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The First Meeting

... all trains go to Euston ...

... especially ones from Manchester!

On Wednesday 13th October 1999, the same day that Steve Turnbull, Simtec and RiscStation Ltd starred at MAUG's thirteenth meeting (with RISCOS Ltd representatives in attendance), the *first* meeting of the London RISC OS User Group was taking place a couple of hundred miles away.

The venue was a pub within a stone's throw of Euston Station (so not all that far from Manchester after all), chosen by Andrew Black who - as it turned out - was struck down by a mild form of lurgi on the chosen date anyway. It was very much a "last minute" announcement, but even so it seemed to be a great success...

After some initial confusion, which resulted in three separate London RISC OS user groups forming in different parts of the room, over a dozen enthusiastic Londoners turned up to talk about RISCy things over a pint or three, and celebrate the formation of what now replaces MAUG as the world's fastest-growing RISC OS user group.

A quick poll of hardware revealed that everyone ran either RISC OS 3.7 or RISC OS 4, with the more recent OS just barely ahead; but we grew a little suspicious when we found out that one more person was running RISC OS 4 than admitted to having an ARM processor. (If there's some important secret here, we'll let you know).  It also turned out that everyone had access to a CD-ROM drive, half had a SCSI interface of some sort, over half had a 17" monitor, and no-one had less than 16MB RAM or a processor inferior to a StrongARM. (Software developers take note).

Heeding our request for ARM-powered systems suitable for use in a pub environment, a Symbian employee turned up with a Psion prototype and some other ARM-powered palmtops. Upon discovering that about half of those present had a Psion 5 hidden subtly under their jackets, the air grew hot with the infra-red exchange of useless pieces of information. Neil Spellings excused his possession of a non-EPOC, non-ARM palmtop by showing how it could display the AAUG logo in full colour at a sensible size.

Kell Gatherer was the token bearded Acorn user present, but we didn't check whether he (or anyone else) was wearing sandals. He did however give out promotional packs (produced using RISC OS, of course) which included pictures of an Audi zooming across a frozen lake (this is probably relevant in several ways...)

A committee of seven was hurriedly elected/appointed, and *very* brief talks on the future of the group were given by myself, Tommy Lowe and Neil Spellings, with Neil focusing on the RISC OS '99 show at the end of October. These talks were quickly drowned out by a discussion of the importance of porting MVS to the RiscStation[1], which led naturally to the question of where to eat...

... whereupon half the assembly managed to escape homewards, while the rest converged on a nearby Indian restaurant (no surprise there...). More RISC OS-related rumours surfaced there, plus some anecdotes on the networking of Microsoft's HQ (from the man who organised it).

Some suggestions have been made for future venues, with the next event likely to be held soon in a secret location in Soho, with attendance strictly limited. Other meetings will hopefully be taking place at a variety of times and places, so that everyone gets a chance to come along regardless of transport difficulties.

So if you're interested, please e-mail ROUGOL as soon as possible (for those wondering, it stands for RISC OS User Group Of London) to be added to the (low-volume!) distribution list for future announcements. Membership is free (for now). A website is under preparation.


[1] More sensible discussions were doubtless going on in other parts of the gathering :-)