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.
It can’t have escaped people’s notice that almost three weeks have passed with nothing new appearing on RISCOSitory – despite a number of posts appearing on other sites, such as The Icon Bar and The RISC OS Blog. The simple reason for this is that I’ve been doing some redecorating and reorganising at home, leaving myself with no desk for a while, and even no internet connection at times.
The current situation is that I now have a new desk, so I now have a place to work at home, (although it’s actually incompatible with my chair), and my modem and router have been re-sited so I now have a permanent internet connection once again – but I haven’t yet set up a RISC OS computer. On top of which, the two week break from normal work (around which this period has centred) means I have a lot of catching up to do. The upshot being that it might still be a week or two before I can begin reviewing announcements and events in the RISC OS world and reporting on them.
It would have been sensible for me to make some kind of comment before I started, so apologies for the unexpected and prolonged interruption!
Dorian Computing have made available from their website one updated and one new piece of software. Originally written by Philip Macfarlane in 1991 and “released into the public domain,” DragCom is an application designed to provide a desktop front-end for star commands, making it easier to specify arguments (often files) by allowing them to be dragged onto the main window. This not only reduces the potential for errors when typing the path and filename, but it also removes the need to repeatedly type it if a series of commands needs to be applied to it – you drag the file in once, then type each command into the relevant icon in turn, executing them as you go. There are other ways of achieving the same goal, for example by setting the commands in an obey file, but the WIMP front-end presented by DragCom might seem a more user-friendly approach to some, although it could be greatly improved – particularly in terms of compliance with the RISC OS Style Guide.
Posting to the ARMini support mailing list, user Ross McGuiness asked a little over a week ago about the application JCut, and whether there was any chance of it being made ARMini (and Beagleboard) compatible. The software is part of a small suite of programs written some years ago by J. David Barrow for manipulating JPEG files without re-sampling them, and thus without causing any reduction in the image quality that normal editing can cause. The software does this by way of the Independant JPEG Group utility ‘jpegtran’, providing a RISC OS friendly front-end for the utility.
The applications themselves are all written in BASIC, so any incompatibility must clearly be with jpegtran, which was ported to RISC OS some time ago – an up to date port should therefore solve the problem. Just over a week later, and Chris Johnson was able to report to the list that he now had a working jpegtran utility, and that he was successfully using it with JCut and JClean.
Back in May, on the RISC OS Open forum, Rik Griffin identified a possible new target for a RISC OS port, from The Raspberry Pi Foundation, “a UK registered charity (Registration Number 1129409) which exists to promote the study of computer science and related topics, especially at school level, and to put the fun back into learning computing.”
The foundation is developing a very small computer, about the size of a USB stick, with an intended price tag of £10 to £15. David Braben – a name anyone familiar with the Acorn and RISC OS worlds should recognise – took a prototype along to the BBC in May to talk about it and the motivation behind The Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Kevin Wells has released a new application called Shutdown which, as its name suggests, is designed to do one simple thing: Shut the computer down. When launched, the application presents its icon – a red power button – on the left hand side of the icon bar, with the text “Turn me off” underneath it. A single click on that icon will invoke the standard RISC OS shutdown procedure, with the usual warnings; apps with unsaved data will prompt you to save (or cancel), and so on. As such, the app does exactly what it says on the tin – but not without issues.
Hot off the virtual press, the RISC OS community now has another source of news and opinion in the form of The RISC OS Blog. The emphasis, states the blogger, will be on “modern RISC OS”. He (or she) intends to write “the occasional snippets of news regarding the RISC OS operating system and all that surrounds it, and just generally [write] about the platform as a whole.”
As sold by R-Comp, the ARMini comes shipped in much the same way any other computer running RISC OS has done – you connect it up, switch on, and moments later you are presented with the familiar RISC OS desktop. For many users, this is what they want – that’s why they’ve bought the ARMini, an out of the box solution, rather than the more DIY approach of a Beagleboard-xm and the necessary bits and pieces to get it up and running. That doesn’t mean users have to stick with just RISC OS, though – ARM Linux has been an alternative for some time for other RISC OS (and ARM based) computers, and R-Comp have themselves opted to put together a suitable Linux distribution (based on Lubuntu – a lightweight variant of Ubuntu) for the ARMini (and Beagleboard-xm).
Steve Fryatt, the developer of CashBook and PrintPDF, amongst other things, has put out a plea for testers of new versions of those two applications. He reports that he has been doing a notable amount of work on the two of late, but while there are a few user facing changes, much more of the work has been under the bonnet, restructuring the source code so that it’s easier to work with – work that benefits users only in an abstract way, in that it makes further development of the software that much easier. Continue reading “Testers wanted for CashBook and PrintPDF”
The Risc TV podule from Irlam Instruments was designed to allow users of RiscPCs to watch television through their computers, displaying the TV image in a window on the desktop. Being a device designed and built in the mid to late 1990s, however, it predated the UK’s switch to digital TV by some time, so it’s hardly surprising that its tuner was analogue. This wasn’t a problem while we continued to have both analogue and digital television broadcasts, since the podule could still be used with the analogue signal – while there still was one. Continue reading “Digital switchover hits RISC OS”