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About OnAStickSoftware...



OnAStickSoftware or OAS, is the home of assorted software produced by me, one Jon Bird located in a coastal region of East Sussex, UK. These days, primarily it's driving OAS Playout, a powerful radio playout system... but more about that later.

Technical Background

I'm from one of the early 80's 8-bit micro era having first cut my teeth on the Tandy CoCo 1 moving through an assortment of similar beasts but finally "specialising" as it were on the Dragon 32/64 (the UK variant of the CoCo) of which much of my old site still contains information & software on. I worked my way through BASIC, before delving into the joys of Motorola 6809 assembler writing an assortment of utilities & programs - this led into my first exposure of a real time OS - Microware's OS9 Level 1. I also ventured into the world of hardware & built with the help of a few more knowledgable people an assortment of add ons for the Dragon, leading to more software including several device drivers & file managers for OS9. This culminated in the PCShare project - an application suite to allow Dragon's to make use of a PC's peripherals. Plus a few noddy Windows apps along the way.

In the "real world" I've worked as a software engineer for 20 odd years, having gained experience in Ada83 running on Vax/VMS & Motorola 68020 targets (with a smattering of assembler thrown in), leading into 'C' (now my mainstream language) on both PC and (at the time) "the world's highest performance DSP ever with 2 billion operations (BOPs) per second" - Texas Instruments multiprocessor TMS320C80 (or C80) - and yet another exposure to assembler on quite possibly the most evil platform ever. I was also getting to grips with the Win16 API under Windows 3.1 - coinciding nicely with my writing of the initial Win16 variant of PCShare. Much of this work has been realtime, often embedded graphics based products in the arena of digital mapping and has led to high exposure of the Win32 GUI & associated API and almost innevitably led to OpenGL exposure both under Win32 and VxWorks platforms on PowerPC cards. I've also had a brief stint in writing software for Windows XP embedded using RTX real time extensions in C++ on a Pentium (P3) platform. Most recently I've been developing software for and building embedded Linux systems on various platforms from x86, PowerPC and soft core processors in FPGAs.

Background to Playout

Playout was born out of one of my other passions - all things radio and started out life as an experimental "what if..." piece of software in early 2001. Having done a bit of very amateurish broadcasting in my youth, it's aim has always been to be the package I'd have liked to had back then instead of messing about with all those tape decks (there's a bit more of a potted history on how Playout got started here). It also draws together much of my experience on writing for Windows platforms since the heady days of Win3.1, through PCShare, maps work and hopefully the ability to write half decent efficient code from those Dragon days.

The few stations which took the risk early on of using the package have been well pleased - particularly the folk at Hastings Rock who were the first (and as I found out later, didn't know it!) and hopefully with the new community stations being awarded now in the UK will find a home on a few of those. I've got a fair amount of pride in the system now and my prime concern is to continue to develop it and continue to enhance a product that presenters enjoy using rather than making a fortune from it. Ideally I'd like to spend more time on it which is principally where the retail prices come in - particularly the lease licenses which (hopefully) are cost effective enough not to significantly dent a community station's budget every year but also allow the package to be "self funding" & give me more time to develop it.

Plus I also get the chance to "play radio" every so often with my long standing cohort in arms Jim Hart - in his proper built home studio. A far cry from small boys in the park, jumpers for goal posts.....


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