Some notes from the 2016 London Show

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RISC-OS-LogoOctober 29th saw the 2016 RISC OS London Show take place at the St Giles Hotel in Feltham, London. A number of interesting developments arose from the show, which over the last few years has arguable overtaken the Wakefield show as the biggest event on the RISC OS calendar.

Here are some very comprehensive notes from the show, written by Chris Hall.

I attended some of the theatre sessions, fewer than I would have liked as I had a number of things I wanted to buy, do and discuss at the show in between demonstrating my ‘GPS on RISC OS’ thingy. I had two battery powered Pi+GPS machines one using a Pi Zero and one using a Pi model A+. I turned them on just after 10 a.m. and one lasted until 4.15 p.m. and the other lasted until 6 p.m., just long enough to demonstrate it to Matthew Phillips as we walked to the railway station!

CJE Micro’s

Chris Evans reminded us that the last truly native portable solution was the Acorn A4 in 1991. He said that the PiTopRO has been available for about a month now, priced at £499 and contained a model 2 Pi, with an option for a model 3. He noted that ARM v8 compatability might present issues with the model 3, especially where an application had been compiled with older Unix libraries. The portable came with a PowerSave module (which turns the backlight down and thus improves battery life) and CPUClock so that processor temperature could be monitored. Wifi can be set up with the !Otter browser provided and there were controls for screen brightness and contrast.

PhotoDesk 3.12 had prevailed for about four years but an upgrade to 3.14 was now available to overcome problems on Pi 2, Pi 3, IGEPv5 and Titanium: it now copes with LTRGB modes, 64k modes on the Pi and with the zero page protection. Also progressive JPEGs were now supported.

ROOL had announced that the NutPi SD card had now been updated for the Pi model 3 but he noted that the update for PhotoDesk had not made it in time but that PhotoDesk 3.14 had addressed this issue and users should contact CJE about the latest changes to PhotoDesk.

The Rapido Ig and Rapido Ti: dual monitor output (where the desktop is split between two separate monitors) was still a bit fiddly so he was making no guarantees in this area. He noted that a 1920×1920 screen existed but that ‘if you had to ask what the price was then you probably couldn’t afford it!’.

Rapidly bringing the talk to a conclusion, he noted that a pair of USB speakers and an optical ‘no scroll wheel’ mouse were both now available at a more reasonable price. A pressure sensitive graphics tablet was being demonstrated on the CJE stand using PhotoDesk (where pressure sensitivity was already built in). The tablet was PaintPal compatible and was around £100.

Sine Nomine Software

Matthew Phillips introduced version 1.40 of RiscOSM which had some new features: it could present a map which followed a GPS location produced by !SatNav – by default (with no GPS signal present) a simulated walk around Midford was generated and communicated (as if it were a GPS signal) by messaging between the two applications. He showed the marker following this trail, RiscOSM could be asked to remember the route or to stop listening.

By registering, an inventory of Edinburgh’s buses could be obtained, as if requested by a browser, showing (in a ‘CSV’ file which RiscOSM would open and process) the position of each bus. Another new facility was to trace a route between two points in a special way, i.e. not just as a straight line between the two points but following roads, footpaths, railway lines etc. based on a stated mode of transport as a menu option.


Steve Revill said that he would review what had happened in the last year, since the last London show; describe the update to the NutPi; talk about the bounty process and provide a preview of the near future.

ROOL was now ten years old (since June 2016). The NutPi was a joint venture with commercial software providers to showcase cut-down versions of their software for the Pi. The model 3 (ARM v8) had introduced two issues – it was less easy to ‘lock down’ software to run on the Pi only and the lock down mostly failed to recognise the model 3 was permitted. Also ARM v8 compatability where some instructions were no longer supported. The Nut Pi had now been updated to include the model 3 and was on sale from the ROOL stand.

Turning to the Bounty scheme he noted that the JPEG bounty had been successfully implemented and Paint, Draw, ChangeFSI and Pinboard as well as the OS had all benefited. EDID work was currently under testing and the Paint and USB bounties had been claimed and were being worked on. New bounties being considered included the RISC OS network stack and WiFi.

He drew attention to a few projects which were not yet quite complete but were ‘coming soon’:

  • A new RISC OS Pico release was imminent, which would include the model 3.
  • A new RC-xx SD card image was a ‘few weeks away’, would include GPIO fixes and was expected ‘this side of Xmas’.
  • An update to the DDE with zero page fixes was waiting on two things – video driver and ‘delete on power on’ (and similar start up adjustments) during HAL initialisation.
  • The RISC OS User Guide was 52% complete.

A suggestion was made that where bids had been made for a bounty then the ‘progress’ could show not just ‘money received’ but also ‘money required’ – Steve offered to look into this.

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