Wakefield 2004 theatre talksBy Alex Macfarlane Smith. Published: 20th May 2004, 22:34:23 | Permalink | Printable
Photos and notesWakefield 2004 Alex Macfarlane Smith, of the Nettle development team, attended the second day of the Wakefield show, and having taken various photographs of what he saw, Alex has written up his account of the event from the wide eyes of an end user.
Aemulor and CinoDVD presentation
The theatre talk, lead by Neil Spellings of the Aemulor and CinoDVD team, kicked off with a demonstration of Impression Style running under Aemulor on the Iyonix - it looks like a fairly capable piece of software, and I think something like 270 out of the 310 bits of software they've tried runs under Aemulor Pro, so a large 'well done' to its programmer Adrian Lees for all his hard work. Someone in the audience asked as to whether or not it would be possible to run Aemulor on a RiscPC so that you could emulate ARM3 powered legacy kit to run all your old applications on. The answer was no, but Neil didn't know how much effort it would take to make it work. Of course, originally Aemulor was developed on a RiscPC to show that moving to a 32bit OS wouldn't be a problem in terms of running 26bit applications. I didn't actually get to see CinoDVD running, but it sounds like work is progressing on it, especially now that Aemulor Pro's had its first release. The new ADFS that they're working on for Cino sounds like it will basically allow the DVD player to do non-blocking I/O, so that it can request some data from a disc, and then carrying on doing video and audio processing of existing data until the new data arrives, rather than sitting idle waiting as it does at present. This, naturally, sounds useful, and raised the question as to whether it'll be Iyonix-only, or whether the changes might make it into other versions of RISC OS, as it might be useful for KinoAMP and Cineroma on StrongARM Risc PCs too.
RISCOS Ltd. presentation
This presentation, hosted by RISCOS Ltd.'s Paul Middleton, opened with a look at the new graphical 'Boot Menu' (pictured left) in Adjust, which lets you boot from a CD, your hard disc, a floppy disc, or via a network by holding down the shift key as you start up and selecting the relevant option. It also lets you configure the machine if you cannot reach the desktop, or want to avoid loading the desktop. Paul then spent a while showing off a few of the features of Adjust that were first seen in Select, such as thumbnailing and 'active selections' in the filer, and mentioned details of Select 4 - including possibly abstracting the video layer.
Finally, I went along to the Castle talk, where we were shown a video camera connected to an Iyonix Panther, and outputting live video to the projector screen using Simon Wilson's PCITV software - something that can only be described as 'cool'. Other things that Jack Lillingston, Castle's CEO, demonstrated included plugging a memory card reader into the USB port and showing thumbnailed JPEGs from the memory card of his Sony digital camera in the Filer, although I think the thumbnailer may have been Photofiler rather than being part of the OS like it is in Adjust. He also showed ImageMaster scanning a photo from a scanner plugged into the USB port, playing MP3s in AMPlayer, burning CD-Rs, and generally showing how quick the machine was. Someone in the audience asked about the size of the contracts Castle has with various companies, and Jack replied that they were generally between 10000 and over 50000 units, rather than the definite 50000 which has been reported previously, although no specific applications or customers were mentioned. Either way, it should still be a decent amount of income, and should hopefully fund development for years to come. The only thing that concerned me was that they didn't really seem to have any clear plan on what was going to happen with the development of RISC OS, and I got the impression they were concentrating on their embedded projects as that's where the money is. The real question is exactly how much of this embedded work is going to be useful for the desktop market? Jack also mentioned that Tematic had recently doubled their software engineering staff, so maybe that will mean developments on the desktop RISC OS 5 front may increase a bit. [Alex wrote this article before news of Merlin broke - Ed]
After thoughts and photos
I had a brief chat with Graham Shaw about the RISC OS Toolkit, as it sounded interesting. The example he showed me was basically 20 lines of C++ to do a simple "Hello World" type program, but that included generating the iconbar icon, the main menu from the icon, and the "About this program" Info window. If you're one of those people who hates designing window templates, then the toolkit also features a library to make that work much easier by essentially specifying a layout, and then defining what you want to be in that layout: the Info box in the "Hello World" example was 5 lines of code, 1 to specify which layout to use, and the other 4 for the content. It also handles a lot of the code for the saving of data between applications for you, as you just need to register an object with the save dialogue box, and it then calls you to get the data required to be written out to the file chosen by the user, thus dealing with all of the tricky RAMTransfer or Data messages for you. Provided you don't mind programming in C++, it's probably a very useful toolkit and well worth a look. It's also licensed under the LGPL, which means you can use it in commercial code if you want.
drobe.co.uk's Ian Chamberlain demonstrating Netsurf
Iyonix X100, the desktop Iyonix
A picture of STD's A75 wee orange box thing
Someone playing Botkiller 2 on one of the A6's on Stuart Tyrrell's stand
An Omega running Adjust - the movie is a Replay movie of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, but it seemed to be running at a decent frame rate
I think my main regret was that I failed to notice the Oregano UK stand hiding in the corner, as I would have been interested to see how Oregano 2 was coming along, especially in terms of the rumoured updated Flash support. But overall I found the show quite interesting, and maybe I'll go back next year.
Speaking of Oregano, shortly after the show Richard Brown of OreganoUK told Oregano users: "We have been able to demo an alpha test version of Oregano2. This has bug fixes and one enhancement. The bug fixes will roll out in due course free of charge once they have been tested and proven. The enhancement was Flash 5, this also has to be tested and proven. No times or dates were given for future releases".
Iconbar's Wakefield show report
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