The fully RISC OS compliant Teletext+ software displays teletext
pages in a window and happily multi-tasks alongside other programs. The user
can choose pages either by entering a 3 digit page number on the keyboard,
by using the on-screen keypad, by using the on-screen menu listing of page
names or by clicking on a page number on the teletext page. For example, the
News index usually lists 20 news stories, each with a description and a page
number, and each story can be quickly accessed by simply clicking on the
relevant page number.
(90k) is available showing most of the important features.
Page Cacheing for Fast Access
The major problem with traditional teletext systems is the speed of
accessing teletext data on a television set, or using a typical computer
system can be quite tedious. After entering a page number it can often take
25 seconds before the page is available, simply because the teletext
provider transmits each page in turn.
The Octopus Systems Teletext+ software avoids this problem by storing
pages in a cache, ready for future use. The user can specify the size of the
cache, but anything from 100K to 600K is reasonable.
Pages are automatically stored in the cache as they are received. A list of
wanted pages can be stored on disc and the software will step through this
list, grabbing the wanted pages. It does this transparently, in the
background, without affecting the normal use of the teletext system. If the
user selects a page manually then that page will be retrieved from the cache
if possible, otherwise the system will grab the page and display it.
Some pages, such as television programme listings continue over several
sub-pages. On a traditional teletext system it can be quite tedious waiting
for the right sub-page to appear and remembering to press the HOLD button
when it is displayed to stop it changing.
Teletext+ stores all of the sub-pages for each page as they are received
and allows you to step forwards and backwards through the sub-pages. Cinema
pages, share price listings and gig guides with 10 or 20 sub-pages can
now be used quickly without any tedious waiting. Simply choose the page
and use cursor left and right until you reach the sub-page you want.
The system logs every page number you request, and keeps a score for each page.
If you look at a page quite frequently the score will grow quite large
and the system will give that page a high priority, grabbing it as soon
as it can. If you stop reading a particular page, the score will slowly
decay and eventually the system will stop grabbing it automatically. The
scores are stored on disc automatically when you quit (or shutdown).
When grabbing pages for the cache the software automatically changes
channel, so it can grab pages on all of the channels you use.
In practice the system can grab about 6 teletext pages per minute. Letting
the system 'warm-up' for 10 or 20 minutes means the most of the pages
you read will be ready for immediate access. After an hour you will hardly
ever need to wait for a page.
Pages can be saved to disc as videotext (teletext pages), sprites, plain
text or Impression DDF files. Teletext pages can be re-loaded into
Teletext+ while sprites and text files can be loaded into other
There is also a menu option (and a script command) to save all of the
sub-pages within a page as a single text file. This is especially useful for
saving pages containing large lists such as index pages, share prices,
events guides and feature articles etc.
Keyword searching automatically searches for keywords as pages are
received. Different pages and groups of pages may be searched for different
keywords. It is quite easy to set up separate page groups for TV, Radio,
News, Weather, Shares, Cinema etc and then search any combination of these
groups for specific words or phrases. You could simply put all of the pages
into one large group, but this is not always ideal as it can produce
unwanted finds. For example, you may want to search the music pages for the
pop group Thunder, but you don't want to be told when the weather page says
there is thunder in Scotland (or vice versa!).
Page numbers are all 4 digits, the first digit being the channel number.
Changing the keyword file is quite easy, and you can soon build up a large
list of keywords to search for things like: TV programmes; radio programmes;
actors and producers; music; local cinema and theatre; film news; share
prices; weather warnings; pollen counts; local news. Once the keywords have
been set up you will find the system constantly telling you about
interesting news stories, events or television programmes that you would
otherwise have missed. Some sample keyword script files are provided to get
When a keyword is found in a teletext page it is displayed in a text window
beside the main teletext window. Each entry shows the page title (as defined
in the script file), the page number (including sub-page number), the
keyword itself, and the line in which the keyword occurred. Clicking on one
of these lines causes the teletext page to be displayed and the line
containing the found keyword is flashed for a couple of seconds to help you
find the reference.
Automatic Data Logging
As well as searching for specific keywords in pages, it is possible to
log values on disc. When a keyword is found that line, or just the next
value, can be appended to a text or CSV file. Their is also an option to
include the date, and to suppress multiple entries, so if you run
twice in one day it won't record the information twice.
This is ideal for recording daily weather information or share prices, and
the resulting files can easily be loaded into a spreadsheet. Commands can
also be placed in the script file to save pages (with multiple sub-page),
lines or values to a file and the filename can be generated from the current
date to make it easy to log data daily.
Setting the Computer Clock
Teletext+ can set the computer's clock from the Television
Service Data Packet (TSDP) which is broadcast along with the teletext pages.
It can also be configured to check the system clock against the teletext
time whenever it is run and warn if it is inaccurate, or if summer time has
started or finished.
Some teletext pages have Email or WWW addresses and Teletext+ will
pass these on to the ANT Internet software when they are clicked.
Saving Share Prices
Teletext+ can now save share prices in a format suitable for the
Apricote Shares4 or Shares5 program. You don't need to transfer the shares
file every day as Teletext+ will append the share prices to the data file
on a daily basis and the data can then be incorporated into the portfolio
database when needed.
An Example Script
As an example of the power of the script language:
This defines a group of pages with the name "Television". This means
that subsequent searches can simply refer to this group name rather than
the full list of pages. If the page numbers change you only need to change
it once in the group definition. It also allocates names to the pages
so that matching keywords can be listed in context with the page name.
#search Television ; Search the television group
Star Trek ; Display line in keywords window
Scuba diving ; if these keywords are encountered in
Ipswich ; any of the television pages
This makes this system search the television pages for the phrases "Star
Trek", "Scuba diving" and "Ipswich&. The comparisons
are case insensitive and strip out punctuation, so &Scuba-diving" would
also match. The matches are displayed in a separate window. See the screenshot
for an example.
#savealltext "TV#p" Television ; Save all television pages to disc
This would save all of the television programme listings (defined in
the television group) with each page saved in a separate file
and the filename is generated automatically using #p to insert the
page number (#s can be used to insert the sub-page number, #d to insert the
date and #t to insert the time). All of the sub-pages for BBC1 today would be
saved in the file "TV1601" with each sub-page appearing one after another in
the correct order.
#after 3106 grass pollen
+2 East Anglia
This command searches for the "grass pollen" listings on ITV page 106.
Once it has found that phrase it then searches for East Anglia. This
prevents the system from listing all of the other air quality statistics
that appear on page 106 and just lists the pollen count. The +2 makes
the next two lines appear in the keywords window so you can see the
value without actually going to that teletext page.
#file "Acorn" 4532
This searches for the word AcornCmpt on the share price page and then
appends the value it finds to the end of the CSV file "Acorn" along with
today's date. After a few days the file would look like this:
Teletext+ can remind you when your favourite TV or radio programme is
about to start. If it finds a keyword on a TV or radio programme
page then it looks for a start time and sets an audible alarm (with a 5
minute warning) to remind you:
It can handle multiple alarms and alarms still work in the
background so you can still use teletext while it is doing the keyword searching and
A simple command is included in the script file to enable this:
This causes the system to set an audible alarm whenever a time is
encountered in a keyword match on a page where the title contains the
word "Today". For example, if the BBC1 listings include:
1800 Star Trek: Picard meets the Borg
The system would set an alarm for 5:55pm (5 minute pre-alarm) causing
this line to appear in a teletext alarm window (the Acorn Alarm application
is not used as any unacknowledged alarms block subsequent alarms).
Alarms are audible but use a different sound to the standard alarm
application and they clear themselves automatically after an hour.
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