Chap who may or may not be from the future talks about equipment from the past1.
The next meeting of the RISC OS User Group of London (ROUGOL) is one that will be worth a visit from anyone interested in the recovery and restoration of old Acorn kit and material found on disc media, and archiving that material for posterity – in particular, equipment and media that was used by the BBC in their ‘Special Projects’ unit.
The guest speaker is Paul Emerton of TV advertising and video production company Concept Television Studios Ltd. Paul, who has exhibited old kit at the London Show, including a Millipede Prisma 3 Graphics System at the most recent event, has recently taken delivery of the remaining Acorn kit and media from the Beeb’s Special Projects and will be recovering and archiving that material, and building the machines themselves up into working demos.
Paul’s plan for the meeting is to tell a few short stories about what the BBC used the kit for1, and then offer a rough outline of what he plans to do:
- Recovery of data – covering the basic process, doing it on a low (or no) budget, the risks of ‘clicky’ hard drives and getting around the challenges of different and dying media.
- Restoration of the machines themselves – including dealing with batteries and corrosion, non-destructive case cleaning, and generally restoring them to working models.
- This will be rounded off with feedback and questions from those at the meeting, discussing what other people have done, what could have been done better – and whether anyone can offer help or advice with the project.
It’s possible that Paul may be able to demonstrate something produced by the BBC’s graphics department on original hardware, if he can get it running in time.
The meeting, which is free to attend, takes place on Monday, 16th May, 2016 – starting at 7:45pm – at the group’s customary location:
173 Borough High Street,
The venue – which serves a range of hot and cold food, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks – can be found between (and a few minutes walk from either of) London Bridge and Borough tube stations. It also has ample cycle parking very close by.
For anyone coming in by car, Congestion Charging ends at 6:00pm, well before the meeting, but you need to consider the perils of driving and parking in central London – if you aren’t familiar with it you need to allow extra time, make sure you are patient, and bring a map. Parking is restricted on double red lines at all times, and it’s best to park after 7:00pm on single red or yellow lines.
It’s possible that one of those uses may have involved time travel – that would definitely be something that could be classed as a ‘special project’. The Concept Television Studios Ltd website says the company was founded in 20014. It also mentions twelve years, so it’s possible that’s a typo and it should actually read 2004 – but if time travel is involved, all bets are off: The company could have been formed in 20014 and started trading in 2004, for example. Keep your eye on Paul at the meeting and see if he has any futuristic looking gear that hasn’t been invented yet – such as a strange portable communications device that neatly fits in a pocket – then you’ll know for certain.