Time to get ready for your trip to Wakefield

It is time once again for RISC OS users to make their annual pilgrimage oop north!

This year’s Wakefield Show will take place on Saturday, 27th April – a day shy of two weeks from now – so as I type this, all the exhibitors will be heading into their final fortnight of relaxation, able to put their feet up having prepared everything for the show long in advance.

No, of course, they won’t! For most exhibitors the next couple of weeks will probably see them at their busiest, adding the final touches to the latest versions of their products, discovering problems and making more final touches, before finding even more problems that need fixing, frantically working into the night and not getting enough sleep, as the clock counts down until the point where they have to head for:

The Cedar Court Hotel,
Denby Dale Road,
Calder Grove,
Wakefield,
WF4 3QZ.

For you lucky visitors, it’s all so much simpler – your preparation is simply to ensure that weekend is free (or just that day, depending how far you’re travelling and whether you’re staying in the area), and to make the necessary travel arrangements.

Entry into the show – which takes place in the usual Cypress, Hawthorne and Oak Suites, and will be open from 10:30am until 4:30pm – costs £5 on the door, with children aged twelve or under (accompanied by an adult) able to in in for free.

Once inside, you will find a broadly similar layout to previous years, with the Cypress Suite occupied largely by RISC OS-based exhibitors, and the Hawthorn and Oak Suites by user groups and the retro exhibitors.

Those user groups include the Wakefield RISC OS Computer Club (WROCC) – the show’s organising group – as well as the Midland User Group (MUG), and the retro exhibitors include contingents from the Acorn and BBC User Group (ABUG), the Flax Cottage Educational Archive, and more. A particular highlight, I think, will be Rob Coleman’s stand – where, amongst other things, he plans to demonstrate his work-in-progress port of Doom. To what machine? Why a BBC Micro, of course!

RISC OS-related exhibitors include many of the usual names, big and small, covering both hardware and software, for both play and productivity.

For your gaming needs, two exhibitors worth visiting are Soft Rock Software, with the company’s old budget games able to buy at a sale price on both CD and USB flash drive, and AMCOG Games, whose growing list of titles will increase by one at the show thanks to a new game with the working title ‘Escape from the Arcade’.

Early concept art for Escape from the Arcade
Early concept art for Escape from the Arcade

A selection of puzzle games will also be available from Sine Nomine, along with their more significant mapping application, RiscOSM – a new version of which will be available – and Recce, released in February, which enables RISC OS users to access photographs from Flickr and Google Street View.

RISCOSbits – aka Andy Marks, the king of amusingly names products – will be present with a selection of alternative hardware products, from RISC OS-themed acrylic cases, through the PiCog and PiSSDup cases, to the UniqAce. The company also sells the RiscCE cases designed by Ident Computer.

And speaking of Ident, the company will be exhibiting at Wakefield, with some of their products available to buy, and presenting their online social media tech channel, Wi-Fi Sheep, showcasing some of the projects and hardware seen on the channel.

You can expect to find RISC OS Open Ltd in their usual corner, selling a range of goodies related to the OS – including, but not limited to, the OS itself on various media, the development tools, and a variety of manuals. They will also be answering any questions you may have on the subject of RISC OS, and talking about (and taking pledges for) their various bounty schemes.

This time last year, RISC OS was subject to a shared-source licence, but later in the year the operating system had been acquired by RISC OS Developments, who made it fully open source. The company will be present to discuss that decision and the benefits it has had, as well as the current state of play with their plans to bring a more capable web browser to the platform.

And one of the outcomes of the move to an open source licence was the possibility of a new RISC OS laptop being brought to market, with Pinebook hardware being made available to R-Comp in order to port the operating system to it. The company will be at the show with the latest news on that front, along with their other range of hardware platforms – and you can be sure of a number of software updates, too.

There will also be the usual show theatre, and this year’s schedule runs from 11:00am, with R-Comp giving that first talk, with CJE Micro’s giving the final talk at 3:00pm.

So with lots to look forward to, we expect to see lots of you there!