Snippets – 12th February, 2017

A last minute round-up before the bunker is sealed off for a few days!

Later today, the RISCOSitory/Soft Rock Software bunker will be sealed and secured shut while I disappear into the middle of nowhere for my annual mid-February break. Hopefully, there will be no kind of apocalyptic event while I’m away, so the bunker should be open for business again from next weekend.

In the meantime, I’ve had a last minute catch-up on my reading, and found a few things worth mentioning in a final round-up before I set off.

Battery indicator for the pi-top

Jon Abbott of Archimedes Software Preservation Project fame released pi-topUtils in January, which provides a number of handy features for anyone using RISC OS on a pi-top (and therefore the pi-topRO).

The main function is to provide a battery level indicator on the icon bar, which shows the amount of charge and whether or not the mains supply is connected (i.e. the battery is being charged), and hovering the mouse over the icon gives an estimate of the amount of time the remaining charge will last. In addition to that, HID and USB keyboard drivers are also provided, providing the ability to control the volume and brightness, and various other things.

New test build of CashBook

Steve Fryatt has been doing some work on grumpy home accounts package CashBook, and has made a test build available. The new version doesn’t offer any new features – at least none that he’s willing to discuss – but the whole program has seen some “fairly massive structural changes”, with the code that handles data entry in the transaction window having been almost completely rewritten.

As such, Steve would like people to try it and provide him with feedback, so that he can identify and deal with any problems.

SatNav version 1.20 released

Chris Hall’s SatNav [zip] application, which reads the data from a GPS unit attached to the computer and presents the information meaningfully to the user, as well as broadcasting it for other apps – such as RiscOSM to use – has been updated to version 1.20.

The new version no longer uses the PiSerial drivers, as there is now serial support in ROM on all platforms, and the software now supports the use of an OLED (128×64) and an LCD (16×2 text) display on the IIC bus to display GPS information.

VNC Server 0.17 now available

Jeffrey Lee, taking a break from improving the operating itself, has released a new version of VNC Server, which allows a RISC OS computer to be used across a network from another system.

The main changes in this version is that the way character codes from 128 are handled when inserted into the keyboard buffer has been fixed, keyboard input from the client is now translated to the current RISC OS alphabet, which should allow the full range of UTF-8 characters to be used if using a Unicode-capable client and ‘UTF8’ alphabet on the server (i.e. the RISC OS computer), and clipboard text handling has also now performs translation to/from the current RISC OS alphabet.

Uptime module available

Chris Mahoney has released a simple module that provides an Uptime star command, which will tell you how long it has been since you booted the system. That’s all there is to it – with the module installed, just type *Uptime at the command to see how long the computer has been running for.

Suped up SpaceShip

With assistance from Tony Bartram of Amcog Games, who provided some triple buffering code to make the game run with smooth graphics and a consistent speed on all modern platforms, Patrick M has released an updated version of his Asteroids-clone, SpaceShip.

Two versions can be downloaded, what Patrick calls the ‘normal version’ [zip] and a similarly updated version with sound [zip] – the sound having been added to the previous version by Tony, using his RDSP sound module.

PrivateEye 3.00 available

David Thomas has released a new version of PrivateEye, his image viewer that can load and display both bitmap (e.g. sprites, JPEGs) and vector (e.g. DrawFiles and ArtWorks), allowing various effects to be applied to the images, and the ability to convert some image types.

The new version – built with the latest Desktop Development Environment from RISC OS Open, addresses a NULL dereference in the choices handling code, which would cause a crash on an OS with zero page relocated, and an unrelated problem that could cause a crash on a Raspberry Pi 3 has also been fixed.

Gnu Compiler Collection for RISC OS 4.7.4 release 3

A new version of version 4.7.4 of the GCCSDK for RISC OS is now available, with the headline feature of the release being support for the Raspberry Pi 3 – the compilers themselves now run on the Pi 3, and also produce executables that can be run on it. Other changes include some fixes to UnixLib.

RISCOScode returns

Following a two year ‘other project’, Martin Hansen has returned, saying that it’s great to be working on RISC OS again – so expect to see tweet-sized news items appearing on his RISCOScode news website – especially with the Southwest show now barely two weeks away!

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