With the lockdown still impacting our lives, and pubs closed, the June Rougol talk moved online with a Zoom presentation by Tony Cheal about the development and history of Ace Computing (Euclid, Mogul, ArcLight, Tween, Splice and Apollonius).
There was some nice general chatter amongst the attendees for 15 minutes at the start before the main event.
Tony Cheal gave us his story (starting with punch cards) and how he had ended up creating Ace Computing. This included a career in teaching A-Level Maths where he first met the BBC Micro. From here he moved into programming and wrote code for several machines including the Amstrad and the QL in machine code. This led to coding on the ICL One per desk. Tony was able to work from home so also had time for some of his own projects.
One of these was to port some BBC software he had written onto an A305 borrowed from Acorn over the weekend. He was so impressed with the machine, he bought one for himself. With this superfst machine and loads of free memory, he started programming 3D graphics. This developed into Euclid and Tony showed it to Acorn who were very keen to see it released.
The name ACE came from Tony's initials AC and he needed a Company to work with Acorn. Tony had a great time doing the shows, meeting the other RISC OS Companies and had lots of anecdotes to recall (like the time he was misplaced in the big Companies section of an exhibition and bombarded with sales calls from Companies believing he was a much larger Company).
Euclid sold over 1,000 copies, but his most successful product was actually a printer driver. Tony also wrote a program called Einstein but never got it fast enough to release.
At the end of the talk, there was time for questions.
One of the big advantages of being on Zoom was that people could attend from anywhere. There were 37 people at the talk including several well-known and not London based faces.
The session was also recorded.
Next month sees Tom Williamson talking about RISC OS Direct on 20th July.