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Article archives

The Book of Arcade Games reviews

Posted by Mark Stephens on 08:36, 14/12/2018 |
 

 
The Book of Arcade Games was launched at the recent RISC OS London Show.
 
The 130 page book contains updated and and enhanced listings for 10 of the best Arcade games from the Drag'n'Drop magazine. There is also a introductory guide on how to type in (and Chris was offering the already typed in code to download at the Show).
 
The Games are all written in BBC BASIC and there is a nice screenshot and description of each before the listing. The type is clear and readable, and the book is spiral bound, so sits flat on your desk. All this makes it very easy to follow the code.
 
If you are interested in programming RISC OS of just looking for a bit fo fun and nostalgia, I can recommend this book.
 
You can preview the book online for free and it costs 15 pounds (including postage) from Drag'n'Drop website.
 
3 comments in the forums

What is apache?

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:35, 7/12/2018 | ,
 
With RISC OS switching to the Apache licence, here is your brief intro to the world of Apache....
 
Apache the software program
Apache is a key building block of the Internet. It runs on many of the servers which make up the Internet and allows them to provide the websites you use every day. Its many features include the ability to host multiple websites on a sever, control access and provide security, execute scripts and commands when you access pages, log website activity, and a whole host of other features. You use Apache every day without realising it.
 
Apache the licence
All software has a licence which defines what rights you have and what use you can make of a piece of software. For example, most commercial software bans you from trying to dissect it and give it away to your friends.
 
The Apache licence is one of several Open Source licences. These generally come with free software (as in you do not have to pay for it) which includes the source code. The big difference in Open Source licences is that some are viral (with the GPL you have to release any software which uses it under the same licence so it 'infects' the software) and non-viral (you can use it with other software including commercial software so long as you respect the rules on the original software).
 
It is possible to release software under more than one licence. A nice example is the PDF library Itext, which you can use for free under the AGPL licence (requiring you to release your code for free as well with the source code), or buy a commercial version (identical except it comes with a commercial licence removing this requirement so you can use in commercial software).
 
If your aim is to encourage maximum update and usage, you would choose a non-viral licence such as the Apache licence which is what RISC OS now uses.
 
If you own the software, you can choose to change the licence (as RISC OS Developments has done having acquired RISC OS), but you cannot modify the licence on software belonging to someone else).
 
Apache the foundation
 
There is also an organisation called the Apache Software foundation which provides a home for a large number of software programs developed under the Apache licence. Most of these are technical and you might have heard of them if you are a software developer (ie Ant, Groovy, Hadoop, Maven, Perl) or runs on servers providing Internet services (ie SpamAssassin, Tomcat).
 
Apache is an organisation of individuals (no Company/Corporate membership option) and anyone can join. It also organises conferences and promotes software development.
 
Anyone can use the Apache licence in the software. This is perfectly acceptable and many other software projects have been doing the same for many years.
 
If you want your software to be an 'official' Apache project, you also need to follow the apache rules on how software is developed. This lays down a clear methodology and governance.
 
Many of the software projects which are Apache projects started life outside Apache and have joined by adopting the Apache rules. For the last 2 years, the Java IDE NetBeans has been transitioning to an Apache project (I have had a minor involvement in that giving me a very interesting viewpoint of the Apache foundation).
 
More details on Open Source licences at GNU website
Apache website
 
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November news

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:07, 30/11/2018 |
 
Some things we noticed this month. What did you see?
 
Elesar finds a way to improve performance on your Titanium machines with free software update.
 
New stunt drivers game from AmCoG games.
 
Updated free guide to VirtualRPC in Use available to download.
 
Review of the new RaspberryPi3 A+ on RISC OS blog.
 
Elesar update !Prophet to 3.95
 
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Drag'n'Drop Summer 2018 edition reviewed

Posted by Mark Stephens on 08:01, 23/11/2018 |
 

 
If you want some RISC OS related news, reviews and projects (or still missing the summer days), Then the Summer edition of Drag'n'Drop Magazine is for you.
 
The magazine is published as a PDF file (so you can read it on any Computer or print it out) and always reminds me of the 1990s era Acorn magazines at their best. The magazine does not assume you have been using RISC OS since the 1990s though, and there is always a beginners page to get you started.
 
The news section includes information on new hardware, and new commercial and free software. Because can be read online, there are lots of useful website links to follow. There is a games review of Island of the Undead from Amcog Games and an ongoing series on using Schema2.
 
The bulk of the magazine features code - apps, games, hints and tricks to suit all levels of ability. You can learn about Upscaling and interpolation, type in an play a platform game called Boing, an updated Space Invaders Game, build some more serious applications for desktop and printing. My personal favourite in this edition is the guide to making a glass button.
 
This month also includes an index at the end for Volume 1-9 of the magazine (which can all be bought in a big back issue edition).
 
There is a free preview of the magazine to read, and you can buy the magazine directly from the website.
 
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PackMan in practice, part 2

Posted by Jeffrey Lee on 09:00, 16/11/2018 | , , ,
 
As mentioned at the end of part one, this article about creating PackMan packages is going to look at what's necessary to generate distribution index files, ROOL pointer files, and how these tasks can be automated. Towards the end I'll also be taking a look at some options for automating the uploading of the files to your website.
 
 
Continue reading "PackMan in practice, part 2" | 1 comment in the forums

GPS becomes Data Logger

Posted by Mark Stephens on 06:21, 9/11/2018 |
 
At the recent London Show Chris Hall was showing his new Data Logger. Here he gives some info into the new hardware
 
Version 2.40 of my SatNav software and the compact hardware unit with just an OLED display meant I could stop trying to fix things that were still unfinished. I had full battery management, conditional data logging, robust and error-tolerant data downloading on demand and power management that avoided any SD card corruption.

Where next?

 
There were things still unfinished: I wanted the unit to be able to use WiFi to transmit data instead of making do with manual downloads to a USB pen drive; I would have liked to remove the code which drives a liquid ink display (Papirus) into a more general purpose module, where it should be, but had never tried writing one. RiscBASIC could compile an application to a module but only at 26 bit. Both these aspirations were therefore not immediate.


 
 
Continue reading "GPS becomes Data Logger" | 2 comments in the forums

October News Headlines

Posted by Mark Stephens on 12:30, 31/10/2018 |
 
Some things we noticed this month. What did you see?
 
R-CompInfo released a 6th version of their Monitor software, offering more screen modes for Titanium.
 
RISC OS Developments acquire CastleInfo Technology. Expect lots of speculation on the Internet and some hard facts at the London Show.
 
Interesting article on Reading Manga on RISC OS on RISC OS blog.
 
The 10th London show. Read our report.
 
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RISC OS London Show Report 2018

Posted by Mark Stephens on 15:30, 27/10/2018 |
 
The 10th London show took place at its regular venue on Saturday 27th October (St Giles Hotel - Feltham, London). It was a warm and sunny autumn day (always a good start). The bridge next to the Show was closed this year which made the journey more complex...
 
Numbers were up this year and lots of exciting news in the talks. There was a lot of buzz in the air over the Open sourcing of RISC OS.
 
The show was run as usual by ROUGOL and their army of helpers who did an excellent job of making everything work to time faultlessly.
 
There is a separate report for the talks and a show in pictures article. In this report we will focus on the stands and the actual event.
 
There was wide range of stands at the show, summarised below.
 
 
Continue reading "RISC OS London Show Report 2018" | 5 comments in the forums

RISC OS London Show 2018 - Notes from the talks

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RISC OS London Show 2018 - pictures

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RISC OS source code to be relicensed under the Apache open source license

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More Acorn Magazine nostalgia

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RISC OS London Show 2018

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September News round-up

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Recent discussions
- The Book of Arcade Games reviews (News:3)
- Iron Lord Soundtrack (Games:9)
- What is apache? (News:)
- The environmental cost of software (Prog:5)
- Support movember (Gen:3)
- November news (News:)
- Drag'n'Drop Summer 2018 edition reviewed (News:)
- GPS becomes Data Logger (News:2)
- Code GCC produces that makes you cry #12684 (Prog:29)
- PackMan in practice, part 2 (News:1)
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