RISC World

PD World

Paul Brett with the latest freeware and PD releases for RISC OS.

The summer causes a bit of a slow down in software development (quite true, who wants to be in front of a computer when you can be welding Volkswagen's - ED) but we still have some corker new releases for your software collection.

Bazound - Chris Bazley

Have you ever wondered why your computer's sound system goes silent or strangely distorted after running an old game or other badly-behaved program? If you are an expert user of RISC OS who is curious about such phenomena then an application Chris has written may be of use to you.


'Bazound' is a small configuration and diagnostic utility for the RISC OS sound system. It may be useful to programmers writing sound software, and in situations where programs have left the sound system in an indeterminate state. It was written using Joe Taylor's 'AppBasic', a new programming aid that simplifies the task of writing Toolbox applications in BASIC.

The latest version of 'Bazound' is 0.08 (8th August 2004). The significant improvement over previous versions that it can now tell you the name of the module code or workspace that a given address (e.g. the currently installed channel handler) lies within. Hitherto this step required the aid of an external utility such as '*addr' or '*where'.

When a module such as 'DSymphonyPlayer' claims control of the 8 bit sound system from the default channel handler, this prevents any notes from being played via the usual mechanism (including the system beep). With the aid of Bazound the offending module can be identified and *RMKill'd to restore normality.

Full source code is included which may be of interest to anyone considering using 'AppBasic' for application development themselves.

GedText - Rob Hemmings

GedText converts a Gedcom file to a text file. It has been written specifically to work with files output by the !Family application but may work with other Gedcom files. It was written to enable a full report of all information held in a Gedcom file as the standard report from !Family only shows a subset of the information stored on each person.

All tags used by !Family should be shown in a readable form, other tags will be shown as they appear in the raw Gedcom file.

It works by reading a Gedcom file dragged to its iconbar icon and outputs to a file of the same name but with /txt appended. The output file is a standard Text file that can be searched or amended with any text editor or printed if required.

As written the application allows for a maximum of 2,000 individuals and 1,000 families but this can be altered by setting the appropriate variables in the !Run file.

The output can be sorted in ascending order of birth year (where present). Individuals without a BIRTH record followed by a DATE record that ends in a valid year are sorted to the end of the file. For now, this option can be switched on (the default) by setting the system variable GedText$Sorted in the run file to "Y", for any other value the output will be in the same order as in the input Gedcom file.

Graphite - Marc Zinnschlag

We featured this in the last issue, but there is now an updated version. Graphite is an application for creating and editing of graphs. The term graph means here a set of nodes and edges, whereby each edge is connected to two nodes. This definition might be not very clear for someone, who is not familiar with the term graph. So here is second definition: Graphically (no pun intended) a graph consists of some boxes with text in it (the nodes) and some arrows (the edges), that go from one box to another.


PassWord - Paul Vigay

If you have every need to generate a secure password then this program is for you. It will generate easy to remember random passwords for you and can even copy them directly to the caret position to make them easy to enter.


TapirMail - David Llewellyn-Jones

TapirMail is an easy to use On-Line email client offering the ability to both send and receive POP email from any RISC OS workstation without the need to download it. To start TapirMail, simply double click on the application icon . TapirMail will install itself onto the icon bar. Clicking the middle mouse button, whilst the mouse point is over the iconbar will generate a pop-up menu.

A manual, very generously created by Paul Stewart, is supplied in the TapirMail archive. In addition to this, interactive help is also supported. Together these should hopefully provide sufficient information for most users to navigate around the program.


ThumbCat - Malcolm Ripley

ThumbCat catalogues images in two formats both on-screen in normal RISCOS windows and in HTML format. ThumbCat handles Sprites, Drawfiles, AVI's (from digital cameras), JPEG's, EXIF's and any file formats recognised by ImageFS or ChangeFSI. It will build a catalogue of a directory tree of images, directories dragged to the iconbar will be searched and all recognised images displayed in a thumbnail view. Image catalogues can be stored with images or remote from the images in a "pseudo" application. The pseudo application can be relocated without any loss of functionality. Thus catalogues can be created of read only sources. HTML catalogues can be created. These will have relative links for catalogues with the images and absolute references for catalogues remote from the images.


VirtUDesk - The Flying Pig

VirtuDesk is a small Relocatable Module which runs as a task in the desktop. It allows you to access a virtual‘ desktop area. The idea is that, for those people who find that their desktop is constantly getting clogged up with layer upon layer of windows, VirtuDesk will provide large amounts of extra desktop space without the need to resort to lower resolution screen modes. It does this by providing an area up to 144 times the size of your original desktop which you can scroll around and keep windows in.


Finally we end with a bit of entertainment.

Wator - Martin Carrudus

The idea behind this was taken from "The Armchair Universe" by A.K.Dewdney, published by Freeman 1988.

Sharks and Fishes move around a toroidal grid of cells, so if they move off the the top edge, they reappear at the bottom, and vice versa. Similarly for the left and right edges of the grid. Sharks and Fishes move left and right and up and down, not diagonally.

Time advances from movement to movement by 'Chronons'.

Sharks eat Fishes, but starve and die if they have not eaten for a chosen time period. Sharks and Fishes breed and produce new Sharks/Fishes after chosen time periods.

The size of the grid, the number of Chronons since the start, the number of Sharks and the number of Fishes are shown on the Title Bar.

To start, go to 'SetUp' off the bar icon menu, and choose your values for the parameters, then click on 'OK' to start the Simulation. You cannot choose either grid dimension less than 15 cells or greater than 48 cells. You may only choose the grid size once during one run of !Wator. If you do not alter the Set Up, then it assumes default values. You will be warned when this is happening.

The simulation continues until either all the Fish are eaten, or all the Sharks starve, and any Fishes left breed and fill the entire Planet.

Menus are available both from the bar icon or the Simulation Window, but when they are activated when the Window is active, the Simulation halts, and is only restarted by continuously holding down any key. The 'Freeze' option will restart itself automatically. A pause between generations (in centi-seconds) is selectable. Please read the Text File 'ReadMe' within this Application for conditions of use.

Warning: !Wator crashes if you open anything on the icon bar. Halts if anything else happens: Hold down any key continuously to resume.


That is all we have time for this issue, see you in November.

Paul Brett