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RISC OS software to download from !Store

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:47, 22/9/2017 | ,
In previous articles, we looked at package managers and some of the software available on !PackMan. In this article we are going to highlight some of the software available in !Store and ask for your suggestions.
When you run !Store, it offers you a long list of files and includes both free and commercial software (which you can buy via !Store). As with !Packman it gives you a front end to make it easy to search, provide more details and you can select categories.

If you are looking to run old software on a new machine, our old friend Aemulor is available as free download. There is also in interesting Atari ST emulator called Hatari if you want a real ‘GEM’ environment on your machine.

!Store is also the home for the latest version of !Impression. (although I would criticise the broken link which goes nowhere and looks bad. The pages like PMS Music scribe also include broken links).

Some very high quality software originally written by David Pilling is now freely available and you can find this on !Store.

!Store offers more than software, and you will also find fonts and copies of DraG’N’Drop (which we reviewed here).

What are you downloading from !Store?
2 comments in the forums

RISC OS on GitHub

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:49, 15/9/2017 | , ,
In a previous article, we mentioned Git and GitHub.
Git is a version control system which software developers use. Once you have used version control is is very hard to go back. In particular it:-
1. Allows you to have a full, documented history of all changes you have made and roll back to any point.
2. Label your official release versions.
3. See what you have changed easily.
4. Work with other developers (even large groups) in an orderly manner, see who has edited which bit of code, merge code changes together and handle conflicts where several people are editing the same code.
5. Have the security of lots of backups.
6. Never lose anything! (if you use it properly)
Version control solves a lot of complex problems. When I hire new developers, I always ask them about their experiences with Version control systems....
RISC OS itself is available on version control (it uses CVS) and you can explore it online at the ROOL website.
Part of the attraction of Git is that it also gives easy access to GitHub (a huge online repository of software source code). And (in theory) it means the source code will never be lost. There are some interesting RISC OS related projects hosted on there. Here is a sample to start your exploration...
https://github.com/risc-os-open contains some Ruby and JavaScript projects written by ROOL for their website.
https://github.com/TimothyEBaldwin/RO_cvs2git converts RISC OS CVS to git.
https://github.com/elesar-uk/titanium-build is the source code for Elesar's Debian Linux build.
https://github.com/TimothyEBaldwin/RISC_OS_DevTimothy Baldwin's port of RISC OS to run on Linux.
https://github.com/dpt/PrivateEye The source code for Private Eye
https://github.com/alanbu/packman Source code for Package manager
https://github.com/martenjj/drawview A draw file viewer for Linux.
https://github.com/jaylett/zap Source code for !Zap
2 comments in the forums

!DualHead in use

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:20, 8/9/2017 | ,
[Update] Please note that this review is based on version one of the software - an update was released this week which we will evaluate in a future article.
Now that we have !DualHead installed it is time to experiment with the world of dual head RISC OS desktops.

You now have one very large desktop and the ability to select screen modes to give you a very workable screen area. I have two 27inch monitors this gives me 3840 x 1200 resolution.
With 2 screens, you will have to experiment with how you want to position them. I find that my 27 inch monitors are too wide to put flat side by side without giving neck strain. Most people either tilt the 2 screens together in a V shape (as in the picture above) or have one screen at an angle to the main screen. On my Mac I generally prefer the second option with a 'main' screen directly infront of me and an angled second screen to the left, where I 'park' windows not currently in use.

R-CompInfo are very clear that dual head display is a work in progress. The !DualHead application is polished and runs well but does impose a number of restrictions on current use.
Firstly, I found I could not change the layout. My right hand monitor is always plugged into the second port (right port on the back of the machine looking at it from the back).
There are also different ways to handle multiscreens. On my Mac, the screens can also be separate displays (with a separate task bar on each) and you can arrange one screen under the other. On RISC OS, we have a single screen which is extended across multiple monitors. There are pros and cons to both.
!DualHead also requires the screens to run at the same resolution. You can run two different sized monitors. I tried replacing one of my 27inch monitors with an old 20inch monitor. This requires both monitors to run at the same resolution of 1600 x 1200. The results look stretched on one screen.

Different size monitors are an issue with all dual display systems. On my Mac I always use 2 identical 27 inch monitors. Moving screens between different resolutions is not ideal as you have to keep resizing them.
Quibbles aside, !DualHead is a really nice release and brings RISC OS firmly into the world of dual screen output. It will also allow developers to start adapting their software to make use of it. I tried !Paint and as expected a screenshot of the whole screen creates a sprite containing both displays.
This is an excellent first release (following on the heels of 5.23 RISC OS release) and I look forward to seeing what R-Comp have for us at the London Show...
6 comments in the forums

August news round-up

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:16, 31/8/2017 |
A quick round-up of news we noticed in the RISC OS world (please feel free to post in comments anything missed).
A new edition of Drag'n'Drop was published with a timely tutorial on upgrading your Pi to 5.23.
Some interesting developments in multi-core support for RISC OS.
The 5.23 release for the Titanium is now on ROOL site. R-CompInfo released their official version of it for their TiMachine.
Elesar also provided a new sales home for CloneDisc and SystemDisc.
Some new hardware with the RaspberryRo Lite (from 4D) and and a new mouse solution for older machines. RISC OS bits brought us the ROKit and PiSSDup.
RISC OS blog reviewed RISC OS on the Pi3 and Cyborg (a new game from AMCOG).
On The Icon Bar, we grilled Richard Brown about the SW show, Orpheus, RISC OS Developments (and which really is better -!Zap or !StrongED). And Jason Tribbeck announced he was back...
Discknight 1.53 is a major update making use of the new features in RISC OS 5.23
R-Comp released its !DualHead software to allow its TiMachine to make use of that second video port on the back.
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R-Comp release !DualHead

Posted by Mark Stephens on 11:14, 26/8/2017 | ,
If you own a Titanium based machine you may have noticed that it has 2 video output ports. If you plug a monitor into the right port (as you look at the machine from the back), you will get the chemical details of the element Titanium on your second screen. Interesting but not very practical....

Now R-CompInfo have released !DualHead which allows their Titanium based TiMachine to display RISC OS across two screens (heads). In this article, we will get it up and running with a later look at how well it works. Let us see if two Heads are better than one...
The application is a free download from the R-Comp website (you will need your username and password to access it). It consists of some updates for !Boot, a very helpful !ReadMe, and the actual !DualHead application. There is also SingleHead to revert back to one display
I read the !ReadMe, updated !Boot and rebooted my machine. Nothing changes until you run the !DualBoot software and press space. If anything goes wrong the software is well-designed to revert back to the default single display.

You now have one RISC OS display spilt across 2 screens (with a really long iconbar across the bottom). Windows can also be split across screen as you can see from the alert message. This can take used to along with alerts and dialog boxes popping up on the screen you were not expecting.

As you can see the software is very easy to setup. Next time we will delve into how well it works....
1 comment in the forums

Revisting the old Acorn magazines online

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:58, 25/8/2017 | ,
Over the years, a lot of high quality magazines have been produced. Most of these are no longer actively published but their back catalogue still contains interesting and relevant material.
Some companies provide electronic copy. You can buy from R-Comp a CD with the complete Risc User collection and Archive has a compilation CD.
Many magazines are now available online if you do not happen to possess a large attic piled high with old editions.
There is a nice index of the Acorn User magazines on Acorn User website and a partial collection of PDF scanned copies (they say reproduced with permission) here. If you can add any of the missing editions, they would be very pleased to hear from you.
The biggest collection I have been able to find is The Computer Magazine Archives. The site also hosts the waybackwhen archive (which stores snapshots of what website used to look like) and it is not above controversy (it was blocked by the Indian government in 2017). The development of the Internet raises huge questions on what is acceptable use and how copyright should work (in practical and legal terms). So you may still want to stick to your pile in the attic.
It includes not just RISC OS machines but everything. So you can also relive your BBC days. I got a bit side-tracked in my researches revisiting Jim Butterfield explaining how the video works on a VIC-20 (my first ever computer). It is also searchable to you can also find items by topic.

Maybe not as fun as scrambling in the attic, but maybe more practical if you have a browser....
4 comments in the forums

RISC OS Developments

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:19, 18/8/2017 |
Richard Brown also agreed to recap on RISC OS developments as part of our interview.
Who came up with the original idea?
I came up with it over a conversation at a RISC OS show and it took off from there.
What was the reaction to your announcement at Wakefield?
It created a surprise and we received a good response from the Community.
How did you measure the response?
Of the people who we signed up to our NDA, and we spoke to candidly, 90% went on to make an investment in the Company. We were able to revise upwards the scope of the project as a result.
Can you remind us about the financial proposal you made?
Anyone who wanted to make a ‘reasonable' investment could put money into RISC OS developments. This will help to finance our work. The deliverables will be of benefit to the RISC OS community. We have achieved our initial target, but any additional finance we can raise would be put to very good use. People need to talk to talk to us confidentially if they would like to know more.
On going and taking up significant time. Like CastleInfo, we will make announcements when apppropriate.
Stay tuned.
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RISC OS Interviews - Richard Brown (Orpheus Internet)

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:21, 11/8/2017 |
How long have you been using RISC OS? 
Since the beginning.... I prefer not to talk years.
What other systems do you use? 
I currently use both MacOs and various flavours of Windows. Thankfully not XP personally (although we still support it) but Windows 7 and above. I have toyed with Linux but never used in my work. All our servers run CentOS Linux and I have a Linux guru who handles those for me.
What is your current RISC OS setup?
I have an ARMx6 with a huge 32 inch curved monitor. You may have seen it at the shows, carefully guarded by me. There are 3 RaspberryPis, and some RiscPCs around if I need another machine for testing and debugging or propping open a door.
Do you attend any of the shows and what do you think of them? 
Orpheus attends all the shows, and now co-organises the South-West Show (saturday 24th February 2018 in the usual venue as you asked). I really enjoy the shows as I get to put names to faces, meet lots of people and catch-up on developments. I try not to eat too many of the sweets on our stand. It is always a good place to make announcements to the RISC OS community and I did a small talk at this year's Wakefield.
I was really pleased with the car sharing we organised a bit last minute last year and we will be doing it for the 2018 show.
What do you use RISC OS for in 2017 and what do you like most about it?
What I like most about RISC OS is the ease of use. We currently run our accounts on RISC OS (!Prophet), prepare customer details invoices as PDFs (it produces much better PDF files than MacOs Preview), and I use it a lot more for email since moving to my ARMx6.
What is your favourite feature/killer program in RISC OS?
For me, the killer feature is the way the software plays well together. As a whole it is a really nice environment to work in.
!Zap or !StrongED?
!StrongED - Paul Vigay told me to use it for my needs and I have not had any reason to regret his advice. (Paul was also a !Zap fan). So probably says more about me than either text editor.
What would you most like to see in RISC OS in the future? 
Siri??? New logo? Seriously, no public comment yet - will keep you posted...
I am really excited about what we can do with things we have been exploring with RISC OS Developments which is taking a fair amount of my time at present. As we said at the show, we have a plan and will let people know as and when we can.
Favourite (vaguely RISC OS-related) moan?
People do not upgrade their hardware enough.
What keeps you using RISC OS?
It is a pleasant drive.
What are the challenges to running a business in the RISC OS market?
Unfortunately, the market is rather small.
Can you tell us about what you are working on in the RISC OS market at the moment?
Yes and No, Orpheus are in the process of upgrading our servers with new services like SSL and SPF. Our FTTP prices have dropped (last Nov) and we have a software project that we would like to start soon specifically based for our RISC OS customers, which is nothing to do with my involvement with RISC OS Dev.
What is FTTP?
Fibre To The Premises. Finally, after years of waiting for BT to make it available for wholesale release. For most people this this could give you a faster fibre service. Email me if you want to know more.
Apart from iconbar (obviously) what are your favourite websites?
Amazon (Prime is great isn't it).
What do you think Paul Vigay would have made of the Computer/RISC OS scene in 2017?
He would be pleased that RISC OS is still here and would be telling us what RISC OS still does better than any other machine.
Any questions we forgot to ask you?
When the Orpheus Internet website will be updated. Answer is shortly....
At the end of the Orpheus Internet interview, Richard kindly agreed to switch hats and answer some RISC OS Developments questions which will appear in another article.
Orpheus Internet website
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Summer edition of Drag'N'Drop hits the shelves

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ROM release for your Titanium - What is new

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Installing the new ROM release for your Titanium

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Are the RISC OS show dates on your calendar?

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Treasure trove of RISC OS games at JASPP site

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New release of Cyborg from AMCOG games

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Recent discussions
- RISC OS software to download from !Store (News:2)
- Can't remember the name. (Games:8)
- RISC OS on GitHub (News:2)
- Aemulor (Gen:7)
- GMail and POP (Gen:2)
- !DualHead in use (News:6)
- I'm back... (Gen:12)
- R-Comp release !DualHead (News:1)
- August news round-up (News:)
- Revisting the old Acorn magazines online (News:4)
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