Finding the Wizard of RM Education (Colour Magic)

If you went to Primary School in Scotland between 2004-2010, then this post is for you.

Primary school was a blur for most people, but one some of the software used on the PC’s stuck with me over time. One being situated in the aptly named folder “Creating & Presenting”. Colour Magic. The name sounds as fantastic as it is. You could paint full on dicks using a rainbow brush tool. It included a stamp feature as well to try and tie into various other subjects and to keep kids entertained.

an example of the many phallic objects you can draw using RM Colour Magic

Now think of this. You have a child (scary I know) and they bring you this piece of “COOL ARTWORK” from their ICT class. How did you make this? You ask. Colour Magic!

So off you go, onto Google to find a download link to keep your child’s creative mind flowing. Yet it seems they want to hide this application more than ever.

You head to “freedownloadmanager.org” – the first link that shows up (shudder, I can feel your antivirus screaming), yet its download button just takes you to the RM homepage.

Strange, maybe the next result? Onto “software.informer” you surf but to be met with the same thing. A “download now” button that doesn’t do its job and kicks you out to the RM homepage yet again.

This will be the same for ALL download links shown on Google, Bing and even duckduckgo. So what now? Well, this was the fun part (hint, not)

2018 – Honestly I was just bored, I was on Twitter and I came across a tweet from my old primary school. In the photo, the kids had been creating amazing masterpieces using RM Colour Magic. Flashback moment to ICT in the same room 10+ years previous. I searched high and low for the software but I didn’t really think anything of it at the time.

2019 – A reddit user had posted in r/nostalgia/ about RM Colour Magic and their failed attempts at also finding a source for it

2020 – An almost identical post in the same subreddit.

2021 – Same thing happened as 2018. This time, for some god unknown reason, I was determined. I came across the two previous reddit posts and realized I wasn’t alone.

Where did I begin? Wayback Machine of course. After some tedious searching through the old RM website, I finally found the Colour Magic product page. Marked at a whopping £46.55 for a single user license in 2008! Sadly the “tryb4ubuy” link had long since expired and took me to a dead page.

Where next? Searching Google got me as far as the helpless parent fiasco above and even torrent websites were starting to look at me a bit funny for typing the same thing in over and over again hoping for new results.

I had an idea. What do you do when you want to pressure a company into doing something? Publicly annoy them where everyone can see. I gave Falkirk Council a mention and started the ball rolling, they also suggested tagging the school. I did this too and for good measure also cc’d in RM Education.

All went silent. Falkirk council said they would forward it to their IT team but watching paint dry is faster than them getting something done, nevermind something as obscure as this.

The dreaded page 2 on Google gave me a clue. A PDF file outlining the desktop software plan for students at Aberdeen University mentioned “RM Colour Magic” but for some reason listed it in the Music folder. It was either a fluke, or something for a flute with the same name. I gave Aberdeen University an email, citing my intentions to archive this abandonware to archive.org.

Autoresponse

Office staff telling me they’d forward it to IT for me

IT asking me for my username and University ID number. This is where I thought it would be a dead end. I responded that I do not have such credentials and reiterated my reason for emailing

Then things went quiet again…I was starting to loose hope.

3 hours later…

A nice man called Ian messages me from the IT department. When I say I almost shit myself, I’m not joking, Andrex please sponsor me. He said that he had an archived copy backed up and that it was approximately 40MB in size. Not only that, but he was willing to extract it and send it to me!

I replied, and waited. Another hour past and he sends me a link to an internal system where he’s uploaded it.

I noticed whilst browsing the old version of the RM Education website that RM Colour Magic apparently doesn’t support Vista or above. Well, thankfully they were wrong.

The journey has ended here. I drew my dicks, fucked around with some stamps and played around with the cool rainbow things. The file is now available here for download.

I hope you enjoyed this journey as much as I did. Which wasn’t a lot, so fuck off really.

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Phone Unlocking, what laws are changing and when

Just like other countries, the UK is set forth to outlaw the process of locking handsets to networks.

How does that affect me?

Well, if you buy your phone directly from it’s manufacturer or buy it as a “Sim Free” handset, this wont affect you. If you buy your phone from your network provider or have a phone contract plan in place, listen up.

Your phone is locked. There’s almost no doubt about it. Unless you’ve went out of your way to either ask your provider to unlock it or taken it to a third party to do so. This can be a pain for many users who want to sell, change or pass on their phone. Nevermind the hassle of taking it abroad on holiday with you. A locked device has less value and is only usable on the network it’s locked to. It’s even worse if you’ve bought a network locked device second-hand, because the network itself will point blank deny you any rights to unlocking the device and you will have no choice but to go to a third party.

As of December 2021, all phones sold from that point on MUST be unlocked. So if you get an iPhone on contract from Vodafone, it will be usable on EE too. Sadly this doesn’t apply to phones sold before that date, meaning if you take out a contract in November 2021, it will still be locked to that network unless you specifically ask the network to unlock it (which takes 2 months for contracted devices for “fraud prevention”….what?!?)

Ofcom have stated that the average fee for unlocking a device is around 10 pound. From personal previous experience, it can cost all the way up to 70 pound for an our of contract device, and even higher than 120 pound for devices still in contract and under their 2 month mark.

The process of locking phones has been nothing but a way for networks to squeeze every last penny out of consumers, by forcing them to use their network and making it as difficult as possible to move away. Many countries already have this law in place (the rest of Europe).

ARM Mac’s? November 10th

Apple have announced a “One More Thing” event, and if you’re in the loop with Apple, that can only mean one thing. ARM Mac’s are going to be released! Apple has hinted at this for a long time but hasn’t given any indication to pricing yet.

Regardless, we’re excited to see what this event brings!

More info will be added during and after the event, so watch this space!

iOS 14.2RC (GM?)

Apple have now released iOS 14.2RC to developers, but it seems they have moved away from the phrase “Gold Master”. The RC build seems to be the first of the schema and the last of the 14.2 beta series. The full public release is due by the 10th of November 2020. The developer RC release seems very stable at the moment during normal use, but only time will tell.

Back up your data! A number of people have reported this update bricking their device and requiring a full restore to get it back up and running! Backing up your data should be part of your routine anyway but if it’s not, click that button!