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Article archives

RISC OS Interview with Sophia “sapphire” Bartram

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:10, 7/6/2019 |
 
This time round we would like to introduce you to a talented, young programmer you may well have met on the AMCOG games stand at recent RISC OS shows. Many thanks to Sophia for taking part.
 
Would you like to introduce yourself?
 
Hello I am Sophia “sapphire” Bartram
 
How long have you been using RISC OS?
 
4 years, playing my dad’s games which he made.
 
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RISC OS interview with Michael Grunditz

Posted by Mark Stephens on 08:59, 22/2/2019 |
 
A very welcome new face at the SW show was Michael Grunditz, the developer behind the ARMBook port and the OWB port. We were very keen to find out more, and knew you would be too...
 
Would you like to introduce yourself?
I am a former embedded programmer. Nowadays I don't work for money because of health issues.
 
How long have you been using RISC OS?
Since the latter part of the 90ies. I was a fulltime Amiga user before that and before the switch I used a Amiga1200 with PPC accelerator and graphics card.
 
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RISC OS interview with Chris Williams

Posted by Mark Stephens on 09:20, 24/12/2018 | ,
 
For your Christmas treat this year, we have an interview with Chris Williams, of Drobe and The Register fame. Enjoy and a very Merry Christmas from Iconbar.
 
 
Continue reading "RISC OS interview with Chris Williams" | 2 comments in the forums

RISC OS interview with Jeroen Vermeulen

Posted by Mark Stephens on 06:53, 7/9/2018 |
 
This time, it is our pleasure to interview Jeroen Vermeulen, who has just released a RISC OS remake of the old BBC Micro game Dickie Brickie, which is now free on !Store.
 
 
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RISC OS interview with Tim H-Smith

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:28, 16/3/2018 | ,
 
There was recently a very interesting discussion about writing a new RISC OS game on Stardot. Our intrepid reporters have tracked down the prospective author to find out more....
 
 
Continue reading "RISC OS interview with Tim H-Smith" | 1 comment in the forums

RISC OS interview with Richard Keefe

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:22, 24/12/2017 |
 
As an early Christmas present, we bring you an interview with Richard Keefe who tests us all about his plans for Impression as well as how he got into RISC OS and his programming experiences.
 
Would you like to introduce yourself?
Born in 1972 the eldest of three Brothers [middle Philip died in car crash 2012], Mother Physics Teacher [died 2010], Father Electronic Engineer. Attended Presentation College Reading [same school as Michael Bond of Paddington fame], 15 GCSE/O-Levels, 4 A-levels. Graduated from Reading University with a degree in "Cybernetics & Control Engineering with Subsidiary Maths" in 1993. Joined Paknet [division of Vodafone] in May 1994 where I write embedded real-time software for ARM based processor of the Radio-Pad [currently version 15, version 1 [(embedded x86 based) was released February 1990] and Solaris & Linux based IN's (Intelligent Nodes) to provide control. [Details: http://paknet.vodafone.net the world's first Radio X25 network] Married my lovely wife in 2008, I am the father of two beautiful and mischievous daughters aged 3 & 7. At the age of 4 - I got lightbulbs, batteries, wires and switches for Christmas, at the age of 5 got a soldering Iron, and at the age of 6 got an 8085 kit of parts for my birthday like [http://www.glitchwrks.com/images/8085/sdk85/original.jpg] but mine was fuller and put it together - 8085 assembling was done by hand in a special book provided. First high level language was BASIC on a Tandy TRS80 MKI [still got], migrated to BBC B, then Archimedes.
 
How long have you been using RISC OS?
- I got my first ARM based machine in December 1987 - an Acorn A310M [with PC emulator] with Arthur 1.2 and upgraded to RISC OS 2 as soon as it became available. First came across Impression as Version 0.90 in 1990, and Artworks as 0.8x in 1991 - as my flatmate was an Artworks trialist.
 
What other systems do you use?
- In my work I use Windows 7, Solaris 9 & 10, and Linux (Various) laptops/desktops/servers
- In my embedded work I use LPC43S67 [M0 & M4], AT91SAM7S [ARM7], AT91SAM7XC512 [ARM7] & ATSAMS70 [M7] based systems running either "bare metal" or "Segger EmbOS" with IAR EWARM compiler
- At home I use Windows XP, 7, Solaris 10, and Ubuntu in addition to RISC OS
- Occasionally I use my BBC Master - With Z80/6502/32016/80186 co-processors - but I'm a bit short of space & time so it's very rare.
What is your current RISC OS setup?
- My main Machines are Iyonix no 2, Windows 7 VRPC, and iMX6
- Still in progress is my Titanium (To Replace the Iyonix sort of but no floppy) - It's in an Iyonix classic Case - but I will still need the Iyonix as its my only modern floppy machine
- As well as these here is my working RISCOS Machine History in order of Purchase, still got all of it in my study & loft:
Archimedes A310M
Archimedes A440/1 - 40Mb - then 21Mb Floptical, then 230Mb MO - Upgraded to ARM 3 25MHz from ARM 2 [1991]
Acorn A4 laptop [battery & disk failed - have replacements need more time]
Risc PC 600 -> UG 700 -> UG StrongARM 200 [failed HDD have replacement] - my brother Philip and I can be seen on one of the Acorn Replay CD's at the RISC PC launch Marble Arch London
Iyonix no1 [Failed motherboard] waited until Aemulor was released before buying
Iyonix no2 [partially failed so DMA disabled]
Panda Board [currently Backup machine for RISC OS Shows)
RiscPC no2 Kinetic [only single height one]
RiscPC no3 StrongARM 233 [Videodesk set-up]
RiscPC no4 700 Hydra [would love to get this working with StrongARMs] + Spare PCB [4x ARM 610s]
Raspberry Pi B - My eldest daughter (7) uses RISC OS on this
A9Home
Iyonix no3 & 4 [in case no2 fails completely]
iMX6 [ARMX6]
Pi Zeros
Titanium Board [have disks & board in Iyonix classic case - wiring incomplete needs about 4hrs to complete]
I also have a complete with EPROMS but without driver software an "Acorn PC ARM 1 Co-Processor"
I also have several of the boards for an A540 [inc CPU & RAM] - but machines even broken sell for too much on ebay for my budget.
 
What do you think of the retro scene?
I do find it interesting - I'd like to spend more time looking at the changes and reading info on it
 
Do you attend any of the shows and what do you think of them?
When Acorn world was in London my brother Philip and I attended every year - were seen on TV one year when Blue Peter covered it but no Blue-Peter badge(s) :-(
I attend the London & Wakefield Show as a Stall holder [but the distance of Wakefield makes the economics touch and go].
I attend the South-West Show as a punter - as I haven't usually had enough time after Christmas to make a new Release.
 
What do you use RISC OS for in 2017 and what do you like most about it?
Apart from developing Impression-X of course.
I use Impression to Produce Posters / Letters / Publicity Information for Me / Impression-X & Reading University SciFi Society [SWAGA]
I use Draw Plus & Artworks for various drawings / tables etc to go inside my Impression objects.
 
What is your favourite feature/killer program in RISC OS?
Impression with 2nd Artworks and 3rd Draw+
 
What would you most like to see in RISC OS in the future?
Multi-Processor Support & Floppy Disk Hardware for a modern platform
 
Favourite (vaguely RISC OS-related) moan?
- I'd love a definitive list of all the software / hardware / games etc ever produced with pictures
- with a backup of all the eproms / firmware / gals etc
 
Can you tell us about what you are working on in the RISC OS market at the moment?
Impression-X of course as well as more 32bit work & bug fixes:
- Complete Jpeg support (inc Draw Files)
- Ensure all Draw objects render correctly
- Fix colour issues in some Artworks colour types
- Enhance postscript printing (Duplex, Security, Sprite 24bpp rendering even in old PS2 drivers)
- Enhance printing generally to support full 24bit rendering
- Optionally modify rendering so that documentation renders correctly (contains unknown sprite modes)
- Produce pdf documentation for all parts
- Incorporate all 5.13 bug fixes ~300 more to do
- Fully support new (2.xx) artworks rendering interface [currently does not support all the enhancements]
 
Looking further out:
- PNG,TIFF,GIF, PhotoCD graphics formats support
- update/add/enhance MS Doc & docx load & save support
- Update the dictionary with up-to-date wordlist(s) as well as 32bit
- Produce printed documentation
- Titanium colour support
- Zero page protection check & fix
 
Apart from iconbar (obviously) what are your favourite websites?
www.google.co.uk, www.ebay.co.uk, chrisacorns.computinghistory.org.uk, https://www.riscosopen.org/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page, www.stardot.org.uk, http://8bs.com/aumags.htm
 
What are your interests beyond RISC OS?
I'm the Publicity Officer for Reading University Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Society, a position I have held for almost 25 years.
Photography & Photoshop ... I've always got a camera or two about my person and take ~10000 20+ megapixel photo's per year
Postcards ... I collect photographic postcards of Newbury, Thatcham and Reading University & surrounding roads mostly pre 1950's, but some are as new as the 80's, 80% pre 20's
Also I collect Acorn/riscos/BBC software and hardware from a few sections: : (I could produce a list if it's of interest)
I've got all the BBC Wedges apart from a 286, an A500 & an ARM1 and none of the 68000 based ones
Anything ARM Related - I've got most machines I want except an A540, a RISC PC 600 (not 610) cpu, Duo cpu, a RISC PC 800 cpu, Omega and a Phoebe of course
My STB's are missing some of the boards
Anything CC related:
I've got most of their BBC ROMS (don't have any of the Archimedes version) and none of their games
I've got most of their RISC OS Software
CC or WildVision podules - I'm Missing the FaxPack, ColourCard [1&G], Full width V9, V10, V12 & the scanner HCCS micro podule [but don't have a full list]
Archimedian Magazine (I have all but issue 1 - have a scan)
All SCSI, Audio & Video Podules - I've about 30 different ones I think [it might be 50 if add them up]
I'm also always on the lookout for the Noah Satellite podule and software
I also collect all RISC OS fonts I can find - one thing I am after is an EFF CD2 - if anyone has a spare one
All DTP software and documentation (mainly to see if there are any features I should add)
The other thing I'm always on the lookout for is there was an A6 flatbed scanner and podule I think made by sharp, that you placed on the object, don't know what it was called or who made it.
 
As an early Christmas present for you, we have a real treat as Richard Keefe tells us about his progamming adventures and his plans for Impression.
 
If someone hired you for a month to develop RISC OS software, what would you create?
If it was HW too - I'd produce a USB to [Floppy / Podule connector] not sure month is enough though / otherwise I'd 32bit one of the other CC apps [probably compression] / I'd make big strides in one of big Impression-X enhancements
 
Any future plans or ideas you can share with us?
As far as future plans go Impression is not the only CC product I have the sources for so I would love to fix some of the others (once Impression is complete ...)
 
What would you most like Father Christmas to bring you as a present?
The missing Impression-X Source-code
eg Hyperview, Tablemate, Equazor
 
Any questions we forgot to ask you?
I'm sure there are!
 
I'd like to ask - what features (apart from 32bit) would users most like adding to Impression-X.
 
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RISC OS interview with Rob Coleman

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:44, 21/12/2017 |
 
This year we have a double treat for you, with 2 Christmas interviews. We will kick off with Rob Coleman who was doing some very cool hardware at the London Show.
 
Would you like to introduce yourself?
 
I'm Rob Coleman, developer of VideoNuLA, an enhanced graphics card for the BBC Micro.
 
How long have you been using RISC OS?
 
Pretty much from the beginning. My first Acorn was a BBC B which I got for Christmas in 1983. At some point, I moved on to a BBC Master 128 and then started using RISC OS with an A3000 in 1990. I used a RiscPC for many years and more recently have been using a Pandaboard.
 
What other systems do you use?
 
A Windows laptop for work and a Linux box for the odd bit of development. I'm heavily into retro-computing so have a collection of obscure and not so obscure machines from the 80s.
 
What is your current RISC OS setup?
 
My main RISC OS machine is the Pandaboard but my original RiscPC is still going strong. Of the various other Acorn machines I've collected over the years, I have an A540 and A4 which get used fairly often.
 
What do you think of the retro scene?
 
As I said, I'm very much into retrocomputing, particularly 8-bit Acorns. The StarDot forums (www.stardot.org.uk/forums) were largely responsible for getting me back into using my Acorns. There's a wealth of knowledge on there and the amount of interesting new developments for these old machines is fantastic.
 
Do you attend any of the shows and what do you think of them?
 
I try to attend as many as I can. I've been going to the South West show for years as it's the nearest to me. I've made it to London and Wakefield for the last few years and shared a stand for the first time this year. The shows are really well organised and attendance seems to be rising but it would always be good to see more people come along.
 
What do you use RISC OS for in 2017 and what do you like most about it?
 
Mostly development in BASIC and C. The main attraction for me is that it's still possible to understand how a RISC OS machine works and interact with it at a low level. I guess part of that is familiarity but it's also down to the original ethos of teaching people how computers work.
 
What is your favourite feature/killer program in RISC OS?
 
I'm not much of an artist but I like using !Artworks and !Draw for illustrations. I'm also a fan of !Zap for coding.
 
Can you tell us about what you are working on at the moment?
 
Apart from VideoNuLA, most recently I've been playing with the Pi co-processor for the Beeb and porting some emulators (PDP-11, ZX81 and Jupiter Ace) to it. It's fun to see Unix running on a BBC Micro even if it is under emulation!
 
I've been sporadically working on a network podule for the Archimedes/Risc PC for a while now. It's all part of a mad idea to have Ethernet on my A4. And I keep meaning to look at USB for my Omega!
 
Apart from iconbar (obviously) what are your favourite websites?
 
StarDot as mentioned above and I spend too much time reading the Guardian online.
 
What would you most like Father Christmas to bring you as a present?
 
Firetrack was probably my favourite game on the BBC so a copy of White Light from Retrosoftware!
 
1 comment in the forums

RISC OS Developments

Posted by Mark Stephens on 07:19, 18/8/2017 |
 
Richard Brown also agreed to recap on RISC OS developments as part of our interview.
 
Who came up with the original idea?
I came up with it over a conversation at a RISC OS show and it took off from there.
 
What was the reaction to your announcement at Wakefield?
It created a surprise and we received a good response from the Community.
 
How did you measure the response?
Of the people who we signed up to our NDA, and we spoke to candidly, 90% went on to make an investment in the Company. We were able to revise upwards the scope of the project as a result.
 
Can you remind us about the financial proposal you made?
Anyone who wanted to make a ‘reasonable' investment could put money into RISC OS developments. This will help to finance our work. The deliverables will be of benefit to the RISC OS community. We have achieved our initial target, but any additional finance we can raise would be put to very good use. People need to talk to talk to us confidentially if they would like to know more.
 
Progress?
On going and taking up significant time. Like CastleInfo, we will make announcements when apppropriate.
 
Stay tuned.
 
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