Preview: Southwest Show 2020

It is now just over a week until the first show of the calendar year takes place – the RISC OS Southwest Show – so why not sit back, relax, and look ahead to who will be there, and what they’ll be showing you?

And if you’re one of the exhibitors, after reading this, you can go into a full blown panic as you realise just how close we are to the show, and how much preparation you still have to do!

Last year saw the show move to a new venue, after a couple of decades of taking place in the old one. The organisers received positive feedback about the new location from both visitors and exhibitors, and coupled with the show having been considered a success in that venue, it is to play host once again. So your destination on Saturday, 22nd February, is:

Arnos Manor Hotel,
470 Bath Road,
Arnos Vale,
BS4 3HQ.

Conveniently located, the Arnos Manor Hotel is easy to reach whatever your mode of transport. There are bus stops close by, with Temple Meads Railway Station only a short bus ride away, and for those coming by car it’s only a short drive from junction 3 of the M32, which runs into Bristol from M4 junction 19. And if you want to see what some common driving routes to reach the hotel look like, look no further than these directions, put together with dashcam still frames.

The doors will be open from 10:30am until 4:00pm, and once you’ve gained entry in return for a fiver, here’s a taster of what you can expect to see:

Given that the show is organised by Andrew Rawnsley and Richard Brown, of R-Comp and Orpheus Internet respectively, and also both of RISC OS Developments, that’s three companies you should encounter as you wander around the hall. A particular highlight of the R-Comp stand will be the ARMbook – an ARM-based laptop with RISC OS running natively – and you can probably expect updates to a number of the company’s software products. Meanwhile, RISC OS Developments will be the stand to visit if you want to hear about the latest developments with Impression (which they acquired last year), what their plans are for RISC OS (which they acquired the year before), and news of the web browser developments (the reason the company was formed in the first place).

Wi-Fi Sheep will be at the show – and it’s no coincidence that I’ve mentioned them straight after RISC OS Developments. The two companies are working together on a video series, and a RISC OS distribution for the Raspberry Pi, both under the banner RISC OS Direct.

When are either of these likely to appear? That’s anybody’s guess, but even if neither is launched at this show, I’d be surprised if there isn’t some early preview for visitors to see – after all, this is the show organised by two of the directors of one of the companies in the collaboration!

But back to Wi-Fi Sheep, who will also be trying something new at the show: a live broadcast of the event, streamed via their YouTube channel. According to Tom Williamson in this Wi-Fi Sheep video from late last month, they will attempt to broadcast for the whole duration of the show, and – if it works – viewers can expect to see a mixture of things; interviews with other exhibitors, a look at the various stands, and so on. Even if it doesn’t work, and can’t be watched live, Tom says the video recording will be made available on the Wi-Fi Sheep channel as soon as possible afterwards, so keep a close eye on the channel.

This year will see the welcome return of MW Software, with Martin Wuerthner once again flying in from Germany to be there – his first appearance at a UK show since 2018, when he appeared at both the Southwest a Wakefield Shows.

AMCOG Games will be showing off yet another new title to an ever growing range – this time submerging the player in dihydrogen monoxide (er, that’s water by the way) in a game called SCUBA Hunter. If you ask AMCOG’s Tony Bartram nicely, he might also tell you about other titles in the works, such as Hair Rush and Haunted House.

RISCOSitory is late – as ever – setting up the RISC OS Awards poll for 2019, so depending on stand space (and whether the poll is actually up and running by the time of the show) if you pop along to the Soft Rock Software stand, it might be possible to cast your votes there – though this isn’t yet certain. Another possibility could be paper forms that can be completed at any point during the day and handed in at the stand.

The Soft Rock Software stand will also have information about the local user group – Bristol RISC OS Users (BRU) – and three other user groups will also be represented at the show: Andrew Conroy will be representing the Southampton RISC OS User Group (SROUG) – able to do so because he doesn’t have to work on the CJE Micro’s stand, since the company isn’t attending. Bryan Hogan will have a stand for those who want to find out about the RISC OS User Group of London (ROUGOL), and Rob Coleman will be representing the Acorn and BBC User Group, as well as showing off his own projects, such as his port of Doom to the BBC Micro.

And all of that amounts to less than half of the number of exhibitors set to appear at the show – so why not come along and see what else there is?

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