The 2017 South-West Show took place at the Webbington Hotel, its regular home. It was a bright, sunny day (at least to start with) and attendance seemed good. The final count is still awaited, and there was also a questionnaire for visitors to get information and suggestions. If you were not one of those visitors, here is what you missed.
The very quick summary
No major new machines but lots of interesting new software and hardware releases and a good, upbeat atmosphere. It was a great day and R-Comp/Orpheus did a great job.
There were 4 talks, this year in their own little corner. All talks were recorded so should hopefully appear soon. I have summarized them with the details of their stands below.
CJE Micro's had their usual large range of hardware and software. They had their usual wide selection and had several ARM machines setup to demo for customers.
In their talk CJE Micros explained that their customers include both users of 'classic' items as well as more cutting edge users. They have now been able to source a new supply of serial mice, a previously elusive and expensive creature. They also mentioned the recent !PhotoDesk release from London and the new drawing tablet (which should work on almost anything).
They are always interested in second hand items and will be going on a trip to collect items from Oxford next month. They will probably take a route via any other locations which could be on the route (London, Southampton were mentioned) so let them know if you have any previously-cherished and now surplus items taking up space you wish to have them take away.
R-Comp had their usual range or Windows and ARM machines, including the new RiscBook Go (a nice compromise between size, batter life and cost). They released a new RAID solution to provide a non-technical and much cheaper solution for keeping your machine backed up. There are some new, MUCH faster drivers for the ARMX6 networking operations (which are free updates for existing customers) and a new solution to partition much larger hard drives for RISC OS.
In their talk R-Comp talked about the new software releases. Many of their new developments are the result of the requirements of commercial clients, who provide the funding. The partition software is a good example. They also did a demo on the new RiscBook Go, which has a removable screen if you want to use it as a Windows touch tablet. Andrew recommended a Blue tooth mouse if you want to use RISC OS in this mode.
Orpheus Internet were there to talk about their internet and broadband packages (and give out free sweets. Richard was also moonlighting as announcer, technical show trouble-shooter and show organizer.
ROOL had their range of software, hardware, books and badges. This included the last few fullsize SSD cards, and new releases of Pico.
ROOL's talk provided an update on recent events. ROOL is now 10 years old (which was as long as the time from the first RISC OS release by Acorn until their final 3.70 release). It was formed to save RISC OS from obscurity after development stopped in 2003-6. The highlights of the last year have been :- JPEG update bounty, new DDE with updates to the tools and includes BASIC Compiler (which you can get on its own free from www.riscos.fr), and new Pico release. Testing on another bounty finished late last night so watch their newspages in early March.
There is still lots to do and RISC OS relies on everyone's help. So they highlighted ways to get get involved - contribute to the forum, try the nightly build, donate money to help them cover the costs of being at Shows and hosting the software.
The last user guide was 21 years aga. So it is out of date and needs updates/reviewing as a few things have happened since then (like the Internet). There are now only 23 chapters left to go and it is not a technically challenging task.
There are 3 new bounties - extend clipboard, TCP/IP (improving ssl, security and adding ipv6 and wifi), and USB full sync with netbsd code tree.
Rob Sprowson was reasonably confident that FontPro Dir would be available next week. He is waiting for the manuals which he was notified shipped at 3am this morning.
The Pi3 RISC OS release is still waiting on some final items of software to be fixed before it can be released.
John Norris (Bell ringing) & Tasty Treats
John was talking very enthusiastically about all aspects of bell-ringing and offering both software and hardware solutions for bell-ringers to learn and practise. It is clearly a lot harder than it looks and he was explaining how they 'ring in the changes'. Tasty treats was offering lots of enticing jams and spreads.
Drag & Drop
The latest release of the magazine was available along with a new set of fonts for RISC OS (both will be reviewed by Iconbar in the next few weeks).
David was demonstrating ProCad and WebWonder and John showing lots of clients how to get the most from this powerful tool.
The dynamic duo were there to show off the 2.26 version released at London Show and to ask what users would like to see next in the software.
Jim Nagel had back copies of the magazine and details of the new DVD. The latest release was held back so that it could include all the SW Show news and updates.
Soft Rock Software
Vince had the full selection of software and his very cute RiscPC shaped case for a Pi. He was also promoting Riscository where he tracks all the news fit (and unfit to print) in the RISC OS world (always my first port of call when I log onto the Internet). He was also promoting the Bristol user group.
Steve had new releases of his software (including Cash Book) and was showing users all the little tweaks in the software.
Chris had a transparent RISC OS box which was receiving GPS data and displaying this on a little OLED screen. He was also showing how you could use this data for alsorts of other applications.
Brian was talking about the groups meeting and up-coming events. If you are in the South-East, their London venue is very easy to reach (and serves excellent curry).
AmCog games have a growing range of games, including Mop Tops (a Lemmings style game with lots of humour), Xeroid (a flying game), Overlord (a shoot-em up), Legends of Magic (a 3D Isomorphic adventure which also has a game editor and 70,000 novel to accompany the game).
Several of the games are also available in French and German. They are written in BASIC and run at 800x600 resolution. Users are encouraged to dissect and reuse the code. AmCog may well have the makings of a very good Games library....
All their games include extensive original music tracs and AmCog have also been working on a new sound system for RISC OS, which borrows ideas from many places including BBC and C64 sound chips. The theatre talk focussed on how easy it was to use all these features.
Tom had his range of Ident Computers for RaspberryPi. He has put a lot of work into improving the configuration software and making it easier to setup and use. He has lots of developments in the pipeline which will be revealed in due course. Stay tuned...
RiscOSBits have a growing range of devices to plug into RISC OS machines or provide extra features to RISC OS which were being demonstrated. There was also a prototype card to give the Titanium wireless internet.
The show in pictures