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Latest News and Changes

The latest news - as it barely happens - from the busy busy tofla offices. Latest news is first.

Saturday, 27th August 2005
Matthew Bloch (who is no longer involved in the RISC OS scene) has kindly given me his collection of related resources that he used to host on his website. I've put the first part of his ARM-programming series (from Archimedes World) up, and I'll get onto the others shortly. I'll also sort out some of his software (including the PopCorn game engine) and put that up too.

Tuesday, 4th January 2005
Everyone have a good holiday? All busy busy busy here at the moment! So much so that I'm too tired to write a decent news bulletin, so I'm just going to do a quickie then go to bed.
I've almost finished assimilating the Iconbar's coding-content, and hopefully the Iconbar will shortly link to here instead. Win-win all round: TIB don't have to update their programming section anymore, and I get an extra link or two.
I've been evaluating different Wiki packages, and found DokuWiki to be a rather good one. If anyone wants a play, I've got one running on an underpowered server under the stairs, accessible from here. Feel free to have a play and see what you think. First person to submit an article to Tofla by this method gets a box of chocolates. My only complaint with it so far is that Oregano2 doesn't make a good job of displaying it. I'm sure someone would have a fit if I installed a Wiki for RISC OS users which could not actually be accessed from a RISC OS browser!

Friday, 23rd July 2004
Just a quick note to say that no, I haven't abandoned the site. It's just that my job is currently demanding hours from 9am until 2am, 6 days a week. Any time I have left over on a Sunday is spent trying to remind my eighteen-month-old what his daddy looks like. If anyone needs a programmer in the Midlands area and can assure him of 9-5 work, I might know someone who is interested ... :) Anyway, final deadline is in around six weeks, so expect to see work resume around then.
Updated some information on Mike Goldberg, after a discussion on one of his games on unearthed some new information.
Also worth noting: I've been quite taken with the idea of a tofla Wiki, so I've been messing with some server code. I can run it through my Broadband connection. I quite like the idea of people being able to contribute directly. Due to the way that a vanilla Wiki works I think I'll have to invent my own formatting codes for documents, though. All the stuff about WordsJoinedTogetherLikeThis producing links to new pages wouldn't mix well with example code snippets, methinks.

Tuesday, 27th April 2004
Ooh, so much to say!
Well, we eventually moved house at the end of January. So we've been in now for about three months, in utter chaos. We've had new central heating installed, double glazing, and there's currently half-an-inch of dust over everything while the electrician does a complete rewire - pulling up floorboards and digging out the plasterwork. So my main TOFLA machine has been installed in a corner of my office at work, and I'm plodding on with bits during my lunch hour. All my other kit is in storage.
I've moved back onto doing Archive articles again - I've searched through the magazines I've done and double-checked that I had everything relevant out of each one. I've put notes in my magazine listings page so that I know what I have to go back to.
I've also added some articles which I've had "ready-to-go" but have been unable to track down the authors. I'd said I didn't want to do this without people's permission in advance, but as people go their own way, change their e-mail address, and so on, it becomes impossible to find them. So if you are Nicholas Marriott, Brynmor Owen or Daniel Moyne (or you know how I can find them) please get in contact. I'll happily remove your articles from this site if you don't want them here.
My working hours continue to get longer as we approach big milestones. So if I don't update for a while, don't worry: I'm just in "Deadline Hell". I hope that the fact the site exists will be a help to people, even if I'm not updating it as much as I'd like.

Oh, and I've also been working on some other projects.

Wednesday, 14th January 2004
Mentions from Drobe and ANS. Always welcome!
I've split-up and expanded the About Tofla page, because there was a fair amount of information (such as permissions, and future plans) which people were not aware of. I've also finished entering Acorn User's "Back To Basics" series of articles.

Saturday, 3rd January 2004
Got a good mention from The Icon Bar, less than an hour after I sent out a "press release" style e-mail to the Acorn news sites.
Also updated !MkTofla a bit, so that code snippets in articles get highlighted. Need to go through all the articles and add macros though.

Friday, 2nd January 2004
Everyone have a good Christmas? Jolly good!
Beginning to duplicate Mark Moxon's series on BASIC programming has pushed the article count over 150! To celebrate this milestone of, well, no real significance really, I've shifted bits of the site around, and got round to registering it with the RISC OS Web Ring.
The house is in chaos because we should be moving sometime this month. And I'll be losing my Broadband - boohoo! But the move over to The Iconbar server means the site won't be lost.

Wednesday, 3rd December 2003
Managed to get in contact with Mike Cook, who unfortunately cannot give me permission to duplicate his work as he has further plans for it. Oh well. I've created an "Electronics and Interfacing" section, and linked to some of his key articles which are stored at the Manchester Metropolitan University. I'll also look at adding articles from other sources.
Big news on Drobe today - John Cartmell now owns Acorn User! This is interesting for the RISC OS scene in general, and has implications for this site regarding permissions, intellectual property, and so on. Luckily, John has given me his permission too!
Finally, The Iconbar seem to be having some maintenance problems - so I can't upload my site changes yet!

Friday, 14th November 2003
Ploddin' on. Split up the magazine collection page, as it was getting too big.

Friday, 17th October 2003
Dear me, a shockingly long time without an update! This is - apparently - caused by something called "Life". I've not knowingly experienced it myself, but I've read up on it and it sounds ghastly. Apart from what Conway was talking about - at least that had example code.
A sudden possibility of moving house sent the happy homestead into a fever over this last month - and as my loft-conversion/office/junk collection is a bit of an eyesore to everyone apart from me, there's been a big clearout and e-baying session. I've been quite inconsoleable.
Then, this week, I suddenly contracted that 'flu virus that everyone's being warned about. You know, the "you're a stupid bloody fool if you don't have the jab" warning? Well, I didn't have the jab. And I'm diabetic, just to add high blood sugar to stupidity.
Anyway, the big news is that TOFLA has now moved to a new location (and address), which I hope will be more permanent. This location is kindly provided by those pert, blonde-bombshell underwear models at The Icon Bar. This move means that I can now start hassling people for links on their websites - and as someone pointed out on usenet, the old address was not especially memorable!
If anyone would like to buy an extensively modernised mid-terrace property, with three bedrooms and a bloody-marvellous loft conversion, in Derby - let me know! :)

Thursday, 21st August 2003
Just noticed that the C-For-Yourself articles did not actually finish on the 200th Acorn User - they just became a bit intermittent. Added the remainder, and checked all my AU's upto more recent times for other articles. Having trouble finding my magazine disks though.
Funny thing: as I've been flipping through magazines, names have caught my eye which I recognise from comp.sys.acorn newsgroups - so I've been looking at photos so that I can associate faces with names. There aint 'arf some funny looking people in the RISC OS community!

Wednesday, 20th August 2003
Two volumes' worth of Dr Wimp articles have been added, into their own category. Ray was very enthusiastic when I asked for permission to do so, but it's taken me a while to get around to it (sorry Ray!). I wanted to get the CFY articles out of the way first.

Tuesday, 5th August 2003
The effort of converting the C-for-Yourself articles from Acorn User push the count over the 100 mark, meaning that tofla has completed it's first century! (Cue sound of leather on willow, polite clapping, and cries of "Jolly good show old boy".) For the latter half of these articles I've moved from mad-typing into sedate scanning and OCR. It still takes roughly the same amount of time to get an article into the database (rather than lots of mad typing, I'm proofreading and fixing OCR errors). However, the big saving is that my wrists aren't in agony after an hour. So this is a method I'll probably stick with.
I'll be making zip files of the CFY examples next - most of the articles (for reasons of space, I suppose) only explain the principles in broad-terms, and relied on people reading the source-code on the coverdisc to truly follow what was going on. So the articles would be a bit pointless without them.
Got a mention on ANS, by the way!

Thursday, 24th July 2003
Added folder icons to the archive front page. No real reason.
Both Richard Goodwin and Tim Nash very kindly offered to design me a better website and draw me some ferret mascots. They were very good, but I've come to the conclusion it might be better to wait until the site is a bit more established.

Saturday, 19th July 2003
I've been Drobed, which is kind of like being slashdotted only cooler. Read the article here. I was only really hoping for a mention in the "Midweek Roundup" at the most! Congratulations go to Jason Tribbeck for knowing where I got the name "Morbo" from.
Received friendly e-mails from Gavin Wraith, Chris Whytehead and Tim Nash.
More of Acorn User's C for Yourself articles transferred.

Wednesday, 16th July 2003
Much mad typing. There are now fifteen "C for Yourself" articles transferred from Acorn User. My fingers hurt. I'm also trying to learn to play the guitar, which isn't helping.

Sunday, 13th July 2003
Lotta code changes. Now all the articles are organised into categories. Also implemented the ability to add external links in the categories (for example: to sites with relevant information), and comments. The comments mean I can now prefix some articles with warnings such as "Some of this may be out of date now".

Saturday, 12th July 2003
Some people have expressed concerns that some articles may be confusing, often because tools get updated, libraries change, compilers are revised ... and so an article becomes out of date. I need to be able to put comments in the contents page so that people know what articles to read in preference to others, which articles to treat with "a pinch of salt", etc. I don't want to actually remove any articles until a better one comes along to replace it.
I also need to get a good links-system going: there are some very good and complete sites out there already - far better for me to link to them rather than try and duplicate things myself.

Wednesday, 9th July 2003
Typed a couple of articles from AU. Catalogued all my AUs for the magazines page. Added a few links to the links page (from my own bookmarks). If you want others adding, let me know.
Just wanted to point out that I'm typing this wearing only my pants. Well, the weather is stinking hot, and I have the house to myself. I'll save the jokes about "If I took my pants off, I could type AND use the mouse" for another time.

Monday, 7th July 2003
I notice that a lot of articles mention example files on coverdisks. I really need to dig them out, and make small archives for download to accompany each article.
Need to get round to buying a proper domain, too.

Sunday, 6th July 2003
Not really a fanfare, more of an embarrassed coughing ... announces the launch of the tofla site. I've spent so much time looking over the same articles that I think I'm probably starting to miss the really obvious errors, so I'll just put the site up and work from feedback.
Hmm ... looking at the bottom of this page ... almost exactly two months.

Wednesday, 25th June 2003
More permissions given, more stuff added. I'm having trouble keeping track of things already - so if I use your material on this site before I've e-mailed you for permission, please don't be offended. It's just that I only have a little brain!
The thought occurs ... that if I keep holding off until I've added "just one more article" and cured "just one more formatting error" ... I'm never gonna launch the site at all. Probably better to stick it up now, warts an' all.

Monday, 16th June 2003
Well, my response to Chris seems to have turned into a news item on Drobe! I hadn't really intended anything to get out quite yet, but never mind: extra motivation is always good.
Snapped from Drobe

Sunday, 15th June 2003
Received a very encouraging e-mail from Chris Williams. Made my day.
The 'bake-out' code is now in C. Works, but needs tarting up.

Monday, 2nd June 2003
My Iyonix arrived! The TOFLA project has been moved onto it from my cranky-PC-laptop/VirtualAcorn combo. Bit of overkill, but the 77-file limit was proving to be a bugger anyway. It's not like this will the only thing I'll be doing with it. I mean, I'll be playing Zool too!

Sunday, 1st June 2003
Ray Favre (Dr. Wimp), and Rob Johnson add their approval, making a good half-dozen authors in all. Pretty good start, I reckon. And my BASIC program is beginning to creak a bit - things are expanding quicker than I expected, and I'm having difficulty maintaining 'pretty' code. May be moving to C or C++ soon ...

Saturday, 24th May 2003
So far, had positive responses from Paul Johnson, Tony Houghton, Stuart Halliday, Steve Turnbull (at Wakefield) and Harriet Bazley. Also got a semi-automated system going which creates the articles, author info pages, publication info pages, and links between each. 49 articles entered - all from Archive. This is because Paul Beverley was the first to give permission, and thanks to whichever darlings converted the Archive magazines into HTML!

Monday, 5th May 2003
Got my first response from a copyright-holder, namely the lovely Paul Beverley of Archive magazine! So I've started the website and put the basic structure in. Oooh, what have I let myself in for?