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Arriving in France

Ten years ago this very day I arrived in France.

I've not been back since.

Oh, and the weather was better!

We had a small celebration. I cooked up an expensive piece of beef very slowly, so I didn't need a knife to cut it, just a fork to prod it with. A dash of pepper, and it was set. Accompanied by mixed veg (cauli, broccoli, carrot, peas) and sort-of hash browns. A shake of paprika over the hash browns and meal was ready.

What, you thought our celebratory meal would be a Big Mac? Please...


So much stuff has happened in these past ten years that it is difficult to remember it all. But, then, I find it difficult to remember what I did last week, yet I can recall the formatting codes to printf() - hmmm, I wonder which is ultimately more useful?


There's no awesome picture - the weather sucks. It has rained all day. Instead, here's a picture of a Japanese bridge by a French guy:

Japanese bridge by a French guy
Japanese bridge, Claude Monet.


Beagle and RISC OS

For video playback, Chris' swapuv suggestion from yesterday's entry was perfect and did the trick exactly. Here's a screenshot of the same scene to show how it ought to look:
Kara no Kyoukai
Kara no Kyōkai, creepy blue restored.

If you enjoy a mind-bend with an above average soundtrack, then I suggest you seek out this series. But note it is Not Safe For Toddlers due to infrequent doses of hardcore violence. Wiki it, you'll find out more...

I'm not going to try RISC OS with Mōretsu Pirates. It'd be nice to see if MKVs/subs work, but it's an H.264 so I don't think we'll get too far with that, not until RISC OS discovers there's hardware assistance inside the OMAP chip!
In all honesty, it was just a "what if" test. I'll still watch animé on my PC... I know the Beagle ought to be capable, my phone is a 1GHz ARM and it can cope with H.264 up to 720p HD. It does, however, need codecs to utilise every option at their disposal. The silicon burners will make clever binary blobs for the likes of Android as they know units will ship in the hundred thousands. RISC OS is nowhere near that ballpark, so it'll take enthusiast efforts to do this. But, MPlayer itself was ported. It handles H.263 (DivX class) and H.264 ("MPEG4"/HD/new-era YouTube class) in AVI, FLV, MOV, and so on. It struggles, certainly, but it works. That's, like, half the battle.


I set up the dev suite and found it did nothing but die.

Crashy compiler
Of all the messages a compiler can give you, this isn't one you want to see.

It turns out that switching off alignment exceptions will coax the compiler into life. Thus does mean that somewhere incorrect data is being loaded, however it appears to generate valid code.

As a side effect, magically !PDF sprung into life.

One of my programs, a front-end configuration utility for MoreKeys (in development) experienced the same problem of "Task not known" until I ran it with alignment checking switched off. As I was using an old version of DeskLib (my 32bit hack of v2.30), I decided to plug in the later v2.80. Well, that crashed more seriously regardless of whether or not alignment was on or off. So I reverted back to my build of DeskLib. I'll poke around it later, see if I can track down what is causing this. Until then, I've written a little program to enquire from the OS and warn you if alignment checking is on:

Checking alignment
Funny how the quick hacks are always written in BASIC...

It isn't an ideal solution, but it'll suffice as a sticky-plaster until the issue is resolved.
As it happens, MoreKeys itself is unaffected by this. As MoreKeys UI does not do much with the Wimp, I wrote the original shell with lots of _kernel_swi() calls. When it was working, I replaced all of those with custom assembler routines. Also, since the compiler generated seriously fugly code for my icon draw routine, I ripped all that out and coded it in assembler, hand crafted and around a quarter of the size of the C version.
No, MoreKeys does not require any library other than the default SharedCLib. Everything else is contained within the source. This was by intention, so MoreKeys could be built, from scratch, without having to hunt down a dozen dependencies first, and then find half of them won't work on your setup...


As a side issue, I've thrown together some simple code to turn the two user LEDs on and off. At the moment I'm thinking to have a module that blinks the left LED (just left of the power socket) on and off at second intervals, and blinks the right LED (by the microSD) as and when filesystem activity occurs (so long as the code doesn't present too much lag). Wrap this up in a module, it can load at start-up and do its thing.


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Rick, 21st May 2012, 03:09
The caption I didn't use:
      "Of all the compilers, in all the computers, in all the world; you had to screw up on mine...".
joe, 23rd May 2012, 16:06
Hi Rick, 
how did you find this place, did you drive into unknown 
or you prearranged everything before you left UK? 
When we left Europe, we didn't have any destination 
address, just a small motel, where we stayed for about 
2 weeks before we could find some affordable rental 
accommodation, on the first night we drunk bottle of 
20 years old German red wine and had some take away food, no Happy Meal from Mac Happy place either. 
Sometimes you just know, this is your new home. :....(

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