Snippets – 16th October, 2016

Out of the chaos comes… another round up of (mostly late) news!

With yet another protracted busy period here in the RISCOSitory/Soft Rock Software bunker, it’s time to round up some news that has either been previously missed, or held back until more time was available.

ScrHelp puts some helpful information on screen.

Chris Hall has released a small application called ScrHelp [zip] – also available from !Store – which aims to present a selection of useful information about the system on which it is running in a nice, graphical form.

It is primarily targeted at the Raspberry Pi, for which it will show the currently selected screen resolution, and the resolution the GPU in the Pi is converting that to, the resolutions the attached monitor is capable of (if connected via HDMI), the version of RISC OS in use, the date of the firmware, the amount of memory, and so on.

It will present some of that information on other platforms, but some of it is specific to the Pi, so it is of less use on those platforms.

Fetch Impact 3.51 for a working “Fetch next” merge command.

A new version of relational database Impact is available from Sine Nomine. Version 3.51 – which is free to users of 3.47 or later – addresses a bug that crept into version 3.50, released at this year’s Wakefield Show.

As well as fixing the problem – which adversely affected the “Fetch next” merge command – this version also corrects a long-standing minor issue with table printing, which caused certain print settings to be ignored if the print preview window wasn’t used.

Thicken thin lines in DrawPrint 1.49

Another update from Sine Nomine comes in the form of DrawPrint, a free application that makes it easy to print a Draw file, sprite, or JPEG over several pages, and provides a means to easily export individual pages as Draw files.

The update includes a couple of minor changes, but also a notable new feature:

Lines in Draw files can be set to various different thicknesses from the Style -> Line width menu, but in addition to the various point sizes, the first option is ‘Thin’. Lines set as this do not have a measurable (or specific) thickness and are instead simply rendered as thin as possible. This can vary from one output device to another – on screen, for example, that’s a single pixel, but on some printers, they can be all but invisible.

Version 1.49 of DrawPrint allows a specified thickness to be applied to all ‘thin’ lines in the file, defaulting to 0.25pt.

WaveGen, SigGen and VoiceGen32 find a new home.

Three audio applications from Jon Scott that were previously available from David Saunders’ old website – the hosts of which apparently no longer support downloads – can now be found on RISC OS FR, thanks to David Feugey.

WaveGen allows waveforms to be drawn, with the result saved as a relocatable voice module, and was originally written by Felix Andrew. SigGen, meanwhile, is an audio signal generator, originally written by Iain Castle-Anderson. Both of these were updated for 32-bit compatibility by Jon in 2013. Jon released VoiceGen32 in the same year as a means to take 8-bit signed raw samples and convert them into 32-bit compatible voice modules.

rRaw 0.03 rReleased

Anton Reiser has released a new version of rRaw, and application that can open Raw files, the ‘native’ image format used by digital cameras, and which decent ones can optionally use for saving files instead of JPEG.

Version 0.03 of the software offers a number of improvements over the previous version – verbose metadata information, better thumbnail view, optional JPEG thumbnails and editing, crop export, monochrome mode, and finer contrast adjustments.

Be warned, though, that unlike JPEGs, Raw files are not compressed – so they can be quite hefty, and to use Anton’s software you will need RISC OS 5 and a lot of RAM.

Google Noto fonts converted to RISC OS

A family of fonts called Noto have been developed and made available by Google, and Chris Mahoney has set about the task of converting them to RISC OS format. So far, he has only converted the Latin fonts, which can be downloaded from his Toralar Software Miscellaneous downloads page.

PHP and WebJames now Raspberry Pi 3 compatible

Chris Gransden has released an update for web server WebJames and server-side scripting language PHP, which he says are now compatible with the Raspberry Pi 3.

The zip file isn’t linked separately on his RISC OS Ports Downloads page, and only contains the updated !RunImage and PHP executable, so the previous version will still need to be downloaded from that page if you don’t already have it.

As well as being compatible with the Pi 3, the PHP version included is now 5.3.29, whereas it was previously 5.2.17, and Chris notes that popular bulletin board package phpbb3 3.0.14, and PDF generation package TCPDF both seem to work reliably with the updated version.

DarkPlaces Quake 1 engine ported

Chris has also ported the DarkPlaces Quake 1 engine, and has released a test version [zip]. The engine is only compatible with the Raspberry Pi, because it makes use of the GPU for hardware acceleration. For that, you will also need to install Khronos [zip] – an OpenGL driver.

DarkPlaces provides enhanced gameplay for Quake, and also supports a number of other games based on the Quake engine. To use it, you will need to source your own PAK files – such as the Quake Shareware PAK – which contain all of the resources required by the game – the graphics, sound effects, music, level data, and so on.

Detailed instructions, along with notes about issues to be aware of, are provided in a post by Chris on the RISC OS Open forum.


New version of StudioSound released

Having recently released an updated version of ProSound, Henrik Pedersen has since released a new version of StudioSound, which – like ProSound – is now ARMv7-compatible as of version 2.00

Originally released by Oregan Developments, the software is an audio sequencing package, allowing several hours of audio to be sequenced and mixed, with comprehensive editing facilities, and allowing non-destructive, real-time effects to be applied.

Since the release of version 2.00, Henrik has made a few updates – the current version is 2.04 – to address a number of bugs, and bring about some minor improvements.

Closure of the Style Guide discussion list

The Style Guide mailing list was set up on this site as a way to discuss a much needed overhaul to the RISC OS book of the same name – the RISC OS programming bible, that laid out how things should be, well, laid out on screen, in order to present users with a consistent look and feel across different applications.

That overhaul happened, and RISC OS Open published an updated version over a year and a half ago, rendering the mailing list surplus to requirements – so the time has come to close it down. The list will disappear some time on Monday, 17th October, 2016.

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