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Article archives

Wakefield 2018 Show Report

Posted by Mark Stephens on 21:03, 21/4/2018 |
 
It was a glorious sunny day in Wakefield and a very upbeat RISC OS show with lots of interesting hardware and software. You can see some show pictures, and here are my show notes if you were not able to attend. Any mistake/omissions are mine.

Exhibitors
Richard Brown was talking about his new cloud solutions and general internet packages. Lots happening behind the scenes with RISCOS developments and public announcements will happen when they are able to update everyone. South west show date and new venue was announced and is now on the SW Show website. Make a date in your diary for Saturday 16th February 2019.

CJEmicro's had its full range of computers, software and new hardware releases to demonstrate. Chris did a theatre talk. They were pushing the RaspberryPi 3 model and an excellent platform for R-Comp's new PiFi solution.

Wrocc had a club stand where they also ran a prize raffle. They did a great job of organising the show.

R-CompInfo has their range of hardware and software products including the new mini machine and the software updates. Andrew did a theatre talk.

Sine Nomine showed off the enhancements to RiscOSM with contour lines and updates to Impact database. They showed all of these in the theatre talk. The range range of data RiscOSM can use has really expanded, it has some neat integration with online resources and a nifty little style editor.

Organizer has been updated to 2.28a which is free to 2.28 users and available as a chargeable upgrade for other users. Nigel is still asking for your ideas on what you would like to see.

Jim Nagel had the latest edition of Archive magazine (fresh off the press with show previews), archive CD and back issues.

Chris Hall was demonstrating his new FamTree application and showing off his GPS systems on RISC OS.

RISCOSbits had its full range of hardware products with interesting names. Rumours that Andy has run out of risqu product names are without foundation.

Drag'n'Drop had the new edition out today and free draganddrop pencils for all visitors. They were also showing their range of books and software.

Amcog games were showing off their latest game, Island of the undead, RSDP, full range of games and compilations.

ROOL had RISC OS 5.24 to purchase or download and the new Users Guide available along with their full range of books, CDs, SD cards, etc. A Titanium was playing the latest Star Wars video and also shown !Prophet running on new hardware. Eleasar has been investigating adding the ability for !Prophet to write out the xml format needed to submit accounts to Companies House. Price of !Prophet TBA and software will be released once the manual has been updated.

Mw-software had the updated AWviewer (a free plugin to show artworks files) and demonstrating the recent releases of Artworks and TechWriter/EasiWriter. Martin was dapper as usual in his bow tie.

Steve Fryatt had cashbook 1.40 now available and his full range of software. He was selling a CD of all his software to raise money for charity.

Richard Keefe has fixed Impression colour issues and finalising the new release of Impression. Stay tuned over next few weeks.

In the 8 bit section, Rob Coleman had his BBC graphics card, and Spectrum emulation. He can also do ZX81 and Jupiter Ace for real purists. Flax cottage had a range or BBCs running education software. There were several stands with BBCs running and a charity stand.

Theatre Talks

11.15 R-Comp
Arm still in sling, Andrew updated us on developments since last year. He talked at NetFetch5 (major security improvements) and Messenger pro 8 (new today and adds additional security features and a revised manual). Release brought forward as RISC OS 5.24 needed update anyway. It does not need 5.24 to run or for any features. Improved handling of html email. Easier configuration options. Includes key for Windows and Mac version on CD.

Demoed new mini' ARMX6. All features in 2 inches except what would not fit in that tiny box. Half the price. Still does the 4K screen resolution. Can be powered from USB.

There is a new version of SafeStore. Early access version now with full release to follow.

PiFi version 3 almost out - turns pi into a WiFi server. Native RISC OS interface to setup. CJEmicro's has some cheap pi3s in stock.

Quake was updated at SW Show and uses hardware do to speed things up. 3 times performance.30-40 times faster than risc pc. Wolfenstein has also been updated now.

R-Comp will be rolling out RISC OS 5.24 upgrades for machines in the near future.

12.00 ROOL
Rob Sprowson updated us on changes in last year. Network stack 20 years old so time to update for making it easier to use RISC OS for network tasks (Rob cited his use of his non RISC OS machine for online banking, browsing, cat videos).

London show - new BBC BASIC manual (right up to vfp). Most popular ROOL book to date. Had to get permission to use BBC name in book. First ROOL book on Amazon and in top 15,000 briefly! DDE28 released (2 minor updates since).
Dec2017 - USB bounty completed, updates from netbsd parent code, rewrite of low level complexity. Now more reliable if keyboard on hub.
Jan 2018 - run up to 5.24 release begins. More formal release strategy for 5.24 with traffic lights scheme and detailed criteria for passing. Not passing just means not all criteria met.
March 2018 - TCP/IP bounty claimed - about fixing security holes. Parts already in 5.24. Replacing SSL with more secure TLS protocol.
April 2018 - 5.24 out. 5.22 was April 2015 so this release includes all the bounties since then - JPEG improvements, Edit enhancements, USB step 1, bits of Paint bounty (ctrl+ mouse wheel to zoom) and TCP/IP . Improvements to HForm, Maestro. Printers. Chars supports Unicode and fancy fonts, Dosfs. Filecore can handle up to 2tb. More secure !LanmanFS which can connect to windows 8 and 10
Kernel offers physical memory pools up to 512meg. Oflaoflaofla message should be replaced with more clear messages.
NFS client back. Econet on omni. Access+. Routed and uti modules. Trusted certificates datebase. Porterhouse font now included.

Total of 708 changes and 21 main ones.

Fix for zero page now in. 34 months of advanced warning. Part of ROOL strategy of trying to ensure RISC OS ready for ARM changes to chips (in contrast to previous changes under Acorn).

New ePic release with updates for software - SparkFS, PhotoDesk, Impact, DDE.

Aim to get RISC OS back into NOOBS for RaspberryPi (so easy for anyone to try it).

New copy of user guide. 62 chapters and includes new part from former Welcome guide. 924 illustrations and detailed draw and paint guides.

Updated us on bounties. Community driven. Open to ideas. 6 open bounties at present - Compiler improvements, Filing system , clipboard support, RISC OS general, TCP/IP step 2, USB stack step 2.

RISC OS 5.25 now nightly build. Future stable releases hopefully around every 2 years.

1.30 Sine Nomine
After some technical issues, fixed by the usual expedient of switching the projector off and on again, we kicked off with a demonstration of recent changes to Impact. Last year, made much easier to import csv files. Import is now much more intelligent. In process of adding more support for security and encryption via password. Any beta testers welcome.

Demo of RiscOSM. Contours released at London show. UK data from Ordnance Survey. Since then added NASA data for much of Western Europe. Showed route tracing tool which now shows gradient profile. Routes can have arrows. Demoed ability of RiscOSM to access data on internet to add to maps (ie pubs in Galway).

Software can also find photos on internet from Geographic for any location. Flickr integration planned to make use of new features from ROOL bounties. Style editor makes it much easier to edit and create new styles. Accessible via features window.

In reply to question from audience, unlikely to add direct export to PDF but can be done indirectly via printing. The wishlist for future features is 10 screens long but please suggest new ideas.

2.15 CJEmicro's
Chris has had the distraction of project managing his new house. Andrew and Jordon have been busy keeping business going in his absence. Chris showed small mouse interface launched in August. RaspberryRo lite launched in July. Pi-topRO covered with customisations for RISC OS . Still waiting for developers to release tech details for v2 of hardware. Commissioned another batch of ide interfaces for A3000 machines (retro and legacy big markets).

Still hoping to get Tablemate to a 32bit release.

Chris talked about complete systems offered by CJEmicro's. He is interested to hear if anyone has found a use for 4gigs of ram on a RISC OS machine. Looking for donations of old Acorn kit. Will produce 5.24 updates for latest machines in due course.

3.00 Amcog games
Showed off both the games and his development kit.

RISC OS a very creative platform for writing games and agreat community.

Takes between 2 days and year to write the games.

Lots of sequencing music on games.

Demonstrated new Island of the Undead zombie game. Game has full soundtrack and lots of zombies to shoot.

Free updates to games and open to suggestions for feature updates.

Showed games kit for writing games.
 
4 comments in the forums

Wakefield 2018 show in pIctures

Posted by Mark Stephens on 20:05, 21/4/2018 |
 
Take a walk around the Wakefield 2018 with us....

(Click on the thumbnails for the bigger image)












































 
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New edition of Archive lands on my doorstep...

Posted by Mark Stephens on 19:28, 17/4/2018 | ,
 


It has been a while, but the latest edition of Archive magazine (Vol 24 No4), is now available. It is 55 pages of news, reviews and articles. It was also nice to see some new and returning names amongst the contributors.

The 7 page news section is presumably still wet, with full preview details for the Wakefield Show. Jim Nagel has been clearly sleuthing for new stories and has updates from all the usual RISC OS companies and beyond. Great to hear Elesar are hoping to resurrect Prophet next.

There have been a couple of shows since the last edition of Archive, so you will also find Show reviews for London Show, Recursion Show, South-West Show, and a sneak preview for Wakefield. Now you know what you missed...

There is also a review of Chris Hall's !FamTree and and update on Aemulor, charting releases, development and history.

What really makes Archive is the user articles. Chris Hall continues in his quest for the ultimate GPS system using RISC OS, Gerald Fitton covering transferring emails between RISC OS and Windows. There is a Mac related column (which also covers VNC and Cloud software), a PC column (including updates on Windows 10) and Gavin Wraith experiments with StrongED modefiles. David Brown shows us how to use SchemeED (which can create schematic diagrams of electronic circuits on RISC OS) and Bimal Jangra shares what DARC Technology Club learned about Forensic science.

Lastly, you will find some hints and tips on RISC OS related apps - advice on Photodesk and DPScan in this edition.

It may no longer be a monthly event, but Archive remains an excellent read and Jim Nagel is an 'old school journalist' (do you remember Computer Shopper columns?) who always delivers the highest quality copy.

Archive website
 
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Wakefield 2018 Show Preview

Posted by Mark Stephens on 08:05, 13/4/2018 |
 


The Wakefield Show 2018 takes place on saturday at its regular venue (The Cedar Copurt Hotel). The hotel is by the motorway (with a big car park) and Wakefield is very central for public transport. There is no 'show bus', but the Show website has lots of details on travel and accommodation.

All the regular exhibitors will be there and the list includes:-
  • AMCOG Games
  • Orpheus Internet
  • Archive Magazine
  • R-CompInfo / R- Comp Interactive
  • Charity Stall
  • Retro Hardware
  • Chris Hall
  • RISCOS Open
  • CJEInfo Micros and 4D
  • RISCOSBits
  • Daniel Jameson
  • Rob Coleman
  • Drag n Drop
  • Sine Nomine
  • Flax Cottage Educational Archive
  • Soft Rock Software
  • Impression X (Richard Keefe)
  • Steve Fryatt
  • MUG - Midland User Group
  • Wakefield RISCOS Computer Club
  • MW Software
  • Xaviers Arcs
  • North One Communications (Organizer)
Some of them will be updating us on developments in the theatre talks.

There should be lots to catch-up and buy on the day.

Remember to drop by ROOL to find out about developments with RISC OS 5.24, the DDE update, compatibility on the new RaspberryPi and the Bounties.

Show website
 
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DDE tools update released

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:21, 6/4/2018 |
 
ROOL has released a new update for their toolset, DDE28b. As the name suggests, this is not a major update but incremental tweaks and bug fixes to the tools. Reading through the Changelogs, changes are in !CC, !DDT, !ObjAsm and !ResTest and ddt module has also been updated.

This is now the default version for new customers. Existing customers have been sent a zip with the changes to copy over the existing release.

In their email to users, ROOL also mention additional bounties for further support for ARM processors.

Tools are critical to the survival of any platform so good to see ongoing improvements on DDE.
 
Bounty link

 
4 comments in the forums

March News Round-up

Posted by Mark Stephens on 10:23, 30/3/2018 |
 
Some things we noticed in the RISC OS world this month. What did you see?

A new game idea was floated on Stardot forums. We interviewed the author.

R-CompInfo update Quake to work with RapsberryPi 3

New RaspberryPi for Pi Day announced on RasbpberryPi blog.

RISC OS Blog has a great article on Running a web server with WebJames

RISCOSitory opened the voting for 2017 RISC OS awards.

DDE28b update sent out to users.
 
1 comment in the forums

Drag'n'drop winter 2018 edition reviewed

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:53, 23/3/2018 | ,
 


The latest edition of Drag'n'drop is now available online to purchase. If you are not familiar with the magazine, it is a nice mix of news, tutorials, reviews and type in apps, utilities and games (you can buy the listings to avoid the typing). It reminds me very much of the 1990s style Acorn magazines. There are also adverts for shows and equipment.

The magazine if provided as a PDF file, which also has the advantage that news and other items can contain links. It can be read on any machine or printed out.

This edition includes a wide selection of reviews covering the updated BBC BASIC Reference Manual, the new Protector game, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and a nifty little magic wand scanner.

There are 3 type-in games (Cake Hog, Buggies and Pebbles), complete with nice explanations of how the code works.

A nifty little SetTyper application completes the programming section.

So, something for everyone and a great selection of material to keen you engaged and entertained.

Website
 
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RISC OS interview with Tim H-Smith

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:28, 16/3/2018 | ,
 
There was recently a very interesting discussion about writing a new RISC OS game on Stardot. Our intrepid reporters have tracked down the prospective author to find out more....

Would you like to introduce yourself?
Hi, Im Square Mezzmer! Otherwise Im Tim H-Smith - an Interactive Designer/Developer from near London. Pleased to be interviewed here.

How long have you been using RISC OS?
Since I was bought an A3010 on my 14th birthday! I began creating prototypes in BASIC and pixel-art with !Paint for game graphics.

What other systems do you use?
I absconded to Windows PC in 1999/2000. In some ways that was a shame. Also, I love Nintendo, even though Im too old for it!

What is your current RISC OS setup?
RISC PC 600 with StrongARM. Currently a big desk helps me run the Windows 10 PC at the same time.

What do you think of the retro scene?
Wonderful. So much, Im recoding a game - Hero: The Realm for Acorn 32-bit/Raspberry Pi.
Hero: The Realm is a hack n slash adventure game I developed for Windows in 2012. It features intriguing puzzles and many levels with original pixel art graphics and my own created sound FX & music. Sadly I had to halt development half-way due to financial/life issues. However this game will be available for all 32-bit Acorn machines. Now a software developer is "on board" (an incredible ARM graphics programmer) Hero: The Realm will be able to run far more "optimised".

Do you attend any of the shows and what do you think of them?
Attending a ROUGOL next week, where I am the main speaker. It will have a Games flavour.

What do you use RISC OS for in 2018 and what do you like most about it?
For the pure feel. I love having a ROM set as an RISC OS (3.70) and will not switch to RISC OS OPEN. Yet.

What are your interests beyond RISC OS?
Game Design Defined as Design in Games, not just graphics or sound, a nice Design integration is what most games need presently. Its a very interesting subject.

If someone hired you for a month to develop RISC OS software, what would you create?
Im not hired, but there is a possible Kickstarter for Hero: The Realm where everyone can order a physical copy of Hero: The Realm. Its all in the works.

What would you most like Father Christmas to bring you as a present?
I have a list somewhere, from 6 years old (1986). Oh wait, my father /did/ bring me an Electron! *poof*

Rougol website for games evening
 
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Recent discussions
- Wakefield 2018 Show Report (News:4)
- Wakefield 2018 show in pIctures (News:)
- New edition of Archive lands on my doorstep... (News:)
- Wakefield 2018 Show Preview (News:)
- DDE tools update released (News:4)
- March News Round-up (News:1)
- Drag'n'drop winter 2018 edition reviewed (News:)
- RISC OS interview with Tim H-Smith (News:1)
- 55 BBC Micro Books on CD (News:)
- RISC OS interview with Richard Keefe (News:3)
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