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Ovation (first revision)

Over the weekend, I made a few modifications to the original Ovation. Nothing major, just minor tweaks really. I have incremented the version number of my build to 1.50 so it won't get mistaken for the 1.49 that already exists.
  • The first job, as was already mentioned, was to convert it to a DDE-style build and fix up missing references.
  • Initially, the polling code was derived from RISC_OSLib, and contains some long-winded and generally naff code for saving FP contexts. This made sense in RISC OS 2, but the Wimp has been able to do this for itself since RISC OS 3.anything. I was shocked to discover this junk is still in RISC_OSLib, and I replaced it with fourteen lines of code that does the same thing, only better.
  • The longest hardest part was the creation of high resolution (1:1 aspect) sprites. I worked from the originals and tidied them up, what with having twice as many rows of pixels to work with; but it wasn't easy as I'm no artist.
  • The sprites done, it was a relatively simple job to tweak Ovation to make use of them. As David wrote Ovation to rely upon the dimensions of the sprite in question (instead of making a lot of hardwired assumptions), the task of making Ovation use the high-res sprites was basically as simple as loading them and then just leaving the rest of Ovation to get on with it. Sweet.
David commented, in his anecdotes, that Ovation "did not look good". Well, it was an hour or so work converting the sprites, and about five minutes rewriting the loader routine to get them into Ovation. Shame on Beebug for having me do in 2015 something they should have done over twenty years ago.

Look, compare.
Here's how Ovation looked:

A few minor twiddles later, it looks like this:

By no means an earth-shattering change (you want that, go buy OvationPro!), but a simple thing that makes Ovation's age stand out a little less obviously.

I'm wondering if the ruler text (nifty use of a SpriteOp scaled character) could be replaced by Corpus outline font text? I'll need to think upon that.


Dude - where's the download?

There isn't one. If anybody would like a copy of the sources, drop me a line. As for the executable? Well, Beebug sold the rights over to APDL (The Really Good Software Company), and following the death of David Holden, his estate and 3QD (Aaron Timbrell, David Bradforth) are in the process of making the software products freely available. At this time, the RGSC's library has not been made available. As I don't hold the rights to Ovation, nor have permission to distribute, there is no download link.



A few days ago was the 21st of October 2015. The day that Marty McFly came to in the "future" world of the movie Back To The Future. I watched that at the cinema, went with my school. 2015 seemed impossibly far in the future, and now both that and the self-awareness of Skynet have come and gone.
The movie was wrong about the flying skateboards and self-tying shoes, but it was right about the big flat-screen televisions. Ironically, future visions more or less totally failed to predict the invention of the smartphone.

So here we are, a population enslaved by our technology. It is so simple to... just checking my

  • ...facebook feed
  • ...twitter
  • ...and so on

To be honest, I find it slightly funny. I am the sort of loner-dude that would go into town with earphones and just tune out the rest of reality. I was considered antisocial, which suited me fine. Now? Now it is commonplace. Rather than interacting with human beings, people are increasingly preferring to interact on-line. I guess if you have negative perceptions of yourself, or wonder if others might, you can strip all of that away with a cutesy pseudonym and getting to choose what you say. The good and the bad.

Thirty years from now will be 2045. What will the world be like in 2045? If I had to devise a conceptual world of 2045, it will be this:

  • Riots and civil disturbances will be commonplace. Not as a result of global warming, but as a result of that with all the eco-tree-huggers don't want to face up to. The primary problem with our planet is us. Specifically our reproduction, our medicine, and the fact that huge swathes of people are supposed to die of natural causes. It's great that we can keep failed babies alive (moreso since I was one of them), but the basic fact of the matter is that there are too many of us. Unfortunately since we are unlikely to have volunteers to terminate their lives for the good of the planet (and I'm guessing around a third of world population), things will only get worse. Until 2045 when there are so many people that areas that we call "the country" now will be huge housing developments and city overspill akin to Bracknell. This, in turn, will affect the agricultural capabilities, leading to food shortages. Prices will rise, and it will devolve into a society of haves and have-nots.
  • Generically modified crops will be commonplace. This will be demonstrated to have few (if any) measurable effect on humans (at least, as of 2045) but it will have profound effects on agriculture, such as cross-fertilisation with weeds and the like causing them to become as equally resistant as the crop and moreso (as weeds evolve to colonise). Additionally, sourcing crops from few suppliers will lead to such things as "corn virus" (as the people call it) which is an airbourne blight that can wipe out crops on a global scale. Few crops will be resistant as most will be traced back to the same source so will be equally susceptible.
  • Genetic modification of humans will be commonplace. It will have a success rate of around 35%. The children that come out wrong will be "discarded" to orphanages or the street. This will be considered 'normal' as the little policing that remains will be too busy guarding the lot of the rich to bother about stuff like that.
  • Socialised medicine will have broken down. The money ran out by 2020, and the gap was quickly filled with private sector companies that would offer you good rates for healthcare in exchange for using your data "for medical research". People jumped at the chance to get coverage at cheap prices. When the policies were amended by (lobby-paid) act of parliament in 2032, people suddenly discovered their policies contained lists of exclusions written using complicated Latin phrases. This turned out to be lists of what their genetic makeup indicated they were likely to have go wrong with them. Your policy will cover you just fine for treating the Common Cold, but will not touch the pancreatic cancer that your DNA indicates will happen; and you won't be able to change policy as your personal medical details will be "shared with other healthcare providers".
  • The security agencies will finally be able to concentrate on catching bad guys. We will have been so conditioned to spaffing every intimate detail to a bored uninterested world that you will be considered subversive and have your home ransacked by the army if you don't make regular status updates. This information will be vacuumed up, not so much by agencies but by advertisers who will bombard you with special offers, dozens by the day.
  • Accordingly people will be rather thick; the school system basically failing the lower classes, teaching them only how to comply and believe the little machine in their heads. It will be more of their lives than they will be, like the ultimate Tamagochi. A person that isn't connected and spaffing will essentially cease to have an identity.
  • Internet access, of course, will be free. As will be mobile data. Yes, really. The world will be offered mobile communications for free as the agencies and advertisers alike can examine, filter, censor, and alter any communication passing. They will foot the bill in return for not only collecting details of every citizen, but also the power to do some really dumb things like edit communications to their favour. A person might send a message saying "Hey, wanna grab an Orangina?" and the message will arrive at its destination saying "Hey, wanna grab an Pepsi?" or somesuch. This will just be accepted as normal.
  • Terrorism will still exist. People won't be targets. Communications towers will be targetted instead, as taking down a couple of towers will cut swathes of people off from "the world". Faced with an inability to coherently communicate with each other in person, and wondering when the army will move in to rough people up (failed communications will not be considered an excuse for going offline), people will choose instead to riot. And end up mostly killing each other. And since they're the have-nots, nobody much will care.
  • There will be enclaves of escapees in Africa, South America, places of wilderness that are off the grid. People will escape so they can grow their own vegetables, perform a "trade" that they can swap with others, basically living life as one might have in the middle ages. The governments of the technological countries (otherwise known as "self-elected corporations"), paranoid and fearing their own, and losses to their bottom line, will brand these escapees as the greatest danger to the world in order to whip the populace into hating them so that they can be justified in attempting to bomb them. If civil disturbances are bad now, imagine what would happen if people realised that they could walk away from the hell that the world has become.
  • As corporations will replace the role of governments, the legal structure will become increasingly perverse in order to maximise "profit at any cost". Critics can (and will) be easily silenced.
Sounds delightful, doesn't it?

There is an alternative way. Smartphones are useful devices for keeping connected. But there is a world of life and light and texture beyond the screen. Experience it. Photograph it, even. Share it. Encourage others to do likewise. We can't fix the big problems, but we can try to appreciate more of the world and lessen our dependence on the increasingly invasive technology. Especially that with has corporate interests at heart which are more important to "them" than you are.
The next time you feel the urge to check your followers or who you're following, don't. Just... don't.
In the northern hemisphere, it is Autumn and it is beautiful. So step outside.



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David Pilling, 27th October 2015, 14:44
Well done for managing to build Ovation. 
As to the future, china's social credit system might just have beaten your predictions. A single number based on your data that says how worthy you are. 
Alan nx Robertson, 31st October 2015, 00:14
Good work mate. Good to see it improved.
Rick, 31st October 2015, 23:01
I have contacted Aaron (who appears to be sorting out the software of the late David Holden) to ask about how things should progress.

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