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The South-West Show Report 2018

Posted by Mark Stephens on 20:58, 24/2/2018 |
The exhibitors were generally upbeat, despite a 5am fire alarm at the hotel.
User groups were well represented with stands from Southampton, London and Bristol showing off projects and publicising their upcoming events.
Adrian Lees was demonstrating Aemulor and a new version of Geminus he has just started working on for new machines.
Sine Nomine were showing off the new map packs and also had their full range of software to discuss.
Drag'N'Drop were selling the new edition of the magazine (will be available next week) and had their range of fonts and books.
R-CompInfo had their usual selection of monitors, machines and software (see their talk).
Richard Brown (when not on door duties or making announcements) was showing off his very nice widescreen monitor and talking about Orpheus Internet services (I use them for work and home and can heartily recommend them).
Martin Wurthner was back at the show showing off the 2017 release of !ArtWorks and his other range of products.
Likewise, the Organizer stand was showing off their latest version and taking ideas for new features. They have now fixed the annoying broken line which used to appear on their website.
Jim Nagel was promising a release of Archive magazine once the show reports are added in. He was also offering back copies of previous editions.
AmCog games were showing off their games (and very nice new RISC OS desktop theme) and talking code.
RISC OS Bits had their range of interesting named storage devices and cases. They have not run out of puns yet....
John Norris had his bell ringing rig setup and RISC OS software to help you to practise. He shared a stand with Tasty Treats (who had the most inviting hardware purchases of the show!).
Ident Computer had their old and new range of cases (with Tom doing a talk about the changes and future plans).
Vince was providing sound support for the theatre and also promoting Bristol RISC OS group and his range of software. He also had a range of Vibe graphics demos running, updated for new machines.
Chris Hall was selling !FamTree and demoing his GPS hardware and software. He also did a talk.
Steve Fryatt had his range of software on show including the almost completed CashBook 1.40
Richard Keefe was showing off his work with Impression and talking about his priorities for future development. He gave a very full interview in Iconbar about his plans at Christmas.
Lastly the charity stand was raising money from secondhand software and hardware. Always worth a rummage....
The talks
There were three talks at the Show. All were filmed and will hopefully appear on youtube in the near future.
Tom Williamson
Tom told us about his background in media and broadcast. He is still actively involved in several projects and he told us about his WiFi sheep technology show.
His computer journey had started as a preservation and education project and demand for his homemade computer cases had led him into production. MicroOne was first product and the current release is mk4 - the last few were on sale at show at a special discount.
This is being replaced by a 'range' of CE machines which allows Ident to provide a RISC OS solution and and also target Linux and Retro gamers (2 much bigger markets).
Ident has its own version of RISC OS 5 (licensed from Castle) which includes some extra applications, has been reskinned to be more appealing to his target markets and nicely setup to use with a simple application to access BBC BASIC and a set of emulators. This is supplied with the RISC OS versions only.
Taking inspiration from the RISC PC, there is a two slice version, which Tom demoed with one slice running Linux and the other running RISC OS, viewing the Linux side via !Avalanche.
It all looked very impressive, and Tom has invested in some 3D printers to allow him to product several of his products.
Andrew Rawnsley
Andrew started with R-Comp updates.
The big recent software release is Netfetch5 with improvements for security and ssl. Lots of testing has been taking place in Germany. It also allows multiple servers - needed for spf which many Internet providers use to eliminate spam
The R-Comp hardware has received recent software updates. ARMX6 has new colour modes, and hardware floating point support (which your BBC BASIC code will be able to use). There was also an experimental build to allow developers to start experimenting with multi-core support. TiMachine has dual head support allowing it to display higher resolution screens on a suitable monitor.
A new Quake release allows the game to run on modern hardware and also provide higher resolution on machines which handle handle it.
Lastly Andrew, showed off the R-Comp ultra portable Windows solution to run RISC OS.
As ROOL were unable to attend, Andrew also provided a brief update on developments (and had some ROOL software available to buy on his stand). The big development will be RISC OS 5.24 (hopefully for Wakefield). Andrew was genuinely enthusiastic about the current developments for RISC OS.
With his RISC OS developments hat on, Andrew reported that they had been working with ROOL and had provided funding for bounties to improve the RISC OS networking.
Lastly, he provided a quick demo of the new version of Geminus Adrian Lees working to speed up window redrawing on the latest machines.
Chris Hall
Chris started with a demo of his new !FamTree software, showing how easy it is to create and edit family trees. These can then be dropped into other applications for further use or processing. The software can produce some fairly large A0 page and Chris recommended trying some print bureaux (who will generally charge more for the postage than the printing itself).
Chris also brought along his GPS software/hardware and showed it seamlessly integrating with Sine Nomine's mapping software. The talk turned into really nice demo of the software and its features (hopefully the videos will be out on youtube in the near future).
Next year
Richard and Andrew have been discussing some ideas about changing the venue or date to make the show more accessible. I am sure they would welcome any feedback from the Community.
Final thoughts
Personally, I thought it was a really upbeat and interesting show - well worth my early start and trek from Kent.
The show seemed to have just the right level of 'busy-ness' - I got to talk to everyone I wanted after a small wait. Lots of the developers have some really interesting ideas for future features and products. There was a good selection of stands, and we even received a free slice of cake...
The show in pictures
9 comments in the forums

The South-West Show 2018 in pictures

Posted by Mark Stephens on 18:42, 24/2/2018 |
The South-West Show 2018 in pictures (taken before and during the show).
Show report















































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New RISC OS !FamTree application reviewed

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:55, 9/2/2018 | ,
RISC OS stalwart Chris Hall has turned his attention to a new product which will be released at the South-West Show this year. He was kind enough to send us a pre-release copy for review (version 1.3), so here is a taster of what you will be able to buy at the South-West Show.
!FamTree is a program for creating graphical family trees, showing all your ancestors.
The software works on the basis that family trees are rather like Directory structures, with parents and children. You create a simple set of directories with text descriptions and the software turns thins into a proper family tree which can be exported as draw file. The software takes care of figuring out all the layout.
If you want to use the software with existing data rather than create a tree from scratch, there is a feature to import data from GEDCOM data files. There are currently some (generous) limits to filesize on this. So it only allows the last 20 generations and 250 family trees. Probably need to wait for release 2 if you want to do entire tribes or nations.....
The software is nicely designed as a RISC OS application and follows all the conventions, so you should have no trouble picking it up quickly.
A minor complaint I did have was that firing up on my Titanium (running the latest OS), gave me the message that I needed MakeDraw 2.53 or later but I could not see any advice on how to fix. This might be off-putting to non-technical users. Otherwise the application feels really nicely polished and finished off.
There is a ReadMe file telling you haw to get started, a comprehensive StrongHelp manual which includes lots of advice on running and customising both the software and the output. The main program itself is a 50,000 line basic application. Chris has even registered the filetype with ROOL. Chris has some ideas for version 2 and we look forward to see how he improves on an excellent first release.
Chris is selling the software at 15 pounds. If you have an interest in family trees, it produces some polished output, is really nice to use and I think it will quickly repay the cost in time saved. And if you are at the Show, Chris would welcome your input and ideas.
Website and more details.
1 comment in the forums

South West Show is fast approaching

Posted by Mark Stephens on 18:29, 17/1/2018 |
The South-West Show, the premier RISC OS Show in the South-West, is fast approaching....
This year, it is on Saturday 24th February, 2018 at the usual venue of the Webbington Hotel.
The usual suspects should all be there. At the moment 'confirmed exhibitors' include
R-CompInfo / RCI
Orpheus Internet
MW Software
Archive Publications
Amcog Games
John Norris
Ident Computer
Soft Rock Software
Chris Hall
Steve Fryatt
Charity Stand
Pi/Jam area
Tasty Treats
If you would like to exhibit, just let Andrew at R-Comp know and he will arrange a table for you.
If you are not local, the Show is at a very nice hotel and you can get a great discounted rate if you contact Richard at Orpheus. He may also be able to tell you who else is in town if you want to catch-up with some other RISC OS users over dinner or drinks.
We will bring you some more updates as the show approaches....
Is the date in your diary?
show website
4 comments in the forums

RISC OS London Show 2017

Posted by Mark Stephens on 17:19, 28/10/2017 |
The 2017 London show took place at its regular venue on Saturday 28th October (St Giles Hotel - Feltham, London). It was a warm and sunny autumn day (always a good start). I arrived by car along the M25 and the only queue I had was the one for show tickets at the very start of the event.
The show was run as usual by ROUGOL and their army of helpers who did an excellent job of making everything work to time faultlessly.
There is a separate report for there talks and a Show in pictures article linked at the bottom. In this report we will focus on the stands and the actual event.
The event was using more rooms this year and felt busier (certainly in the morning). There were lots of busy stands with new releases and much to see. I have tried to capture this in our photo report. So here are some of my personal highlights.
My first stop was mw-software to get the new !Artworks release (better support for new machines and some nice new tools). It was great to see Martin (dressed with bow tie as usual) back at the shows.
The new release of !Organiser makes good use of the big screens and Nigel was asking for more ideas for future releases.
ROOL had the new DDE and a chunky basic manual alongside some cool demos. Rob Sprowson was also there so I was able to ask him about changes in Pcloud (Rob already has a fix which is installed by rerunning the installer).
Lots of nostalgia with BBC tv from yesteryear with the BBC Preservation Project....
Amcog games stand provided a chance to try their full range of games and to learn more about their sound module.
Richard Keefe showed off the new jpeg import and scaling in !Impression. He is continuing to both 32 bot and enhance the software. He uses it on his Titanium.
Chris Hall continues to refine his GPS solution. This is now becoming very sophisticated with the ability to call home, put itself in standby. I look forward to seeing what chris’s next project is.
My overall view was that it was a very upbeat and positive show and we will be very busy reviewing the new releases for you on iconbar over the next few months.

My notes from the talks
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RISC OS London Show 2017 - Notes from the talks

Posted by Mark Stephens on 17:03, 28/10/2017 |
BBC Media Preservation
The BBC had a special projects department to create games and graphics using Acorn kit for their shows. This became a external company called ROUND ONE. Preserving and restoring these machines and their software is the aim of the project. Machines needed some work to clean and restore and recover the software.
We saw several videos where BBC or RISC OS machines were used to provide graphics for shows such as Maggot Moments. The machines were also used on national lottery. Final home for collection will be Centre for Computing history in Cambridge.
CJEInfo Micros
Chris started by updating us on news that Adrian Lees should have aemulor with pi3 and zpp support available very soon. There will be different versions for different machines. Adrian was actually at the show.
Chris recapped on recent developments already showcased (PhotoDesk 3.14, serial mice for older systems, pressure-sensitive graphics tablet for modern machines)
New launches since Wakefield are raspberryRO lite (based on pi desktop) and micro adapter for mice.
Chris commented that he was amazed to see some stuff on eBay going for more than on CJEmicros website.
At London show Chris mentioned version 2 of PiTop (with larger keyboard, full HDMI screen and redesign) . Getting technical documentation from PiTop has been ‘challenging’. New version is still being evaluated as some issues - like only available in green and US keyboard.
Recap on cjemicros range of desktop machines and different benefits.
Martin Wuerthner
Official release of Artworks 2.X3 with support to Titanium at show. There is also a new shape builder and eraser tool. Martin showed how easy it makes drawing shapes. He used it to take a bite from the iconic artworks apple. It can also be use to clip bitmap images. Background is transparent so you can put clipped image on different background.
Headline release is NetFetch 5 with support for SSL and spf. There are lots of enhancements for authentication handling with office365 and other providers.
There is a brand new version of the game Doom for new hardware with new music.
DualHead makes use of hardware support in Titanium for multi-monitor display. Latest release gives 2560x1440 on a single monitor. It can go higher on the right monitor.
OBrowser front end for Otter port provides a nice RISC OS front end. It is free to people who have invested in RISCOS Developments and as a way to raise money from others.
RISC OS Developments
Richard reprised his Wakefield talk and brought the story up to date. Lots of groundwork has been done. The front end for the existing Otter browser is a way to contribute. ROOL and development community are in the loop on plans.
RISC OS Open Ltd
Next release will be 5.24, with I new feature due and 4 known bugs to fix. Aiming to have a stable badge for different ports in future.
Bounty updates - EDID enhancements completed March, paint underway, usb 99% done.
Still open bounties, especially on networking, clipboard support and filing system updates, improvements to build tools, usb stack.
There is a general bounty which pays for behind the scenes.
RISC OS user guide is being updated. 56 of 62 chapters now done.
New basic reference manual after 25 years
New DDE 28 release (half price to existing owners).
Reminder on ePic release combining Nut Pi and OS on one card.
Sine Nomine Software with RISCOSbits
Sine Nomine showed off new contour data feature. Data just for UK at present from Ordanance Survey. You also get spot heights and tidal heights. Spotlight tool enhanced to use contours (ie select lines over 100m).
Showed off NASA data for Isle or Man
Nice demo using OSM to show map of Greenwich with trip details such as photos and altitude. Maps can be rotated.
Joint development with Riscos Bits running Wispy, which gives WiFi and Firefox browser. It does not currently work with open and unsecured networks. Runs Firefox in rdp client.
Rob Coleman introduced himself and showed off his new new graphics chip for BBC micro. He got back into the BBC computer in 2005 after 15 year gap and this project has evolved since then. Realised lots of upgrades but not in area of graphics. Inspired by Palettemate upgrade for BBC from Wild Vision. Summer 2016 built a breakout board to tap video ULA signal and interface with Altera MAX II epm570 cpld. This needed to convert beeb 5v to 3.3v.
Then he replicated existing BBC features, enhanced colours, added smooth scrolling, introduced attributes to give more colours in hires modes.
Prototype demonstrated at SW and Wakefield show. Lots of feedback and advice from stardot.
End result is totally backward compatible
Uses extended vdu19.
You can change platte of any existing software
Supported in b-em and b2emulators.
6 comments in the forums

RISC OS London Show 2017 - Pictures

Posted by Mark Stephens on 16:41, 28/10/2017 |
Here is a selection of pictures to show you what the event was like.....
(Click on the thumbnails for the bigger image)





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RISC OS London Show 2017

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 22:30, 12/10/2017 | , ,
This year's London Show is due to take place on Saturday the 28th of October, at the usual location of the St. Giles Hotel in Feltham. The show runs from 11 AM to 5 PM, with tickets being £5 at the door (and under-16's free). Exhibitors this year are set to include:The theatre schedule is yet to be finalised, and with the number of new and interesting exhibitors it's anyone's guess who's going to be filling the slots. What are your predictions?
For up-to-the-minute show news, remember to check out the show website.
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