Category Archives: RISC OS & Acorn

pi-topRO – the new RISC OS portable computer

It has been a long time coming but Fourth Dimension (4D) is now pleased to announce that we are able to supply the first RISC OS portable computer since Acorn’s A4 (launched in 1992).

Based on the ‘pi-top’ and incorporating the Raspberry Pi model B[1].
Extensive work has been undertaken to add full RISC OS support.

pi-topRO in Grey
pi-topRO in Grey

Specifications:
Screen: 13.6″ HD Screen 1366×768 (1360×768 on RISC OS)
Battery Life: 10+ hours
82 key keyboard
16GB microSD card with RISC OS 5
Power saving features!

RISC OS software included:
RISC OS 5 installed
!PowerOff – Turns power off at shutdown
!SpkrSetup – To enable the speaker
!BatteryMon – Reports battery usage including estimated time left
!Brightness – Controls screen brightness
Custom MDF
Screensaver – turns screen power off
!HID with custom setup file

Complete system with Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, software as above, speaker, RTC, and nano WiFi router £499 including UK delivery.

More details and purchasing information is available at www.cjemicros.co.uk/pi-topRO

Available for immediate despatch.

The keyboard is 86% the size of a RiscPC keyboard. As with most portable/small keyboards some compromises have had to be made, the function keys are accessed using a ‘Fn’ modifier key. Break and most normal keys are available.

Update for pre announcement purchasers: The ‘Fn’ modifier key will work correctly if in !Configure you set ‘Num Lock’ OFF! NB. Not having to use the ‘pi-top’ modifier key also seems to significantly reduce spurious key entry and repeats. Thanks to Jon Abbott for spotting the cause.

The system is also available without a nano WiFi router and/or speaker. Software and hardware upgrades are available separately for users who have already purchased a pi-top.

Software and hardware upgrade kits for the pi-topCEED coming soon!

[1]Users can choose the latest model Raspberry Pi, the Pi 3, or go with the Pi 2 for currently greater software compatibility.

Job Vacancy at CJE Micro’s/4D **Updated**

Vacancy Title: IT Support Technician

Working with Raspberry Pi’s and RISC OS. What’s not to like!

UPDATE: “Summer holiday vacancy” now available. The information below about our permanent vacancy will give an idea of the work and hours for the summer vacancy.

Vacancy Description
As an IT Support Technician you will have the opportunity to become a key member in our small team and it may include a formal College based Apprenticeship.

CJE/4D has been at the leading edge of the computer hobbyist market using Acorn and Raspberry Pi Computers for over 30 years, selling and refurbishing legacy systems and the latest products worldwide. We have a number of new projects we are working on that you will be part of.

Duties will include:
Testing new product lines for compatibility with our systems, RISC OS & occasionally Linux (Raspbian)
Assistance with computer repairs (n.b. Not Windows PCs or Apple, mainly RISC OS Computers)
Assistance with finding sources of components including obtaining datasheets
Testing and refurbishment of second hand computer systems
Processing web/eBay & phone orders
Testing new products for Raspberry Pi / RISC OS compatibility
Helping support Raspberry Pi & RISC OS users
Assistance with new product development (most involving Raspberry Pi’s).
Adding new and second hand items to our product website database, eBay and Amazon including testing, photographing items and searching for and including specifications
Assistance with creation of company blog, technical postings and tweets
Undertaking administration activities to ensure effective, efficient and compliant operation
Checking stock levels and assistance with ordering
Developing the necessary knowledge and skills needed to achieve the above

Age: 16+

Skills Required
A good technical understanding and general knowledge of how computers work.
Good communication skills.
Willingness to keep technical knowledge updated in order to provide the most efficient service possible.
Confidence in problem solving.
An understanding and general knowledge of computers.

Qualifications Required
GCSE Grade C or above (or equivalent) in Maths, English and preferably ICT

Personal Qualities
Candidates must have a keen interest in computers.
Effective interpersonal skills (questioning and listening).
Adaptable to change.
The ability to work on your own initiative and as part of a team.
Be of smart appearance with a friendly and positive attitude.

Vacancy Location:
78 Brighton Road, Worthing, BN11 2EN

Working Week: 40hrs Mon-Fri 9-5.30 plus occasional weekend exhibition work
Weekly Wage: National Living Wage/Apprentice Rate, with the possibility of an increase depending on ability and experience.

Start Date: Immediate or by agreement.

Future Prospects
We expect the successful applicant to be a full time permanent member of our team.

Apprenticeship Training
We will discuss with applicants the possibility of the role being part of an apprenticeship (from our recent experience we are not fully convinced of the suitability of currently available apprenticeship courses to this position). The closest suitable courses are: Level 2 or 3 IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Apprenticeship Framework.

Please send CV (preferable as a PDF): chris@cjemicros.co.uk

Job Vacancy (possibly as an Apprentice) at CJE Micro’s/4D

Vacancy Title: IT Support Technician

Working with Raspberry Pi’s and RISC OS. What’s not to like!

Vacancy Description
As an IT Support Technician you will have the opportunity to become a key member in our small team and it may include a formal College based Apprenticeship.

CJE/4D has been at the leading edge of the computer hobbyist market using Acorn and Raspberry Pi Computers for over 30 years, selling and refurbishing legacy systems and the latest products worldwide. We have a number of new projects we are working on that you will be part of.

Duties will include:
Testing new product lines for compatibility with our systems, RISC OS & occasionally Linux (Raspbian)
Assistance with computer repairs (n.b. Not Windows PCs or Apple, mainly RISC OS Computers)
Assistance with finding sources of components including obtaining datasheets
Testing and refurbishment of second hand computer systems
Processing web/eBay & phone orders
Testing new products for Raspberry Pi / RISC OS compatibility
Helping support Raspberry Pi & RISC OS users
Assistance with new product development (most involving Raspberry Pi’s).
Adding new and second hand items to our product website database, eBay and Amazon including testing, photographing items and searching for and including specifications
Assistance with creation of company blog, technical postings and tweets
Undertaking administration activities to ensure effective, efficient and compliant operation
Checking stock levels and assistance with ordering
Developing the necessary knowledge and skills needed to achieve the above

Age: 16+

Skills Required
A good technical understanding and general knowledge of how computers work.
Good communication skills.
Willingness to keep technical knowledge updated in order to provide the most efficient service possible.
Confidence in problem solving.
An understanding and general knowledge of computers.

Qualifications Required
GCSE Grade C or above (or equivalent) in Maths, English and preferably ICT

Personal Qualities
Candidates must have a keen interest in computers.
Effective interpersonal skills (questioning and listening).
Adaptable to change.
The ability to work on your own initiative and as part of a team.
Be of smart appearance with a friendly and positive attitude.

Vacancy Location:
78 Brighton Road, Worthing, BN11 2EN

Working Week: 40hrs Mon-Fri 9-5.30 plus occasional weekend exhibition work
Weekly Wage: National Living Wage/Apprentice Rate, with the possibility of an increase depending on ability and experience.

Start Date: Immediate or by agreement.

Future Prospects
We expect the successful applicant to be a full time permanent member of our team.

Apprenticeship Training
We will discuss with applicants the possibility of the role being part of an apprenticeship (from our recent experience we are not fully convinced of the suitability of currently available apprenticeship courses to this position). The closest suitable courses are: Level 2 or 3 IT, Software, Web and Telecoms Apprenticeship Framework.

Please send CV (preferable as a PDF): chris@cjemicros.co.uk

Job vacancy at CJE Micro’s/4D

Job vacancy at CJE Micro’s/4D

UPDATE: We’ve now teamed up with Northbrook College to offer this post as an apprenticeship. For further information please contact me (Contact details below).

Established in 1982 we used to sell Model B’s, that is Acorn BBC Micro Model B’s!
Having always specialised in Acorn and RISC OS Computers (not Windows or Apple) we now sell what we believe is the world’s largest range of Raspberry Pi accessories. With our expanding range and plans for systems based on the Pi Compute module we need to add another member to our small team. The role will be as a junior member so will probably suit a school/college leaver.
We have a retail shop, though most of our sales are now received via the phone or from our online store or eBay shop.
40 hours a week. The position is permanent. Initially the salary will probably not be much more than the minimum wage.

Duties will include:
Receiving & checking deliveries
Processing web/eBay & phone orders
Testing new products for Raspberry Pi compatibility
Helping support Pi users
Adding products to our large product database that we use for our website
Adding products to our eBay shop

Please send CV (preferable as a PDF) to:
chris@cjemicros.co.uk

Chris Evans

Backing up $.!Boot on the same drive could save you money?

The newsgroups and forums often have postings from people whose RISC OS computer isn’t booting properly due to problems within $.!Boot. Reverting to an older copy of !Boot often fixes the problem, but when was the last time you backed up !Boot to elsewhere on your main drive?

Having backups elsewhere is very important but the backup may not be accessible without the computer booting correctly. e.g. if stored on a NAS or another computer and your networking isn’t working! Over the years customers have ended up paying us for telephone support or had to bring/send their computer to us after something went wrong in their $.!Boot and they were unable to fix it themselves. Keeping a same-drive copy of $.!Boot makes it a lot easier to recover from a non working $.!Boot and could save you money and a lot of hassle.

We recommend making a copy at least every six months and also every time you make significant changes such as updating from RISC OS 5.19 to 5.20 or 5.21.

Create a $.Utilities.Copy!Boot directory, then inside that directory create another directory with OS version followed by the date in yyyymmdd order e.g. 521-20131230 to give $.Utilities.Copy!Boot.521-20131230

If you use !NewsDir/MessengerPro, Ghostscript(PrintPDF) or anything else that stores large amounts of data inside !Boot see note [1] below first.

[A] Copy $.!Boot into the created directory e.g. $.Utilities.Copy!Boot.519-20131230.
If you moved anything temporarily out of $.!Boot MOVE that back in now.

Now would be a good time to make a copy of your CMOS, using !SaveCMOS or on later versions of RISC OS press Menu button over the Configuration window!
After making the copy why not clear out the contents of !Scrap then shutdown and restart your computer to check all is well.

After you have done it a few times over the months/years you may want to delete some of the other older copies to free up disc space.

In the future if you end up with the computer not fully booting then:
Rename $.Boot to $.Duff!Boot and then COPY (not move unless disc space is too small) your latest backup of the latest !Boot you have back to the root directory of your boot drive. If you previously had !NewsDir in $.Resources MOVE that back from $.Duff!Boot. Reboot

If you are using a dual partition SD card to boot from e.g. PandaBoard, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBoard etc. then do not do the above, as a special process is required. I will blog about this soon.

Chris Evans

Notes

[1] GhostScript/PrintPDF is 32MB and !NewsDir, which is part of MessengerPro, can become very large (100MB+). By default both are stored in $.!Boot.Resources.

If you have lots of spare disc capacity and time you could use the simple method above at [A], otherwise !Ghostscr and !NewsDir can be moved out temporarily or permanently to make it easier to copy $.!Boot.

If moving !NewsDir, ensure no email or news transfers can take place. e.g. Quit Messenger Pro & NetFetch (Hermes/POPStar), or unplugging the network cable is one sure way! If after making the changes, backing up, rebooting and running Messenger Pro you get a message about creating a NewsDir DON’T.
Go back and make sure !NewsDir is seen before Messenger is run.

If the move is temporary I’d suggest moving it to the root directory of your boot drive e.g. so it becomes $.!NewsDir. Now proceed to [A] above.

If you want to avoid having to move it in future then it can go anywhere on a local drive but if you have a $.Internet, $.Comms or $.Utilities as appropriate. Do ensure that they are ‘seen’ (filer booted) before !MessengerPro/!PrintPDF is loaded, so during booting is best. The contents of $.Utilities, $.Apps and $.Utilities are filer booted during booting automatically. Remember where you put them and if you have a technical query with MessengerPro it may worth mentioning.
You can now go back to [A] and make your backup.