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Software news

By Ian Chamberlain. Published: 18th Aug 2003, 22:38:08 | Permalink | Printable

Online chatter, privacy, window blinds, pythons and more

Software round upThis week R-Comp unleashed a new version of their popular IRC and MSN Internet communication program, Grapevine. R-Comp describe this new version (1.11) as "a major upgrade adding a large number of new features". The authors certainly seem to have made many cosmetic changes to the user interface. One of the main developments is a system which allows each family member (or user) to have their own settings for Grapvine. A logging system has also been introduced that saves conversations as they appear. R-Comp also inform us that the new version includes "behind the scenes" development that will allow new features to be added to future versions. We certainly hope that support for protocols like ICQ and Yahoo! are on their to-do list. The upgrade has been emailed to registered users and purchasing details can be found on the R-Comp website.

Nat Queen has announced a brand new program that promises to "defeat the spooks and protect the basic human right to privacy". !Stealth allows users to create encrypted directories in order to protect data and keep it secret. It also prevents those without the passphrases from determining how many directories exist within the encrypted file. You can download this tool from the author's website.

Quantum Software are celebrating the 10th aniversary of Blinds, a RISC OS desktop file and application organiser. To mark the event they have announced a 32bit version to please the growing number of Iyonix uers and have also reduced the price to make it more affordable. Stuart Halliday explained, "Blinds allows you to place groups of similar files or applications on to a blind-like window which can be set to only show itself when a particular application is loaded". Downloading the demo is certainly recommended as the program is much more powerful than is first obvious. For more details see the Quantum Software website.

Music composers will be pleased to hear about a new version of SibToDraw from Walter Lo Nigro. The author said that the program can be used with Sibelius to create complex music scores and features DTP-like tools which makes it useful for non-Sibelius users alike. For more information you can contact the author or experiment with the demo. Details for both can be found on the author's website.

Dietmar Schwertberger has announced Python 2.3 interpreter for RISC OS. The author explains "Python is an interpreted, object-orientated, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. Its high-level dynamic binding make it very attractive for rapid application development, as well as for use as a scripting language to connect existing components together". You can learn more about this useful language at python.org and download the RISC OS version at Dietmar's website

In other news, there is a new version of Webgen2, the program that creates HTML galleries from collections of images. NoPaste, a module for Select users to prevent text from being pasted twice in writable icons. Version 0.46 of ARMalyser which introduces various enhancements and bug-fixes. And lastly, a 32bit version of QuickFiler, a utility which allows the use of shortcut keys in conjunction with the RISC OS filer windows.

Alright, so we were wrong about the 'quiet summer' thing.


News? Comments? Flames?

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MS and Yahoo have a habit of changing their code for their messaging systems, so I hope R-Comp can keep up with it, if they are planning for this.

 is a RISC OS Usersascott on 19/8/03 2:28AM
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I think they are up to MSNP7 or 8 last time I checked, but that isn't the problem usually because they have backwards compatibility with the MSN Messenger servers. The problem is usually that they change the address of the servers.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 19/8/03 8:51AM
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I believe that GV currently uses MSNP7. And to follow up the article, yes, the changes made in the background are to allow for new protocols to be added. The only reason this wasn't in the press release is that we need to sell copies based on the current feature set, in order to keep developing (we have a full-time guy working on GV).

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 19/8/03 10:49AM
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Also, both GV and Messenger Pro (update due soon) have both been updated to avoid the "double paste" problem on Select 3. This occurs in apps which implement cut-n-paste in icons themselves.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 19/8/03 11:05AM
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Would there be features for stuff like whiteboards / Speech Conv. / video (Webcams) and image animations mid text?

Cause if these were in the planning, I would be interested

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 19/8/03 1:54PM
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Why does Select pass on the ctrl-v key event to the app if it's already used it?

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 19/8/03 3:48PM
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I believe icons can set a validation flag that disables icon cut'n'pasting for just that icon (password writeable icons do this by default, for example).

So rather than set this flag, people develop patches. Crazy.

Just checking the docs show that the icon validation flags "KC" should be set. I quote: "A new validation sequence for the 'Key' validation has been added. The character 'C' within a Key validation indicates that no clipboard operations should take place on the icon."

Rocket science ;)

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 19/8/03 4:28PM
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Good to see a port of the latest Python to the platform within a month of it appearing. Really I ought to spend the time to learn Python properly and start coding those odd scripts in that rather than Perl, because that way I might have a chance of being able to understand them in a few years time.

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 19/8/03 6:06PM
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I just got GV and would be as interested in webcam & audio as I would other protocols. (Maybe moreso) -- Jess

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 19/8/03 6:19PM
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!Stealth authors website not working? How does the app function? Are the directories normal adfs directories? What happens if !Stealth isn't booted or run before someone tries to open the directory?

-- Sendu Bala,

 is a RISC OS Usersenduran on 19/8/03 6:42PM
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*.bham.ac.uk is down. It sounds like !Stealth is an encrypted image filesystem, like SparkFS archive files.

If !Stealth isn't booted and you try to open a Stealth archive, you'll get hit by the usual error, 'An application that loads a file of this type has not been found by the Filer. Open a directory display containing the required application and try again.'

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 19/8/03 7:01PM
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I look forward to seeing some of these cosmetic changes to Grapevine. Previous screenshots have been a little off putting. Screenshots on the rcomp site really ought to be updated to reflect this.

 is a RISC OS UserKingBob on 19/8/03 7:03PM
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Perhaps some support for the new MSN Messenger 6 features would be good. That includes custom emoticons, webcam support and avatars. They need to be supported by the new protocol. -- Smiler - :D Alex Melhuish

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 19/8/03 7:04PM
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*.bham.ac.uk is indeed down Chris, apparently crippled by the Blaster worm. From the information i get (I work there) it looks like it will take a few days until things are sorted out. Just to let everyone know.

 is a RISC OS UserFuzzy on 19/8/03 8:20PM
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mavhc> "Why does Select pass on the ctrl-V key press if it has already dealt with it ?"

There are a number of key validation strings that the icons can use to control what keys are passed on. One of those is 'N' for 'Notify me of everything that happens'. Applications set this validation to say that they want to know when the value is changed in any way shape or form. Ctrl-V is a key press just like any other, and if the application has asked for notification of everything that happens that's exactly what it gets.

PRM 1-104.

 is a RISC OS UserGerph on 19/8/03 9:24PM
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Doh, that's PRM 3-104. Anyone got a second set of fingers I can borrow ?

 is a RISC OS UserGerph on 19/8/03 9:26PM
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Thanks. So it's just weird apps using N?

I don't have a problem using Messenger and WritableUtils which both do pasting into writable icons.

The 27th reason RISC OS is best is Swipe, copy text from anywhere on the screen, except ZapRedraw, grr.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 19/8/03 9:50PM
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Smiler - GV 1.11 includes revamped emoticon handling, and is extensible, allowing for user-defined emoticons etc. As for webcam/audio, RISC OS has something of a void in this regard hardware-wise. This makes justifying such development quite difficult, versus other things which are more practical. I had hoped the Iyonix would ship with working sound input so that we could start to see that readily available, but sadly not.

However, remember that we *have* implemented MSN file transfers, and it is even possible to do this from behind a firewall router (impossible under Windows, unless your router and OS is uP&P compliant, which is still rare).

I suppose I should include the GV 1.1x changelog, but it is several screens-full and might be frowned up...

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 19/8/03 10:42PM
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Why not just post a URL to it?

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 19/8/03 11:27PM
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> As for webcam/audio, RISC OS has something of a void in this regard hardware-wise. This makes justifying such development quite difficult, versus other things which are more practical.

The HCCS vision digitiser for one.

Failing that would it be possible for incoming audio/video? (Even if it needs dummy send options - eg send a sprite file (maybe even animated) and silence.)

-- Jess

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 20/8/03 11:22AM
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The link for the RISC OS version of python at [link] seems to be currently broken.

 is a RISC OS UserIvanDobski on 20/8/03 1:17PM
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Ok, the file transfer has done it for me, Grapevine is on my purchase list (I get hit with the firewall option).

Also don't forget the CC Eagle M2 card & RISC TV / DMI Powerwave 50 and parrellel samplers? ect..

using even the simple drivers that were supplied might help the web situation


 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 20/8/03 1:21PM
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Birmingham university network now working again, fwiw.

 is a RISC OS UserLoris on 20/8/03 5:55PM
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The Python 2.3 website has goe AWOL, you can find the stuff here though..


Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 23/8/03 12:00AM
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