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News in brief

Published: 2nd Sep 2007, 12:15:37 | Permalink | Printable

Bits and pieces you may have missed

Hello? Anyone out there? For those of you still reading drobe.co.uk, here's a round up of last month's news.

A9home hard disc worries
A9home owners who are suffering bouts of hard disc corruption were asked this week to send their DiscKnight reports and lists of the software they use to supplier CJE Micros in order to help track down the bug. A "small number" of punters, according to developers AdvantageSix, have had their disc maps corrupted - resulting in the dreaded "Disc not understood, has it been formatted?" error. The problem can be fixed by using DiscKnight to repair the map, although the root cause is still a mystery to people on the A9home support mailing list. Ad6 are said to be working on bringing RISC OS 6 across to the 32bit ARM9-powered machine, which runs RISC OS 4.42.

screenshot of pipenightdreamStick that in your pipe
Alan Buckley has ported pipenightdreams, a Pipe Mania-clone, from Linux to RISC OS. The aim of this open source puzzle game is to create a pipeline through which water will flow through. The player must connect up different pipe segments against the clock to prevent the water from running out of pipe to flow through. You can download it from here.

Social butterflies
Forget MySpace, bebo, LinkedIn and Orkut, the place where RISC OS users hang out now is clearly Facebook. For users of modern hardware and versions of everyone's favourite minority OS, there's the RISC OS Users group to join. And for the discerning retro Acorn user, we have the Acorn computer and BBC Micro enthusiasts group.

Among all the various photos and message board posts, there's this nugget posted by one young chap: "My Dad was one of the Acorn founders, just after Curry and Hauser. He was in Cambridge from about 1981 and he was involved as a director from then onwards.

"My sister was even the little girl on the Acorn Electron box - the old man lived through the Olivetti years with them, made some good money and still has a framed BBC Micro - the 16K version - mainboard with a plaque on it that says: 'Thanks Jim for making it happen'. I personally loved Strikers Run, Dare Devil Dennis and Elite and then E-Type racing on the Archimedes. Those were the days, real floppy discs."

And finally
Calendar creater Calibre is up to version 1.20, while label printer LaBella has reached version 6.30. RISC OS Now editor Louie Smith has spoken of her printing woes and explains the delays on her bi-monthly magazine. A desktop with a menu bar is bad, one IT pundit said last week, although RISC OS and NeXT got it right with floating menus.


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I must have been very lucky: I've lost count of the number of times I've crashed my A9 while developing software for it, and I've never had any problems with mounting the file system afterwards, and only on two occasions did Dave's excellent DiscKnight find anything to fix.

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 2/9/07 12:27PM
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I wish Alan would announce these ports - just a quick mention.

Are you serious about it being the place to "hang out"? Anytime I click on the link it asks me to login which immediately makes me feel like an outsider.

Why aren't people on Drobe, Iconbar etc? These places have forums and both are for RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 2/9/07 5:12PM
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Interesting article about the best place for menus. I'd not thought about the fact the RISC OS system enables you to learn "gestures" but it is true: hitting "Save" from a menu is very quick for me because it's always in the same place relative to my pointer in almost all applications :)

 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 2/9/07 5:39PM
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AW: The Iconbar's forums always seemed quite active to me, even if their forum software is hateful.

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 2/9/07 5:39PM
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Um, yes, there are still people out here :-)

New games link - that's worth being out here for.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 2/9/07 9:58PM
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I now do announce new ports. I didn't when they were added as part of the Unix Porting Project (UPP). However Pipenightdreams was ported a long time ago and an old build is in the UPP. It has just appeared on the website above as I'm slowly trying to get the majority of the games from the UPP to build with the latest GCCSDK and ensure all the RISC OS resources needed for them are in SVN. You can look at how far I've got by looking at the index page. Occasionally a new version has been added to the upstream sources so a new version of a program will appear. e.g. TuxMath, however I was going to figure all this out and make an announcement when/if I managed to get a lot more of the programs checked in and working.

 is a RISC OS UserAlanB on 3/9/07 9:17AM
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I wonder if Chris is going to ask me to look at the information gathered on the A9s, as after all I have the tools to be able to diagnose it.

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 3/9/07 10:19AM
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alanb: I've heard that UPP will become integrated with Riscpkg? Is this the case? Using riscpkg would help make sure that all your (and others') hard work is appreciated by as many people as possible.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/9/07 10:55AM
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I would be upset if UPP were integrated into RiscPkg as it currently stands, as it has some serious and annoying flaws currently.

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 3/9/07 12:29PM
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Quite disturbing news about the A9home. People's hard-discs are becoming corrupted, losing access to valuable data in the process. It can be fixed by DiscKnight, but what if a user doesn't happen to own DiscKnight? Is there any other way to provide details of the problem to CJE ?

It seems the only thing Advantage 6 is doing, is bringing RISC OS 6 to the A9home. So, that would fix it, then? How much would the upgrade cost, since the A9home's OS already benefited from Select subscribers' investments without subscribers getting any discounts when buying it?

The little machine is quite nice in itself (i.e. form factor), but this recent development shows yet another area where the OS is not finished. The machine's been on general (public) sale since Wakefield 2006 and it seems it's been shipping with the same version of RISC OS since, namely 4.42. Many users have been asking for an OS update to get a 100% functional computer. I'm sorry if this sounds too negative, but these problems concerning Advantage 6 and RISCOS Ltd should not be rewarded with silence.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 3/9/07 1:15PM
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rjek: Are these flaws why it hasn't happened, or is it also a lack of resources?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 3/9/07 2:37PM
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jess: I have no idea.

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 3/9/07 2:41PM
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In reply to jess: I have previously attempted to create riscpkg packages from the autobuilder stuff, but as it always picks up the latest versions and the same version theoretically can be recompiled every time a new compiler comes along, I couldn't figure out how to get the riscpkg version automatically correctly versioned. I also had problems with figuring out unixlib dependencies as well. My current thoughts would be if someone could take existing versions from the website, test them and then package that specific version for the main riscpkg site.

 is a RISC OS UserAlanB on 3/9/07 4:38PM
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In reply to hEgelia:

The disk problems with the A9home would appear to be more do with some errant sotware rather than any actual problem with the OS. Many people do not have disk issues

I do however very much agree with you on silence aspect. AD6 should release an official statement advising users what the current state of play is with the OS development. Even if they are unable to give an exact date that RO6 will be release they could at least say they were hoping to make it available last quarter 07/1st quarter of 08.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 3/9/07 6:07PM
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I've given up completly on the A9 due to its disk failures! I've had to reformat at least every couple of months and to me it has something to do with (interacting with) MessengerPro. Normally DiskNight (I have a registered version) would say my harddisk was OK, but as soon as MPro was started it would collapse on the same file taking the machine down with FileCore in use errors.

Strange thing is ; if I copied the whole A9 harddisk to the RiscPC, reformat and copy it back there would be no problem at all. This is reported to Ad6 but sofar nothing has happened until last week.

to SA110: Not just a statement on the OS development but also the flashrom which was supposed to be released a long time ago already.

 is a RISC OS Usernico on 3/9/07 7:24PM
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Alan - how are we supposed to know if a release is new from the packages index page on riscos.info?

Or do you mean : [link] ?


Re. DiskKnight - thankfullly the author had the sense to put it on a website for immediate download.

So if like myself your disk breaks on a Friday night you don't have to wait 'til Tuesday or Wednesday at best to receive a parcel (assuming you're in).

 is a RISC OS UserAW on 3/9/07 8:06PM
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I used to have an Omega, when it didn't freeze randomly the other "press the reset button" trigger was a Filecore disk error. Although it would re-boot without fuss, and I could go and access the same file without causing it to immediately give the same error. I couldn't track down what was causing it, as it never seemed to occur with exactly the same file, folder or even disc. I sold my Omega and bought an Iyonix. :-)

 is a RISC OS Useralex on 3/9/07 8:12PM
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sa110 wrote>"The disk problems with the A9home would appear to be more do with some errant sotware rather than any actual problem with the OS. "

As David Ruck, the resident expert on things disk filesystem related, hasn't received any of the logs that CJE have collected I don't quite see how anyone can comment (one way or the other) on likely causes or otherwise for this corruption. Errant software - unless it's deliberately mucking up the filesystem - should *not* be able to leave things in such a state that the harddisk looks "unformatted". Additionally if it's errant on A9 it would surely also be so on Iyonix, RISC PC et al and there'd be a flood of errors being reported on those platforms too (haven't heard a peep though...).

Best thing to do is leave this to the experts to sort out (as in time no doubt they will).

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 3/9/07 8:57PM
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In reply to AW: I agree with you that there is no way of knowing if packages are new from the index page at riscos.info, but isn't that true of most websites. As I said before, I'm in the process of getting the games on to the new site and will make an announcement when I have got a lot further. A new game I would announce immediately, but this website is currently about getting existing games into the autobuilder. The newbreedsoftware site is controlled by them, I have nothing to do with it. I'm glad to see them acknowledging RISC OS and keeping copies on their site.

 is a RISC OS UserAlanB on 4/9/07 8:50AM
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A9harddisc... perhaps the problems are due to heat issues. AFAIK harddiscs to need some kind of cooling and perhaps if the A9home is on too long or sits in a too warm place the disc starts to mis-behave.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 4/9/07 4:51PM
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hzn: The A9's hard disc is reasonably well cooled. It's a laptop drive, and they're designed to sit in very-hot-running laptops and blade servers, with little cooling. Also, the A9's case acts as one giant heat sink. The A9's case isn't air-tight, so it won't be a pressure problem, either.

 is a RISC OS Userrjek on 4/9/07 5:58PM
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The pipenightdreams game sounds fun, but I can't find anything like a RISC OS program inside the zip file I downloaded. I get the impression that I have to compile it myself, but is there anyone who has done this and can post up the finished RISC OS program?

 is a RISC OS UserPeteM on 13/9/07 12:54AM
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You have used the source link download.

Look in the top right corner of the webpage for the actual download link.

 is a RISC OS Userajb on 13/9/07 5:26PM
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Thanks ajb, it's perfectly obvious to me now! I'm sure I looked for this and couldn't find it the first time. Old age creeping up behind me....

 is a RISC OS UserPeteM on 13/9/07 10:42PM
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