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Profile for Jon

ContactAbout me
Username: Jon
Realname: Jon Robinson
About me:Former school Acorn computer technician, now using a 4.39 StrongARM RiscPC as his main home computer. Interested in pushing forward new software development particularly in education and multimedia.
Comments posted:12 (show all)
Articles written:1 (show all)

All comments

On ProAction pumps life into AudioWorks:

Dear Monty I bought AudioWorks at Wakefield and was very disappointed with it becasue it will only load 90 seconds of audio at CD quality, even when you've got a huge amount of RAM. Save yourself the £15 and download SampleEd from the Really Good SOftware website. Jon Robinson (Leeds)

 is a RISC OS UserJon on 15/6/09 7:17PM
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On Command-line tool splices and edits video and audio:

Hi Rob When you say that the DSP code is available for a fee, does that mean that people who want to build devices around this motherboard have to pay to unlock it on every machine sold?

Also how much are the development tools if the Beagle RISC OS people want to buy a copy?

Regards Jon Robinson

 is a RISC OS UserJon on 7/5/09 10:48AM
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On Command-line tool splices and edits video and audio:

Dear Monty

I had a go at using the freely available version of CineWorks with some JPEGs over the bank holiday, to see if you could make an MPEG out of them.

I managed to lay the JPEGs out on the time line, once I'd converted them to sprites, use a WAV file as a sound track, and save it as a playable Replay movie.

However, there is only one Replay to MPEG convertor available, called MakeMPEG, and when I tried it with the Replay file, not only was it very slow, but it also generated a floating point error, leaving an unplayable MPEG file.

I don't have the later MPEG- capable version of CineWorks, so I don't know whether that would fare any better.

If anybody reading this has it, perhaps they could have a go and tell us what happens.

However, once a RISC OS 5 version of the BeagleBoard becomes available, we will have a RISC OS system with a 600 MHz main processor and a dedicated AV processor, specifically designed for fast MPEG and MP3 playback.

At the Wakefield Show the RISC OS Open people were saying that one of the first positive benefits of this, was that we were likely to see the first real-time DVD player on RISC OS.

For the first time we will have hardware that makes digital video on RISC OS a doable proposition.

What we really need is either for the code for the latest version of CineWorks to be made open source, or, even better, for CJE to take over development and support of the product, so that it can be made 32 bit and also be properly main- tained and supported.

Jon Robinson (Leeds)

 is a RISC OS UserJon on 5/5/09 4:29PM
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On DigitalCD developer seeks beta testers for version 3.0:

This is slightly off topic, but one improvement I'd like to suggest to KinoAmp, if you're reading Andre, is a proper volume control with slider, like they have on Windows (spit!), rather than just an on/off button.

Many MPEGs, in their virgin state, are either too loud or too quiet.

Many thanks for developing this app, by the way. I do a lot of work with FFMpeg, extracting MPEGs from FLVs and VOBs from my DVD recorder, and without your sterling efforts, I wouldn't have anything to play them on.

Jon Robinson (Leeds)

 is a RISC OS UserJon on 29/4/09 4:59PM
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On Command-line tool splices and edits video and audio:

Hi Monty

I’m pretty sure that Henrik Pedersen was the original author of CineWorks, so it might be worth contacting him, to see if he will let you have a copy of the 1998, MPEG- capable version of his program.

The problem with digital video on RISC OS was that, before the 1998 version, you needed a £500 digitiser card to get your own footage into Replay format, and the quality was severely limited by the hard drive speed on your RiscPC.

Now, however, with FFMpeg’s ability to convert many more video formats to MPEG, which can be played with KinoAmp, the MPEG version of CineWorks should be much more useful than it ever has been, if anybodycan rescue it, especially if some brave soul volunteers to 32 bit it !!!!!!!

See if you can get in touch with Henrik, and let us know how you get on.

Regards Jon Robinson (Leeds)

 is a RISC OS UserJon on 24/4/09 4:02PM
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On Command-line tool splices and edits video and audio:

Hi Monty You would definitely be able to do this in the latest version of Cineworks, if you can get hold of it. This lets you arrange JPEGs as clips along the timeline and export as MPEG.

Unfortunately the version you can download doesn't support MPEG, just Replay.

However, if you just want to create a presentation and it doesn't have to be MPEG, you would probably be better off using one of the Powerpoint clones which just treat the JPEGs as slides.

Does anybody reading this have the latest version of Cineworks that supports more audio & video formats, including MPEG and AVI ???????

Best wishes Jon Robinson (Leeds)

 is a RISC OS UserJon on 16/4/09 12:46PM
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On Dinosaur software made StrongARM-safe:

To Paul Corke

Hi, Paul. I'm really glad that you commented on this article. I tried to contact you, when I was first thinking about having a go at these readers, but was told that you'd long since departed the Acorn scene, and nobody even knew where you were any more.

The last thing I was expecting was for you to post something on Drobe in reply to this article!

I didn't realise that StrongARM-compatible versions of most of these readers HAD actually been produced. I bought mine in 2003, and they certainly weren't. I know a few were towards the end, but I read in an old Archimedes World article that IMS had withdrawn the readers from sale in 1998 because they couldn't get the CDs any more.

The problem is most people who bought them will have the old pre-SA versions, and if any later versions are still available, you can't buy them without also buying the CD for about £45, which most people aren't going to do. This method is easy to follow and will at least get some of those old copies working again.

If you still have the source code for these readers, would you consider recompiling them and releasing 32-bit versions?

You can find the CDs nearly every week on Ebay, so that is no longer the problem it used to be. You might only sell a few dozen copies a year, but as anybody knows who has looked at them, these CDs are fascinating titles, especially for children, and the readers work faultlessly once you can get them going.

A 32-bit version would allow those people with newer machines to enjoy them as well.

Best wishes Jon Robinson

 is a RISC OS UserJon on 13/3/08 5:30PM
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On Dinosaur software made StrongARM-safe:

It's possible that some people may be able to get these programs working without the need for any tinkering.

I'm not quite sure why it should work on the Kinetic, but on my 4.39 StrongARM RiscPC the original mid-90s version of Dinosaurs just hung the machine, and the original version of VRMLEyes took about 60 seconds to load, during which time the machine just freezes, so most people would assume it's crashed and hit the one/off button.

This version loads in about 2 seconds. But the IMS reader for another of these CDs, The Way Things Work, still doesn't run properly, even after its runimage has been expanded!

If Dinosaurs and Ancient Lands work on your machine, leave well alone. If not, following the instructions should get them going again.

VRMLEyes has a BASIC runimage which should work on any version of RISC OS, but it also has a support file called DaCode which I think is 26 bit assembler. If David has a copy of this application that works on the Iyo/A9, without the need for Aemulor, then somebody must have made the support module 32-bit compatible. If you'll send me a copy, I'm sure Paul Vigay will be happy to make it available for download from riscos.org.

The reason I had a go at these programs was that I was trying to get some more software working for the handful of schools that are still using RISC OS. I have been trying to provide technical support to a couple of them for about two years.

If anybody knows of any more schools, here or overseas, which are still using Acorn machines, please let me know. They may not wish to draw attention to themselves on the internet, so could you contact me by email. My address is


I'm also looking for a working copy of the Aegis Geographical Information System, a copy of the DaVinci 3D modeller and the high quality clipart collections that used to be available from Archimedes World.

If anybody has copies of these, which they would be willing to donate for educational purposes, or sell at a reasonable price, I'll be able to find a good home for them.

Jon Robinson

 is a RISC OS UserJon on 11/3/08 11:58AM
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On Ditching desktops for portables: The way forward?:

In reply to recent comments about the lack of a media player and Cineroma in particular, I don't think the problem was ever lack of resources.

Cineroma EXISTS

It was being demonstrated by Steve Potts at Wakefield in 2006, and it would massively increase the number of file formats we can play on RISC OS machines if it was ever released.

However, the author has not been contactable by email for a good two years, there have been no progress reports and no announcements as to when it will be released.

The handful of people who have copies cannot pass them on without the author's explicit authority and there is no way of contacting him.

I'd be quite happy to pay £30-40 for this product as is, but it seems I will never get the chance.

PERSONALLY I doubt whether the author has ever intended to release Cineroma for RISC OS, and the expectation that he would has made things even worse by discouraging other programmers from developing video players as well.

As somebody who has wasted a fair bit of time trying to get permission to get a copy of this application for the last remaining schools that use RISC OS, if you're out there somewhere, Mr McEwan, reading this, please prove me WRONG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jon Jon Robinson

 is a RISC OS UserJon on 7/1/08 4:49PM
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On Maudlin over RISC OS:

In reply to Becky

If you can't afford an Iyo or an A9 (neither can I at the moment), it's well worth buying a 2nd-hand StrongARM RiscPC on Ebay.

I bought one 18 months ago and got an immediate speed increase of 3-4 times. You ought to be to get a good one for about £100-150 and the extra speed and responsiveness makes using RISC OS much more enjoyable.

Just make sure you get one with RISC OS 4.39 instead of 3.7 as it will save you the bother of having to reformat your hard drive.

Jon Robinson

 is a RISC OS UserJon on 7/1/08 4:42PM
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On RPCEmu author mulls future features:

Dear Jan

Thank you for replying to my posting to Drobe on the subject of emulators.

I do use Jan de Boer's A310 emulator (in fact I was able to play the games Populous and Zarch for the first time ever on my StrongARM RiscPC using it).

But there are two problems with Jan's emulator:

1) you have to manually drag a disc image called EmuTrsf to the floppy drive bay, then open the disc inside the emulator and load !EmuTrsf onto the iconbar. There doesn't seem to be anyway of getting it to do this automatically with an Obey file. Although it doesn't seem like a big issue, if they have to do it 30 times in a school where they haven't got a technician for every lesson that they use it, it's would waste an awful lot of the teacher's time.

2) As far as I know the RiscPC 710/ RISC OS 3.6 was the first Acorn machine to support a CD drive. So an A310 just isn't powerful enough. The 710 was actually the best Acorn machine EVER from a school's point of view because it offered the best combination of speed and usable software.

The problems started in 1997 when they introduced the StrongARM and a lot of the educational programs schools used didn't get updated to work with the new processor.

The problem has got even worse with RISC OS 4 and the Iyo. Those schools that have upgraded have found themselves with less and less usable software.

I am doing some work at the moment for a Special Needs school, and the main problem I'm having is just trying to find enough good software for them to use.

There is no new educational software being developed for Acorns (except web-based stuff that requires a flash player !!!!) and when they upgraded to RISC OS 4.39 even more of the old stuff stopped working.

I have managed to get a few small programs that were written in BASIC going for them, but a lot of the RunImages have been compiled so I've got no chance. I'd particularly like to get the CD titles Ultimate Human Body/ Dinosaurs/Ancient Lands working as there was a lot to explore on them and they did work on a 710. It would be even better if I could get them working without the CD as 30 CD drives all working at the same time make a lot of noise.



 is a RISC OS UserJon on 1/8/07 4:51PM
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On RPCEmu author mulls future features:

What we desperately need for the handful of schools that still use Acorn computers is a RiscPC RISC OS 3.6 emulator. As the StrongArm, then RISC OS 4, then the Iyo have been developed, less and less of the specialist educational software has been updated, and as schools have invested in the new hardware/OS es they been able to run less and less of their software. A 3.6 RiscPC emulator for SA/RISC OS 4would bring all of those old software titles back into use. I'm thinking particularly of the IMS readers that used to allow Dorling Kindersley's Ultimate Human Body and Microsoft's Dinosaurs and Ancient Lands CDs to be used with Acorns, plus the multimedia CDs from AVP. There are a couple of A310 emulators that work on StrongARM/Iyo but they are very slow and don't support CD drives. Are there any takers out there who would like to have a go at cross-compiling one of the existing RPC emulators for later RISC OS systems? Jon

 is a RISC OS UserJon on 30/7/07 6:24PM
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