Thursday 17 May 2012

Old Times

How can it be May already?   This year is truly flying past!

Sadly the TBA revival has come to a halt as we've all had other priorities - many of which have resembled a crisis' in one form or another!!   Thankfully we are all still here (!) and life is moving forwards, but the time to get stuck into some ARM assembly language isn't there.   I've recently moved into a serviced office in Bristol and have put the Acorn set-up in the corner attracting curious glances through the window....!

Some weeks back I had a great catch up with Martin when he visited the UK, the first time we've seen each other going-back almost to the old TBA days.  Some reminiscing about old times took place, all those crazy rushes before Acorn World finishing products - camped in some flat in London coding until 3am each day for a couple of weeks....

It's curious we both have a Chinese wife and have followed some similar paths.   It goes right back to when we attended the same pre-school but then his family moved away to different area.  Some 7-8 years later at secondary school we found ourselves sat next to each other in the same tutor group - not realising we knew each other for some weeks...!....Life is just full of coincidences...

As it is, Martin works leading the development of security software, based in Singapore but travelling around the world.  His experience in software development and the games industry is immense, but the computer gaming industry is in such a state it's tricky to pursue it as a career any longer.

My profession is as an IT Director specialising in developing software systems and intellectual property relating to business critical multi-channel communications.  This year has seen a big opportunity develop in one of the worlds largest organisations, so I'm rather busy making sure that goes in the right direction and turns into something concrete.

One day I'd love to apply all this experience back into the world of RISC OS but I suspect that's going to be difficult.   Last year I concluded RISC OS might best be developed so it can run in some kind of Virtual Machine, using the multi-tasking engine and such like of a host Microkernel/Hypervisor.  Compatibility would be achieved using the new-world/old-world piece I described before.  This approach minimises having to keep developing drivers for new hardware, and also avoids getting bogged down in licensing restrictions as none of the underlying OS code has to be linked into RISC OS.

This is no easy task in itself and will take considerable effort.  Without some kind of commercial application or some maverick who fancies sponsoring it all (one day hey?), it's not really going to happen....

All I can promise is that I'll keep an eye on the whole RISC OS world and contribute when I can...


Wednesday 25 January 2012

Looking ahead in 2012

So here we are in 2012, and belatedly I wish everyone a Happy New Year.  Indeed that should be a Happy Chinese New Year as well - celebrated in at least two of the TBA staff households!

Recently life has taken over again, so there has been little time to undertake any further development.   Frustrating for sure as there is so much to do, but then we all have to pay the bills, look after the family, and ensure the career is heading in the right direction.   In the next few weeks I should know a little more about what the rest of this year holds as some key decisions are being made.

Hopefully as the year goes on there will be a chance to get some further work done on one or two things for RISC OS.  In particular I'd like to finish some work on TAG32, and get one or two of the old titles up and running again.  I'd also like to spend some time refreshing my C/C++ development skills as writing code in assembler, while enjoyable, isn't ideal when you have limited time available for all sorts of reasons.

Hopefully the bit of momentum built up last year will continue, and the RISC OS Open project will attract some further developers and supporters.