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RISC World

What happened at the Epsom Show?

Aaron Timbrell got let off the iSV stand for a few minutes...

Well well, who would have though it? Having had a whole summer full of doom and gloom merchants we come to the RISC OS 2000 show. Hosted at the Queens stand at Epsom Racecourse the show was quite an eye opener. Why? Quite simply it was one of the busiest shows for years. The problem with two day shows (speaking as an exhibitor) is the the second day is always much quieter, and by the afternoon of the second day the only people strolling around are other exhibitors.

Busy
Still busy, and this is about an hour before the show closed!

This show was different, it was manic on Saturday and on Sunday. The Arm Club came up with the superb idea of allowing Acorn User group members to come on Sunday for free. The results spoke for themselves. The organisation couldn't be faulted and neither could the venue. Still enough about how good I thought the show was, how about some of the other exhibitors?

"Very busy, its good to see new faces, there is a new awareness that the RISC OS world is changing."
Paul (RISCOS Ltd)

"The busiest RISC show ever!"
Jack (Castle Technology)

"Very very busy, we have sold lots of upgrades"
Chris (CJE)

"A very very good show, even better than last year."
Richard (Millepede)

"I'm knackered. There has been a massive interest in the portable, and the Osaris is selling very very well. I'm off to do a talk, it's the only way to handle the interest"
Roy (RISCStation and CTA)

So a good show all round, but what was new, what caught everyone's interest?

Show Hi-lights

One word, Omega, that was the major hi-light, a new StrongARM computer from Microdigital. Check our our preview article Omega Men for further details. I want one of these computers, you should want one, everyone should want one!

But what else was there apart from the Omega and the new Osaris handheld (reviewed in Portable World). Well the RiscStation portable (previewed last issue) made an appearance but you still couldn't walk off with one (unless you tried to steal the display machine). It seems that one of the chips has had its specification changed by the manufacturer and a small amount of re-design work will be required. Hopes are still high that machines will be shipped before Christmas.

Castle Technology had a new PS2 mouse converter hidden away on the stand, hopefully this will be launched soon. How will it compare with the one currently made by Stuart Tyrell? Only time will tell. The Photodesk Ltd were in the downstairs section of the show and were showing off PhotoDesk Millennium (hmmm - sounds a bit like another product that I might be associated with) which comes on CD and includes PNG support as well as all the filters and effects that were previously sold on their own. Chris Hornsby was doing a brisk trade in digital cameras, PhotoDesk upgrades and of course printer drivers.

Busy
Photodesk Ltd (the only time the stand wasn't three deep in customers)

In the odd bits of hardware corner we had the in-car MP3 player from Hugo Fiennes company EMPEG. I have to say the display reminded me of some of the newer SONY in-car CD players, and believe me that is a great compliment. Also on display on the next stand was the RiscPC based radar system.

Busy
EMPEG in car MP3 player with real time display

SurfTec were also displaying the new DigiFlash card reader for RISC OS, which should make downloading pictures from digital cameras and PDAs much quicker and easier. The DigiFlash reader costs £79 plus VAT. The device plugs into the parallel port and incorporates a printer pass through connector. Also to be available soon are versions that will work with Compact Flash cards and IBM MicroDrives.

R-COMP had the new full version of Spheres of Chaos on display as well as for sale. Running in VGA mode it really did look very impressive. They were also selling their new Dial-Up internet software which allows you to use the standard scripts that come from various Internet Service Providers meant for Windows.

Busy
The sensible end of the R-Comp stand, the games were the other end!

As for iSV Products (F.X. changes hat) we had a cracking show and managed to sell out of EasyFont PRO upgrades on Sunday morning (apologies to those who had to wait while we cleared the back orders). We also sold vast numbers of DrawWorks New Millenniums, mainly to new customers, which was excellent! However we were beaten by SoftEase, who sold out of the latest version of TextEase within a couple of hours on the first day. If you check out this months DiscWorld you may find out why.

Also on the selling out of products front APDL ran out of copies of the new version of Easy C++. Also available on their stand was a new games compilation CD containing a range of PD and Freeware programs including Elite, SuperFoulEgg, Monopoly and many others for only 7.90.

All the big names from the RISCOS market were in evidence and if I have missed anything I can only apologise. So that was Epsom, very busy, lots of eager customers and a real good feel to the entire show. If this years show is anything to go by next years will be even better. Now we have to wait a whole 6 weeks for the Arm Club Midlands Show, perhaps we may even see an Omega or two and perhaps a pile of RISCStation portables........

Aaron Timbrell

A credit is due to Richard Goodwin and the  Index