Snippets – 29th August 2011

Christopher Martin has announced the availability of version 1.20 of FFmpeg and FFplay. FFmpeg is a versatile, open-source, multi-platform video and audio conversion system and FFplay is a very simple media player built upon FFmpeg and SDL. Christopher has also released a new version, 2.13, of Murnong, an application for fetching and decoding videos from YouTube, this update having been made necessary due to changes implemented on the video sharing website.

Richard Darby has produced a pseudo application designed to be used alongside Pluto, Jonathan Duddington’s excellent email client. Pluto stores all of its data – the user’s email – inside its application directory, which is less than ideal, and Richard’s PlutoDat is intended as an alternative repository for that data, allowing the data to be kept separate from the application itself. This raised a smile here because of something similar I had done back in the late 90s – for the user data and transient files held within ArgoNet’s Voyager Internet Suite and Pluto together – but having perused the Wayback Machine, it appears I never uploaded it for others to benefit.

Sine Nomine Software have released a new version of DrawPrint, their application for printing Draw files (or Sprites or JPEGs) over several pages at the scale of your choice. Version 1.30 includes major improvements to the crop tool, and the option to print all text in black. It has also had the increasingly long text manual converted to HTML for easier reading.

Alex McFarlane Smith has brought out some new… well, actually they’re ancient, but if everybody’s forgotten about them, then they’re really, really brand spanking new RISC OS games. These games were written in the mid 1990s and in BASIC so should probably run on most hardware.

Make a note in your diaries that the 31st August, 2011 marks the end of a special summer reduction on the price of Organizer 2.1, whereby new users or users of earlier versions of Organizer, the personal information manager for all RISC OS platforms, can buy or upgrade to the latest version of Organizer 2 for a reduced price. New users can obtain the software for £20 (full price £30), users of Organizer 2.0 can upgrade to Organizer 2.1 for a reduced price of £15.00 (full price £20). If you don’t have a diary in which to make a note of this deadline, it should be clear why you need to buy the software!

luafox, the spreadsheet application for scientific data analysis and presentation from Michael Gerbracht, is now at version 1.30, and includes the ability to import data from files in the new MS Excel format .xlsx, batch import CSV files, and has two new statistical functions: Skewness and Kurtosis. luafox 1.30 is available for 35 Euros, and included in this price are all updates up to and including luafox 1.50.

Version 2.3 (and 2.3.1) of Charm, the set of high level language tools and demos for RISC-OS computers and emulators, is now freely available under the terms of the GNU GPLv3 licence.

Switching from RISC OS to the BBC, how about implementing a BBC Micro on an FPGA? And speaking of the BBC Micro, so did Google‘s Eric Schmidt when giving the MacTaggart Lecture at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival – his mention of the BBC’s partnership with Acorn, which led to the BBC Micro being the choice of computer for schools in the 1980s, is about half way down, where he laments that this initiative is long gone, and that the UK’s current “IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight into how it’s made.  That is just throwing away your great computing heritage.”

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