RISC OS

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Returning to ImpressionX

The Iconbar - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:53

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.

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Categories: RISC OS

New RISC OS !FamTree application reviewed

The Iconbar - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 07:55
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.

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Categories: RISC OS

January News Round-up

The Iconbar - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 07:07
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-Comp 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

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Categories: RISC OS

NetFetch reaches Version 5

The Iconbar - Fri, 01/26/2018 - 07:05
R-Comp 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.

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Categories: RISC OS

South West Show is fast approaching

The Iconbar - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 18:29
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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Categories: RISC OS

BBC BASIC Reference Manual updated

The Iconbar - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 07:04
ROOL continues on its mission to bring RISC OS and its documentation up to date with a throughly 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 2107 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 BASCIVFP.

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 identifiers 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 thumbbed through. What are your thoughts?

Buy the book from ROOL

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Categories: RISC OS

!ArtWorks 2.X3 released

The Iconbar - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 07:35
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 color 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...

!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

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Categories: RISC OS

December News round-up

The Iconbar - Fri, 12/29/2017 - 07:07
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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Categories: RISC OS

RISC OS interview with Richard Keefe

The Iconbar - Sun, 12/24/2017 - 07:22
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 about 4hrs to complete]
I also have a complete with EPROMS but without driver software an "Acorn PC ARM 1 Co-Processor"
I also have several of the boards for an A540 [inc CPU & RAM] - but machines even broken sell for too much on ebay for my budget.

What do you think of the retro scene?
I do find it interesting - I'd like to spend more time looking at the changes and reading info on it

Do you attend any of the shows and what do you think of them?
When Acorn world was in London my brother Philip and I attended every year - were seen on TV one year when Blue Peter covered it but no Blue-Peter badge(s) :-(
I attend the London & Wakefield Show as a Stall holder [but the distance of Wakefield makes the economics touch and go].
I attend the South-West Show as a punter - as I haven't usually had enough time after Christmas to make a new Release.

What do you use RISC OS for in 2017 and what do you like most about it?
Apart from developing Impression-X of course.
I use Impression to Produce Posters / Letters / Publicity Information for Me / Impression-X & Reading University SciFi Society [SWAGA]
I use Draw Plus & Artworks for various drawings / tables etc to go inside my Impression objects.

What is your favourite feature/killer program in RISC OS?
Impression with 2nd Artworks and 3rd Draw+

What would you most like to see in RISC OS in the future?
Multi-Processor Support & Floppy Disk Hardware for a modern platform

Favourite (vaguely RISC OS-related) moan?
- I'd love a definitive list of all the software / hardware / games etc ever produced with pictures
- with a backup of all the eproms / firmware / gals etc

Can you tell us about what you are working on in the RISC OS market at the moment?
Impression-X of course as well as more 32bit work & bug fixes:
- Complete Jpeg support (inc Draw Files)
- Ensure all Draw objects render correctly
- Fix colour issues in some Artworks colour types
- Enhance postscript printing (Duplex, Security, Sprite 24bpp rendering even in old PS2 drivers)
- Enhance printing generally to support full 24bit rendering
- Optionally modify rendering so that documentation renders correctly (contains unknown sprite modes)
- Produce pdf documentation for all parts
- Incorporate all 5.13 bug fixes ~300 more to do
- Fully support new (2.xx) artworks rendering interface [currently does not support all the enhancements]

Looking further out:
- PNG,TIFF,GIF, PhotoCD graphics formats support
- update/add/enhance MS Doc & docx load & save support
- Update the dictionary with up-to-date wordlist(s) as well as 32bit
- Produce printed documentation
- Titanium colour support
- Zero page protection check & fix

Apart from iconbar (obviously) what are your favourite websites?
www.google.co.uk, www.ebay.co.uk, chrisacorns.computinghistory.org.uk, https://www.riscosopen.org/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page, www.stardot.org.uk, http://8bs.com/aumags.htm

What are your interests beyond RISC OS?
I'm the Publicity Officer for Reading University Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Society, a position I have held for almost 25 years.
Photography & Photoshop ... I've always got a camera or two about my person and take ~10000 20+ megapixel photo's per year
Postcards ... I collect photographic postcards of Newbury, Thatcham and Reading University & surrounding roads mostly pre 1950's, but some are as new as the 80's, 80% pre 20's
Also I collect Acorn/riscos/BBC software and hardware from a few sections: : (I could produce a list if it's of interest)
I've got all the BBC Wedges apart from a 286, an A500 & an ARM1 and none of the 68000 based ones
Anything ARM Related - I've got most machines I want except an A540, a RISC PC 600 (not 610) cpu, Duo cpu, a RISC PC 800 cpu, Omega and a Phoebe of course
My STB's are missing some of the boards
Anything CC related:
I've got most of their BBC ROMS (don't have any of the Archimedes version) and none of their games
I've got most of their RISC OS Software
CC or WildVision podules - I'm Missing the FaxPack, ColourCard [1&G], Full width V9, V10, V12 & the scanner HCCS micro podule [but don't have a full list]
Archimedian Magazine (I have all but issue 1 - have a scan)
All SCSI, Audio & Video Podules - I've about 30 different ones I think [it might be 50 if add them up]
I'm also always on the lookout for the Noah Satellite podule and software
I also collect all RISC OS fonts I can find - one thing I am after is an EFF CD2 - if anyone has a spare one
All DTP software and documentation (mainly to see if there are any features I should add)
The other thing I'm always on the lookout for is there was an A6 flatbed scanner and podule I think made by sharp, that you placed on the object, don't know what it was called or who made it.

As an early Christmas present for you, we have a real treat as Richard Keefe tells us about his progamming adventures and his plans for Impression.

If someone hired you for a month to develop RISC OS software, what would you create?
If it was HW too - I'd produce a USB to [Floppy / Podule connector] not sure month is enough though / otherwise I'd 32bit one of the other CC apps [probably compression] / I'd make big strides in one of big Impression-X enhancements

Any future plans or ideas you can share with us?
As far as future plans go Impression is not the only CC product I have the sources for so I would love to fix some of the others (once Impression is complete ...)

What would you most like Father Christmas to bring you as a present?
The missing Impression-X Source-code
eg Hyperview, Tablemate, Equazor

Any questions we forgot to ask you?
I'm sure there are!

I'd like to ask - what features (apart from 32bit) would users most like adding to Impression-X.

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Categories: RISC OS

RISC OS interview with Rob Coleman

The Iconbar - Thu, 12/21/2017 - 07:44
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!

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Categories: RISC OS

10 RISC OS gift ideas for Christmas

The Iconbar - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 07:04
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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Categories: RISC OS

Drag'N'Drop Autumn edition now available

The Iconbar - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 07:43

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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Categories: RISC OS

!DualHead puts 2 screens in one

The Iconbar - Fri, 12/08/2017 - 07:11
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....

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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Categories: RISC OS

November News

The Iconbar - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 12:17
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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Categories: RISC OS

!Organizer 2.28 reviewed

The Iconbar - Fri, 11/24/2017 - 07:48
!Organizer 2.28 was released at the London Show.

The software comes as a single zip file and there are instructions on how to install or upgrade. When you first run the software, you will be asked about how you would like to update. The default is Y for each. I found I had to save the default choices back at the end.

The headline feature in this release is the rewrite on the planner mode. This is really slick and will display as many weeks forward as it can comfortably display. So on my 1920x1200 screen, I can see the next 14 weeks in a very readable vertical format. If you have a higher resolution you will get less weeks - the software adjusts to fit what makes sense for your display size. I have always been a 'two weeks display mode' user up until now but I am now experimenting with this display.

There are also some nice-to-have features in the software including a better print dialog box and the !Organizer window can be moved or resized by dragging any corner.

The release note says that there have been under the hood changes to improve the software and speed it up. It certainly feels very smooth in operation on my Titantium. Tab and backtab (tab with shift key pressed) allow you to cycle onto the next or last week. If you are in mutli-week modes it moves forward/backward just one week - it does not jump 14 weeks forward in my full display!

The website itself could do with a little TLC. The !Organizer Version History is very out of date and could probably just go.

!Organizer are also still asking for more suggestions on features for the next release.

Overall I am really pleased with the new features in 2.28 and I recommend it as an upgrade to all existing users (and well worth a look if are not using it).

!Organizer can be purchased from the website with the usual discounts for existing customers.

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Categories: RISC OS

!OBrowse reviewed

The Iconbar - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 07:52
!OBrowse was originally released as a 'freebie/thank-you' to anyone who had put money into RISC OS developments. It has been updated for the London Show and was also available for sale at 40 pounds (providing a simple way for people who wanted to contribute smaller amounts to the project).

!OBrowse is a front-end for the !Otter port for RISC OS. As R-Comp were very keen to stress, !Otter is not their project and is a free release which no-one has to pay for. What they have written is some code which allows you to run the software in a much more RISC OS friendly way. They are offering their front end as a way to finance their plans (which will also be available as free software to anyone). They have already made an impact by funding one of the ROOL bounties to bring RISC OS networking support up to date.

!OBrowse is not tied to any release of !Otter and does not 'add' any additional functionality. What it does do is make !Otter into a much more compliant and better behaved RISC OS application. It has a proper iconbar entry, can be run to open HTML files or a URL. It can take over all the protocols which use a browser, supports global clipboard, drag and drop, etc It does this role very well and you get a polished RISC OS application which works as you would expect and plays nicely with the rest of the system.

If you are an investor or want to support RISCOS Developments, it is a very nice to have application installed and a no brainer. If you just want to experiment with accessing the internet under RISC OS, !Otter will run perfectly well on your machine without it.

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Categories: RISC OS

DDE reaches release 28 and above

The Iconbar - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 07:25
At the London Show, ROOL released DDE 28. DDE is a key development tool for RISC OS so it very important to see regular new releases for it.

The software was sent out to show purchasers as a time-limited link to download (I got my copy on sunday morning after the show!). You can now get it via the ROOL store.

The change logs record changes to 13 tools in the software specific to the DDE software and the readme lists changes to other software (like !srcEdit). Most of the changes are minor. For example, !AMU is now 5.32 - up from 5.31 in DDE27) and now correctly reads a timestamp). Some items have not changed in this release (for example !ABC).

There have been some major changes in the Compiler, which actually introduced a bug in compilation. This was quickly fixed with a patch release from ROOL, containing just the changed files. So you will need both to patch your existing version - hopefully ROOL have updated the original DDE28 build for new downloads.

This is quite a technical release and there is a good and detailed discussion of the technical changes on the ROOL forums. There is also an interesting discussion on the bug introduced. It is good to see the software is being evaluated and used by developers and full credit to ROOL for the quick fix.

The package also comes with a full collection of documentation in PDF format and this has all been updated to latest versions.

If you are a non-technical user, this release essentially continues to improve the software and ensure it supports the ARM platforms as well as possible. If you are looking to get into programming, it is also a fully featured collection of all the tools and documentation you need with lots of examples to get you started (and a great way to support ROOL).

ROOL store

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Categories: RISC OS

Elesar quicks dispels stormy clouds

The Iconbar - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 07:08
My RISC OS machines could no longer access PCloud storage (which I use for sharing and backup) last week. This is one of the 'fun' parts of SaaS and cloud applications where things will just change or stop working.

As I was attending the RISC OS show, I waited to speak to Elesar's coding supremo there. It turns out that PCloud had quietly changed the way you access your cloud storage, which needed some changes in !CloudFS. Rob has already released the update (0.29 on 24th October) and you can install this by just re-running the Installer (which automatically downloads the latest version).

Problem solved - if only every problem in life was so simple to solve...

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Categories: RISC OS

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