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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: RISC OS Interviews - Hilary and Matthew Philips

RISC OS Interviews - Hilary and Matthew Philips

Posted by Mark Stephens on 13:31, 3/12/2016 | ,
We continue with our series of interviews with people in the RISC OS world. In this interview, we catch-up with the team behind Sine Nomine software (Matthew and Hillary Phillips).
If you have any other questions, feel free to join in the discussion.
If you would have any suggestions for people you would like us to interview, or would like to be interviewed, just let us know....
How long have you been using RISC OS?
Matthew: My sixth form college got a few Archimedes running Arthur, which were then upgraded to RISC OS 2 soon afterwards. I wrote a single-tasking application to plot magnetic fields, which was much faster than the BBC Masters being used in physics even though it was BASIC. I also had fun writing a chat program that worked across the college Econet with versions for Beeb and Archimedes. There was even a chatbot that took other people‘s sentences and remixed them. I didn‘t really get back into RISC OS until 1998.
Hilary: My father (a physics teacher) got a BBC B when I was about 10, and that was the computer I grew up with; my school also had Beebs. I didn‘t meet RISC OS until ten years later when I started going out with Matthew, whose parents had recently acquired a RiscPC. I remember designing a new logo for the Oxford University Gilbert and Sullivan Society (they don't still use it, sadly!) using Draw on their RiscPC. I got into programming using Matthew's old Amstrad CPC, which was the only computer we had when we got married. We got a RiscPC ourselves after Acorn pulled the plug on the Phoebe on my birthday - thanks for the present guys. I then started to learn Wimp programming in BASIC (first public software released in 2001) and moved on to C later in 2001.
What other systems do you use?
Matthew: Linux mainly, including various servers at work, Windows on my work desktop.
Hilary: Android phone; Linux on a laptop; occasionally Windows on a secondhand laptop.
What is your current RISC OS setup?
Iyonix (main computer), RiscPC (for Sibelius and so the kids can play our old games), ARMX6, Beagleboard, Pandaboard (chiefly for RiscOSM development and map data conversion).
Do you attend any of the shows and what do you think of them?
Matthew: I tend to get to Wakefield and London each year. It is very good meeting people who use our software. It‘s a shame we don‘t have time to implement all the good ideas people have, but it‘s great to know that it‘s appreciated.
Hilary: I usually get to go to Wakefield with Matthew; I went to the South West show once on my own with a heavy cold and it was hard work! As a stall-holder you don‘t get a lot of time to go round the other stands even when there are two of you. We‘ve always been pretty busy since we released RiscOSM.
What do you use RISC OS for in 2016 and what do you like most about it?
Hilary: RISC OS is our main system so we use it for everything we can. We fall back on Linux or Windows when necessary, e.g. using PayPal, or websites required by school which don‘t work on NetSurf. I like being able to drag and drop just about anything from one application to another.
Matthew: I like the three-button mouse, image filing systems, and applications being packaged in a disguised directory. Plus the way that windows don‘t take over the whole desktop. I know Microsoft called their operating system "Windows", but it does its best to let you only use one at a time!
What is your favourite feature/killer program in RISC OS?
Hilary: Sibelius 7. And Zap.
Matthew: RiscOSM — I‘m allowed to say that, because Hilary wrote it. And NetSurf, of course.
What would you most like to see in RISC OS in the future?
Hilary: Transparency in colours in Draw and the DrawFile_Render module: that would be very useful for RiscOSM.
Matthew: Open-sourced 32-bit Sibelius 7.
Favourite (vaguely RISC OS-releated) moan?
Matthew: Probably shouldn‘t bring it up, but it‘s just a shame all that work on RISC OS Select will probably never be seen on RISC OS 5.
Can you tell us about what you are working on in the RISC OS market at the moment?
Hilary: Some extra puzzle types for Wrangler, which I‘d like to have finished before I produce my annual Christmas puzzle booklet for distribution round the family. And of course further improvements to RiscOSM!
Matthew: Bits behind the scenes to help Hilary. I have several ideas for nice projects, but I‘d need to be made redundant to get any time to work on them!
Any surprises you can't or dates to tease us with?
Hilary: No...
Matthew: Or yes, but we can‘t tell you...
Apart from iconbar (obviously) what are your favourite websites?
Matthew: As Easy As Riding A Bike
Hilary: Talyllyn Railway
Santa Claus is a regular iconbar reader. Any not-so-subtle hints you would like to drop him for presents this year (assuming you have been very good)?
36-hour days?
Why "Sine Nomine" and how do you pronounce it?
Sine Nomine ("sinay nominay") is Latin for "without a name". When we were trying to think of a name for ourselves that was the best we could come up with.
Sine Nomine website
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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: RISC OS Interviews - Hilary and Matthew Philips