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Home > Archive > Issue 16 Current Issue: No. 286 (03 June 2012)
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 |-------------------------- Acorn News Service --------------------------|
 |                     http://www.acornusers.org/ANS/                     |
 |            The Acorn News Service is an independent service.           |
 |  It is in no way connected with, or supported by the Acorn Group PLC.  |
 | ISSUE 16                                             19 September 1998 |
 |     Editor: E.Abrahams                 ------  eytan@acornusers.org    |
 |     Sub-Editor: J.Sears                ------  james@acornusers.org    |
 |     Webmaster: R.Hesketh               ------  richard@acornusers.org  |
 |      To send in your news items or comments, use the ANS website,      |
 |                 or e-mail them to ans@acornusers.org.                  |
 |     >> Random site pick this issue: http://www.convergence.org/<<     |
 |                   ANS.....Better than ever before!                     |

 1) Editorial
 2) General News
 3) Commercial News
 4) PD/Shareware News
 5) Club News
 6) ANS information


You've heard about it. You've read about it. Yep! It's our new Sub-Editor.
We're very glad to welcome James Sears.

We're now "back to normal" with an expanded man power team. With James now
on board, we are confident that we will continue to provide the high quality
service we are proud of.

Richard is planning some major additions to the website. As far as the site
goes, the updates have been a little slow but this should improve now
Richard has no Sub Editing worries... just more work from his job! ;-)

In general, the ANS membership numbers keep on going UP. We are very proud
of this, as more people are subscribing, and only one person unsubscribed in
the past month! At just over 450 members, we're THE fastest growing Acorn
mailing list.

A few new ideas are being planned as I write this. More to come as time
goes on.

Until then, enjoy!


General News

 1) RC5 crackers...

  There is an Acorn specific team on the RC5 cracking effort - team "Acorn
  Users Group".

  If you feel like joining in on the team, boosting the Acorn Users score,
  feel free to sign up on the website http://www.distributed.net/

  They also have a mailing list, see below for details.

 2) RC5/DES Mailing List

  A mailing list has been set up for people using the distributed.net
  clients to crack RC5/DES on Acorn computers. For anyone interested in
  talking about the available clients or related subjects, you can join the
  mailing list by sending an e-mail to maillist@alphapro.demon.co.uk with
  the *subject* of 'SIGNON acornrc5'.

  This mailing list is open to all people in the contest that are in some
  way connected to Acorns. This includes people in the 'Acorn User
  (cracking) Group', 'Arcade BBS (cracking group)' and of course 'ant.org'.

  If you don't understand what this is all about, have a look at
  http://www.alphapro.demon.co.uk/Acorn/rc5des.html for for information on
  helping Acorns be recognised and being a part of the world's largest

 3) AcornSite - Let others know when your site is updated

  AcornSite has just been updated, with a new part called 'Update'. It is so
  that you can let other people know every time you web site is updated.

  All you do is fill in a form on the page each time you make an update to
  your web page. Enter your URL and changes that you have made, and your
  update is added to the current list.

  It should help to show which sites are regularly kept up-to-date and how
  big the changes are to the site.

  If you have just updated your site and would like to be added to the list
  follow the 'update' link on AcornSite at http://www.visitweb.com/acornsite

 4) comp.{binaries/sources}.acorn website update

  Just to let you know the comp.{binaries/sources}.acorn website has been
  updated yet again and a few bugs removed from the pages (it's now super
  happy of WebsterXL).

  Updated software

  VZap 1.33 - Now recognises 5 new families of virus as well as many new
  strains of old viruses. Also has a better filer handling system.

  New software

  NetUtils - A patch to load NetUtils, BorderUtil and FilerUtil.

  VProtect 3.10 - a replacement version of the Pineapple Software antivirus

  Voyager - A new set of sprites for Voyager.


  The site will be going down in the next fortnight for a day or so - I'm
  rejigging the pages again as I can now split the files up even further
  (eg Antivirus, internet etc) - it should make things easier to navigate.

  Uploading & FTP

  You can upload to the website via anon ftp now. The software gets
  forwarded to me and I'll send it to the moderator of the c.b/s.a ngs.
  URL at the end. Anon FTP is still the same.

  TTFN, comp.binaries/sources.acorn website commandant.

  ftp://ftp.acornusers.org/pub/cbsa/incoming/ (uploads)

Commercial News

 1) Phoebe (RiscPC II) Update

  [Following Acorn's restructuring and cancellation of the RiscPC 2 project
   this is now out of date... just as Phoebe was looking better than ever
   with the large discount and great software bundle :-(  It is interesting
   to note that some of RISC OS 4 appears to work on RiscPCs. -JS]

  Production units of Acorn's new computer, Phoebe, are not expected until
  the end of October due to delays in silicon production of the new IOMD2
  chip. This means it is unlikely dealers will receive units to exhibit at
  Acorn World, although Acorn intend to have some functioning machines on
  their stand. Registered developers will receive parts of RISC OS 4 to
  allow compatibility testing before the actual machine is available.

  Phil Smith, VP of Operations at Acorn, said: "We're extremely disappointed
  about these delays in the silicon which have arisen from unforseen
  problems in the supply chain in the Far East. These problems have now
  been resolved and we now have samples of the IOMD2 chip for testing.
  Unfortunately however, these delays have resulted in slippage on

  Acorn is also allowing Clan and user group members a discount of up to 28%
  on new Phoebes. Clan members can place a deposit of up to GBP500, and
  Acorn User Group members of up to GBP400, and the total price of the
  Phoebe will be reduced by that amount. For details see Acorn's web site

  The updated Phoebe specifications published by Acorn are interesting,
  especially some of the software which Acorn hope to include: EasiWriter
  Pro, MIDI players, speech recognition, Java, Shockwave 4, OmniClient, ICA
  Client, Replay III and MovieFS. These seem to be aimed at providing
  maximum compatibility, on the Internet, other networks, and for various
  file formats. Also games Iron Dignity, Descent and Ankh will probably be
  included, in contrast to !Patience of earlier machines. Read in full at

  From the Convergence non-Wintel newsletter, reprinted with permission.

 2) STB/NC 

  Acorn have signed an agreement with a Canadian software company, ImagicTV,
  to provide Acorn acTiVe Digital Video Receiving Devices (DVRDs) in the
  first commercial roll-out of a broadcast TV solution over existing copper
  telephone wires. The multi-million dollar deal incorporates Acorn's
  delivery of 10000 acTiVe DVRDs to ImagicTV in the next nine months.

  Acorn also announced the next phase in their strategic partnership with
  Boca Research for the development and distribution of thin-client
  computing devices. The agreement is based on Acorn's new thin-client
  terminal reference design, DeskLite, which provides access to Microsoft
  applications via MetaFrame and WinFrame software for Windows NT.

  Anthony Zalenski, President and CEO at Boca Research, said "We are
  delighted to be working with Acorn on this venture. The projects we have
  undertaken with Acorn in the past have convinced us of their technological
  advancement and professionalism. These factors, coupled with Boca
  Research's manufacturing capabilities and marketing skills, ensure a
  bright future for this new range of thin clients".

  Source: Convergence International Newsletter - http://www.convergence.org/

3) ARM's new low cost evaluation board

  ARM recently announced a new low cost evaluation board, fulfilling the
  growing need of people new to the architecture who want to experiment with
  out high expenditure. The ARM Evaluation Board, AEB-1, is now widely
  available for $150, and includes documentation, serial cable, power
  supply, and a 60 day evaluation version of the ARM software development

  The board features a Sharp LH77790 microcontroller with ARM7DI 32 bit RISC
  CPU core, LCD controller, common peripherals controllers, cache, and local
  SRAM. Also on the board is 128K SRAM, 256K FLASH, JTAG Debug port, serial
  port, LEDs and bus access.

  Source: Convergence International Newsletter - http://www.convergence.org/

4) Power-tec PowerFlash Upgrade for Cumana SCSI II card owners!
  Yes exactly what you've been waiting for; the ability to re-engine your
  Cumana SCSI II card performance to Powerful Ultra SCSI III.

  Simply bring along your Cumana SCSI II card to Stand 65 at Acorn World and
  our technicians will replace your old SCSI II chip with a powerful State-
  of-the-Art Ultra fast SCSI III controller IC while you look around the
  Show. For your peace of mind, your SCSI card will be thoroughly tested on
  site to ensure data integrity. Indeed, we are so confident in the product
  that we are giving a new 12 month hardware warranty with every PowerFLASH
  SCSI III upgrade, just like new! Your goods will be ready for collection
  as you leave the Show.

  This new powerful SCSI III Controller IC is backwards compatible with
  SCSI II devices, so there's no need to worry. Simply plug your new
  SCSI III card into your Acorn computer, run the installer software and
  your SCSI devices, such as hard discs, scanners and CD ROM drives will
  work as before.

  ...and the price for this remarkable upgrade?

  Just GBP49 excluding VAT.

  The PowerFLASH upgrade requires your Cumana SCSI II card to be returned to
  Alsystems for upgrade.

  The Power-tec PowerFLASH Upgrade is PRICED AT GBP49 plus GBP5 postage and
  packaging (excluding VAT).

  To order your Power-tec PowerFLASH Upgrade either:

    * Place a web order at: http://www.alsystems.co.uk/order/
    * E-Mail an order:      sales@alsystems.co.uk
    * Phone:                +44 (0)1420 561111
    * Fax:                  +44 (0)1420 561100

  All Trademarks acknowledged. Without prejudice.

  If you have further technical questions please e-mail:

 5) SunBurst 

  SunBurst is now available and shipping. The game works on ARM2 and over
  and requires a minimum of 2MB RAM. There is a HD and a DD version.

  Details on the game and downloadable demo are available from:


 6) Epson Stylus Photo700 and PhotoEX drivers from Spacetech

  1440 dpi 6 colour PhotoReal drivers now available from Spacetech Ltd.

  Epson Stylus PhotoEX and Epson Stylus Photo 700 now supported, other 6 ink
  printers in the pipeline.

  Spacetech have announced, that their new perceptual remodelling algorithm
  for rasterising bitmap printer dumps has now been applied to the latest
  1440 dpi high resolution Epson Stylus Photo printers, the A4 Photo700 and
  the A3 PhotoEX.

  The Printer driver makes use of the same Colour Management System (CMS)
  normally found in PHOTODESK to produce high quality four colour
  separations from the output of any RISC OS application, and included with
  the printer driver is a calibration utility to allow the experienced user
  to manipulate the colour interpretation of the application.

  These drivers mean that Printers supported so far are the Canon BJC4200,
  BJC4300, BJC4550, BJC4650, Epson Stylus Photo, Stylus Photo700 and Stylus
  PhotoEX. Work continues on the Canon BJC7000.

  PhotoReal is supplied free of charge when bundled with a printer purchased
  from Spacetech. It is available for GBP69.00 incl VAT to users who have
  already purchased a supported printer elsewhere.

7) Management Buy-out of Acorn User

  As of 9th September 1998 the ownership of Acorn User magazine passed from
  IDG Media to Tau Press Ltd in a management buy-out led by Steve Turnbull,
  who has been the magazine's editor since early 1996. This has occurred as
  part of an overall strategy, on the part of Steve and his partners, to
  reinvigorate the entire Acorn market.

  IDG Managing Director Ian Bloomfield said: "While Acorn User is still
  profitable it's not a natural fit with the rest of our portfolio which is
  now clearly split between PC and Console titles. When Steve suggested the
  buy-out we were happy to go along with the plan and will be giving him all
  the production support he requires."

  The new company, Tau Press Ltd, is backed by two successful entrepreneurs,
  Piers Springthorpe and Aidan Carlson.

  From the readers' viewpoint there will be little change initially, said
  Steve: 'All the regular contributors will still be there, the articles
  will remain at the same high standard plus the competitions and special
  offers will keep rolling in  "if it ain't broke don't fix it"'.
  Distribution will remain the same as well.

  Steve Turnbull (40) Production Director, has been in magazine production
  for the last 13 years moving from lowly Editorial Assistant up to full
  Editor in just 5 years, being responsible for the production of over 100
  magazine issues. He has a technical background, with a degree in Computer

  Piers Springthorpe (31) Marketing Director, started with stock market
  trading; through a position as a sales director for a manufacturing
  company  growing its business dramatically in just three years; to a
  London-based management consultancy then one based in the Northwest.

  Aidan Carlson (35) Sales Director, is a sales powerhouse whose additional
  skills had him promoted to management early in his career. With his own
  business consultancy he had over 50 clients in the Northwest.

  Other staff joining Tau Press are Lisa Bracewell (Advertising Sales) and
  Alan Jones (Art Editor) who have both worked on Acorn User before. Charlie
  Moran (Production Manager) and Stephen Scott (Expansion Manager).

  For the time being neither the address nor telephone number for Tau Press
  will change, as its offices are in the same building as IDG Media.

  Address: Acorn User
           Tau Press
           Media House
           Adlington Park
           SK10 4NP

  Phone  : 01625 878888
  Fax    : 01625 850652

 8) New Mag

  With new management at Acorn User and the intention to make it into a real
  Acorn Mag and not MacAcorn User and also to promote Acorn in ways as yet
  to be divulged I have decided to abort New Mag. Many thanks to those who
  had shown an interest in the project.

  All best wishes Roy.

  Roy Robinson / ACD Press / Birdtech
  Acorn Computer/Design/Print/Publish
  Tel: 01493 600966 Fax: 01493 442445
  Email: birdtech@argonet.co.uk

PD/Shareware News

 1) Calendar for 1999
  There is a calendar for 1999 in draw format, it is a his and her type
  planner in a months format so that both of you can put in reminders of
  what you have got to do next.

  It is all so useful for Desktop Publishers feel free to use it as you
  like, you can alter the fonts to what suits you.

  You can download it from http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/mmartin/

 2) New StrongHelp BASIC manual released

  A major overhaul has been given to the StrongHelp BASIC manual. Find it
  at http://home.eunet.no/~guttorvi/strong.html

 3) StrongED 4.54 released

  Version 4.54 of the text editor StrongED is available for download from:

  There are no major changes since 4.52, but quite a few minor improvements
  and bug fixes. These include:

    * When 'advanced' syntax is used in any of the search boxes, it is
      resized to show a collection of the most-often used elements, together
      with a short reminder of what each element does. 

    * The download archive now contains an alternative configuration
      directory where all modes are configured to white-on-black. Second,
      in the config box for a mode, you can now select a complete colour
      scheme (press Menu) instead of setting the colour of the various
      elements one by one.

    * The block edit / 'indent' routine now edits lines based on the caret's
      graphical position, and not it's character offset. This means it now
      works sensibly in lines with TAB characters.

    * The StrongED manual has been restructured internally, so that you now
      can press F1 to get help on keywords and functions when you edit a
      mode file (when using the supplied StrongMode mode).

 4) UplHome Version 1.24

  UplHome is a freeware program that creates FTP scripts for !TCPIP (KA9Q),
  freenet FTP and sFTP. It is used to send updates from your local copy of
  your web site to a remote FTP server. It only sends the changes since the
  last upload.

  Other features include:
    * Changing timestamps in html files.
    * Reporting on "orphan" links in your web site. Reports will improve in
      the next version.
    * Old file deletion from remote server.
    * Downloads count.txt and banduse.txt for Demon users.
    * Works with Demon, Argonet and any other ISP supporting FTP as a method
      to update web pages.

  Browse to http://www.tilmun.demon.co.uk/club/roy.htm to download,
  register, fill in the wish list questionnaire and join the mailing list.

 5) SR2000 Track Editor

  After many months of waiting, !SRDesign is now available. It is based on
  !Design, the original FedNet track editor with a few differences:

    * Fully multitasking - runs in desktop

    * Much more user friendly

    * Supports Interactive Help

    * Automatic bounding boxes

  It and many more programs available for download NOW at the Acorn
  SymbioSyS website at http://ocean.ucc.ie/99/oshea/acorn/

 6) Replayer 1.0.0 -- a Replay sound library

  Replayer 1.0.0 has just been released.  Replayer is a library for using
  the Acorn Replay sound drivers, and for playing the sound part of Acorn
  Replay files. Two example command-line programs (useful in their own
  right) are provided, one which plays raw sound data, the other which
  plays Replay files (with a few bells and whistles).

  It might be useful if you want to add Replay sound playing to an
  application. Using the Replay sound drivers also lets sound players work
  with both 8-bit and 16-bit sound systems. The non-driver parts of Replayer
  are portable, so it could be used as the basis for a Replay player for
  other platforms.

  Replayer has the novelty feature of being able to play Replay files
  backwards. Combined with CDAudio, this could be used to play CDs backwards
  to search for satanic messages. :-)

  Replayer includes source code (as usual), and can be downloaded from:

 7) MouseOff & MagPi-Mo'


  MouseOff is a small module which disconnects the Mouse module during
  screen blanking to prevent unwanted powering up from accidental mouse

  MagPi-Mo' is combination of magnifier, pointer-info and mouse-setter in
  just 24K (+32K when the magnifier window is in use).

  Magnification 2x to 9x, adjustable window size, cross-hairs in any of 16
  colours plotted by Set, Or, And or Eor, to provide good visibility against
  almost any background, or turned off.

  Pointer info gives information on up to 13 window and icon parameters and
  can be configured in any combination as long as at least one is showing.
  Units can be set to OS decimal or hex, Pixel decimal or hex, centimetres
  or inches.

  Mouse-setter allows quick setting of the mouse speed from 1 to 8 and also
  allows toggling to X=0, Y=0 or X=Y=1, on pressing the Alt Gr (right Alt)
  key. the latter function can be switched off.

  Settings can be saved and restored.

  Other free downloads include a Hermetic font containing Greek and Hebrew
  characters; and astrological, gaming and other symbols.

 8) High resolution Nuclear Holocaust released

  Nuclear Holocaust is a multiplayer player sideways-view tanks game. Use up
  to 22 different weapons, and a host of accessories, shielding and more to
  blow up your enemies without getting blown up yourself.

  Firing consists of pointing your tank's turret in the desired direction
  and clicking on OK. You also set up the power of the shot, and whether or
  not to use a variety of extras you can tack onto the weapon, not to
  mention moving about (using fuel), using parachutes to prevent rather
  embarrassing falls, your shields, and best of all, the weapon itself. It
  is possible to play with up to 4 players, any of which can be computer or
  human controlled.

  The latest version can be downloaded at the new Acorn Arcade Nuclear
  Holocaust pages - direct link:

  Changes in this version

  2.01-2.55 : (not in chronological order)

    * High resolution implemented
       - allocates required memory dynamically allowing any resolution the
         computer is capable of
       - new high res menu and title graphics
       - menus now use a nice anti-aliased font instead of the big blocky
         blue one
    * CD music implemented
       - can use any CDFS drive
       - autodetects CDFS and number of CD tracks
       - autodetects changes to CD during game
       - randomly selects tracks rather than letting CD run
       - pressing 'M' at any time now selects a new track
       - maintains balance control over volume (retains initial state)
    * All new selection of hefty tracker music
       - Autodetected and optional
       - No more dodgy Smooth Criminal remix
    * Wimp interface
       - set screen resolution
       - toggle autointerlacing in low resolutions
       - select music, set default CD drive
    * Teleporter weapon
       - Tanks teleport in and out at start + end of games
       - use of weapon saps shields and works over limited distance
    * Sine wave grasslands
    * Nice, new, neater pointer
    * Value change bug on SA's fixed
    * Less parachutes + shields in arcade mode
    * Speech autodetected
    * Added worms/tanx style power setting (optional)
    * Renamed '/NUCLEAR/ HOLOCAUST'

 9) Version 3.10 of my "mkdrawf" utilities

  Release 3.10 of "mkdrawf", my tool for creating drawfiles, is now
  available. It's enormously better than the previous released version
  (3.09); the main changes are:

    * Syntactic improvements:
       - The ability to write expressions in infix notation
       - *Sensible* passing of parameters to macros
         (These two alone make a *big* difference to how nice mkdrawf
         is to use.)
       - A much nicer For loop syntax (two, even!)
       - Symbolic names for common colours
    * Semantic improvements:
       - Some new mathematical operators
       - Specification of JPEG objects is easier
       - Support for circular arcs
       - Some bugs fixed
    * Cosmetic improvements:
       - Manual reformatted and brought up to date
       - Error handling is *very* slightly better
       - Debugging is slightly easier

  You can get it by anonymous FTP at:

  or on the web at:

  For those who don't know: "mkdrawf" is a powerful tool for making Acorn
  drawfiles; it is a (rather nasty) programming language in its own right.
  It comes with a tool that turns drawfiles into "mkdrawf" input files; it's
  sometimes useful to do that, munge the file with perl somehow, and then
  use "mkdrawf" to produce a modified drawfile.

  Warning: if you want the Impression version of the manual to look nice,
  you'll need to install a few fonts; details are in the web page mentioned
  above, or you can just grab ftp://g.pet.cam.ac.uk/pub/software/goudy.arc
  or ftp://g.pet.cam.ac.uk/pub/software/goudy0.zip which is smaller, but
  then you'll need to do some *SetType's.

 10) VNC Server

  The forth release of the VNC server has been uploaded to:

  Anyone who fetched release 3 is strongly advised to get this version as it
  fixes a nasty memory leak.

  What's VNC? "Virtual Network Computing" is a system which allows you to
  access one networked computer from another. The desktop from the server
  appears in a window on the client. There's links to more info at the above

Club News

 *Brought to you in association with The Association of Acorn User Groups*

 The AAUG website provides details of all the user groups worldwide, and
 how you can benefit from becoming a member. For more information, visit:


 1) Re-launch of NKACC

  The North Kent Amateur Computer Club has been around for quite a while,
  meeting in various venues South East of London. It has been a little quiet
  for a while, so they have arranged a get-together to see old friends and
  hopefully to welcome new members.

  The meeting will be on Thursday 24th. September in the Memorial Hall,
  Woodland Way, Petts Wood, Orpington, 8.00pm 'till 10.00pm. Doors will open
  from 7.30, and refreshments will be available. (The hall is near the pub
  in Station Square, which is our other main venue!)

  A map of the area is linked from:

  The Club consists of a bunch of friendly pro-computer people, who enjoy
  chatting about what makes all kinds of new technology tick.

  Historically, the Club has gone through Amiga, Acorn, Apple and Wintel
  phases, with a liberal sprinkling of various pocket/notebook machines
  along the way.

  Currently, members have experience of Acorn and Wintel machines, running
  all the major OSs. We hope that members will bring their machines and
  their friends to meetings so that we can all learn about them, especially
  if they are a bit unusual or innovative.

  We want to know what you want from a club, so please bring along your
  ideas as well as your machines.

  If you are not a member, please make yourself known to a committee member,
  and we will tell you more about the club.

  If you just can't make the 24th but want to be kept informed about future
  meetings, please send an email to ricnev@argonet.co.uk and you will be put
  on the mailing list.

 2) News from Fraug

  The Fraug is The French Acorn User Group. On their web site you can now
  find some examples which illustrate how to implement a preemptive
  multi-threading and it now works under the latest versions (>3.5) of
  RISC OS! (from Benoit Gilon)

  Fraug's website contains nearly 3Mo of software for RISC OS.

  Email : fraug@mygale.org
  Web   : http://www.mygale.org/~fraug/

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