Archive for October, 2013

Manuscript Completed – long exhale…

23 Oct


ROSP RPiThe final daft of my manuscript for ROSP (81,000 words) surged through cyberspace to my editor and beta reader just a few hours ago. Just in time too as I was seriously wilting from the heat and smoke that has descended on Sydney in the past week. Can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like for the fire-fighters who’ve been working around the clock to ensure the safety of those affected – many are volunteers too. Incredible what they do – everyone of them a Hero.

I’ll get a full and hopefully final contents list up on the website shortly, but its pretty much as per the original spec although I have re-arranged some chapters, especially the ones dealing with sound. Over the next couple of posts I’ll go into a bit more detail about the contents of the book.  As I’ve mentioned sound already let me run you through what’s covered here.

Four of the 25 chapters are given over to sound and programming sound on the RPi. This is an area that has really developed in the past year or two. RISC OS was originally launched using an 8-bit system which was really very clever in the way it worked. By RISC OS 3, 16-bit sound was catered for but it still relied on heavily the original 8-bit software.

At home with Sonos - Raspberry Pi Surround Sound. The RISC OS sound system has got serious.

At home with Sonos – Raspberry Pi Surround Sound. The RISC OS sound system has got serious.

In recent years though this has changed, and the release of new software has by-passed the old 8-bit interface such that it is possible to achieve almost anything, including running and mixing several sound streams together or in parallel. The chapters in the book detail how the sound system is pieced together and includes a look at the various *commands and SWI calls that you can use for programming purposes. There are several demonstration programs listed as well.

The RPi has two audio outputs: HDMI – often through an attached HDMI monitor – and 3.5mm jack. These both work effectively and you may also have additional hardware attached. If you want to ensure that your sound system is working correctly then you could load one of the sound examples found in $.Documents.Music on the RISC OS Pi SD Card into the Mastero application (in the Apps folder) and try playing it. It may take a few seconds to buffer and filter through, but once it’s playing you are assured you have a working sound system. Don’t worry if you are not especially musical – it is amazing what you can do with a little knowledge.

Returning to the ROSP book production: the process now is to wait for my editor to return me his marked-up copy of the manuscript and I’ll merge this with comments from my beta reader to create a final file ready for formatting. Still on schedule for a late November publication.

(Not to early to be thinking about Christmas presents you know!)


The final weeks to a new book

11 Oct
The cover for RISC OS System Programming

RISC OS System Programming for the Raspberry Pi will be available from Amazon late November.


I don’t know about you but this week has been busy. The clocks changed here in Sydney last weekend –  forward an hour – and that always annoys me. I like to start my day early, and the ‘lost’ hour is causing a bit of havoc.

I’ve officially announced my next book – RISC OS System Programming  – which is due out late November, and it’s important that I meet my deadlines to ensure it happens. The feedback from RISC OS users has been great, with words of encouragement via Twitter and my website.  Thanks to everyone who has re-tweeted details as well. If you haven’t seen the announcement head over to or my Facebook page at

I have one full chapter and about three half chapters left to write, then I will be at what I call the First Draft stage when all the chapters are written and in place. Come Monday, I’ll start going through each chapter reading and editing as I progress. I’m always looking to shorten the text as this normally makes definitions and explanations clearer and more concise.  As the chapters will now be in their final order, I’ll number figures and programs and make sure they are cross-referenced correctly in the body of the text.

I will find that I’ve left a few notes to myself in the text,  normally to remind me to check something I couldn’t at the time I was writing the item. I’ll do the checks and adapt the text accordingly if needed. With this all done I’m at the Second Draft stage. I plan to be at that point come next Tuesday.

I’ll let you know how it goes.