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The South-West Show Report 2018

Posted by Mark Stephens on 20:58, 24/2/2018 |
 
Stands
The exhibitors were generally upbeat, despite a 5am fire alarm at the hotel.
 
User groups were well represented with stands from Southampton, London and Bristol showing off projects and publicising their upcoming events.
 
Adrian Lees was demonstrating Aemulor and a new version of Geminus he has just started working on for new machines.
 
Sine Nomine were showing off the new map packs and also had their full range of software to discuss.
 
Drag'N'Drop were selling the new edition of the magazine (will be available next week) and had their range of fonts and books.
 
R-CompInfo had their usual selection of monitors, machines and software (see their talk).
 
Richard Brown (when not on door duties or making announcements) was showing off his very nice widescreen monitor and talking about Orpheus Internet services (I use them for work and home and can heartily recommend them).
 
Martin Wurthner was back at the show showing off the 2017 release of !ArtWorks and his other range of products.
 
Likewise, the Organizer stand was showing off their latest version and taking ideas for new features. They have now fixed the annoying broken line which used to appear on their website.
 
Jim Nagel was promising a release of Archive magazine once the show reports are added in. He was also offering back copies of previous editions.
 
AmCog games were showing off their games (and very nice new RISC OS desktop theme) and talking code.
 
RISC OS Bits had their range of interesting named storage devices and cases. They have not run out of puns yet....
 
John Norris had his bell ringing rig setup and RISC OS software to help you to practise. He shared a stand with Tasty Treats (who had the most inviting hardware purchases of the show!).
 
Ident Computer had their old and new range of cases (with Tom doing a talk about the changes and future plans).
 
Vince was providing sound support for the theatre and also promoting Bristol RISC OS group and his range of software. He also had a range of Vibe graphics demos running, updated for new machines.
 
Chris Hall was selling !FamTree and demoing his GPS hardware and software. He also did a talk.
 
Steve Fryatt had his range of software on show including the almost completed CashBook 1.40
 
Richard Keefe was showing off his work with Impression and talking about his priorities for future development. He gave a very full interview in Iconbar about his plans at Christmas.
 
Lastly the charity stand was raising money from secondhand software and hardware. Always worth a rummage....
 
The talks
 
There were three talks at the Show. All were filmed and will hopefully appear on youtube in the near future.
 
Tom Williamson
 
Tom told us about his background in media and broadcast. He is still actively involved in several projects and he told us about his WiFi sheep technology show.
 
His computer journey had started as a preservation and education project and demand for his homemade computer cases had led him into production. MicroOne was first product and the current release is mk4 - the last few were on sale at show at a special discount.
 
This is being replaced by a 'range' of CE machines which allows Ident to provide a RISC OS solution and and also target Linux and Retro gamers (2 much bigger markets).
 
Ident has its own version of RISC OS 5 (licensed from Castle) which includes some extra applications, has been reskinned to be more appealing to his target markets and nicely setup to use with a simple application to access BBC BASIC and a set of emulators. This is supplied with the RISC OS versions only.
 
Taking inspiration from the RISC PC, there is a two slice version, which Tom demoed with one slice running Linux and the other running RISC OS, viewing the Linux side via !Avalanche.
 
It all looked very impressive, and Tom has invested in some 3D printers to allow him to product several of his products.
 
Andrew Rawnsley
 
Andrew started with R-Comp updates.
 
The big recent software release is Netfetch5 with improvements for security and ssl. Lots of testing has been taking place in Germany. It also allows multiple servers - needed for spf which many Internet providers use to eliminate spam
 
The R-Comp hardware has received recent software updates. ARMX6 has new colour modes, and hardware floating point support (which your BBC BASIC code will be able to use). There was also an experimental build to allow developers to start experimenting with multi-core support. TiMachine has dual head support allowing it to display higher resolution screens on a suitable monitor.
 
A new Quake release allows the game to run on modern hardware and also provide higher resolution on machines which handle handle it.
 
Lastly Andrew, showed off the R-Comp ultra portable Windows solution to run RISC OS.
 
As ROOL were unable to attend, Andrew also provided a brief update on developments (and had some ROOL software available to buy on his stand). The big development will be RISC OS 5.24 (hopefully for Wakefield). Andrew was genuinely enthusiastic about the current developments for RISC OS.
 
With his RISC OS developments hat on, Andrew reported that they had been working with ROOL and had provided funding for bounties to improve the RISC OS networking.
 
Lastly, he provided a quick demo of the new version of Geminus Adrian Lees working to speed up window redrawing on the latest machines.
 
Chris Hall
 
Chris started with a demo of his new !FamTree software, showing how easy it is to create and edit family trees. These can then be dropped into other applications for further use or processing. The software can produce some fairly large A0 page and Chris recommended trying some print bureaux (who will generally charge more for the postage than the printing itself).
 
Chris also brought along his GPS software/hardware and showed it seamlessly integrating with Sine Nomine's mapping software. The talk turned into really nice demo of the software and its features (hopefully the videos will be out on youtube in the near future).
 
Next year
Richard and Andrew have been discussing some ideas about changing the venue or date to make the show more accessible. I am sure they would welcome any feedback from the Community.
 
Final thoughts
Personally, I thought it was a really upbeat and interesting show - well worth my early start and trek from Kent.
 
The show seemed to have just the right level of 'busy-ness' - I got to talk to everyone I wanted after a small wait. Lots of the developers have some really interesting ideas for future features and products. There was a good selection of stands, and we even received a free slice of cake...
 
The show in pictures
 
4 comments in the forums

The South-West Show 2018 in pictures

Posted by Mark Stephens on 18:42, 24/2/2018 |
 
The South-West Show 2018 in pictures (taken before and during the show).
 
Show report
 

 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 


 


 

 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 


 

 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 


 

 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 


 

 



 


 
 
 
Comment in the forums

Returning to ImpressionX

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:53, 16/2/2018 | ,
 

 
Impression was always one of my favourite applications, so I was very interested to meet Richard Keefe at the London Show and sign up for his Impression release.
 
What Richard is offering is a scheme where you will get access to his latest version. Potentially this offers three advantages:-
1. An update in the sense it is Impression-X rather than Impression Publisher. This is the flagship release. Most of the features are high-end, but it is always nice to have the top version.
2. An upgrade in the sense that Richard is making Impression run on the latest software. Some use of Aemulor is still needed, but the aim is to totally convert the software to run unaided on modern hardware.
3. Enhancements with better JPEG support, bug fixes and a support piece of software.
 
Richard supplied the software at the London show as a set of Archive files to decompress and install. The most noticeable change is the new splashscreen shown at the top.
 
After that, it is like having an old friend back reinvigorated and refreshed.
 
You can read about Richard's plans for Impression in his indepth interview with Iconbar.
 
Comment in the forums

New RISC OS !FamTree application reviewed

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:55, 9/2/2018 | ,
 
RISC OS stalwart Chris Hall has turned his attention to a new product which will be released at the South-West Show this year. He was kind enough to send us a pre-release copy for review (version 1.3), so here is a taster of what you will be able to buy at the South-West Show.
 
!FamTree is a program for creating graphical family trees, showing all your ancestors.
 
The software works on the basis that family trees are rather like Directory structures, with parents and children. You create a simple set of directories with text descriptions and the software turns thins into a proper family tree which can be exported as draw file. The software takes care of figuring out all the layout.
 
If you want to use the software with existing data rather than create a tree from scratch, there is a feature to import data from GEDCOM data files. There are currently some (generous) limits to filesize on this. So it only allows the last 20 generations and 250 family trees. Probably need to wait for release 2 if you want to do entire tribes or nations.....
 
The software is nicely designed as a RISC OS application and follows all the conventions, so you should have no trouble picking it up quickly.
 
A minor complaint I did have was that firing up on my Titanium (running the latest OS), gave me the message that I needed MakeDraw 2.53 or later but I could not see any advice on how to fix. This might be off-putting to non-technical users. Otherwise the application feels really nicely polished and finished off.
 
There is a ReadMe file telling you haw to get started, a comprehensive StrongHelp manual which includes lots of advice on running and customising both the software and the output. The main program itself is a 50,000 line basic application. Chris has even registered the filetype with ROOL. Chris has some ideas for version 2 and we look forward to see how he improves on an excellent first release.
 
Chris is selling the software at 15 pounds. If you have an interest in family trees, it produces some polished output, is really nice to use and I think it will quickly repay the cost in time saved. And if you are at the Show, Chris would welcome your input and ideas.
 
Website and more details.
 
1 comment in the forums

January News Round-up

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:07, 31/1/2018 |
 
Some things we noticed in the RISC OS world this month. What did you see?
 
RDSP (the free Sound module from AMCOG games) updated to version 0.40. Some new effects and Stereo sound placement have been added.
 
Font Directory Pro updated to version 3.22 to improve compatibility on RISCOS 6 and Select.
 
R-CompInfo released OS Update 10 for ARMX6 along with a beta version including the SMP Multi core support to experiment with.
 
BBC Radio 4 talked to Eben Upton about the Pi (available on iPlayer for the near future).
 
Lots of interesting updates on the Raspberry Pie competition at riscos.fr
 
Elesar updates their Linux release for Titanium to keep current with Debian updates.
 
News appearing for next months South-West Show.
 
Jim Lesurf has republished a large collection of his sound articles on his website
 
Wispy wifi interface reviewed on RISC OS blog.
 
Updated StrongHelp C Library manual is now available on riscos.info
 
Comment in the forums

NetFetch reaches Version 5

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:05, 26/1/2018 |
 
R-CompInfo recently updated NetFetch to version 5. You can purchase it easily through the !Store (a very painless process) or get it directly from R-Comp.
 

 
I purchased it from !Store (getting a discount for being a NetFetch 4 user) and downloaded. Once decompressed, you get a selection of versions to install. There is the full version, a utility to upgrade an older version of just a copy to overwrite an existing NetFetch 4 installation. I used the last option without issues. There is a detailled readme with full details on installing the software. The archive also includes a version of !Messenger (called NF) and copies of some old RISC OS browsers which may be of interest.
 
NetFetch 5 is a major update with better SSL support, multiple SMTP server support, better RSS handling and the usual bug fixes. Much of the enhancements are about keeping up with changes in the wider world (such as the way major mail services validate email and detect spam) but there are a couple of new features. Andrew did a really nice talk (now on youtube) covering the features at the London Show.
 
You can you easily disable the fetching/sending and autosend will now wait a little before it sends rather than sending at once. So you now have a chance to reconsider that hasty reply you scribbled down in anger...
 
If you are using RISC OS for email the NetFetch update is a welcome addition.
 
1 comment in the forums

South West Show is fast approaching

Posted by Mark Stephens on 18:29, 17/1/2018 |
 
The South-West Show, the premier RISC OS Show in the South-West, is fast approaching....
 
This year, it is on Saturday 24th February, 2018 at the usual venue of the Webbington Hotel.
 
The usual suspects should all be there. At the moment 'confirmed exhibitors' include
 
R-CompInfo / RCI
Orpheus Internet
MW Software
Organiser
Archive Publications
Amcog Games
RISC OS Bits
John Norris
Ident Computer
Soft Rock Software
ROUGOL
Chris Hall
Steve Fryatt
Charity Stand
Pi/Jam area
Tasty Treats
 
If you would like to exhibit, just let Andrew at R-Comp know and he will arrange a table for you.
 
If you are not local, the Show is at a very nice hotel and you can get a great discounted rate if you contact Richard at Orpheus. He may also be able to tell you who else is in town if you want to catch-up with some other RISC OS users over dinner or drinks.
 
We will bring you some more updates as the show approaches....
 
Is the date in your diary?
 
show website
 
4 comments in the forums

BBC BASIC Reference Manual updated

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:04, 12/1/2018 | ,
 
ROOL continues on its mission to bring RISC OS and its documentation up to date with a thoroughly revised and updated version of the BBC BASIC Reference Manual. This available both as a PDF in the programming documentation and as a hard copy book.
 
Issue 1 was published in 1992 so quite a lot has changed for this 2017 release 2. It is a fairly substantial volume (510 pages including the index). It is bang up to date, mentioning RISC OS 5.24 and BASICVFP.
 
The manual is nicely structured so it can be read from cover to cover as a tutorial but is also clearly structured to provide a lookup for people wanting to find a specific item of information. The book identifies 3 target readership groups:-
1. Total beginners looking to learn BBC BASIC as an introduction to computing.
2. Experienced programmers looking to learn a new language.
3. A reference guide for experienced BBC BASIC programmers who want to look-up some details.
 
To this end, it is split into Overview, Programming Techniques, Reference and Appendices. There are lots of little programming examples to show how commands work. There are no screenshots.
 
If you are dipping your toe into the programming waters, there are some simple examples and some good explanations of the technical side of programming (integers and floating point, error handling, writing structured code, binary) while there is lots of detail for more advanced developers (?, !, |, $ indirect operators, VDU commands, using the assembler). You will need additional resources to learn to write Desktop WIMP programs but it will give you a full grasp of BBC BASIC.
 
The book now has pride of place on my technical bookshelf and the Appendix section is becoming increasing thumbed through. What are your thoughts?
 
Buy the book from ROOL
 
4 comments in the forums

ArtWorks 2.X3 released

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December News round-up

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RISC OS interview with Richard Keefe

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RISC OS interview with Rob Coleman

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10 RISC OS gift ideas for Christmas

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Drag'N'Drop Autumn edition now available

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Recent discussions
- The South-West Show Report 2018 (News:4)
- The South-West Show 2018 in pictures (News:)
- AMCS free versions are live! (Gen:12)
- New RISC OS !FamTree application reviewed (News:1)
- Returning to ImpressionX (News:)
- RISC OS interview with Richard Keefe (News:2)
- South West Show is fast approaching (News:4)
- January News Round-up (News:)
- NetFetch reaches Version 5 (News:1)
- Primesolve (PP:12)
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