Meeting: David Pilling’s Software... and More

May 2006

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.

Report by Phillip Marsden

The May 2006 meeting was an in-house originated, interactive, multi-subject meeting, with elements of hands-on participation. If this description intrigues those people who did not attend, read on.

The meeting was billed as an evening of David Pilling software, although this was not how it ended up. I opened the demonstrations with a short display of Ovation Pro on Windows, as the remaining speakers were not ready to begin. The Ovation Pro on Windows was an item that interested several members. Having bought this application for my own use, I used my laptop to demonstrate that the application was as near as possible the same program as under RISC OS. There are obvious differences in the way that any program under Windows works because of the lack of a menu button under Windows.

OPW as it is referred to is still being developed, while OPro for RISC OS is not. David Pilling is doing all development for OPro on Windows. If he can incorporate improvements into RISC OS at a later date, then he will do so. Judging by statements that I have seen on the Pilling forum, David Pilling is no longer writing for RISC OS. He will bug-fix RISC OS programs, but is not continuing development.

Steve Fryatt was the next man into the limelight, having struggled mightily (whilst I was talking) to get OPro on to a club machine to his satisfaction. Steve demonstrated Ovation Pro with far more detail than I could hope to achieve. Steve is a polished presenter and you have to be there to get the most out of his talks, as he puts in far more than can be described in these short summaries.

Next on was Steve Potts. He was doing a live upgrade on one of our club RiscPC machines. This entailed putting in a Unipod and installing the software. Steve went through this step-by-step, thus easing the way for those people interested in obtaining a Unipod. The Unipod has 3 functions: IDEFS drive controller, USB ports, and 100Mbit networking. This one card brings a world of functionality to the RiscPC, for a price of £140.

Steve also put on a demonstration of Cinerama. This is a program which allows the display of video under RISC OS. Steve showed the clips of some Wallace and Gromit-type animation of what could loosely be described as a polar bear having various adventures. This (as always) gets attention and gets people laughing. I find it sad that this always gets more attention at shows such as the Radio Rally than our RISC OS systems.

Peter Richmond made a flying visit to the stand with a demonstration of how to show video output from a machine such as the A9home (small and portable) to a screen on a portable DVD player (by definition, small and portable). By an ingenious method he used an external scan converter to convert the computer VGA output to a video signal suitable for the DVD player. How portable all this lot is, compared to a standard laptop, is another matter, but it is most certainly ingenious!

Thus ended a meeting which was varied in the range of things discussed. I hope that it had something for everyone.