[icon] Messages

Most computers have boot files to set up the computer as required when it if first switched on. Unfortunately, these files often take a while to run, and the user is left staring at the "RISC OS 3, Initialising..." screen. Messages adds a small amount of randomly chosen text to this screen for users to read while they are waiting. These text items could be anything- jokes, quotations, poems, trivia questions etc. Details of how to create your own can be found at the end of this help file.

If the text is a question, the question can be displayed while the computer is booting, and the answer displayed in the desktop.

Messages should not be run from the desktop in the usual way. Instead, it should be included at the start of your boot sequence.

Installing Messages

Pre-Risc PC machines:

  1. Copy the !Messages application onto your hard disc if your have one, or onto your Boot/System floppy (drag its icon from one directory display to the other)
  2. Locate your !Boot file. This will be in the root directory of your hard disc, or your boot disc if you do not have a hard drive. (If you have not got a !Boot file at all, read page 109-110 in the RISC OS 3 user guide which tells you how to create one.)
  3. Hold down SHIFT and double click on !Boot. A text editor window will open containing your boot file

Risc PCs:

  1. Copy the !Messages application onto your hard disc
  2. Hold down SHIFT and double-click on !Boot
    Then double-click on 'Choices' then 'Boot'
  3. Hold down SHIFT and double click on the file called 'Desktop'. A text editor window will open containing the file

    All machines:

  4. Type the word 'Run ' on the top line (the space after this is important, but do not include the '' marks. Do NOT press return)
  5. Hold down SHIFT and drag the !Messages icon from the directory display to the text editor window (the window where you just typed Run).
  6. A line similar to the following line should now be at the start of your boot file:
    Run ADFS::HardDisc.$.Programs.!Messages
  7. Save the file (press F3 then Return).

If you now re-boot your machine (Ctrl-Break), some text should appear under the RISC OS 3 banner while you are waiting. If this was a quiz question, the answer will be displayed in a window when the desktop appears.

Messages is supplied with a small program named CheckCtrl. You may want to include this right at the end of your boot file. This allows you to pause the desktop by holding down Ctrl so that you can read long pieces of text. If you are not holding Ctrl, the program does nothing and the desktop is entered as usual.

Creating your own text

A few example pieces of text are included with Messages, but you can quite easily create your own. Shift double-click the !Messages icon to open the Messages directory. In this directory you will find a text file, appropriately called 'text'. You might want to make a copy of this in case you make a mistake.

You can edit this text file as you wish. Once the edited file is saved, you must double-click on !Update in the messages directory, otherwise the application will not function correctly. Each time Messages is run, an item of text is chosen at random from this file.

A guide to the syntax of the file is given below:

To include a question with an answer, use the following format.
For example:

What are the capitals of the following?
  1. France
  2. Germany
  3. Spain
  1. Paris
  2. Berlin
  3. Madrid

The first four lines are the question, and will be displayed under the welcome banner.
The next line is just a '?'. This tells Messages that the text is a question and an answer is required. This will not be displayed with the text.
The line after this ('Quiz') is used in the title of the answer window in the desktop. You do not have to include a title, but you must leave a blank line instead.
The next four lines are the text for the answer. The question and the answer will be displayed in the desktop.
The '\' indicates the end of the text.

For further examples, please look at the text files provided with Messages.

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