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Username: tribbles2
Realname: Jason Tribbeck
About me:I've been a RISC OS developer for over 18 years now, since RISC OS 2 on an A310. I'm still active - primarily in the games sector, but occasionally do the odd application from time to time.
Homepage: http://www.tribbeck.com/
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Comments posted:90 (show all)

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On ROOL mouse mat design revealed:

I can understand why they did it, and it is a nice idea. However, I think it looks a bit too busy - I'd get one, but wouldn't use it as a mouse mat :)

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 2/5/07 12:05AM
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On Why can't we all just get along?:

I was called an arrogant, ignorant f**kwit in csag in 1995 - nothing ever changes!

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 22/4/07 11:30PM
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On Dual core 1.2GHz Xscale touted by Intel:

piemmm: Who'd need main memory with 512M L2? :)

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 23/8/06 9:20AM
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On BBC BASIC turns 25:

HenkJan: I used that book to extend BBC BASIC. It was a very very interesting read.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 04/08/06 1:46PM
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On BBC BASIC turns 25:

I am fully aware of the "goto considered evil" aspects - but don't forget that line numbers are also used when using DATA statements - you may want to be able to do a RESTORE <label> so you can read from wherever you want to.

I don't think I've used GOTO for well over 15 years, and GOSUB for 20. (I have used a goto in C, but that was as a "finally"-type condition, which is one of the generally accepted exceptions).

But to that extent, I don't recall using RESTORE <n> before either :) (Which doesn't mean to say that it should be removed - I've not used "LET" in BBC BASIC either).

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 4/8/06 9:53AM
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On BBC BASIC turns 25:

There was a "RogerBASIC" that I ended up with a copy of - Sophie extended it to have a built-in MANDELBROT function - something like C = MANDELBROT(X, Y, MAX)...

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 3/8/06 11:21PM
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On BBC BASIC turns 25:

Just thinking about it, try...catch can already be done in a similar way with ON ERROR LOCAL (if my memory serves me right).

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 3/8/06 10:33PM
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On BBC BASIC turns 25:

GavinWraith: You're right.

If I was to extend BBC BASIC, I'd do:

1) Remove line numbers and use labels instead

2) Add in support for objects (which would allow Martin's complex number handling), as well as things like hashtables

3) Call non-BASIC libraries with ease (so you can use someone's C library without requiring it to be wrapped in a module of some sort)

4) try ... catch error handling

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 3/8/06 8:59PM
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On BBC BASIC turns 25:

Gollum: I can understand familiarity - it's one of the reasons why I'm still developing for RISC OS.

However, there was a time (about 1992) when I jumped from BBC BASIC to C for developing applications, and, after some initial problems, it's now far easier for me to use C instead of BASIC for WIMP applications (with the exception of !WindowRd - which was designed to be **very** small). Why is it easier? To me, it's a combination of library support plus being closer to the way the machine works internally (C has been described as the poor man's assembler).

Yes, BASIC is an easy language to learn ("B" = "Beginners"), and I appreciate that. Yes, you may consider me to be a "specialist", and I probably am - but I do know from experience that often the right tool for the job is not necessarily the one you have in your tool box; I wouldn't consider writing a USB driver in Perl any more than I would consider writing a log file analyser in assembler. I'd use BASIC where I thought it was appropriate.

I have thought myself about writing a BBC BASIC interpreter in C - the work to do this is pretty large, and that's before you even start looking at adding things like object orientated elements (this is [to me] fairly important in being able to write maintainable and understandable code) and external library support (it would be nice to use non-BASIC libraries in the same way that modules are used). As a result, I decided to write games instead.

In addition, while I was writing software for the Beeb, I did write an extension to BASIC, which allowed, among other things, 3D plot functions ("PPLOT N, X, Y, Z"). It was never released because shortly afterwards I got my A410/1.

The other thing is that even with source code, it's very difficult to understand how someone's written code, so there is a large amount of work required to just get it to the same level, and then you have to work out how to hook in your extensions in a way that doesn't cause problems with the existing code. I know from experience that Sophie's code is /very/ well written, and uses a lot of tricks to keep the size down and the speed up. Untangling this would be complicated to say the least.

"...you must not be a programming/language specialist." - I'll let that one slip :)

I wouldn't criticise Steffen in any way - as long as it gets the job done, then that's the main thing. Nor would I criticise someone who used BBC BASIC for their application (after all, HForm is written in BBC BASIC, and that works fine [for me]). As long as they're happy with it, and it doesn't fall over every time you use it, then that's cool.

Perhaps Drobe could have a poll as to what language people write their applications in? Or if they'd be willing to pay to have BBC BASIC upgraded with new features (and then a sub-poll of what features to add in).

Realistically, I think the only way that BBC BASIC could be improved cheaply is if the current copyright holder (whoever that is) allows the source code to be freely available, and also have some centrally managed system for feature additions (otherwise you'd end up with "BOB's BASIC" and "JIM's BASIC" which would be incompatible with each other - we've already seen things like that...). Then, you'd be able to get people who can tinker with it to tinker with it and extend it.

Can I just ask one more question? Why do you think that BBC BASIC has not been extended since BASIC V?

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 3/8/06 8:37PM
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On BBC BASIC turns 25:

Gollum: There are better languages than BBC BASIC for developing software in - to get BBC BASIC up to a level that would rival C/C++, Java or even Perl would require a **lot** of development effort, and even after that effort, it would remain a minority language because these others already exist, and there is a **large** user base for all of them. (Note that I'm thinking language features such as Object Orientated as well as libraries).

Could you say /why/ BBC BASIC is so great and why it's imperative for it to be developed further? I can't think of that many reasons why you can't use one of the above languages instead of BBC BASIC - the only one I can think of is the size of the BASIC interpreter (which you'd be increasing by adding new features), and the size of the BASIC files (which in this day and age don't mean anything).

Sure, C/C++/Java would require more learning, but Perl isn't too far from BASIC (in fact, it's not too far from C either).

The only time I use BBC BASIC is when I want to calculate tables such as sin/cos tables for games - if I wasn't doing it on RISC OS, I would choose Perl instead (the RISC OS Perl interpreter is just too slow for my liking).

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 3/8/06 6:47PM
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On Iyonix banned by new EU green law:

tel: Absolutely - I had a few calls from people wishing to sell me their CE consultation services in the early days...

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 2/8/06 9:07AM
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On Iyonix banned by new EU green law:

tel: I was mainly pointing out that there was a reason for lead solder (and it still has its advantages).

I've also had to design hardware with the CE in mind - but most of my things ended up being prototypes, so were never sold to people inside the EU (a couple were sold to Malaysia though).

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 1/8/06 10:17PM
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On Iyonix banned by new EU green law:

As I understand it, before lead solder there was tin solder - oxidisation would cause the tin to "whisker", bridging gaps and then shorting out. Lead stops this, but now it's not possible to use it, they're going back to tin - and wondering why it fails after a few years.

[link]

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 1/8/06 4:07PM
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On 3D dog fight game first release:

Okay - I haven't written the 8-bit sound code yet, so I'll have to make a start on it :) Thanks for the info on the ViewFinder.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 19/7/06 9:27PM
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On 3D dog fight game first release:

I've now got the sound working on the A9home as well (took a while to sort that out!).

Hopefully, the beta-testing of the new video driver will be done quickly, so it can be released so anyone can play it on the A9home :) When that's done I'dve either released a new version with the fixed sound, or will release the new FahZhi module.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 18/7/06 11:44PM
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On 3D dog fight game first release:

I've played it on an A9Home - although only Ad6 and myself can do at this moment in time (needs a modified video driver). It occasionally feels a bit jerky, but that's because of the new way the game engine works (I've got a little bit of tuning to do). This doesn't seem to happen on a StrongARM RPC, but if you could check with the ARM710, that would be nice.

You also need to have the (newly released) ACED_R2b, and play without the music. This release should also work on the Iyonix (should work with music; try without if it doesn't work).

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 17/7/06 8:40PM
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On 3D dog fight game first release:

...although I did ModSqz it - it's possible that that made it not 32-bit compatible. I'll check it tonight...

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 17/7/06 9:08AM
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On 3D dog fight game first release:

Surprised by that - I copied the module from Equinox, which does work on the Iyonix. Maybe it's time I got one of them then...

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 17/7/06 9:00AM
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On 3D dog fight game first release:

ACED R2 is now available from the above link - which should be downloaded instead of R1. It's much better.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 16/7/06 5:48PM
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On 3D dog fight game first release:

Actually, if people want to wait for this evening, ACED R2 wll be available.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 16/7/06 1:06PM
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On Resisting change is short-sighted:

not_ginger_matt: I agree - this change needs to happen, and they shouldn't be disabled by default.

Users by and large aren't stupid, but some are (most of us know the technical reasons for this; I'm not sure all users know).

These users will try to run a 26-bit application, and wonder why it crashes. They'd then either contact the developer, or (possibly and) A9 support. A9 aren't a large company (I work for a smallish company that develops very technical software - we have a 2.5-man support team of about 60 staff in total), and any support call like this would be a drain on the resources (especially if the user does not know the difference between a 26-bit and 32-bit application). In fact, given A9's size, I wouldn't be surprised if the developers would be doing support (we used to).

In our company, we have a fairly extensive support site (over 300 articles), but despite this, between 5 and 10% of all our queries are things that have already been answered on the support site (we classify these as "Tier 1" support). It's not enough to have documentation somewhere as to how to fix the problem - users don't read it.

We've added things into our software to reduce the level of support by identifying problems, and either fixing them on-the-fly, or reporting them in a way that tells the user what is going on.

Adding the erroring of non-32-bit-marked AIF headers into Select-32 is analogous to this - if a user understands what they're doing, and the application really is 32-bit, then users can disable this feature. My concern is that it's too easy for users to do this - and some users will just set this option without understanding why they need to do it. Therefore it'll get one or two applications working, but they'll find an application which isn't really 32-bit, and this'll crash - and support will be called...

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 3/7/06 11:38PM
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On Acorn kit found running Science Museum:

From memory, it's not the write cycles that is the limit with Flash devices; it's the erase cycles. Individual bits in a Flash memory can be programmed from 1->0, but to get them back to 1, you need to erase them. Old devices use sector erase commands; I'd imagine that this is still the case, but the sector sizes have gone down to 512 bytes (I haven't looked at a datasheet for a while now). Since this is difficult for the general punter to understand, just saying the write-cycles is much easier.

I wrote a filing system that was specifically designed for Flash devices a few years back; it wasn't generally released though (a read-only version was used in a project with NCs). It relied on programming 1->0 to mark areas as used/unused/deleted, and needed the occasional "compact" where the sectors were erased and rewritten with the deleted data removed.

Modern devices abstract this away, and all you see is a bunch of sectors you can read/write.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 5/6/06 10:44PM
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On Developers divided over RISC OS 4 code checking:

AMS:

Which would you prefer - safe operation, or potentially dangerous?

If you bought a car with traction control, by default it would be on, because it's safer; you can turn it off if you want, but you'd have to know what you're doing.

While I'm not saying it's perfect, I think it's better this way than the other - Ad6 would be getting calls "Software XYZ isn't working and it crashes" if a 26-bit mode application was executed; in the safe mode, it'll be "Software XYZ is saying it's not suitable to run" "Is it 32-bit?" "Yes" "In which case, disable this option".

What would be better would be some form of application knowledge, so it knows which applications are 32-bit, and which aren't - the user's given the choice when they try to run to attempt the execution.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 5/6/06 6:03PM
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On 3D space shooter game planned:

Thanks for the offer - it's not normally the design of the enemies that's the time consuming element - it's the AI that goes behind them (with all the testing). I've got one more enemy to design, and then put in its intelligence; that'll be the core of the game sorted out (so it'll just be all the graphics and stuff to go with it all).

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 5/6/06 1:25PM
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On 3D space shooter game planned:

The problem with ArcCommand was that it was too close to the original - and (probably the biggest problem) paid homage to it. The graphics were very similar, the screen layout almost identical, the shields system the same. The AI was subtly different though (it had been rewritten from scratch), but it was still meant to be a clone.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 5/6/06 11:17AM
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On 3D space shooter game planned:

Actually, the RISC OS version doesn't use SDL (but the others do).

RISC OS first release should be this week (I started the platform specific stuff today, after tidying up some of the other loose ends).

It simlarity to Magentoids has just been pointed out to me; to be honest, I'd never seen Magentoids until now.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 4/6/06 10:12PM
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On Could A9 be a digital oasis in a desert of PCs and Macs?:

Smiler: I'm sure if Advantage6 could sell the same number of A9homes as Apple sell Mac minis, then the price would be significantly lower.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 22/11/05 11:01PM
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On Unique StrongARM NC in auction:

druck: The problem with supporting NCs on an ISP was the file system - it required NFS, which is not very well suited to dial up connections (slow, and it resulted in effectively keeping connections open, causing nfsd to suffer badly).

We supported them at ArgoNet - but that was only because I wrote a filing system that was much better over a dial up connection (well over twice as fast for the same data). We still had to use NFS to soft-load the new filing system, but otherwise it was fine (the NFS connection was terminated as soon as possible).

Other ISPs weren't interested in supporting them because they were a nightmare to set up. We were able to sell a few "ISP kits" around the world (ISTR Sweden, Finland and Philippines).

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 29/10/05 12:33AM
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On ArtWorks founder to open source graphics app:

druck: Agreed (rewarding MW [and anyone else who does anything worthwhile]).

It would be possible to sell support for GPL products, but as has been commented before with other projects (notably Firefox), persuading people to part with cash for GPL products themselves is difficult.

btw, does someone want to check the link in the links?

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 13/10/05 5:14PM
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On Rare Acorn graphics joystick in auction:

I've got one at home - I either bought it at the Wakefield show a few years back, or I got it from my old school when they got rid of their BBC stuff (can't remember!)

I don't have the software for it, but Elite was fun with it!

From memory there were two versions - one with potentiometers, and the other with optical movement. I could be wrong on that, though...

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 7/10/05 11:24AM
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On Fears over Omega refund saga:

Does anyone else see similarities between this and the PC card for the Archimedes that never was produced - from memory, the company involved (name escapes me), too, tried to do something that they weren't (in the end) able to do, and didn't intend to defraud people.

The market recovered; I'm confident it will again here.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 17/7/05 11:13PM
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On CJE RAM special offer not so special:

bernie: I've missed that thread (I've not been using the Internet for the past few days).

Has anyone looked at [link] - I don't know what the difference is between the 7500FE's DRAM interface and that of the RiscPC...

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 24/6/05 4:41PM
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On Partis brandishes mass storage drivers:

I think that XP's compressed folders ignores some filenames - ones starting with "!", ISTRC.

Eitherway, it sucks when copying RISC OS stuff around. I ended up installing WinZip so I could do that...

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 06/06/03 09:32AM
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On Eureka unmasks Omega:

PCI PC cards are actually very common in embedded systems circles - you have a raw PCI bus, and a PCI PC card plugs into it as a controller.

I don't know how the Iyonix copes with a second bus master, but I'd hope they've got that side sorted out.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 28/05/03 5:01PM
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