Saturday, 20 November 2021

Archive Magazine - Volume 25.5 Review

Arriving fairly shortly after volume 25.4, 25.5 is the penultimate edition for the year and a bit of a news-packed issue, having been printed just before the London show which took place on the 30th of October. Also included in the magazine was an A5 flier to remind me my subscription was due to expire after the next issue (25.6) and listing the ways of renewing the subscription. So, what do we get for this issue?

The Newsdesk occupies its usual place, reporting on Cloverleaf's new Filer, the new Cloverleaf distro that was promised as part of their Kickstarter campaign, and the announcement of two RISC OS shows for 2022 - the Wakefield show (23rd April, which I am hoping to attend) and the RISC OS eXperience show (14th May) in the Netherlands. The Haunted Tower Hotel is the latest release from AMCOG Games, there is an extended edition of Acorn: A World in Pixels (already ordered that one) and a new WIMP programming book from Chris Dewhurst. There is more but you get the idea. And that doesn't include the actual London show announcements either!

The first article is a cracking piece by Jeroen Vermeulen on porting Python games into BBC Basic. Very much a "how to" and packed with detail and tips, this will be a boon for anyone with similar plans and you'd do well to have this six page resource to hand if that kind of project takes your fancy. Andy Marks reviews DeskWatcher, an application to remotely control one RISC OS desktop from another, highlighting features such as screen recording, file sharing, multiple connections and the like. It's a good review and is very honest about the benefits, limitations and foibles of the software.

Meet ArmBob is a great introduction to Bob, an interpreted language for object-orientated programming if that is your sort of thing. I found it interesting. "What? Me a programmer?" is a humourous look at an old utility being revisited by someone who is adamant they are not a programmer. Uh-huh :-)

Also included is a guide to updating NetSurf, adding a reset switch to a 4te desktop and a handy step by step process of getting Gmail to play nicely with Pluto and Hermes. The second part of the USB Audio series is as interesting as the first (as in highly) and there are three entries in the letters page. PC Bits focuses on the joy(!?) that is the Windows Blue Screen of Death and a quick comment as to why the author hasn't upgraded to Windows 11 yet, whilst Mac Matters add a note on sharing Mac screens on RISC OS and file mapping. Code Burp takes a look at image saturation, and Acorn Retro is its usual fun smorgasbord of 8-bit gaming wonder.

That is still not all in this issue, with a full page advert from Cloverleaf about their new RISC OS Distro and the now regular half-page from RISCOSbits with their London show offers on the FOURtress range of desktops. Speaking of which, the London show news...

What a show for announcements it was! Considering the size of the RISC OS market, it is extremely heartening to see about multiple pages given over to the show news. RISC OS Developments gets 4/5th of a page (web browser Iris, new TCP/IP stack for wider testing and Pinboard 2.0), RISCOSbits gets a full page (new LapDock option for single board computer users, Mini ITX board), R-Comp gets 3/4th of a page (Pi400 Plus kit, software updates for Messenger Pro and Fireworkz Pro) and finally RISC OS Open with a 2/5th of a page (updated DDE and new pdf version of the RISC OS 5 User Guide). It is really pleasing to see such a level of commercial activity.

Finally, the editor concludes his two-parter on the future of Archive, with a note on making the magazine more visually appealing and updating the website. Both initiatives are worthy and I look forward to seeing how they develop. 

What is clear from this issue of Archive is that there is a real sense pf positivity about the RISC OS user base and the magazine itself. There are promising developments ahoy and I would certainly like to see the magazine grow in size (and readership) if at all possible. I have no horse in the race between the different bindings and am happy to see the presentation evolve whichever way is chosen. As it stands, if you're a RISC OS user then Archive magazine remains an essential purchase and I will be certainly be renewing my subscription before volume 25.6 hits the doormat. That also reminds me, the Archive Archived DVD/USB Stick is due in early December. That's something I'll definitely be picking up.

You can find out more about this excellent magazine by visiting You can also follow the magazine on Twitter.

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