RISC World

VirtualAcorn Tech Support

More from Aaron's tech support notebook

At the moment we are beavering away on a set of further upgrades for both versions of VirtualRPC. I will release full details once we have made a final decision about what we are going to include. Anyway, lets have a look at some of the issues that have come up in the last few weeks.

Launching files into Windows

If you've read the letters page in this issue then you will know that UniPrint2 comes with a file launcher. This allows you to "load" a file under VirtualAcorn, but to have the file actually load under Windows. This can be quite a useful feature as it allows you, for example, check an HTML file in a RISC OS browser and then check it in a Windows browser without having to navigate through all the possible complexities of Windows Explorer.

Users who have the final release of VirtualA5000 may be thinking..."Hmmm, can't I already do this?" Well, yes you can, you can also do this using any version of VirtualRPC, using the undocumented HostOpen command. As an example, lets suppose we have a textfile called "Hello/txt" in the root of the VirtualAcorn harddisc. From inside RISC OS you can launch this file into NotePad by pressing F12 and typing:

HostOpen HostFS::Harddisc4.$.Hello/txt

The last VirtualA5000 builds shipped with an added "bonus" hidden inside !Boot, the "VirtualAcorn Windows Controller". This allowed users to launch a file under Windows by holding down the right ALT key (also called Alt Gr) when double clicking on a file. When VRPC-SE was launched it was always intended that this functionality would be included. However the "Windows Controller" program didn't work and it all got forgotten about.

However, seeing the letter that was sent in about UniPrint made me think about it some more. I went back to the source code and had a look, sure enough the problem was staring me in the face. So I have fixed the initial problem and made a couple of other small changes. The new version of the "Windows Controller" is in the software directory on this issue. To use it simply double click to load it. Nothing will happen until you hold down the "Alt Gr" key (the one to he right of space, whilst double clicking on a file or directory. When you hold down the "Alt Gr" key the file/directory will be passed to Windows to be opened.

There are two restrictions, firstly, in order for a file to be opened under Windows it has to have a valid file extension. For example a text file called "Fred" will not be loaded under Windows, one called "fred/txt" will. Secondly if VirtualAcorn is running full screen then it will be forced to flip into windowing mode. This may result in the RISC OS desktop not getting redrawn correctly. If this happens then don't worry, a press of ALT and ENTER should clear things up.

The "Windows Controller" is supplied as is with no warranty as to fitness for purpose, if you do, however, find any problems I will try and have a look.

More on Faxing from VirtualAcorn

Last issue I covered sending a Fax from inside VirtualRPC using UniPrint. Andrew from R-Comp has been in touch and has suggested a much neater way of setting things up. In order to do this you will need a copy of UniPrint, an installed Fax printer on the Windows side and, of course, a copy of VirtualRPC.

The method suggested by Andrew is far better then the one I suggested as once it's been done it doesn't involve any configuration changes. Assuming you have a copy of UniPrint installed a working you need to install a 2nd UniPrint PDF (Printer Definition file) into !Printers. You do this by clicking MENU over the printer icon on the iconbar and clicking on "Printer Control". The Printer Control window will now open. Drag a copy of the UniPrint PDF into this window. Now go down to the Printers icon on the iconbar and click Menu and then click on "Save Choices".

Now run the UniSetup program, you will see two copies of UniPrint in the window.

Find the 2nd UniPrint in the list and double click on it, the "Edit Connection" window will now open.

Click on the "Advanced" button and the "Advanced" window will open. Assuming you are using the default Windows XP Fax printer driver you can just type in the name "Fax". If you are using a third party fax printer you will need to type in the correct name. Press F12 and type "*Printers". Make a note of the name of your fax printer and press Return to go back to the desktop. Now type in the name.

Now click "OK", then "OK" again and finally click on "Save". Assuming all has gone correctly you will now have a full time Fax printer installed on the RISC OS icon bar. Anytime you want to send a fax just click on the UniPrint fax printer icon on the iconbar (to select it and turn it yellow) and then you can print directly to the fax.

That's all for this time, no doubt I will have some more useful tips for the next issue.