WROCC’s meetings cover a wide range of topics relating to RISC OS and computing more generally – and sometimes to other subjects as well. Some of our more popular presentations have included:
AMCOG Games • RISCOSbits • Ident Computer • Elesar
R-Comp • RISC OS Open Ltd • Sine Nomine • Mike Cook
Beagleboard • Raspberry Pi • ARMini • ARMX6 • Titanium
Cryptography • Photography • Free software • Music
PDF generation • Networking • Problem solving
These pages contain details of many of our more recent past meetings. Members and visitors to our meetings receive copies of our monthly newsletter, The WROCC, which each month contains a write-up of the previous month’s meeting – where these are available online, the links are included below.
For details of future meetings, please check the listing on our meetings page.
Meetings from 2000 to 2020
From a corner of the Lake District, Mike gave us a virtual tour of his workshop and told us about his quest to purchase an affordable laser cutter which would fit in a former shower room that he had spare. We saw the machine in action, before Mike went on to demo a number of recent projects which had benefited from its use.
Ruth Gunstone talked about Open Broadcaster Software, and Open Media Vault on a Raspberry Pi; Cliff Hatch demonstrated a PiDP8/I simulator and gave us a brief history of the PDP-8; Bernard Boase took us on a voyage around his RISC OS desktop.
In WROCC’s first “virtual meeting”, Steve Fryatt looked at what can be found on the disc of a RISC OS Direct system.
Mike’s visit to Wakefield had to be postponed due to the Covid-10 pandemic.
Tony Bartram of AMCOG Games came to tell us about his latest projects, including the new Star Mine and Scuba Hunter titles released at recent RISC OS shows.
An evening of many parts. Ian Stanley looked at interfacing various electronic circuits to RISC OS systems, whilst Ruth Gunstone was investigating the possibilities of an Arduino starter kit that she had recently acquired. Timothy Baldwin had RISC OS running under Linux on a laptop, and both Peter Richmond and Kev Smith were showing their new ARMbooks to those who were interested. Dave Barrass showed the recent advances in YouTube support on the platform.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2020, and to have their say on the running of the Club.
WROCC ended the year in the traditional way... with some mince pies and another of Peter Richmond’s fiendish computer-themed quizzes.
Chris Cox, who was a key figure at Acorn Risc Technologies in the latter half of the 1990s, visited to talk about selling computers to schools, being in charge of The CLAN, and what it was like at Acorn during the final few years leading up to the company’s demise.
Gavin Crawford, whose company printed the Wakefield Show tickets and programmes for many years, showed us how he still uses Ovation Pro to create publications. We also learned about the project undertaken by Gavin and his wife to return a collection of retro-knitting patterns into print, and help document historic Shetland knitwear.
Ruth Gunstone shared some of the trials that she had faced whilst ‘downgrading’ her Open Media Vault installation from a Pi 3 to a Pi|2... and how she had resolved them.
Malcolm Hussain-Gambles and Ruth Gunstone looked at the very different subjects of ‘prosumer’ networking (including Malcolm’s own set-up) and the Open Broadcaster Software that Ruth uses for filming presentations at the Wakefield Show.
Peter Richmond took at look at the subject of MIDI instruments and making music with computers, including some practical demonstrations with RISC OS and other hardware.
We were visited by Andrew Rawnsley, one half of RISC OS Developments, who came to tell us a bit about the background to the new company and the work that it was doing towards developing and promoting RISC OS.
Steve had a look through the darker recesses of his website, and gave us a demonstration of some of the less well-known pieces of software that he has written over the years.
Peter Richmond investigated the subject of recording the output from a RISC OS computer, and the use of Genlock for overlaying graphics on to video. Ian Stanley followed with a collection of hardware projects involving RISC OS on a Raspberry Pi.
Another of our ‘pot-pourri style’ meetings, the evening opened with Terry Marsh looking at some 3D demos running under Python on a Raspberry Pi. He was followed by Chris Hughes, who looked at Sine Nomine’s Impact database and its helper applications, before investigating some graphical demos written by WROCC member Richard Ashbery.
Andy Marks from RISCOSbits told us about the range of cases that he produces for RISC OS hardware, and explained his design philosophy and production processes. He looked at products including the Qadro, PiSSDup, Deuce, Pisac and UniqAce.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2019, and to have their say on the running of the Club.
Our traditional evening of festive fun featured a number of amusing videos curated by Chris Hughes, mince pies... and one of Peter Richmond’s computer-related festive quizzes.
Mike Cook made a return visit to Wakefield to update us on his recent projects, including an Arduino-based oscilloscope, an interactive ‘Stretch Armstrong’, bouncing magnets... and the ‘Bat Bass’ and ‘CattleCaster’ guitars.
October’s meeting featured projects from a number of Club members, including a collection of MIDI-enabled RiscPCs from Peter Richmond, a number of Model B-related hardware projects from Ian Stanley and some Python on a Pi from Terry Marsh.
Robert Sprowson visited us to talk about developments at Elesar, including the Titanium motherboard, Font Directory Pro, the Prophet accounts system, and the ‘Serial & Parallel’ HAT for the Raspberry Pi.
Peter Richmond took at look at RISC OS on a Pi, giving us a number of useful hints and tips before suggesting a number of useful, if less well-known, utilities and games for the system.
In a break from the structured programme, WROCC members had the opportunity to meet up informally and discuss all aspects of Acorn and RISC OS computing.
Tony Bartram of AMCOG Games visited us to show off his recent developments, including the new Island of the Dead first-person shooter. He looked back through the company’s catalogue, showing how he had learned from each project, and recommended that anyone interested in trying their hand at games coding on the platform should look at the AMCOG Development Kit.
A number of Club members had projects on display, including a range of hardware items attached to a Pi and controlled from BBC BASIC. Ian Stanley had a couple of computer-controlled robots: one connected by wire to a Pi, the other via WiFi. Peter Richmond had a Bush Internet box and MicroDigital Omega, while Terry Marsh had a range of Pis on display. Finally Ruth Gunstone had a Pi 3-based media server, and Kev Smith was showing his games console housed in a beer keg.
After a short, formal EGM, Steve Fryatt took another of his irregular looks at the free software scene for RISC OS, including a number of new releases and re-issues.
Peter Richmond presented another of his infamous Acorn and RISC OS themed quizzes, which was followed by an open discussion between Club members about ideas for future meetings.
Tom Williamson, of Ident Computer, described how the company came to be in the RISC OS market, its involvement in retro educational computing, and products such as the Ident Micro One, Ident CE, and model trams. A WiFi Sheep was also mentioned.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2018, and to have their say on the running of the Club.
Tony Bartram, one half of AMCOG Games, talked about his enthusiasm for game development on RISC OS and the tools that he uses. His demonstration included the nine games published by AMCOG, the RDSP sound system, and the Software Development Kit intended to help others get started.
Ruth Gunstone talked about how she had come to use a Raspberry Pi and Open Media Server to store videos, music and files on her home network as a replacement for a more dedicated system.
Mike returned to tell us what he had been up to since his previous visit, including books on Arduino music, kaleidoscopes and other interactive graphics, using RFID to interact with software, and his involvement with Drake Music – who create musical instruments for disabled people.
Dr Nat Queen discussed cryptography and the way that it is used on modern computer systems, before looking at the options open to RISC OS users in search of security – including some of his own applications.
Steve Fryatt took a look at the progress of RISC OS 5 in the ten years since RISC OS Open had taken it on. He discussed the user-facing improvements, and also the significant challenges presented by the new hardware platforms that the OS now supports.
Derek Barron demonstrated some of the software that he has written, including a 3D Molecule viewer. Peter Richmond followed with a look at the newly-rejuvenated Studio Sound package.
Terry Marsh and Ian Stanley looked at the use of sensors in world of robotics.
Robert Sprowson – wearing his Elesar hat – paid us a visit to talk about the Titanium motherboard and its development, internet storage with CloudFS, the new release of Font Directory Pro, and using 2TB hard discs on the RISC OS FileCore.
Andy Marks of RISCOSbits brought along a number of his current projects, including the PiSSD, RiscPOD, PiPOD, | Zero |, BURP and Skins.
In another evening of “show and tell” Ian Stanley brought along a collection of small processor boards connected to a RISC OS system, Steve Fryatt showed the Linux-based development tools that he uses for RISC OS software, and Ruth Gunstone returned with ADFFS on the Pi after ironing out the gremlins from the October 2016 meeting.
In an evening of two halves, Malcolm Hussain-Gambles talked about networking, firewalls and security. He was followed by Peter Richmond, who looked at audio and video formats through the ages, and how they work with RISC OS.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2017, and to have their say on the running of the Club.
Teams competed for the kudos of winning another of Peter Richmond’s fiendish Acorn-themed quizzes, with festive nibbles and some entertaining video clips in between.
Steve Fryatt talked about the free updated version of David Pilling’s Ovation DTP package, and compared it with the commercial Pro version. He also talked about a couple of other David Pilling packages that have been adapted to work on newer hardware, plus his own new PS2Paper utility.
Several members brought interesting hardware to the meeting, for others to have a look at and get involved. This included a ‘Pi 5000’, a Pi-Top and a a Pi-based Kano* Kickstarter kit.
Andrew Rawnsley from R-Comp and R-Comp Interactive talked about their latest products and projects.
Steve Potts demonstrated some network TCP applications which make use of the popular technologies of VNC, Telnet and SSH under RISC OS. Steve also showed how it is possible to connect remotely to RISC OS computers and other platforms over the Internet, from RISC OS computers and other platforms. Whilst the focus was on RISC OS, there was a little bit of Linux thrown in.
Ian Stanley spoke about creating and programming a Motor Driver for robots, showing his first attempts from 1999, and displaying the oscilloscope traces of the servo output. He then programmed a PIC16F84 microcontroller to drive the motors. Terry Marsh also showed us how far he has got with his robots.
Malcolm Hussain-Gambles looked at “The Interweb and latest goodies on RISC OS”, using his very fancy-cased ARMX6 machine.
Ian Stanley spoke on the theme of sound emulation. He featured the ARM-powered Robertsonics/SparkFun WAV Trigger board, and took us step-by-step through the process of writing a driver program for it on the Raspberry Pi using Doctor Wimp. He also demonstrated some Moog synthesizer sound samples on the WAV Trigger board using MIDI from the Pi, and then he demonstrated some vintage synthesizer emulations using a PC running Windows XP.
Steve Fryatt took a look at some of the earliest software that he had written for RISC OS, and at what had been necessary to be able to continue to develop it for modern machines.
The meeting featured another of Peter Richmond’s fiendish computer-themed quizzes, with emphasis on the Acorn and RISC OS scene past and present. Afterwards, Kev Smith showed off his very green Pi-Top laptop.
Mike Cook talked about what he has been doing since his last visit, including the books he has written or co-authored. He brought along two interesting projects – the Magic Mirror based on the new Pi Zero board, and the ‘unhelpful’ Geek Clock based on an Arduino Micro board.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2016, and to have their say on the running of the Club.
A double-booking at our regular venue left us with no option but to cancel the planned meeting in December.
David Buck took a look at some of the more advanced things that can be done with spreadsheets, including some real-world examples of data analysis.
Terry Marsh gave us an insight into his experimentation with robotics using the Raspberry Pi.
Malcolm Hussain-Gambles updated us on his adventures with the Raspberry Pi: looking at its use as a media centre, desktop computer and retro arcade games machine tkanks to the JASPP.
Chris Hughes stepped in at short notice to talk about how he uses RISC OS on Virtual Acorn and show us some of the things that Organizer can do to help you manage your time.
Peter Richmond took a look at the compatibility issues surrounding software on the Raspberry Pi and Pi 2, and gave some hints on how to get reluctant applications to run.
David Buck, author of RiscCAD, took a look back at some of the programs he has written in the past, and he also described the good, bad and plain ugly about his programming experience. David gave an insight into how he learnt programming and his move from bumbling amateur to not-so-bumbling amateur.
Malcolm Hussain-Gambles compared the original Raspberry Pi with the second version released earlier this year, and Ruth Gunstone related her experiences with the new Pi 2.
Andrew Rawnsley of R-Comp showed us their next generation ARMX6 computer, powered by the Freescale i.MX6 CPU. He also demonstrated Delegate – software to protect against accidental deletion of files or folders and restore them if necessary.
Dave Buck demonstrated his RiscCAD Computer Aided Design application for RISC OS, and showed how it has been developed since he last featured it at a Club meeting some years ago.
Terry Marsh showed us how he records the Club meetings on video and subsequently edits them ready for the Club web site.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2015, and to have their say on the running of the Club.
Mike Cook took a look at some of his latest projects, including a Raspberry Pi book that contains four RISC OS chapters, as well as tales from the Maker Faires.
Richard Ashbery showed us how he uses OHP and ArtWorks 2 in his slide presentations.
Terry Marsh took a look at the ‘Easter eggs’ hidden in plain sight on Raspian Wheezy running on a Raspberry Pi. Malcolm Hussain-Gambles compared co-operative multi-tasking (as used on RISC OS), with pre-emptive multi-tasking (as used on Windows for example).
With the RiscPC now twenty years young, Peter Richmond took a look back at some of the hardware expansion options which have been available in that time.
Peter Richmond talked about presentation software, from the original RISC OS Carousel, through the likes of OHP, Fade and TextEase Presenter, to modern software such as Powerpoint and KeyNote. He looked at how to make presentations appear interesting and professional, talked about the features available on other platforms and then showed how some of them can be reproduced on RISC OS.
Matthew Phillips – one half of Sine Nomine Software – showed off their new mapping software, RiscOSM. Having explained the Open Street Map and the conversion tools used to get the data on to RISC OS, Matthew went on to look at navigating and searching the map, the use of stylesheets for changing the appearance of the data, and how it can use GPS data for plotting tracks and locating photographs.
Ian Stanley demonstrated how to connect things to the Raspberry Pi, using the GPIOs, using the serial port, and how to set up and use USB.
Steve Bass started with a look at the X100 add-on board for the Pi. Terry Marsh then took a look at programming an Arduino Mega, to alter the ‘sketches’ contained on it. He also investigated what the Gertboard interface can do with lights and motors.
Steve Bass investigated some of the tools that can be used to examine and convert less common eBook formats to improve and enhance the reading experience, before going through the process of producing your own eBook either from scratch or from other document formats.
Peter Richmond took us through a collection of free software which he uses regularly on his RISC OS systems, with an emphasis on older titles that still work well on modern systems like the Beagleboard and Raspberry Pi.
Malcolm Hussain-Gambles demonstrated how Piccolo Systems’ CloneDisc and SystemDisc can be used to set up, configure and manage the SD cards used in modern RISC OS systems.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2014, and to have their say on the running of the Club. After the main business had completed, Steve Fryatt took a look at internet mapping on RISC OS using MapView and We Know Where You Live.
Three-man teams competed in a two part computer-related quiz (the second part with pictures), with mince pies and some amusing video clips in between.
Steve Fryatt talked us through Locate 2, the re-write of his file-find utility, before taking a look at how PrintPDF can be used to create documents on custom paper sizes.
Malcolm Hussain-Gambles demonstrated his new NewsUK and WeatherUK applications for RISC OS (using RSS feeds). Chris Hughes showed us the NOOBS SD card for the Raspberry Pi, comprising a choice of six different operating systems to install. Also, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the formalisation of the original group, we had free WROCC cake and raspberry pie, and some special awards were given out.
Richard Ashbery showed us more clever things you can do with ArtWorks 2: in this case how to produce seamless tiled backgrounds from ‘swatches’ as opposed to tessellations.
John Arthur showed us how he uses the Impact database to enable searching of the newsletter back catalogue CD index, with the ability to open the desired issue and page with a click of the mouse. Following that, Peter Richmond gave a general comparison of iOS (Apple) versus Android tablets. A number of tablets and eBook readers were available at the meeting for members to examine.
Steve Bass described the many different routes by which documents under RISC OS can be printed onto hard copy, both directly, via other systems and over a network. This was followed by Peter Richmond describing his experiences with a Raspberry Pi kit from Maplin, and also reviewing the software provided on the Nut Pi SD card.
Steve Bass investigated the subject of eBooks, with an introduction to what they are and the hardware required to read them. He covered a range of solutions – from dedicated readers to software for existing systems – before discussing the range of file formats and protection methods available. The evening closed with a look at the software available on RISC OS for reading eBooks or even creating your own.
Peter Richmond took a look at the subject of multi-platform music: including sampling, sequencing, editing, and the creation of compressed audio files like the ubiquitous MP3. He also had a look at the MIDI standard for working with musical instruments. Various software options were discussed, including those for PC-based platforms, tablets and – of course – RISC OS.
Steve Fryatt took a look at some free software and discussed some different ways in which we could get it on to our machines. Despite an unexpected lack of internet connection making the demos more difficult, we saw the Packman package manager, R-Comp’s PlingStore and a selection of software that had caught Steve’s eye over the past twelve months.
Terry Marsh and guest Gareth Allan talked on a range of Raspberry Pi topics. These included the Nut Pi software collection from RISC OS Open, Raspbmc (XBMC media player for the Pi), the Penguin Puzzle game for the Raspian “wheezy” OS, and the SmartSim cross-platform free and open source digital logic circuit design and simulation package. The Python programming language was also featured. After the talk, members of the audience were able to get hands-on with the two Pis that were set up.
Steve Bass and Peter Richmond took a look at the tablet computer market, with the aim of helping the audience decide if they were serious items or just fashion accessories. After giving a general overview of the options available for size and form factor we got to see Android and iOS in action, looked at some of the hardware add-ons that are available and discussed how the systems can interact with RISC OS computers.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2013, to have their say on the running of the Club, and to enjoy the free buffet laid on for those who were there.
WROCC brought 2012 to a close with an evening of festive nibbles and entertainment. A selection of humorous photographs and video clips were curated by Chris Hughes, Terry Marsh, Steve Potts and Rick Sterry, while Peter Richmond taxed the grey matter with thirty fiendish quiz questions about Acorn and RISC OS past and present.
Honorary WROCC member Mike Cook returned to Wakefield to update us on what he had been up to during the past year. This turned out to be a range of Arduino-based musical instruments including the Spoonduino and the RFID Sequencer. He had also got himself a Raspberry Pi, and as well as running RISC OS on it he had been dusting off some old Body Building Course projects including the IIC Interface and the Magic Wand.
Regular WROCC graphics maestro Richard Ashbery paid us a visit to talk about Artistic Lines, as recently added to ArtWorks 2.X2. Having explained what they are, he proceeded to demonstrate why we might want to use them – creating a set of cartoon graphics in the process.
Andrew Rawnsley of R-Comp and R-Comp Interactive talked about and demonstrated their latest hardware and software developments.
Peter Richmond entertained us with part two of Creating Sound & Music under RISC OS”. Steve Fryatt related how he found himself using BBC BASIC and some Acorn hardware in the theatre.”
Barry Thompson paid a return visit to Wakefield to tell us more about digital photography. He started by discussing the composition of a series of images, before going on to show the kinds of techniques that can be used to produce them using photo editing software.
Steve Fryatt talked through his experience with setting up a Beagleboard to run RISC OS, including the hardware required, where to get the OS and software, and how it all went together. We closed the meeting with a look at Terry Marsh’s freshly-delivered Raspberry Pi and the version of Debian that it currently runs.
Rick Sterry opened a second evening of mixed topics with a look at mathematical series in BBC BASIC, including the calculation of Pi and Euler’s Constant, before moving on to waveforms and harmonics. The meeting was closed by Peter Richmond, who covered more RISC OS hints and tips.
A retrospective of dramatic events which made newspaper and local TV headlines in the 1970s and 80s and captured on film by Colin Sutton, who provided a ‘live’ talk-over commentary for the show of around 400 digitally restored colour slide images.
This was a pot-pourri of topics, including a nostalgic look at “Heraldry” and some visual demonstrations of alphabetic sort routines with Rick Sterry, followed by Steve Bass talking about Beeb emulation, and Peter Richmond with some RISC OS hints & tips.
Steve Fryatt took a look at some of the facilities available for tracking down software for the RISC OS platform, from magazines and listings websites, to more automated approaches such as online software databases and package management. The meeting was closed by Peter Richmond, taking a look at a few hints and tips for using our machines, taken from the Club’s newsletter archives.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2012, to have their say on the running of the Club, and to enjoy the free buffet laid on for those who were there.
Keeping with tradition, the December meeting saw a range of ‘fun’ entertainments laid on to round up the year. The evening opened with a sequence of photos taken by Colin Sutton at the Wakefield Show, continued with one of Peter Richmond’s fiendish General Acorn Knowledge quizzes, and concluded with a collection of entertaining film clips curated by Club members.
Members were encouraged to bring along their favourite bits of freeware, shareware, PD and open source software and introduce it to everyone. The evening turned up a wide range of useful utilities and fully-blown applications, including some handy desktop enhancers and a range of tools for working with drawfiles.
Since his last visit, Mike’s been busy – despite having retired. He used his 2011 talk to bring us up to speed with the various events that he has visited with his electronic gadgets during the year, from Manchester to New York, and to show us videos of some of the things that he and the other exhibitors had been displaying. He also had with him his current ‘work in progress’ – a 3D printer – and the completed and fully-working Hexome.
RISC OS developers R-Comp travelled over the Pennines to show us their new hardware: the Cortex-A8-based ARMini computer running RISC OS 5. After a detailed demonstration of the system and what it can do, Andrew Rawnsley answered visitors’ questions and those present got the chance to take a close look at the machine (or even take one home, in exchange for some cash).
WROCC member Richard Ashbery returned for another of his talks on the use of ArtWorks 2 – this time to look at what can be done with the Crystal transparency tools. Armed with a giant-size inflatable beach ball, he set about showing how its likeness could be created quickly, easily and very effectively on the computer screen.
Club member Steve Fryatt took a look at some of the software available for working with vector graphics on RISC OS without parting with any money. Starting with Draw, we saw some of the of the things that it can do by itself before moving on to look at the free version of iSV’s DrawWorks. Steve then moved on to the more advanced facilities offered by DrawPlus and OpenVector – originally by Jonathan Marten and now being developed by Chris Martin – before finishing wit a quick look at Jonathan’s OpenGridPro.
Matthew Phillips from Sine Nomine Software visited us to talk about some of their products and demonstrate them running on a Beagleboard. He started by looking at the facilities offered by DrawPrint for getting drawfiles on to paper, then moved on to the Impact relational database and the ways in which it can be used to store and manipulate data. Afterwards he looked at the number games offered by SuperDoku and Wrangler, as well as the many patience games played by House of Cards. The evening ended with a quick overview of the machine on which the demo was carried out.
WROCC member Chris Bass took a look at genealogy on RISC OS, investigating some of the software available to help map out a family tree. Starting with Family and Roots, he looked at how the freeware and shareware packages worked before showing their respective strengths and limitations – and suggesting ways to get around them.
WROCC member Colin Sutton opened this meeting of two halves by showing us a 45 minute documentary of photojournalism which he had recently presented on the big screen at the National Media Museum. Largely created using RISC OS software, it looked at some recent work that Colin had done in Bradford. After a discussion and questions from the audience, the meeting moved on to the second topic of the evening as Peter Richmond took a brief look back at the infamous Microdigital Omega – using the one that he acquired at one of our charity auctions.
In answer to some WROCC members’ questions, Steve Fryatt took a look at the subject of cross-compilation: what it is, and what benefits end-users get from it. After looking at what the process involved, we saw a range of software that had benefited from the technique – from simple ports of Unix software, to fully-fledged native RISC OS applications.
Having been postponed from December due to the snow, WROCC’s annual “festive fun night” took place in February. After a series of fun and amusing video clips that members had spotted during the year, those present were able to tuck into the food before pitting their wits against Peter Richmond’s fiendish “Acorn and RISC OS Quiz”.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2011, to have their say on the running of the Club, and to enjoy the free buffet laid on for those who were there.
For the second time in the year – but still only the second time in the Club’s history – the meeting was cancelled due to heavy snowfall in the Wakefield area which prevented our venue from opening.
WROCC transported its members back in time, with a look at some different aspects of retro computing. Peter Richmond opened the evening by investigating the options available for emulating old hardware on new systems, before those present at the meeting were able to get their hands on a range of old machines which had been brought along complete with a number of old favourite pieces of software.
Steve Potts explained the point of the Internet Firewall that has been added to recent versions of RISC OS, and why we might want to enable it on our machines. With the aid of a couple of computers and two projector screens, he then walked us through the process of configuring it and showed how the new Configure plugins in RISC OS 6 make the task so much easier.
Peter Richmond came to show us ‘something’ on the A9home – or many things, in fact. Starting with an overview of the hardware for those who hadn’t met one before, he went on to look at graphics and sound: manipulation of complex PDFs in ArtWorks and the playback of music and video. To close, he mused on the use of touch screens, audio-visual control systems and the possible uses of an A9home within such a system.
Richard Ashbery returned for another look at ArtWorks – this time showing us how the vector graphics system can be used to create simple animations. After explaining the basic concepts, we were shown how to use the software to create a series of animation frames with the help of its multi-page facility. These were then exported as sprites, before being linked together as an animated sequence using InterGIF – after which, Richard showed us a number of detailed animations that he had created earlier.
Mike Cook used his annual visit to tell us about the 2010 Maker Faire in Newcastle, before moving on to look at the billed subject. Starting with an overview of what 3D manufacture was, he showed us some videos of the “RepRap” and “MakerBot” which can both make objects in plastic – and the “CandyFab”, which can do the same in caramelised sugar. To close the evening, he looked closer to home at his own project to build a 3D CNC-controlled milling machine.
Our own Terry Marsh had a look at what is involved in editing videos using Serif MoviePlus X3. Starting with the basics of getting the footage from camera to computer, he went on to talk about cutting the clips down and sequencing them before adding transitions and cross-fades, titles and other effects. The possibilities for adding still images and background music were considered, before we saw how to turn the finished product into a video file or DVD for distribution to others.
Mel Pullen was a contractor with Acorn in their early days at Market Hill, before moving on to become one of the founders of SoftMachinery. He visited us to talk about subjects ranging from the birth of the BBC Micro, modems and teletext adaptors, via bulletin boards and MUDs, through to ARM and the mobile phone industry – with anecdotes about the people and hardware that had made it all happen along the way.
Steve Potts guided us through the process of writing simple desktop RISC OS applications using AppBasic and the Toolbox. As small teams, those present started from scratch to copy a utility that Steve had devised. By the end of the evening everyone present had a working piece of software – some with features that Steve hadn’t even thought of!
John Cartmell from Qercus visited to talk about Draw. Starting with the idea of draughting Meccano pieces, he took us through some simple concepts before moving on to the subject of 3D perspectives and isometric grids. The evening was rounded off with a look at the new features added to Draw in RISC OS 6.20, along with some of the other additions to RISCOS Ltd’s latest version of their OS.
Postponed from January due to the weather, the WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2010, to have their say on the running of the Club, and to finally enjoy the free buffet laid on for those who were there.
Following heavy snow over the New Year period, the January 2010 meeting was cancelled due to the travel problems in the West Yorkshire area. It is believed to be the first time in the Club’s history that the weather has got the better of us in this way!
WROCC brought another year of meetings to an end with an evening of frivolous festive fun. After some short and silly film clips and a break for refreshments, those present were tested on their General Acorn Knowledge in another of Peter Richmond’s quizzes. Colin Sutton closed the evening with a sequence of photos taken at the “hug the Odeon” protest in Bradford a couple of years ago.
Steve Fryatt introduced some of the concepts behind modern websites, explaining what they were, a few of the things that they could do, and why we might want to use them. With the aid of his own web server, he was able to show examples of the different tools in action – displaying the results in NetSurf on RISC OS.
Joel Rowbottom brought along a BBC Master with some surprising add-ons: USB (and the ability to read and write FAT-formatted USB sticks), IDE and compact flash, ethernet (via an Econet-style connector) and even an ARM 7 co-processor in a real ‘cheese-wedge’ box with a few megabytes of RAM. Over the course of the evening, he showed us how the Beeb can still be made relevant through new hardware and firmware in this post-5¼" age.
Three WROCC members spent an evening trying to remove some of the mystery from home networking. A small network containing several RISC OS, Windows and Linux machines was set up and hardware such as HomePlug powerline networking interfaces and printer servers were introduced and explained. Finally, the various means of transferring files between different machines were introduced and the Samba and NFS protocols – as used by Windows and Linux – were shown working on a RiscPC alongside the more familiar ShareFS.
Steve Potts and Colin Sutton were the two halves of this double bill. Steve opened, with a quick demo of some of the software that he’s written over the years. This was followed by half an hour of “tips and tricks” on RISC OS that Steve thought people might not know about, with members of the audience adding to those that he had prepared himself. After a quick demo of the Vpod graphics card in his RiscPC, Steve handed proceedings over to Colin. The second part of the evening started with a look at fonts, and was followed by a demonstration of panoramic photo stitching and perspective correction – illustrated by some photos that Colin had taken the previous weekend.
WROCC member Steve Fryatt, who writes the monthly ‘Free to Share’ column in Archive Magazine, showed us some of his favourite bits of freeware, shareware and free software from the past eighteen months. The software demonstrated included David Pilling’s recently-updated Snapper, Chris Johnson’s ID3TagEd, and Sine Nomine’s House of Cards.
Steve Fryatt installed a copy of RPCemu on an Ubuntu Linux machine, using a copy of RISCOS Ltd’s “Virtually Free” CD to get RISC OS 4 up and running. Starting with downloading the source code from the internet, we saw how to compile the emulator from scratch, set up a host filing system, install the RISC OS ROM images and get software such as ArtWorks Viewer and the Ovation Pro demo available for use.
Three WROCC members talked about things which took their interest. Steve Potts and Steve Bass walked us through the process of installing a compact flash ‘hard disc’ in a RiscPC, while Derek Baron gave us a fascinating insight into the RISC OS software he has written to assist with his stamp-collecting hobby. The evening was opened by Colin Sutton, who presented a slideshow of the photos he took at the Wakefield Show in April.
Life Member Mike Cook visited us to talk about how he has used the Arduino processor board to bring many of his old Body Building and Run The RISC hardware projects up to date and to a new audience. He demonstrated his “Mini Monome” with its colourful and interactive grid of illuminated buttons, showed a video of his visit to the first Newcastle Maker Faire earlier in the year in order to exhibit the projects, and finished with some live music performed on his latest creation: the “Arduinocaster”.
Database developer Nick Mason talked to us about the use of Standard Query Language (or SQL) for getting information out of databases. Armed with a suitable tool – such as R-Comp’s DataPower 3 – some very complicated-looking questions can be easily answered using only a few simple instructions. Nick showed how the use of SQL can complement the graphical query tools that are also offered by RISC OS’s “DTP-style” database.
Professor Steve Furber was one of the people behind Acorn’s early computers. He visited us to talk about a range of topics including the development of the BBC Micro, the history of the ARM processor and how it owed its existence (at least partly) to BBC BASIC, and the research into neural networking that he and his team are currently undertaking at Manchester University.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2009, to have their say on the running of the Club, and to enjoy the free buffet laid on for those who were there.
An “interactive and entertaining” end to the year: WROCC’s pre-Christmas meeting started with some short animated films and a live demonstration of remote networking. Following that, those present were invited to compete for prizes in the Acorn-themed quiz, before the evening was closed with some more computer-generated animations of a more vintage kind.
A trio of WROCC members talked about how they use RISC OS. Derek Baron described some of the software and other resources he had created for teaching chemistry, while Colin Sutton talked about creating panoramic photographs and showed us some sequences of pictures that he had taken at the April show and 25th Anniversary meeting. Steve Potts closed the evening by looking at some of the new features that come with RISC OS 6.
WROCC were visited by Andrew and Allan Rawnsley from the prolific software and hardware developer, who came to tell us about some of the new software and hardware developments which they hoped to launch at the South East show. Those present had the chance to see the new backup software, SafeStore, updates to the popular Messenger Pro email and news client, and the re-releases of Iota’s Image Animator and Touch Type Tutor. Finally, Andrew talked about R-Comp’s range of hardware, which can run RISC OS via emulation.
An impromptu programme following a last-minute cancellation resulted in three short demonstrations by WROCC members. Steve Bass showed how to add a small volume control circuit to an Iyonix fitted in a Phoebe case, and also proved that it isn’t that hard to upgrade a laptop. Colin Sutton showed us some panoramic photographs and animations of scenes around Bradford with a promise to return later in the year and explain how they were made, and Steve Potts closed the evening by talking about RISC OS 6.
Following on from the July presentation, Rick Sterry opened the meeting by taking a look at ArtWorks’ close cousin Xara, and showed us a number of neat tricks that can also be used in the RISC OS application. The second half of the evening saw Chris Hughes talk about home networking and the use of power line network adaptors such as the HomePlug.
Richard Ashbery returned for a second look at the very capable vector graphics package, ArtWorks 2 – this time focussing on tessellating patterns. Having explained the principles involved, he talked us through a complete design from a blank canvas to a brightly-coloured mosaic – in the process covering many handy tools, tips and tricks which will be of use to those who work with ArtWorks on even a casual basis.
Following two successful visits, Barry Thompson returned to us for a third meeting to look at the subject of digital photography and image manipulation. This time around, he looked at scanning images from slides and negatives – both in terms of the hardware required, and how they can be manipulated afterwards. Following this, Barry went on to look at the advantages of working with RAW files, and closed by showing us how to create High Dynamic Range (HDR) images to improve the appearance of scenes containing widely contrasting brightness and shade.
WROCC member and developer Steve Fryatt talked about his freeware home accounts software, CashBook. Following an update which was released at the recent Wakefield Show, Steve demonstrated how the system can be used to keep on top of personal and small Club finances.
Originally formed in April 1983 by seventeen BBC Micro owners from the Wakefield area, WROCC celebrated its 25th Anniversary this month. Members brought along a wide range of Acorn and RISC OS hardware – old and new – as well as collections of magazines, books and other curiosities. Mike Cook talked about his own computing experiences, which began with him building his own hardware as a student in the ‘70s and progressed via the Beeb and Archimedes to present day systems such as the Arduino. Joel Rowbottom was on hand to demonstrate a working Domesday System, and those present could tuck in to the buffet and birthday cake during breaks in the proceedings.
A meeting featuring two contrasting talks by WROCC members opened with Colin Sutton presenting a series of digital photographs taken on a visit to Thailand. The sequence had been optimised for projection under the controlled conditions required by photographic societies, and showed the bright colours of the country well. Colin was followed by Peter Richmond, who talked about networking an A9home to a machine running Windows Vista. He also had a series of photographs, and showed how these could be viewed as a slideshow on RISC OS using Thump.
Three Club members talked about three different areas of computing. Steve Fryatt opened the evening by looking at two pieces of RISC OS freeware: Ray Favre’s Calibre and Hilary Phillips’ DrawPrint. He was followed by Steve Potts, who showed us a copy of Mac OS X and looked at some of the differences – and similarities – when compared to RISC OS. Finally, Peter Richmond completed the set by telling us about his recent foray into the world of Windows Vista.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2008, to have their say on the running of the Club, and to enjoy the free buffet laid on for those who were there.
The pre-Christmas meeting once again featured a charity Bring and Buy auction, this year in aid of The Sick Children’s Trust who run Eckersley House at St James’s Hospital in Leeds. Despite a slightly reduced number of lots compared to previous years, those present still managed to go away with several bargains and a respectable sum was raised for our chosen charity.
Jack Lillingston and Steve Revill – MD of Castle and a director of RISC OS Open Ltd respectively – visited us to talk about the project to release RISC OS 5 under a shared-source license. After outlining the Iyonix range, Jack started by describing what Castle hoped to achieve from the shared-source process before handing over to his colleague for an explanation of the practical details. Steve described the work that RISC OS Open were doing, explained how development would be managed, and discussed how the project would co-exist with RISCOS Ltd.
Faced with another short-notice change of plans, July’s successful problem-solving format was reprised and visitors were once more encouraged to bring along problems for for others to help solve. The meeting was opened by Steve Potts, who returned to the subject of controlling a RISC OS machine over a network – unfinished business from August’s talk. Members were then able to advise on a problem with a Unipod and questions about connecting MIDI hardware – in both cases extending the knowledge of all present.
WROCC member and artist Richard Ashbery gave a demonstration on the use of the ArtWorks 2 vector graphics package. He took us through a complete worked example, creating a colourful butterfly in front of our eyes. Richard’s demonstration demystified a number of the more ‘advanced’ tools in ArtWorks, including a surprising and effective use for envelopes. The evening should have provided inspiration to all users of vector graphics software, whatever their level of experience.
Following his stand-in appearance in February, Steve Fryatt returned for a more planned look at the world of RISC OS “PD Software”. Areas covered during the evening included networking, ‘sticky-pad’ reminder software, image file viewers and conversion tools, and a number of desktop utilities.
A late change in the schedule – caused by the prevailing climatic conditions – saw the July meeting become a problem-solving night where members were encouraged to bring along recalcitrant pieces of hardware for the assembled wisdom to consider. Despite the short notice a number of visitors took us up on the offer, and those present were able to assist with queries including some reluctant network software.
Derek Haslam, the developer behind the Powebase database system, visited us to talk about some of his software. Back in the BBC Micro days, Derek was responsible for two interactive fiction titles: Gateway to Karos and The Mirror of Khoronz. The latter has recently been re-released in a re-written form for RISC OS, and Derek played played part of the game live to show what it was all about. Afterwards, he moved on to Powerbase, and demonstrated some of the flexible features of the system including BASIC plugins.
In advance of the Wakefield Show later in the month, Paul Middleton of RISCOS Ltd visited us to demonstrate the latest features to be included in RISC OS 6. Paul looked back at where our operating system has come from, before describing the work that the developers are putting in to restructure the system and make it more maintainable for the future. Finally, he gave us a preview of some of the new features that users can expect to be able to use for themselves very soon.
WROCC member Steve Potts started by showing us how a Linksys network-attached storage device (NAS) could be set up and accessed from RISC OS systems using LanMan98, to give a network ‘server’ which is available to several machines. He followed this up by demonstrating Jonathan Duddington’s eSpeak text-to-speech software. Recently released as open-source, this versatile and capable software can be used as a plugin with many RISC OS applications.
John Cartmell, editor of Qercus magazine and the man behind Finnybank Ltd, visited us to talk about the publication. Readers will not have failed to notice the recent delays between issues, and John explained these and outlined what was being done to avoid them recurring in the future. He then looked forward to Acorn User’s forthcoming 25th Anniversary in August and described what Qercus would be doing to celebrate its ancestor’s milestone.
Replacing the planned visit from RISC OS Open Ltd at short notice due to the bad weather, Steve Fryatt – who writes the ‘PD Column’ in Archive Magazine – gave us a round-up of what is currently happening in the world of free software. Covering a range of applications and utilities from web browsers to desktop games and utilities, the evening gave an insight in the useful software that RISC OS users can download from the internet.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2007, to have their say on the running of the Club, and to enjoy the free buffet laid on for those who were there.
The December meeting was once again the now-almost-traditional charity Bring and Buy auction, raising money for the Sick Children’s Trust who provide ‘home-from home’ accommodation at children’s hospitals up and down the country. Many of those who attended left with a few bargains, and afterwards the Club had raised over £100 for the trust.
Following his popular talk in September, DARC’s Barry Thompson returned to Yorkshire to tell us more about digital images and photography. This time he looked at the things that can be done to images in photo-editing packages: improving and correcting dynamic range and colour balance, adjusting faded or washed out pictures, and fixing sloping horizons and wonky perspectives. Although Barry used Photoshop, the techniques he showed us were equally applicable to other packages such as PhotoDesk. Finally, to close the evening, he demonstrated the use of software to stich multiple images together to form a panorama.
After a short-notice cancellation, three WROCC members stepped forward to fill the void. Steve Potts opened with a look at the A9home, showing up the latest progress with the OS and demonstrating a number of pieces of software including his own BgrndCtrl utility. Steve was followed by Colin Sutton, who followed on from September’s meeting by talking us through some of his own photographs. Finally, Steve Fryatt took a look at a few pieces of free software, including a recent version of the NetSurf browser and his own accounts package – CashBook.
Barry Thompson, a member of DARC and the Derby City Photography Club, visited us to talk about digital photography and image manipulation. He started by discussing what to look for in a digital camera, before moving on to what to do with the photos taken with one. The benefits of using RAW files were investigated, along with the software tools to edit and manipulate them. Finally, Barry looked at calibrating printers and monitors to achieve the best results from them.
Steve Fryatt gave us an update on the state of the RISC OS PD software scene, looking at a number of titles that can be found online or from a PD library. Covering networking, file manipulation and backup, web browsing and desktop publishing utilities, the evening revealed a range of useful additions to anyone’s machine.
Peter Richmond presented an evening of musical entertainment, showing what can be done with a computer and a collection of MIDI instruments. Starting with the basics, we learned about the components that make up a computer sound system and how to join them together, before moving on to sequencing software and the creation of complete pieces of music. Peter assured us that the techniques he was demonstrating are behind many a modern pop song – which may, or may not, be a good thing!
Our June meeting saw us looking at the tools available to create and view Adobe’s Portable Document Format files on RISC OS. Steve Fryatt – who is the developer behind the PrintPDF utility – talked us through the free options such as PDF, GView and Ghostscript. Together these offer a fairly complete solution, but a commercial option exists in the form of RiScript and, following Steve, Chris Hughes discussed this and explained why we might want to use it.
Originally billed as an evening of David Pilling’s software, this evening evolved into a more wide-ranging affair. Phillip Marsden opened proceedings with a look at Ovation Pro for Windows, showing how familiar it appears to anyone who has used the RISC OS version. He was followed by Steve Fryatt, who briefly demonstrated – on the RISC OS version – some of the tricks used in the creation of the Club newsletter. Steve Potts was up next, deviating from the billing by showing how to install a Unipod into a RiscPC, and the evening was closed by Peter Richmond’s demonstration of an A9home with a portable DVD player.
Chris Hughes gave us a run-down of the options available to anyone looking for a broadband internet connection, starting with a look at the technologies available. He then went on to examine the kinds of deal that are available – covering issues such as fixed-fee and PAYG packages, fair usage policies and contention ratios. Having dealt with the deals, Chris moved on to the hardware necessary to make the connection: modems, routers, network cards and the compatibility issues for RISC OS users. Finally, he took a quick look at the software required to access the ‘net from RISC OS.
Paul Middleton of RISCOS Ltd made the trip up from Cardiff to show us the latest developments in their branch of the operating system. Looking at the features available to members of the Select Scheme, as well as those who had bought the Adjust ROMs, Paul gave us in insight into the work being done by the development team as well as into the difficulties that they were encountering with some of the legacies left by Acorn. At the end of the evening, those present had the opportunity to ask Paul questions and purchase copies of the latest OS from him.
Following requests from a number of members, Phillip Marsden gave us a beginner’s guide to the Linux operating system. Freely available from the internet for platforms including ARM and Intel’s x86, Linux is growing in popularity and Phillip explained what it was and why we might want to use it instead of one of the commercially available operating systems. He then examined some of the vast quantity of software that is also freely available for the platform, before closing by discussing some of the different distributions available and how to install one on an existing Windows machine.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2006, to have their say on the running of the Club, and to enjoy the free buffet laid on for those who were there.
Returning to its familiar December slot, the WROCC Charity Auction was once again raising money for the Sick Children’s Trust, to help them with their work providing homes from home at a number of children’s hospitals in England. This year, a total of 91 lots were donated for auction, and despite some computers changing hands for a mere 50p, those present raised nearly £250 for the charity by the end of the evening.
Following accusations that it might be a little idiosyncratic in use, Ian Chamberlain gave us a demonstration of EasiWriter – RISC OS’s often-misunderstood wordprocessor. He started by explaining the ideas behind structures, and how their use can help an author worry about the content of their document instead of its presentation, before turning the theory into practice. By the end of the evening, those in the audience with copies of EasiWriter – or its sibling TechWriter – gathering dust had been tempted to give them another look.
Paul Beverley, the man behind Archive Publications and editor of Archive and Living With Technology, paid us a visit to talk about the two magazines. Archive has been around since 1987, and is now an established part of the RISC OS scene; now, in an effort to diversify, Paul has created a sister-publication of LWT. He came to present both publications to us, discussing subjects that have been recently covered and collecting feedback on where they might be going in the future.
A last-minute cancellation of the planned talk left WROCC members Steve Fryatt and Steve Potts to step into the breach. As the author of Archive’s PD Column, Steve Fryatt opened proceedings with another look at what’s new in the free software world. Steve Potts followed with a quick demonstration of his A9home, as launched by Advantage6 at the show in May.
David Buck, the developer of the popular CAD package RiscCAD, came to tell us something about the world of computer-aided design. Starting with a short history of the field, David looked back to the days when CAD software had been command-line driven and all user-interaction was carried out via the keyboard. This couldn’t be further from the way that RiscCAD works, since it has been designed with the RISC OS interface in mind from the start. We were then treated to an in-depth demonstration of the software, showing what can be achieved in the right hands.
Due to business commitments, Paul Beverley had to postpone his visit until later in the year, leaving us to fill the gap ourselves. Ruth Gunstone gave a demonstration of Peter Naulls’ RISC OS port of Firefox, while Steve Fryatt balanced this with a look at NetSurf and some other pieces of PD software.
Stuart Tyrrell, of Stuart Tyrrell Developments and Advantage 6, visited us to talk about some of the hardware that had been on display at the Wakefield Show in May. Those at the meeting had the chance to see the new A9home up close – a pocket-sized RISC OS computer capable of running the same software as its bigger desktop cousins.
Andrew Pinder talked about his experiences of using RISC OS for tracing his family tree. Not so much a review of the genealogy software available for the platform, Andrew showed us Ancestor+ while talking about his own research. The meeting closed with a look at some of the websites dedicated to this kind of research – providing a useful resource to those present who may have been considering their family history.
Our April meeting saw a visit from Andrew and Allan from R-Comp, who came to talk about the latest hardware and software developments from the company. We were given a demonstration of MusicMan and Messenger Pro 3, before Andrew moved on to look at the new Intel-based hardware that he had available. The machines all come pre-installed with Virtual Acorn, in effect making a “hybrid” system that can run Windows and RISC OS side by side. With the presentation over, we had a chance to ask questions and buy some of the goodies on display.
Graham Shaw, the developer behind the RISC OS package manager RiscPkg, came to talk to us about the software and about the aims of the RISC OS Packaging Project more generally. RiscPkg is being developed with the goal of simplifying the task of obtaining and installing new software – along with all the extra bits that each new title seems to require. The system is modelled on tools available for Linux, and the hope is that it will eventually support a wide range of software on our platform.
Due to Joe Taylor’s visit, December’s charity auction was postponed until this month. Once again, members and visitors were encouraged to bring along items that they no longer required, so that they could be sold on to raise money. Thanks to the generosity of those present, we ended the evening having raised over £120.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2005, to have their say on the running of the Club, and to enjoy the free buffet laid on for those who were there.
Joe Taylor, the programmer behind the AppBasic development environment, visited us to show how easy it is to write multitasking desktop applications using the system. Based around the Toolbox, AppBasic provides a modular structure through which to access the facilities available from within a BASIC program. The clever bit is the ease with which simple utilities can be realised – to anyone who has tried wrestling with the more conventional RISC OS development tools in the past, Joe’s presentation must have seemed like a breath of fresh air!
Martin Hansen and Robin Edwards visited us from Shropshire to talk about the various software titles that each of them have developed. Martin led the way, showing a number of ‘visual aids’ which he had assembled to assist with his day-job as a maths teacher – although based on proper equations, he had found that they could also be put to very good effect in creating computer-generated modern art. Robin, who may be better known to many as the man behind Serious Statistical Software, followed with an interesting talk on statistics: demonstrating what his software can do in the process.
The booked speaker for our October meeting cancelled with only a few hours notice, leaving WROCC member Steve Fryatt to try and fill the gap. Steve, who writes the monthly ‘PD Column’ in Archive Magazine, put together a presentation based around some of the software currently on his hard disc. We saw software for creating and viewing PDFs, editing images and text files, and accessing email and the web. Following Steve’s talk, Ruth Gunstone gave a short presentation on the promotional materials that she is putting together for the Club – including a live demonstration of iron-on t-shirt designs.
Peter Naulls, the driving force behind the Unix Porting Project which is bringing useful software to the RISC OS platform, came up from Cambridgeshire to tell us a bit more about it. At present, the Peter’s focus is on developing a library on RISC OS to make the task of porting software from Unix to our platform less difficult – essentially by making the software believe that it is still running on a Unix system. He was able to demonstrate a number of applications running natively on the RISC OS desktop, albeit with some unfamiliar window furniture, as well as providing the developers amongst us with more technical information.
Our own Peter Richmond, who is part of the team of two which runs the show theatre each year and who works in the AV industry, gave us a run-down on how to do a presentation with RISC OS and Windows. Looking at the available software on both Platforms, Peter also gave us some insights into what makes a good presentation – as well as what should be avoided!
The July meeting took the form of a hands-on networking evening, where members were invited to bring along their machines, connect them up to the network, and have problems investigated by other Club members. Those present split into groups, with separate tutorial and trouble-shooting sessions going on around the room.
Following the show, Stuart Tyrrell returned to Wakefield to tell us more about the A6 and A6+ ‘hybrid’ systems that his company sell with Virtual Acorn installed. He also had an A75 with him – a small, orange box containing an ARM-based computer running RISC OS. Due to its rugged construction he said that it could be nearly indestructible, although sadly he wasn’t prepared to discuss sales to anyone wanting less than 100 of them. Finally, to close, Stuart demonstrated a UniPod.
Regular visitor Mike Cook returned to talk about walking – with a GPS. Mike is fond of technology, and with the aid of a number of maps and photographs he told us how he had managed to combine this with his interest in walking when he had visited the Grand Canyon. He also told us about walks nearer to home, and showed us software (on Windows, sadly) which he uses to analyse the walks that he and his wife take in the Lake District. Delivered with Mike’s usual humour, the presentation brought to life what can be done using a GPS handset and modern mapping software.
WROCC member and proprietor of Brain Games software, Ian Macfarlane, talked to us about some of the desktop games that he has written. Although technical problems meant that he was unable to access most of his demonstration on the available computers, he was still able to show us Solitaire (the one with marbles, not cards) and Vingt et Un. As Ian’s presentation had been somewhat truncated by the technology, the meeting closed with a spontaneous demo of the new NetSurf web browser.
Following a suggestion from a member, our March meeting saw Ruth Gunstone demonstrating the installation and use of GimpPrint on RISC OS. Ported from Linux by Martin Wurthner, the software works with the existing printer drivers to enable modern photo-printers to be used. A number of different printers were available for testing on the night, allowing those present to see for themselves how effective the system could be.
WROCC’s own webmistress, Ruth Gunstone, gave us in insight into creating websites using PHP. Armed with her own web server running a copy of the Club website, she took us through what PHP was, why we might want to use it, and how it could be used to good effect on even a small site like ours.
The WROCC Annual General Meeting was a chance for members to elect the committee for 2004, to have their say on the running of the Club, and to enjoy the free buffet laid on for those who were there.
The pre-Christmas charity auction was once again raising money for the Sick Children’s Trust, who run several homes from home near children’s hospitals around the country. Many items were made available for sale, and those present seemed to be happy to part with their cash – by the end of the evening, we had raised over £250 between us.
Held on Bonfire Night, November’s meeting was a two-part affair. The evening opened with Steve Potts demonstrating the use of Steffen Huber’s CDBurn software for creating audio and data CDs. Following Steve, Phillip Marsden gave a demonstration of AntiSpam – armed with his own mail server on a laptop, pre-filled with junk mail, he showed how the software can be used to delete unwanted messages before they are downloaded.
John Cartmell, who edits Acorn Publisher magazine and produces board games under the name of Fleur Designs, came to talk to us about how he uses the ArtWorks 2 vector graphics package. During the course of the evening he demonstrated how the software can lay out the design for a board game, and gave us some suggestions as to what makes a design “good” or “bad”. John closed by showing some examples of work by other artists such as Walter Briggs and Richard Cowell, who are both well-known ArtWorks users.
Andrew and Allan Rawnsley visited us to demonstrate their latest products, including a range of Windows-based PCs and laptops. With the aid of their Uniprint software, Andrew was able to access a printer connected to one of these from a RISC OS system, making use of the advanced features of the Windows drivers in the process. Another product – Remote Control – goes further, allows a Windows machine to be controlled over the network from RISC OS. The evening closed with a couple more software demonstrations: the Grapevine MSN and ICQ client, and the recent acquisitions of DataPower 2 and Image Outliner.