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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

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

RISC OS London Show 2017

Posted by Mark Stephens on 17:19, 28/10/2017 |
 
The 2017 London show took place at its regular venue on Saturday 28th October (St Giles Hotel - Feltham, London). It was a warm and sunny autumn day (always a good start). I arrived by car along the M25 and the only queue I had was the one for show tickets at the very start of the event.
 
The show was run as usual by ROUGOL and their army of helpers who did an excellent job of making everything work to time faultlessly.
 
There is a separate report for there talks and a Show in pictures article linked at the bottom. In this report we will focus on the stands and the actual event.
 
The event was using more rooms this year and felt busier (certainly in the morning). There were lots of busy stands with new releases and much to see. I have tried to capture this in our photo report. So here are some of my personal highlights.
 
My first stop was mw-software to get the new !Artworks release (better support for new machines and some nice new tools). It was great to see Martin (dressed with bow tie as usual) back at the shows.
 
The new release of !Organiser makes good use of the big screens and Nigel was asking for more ideas for future releases.
 
ROOL had the new DDE and a chunky basic manual alongside some cool demos. Rob Sprowson was also there so I was able to ask him about changes in Pcloud (Rob already has a fix which is installed by rerunning the installer).
 
Lots of nostalgia with BBC tv from yesteryear with the BBC Preservation Project....
 
Amcog games stand provided a chance to try their full range of games and to learn more about their sound module.
 
Richard Keefe showed off the new jpeg import and scaling in !Impression. He is continuing to both 32 bot and enhance the software. He uses it on his Titanium.
 
Chris Hall continues to refine his GPS solution. This is now becoming very sophisticated with the ability to call home, put itself in standby. I look forward to seeing what chris’s next project is.
 
My overall view was that it was a very upbeat and positive show and we will be very busy reviewing the new releases for you on iconbar over the next few months.
 


 
Pictures
 
My notes from the talks
 
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RISC OS London Show 2017 - Notes from the talks

Posted by Mark Stephens on 17:03, 28/10/2017 |
 
BBC Media Preservation
 
The BBC had a special projects department to create games and graphics using Acorn kit for their shows. This became a external company called ROUND ONE. Preserving and restoring these machines and their software is the aim of the project. Machines needed some work to clean and restore and recover the software.
 
We saw several videos where BBC or RISC OS machines were used to provide graphics for shows such as Maggot Moments. The machines were also used on national lottery. Final home for collection will be Centre for Computing history in Cambridge.
 
CJEInfo Micros
Chris started by updating us on news that Adrian Lees should have aemulor with pi3 and zpp support available very soon. There will be different versions for different machines. Adrian was actually at the show.
 
Chris recapped on recent developments already showcased (PhotoDesk 3.14, serial mice for older systems, pressure-sensitive graphics tablet for modern machines)
 
New launches since Wakefield are raspberryRO lite (based on pi desktop) and micro adapter for mice.
 
Chris commented that he was amazed to see some stuff on eBay going for more than on CJEmicros website.
 
At London show Chris mentioned version 2 of PiTop (with larger keyboard, full HDMI screen and redesign) . Getting technical documentation from PiTop has been ‘challenging’. New version is still being evaluated as some issues - like only available in green and US keyboard.
 
Recap on cjemicros range of desktop machines and different benefits.
 
Martin Wuerthner
Official release of Artworks 2.X3 with support to Titanium at show. There is also a new shape builder and eraser tool. Martin showed how easy it makes drawing shapes. He used it to take a bite from the iconic artworks apple. It can also be use to clip bitmap images. Background is transparent so you can put clipped image on different background.
 
R-Comp
Headline release is NetFetch 5 with support for SSL and spf. There are lots of enhancements for authentication handling with office365 and other providers.
 
There is a brand new version of the game Doom for new hardware with new music.
 
DualHead makes use of hardware support in Titanium for multi-monitor display. Latest release gives 2560x1440 on a single monitor. It can go higher on the right monitor.
 
OBrowser front end for Otter port provides a nice RISC OS front end. It is free to people who have invested in RISCOS Developments and as a way to raise money from others.
 
RISC OS Developments
Richard reprised his Wakefield talk and brought the story up to date. Lots of groundwork has been done. The front end for the existing Otter browser is a way to contribute. ROOL and development community are in the loop on plans.
 
RISC OS Open Ltd
Next release will be 5.24, with I new feature due and 4 known bugs to fix. Aiming to have a stable badge for different ports in future.
 
Bounty updates - EDID enhancements completed March, paint underway, usb 99% done.
 
Still open bounties, especially on networking, clipboard support and filing system updates, improvements to build tools, usb stack.
 
There is a general bounty which pays for behind the scenes.
 
RISC OS user guide is being updated. 56 of 62 chapters now done.
 
New basic reference manual after 25 years
 
New DDE 28 release (half price to existing owners).
 
Reminder on ePic release combining Nut Pi and OS on one card.
 
Sine Nomine Software with RISCOSbits
 
Sine Nomine showed off new contour data feature. Data just for UK at present from Ordanance Survey. You also get spot heights and tidal heights. Spotlight tool enhanced to use contours (ie select lines over 100m).
 
Showed off NASA data for Isle or Man
 
Nice demo using OSM to show map of Greenwich with trip details such as photos and altitude. Maps can be rotated.
 
Joint development with Riscos Bits running Wispy, which gives WiFi and Firefox browser. It does not currently work with open and unsecured networks. Runs Firefox in rdp client.
 
VideoNuLA
 
Rob Coleman introduced himself and showed off his new new graphics chip for BBC micro. He got back into the BBC computer in 2005 after 15 year gap and this project has evolved since then. Realised lots of upgrades but not in area of graphics. Inspired by Palettemate upgrade for BBC from Wild Vision. Summer 2016 built a breakout board to tap video ULA signal and interface with Altera MAX II epm570 cpld. This needed to convert beeb 5v to 3.3v.
 
Then he replicated existing BBC features, enhanced colours, added smooth scrolling, introduced attributes to give more colours in hires modes.
 
Prototype demonstrated at SW and Wakefield show. Lots of feedback and advice from stardot.
 
End result is totally backward compatible
 
Uses extended vdu19.
 
You can change platte of any existing software
 
Supported in b-em and b2emulators.
 
6 comments in the forums

RISC OS London Show 2017 - Pictures

Posted by Mark Stephens on 16:41, 28/10/2017 |
 
Here is a selection of pictures to show you what the event was like.....
 
(Click on the thumbnails for the bigger image)
 
 











 











 











 











 












 
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RISC OS London Show 2017

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 22:30, 12/10/2017 | , ,
 
This year's London Show is due to take place on Saturday the 28th of October, at the usual location of the St. Giles Hotel in Feltham. The show runs from 11 AM to 5 PM, with tickets being £5 at the door (and under-16's free). Exhibitors this year are set to include:The theatre schedule is yet to be finalised, and with the number of new and interesting exhibitors it's anyone's guess who's going to be filling the slots. What are your predictions?
 
For up-to-the-minute show news, remember to check out the show website.
 
1 comment in the forums

Acorn World Sat 13th - Sunday 14th May

Posted by Mark Stephens on 06:58, 29/4/2017 | , ,
 
This new event/exhibition is being organised in Cambridge at the Centre for Computing History by the Acorn and BBC User group.
 
It will include machines and software from the whole of Acorn's history and also beyond. And it will also include Acorn's 'children' - the Companies which Acorn helped to create and grow.
 
Event runs 10am-5pm and tickets will cost 8 pounds (which also gives you full access to the rest of the Museum which includes lots of other history, nostalgia and trivia.
 
Whether your interest is past, present or future, there will be lots of interest to see...
 
Museum website
 
1 comment in the forums

Wakefield 2017 Show Report

Posted by Mark Stephens on 20:46, 22/4/2017 |
 
The 22nd Wakefield Show took place at the Cedar Court Hotel. If you were not at the show, this is what you missed.
 
The Show takes place across 3 rooms. There is a retro room, with lots of 8 bit equipment, a RISC OS room and a third room for talks. It was a really busy show and there were lots of things I did not have time to see or missed.
 
I spent most of my time in the theatre and RISC OS stands so I will focus on that in my write-up.
 
You can also get a feel from all parts of the Show from our picture gallery.
 
RISC OS stands
There were lots of new features, ideas and updates from the stands. Here is what I picked up.
 
Ident have so far held the price on their Ident cases despite increasing costs of raw items. They are offering both RISC OS and Linux solutions. They operate in many markets outside the traditional RISC OS scene where their clients are asking for Linux.
 
North One Communications were showing off Organizer 2.26 (which is new to Wakefield) and still getting ideas for a hopeful new release for London Show.
 
RISCOSbits had their growing range of hardware solutions on show and some neat little covers for your PI case - I think I even spotted a bright yellow one.
 
Chris Hall had his GPS system updating a map in real time and had several interesting hardware setups using GPS and custom screens.
 
CJE MicrosInfo had their usual large range of hardware and software on offer.
 
Steve Fryatt was on hand to demonstrate his range of software, which can also be bought on CD and raises money for Charity.
 
ROOL had their ePic release and the usual selection of Books, USBs and some 10 year old badges for their anniversary.
 
Drag'N'Drop had the latest release of their magazine, their range of fonts and books/drawing tutorials.
 
Archive Magazine had both Paul Bevereley, Jim Nagel and the latest release of Archive (released last week).
 
SoftRock/Riscository had the full range of software and Pi cases on show.
 
R-CompInfo had lots of little software updates since last year's show and their full range of hardware and monitors.
 
Orpheus Internet had their big screen and were discussing both their traditional internet services and new plans with Riscos Developments.
 
Timothy Baldwin did not have a stand but attracted a lot of interest as he now has RISC OS running on Debian Linux and was able to demonstrate what is a reasonably stable (and quick) beta release.
 
The talks
 
Richard Brown had a special talk added to the start of the day. He began by updating us on OrpheusNet. They have been updating their servers which means they will be able to offer new services including better web hosting and VPS (they can offer you your own virtual box to use rather than having to install you box in their data centre). Richard has been involved in lots of other RISC OS projects including ArmMini, ARMX6 and gets lots of suggestions and requests. Sometimes people ask for things and his usual response, is along the lines of "If you are prepared to pay X, we can make it happen".
 
Richard explained that one specific request at SW South had led him to ask "How much is this worth to you?" An encouraging answer to this has led him to aks other people and in less that 2 months he has managed to put together the 30K he estimates he needs to make it happen. The hope is that this will be the first of several such ventures. The investors are not expecting to see a financial reward from this and the idea is that everyone in the RISC OS community will be able to benefit.
 
Mindful of previous events not having ended entirely happily, and having secured the funding for the first project, Richard is being cautious on initial announcements. Once a clear timeline can be provided, there will be more details. In the meantime, there is lots of speculation.
 
In order to provide a legal structure for this, a new Company has been created. Andrew Rawnsley is the second director, as Richard has worked with him before, but the idea is to benefit everyone and anyone is invited to be involved.
 
At the moment, Richard has most of the funds for his initial project but if you are looking at donating a significant figure (ie over 1,000 pounds), he is happy to tell you more if you would like to sign an NDA.
 
If you are looking to donate smaller sums, there are plenty of worthy ROOL bounties which you could top up..... Both these efforts are complementing each other to improve RISC OS.
 
In the interest of full disclosure, Iconbar has signed the NDA and the planned first project is VERY,VERY EXCITING. The people who have put the money in are all fairly shrewd people who are not expecting to see a financial return on their investment but are expecting to see the money used very wisely as specified and expecting to hold Richard and Andrew to account and to deliver.
 
This is probably the biggest investment in RISC OS since the sale to PACE.
 
Andrew Rawnsley gave an update on what R-Comp have been up to. There are lots of minor software updates but the recent focus has been on hardware updates and the new laptop. He recapped on recent releaseswith the ARMX6 speed improvements on accessing networks, the RAID solution, new Linux release for TiMachine and new RISC OS builds for all machines as well.
 
The second half of his talk was devoted to Riscos Developments, with the desire to ensure that RISC OS will still be around in another 20 years and to fix some of the big issues and missing gaps.
 
Steve Revill from ROOL did not have advanced notice of Riscos Developments, but welcomed the new initiative and looked forward to learning more and working together. ROOL have their ePic release forthe show which was r15 for the PI. It has been an epic release due to the sheer amount of changes and work needed to make it work. As well as the standard RISC OS build (which you can buy from them or download for free), ROOL are now offering a large, fast, SD card combining RISC OS and all the NutPi software for 50 pounds.
 
ROOL also ran through recently completed and still open bounties.
 
The EDID bounty is now complete (it autodetect monitors making RISC OS simply and easier to use). Potential other future changes may include hot support and multiple monitors. A second completed bounty now offers support for larger drives up to 2 TIB. A critical part of the RISC OS filing system has been rewritten in C (making it much easier to maintain and enhance). Step 2 will be partition support (still raising funds on bounty and at 2,700)
 
Open bounties include-
 
1. USB support bounty to update and sync with net BSD stack
2. Networking and stack overhaul (IPv6,etc)
3. Better clipboard support
4. Compiler support
 
ROOL's New Zealand division (Andrew Hodgkinson) is doing updates to the ROOL website and hope to add some new features such as targets for bounties.
 
Jeffrey Lee and others have started looking at multicore
 
Sine nomine demonstrated a new version of !Impact which added much better import features. This has come out of improvements originally added to OSM. !Impact no longer needs fields in same order. The software shows potential import preview of issues before import and allows you to fix them. Import allows for Merging, update and selection values. There was a quick demo of exporting location to OSM to add as pins (which led nicely into the second part).
 
OSM has lots of polish and nice to have features added. There is a new resizing tool to choose output size, route tracing, lock button, tracks can be edited, compass and ability to turn map. You can also load photos from web in OSM (once RISC OS has https this will also be able to use Flickr). Future updates will Look at better GPS support and adding contour lines.
 
CJEInfo Micro's are also excited by RISC OS developments. Chris had his preparations for the show interrupted by a overly complex house move so it was more 'spontaneous' than usual. Chris has 2 different markets with retro/legacy customers as well as customers wanting the latest. So he has secured a support of legacy mice for RISC OS machine and also a supply for older Pi2s (not the new versions which are essentially Pi3s with some bits missing). He also has some nice compact speakers and some KVM switch boxes which will work on both DVI and VGA so you can mix new and old machine. Finally, he gave a recap on changes since last Wakefield with the new !Photodesk release, USB drawing tablet, PiTop laptop
 
Amcog games have been busy on their sound system and their games and gave us an update on both areas, again with the nice sign summarising the changes and ideas for the new RISC OS sound improvements.
 
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Wakefield 2017 show in pIctures

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Wakefield Acorn & RISC OS Show, 22nd April 2017

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South West Show in Pictures

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South West Show Report

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SouthWest show reminder

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What are you hoping to see at South-West Show

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