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Technology news and views



Modified: 2018-01-22T20:36:29Z

Copyright: (c) The Icon Bar 2018. All rights reserved.
 



South West Show is fast approaching

2018-01-17T18:29:00Z

The South-West Show, the premier RISC OS Show in the South-West, is fast approaching....

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-Comp / RCI
Orpheus Internet
ROOL (with Elesar)
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

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BBC BASIC Reference Manual updated

2018-01-12T07:04:00Z

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.

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 forum




ArtWorks 2.X3 released

2018-01-05T07:35:00Z

The London Show saw the welcome return of Martin and the latest update to Artworks. You could buy this as the show and from the website.

The London Show saw the welcome return of Martin and the latest update to Artworks. You could buy this as the show and from the website.

As with previous releases, the latest ArtWorks is a mixture of keeping the product current and running on the latest hardware, some tweaks and some new goodies.

If you are running Artworks on the latest RaspberryPi, IGEPv5 or Titanium machines, the colour modes all work correctly. With their extra speed, these should be your tool of preference now for most RISC OS activities.....

The Single pixel nudging option is a nice to have which makes it easier to move objects in single pixel increments with the ctrl key pressed. Apply ClipView now lets you wrap and object into a clip View where you can edit it with the new shape painter/eraser tool.

This is the big new feature which lets you paint and edit clip shapes. You can control the accuracy (how many control points you want) and effectively draw big irregular clips very easily which you can then tweak by editing the shape. At the London Show, Martin showed how easy this made it to cut images out of a background which can then be used as part of a drawing as if they were just an image with a transparent background. You can also use it to edit any Vector shape, taking a bite out of the iconic ArtWorks apple...

(image)

ArtWorks has always been a favourite tool of mine, both for work and fun. Now it runs really nicely on my Titanium and the new Shape tool is a really nice addition to its featureset. I look forward to 2.X4!

As with all previous releases, there are discounts to upgrade from a previous version.

New features summary

Ordering details

3 comments in forum




December News round-up

2017-12-29T07:07:00Z

Some things we noticed in the RISC OS world this month. What did you see?

Some things we noticed in the RISC OS world this month. What did you see?

More update to RDSP announced on ROOL forums

Elesar releases an update for Titanium users wanting to use two screens.

Autumn 2017 issue of Drag'n'Drop is now available on the website.

Show dates for 2018 all now released with SW show on 24th February, Wakefield Show on 21st April and London Show on 27th October.

80% of the RISC OS user guide is now updated and ROOL are asking for volunteers to complete the task.

Sophie Wilson was a guest on the Selywn team in the Christmas University challenge contest.

Some interesting updates on the RISC OS Linux port over on ROOL.

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RISC OS interview with Richard Keefe

2017-12-24T07:22:00Z

As an early Christmas present, we bring you an interview with Richard Keefe who tests us all about his plans for Impression as well as how he got into RISC OS and his programming experiences. As an early Christmas present, we bring you an interview with Richard Keefe who tests us all about his plans for Impression as well as how he got into RISC OS and his programming experiences.Would you like to introduce yourself?Born in 1972 the eldest of three Brothers [middle Philip died in car crash 2012], Mother Physics Teacher [died 2010], Father Electronic Engineer. Attended Presentation College Reading [same school as Michael Bond of Paddington fame], 15 GCSE/O-Levels, 4 A-levels. Graduated from Reading University with a degree in "Cybernetics & Control Engineering with Subsidiary Maths" in 1993. Joined Paknet [division of Vodafone] in May 1994 where I write embedded real-time software for ARM based processor of the Radio-Pad [currently version 15, version 1 [(embedded x86 based) was released February 1990] and Solaris & Linux based IN's (Intelligent Nodes) to provide control. [Details: http://paknet.vodafone.net the world's first Radio X25 network] Married my lovely wife in 2008, I am the father of two beautiful and mischievous daughters aged 3 & 7. At the age of 4 - I got lightbulbs, batteries, wires and switches for Christmas, at the age of 5 got a soldering Iron, and at the age of 6 got an 8085 kit of parts for my birthday like [http://www.glitchwrks.com/images/8085/sdk85/original.jpg] but mine was fuller and put it together - 8085 assembling was done by hand in a special book provided. First high level language was BASIC on a Tandy TRS80 MKI [still got], migrated to BBC B, then Archimedes.How long have you been using RISC OS? - I got my first ARM based machine in December 1987 - an Acorn A310M [with PC emulator] with Arthur 1.2 and upgraded to RISC OS 2 as soon as it became available. First came across Impression as Version 0.90 in 1990, and Artworks as 0.8x in 1991 - as my flatmate was an Artworks trialist.What other systems do you use? - In my work I use Windows 7, Solaris 9 & 10, and Linux (Various) laptops/desktops/servers - In my embedded work I use LPC43S67 [M0 & M4], AT91SAM7S [ARM7], AT91SAM7XC512 [ARM7] & ATSAMS70 [M7] based systems running either "bare metal" or "Segger EmbOS" with IAR EWARM compiler - At home I use Windows XP, 7, Solaris 10, and Ubuntu in addition to RISC OS - Occasionally I use my BBC Master - With Z80/6502/32016/80186 co-processors - but I'm a bit short of space & time so it's very rare.What is your current RISC OS setup? - My main Machines are Iyonix no 2, Windows 7 VRPC, and iMX6 - Still in progress is my Titanium (To Replace the Iyonix sort of but no floppy) - It's in an Iyonix classic Case - but I will still need the Iyonix as its my only modern floppy machine - As well as these here is my working RISCOS Machine History in order of Purchase, still got all of it in my study & loft: Archimedes A310M Archimedes A440/1 - 40Mb - then 21Mb Floptical, then 230Mb MO - Upgraded to ARM 3 25MHz from ARM 2 [1991] Acorn A4 laptop [battery & disk failed - have replacements need more time] Risc PC 600 -> UG 700 -> UG StrongARM 200 [failed HDD have replacement] - my brother Philip and I can be seen on one of the Acorn Replay CD's at the RISC PC launch Marble Arch London Iyonix no1 [Failed motherboard] waited until Aemulor was released before buying Iyonix no2 [partially failed so DMA disabled] Panda Board [currently Backup machine for RISC OS Shows) RiscPC no2 Kinetic [only single height one] RiscPC no3 StrongARM 233 [Videodesk set-up] RiscPC no4 700 Hydra [would love to get this working with StrongARMs] + Spare PCB [4x ARM 610s] Raspberry Pi B - My eldest daughter (7) uses RISC OS on this A9Home Iyonix no3 & 4 [in case no2 fails completely] iMX6 [ARMX6] Pi Zeros Titanium Board [have disks & board in Iyonix classic case - wiring incomplete needs a[...]



RISC OS interview with Rob Coleman

2017-12-21T07:44:00Z

This year we have a double treat for you, with 2 Christmas interviews. We will kick off with Rob Coleman who was doing some very cool hardware at the London Show.

This year we have a double treat for you, with 2 Christmas interviews. We will kick off with Rob Coleman who was doing some very cool hardware at the London Show.

Would you like to introduce yourself?

I'm Rob Coleman, developer of VideoNuLA, an enhanced graphics card for the BBC Micro.

How long have you been using RISC OS?

Pretty much from the beginning. My first Acorn was a BBC B which I got for Christmas in 1983. At some point, I moved on to a BBC Master 128 and then started using RISC OS with an A3000 in 1990. I used a RiscPC for many years and more recently have been using a Pandaboard.

What other systems do you use?

A Windows laptop for work and a Linux box for the odd bit of development. I'm heavily into retro-computing so have a collection of obscure and not so obscure machines from the 80s.

What is your current RISC OS setup?

My main RISC OS machine is the Pandaboard but my original RiscPC is still going strong. Of the various other Acorn machines I've collected over the years, I have an A540 and A4 which get used fairly often.

What do you think of the retro scene?

As I said, I'm very much into retrocomputing, particularly 8-bit Acorns. The StarDot forums (www.stardot.org.uk/forums) were largely responsible for getting me back into using my Acorns. There's a wealth of knowledge on there and the amount of interesting new developments for these old machines is fantastic.

Do you attend any of the shows and what do you think of them?

I try to attend as many as I can. I've been going to the South West show for years as it's the nearest to me. I've made it to London and Wakefield for the last few years and shared a stand for the first time this year. The shows are really well organised and attendance seems to be rising but it would always be good to see more people come along.

What do you use RISC OS for in 2017 and what do you like most about it?

Mostly development in BASIC and C. The main attraction for me is that it's still possible to understand how a RISC OS machine works and interact with it at a low level. I guess part of that is familiarity but it's also down to the original ethos of teaching people how computers work.

What is your favourite feature/killer program in RISC OS?

I'm not much of an artist but I like using !Artworks and !Draw for illustrations. I'm also a fan of !Zap for coding.

Can you tell us about what you are working on at the moment?

Apart from VideoNuLA, most recently I've been playing with the Pi co-processor for the Beeb and porting some emulators (PDP-11, ZX81 and Jupiter Ace) to it. It's fun to see Unix running on a BBC Micro even if it is under emulation!

I've been sporadically working on a network podule for the Archimedes/Risc PC for a while now. It's all part of a mad idea to have Ethernet on my A4. And I keep meaning to look at USB for my Omega!

Apart from iconbar (obviously) what are your favourite websites?

StarDot as mentioned above and I spend too much time reading the Guardian online.

What would you most like Father Christmas to bring you as a present?

Firetrack was probably my favourite game on the BBC so a copy of White Light from Retrosoftware!

1 comment in forum




10 RISC OS gift ideas for Christmas

2017-12-15T07:04:00Z

Here are some thoughts for some RISC OS gifts to treat yourself or your RISC OS loved ones from 2017.

Here are some thoughts for some RISC OS gifts to treat yourself or your RISC OS loved ones from 2017.

1. The latest 5.23 ROM was released. Get a copy the software on Get the latest release on SD card or combined with lots of great software.
2. The BBC BASIC manual, now updated after 25 years.
3. The latest DDE release, complete with a wealth of electronic reference materials.
4. The latest edition of !Artworks, now at 2.X3.
5. Contribute to a bounty to help this happen in RISC OS releases.
6. Relax with some new Arcade games from Amcog games.
7. Organizer 2.28 gives you the ultimate Calendar and Organiser on your RISC OS machine.
8. Get your Fonts back into order with Font Directory Pro.
9. Keep using your old software on new hardware with Aemulor.
10. A RaspberryPi is stocking sized with a price to match and opens up the RISC OS and Linux software world.

What would you like to see under the tree?

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Drag'N'Drop Autumn edition now available

2017-12-11T07:43:00Z

(image)

If you are looking for a last minute RISC OS gift, or something interesting to dip into over the festive period, the latest edition of the long-running Drag'N'Drop magazine is now available. You can also buy all the back issues on a USB stick. The magazine is supplied as a PDF which you can read on any device.

This edition is 30 pages of news, reviews and technical articles and always reminds me of the Acorn magazines of yesteryear. Here are some highlights...

Licht is an interesting program to type in which takes its inspiration from the work of Roy Lichtenstein, adding dotted fill patterns to draw shapes. It is written in BASIC and also a nice exploration of manipulating draw files directly.

if you need to copy files from your Android phone to RISC OS there is a nice tutorial using !FTPc and other free software.

A short machine code utility (VMG) will turn sound samples into voice modules for easy use in your own code.

The first part of a new series on Fonts delves into how RISC OS fonts work and how the file format is stored, complete with a BASIC utility to examine the font data.

We have also reached part 3 of the tutorial on RSDP, and we are now writing real programs to generate music using the free software.

For the adventurous, there is also an article on writing your own filings system.

Finally Draw Stroke shows how to draw sophisticated lines with complex styles easily in your BASIC code.

The Magazine is available from the website and you can also buy a version with the listing.

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!DualHead puts 2 screens in one

2017-12-08T07:11:00Z

R-Comp have been very busy in developing !DualHead and release 3 is now available. This includes more polish and one really cool new feature....

R-Comp have been very busy in developing !DualHead and release 3 is now available. This includes more polish and one really cool new feature....

(image)

Some monitors allow multiple inputs and have a special mode which allows them to display both outputs together, side by side. !DualHead now makes use of this to give you a higher resolution screen than should be possible with the Titianium.

You will need the right sort of monitor (R-Comp will be happy to sell you one if needed), and you then plug in both monitor outputs from your Titanium. You are still limited to 2048x2048 output on a single screen but using this trick you can get around this issue. The configuration software gives you easy access to these 'new' modes in the bottom half of the drop down list. So you can now have 2560x1440 or higher resolution modes from the Titanium.

I look forward to seeing what R-Comp have planned for release 4.

R-Comp website

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November News

2017-11-30T12:17:00Z

Some things we noticed in the RISC OS world this month. What did you see?

Some things we noticed in the RISC OS world this month. What did you see?

RISC OS London show took place - read the Iconbar report.

RISCOSbits makes your Pi-Top into a proper RISC OS machine with a themed cover.

DDE28 get a quick update to fix a bug.

AMCOG updates their new Protector game

!Artworks 2.X3 is now available. ArtWorks newsletter #77 sent out (76 was published over 5 years ago).

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