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Article archives

Software Preservation at the ROUGOL Show

Posted by Andrew Poole on 15:30, 28/10/2021 | , , ,
 
Disc image of Pandora's BoxWe've mentioned before the work of the Acorn Preservation Team to archive and preserve BBC Micro and Acorn software before it's lost to time and bit rot. As part of this effort, there will be a Software Preservation stand at this weekend's ROUGOL show which will offer a software preservation service. This is possible thanks to a generous offer of time and expertise from Paul Emerton (who you may remember from his excellent demonstration on BBC TV graphics and Acorn machines at the Centre for Computing History).

The idea is that you can bring along your BBC Micro or Archimedes floppy discs and if it's not already in the Acorn Preservation Team's archive, Paul will take an image of the disc while you wait and give the original back to you. If you take along a USB stick or SD card, a copy of the resulting disc image will be provided back to you (although be aware that the images of a single floppy disc can be up to around 85MB).

Imaging the discs will be made possible thanks to Paul bringing along his Greaseweazle - a small device that reads and stores the raw magnetic flux readings from the floppy disc (hence the large size of the resulting images). The advantage of imaging the discs this way is that it preserves the content exactly, including any special copy protection tracks from the original disc.

Even if you can't bring your own discs along, Paul will be available at the stand to chat and give advice on how best to store and avoid damage to both discs and drives to help preserve the life of both.
 
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How data can be recovered from damaged discs using an oscilloscope

Posted by Andrew Poole on 07:30, 18/5/2021 | , ,
 
Reading data from a floppy disc - the hard wayA couple of months ago, we told you about the Acorn Preservation Team, who are working to preserve the data from old discs before the data's gone forever.

Chris Evans and Phil Pemberton have written an in-depth look at how they were able to recover the data from some damaged discs that were otherwise unreadable using more traditional methods.

The post is an interesting look at how even when it appears the disc may be unrecoverable, with the right tools there can still be hope of recovering the data using more analogue methods at the magnetic flux level (and sometimes drawing peaks on a waveform manually!).

Also, as we noted in the previous article, the Acorn Preservation Team are still looking to help preserve any unique, rare, interesting and potentially historic discs anyone may have tucked away in the back of their cupboards before it's too late. They're not only working on BBC Micro discs, but discs for other formats and systems, too.

Links:
Recovering "lost" treasure-filled floppy discs with an oscilloscope - Chris Evans' blog
 
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Acorn Preservation Team want to help archive your old data before it's too late

Posted by Andrew Poole on 10:00, 8/3/2021 | , , , ,
 
Matthew Atkinson's Source DiscsThe need to preserve data from the BBC Micro days is becoming more and more urgent as time goes by since many of the discs are now well over 35 years old and many will be starting to degrade - if they haven't already. During this weekend's all-day ABug event, the Acorn Preservation Team gave an update on their recent project to recover the data from the original source code discs for several of Matthew Atkinson's games for the BBC Micro including Repton 3, UIM, Tempest and The Living Daylights.

The Acorn Preservation Team are also encouraging anyone who may have some old discs containing anything that is in need of recovery/preservation/archival to get in touch and loan the discs to them to help make sure the data isn't permanently lost. In particular, the team are interested in development discs containing sources, binaries, unreleased/missing/early versions of games and applications for both the BBC and RISC OS platforms.

In the case of Matthew Atkinson's discs, they were passed over to the Acorn Preservation Team a few weeks ago when they turned up here at TIB Towers after having been presumed lost by the author. It turned out that he'd in fact sent them to TIB back in the early 2000s where they were stored for the last fifteen years before turning up during a recent house move.

Once we'd sent the discs over to them, the Acorn Preservation Team set to work recovering the data contained within. This task wasn't entirely straightforward as some discs were showing the effect of their advancing age. One disc had damage that looked like it had seen an impact at some point in its life and sported a dent covering around 11 tracks of data. Despite this, the team were able to recover almost all of the data from the 22 disc set using a variety of methods including flux-level readings and analysing low level analogue signals from the discs. At the time of writing, only a handful of tracks from the dented disc remain to be recovered and are still being actively worked on. The data recovered so far has been provided back to Matthew Atkinson to have a look through and decide what he'd like to do with the soruces next.

A State of Flux talk
Phil Pemberton and Chris Evans talk about the process of recovering data from Matthew Atkinson's source discs at this weekend's ABug event


The ABug talk from the Acorn Preservation Team will be made available through both the ABug website and their new YouTube channel in the near future along with a talk by Matthew Atkinson himself on the history of his BBC Micro and Archimedes development days.

If you have any old discs in need of preservation, whether BBC Micro era or Archimedes/RISC OS, the Acorn Preservation Team urge you to get in touch via the Stardot forums or the Software Preservation channel in the Stardot Discord Server before it's too late and the data's gone forever.
 
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Pass the time this Christmas with a selection of RISC OS and BBC Micro talks

Posted by Andrew Poole on 09:00, 26/12/2020 | , , , , , , ,
 
ABug logoWhat better way to spend your free time this Christmas while we're not allowed to go anywhere than to sit back, relax and enjoy some interesting presentations on a variety of Acorn and RISC OS topics?

Since 2014, ABug - the Acorn and BBC Micro User Group - have been holding regular events featuring talks on a wide range of topics relating to Acorn and RISC OS computers, both as in-person events and more recently as virtual events. We've selected a few of our favourites in this article, but the ABug website has a lot more talks available to choose from.
 
Continue reading "Pass the time this Christmas with a selection of RISC OS and BBC Micro talks" | 1 comment in the forums

Own a Unique Silver Deuce Case... for Charity

Posted by Steve Fryatt on 22:50, 1/9/2020 | , ,
 
A special announcement from WROCC:
Along with the more obvious problems associated with the cancellation of
this year's Wakefield Acorn & RISC OS Computer Show came two less expected
ones.

As befitted the 25th show organised by the Wakefield RISC OS Computer Club,
Andy Marks of RISCOSbits had produced us a very special silver edition Deuce
case for the first prize in the raffle that we had intended to hold. With no
show and no raffle, the Club is now in possession of a totally unique, and
very special item.

The case is silver coloured, with the Club's acorn logo on the lid, and the
Wakefield 2020 (25 years) show banner engraved on the side. It is designed
to take a Raspberry Pi 3+, and comes with an adaptor plate for a Pi 4.

Details and photos can be found at:

https://www.wrocc.org.uk/silver-deuce

The loss of the show also meant that we were unable to organise our regular
Charity Stall in support of Wakefield Hospice. Over the years the stall has
raised in excess of 20,000 to support their work, and at a time when
COVID-19 is having a great impact on charities, it was a shame not to be
able to add to that figure.

To this end, the Club will be listing the silver edition case for auction on
eBay on Thursday 3rd September, with the specific intention of raising money
for Wakefield Hospice. The retail price of the standard case is 30, but
given the unique nature of this particular one, we are very much hoping that
we can raise even more for the Hospice.

We would like to think that those who bid on the case and fail to win would
consider donating a similar amount in order to support the important work of
the Hospice in its 30th anniversary year at this difficult time. This can be
done via our JustGiving page, which passes the money direct to the Hospice:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wakefield-2020

In addition, donations from all members of the RISC OS community will be
gratefully received.

The Club would like to thank all of our exhibitors and visitors at past
Wakefield Shows, and hope that we will be able to see you all again in
person in April 2021.

 
1 comment in the forums

R-Comp releases new 17inch RISCBook laptop

Posted by Mark Stephens on 08:21, 5/11/2019 |
 
R-CompInfo had so many exciting developments at the recent London Show that you may have missed the other new laptop on their stand.
 
Continue reading "R-Comp releases new 17inch RISCBook laptop" | Comment in the forums

Elesar bring Wifi networking to your RISC OS Pi

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:43, 23/10/2019 | ,
 
One of the great pleasures of writing for The Icon Bar (beyond the high salary, job security, long lunch breaks and editorial freedom) is when a package arrives in the post for review. While software can be sent via email, there is still a certain satisfying thud when an item of hardware arrives for review.

This time it the latest cool offering from Elesar, who have produced the WIFI HAT - a hardware plugin for a RaspberryPi running RISC OS which provides wifi support for RISC OS itself.
 
Continue reading "Elesar bring Wifi networking to your RISC OS Pi" | 10 comments in the forums

R-Comp releases 2 new machines at SW show

Posted by Mark Stephens on 08:12, 22/3/2019 | ,
 
One of the big draws at the South-West Show was the chance to actually try (and see and touch!) 2 new RISC OS machines on the R-CompInfo stand.
 
Continue reading "R-Comp releases 2 new machines at SW show" | 9 comments in the forums

A new monitor for my RISC OS and Mac systems

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RC15 bring RISC OS to any Raspberry Pi

Read article... | 4 comments in the forums

Native versus emulation in 2016 (Part 2)

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Native versus emulation for running RISC OS in 2017 (Part 1)

Read article... | 9 comments in the forums

First Impressions of RComp's TiMachine

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Getting FAT32FS working on a RiscPC with a Castle USB Card

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