RISCy OptionS

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So, my poor old RISC PC may be dead. It may be having a strop about the monitor. The power supply might be dead. It’s a bit of an unknown at the moment. The first time I powered it up I thought YAY! for about the time it takes for the self test to run.

Cyan showed the crappy LCD
Green showed the crappy LCD

Then up flicked ‘Input Not Supported’. I’ve had this problem before, when I first connected the LCD monitor to the RiscPC. It’s poor aged video hardware sometimes has a few issues when it comes to modern LCDs, a technology that it has not even the first concept of. Thanks to the flexibility of the hardware though, it was fairly easy to do both the ‘go back to autodetect’ and then modifying the set-up so it could handle the crappy-cheap LCD. All good.

But not today.

Resetting the CMOS and then telling it to try to autodetect the monitor didn’t work. It’s still producing the lovely chime of RISC OS starting. ‘Thwoop’ it goes. And the monitor switches off. Indeed, rather alarmingly, the power-on LED is no longer coming on, which leads me to wonder if something more alarming is going on.

I’m pondering whether to take it round to John’s house where there are old CRT monitors that are perhaps somewhat happier to be driven with whatever shite is coming out of the VIDC… but I’m also trying to steel myself for this beloved computer being very, very dead.

And what I do if that’s the case…

I could stick a Raspberry Pi in it, which would allow me to have a box that could keep running RISC OS. Which’d be rather nice.

Similarly, there’s the Beagleboard XM which seems a bit more umphy, which would again provide the ability to run RISC OS – and perhaps be a bit more capable in terms of real computing than the Pi; that said, how much do I use it? I’ve not used it seriously in years.

Then there’s the possibility of making it into a real ‘working’ computer. By which I mean, at some point this laptop is going to finish its long drawn out death rattle (it again decided to power-off for no obvious reason, and today didn’t even have the good manners to come up with ‘Your computer reset because of a problem’. I am forced to conclude that at 7 years old it’s starting to show its age. I did check ebay, and it’s now worth distressingly little* so selling it isn’t really worth it). When it dies I’m going to have to replace it with something and I’m very, very tempted to replace it with a Linux PC and an Android / Sailfish tablet. The PC being for video editing and, if I ever get back to it, my podcasting. The tablet being more my daily use object.

At any rate, until I’ve had a chance to wave the RPC at John (and possibly threaten it with test equipment) these multiple vague possibilities will keep wandering around my head.

What does make me (potentially) sad is that I’d like to retrieve the data from the RiscPC and we’re nearing the point where that’ll be impossible.

* For a few minutes I was hoping that Apple’s usual value retention plus the boxed nature of it would mean it was worth enough that I could flog it, buy an adequate android tablet and a way more powerful PC to throw in the Risc PC case. That brief flight of fantasy was brought to the ground somewhat quickly.


Kate's a human mostly built out of spite and overcoming transphobia-racism-and-other-bullshit. Although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, it's all good.