Create your own wall calender on RISC OSBy Martin Hansen. Published: 12th Jan 2008, 13:47:29 | Permalink | Printable
Martin Hansen enjoys a date with Calibre, Ray Favre's freeware application that creates custom designed wall calendersReview - It's been at least a decade since I started a new year without a calendar. This year, for inexplicable reasons, no one gave me one for Christmas. Socks: yes. Pants: yes. Calendar: sadly not. It's not as if my expectations are high. A picture of some sort, above a grid of dates, and each date in a box big enough to write a note or two within, such as things like 'dentist at 2.30pm'.
I had a vague recollection that Ray Favre had written a most fulsome application to produce this very sort of thing. A quick Google search took me to his website. The application I sought was called Calibre and, as it was free, I downloaded it right away along with the HTML manual.
With the software unzipped and sitting on the hard disc of my Iyonix, I decided to see if I, an experienced RISC OS user, could use it without bothering to read the manual. I launched the application, and, after ignoring a suggestion that I load a printer driver, I was greeted with the user interface pictured below.
Click for a larger image
This seemed to be exactly what I wanted. I felt encouraged by such effortless progress. My focus turned to the red outline box with red diagonals, which seemed to be waiting for a picture to be dropped in. I assumed this was the case because a similar box with diagonals is used by TechWriter to indicate where a picture can be drag-and-dropped.
Now, being a digital artist, it was my own mathematically-generated artwork that I wanted to drop into this window, and so I placed my recently produced ArtGraph CD into the Iyonix CD-ROM drive to grab a few sample images.
After a little faffing around, I decided I needed to 'skim read' the Calibre manual after all. Nothing I dropped on the red outline box was being accepted. As I read the documentation, I realised that the Calibre application only accepted Draw files and JPEGs. Also, one has to drop them not on the red outline box, but on the yellow filled rectangle containing the words "Pic 1" in the adjacent tool window.
My ArtGraph images are stored as JPEGs, PNGs and RISC OS sprites. I wasn't keen on using the marginally less exact JPEG images, and the other two formats were not accepted. However, I simply opened up a Draw application window, dragged a RISC OS sprite into it, and then drag-and-dropped the resulting Draw file directly over the "Pic 1" tool box. Success. I didn't even need to save the intermediate Draw file to my hard disc first.
Click for a larger image
To perfect my sudden creation, I unticked the "Keep AR" option, which I guessed was short for "keep aspect ratio". I had to do this to get rid of the remains of the red box outline. Then, from the "Edit design..." button and the radio icon "Picture area(s)", I deactivated the second picture area.
Finally, I increased the display scale to 80 percent and took a screen shot using the snapshot functionality that is provided by the standard Paint application. On my networked RiscPC, I converted this to a PNG file using the RISC OS 6-enhanced Paint program, and took the file into work for laser colour printing. Of course, Ray's program allows users to print out from the application itself and, indeed, it has some sophisticated printing management built-in. I hope he can forgive me for my abuse of his software.
The entire task had taken me around a quarter of an hour. Even within that short space of time, I had seen that Calibre is capable of far more than my rapid assault upon it had revealed, and, a month at a time, I can see that I am really going to enjoy exploring it further over the coming year.
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