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News in brief

By Chris Williams. Published: 3rd Jan 2006, 20:53:24 | Permalink | Printable

Updated Geminus, RiScript, plus Motion-JPEG fun, freeware news and more

News in briefGeminus developments
A new bugfixed version of Geminus is now available from Spellings Software. A fault which resulted in the graphics acceleration software failing to cache the redraw operations of applications has been addressed along with a compatibility issue with Organiser, and an improved default configuration is now included. Developer Adrians Lees, who is currently in the process of moving house, has also crafted a high speed JPEG decoder which can play a series of DVD resolution JPEG images at 20 frames per second without the aid of DMA support. Although this won't contribute to the golden objective of achieving DVD MPEG video playback, Adrian notes that a few AVI files do use the Motion-JPEG codec. More importantly, he believes that the software can be reversed to create a rapid JPEG image encoder.

In addition, Geminus stablemate DeskDebug has been tweaked and updated to recognise dynamic procedure and function calls.

RiScript update
A new release of PDF authoring package RiScript was sneaked out just before Christmas. Version 5.02 includes configurable scale presets, marked hyperlinks, automatic closing of the current document when the main window is closed, a page view slider, export from PostScript now defaults to PDF, and various other bug fixes and tweaks. Co-developer Jeroen Medema added that the next version of RiScript will potentially include CMYK sprite support, Taborca style direct PDF generation, Type0 font support and text searching facilities.

Screenshot of RiScript
RiScript 5.02's new configuration window

Unix Porting Project applies brake to subs
UPP gaffer and Firefox porter Peter Naulls told his subscribers in an email last night that he will not be selling any new subscriptions. The New Zealand born programmer moved to California, US, last year with his family, and says he now has less time to commit to the project. Current customers will have their subscription periods extended indefinitely while the support mailing list will stay open. Peter also hinted to his users that he hopes to relaunch the project later this year with a new pricing structure, possibly using the riscos.info branding.

Mission Impossible?
The webmistress of links database risc-os.net has set a challenge to all users on the aforementioned website: Can the community find 10000 valid RISC OS related URLs before the end of 2006? Describing the task as appearing to be "insurmountable", Rebecca Shalfield said roughly 26 links must be added per day in order to achieve this target.

She added: "If you feel like making this one of your New Year's Resolution by offering a small amount of your spare time to assist in this massive task, both yourself and the rest of the RISC OS Community will feel the benefits and be immensely grateful."

In brief
Jochen Lueg has developed a new shareware utility, OpenAll, which will open all the sub-directories in a directory dragged onto it. Its author says his program is handy for hunting through multiple directories and the software can be instructed to only open a sub-directory if it contains files of a given filetype - useful for searching through a CD for image files, for example.

A new application that manipulates TV video recorded using a Siemens Gigaset M740 AV DVB-T receiver has been developed by Thomas Milius. The gadget uses a standard ethernet network to send video files to a RISC OS computer so that they can be edited and replayed. Thomas has also ported a tool that converts the recorded MPEG video into a format suitable for KinoAMP and other players.

Terrifying as it sounds, OvationPro users can now convert documents in DDL format into HTML. Ray Favre's new software 'maps' text styles from the original work to configurable sequences of HTML tags. Images are also supported.

Safely shutdown and reboot your computer from the command line with Steve Potts' new tool. David Ruck's graphical taskwindow has been tweaked to add text cursor control and ARMalyser by the same author has also been updated. Cumana's Holy Bible software (not safe for work; gratuitous nudity) is now 32bit compatible and had a few bug fixes applied to it. Online gallery app Webgen2 now supports CSS for layout among other enhancements. 7thsoftware's Routines library now includes Throwback window support and initial support for displaying anti-aliased fonts.

Small developers invited to South West show
The organisers of the RISC OS South West show have repeated calls for smaller developers and dealers to get in contact to exhibit at the event. It's hoped freeware and shareware programmers can use the opportunity to meet their users, demonstrate their work and discuss new features. The show takes place in February in north Somerset, UK.

And finally
Formally known as the Derbyshire Acorn Risc Club, the DARC Technology Club are holding an evening on using eBay on Monday January 9th; see their website for details. Organiser Matt Cook said, "We can even tell you which RISC OS browsers work best with eBay. For new users, occasional buyers or the seasoned sellers, this evening has something for everyone. Lots of hints, tips and advice for buyers and sellers, packed into a couple of hours."

Castle's Iyonix computer was name dropped in the release notes for NetBSD 3.0. Listed as a 'major change', the port to the XScale powered computer was completed by Gavan Fantom.

Also, during yesterday evening we improved the way in which the drobe.co.uk login system works internally and as part of the deployment of this new code, all users were logged out. If you are having trouble remembering your password to log back in, drop us an email.


News? Comments?

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With so much artifact with 1.10 Geminus was keen to try the 1.20 but site has not been updated to allow a download for 'triers' who have already taken a copy.

 is a RISC OS Userrmac on 4/1/06 9:14AM
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I just tried risc-os.net but didn't manage to add an app. The link points to some fixed ip address (something I personally do not like at all since it hides where it goes and thus normalle do not follow) and a click on the button to add an app using the form resulted in some timeout message. So I tried the button's url with www.risc-os.net instead of the ip address and gee wiz, the page came. I went through the troube to fill in all the data and then clicked on the add button at the bottom and all I got was an error message which didn't help me.

But anyhow I think there are too many such product directories for RISC OS around by now so that in case I update an app it need more time to keep it up to date in all them directories than to update the app in the first place so that I do not publish my work in any of them anymore (not that I do much programming in the first place) but rely on users finding my apps using Google which does work and is much easier to update ;-)

And if I search for an app I tend to use Google as well since I found out that that works a lot quicker and more reliable than using all them RISC OS product directories which tend to be more or less out of date - which is no surprise considering the work needed to keep them up to date in the first place...

Perhaps the people beind all the RISC OS product directories can have a chat and then decide to opt for one single database for all - that might indeed then result in a good, and much more complete directory.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 5/1/06 5:49PM
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To HzN (that's me) and Rebecca:

Thanks Rebecca for your contacting me! I thus learned why an IP address is used: it points to her Risc PC which runs the code for updating the web site - my bad luck was that at the time I tried the connection was not quite working.

And I now discovered an even *more* *interesting* *feature* which is as far as I can tell unique for such a site and makes it easy to keep it up to date: You can put down your programs data as XML file on your web site and just pass the link to that file to risc-os.net. When you at some later time update your app all needed is that you update your xml file too and then upload both to your website. risc-os.net will then be automatically updated after a short delay based on the new data in your xml file. With this technique one of the main issues I have with such web sites is that keeping the products directory up to date needs me going there is resolved.

So with this there is a good chance that this directory will over time be a good repository, due to the fact that it checks the links and allows for that xml updating (you can still include your records manually as with other like directories). Perhaps some small app helping to create and update such an XML file might help.

But, sorry folks, I'd still love some joint venture where the different product directories are assembled into one singe one increasing the chance for it to be more complete.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 8/1/06 12:46PM
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I'd rather there was a maximum of one or less product directories. If I'm looking for a fairly old application, then its pretty sure the normal search for "RISC OS application_name" will return a dozen or so product directories pages and sub pages, and every single one will turn out to be a broken link. It would save a lot of time if they weren't there, as generally if google can't find it, its gone.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 9/1/06 9:45AM
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Like HZN and druck I also think there are too many product directories, and this new one doesn't seem particularly easy to use :(

My solution has been to keep my stuff up to date on just one of the multitide - the ANS filebase, which, in my opinion, is the best of the bunch :)


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 9/1/06 11:49AM
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Thinking about it, the ideal thing for a product directory to do would be not only to store descriptions and links to the software but to regularly spider the link and cache the downloads incase the link ever dies. If it does could automatically email the last known contact email address, or even csa.announce, to try to get in touch with the author for cases when they haven't dropped off the face of the earth, but just changed web hosts and forgotten to update the links. If this isn't successful, the directory can continue to provide the last known version, and no RISC OS applications need ever become lost.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 9/1/06 12:14PM
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Looking forward to try out Thomas Milius new program as soon as I can get hold of a Siemens Gigaset M740 AV DVB-T receiver, could this be the Best non-commercial software winner of 2006 allready?

 is a RISC OS UserPete on 9/1/06 12:19PM
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To druck:

One product directory is what I suggested with "I'd love some joint venture ...."

The spidering you suggest is in the risc-os.net directory ... if I understand you correctly. risc-os.net checks the link availability every 7 days and with the xml file technique it is easier for the programmer to keep the entries up to date so that chances of a good directory are higher. But the idea to keep entries in place, perhaps flagged as broken for apps where the home page got lost might be nice.

I do hope that the availability check does not delete an entry after one access failure, btw. but perhaps flags it internally and if unreachabiliy remains for some time (i.e. a month e.g.) it reacts.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 9/1/06 1:50PM
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I've tried submitting entries for the database, but unfortunately the "Failed" section doesn't give particularly useful information on /WHY/ my submissions were rejected. It would be nice if I could supply an e-mail address (that I know won't be used in the database and open to harvesting by spammers) so that I could be told why my submission failed. I have a similar problem with the XML - the format is actually quite complicated, and it's not obvious which bits are mandatory and which bits aren't.

I filled out a feedback-form on the website asking for clarification, but unfortunately I've heard nothing back. If the webmaster of riscosnet reads this, it would be really good if they could get in contact. I'd really like to contribute.

 is a RISC OS Userkrisa on 9/1/06 2:33PM
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Druck: The Filebase could fairly easily be updated to cache downloads, only providing access to them if the original link goes dead. It already (optionally, since some people may not want it!) emails authors if their entries contain dead links. I'll look into modifying the code to retrieve the download links and store them for future use (with over 1000 entries on the Filebase, I'm not sure how much space they'll all take up).

 is a RISC OS Userbarti on 10/1/06 10:53PM
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Maybe people should look into using this solution:


 is a RISC OS UserGulli on 11/1/06 5:45PM
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