Snippets – 1st January, 2019

Although this is the first post for 2019, it’s also the last post of 2018!

It’s once again time for a round up of new releases, updates, and so on, that have somehow not made it to these pages before, with a whole bunch of news snippets from 2018.

In most cases, that’s because no announcement was sent to the RISCOSitory news address, so it’s been down to me to find out about it when I’ve finally had time to catch up reading forums, etc. However, in one case, it’s simply because I forgot to post something that was sent to that address. Oops!

I believe this collection of news snippets brings RISCOSitory suitably up to date that I can finish looking over the news for 2018 that has been published on the site in order to finish drafting a list of nominations for the next RISC OS Awards poll, with one exception: I haven’t yet written the London Show report – but I’ll deal with the awards poll before doing that, hopefully in the next couple of weeks

In the meantime, however, here are those news snippets:

Exchange your old copy of Currency for a new version

Dealing with that oversight on my part first, I need to apologise to Kevin Wells, who did email his news to me – which was that he had updated his exchange rate application Currency to version 1.0

Like much of Kevin’s software, Currency uses Wget to fetch its source data from a third party site, The Free Currency Converter API in this case, and the update is to use version 6 of the API rather than version 3.

Raik Fischer releases then cuts FF_Cut

In April, Raik Fischer said he had started working on a skeleton solution for cutting videos, and made a pre-alpha release of the tool, FF_Cut (zip), in July.

The tool can still be downloaded, but soon after Raik decided to abondon the project in favour of developing a more complete editing tool, with the working title of FF_Movie, releasing some demonstration videos produced with an early version.

KinoAmp format-support widens

André Timmermans dropped a new version movie of playing application KinoAmp in August.

Along with other improvements, version 0.48 of the software adds support for a greater range of pixel formats and video codecs, thus increasing the range of video files it is able to correctly play.

Why not play some Snakes and Ladders Laby_Man?

André also made two little games available at the end of the month that he wrote a very long time ago for the Archimedes and but never released. He found them while sorting through old backups, and has updated them to work better on modern machines with higher resolutions.

The games are Boufy, a snake-like game based on an MSX type-in listing, and Laby_Man, a simple 3D maze game in which you must find your way out of increasingly difficult labyrinths.

Time for the Dalek Invasion of Earth the RISC OS Desktop

Another simple game release came from Stephan Kleinert, who released a game called Daleks (zip) in October. The objective is quite simple: Avoid the Daleks!

More games available for a better ADFFS

Jon Abbott has been updated ADFFS, with the latest being version 2.70. Improvements in recent releases include better RISC OS 3.11 compatibility, support for Joysticks if Richard Walker’s USBJoystick module is in use, compatibility with the latest RISC OS 5.27 nightly builds, and more.

Many more games are also now available. In particular, at the same time as announcing version 2.68, Jon also said that all the Cambridge International Software and Topologika titles received to date by the Software Preservation Project (JASPP) would be released over the coming weeks. Details of all the titles available can be found on the Games section on the JASPP forum.

Chuck away Chocks Away Extra Missions graphics issues

November saw Christopher Bazley release a patch for Chocks Away Extra Missions. The patch addresses some niggles in the graphics rendering, and makes the game look much better.

Specifically, the clipping of thick lines at the right hand edge of the screen has been fixed, along with the way thick patterned lines are handled in a perspective projection routine.

Super Methane Brothers gives gas to modern hardware

Cameron Cawley updated Super Methane Brothers, in November. An open source implementation of an old game for the Commodore Amiga, the objective is to move around the screen trapping baddies and eliminating them with a gas-gun. The new version adds compatibility for modern RISC OS hardware platforms.

Manga manages things better

Rick Murray released a number of updates to Manga between August and November, with the end result being that it’s now up to version 0.33. The software can be downloaded from his home server when available, or via !Store.

The updates began with a ‘special patch release’ to fix an issue it had with the new AcornSSL module, then to address it apparently freezing, and finally to cope with images in a ‘tall strip’ format, as well as ‘damaged’ images. The latest version has also gained a ‘Refetch’ button so that such images can be, er, re-fetched!

Wait! Did I mention a new version of AcornSSL?

I did! I mentioned a new version of AcornSSL! In August, as a result of progress being made on the RISC OS Open Ltd TCP/IP bounty, a beta version of the new module (zip) was made available for testing purposes.

The module is designed to provide secure connections, and supports TLS (based on ARM’s mbed TLS project). It no longer supports the obsolete SSL methods, but The name has been retained for the sake of simplicity.

C library released to make HTTP(S) handling easier

For anyone wanting to handle HTTP(S) requests in their own software, Chris Mahoney has made it a little easier. In September, he released a C library for doing just that – HTTPLib (zip).

For a quick overview of how to use the library, see his post on the RISC OS Open forums announcing it.

Use UCDebug if you see bugs

A programming resource from a rather unexpected source is UCDebug, which has been developed at the University of Cantabria in Spain. The program is an ARM debugger that runs in the desktop, allowing code to be run in a controlled manner, so that changes in the register set and memory can be monitored.

One of the developers explained in a post on the RISC OS Open forum how the software came about, and why they chose to use RISC OS.

PipeDream updated to version 4.56(.01)

Stuart Swales released a new version of PipeDream in December, first bringing it up to version 4.56, quickly followed by 4.56.01 to fix a bug.

The first release since version 4.55 in June 2016, list of changes is rather long, and includes various bug fixes and changes to improve compliance with the Style Guide, as well as other improvements and enhancements.

Webify text and CSV data

Clive Semmens released two applications in November designed to convert text and CSV files to HTML format, to simplify the process of creating web pages

XP1tx2web takes a text file and adds in things like paragraph tags, converts sexless quotes into the appropriate entities, and so on – leaving it up to the user to then add headers, footers, styling, etc. XP1ss2web, on the other hand, takes CSV files (that you might spit out from a spreadsheet, for example) and turns it into an HTML table. Again, no headers, footers, etc., are added; that’s up to the user.

Clive also updated XP1ss2web to handle quoted newlines, in response to…

There’s more than one way to skin a cat convert CSV to HTML

Gavin Wraith pointed out that he, too, had an application available to turn CSV files into HTML, and a quick search of RISCOSitory shows that appears to have never found its way into these news pages. That application is called csv2html (zip), and Gavin explains that it handles some of the more complex foibles of the CSV format – such as newlines included inside quoted strings, and so on.

RiscLua7 updated

Also available from Gavin is an updated version of RiscLua7. When run, the new version puts an icon on the icon bar, and dragging a file containing a Lua program onto it causes that program to be run in a taskwindow.

You can count on the Great Zahl!

Gavin ended the year with another release in the form of Zahl (zip), which is “a big number package” that allows you to manipulate large integers, either by typing simple calculations into the task window it opens, or by dragging a script of commands to the program.

Look up straight ahead at the stars!

Another release right at the end of the year came from Jim Lesurf, with StarCatMapper. Using DrawGen, the program will generate a map of the sky in the form of a Draw file, based on a Yale catalogue of star data.

The width, height, number of stars plotted, etc., is all under user control, but the default settings produce a file that can be converted at 100% scale into a desktop wallpaper.

RISC OS FR ends the year in style

RISC OS FR has been celebrating Christmas and the new year with a week of announcements, running from 25th December to 1st January.

For full details see the thread on the RISC OS Open forum, but a particular highlight is a contest to encourage the development of new games for RISC OS.

View and convert RISC OS sprite files on other platforms

Finally, While not actually for RISC OS as such, Steffen Huber has released a tool that allows RISC OS sprite files to be viewed on other platforms in a Paint-like window, with the ability to export them as common graphics formats such as PNG and JPEG.

The software comes in two distinct varieties, both Java-based – one for use on Windows (zip), and a more generic version (zip) for use on various platforms.