release to another, lots of stuff will be left all over the place, most notably in the Windows registry, because quite a lot of install/uninstall programs are either messy or don't take any chances removing stuff that might damage the registry. In this case a regular reinstall is a good idea because Windows' performance really suffers once the registry starts to fill up with useless stuff.

A second and a more serious reason to do a new and clean install of windows regularly is to make sure your computer hasn't become a host for trojans or botnet tools. This is still an amazingly under-rated risk on Windows especially. Only a few weeks ago a friend of mine was visiting and got to use my computer for an hour or so. My computer is quite well fenced off with some heavy duty firewall in place, windows updated automatically, a well known and powerful anti-virus program (NOD32), Internet Explorer banished into oblivion and web browsers updated automatically but still - in less than an hour my friend managed to get my computer infected with some software (probably a trojan) that Spybot, AdAware, NOD32 and AVG-anti virus all failed to even identify. How did he do it? Simply went to a well known website that offers flash games for free and opened some games. One of the games he opened, I don't know which, apparently contained something that managed to beat all the safe guards (the site was notified immediately of course). I discovered this because I noticed NOD started having problems updating and complained that something was getting in the way.
The only way to get my system clean was a complete re-install, fortunately this was and still is the only windows machine on my network so the intruder was contained there.
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Jason Togneri Message #113355, posted by filecore at 08:14, 13/2/2010, in reply to message #113352

Posts: 3867
Another load of crap. Obviously you need to maintain it and can't rely on dumb automated apps to do it all for you. Yes, tasks can be automated to some extent, but no matter how much we talk about "smart" apps, even the best of them is only as good as its programmer. Contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe, computers don't have genuine intelligence or free will and can't "think outside of the box" (no pun intended) - people treat them like they're people and blame them when they fuck up. That's just not accurate.

A well-maintained machine, even an XP one, will last for many years with no problems - and I'm talking about ones on which apps and drivers and installed and removed on a regular basis (mine are in-use machines, for example, not some single-tasking server stuck in the attic). And as for total reinstalls for a single virus infection - that's like nuking Afghanistan to remove Al-Qaeda. Sure, you have to do a good job to make sure they don't come back to reinfest you, but wiping everything off the face of the earth isn't the smartest approach either. You could try learning rather than just destroying and restarting from scratch. Or at the very least, imaging the drive straight after installing and configuring everything, and then restarting from the image. The days of "Got a virus? Reformat your HDD" should be banished to the past where they belong.
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Gunnlaugur Jonsson Message #113357, posted by Gulli at 10:10, 13/2/2010, in reply to message #113355
Member
Posts: 138
Another load of crap. Obviously you need to maintain it and can't rely on dumb automated apps to do it all for you.
And you're of course making the incredibly foolish assumption that Joe Bloggs has the know-how, the interest or most importantly the time to dig into the inner workings of the operating system, drivers, applications and installation software in order to spend hours upon on hours maintaining what for him is nothing but a tool to achieve a goal.

Yes, tasks can be automated to some extent, but no matter how much we talk about "smart" apps, even the best of them is only as good as its programmer.
So the solution is for every computer owning person out there to become experts on how the various levels of programmers mess up their software?

Contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe, computers don't have genuine intelligence or free will and can't "think outside of the box" (no pun intended) - people treat them like they're people and blame them when they fuck up. That's just not accurate.
And this is relevant how?

A well-maintained machine, even an XP one, will last for many years with no problems - and I'm talking about ones on which apps and drivers and installed and removed on a regular basis (mine are in-use machines, for example, not some single-tasking server stuck in the attic).
Again, the know-how, the interest and the time comes from where?

And as for total reinstalls for a single virus infection - that's like nuking Afghanistan to remove Al-Qaeda. Sure, you have to do a good job to make sure they don't come back to reinfest you, but wiping everything off the face of the earth isn't the smartest approach either. You could try learning rather than just destroying and restarting from scratch.
Yet again, time, interest and know-how! The incredible time all this requires is so easily beaten by the couple of hours it takes to start from scratch by doing a clean re-install. If you only have one hard drive, partition it so you have one system partition and one data partition, make sure your data is always stored on the data partition and you can have your system up and running in less than three hours - which is usually less than it takes to find out why Photoshop won't start after you've upgraded your Acrobat Reader. A really bad example, I know, but the point remains.

Or at the very least, imaging the drive straight after installing and configuring everything, and then restarting from the image.
This is just an alternative way to reformat the drive and re-installing the system. Unattended setup is usually simpler and is provided with most branded computers. Although you may have to do some configuring afterwards.
As for installing applications before imaging the drive, that's only useful if you never upgrade your applications. I've tried this for a while and discovered that the time it takes for the image to become obsolete is usually far less than the time between windows re-installs.

The days of "Got a virus? Reformat your HDD" should be banished to the past where they belong.
Computer literate people that assume that everyone has the time, interest and know-how to maintain every tiny feature of every operating system and application they're likely to encounter are the ones that should be banished to the past. In fact they really shouldn't have been allowed outside in the first place.

[Edited by Gulli at 10:12, 13/2/2010]
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Eric Rucker Message #113363, posted by bhtooefr at 15:11, 13/2/2010, in reply to message #113357
Member
Posts: 336
For that matter, I AM a computer enthusiast, and don't care to know every detail of deep within the bowels of Windows.

So, I have to rely on tools to help find stuff for me.

And, because I keep my data where data should go normally, and know where the rest is on my drive, I can easily recover. Much more easily than I can guarantee that malware is gone. I can be back up and running in a few hours, with all of my data. Not all of my software, but that'll take a few days, and it gets downloaded as it's needed.

That's not the case for other people's machines, where I don't know the data structure, and I will spend the time making sure the system is safe.
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Blind Moose Message #113371, posted by Acornut at 20:53, 13/2/2010, in reply to message #113331
Acornut No-eye-deer (No Idea)

Posts: 487
But I can't find up to date informations by owners.
Meanwhile back on topic, this is an independent Compatiblity site, and this Archives.
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Jason Togneri Message #113372, posted by filecore at 21:40, 13/2/2010, in reply to message #113371

Posts: 3867
back on topic
Hmm, I think I've heard that phrase before, but I'm not sure what it means.
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Gunnlaugur Jonsson Message #113373, posted by Gulli at 22:28, 13/2/2010, in reply to message #113372
Member
Posts: 138
back on topic
Hmm, I think I've heard that phrase before, but I'm not sure what it means.
grin
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Blind Moose Message #113374, posted by Acornut at 22:35, 13/2/2010, in reply to message #113373
Acornut No-eye-deer (No Idea)

Posts: 487
back on topic
Hmm, I think I've heard that phrase before, but I'm not sure what it means.
grin
"a hazelnut in every bite" tardis
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Martin Bazley Message #113385, posted by swirlythingy at 22:43, 14/2/2010, in reply to message #113351

Posts: 460
[Bit not quoted:]
...This is a processor not powerful enough to play MP3s (I've tried unhappy )...
Say, how fast is your RiscPC at playing YouTube videos?
Hey, see that point? You know, the one way over in that other direction?

I was, of course, referring to day-to-day usage (programming, drawing, general desktop responsiveness) rather than processor-intensive tasks, where the obvious requirement is brute processor force.

I don't think I'll bother posting any more in this thread. I know people complain about RISC OS fanboys, but...
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Edward Rogers Message #113386, posted by Monty at 23:37, 14/2/2010, in reply to message #113385
Member
Posts: 154
I think most of us got your point.
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Eric Rucker Message #113388, posted by bhtooefr at 07:02, 15/2/2010, in reply to message #113385
Member
Posts: 336
Except day-to-day usage for most users involves the following tasks that either can't be done on RISC OS, or can only be done poorly (note that I'm writing this from a RiscPC perspective - Iyonix and BeagleBoard may well be better):

* Social networking (extremely limited on RISC OS, needs heavy JavaScript or crippled mobile sites)
* Watching online video (completely impractical on RISC OS)
* Browsing many websites (yes, NetSurf can do a lot if you don't need JavaScript. it's still slow and painful.)
* Editing photos (with the output of digital cameras nowadays, a RiscPC can't even hold enough RAM to process the images sometimes.)
* Reading PDFs (this is incredibly, painfully slow on a RiscPC.)
* Handling MS Office documents (like it or not, MS Office is a standard. And handling them well takes at least OpenOffice. RISC OS can't even RUN that.)
* Playing music (you yourself admitted that you can't play MP3s. Even on a StrongARM, the rest of the system bogs down badly.)
* Skype (including video.)

These are things that normal people do.

For that matter, some would argue that even coding is better on other platforms. And drawing is much more capable, if less intuitive, although I don't see THAT many people needing to make vector drawings on a daily basis.

As for general desktop responsiveness, again, have you used a modern Windows machine? Not someone's old spyware-laden Pentium III with not enough RAM.

Even my cheap US$250 netbook (my RiscPC cost almost that much, and that was shipped within the US) blows away my RiscPC on responsiveness. So, responsiveness overall, responsiveness per dollar, and capability per dollar, it makes the RiscPC look like a complete and total waste of money. Oh, and I got a keyboard, pointing device, webcam, USB controller, and a screen for free with my netbook, and it lasts for 2-3 hours on its tiny little battery.
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Jason Togneri Message #113389, posted by filecore at 08:01, 15/2/2010, in reply to message #113385

Posts: 3867
I don't think I'll bother posting any more in this thread. I know people complain about RISC OS fanboys, but...
You mean, like the sort of fanboys who continue to insist that an ARM710 RPC outperforms a modern Wintel box? Even my StrongARM RPC isn't in any way 'more responsive' than my current Core2 system - sure, for very specific non-CPU or disk-intensive stuff, RO is faster because the GUI is faster; but in terms of general responsiveness, any differences will be too subtle to be noticeable by a mere human. Try multitasking or using any app that requires hitting the HDD - or anything that needs an FPU - and see how far you get on a RiscPC.

[Edited by filecore at 09:06, 15/2/2010]
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Amin Kharchi Message #113431, posted by AKX at 12:32, 18/2/2010, in reply to message #113331
Member
Posts: 11
Thanks to some people for there constructive comments. The most other comments are useless. I don't understand why WinXP is blame for A9home defects.

As I understand the A9home makes errors on HDD filesystems? This is realy scary! I use computers to process data. And if the A9home destroys them, this computer is useless.

Why I don't like use my VRPC-SA? Because it is not perfect. For example the mouse pointer moves if I am in Windows. If I am in Windows the mouse pointer of VRPCs shouldn't move.
Another thing is that I must boot up Windows and then start VRPC. It is realy time consuming.

I like Windows and I use it every day since 1998. But if I want use RISC OS then I want true RISC OS environment. It is realy paradox to use Windows if I want RISC OS. But Windows is innocent. It's RISC OS' market own fault. And I want support it by to buy new RISC OS hardware. But it must of course work right! And if there are some defects/bugs, they must be fixed! No product is perfect, but the producer/maker must show me that they provide continues bugfixes. As I see they don't?

[Edited by AKX at 12:42, 18/2/2010]
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Rob Kendrick Message #113432, posted by nunfetishist at 13:29, 18/2/2010, in reply to message #113431
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 484
As I understand the A9home makes errors on HDD filesystems? This is realy scary! I use computers to process data. And if the A9home destroys them, this computer is useless.
It is unclear what is at fault. I've never had any problems at all with mine, and it seems to be only a handful of applications (such as Newsbase or Messenger Pro) that trigger the issue. The hardware is certainly perfectly reliable under Linux, so one assumes the problem will eventually be found in RISC OS and/or the applications that trigger it, and fixed.
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Peter Naulls Message #113433, posted by pnaulls at 17:25, 18/2/2010, in reply to message #113431
Member
Posts: 317
Thanks to some people for there constructive comments. The most other comments are useless. I don't understand why WinXP is blame for A9home defects.
No one made that claim. The argument was put forward that VRPC is a credible option.


As I understand the A9home makes errors on HDD filesystems? This is realy scary! I use computers to process data. And if the A9home destroys them, this computer is useless.
Agree. And in fact, this is the reason I have from many A9home users that they don't use their machine much.


Why I don't like use my VRPC-SA? Because it is not perfect. For example the mouse pointer moves if I am in Windows. If I am in Windows the mouse pointer of VRPCs shouldn't move.
I agree that VRPC has many obvious problems. Some of these are due to Windows, some are not.


I like Windows and I use it every day since 1998. But if I want use RISC OS then I want true RISC OS environment. It is realy paradox to use Windows if I want RISC OS. But Windows is innocent.
What do you mean by this? Of course it's not "innocent" - you implicated it yourself above. As a full blown OS running as the host with many unpredictabilities of course it's complicit in VRPC issues.


It's RISC OS' market own fault.
I don't know what this is supposed to mean.


And I want support it by to buy new RISC OS hardware. But it must of course work right! And if there are some defects/bugs, they must be fixed! No product is perfect, but the producer/maker must show me that they provide continues bugfixes. As I see they don't?
So, voice your concern to ROL/AdV6. Of course it "should" be fixed, but so should Omega. Asserting it doesn't make it so. The RO market is small, it doesn't have the resources, and often lacks the enthusiasm, to fix even minor problems.
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Soereboe Message #113605, posted by Soereboe at 15:08, 6/3/2010, in reply to message #113388
Member
Posts: 9
* Playing music (you yourself admitted that you can't play MP3s. Even on a StrongARM, the rest of the system bogs down badly.)

Playing MP3s with a RISC PC StrongARM-233 in OS4.02 is no problem for me and it do that with high quality using the AMPlay package..
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The Icon Bar: General: Experience with A9home?