I was a bit late to be honest – I’d nipped via the office to pick up some speakers and then via Maplin to get a cable for the Music 5000 system, arriving at the hotel around 9:30am (with the show opening at 10am!). Thankfully there were quite a few helpers on-hand to assist in getting everything upstairs, and the organisers had laid on some cages-on-wheels to transport stuff to the stand.
My demo chiefly comprised the Domesday Project, but I’d brought along a BBC Master with Sprow’s ARM7 coprocessor, a Music 5000 system, and some games (mostly educational). I was pleasantly surprised the Domesday LVROM started up without any problems, and for the first two hours the demonstrations went without a hitch.
A gentleman showed up on the stand during the morning, asking if I was interested in some more laserdiscs – of course I was, although I thought they might be videodiscs. However, when he brought them up they were some of the ‘very hard to find’ LVROMs including a full copy of the Countryside Disc and some other ones I’d not seen before. Some digging led to the discovery that these were designed for use on an A3000 with a VP506 laserdisc player – what a great find!
Meantime, all the fiddling with these ‘new’ discs did something to the Domesday LV player itself – the damn thing stopped reading the discs. I carry the service manual on my laptop which led to a quick faultfinding session resulting in error code 004: the tilt unit. This bit keeps the laser perpendicular to the (slightly curved) surface of the disc which curves into a convex shape due to its weight. I was just about tearing my hair out when Rick Sterry mentioned he’d got his toolkit, and with the judicious application of a toothbrush and a good old fashioned blow of air, the dust came out and it started working again although I declined to change the disc after that “just in case”.
All was going so well – then the Music 5000 packed up. Grr! Good job I’d got the old Podd game to keep people amused, although I bet you didn’t know Podd can’t smeg.
Interesting bits: seeing an EeePC running RiscOS; noting that Virtual Acorn seems to be a bit happier on Intel Mac hardware nowadays (the guy on the stand was a bit curt but did say it had been out since last September, but I wasn’t in the mood to buy a copy when he’d been quite snappy with me); the RiscOS package project now has a Kerberos port (but no ssh for it, limiting its usefulness for anything I’d do with it).
In general there was a lot less 8-bit stuff around this time. The charity stand had a few odds and ends (mostly ones I’d brought although there was a Torch Z80 Disc Pack) but no other 8-bit exhibitors other than myself. Jonathan Harston had booked a table but didn’t show which was a shame. I think for future shows I may suggest a larger table for 8-bit amusement since visitors were obviously interested and kept asking if I’d brought more software to play with; perhaps that’s a cue for an Econet next time round!
All told I came home with less junk than I’d taken, some more LVROMs to play with, an Acorn User Group mug, and a RiscPC that was on the charity stand (and which I’ll probably use as a spare).