Snippets – 31st August, 2015

News nuggets for you to chew on.

The last few months have been very busy with stuff unrelated to RISC OS, so unposted news – particularly smaller items – has built up again. It’s time, therefore, for a snippets post to round up these smaller items.

Textseek 1.47 released

Harriet Bazley has released a new version of Textseek. Version 1.47 of the application contains bug-fixes to:

  • Prevent the application crashing if it attempts to detokenise corrupt BASIC files, and
  • Ignore errors caused by illegal characters in filenames on foreign filing systems.

The application is described by Harriet as a WIMP front-end to a fast machine code file search routine, which works recursively through directory trees, and uses throwback to display the entire line of text as context for each search result.

FX80Emul updated

Matthew Phillips of Sine Nomine Software has announced a new version of FX80Emul – an emulator for Epson-compatible 9-pin dot matrix printers (and which, until I read the announcement properly, I had assumed was an emulator of a Casio FX-80 calculator!)

Apparently, the program will take a file of output intended for the old printer and render it on screen. From there, the software allows the ouput to be printed as normal, but with whatever printer is currently available, or saved as a Draw file.

The update addresses a small bug with the handling of the ESC ! control sequence, and improves rendering speed.

OpenVector suite 3.46 released

Christopher Martin has released version 3.46 of OpenVector, OpenGridPro and DrawPlus – the applications that make up the OpenVector suite, and which are all open-source enhancements to Draw. This release brings with it a number of bug fixes and changes to capailities:

  • The VectUtil module’s service handler avoids calling SWIs that aren’t re-entrant, leading to improved system stabilty.
  • Sprite scaling now uses a slower, but more reliable method.
  • An object’s position can now be set to #1 without causing a fatal crash.
  • Dragging out a selection box with the Adjust button will invert the selection list, rather than add to it.
  • Ctrl-V can be used to reverse the current selection list, making it easier to access objects deep in the stack, or to select unwanted interpolations for deletion.
PipeDream 4.53/02 and 4.53/03 released

In the last month, Stuart Swales has pumped out two new versions of PipeDream. Version 4.53/02 of the integrated word-processor and spread-sheet dealt with a couple of bugs – a timing dependent zero-page access was fixed, and the REPT() spreadsheet function now handles a repeat count of zero correctly.

At the time of writing, version 4.53/03 hasn’t appeared on the downloads page, and instead has been given as a direct link. This version addresses one bug, and features an extension to date formatting. When converting a number cell to text, there was a problem if the cell contained an undefined custom function – but not any more – and the date format has been extended to accept five ‘m’ or ‘M’ characters to yield the first character of the month name.

Ovation Pro 2.77x released

David Pilling has released a new version of desktop publishing package Ovation Pro. Version 2.77x [direct link] of the software addresses the first ‘zero page’ problem that has been identified with the software.

David says he’d like people to use this version on systems running the latest versions of RISC OS, on which zero page relocation has been enabled, and the ZeroPain compatibility/logging module is running, and to send him any reports from the module. The first bug fixed in the new version was easy to find because it always occurs as soon as the application is run – and this was shortly followed by another, which was a little more dependant on which applets were loaded, so not everyone will have seen it.

If a user manages to encounter any other zero page problems, along with the ZeroPain reports David would like details of what was done to provoke the error.

SparkFS Zip module version 1.43

Another zero page problem fixed by David was in the SparkFS Zip module, prompting the release of version 1.43 candidate 3 [direct link]. The problem (and another found and fixed as a result) appears to have been in the module’s error handling, judging by David’s comments.

Source code to old software

It seems that David has also, for a while now, been giving away his source code to older software – items that are no longer available to sell. No specific licence is mentioned or linked to on the page detailing these items, but in a post to his support mailing list, David said:

Essentially, anything which gets to that page is not for sale any more and open to third parties modifying or doing what the like with. The archives on the pages linked from that page contain the latest version. That is the latest runnable version as well as the source code.

It’s worth noting that for some of the items listed newer versions are available from Chris Johnson.

PlutoDat updated to allow network access

Richard Darby’s solution for storing Pluto’s email data outside of the application itself has been updated to allow for network access – so that different copies of the popular email and news client, on different computers on the network, can all access the same store of emails.

Copies of Pluto being used need slightly modified !Run files, and the new version of PlutoDat – Richard’s ‘pseudo-app’ that forms the email outhouse – contains all the necessary instructions and example !Run files.

Latest Drag ‘n Drop arrives

The latest edition of on-off-on-off-under-new-management PDF magazine Drag ‘n Drop was published last month. Volume 6, issue 4 includes the usual news and comment pages, ongoing programming series, and features on Overlord, PostScript, RISC Lua, and much more.

The magazine can be purchased directly from its website for £3.50, or via !Store for £4.50 – with the extra pound getting you the type-in listings typed in.

Thump landed on Christopher Martin

Thump – a popular image viewer which, amongst its features, provides a browsable filer-like display of thumbnailed images – has found its way under the wings of a new maintainer. Originally developed by Rick Hudson, and then looked after by David Pitt, the application is now in the capable hands of Christopher Martin.

Along with the move, there is also a new version – 1.53 – which includes the following changes:

  • The viewer window stays roughly where it’s put, rather than centre itself on screen for each new image.
  • Stability is improved when external programs are called and those programs crash.
  • Darren Salt’s Spr2Png has been reinstated as the preferred PNG handler.
  • A rare, but fatal bug in the Sprite module involving buffer-sizing has been addressed.
  • The Clear module has been updated to avoid unaligned word loads, making it ARMv7 compatible.
SchemEd 1.08 patched to 1.08b

Circuit editor SchemEd, which was updated to version 1.08 in June, has now been bumped up to version 1.08b by way of a patch.

Developer Howard Dawson explains that a ‘feature’ was introduced in version 1.08 that caused analysis set-ups stored in circuit files to be lost, with various dialogue settings reverting to their defaults – hence the patch.

BSpice3f5 updated to version 1.05

Also available from Howard is BSpice3f5, which has very recently been updated to version 1.05 – found on the same page as SchemEd, above.

BSpice3f5 started life as a RISC OS port (by Guy Griffin) of BSpice, a UC Berkeley tool for the design and analysis of electronic circuits by mathematical modelling. Version 1.05 of the software deals with a problem that occurs when carrying out ‘nested’ DC sweep analysis, leading to a division by zero and a crash.

RiscCAD website, shop and YouTube channel

David Buck, the developer behind the 2D RISC OS CAD package, RiscCAD, has added a page to his website to provide support and associated resources for the application, including an online shop so that people can purchase the software (which costs £30) and a pattern pack (£5). Free resources available from the RiscCAD page include manuals in both Impression and HTML format, along with a DXF conversion utility.

There is also a link to a YouTube channel for the application, which currently holds only two videos – one relating to setting up the application, and one demonstrating simple object drawing. David says he welcomes suggestions on additions to the software, as well as ideas for videos to add to the channel.

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