The history of the Organiser II on-line resources

Share your reminiscences
Post Reply
User avatar
Global Admin
Posts: 250
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2023 5:18 pm

The history of the Organiser II on-line resources

Post by Martin »

Psion Organiser II Homepage -
These republished notes are taken from the 'meet them' pages of the web-site found on WayBack Machine
The original web site was launched by Dave Woolnough in October 1996 and was dedicated to the Psion Organiser II range of hand held computers. In the summer of 1997 Jaap Scherphuis joined as Software specialist and soon became fully responsible for maintaining the web-site on a day-to-day basis. In Spring 2002 Boris Cornet volunteered to take over as site maintainer/editor and later that year launched the first every (yellow) Organiser II User Forum.

The web site was deemed necessary because since the introduction of the Series 3 / 3a / 3c / 5 and Siena, Psion PLC has almost ceased their support for the Organiser II, the 'Psion Organiser II Homepage' was created to correct this situation!

Considering that more than 500,000 series II Organisers were produced, there must be many people still using this wonderful machine.

The World Wide Web pages were for those of who would not give up the old, but very trusty CM, XP or LZ. There you could find information and software for the complete range of Psion Organiser II computers.

I hope, those of you who visit these pages will contribute information and not only download programs but also add them as well, programs which you have either written or acquired. Without your help these pages may not survive! Dave

Dave Woolnough wrote about himself
I have been interested in computers since the late 70's! My interest started with the introduction of the microprocessor. I followed the development of this amazing device and as my interest grew I just had to own one. In 1979 I purchased a MOS technologies KIM 1 6502 evaluation kit. This 'kit' consisted of a large PCB which included a hex keypad, six digit seven segment LED display, 1Kb of memory and a TTY output for the more sophisticated programmes! It was only programmable in machine code and to be honest, at that time, I didn't even know what a memory map was let alone a mnemonic! I soon grasped the essentials an began writing a number of machine code programmes. I eventually progressed on to a Nascom 2 which really was a kit...of parts. This I built and had great fun with, programming in BASIC and Z80 machine code.

Then came the introduction of the Sinclair Spectrum, you could say that I sort of regressed a bit in computer terms but the Spectrum was a great little computer and I thoroughly enjoyed using it. I wrote many programmes, mainly utilities but also a few games, again mainly in machine code.

My next computer love was and still is a Psion Organiser XP shortly followed by a LZ64. Then came the Amiga which I just used and never really programmed.

Finally I purchased a PC and have been upgrading it ever since.

The information resource of these web pages was always planned even before I became connected, but my dream only became reality when the medium of the Internet finally arrived ;-}

Dave wrote about Jaap Scherphuis - A Remarkable Psion Programmer.
If you look through the Psion FTP archive you can't help but notice that a large proportion of the programmes are written by Jaap Scherphuis. Many of his programmes are written in machine code which is Jaap's unique trademark as master programmer of the Psion Organiser II.

Jaap was born in Utrecht, Holland. Between 1974 and 1978 he lived in Horsham, West Sussex, which is the reason that he says; "I don't have one of those awful Dutch accents, now." After finishing school in Holland, Jaap returned to England again, to study for a maths degree. He is currently completing his D.Phil (Ph.D) in Number Theory at Worcester College - Oxford, England.

Jaap's interest in computers started when he was given a Sinclair ZX81. In his own words; "I started programming immediately, and soon moved on to programming in machine code with the help of an excellent book by Toni Baker. My ZX81 then turned into a ZX Spectrum."

His first contact with a Psion was when his father bought a model CM in 1987 or so. Jaap had to do the programming for him! He says; "I got my own Psion, an LZ64, in early 1989 as a present for doing well in my school exams, and I have never stopped programming since!"

Jaap's other interests include: collecting puzzles, mainly those of the Rubik's cube type. He is also very interested in magic, and a great fan of Jerry Sadowitz who published one of his own tricks.

To see how to program your Organiser in machine code visit Jaap's Psion Machine Code Tutor web page.

In the summer of 1997 Jaap Scherphuis was invited to join the Psion Organiser II Homepage team as Software specialist and soon became fully responsible for maintaining the pages on a day-to-day basis

Boris Gabriel Cornet (RIP)
Born in Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria Passed away 2012 age 51 due to a heart attack while hiking in India.

Boris Cornet - In Spring 2002 Boris volunteered to take over as site maintainer/editor - in his meet them page he wrote; After finishing school in '79 I began studying computer science at the University of Vienna. Boris explains; "After 2 years of hauling punch cards, I decided that being a computer nerd was not what I wanted to do for a living. So I moved to West Berlin and became part of the squatting scene. I discovered the Psion Organiser II when I was studying (media-pedagogic) again in the mid 80'ies. Somebody approached the Students' Job Board' asking for BASIC lessons - I got the job, and was confronted by an enthusiastic Organiser II fan who wanted to gain control over his Cyber Pocket Assistants.

I immediately fell in love with the Organiser II - which is a truly amazing piece of technology: so much potential and so small! I struck a deal for my work - one XP for me, and the lessons for (almost) free. From that day on, the Organiser II has become a constant part of my life: It replaced my calendar, wristwatch and notebook. I wrote several programs including a word processor and a filing system with folders etc. I even programmed my XP in bed! - and I still believe the Organiser II is the only handheld which can be programmed comfortably in bed.

Later the interest in the Organiser II was partially replaced by the Amiga 1000 which was fascinating because of its graphics potential - remember VGA wasn't even invented at that time and the 8086 was the state-of-the-art processor for MS-DOS machines then.

But disaster struck - on one doomed night, somehow a mysterious power defect not only blew up my Organiser but also wiped all the data on my packs! At that very moment I learned the importance of backups the hard way (haven't we all? Dave). That was the end of a long-term hobby - at least that was what I thought at that moment. And so it was, until...

Meanwhile I left Berlin (still "West-") because of what I call the "final wall tantrum (der endgültige Mauer-Koller)" just a few months before the wall finally went down (history does play tricks on you sometimes).

Back in Innsbruck, I convinced the Tyrol branch of the Austrian Traffic Security Board (KfV) of doing road accident statistics via computer instead of counting numbers on printouts. That's how I got the job I'm still doing today (I call it computersitting or computer occupation-therapy whereas most people would say network administration or even determining). I also do Clipper and Visual Basic programming and geographical information systems are a new challenge. day someone asked me if I knew as solution to a problem:

An automated speed display (primarily an educational device) is hired to schools etc. The idea was to store the data in a rough trade removable device capable of recovering after all sorts of misuse. I checked the market, but my first idea kept being the best solution: the good old Organiser II! So that’s how I came back into business. The project almost died because Psion PLC had ceased support for the Organiser II. If I hadn't found Dave & Jaap’s marvellous Psion Organiser II CM, XP & LZ homepage the handshake lines would have driven me nuts."

You will find Boris hanging out on the BBS Chatline or your are most welcome to contact him by email. Feel free to quiz him regarding all aspects of the Organiser II.

The history of the PSION Organiser FORUM
The Original (yellow) forum was lunched by Boris on 5th October 2002 - became inaccessible in the Spring of 2020. The forum was nearly lost when Boris passed away in 2012 as he had all the access codes and passwords. It was rescued by a member MikeSan who took over the administrator role until he became ill in the spring of 2020 when it finally became inoperative. In of January 2021 - Scott Richards a PSION Facebook Group Member tried to reinstate it. In January 2021 Olivier opened his new Organiser II forum which as we know has now disappeared. This brings us to January 2nd 2023 when Yves Martin a French Canadian enthusiast created space on one of his company servers to host this current incarnation .
Posts: 61
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2023 5:14 am

Re: The history of the Organiser II on-line resources

Post by okto »

What happened to Scott's attempt to resuscitate org2? It would be great if we could have all that information hosted on a live site.
User avatar
Global Admin
Posts: 250
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2023 5:18 pm

Scott's resurrection attempt

Post by Martin »

Hi Okto..

I believe Scott was trying to resurrect Boris's 'Yellow' forum (here) If I remember correctly he had difficulties with the file storage area.

There are remnants of the Dave Woolnough's original ORG2.COM web site (here)

Post Reply