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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 24                                               10 January 1999 | 
 |      To send in your news items or comments, use the ANS website,      | 
 |               or e-mail them to ans@ans.acornusers.org.                | 
 |          Random site this issue: http://www.archivemag.co.uk/          | 
 |                  >>>> 1999...The Year For Acorn! <<<<                  | 

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

  1999 is bound to be exciting for Acorn users world-wide. It's either going 
  to be take off...or landing. Whatever it is, let's hope it's good! With
  RISC OS 4 just around the corner, and many more exciting projects from
  committed Acorn companies, it's just time to wait and see.

  Don't forget that ANS are doing their part as well. With the new
  discussion list which has been named ADL, you can have your say on any
  Acorn matter... just subscribe with two clicks on the ANS site. Many new
  features are in development. One you are sure to have seen and heard of by 
  now, is the new feature article being hosted on the ANS site each month,
  courtesy of the best Acorn magazine... ARCHIVE MAGAZINE.

  Keep on using the Classified ads section on the ANS site, and keep the
  site bookmarked to check for future features.

  Keep on sending in those news items...which never seem to come! Remember, 
  even if you "think" someone else may have sent in the same article, send
  it in anyway. It's bound to help. Any new versions of software, hardware, 
  new developments etc... we want it ALL!


  Editor, ANS

General News

 1) Acorn sells stake in Xemplar

  8 Jan 1998 - http://www.acorn.com/acorn/news/press/xemplar.html

  Acorn Group plc, the technology holding company, today announced that its 
  wholly-owned subsidiary, Acorn Computers Limited (ACL), has sold its 50%
  interest in educational IT supplier, Xemplar Education Limited, to its
  joint venture partner, Apple Computer. The transaction values Xemplar at
  GBP6m and ACL's cash proceeds are GBP3m.

  During 1997, Xemplar recorded a pre-tax profit of GBP0.2m and its net
  asset value at 31 December 1998 is estimated at GBP4.2m, with ACL's share 
  at GBP0.1m and GBP2.1m respectively.

  Proceeds will initially be placed on deposit but will be used to finance
  further development of ACL, which, during 1998, announced its intention to 
  focus on the multimedia and digital TV markets.

  Commenting on the deal, Stan Boland, Chief Executive of Acorn Group plc
  said: "The disposal of our stake in Xemplar was a natural step, given
  ACL's business focus. It reinforces our commitment to becoming a major
  player in the rapidly growing digital TV market."

 2) Frobnicate Issue #18

  Issue 18 of Frobnicate, a pro-ARM technology and RISC OS magazine released 
  as an Ovation file, was recently published.

  Contents includes:
    * Editor's Page, discussing Acorn futures
    * Dictionary - part 'C'
    * A matter of sorts (an article on sorting methods by Jon Ripley)
    * Announcing: The Lincs AUG
    * Ovation Pro (demo version available from WWW site)
    * Frobnicate Awards 1998

  The "semi-serious magazine for semi-serious Acorn enthusiasts" is
  available from  http://www.heyrick.co.uk/frobnicate/ . Ovation readers are 
  available from  http://www.beebug.com/software/ovation.html  or for high
  memory machines  http://www.netlink.co.uk/users/beebug/software/ovpro/ .

 3) Acorn BBS List

  An updated list of Acorn BBSs is now available from the Arctic BBS website 
   http://www.arcticbb.demon.co.uk/ . Acorn BBSs with web sites include:

    * Arcade (London) http://www.arcade.demon.co.uk/
    * Arctic (West London) http://www.arcticbb.demon.co.uk/
    * CCl4 (Hull/London) telnet://fish.ccl4.org/ http://www.ccl4.org/
    * Heaven telnet://heaven.affection.net/ http://www.heaven.affection.net/ 
    * Plasma Sphere (Cheshire) http://www.tpsphere.demon.co.uk/

 4) Acorn Comic Relief Auction update

  More software has been added to the the Great Acorn Auction in aid of
  Comic Relief:
    * OwlArt Unlimited have donated 3 copies of their OwlArt package.
    * Serious Statistical Software have donated a copy of their brilliant
      1st Jnr package (and if you're and educational establishment, they 
      will include a GBP250 site licence for free)
    * Akalat Publishing have given a subscription for Acorn Publisher and
      also a copy of their TaskForce ClipArt CD.

  Make a bid for these items or any others now! For details and a list of
  items and current bids see  http://www.acornusers.org/comicrelief/ . So
  far bids worth over GBP740 have been received. The closing date is 5th
  March 1999.

Commercial News

 1) New Artex webpage, news about Artex games

  The Artex webpage has been re-designed. New information about TEK for the 
  NetStation and the RiscPC, a well as brand new information about the now
  well known Iron Dignity can be found at: http://www.artex.oaktree.co.uk/

  Also the release of the tactics and jump'n'run game 'BotKiller 2' is
  scheduled for January 1999, so you should be able to buy the game in a few 
  weeks. You can now also find information about this game on the website.

 2) Clares are on the move

  From tomorrow (Monday 11th January 1999) Clares Micro Supplies new contact 
  details are:

  Clares Micro Supplies
  75a Webbs Lane
  Cheshire, CW10 9DS

  Tel.   01606 833999, fax 01606 836111
  Email. sales@claresmicro.com
  Web.   http://www.claresmicro.com/

 3) New Digital Art CD Tutorial from Spacetech

  At BETT 99 Spacetech will release a new tutorial for Photo Processing and 
  Artwork on CD-ROM. This will complement the existing Photodesk Accessory
  CD-ROM but does not reproduce any of the material on it. Included is a
  comprehensive tutorial for Acorn's Draw - the vector based line art

  David Cowell of the Digital Art Centre in Dartington, Devon, has produced 
  this package in response to many requests for learning material to
  complement Photodesk. Although he uses Photodesk for all his work, the
  principles he discusses and illustrates are general ones and would apply
  to almost any reasonably well featured bitmap editor, not only on RISC OS 

  He also includes a 3 part (beginner, intermediate and advanced) tutorial
  about how to produce attractive and sophisticated artwork using vector
  based drawing packages. Again, although he uses Draw from Acorn, the
  techniques he demonstrates should apply to most drawing packages.

  Included on the CD are copyright free images to illustrate the tutorials. 
  These are of sufficiently high resolution to be printed and framed for
  display. The tutorials which are presented in Multimedia Textease are
  reproduced as OHP carousels for those who might like to use them to
  illustrate talks or demonstrations.

  The Introduction to Digital Art CD by David Cowell is available from
  Spacetech Ltd for GBP24.95 inc. VAT. For details see Spacetech's web site 
   http://www.spacetech.co.uk/ .

 4) Spacetech at BETT 99

  Spacetech are showing their range of studio quality graphics software for 
  RISC OS, along with associated hardware at BETT 99. A new version of
  Photodesk, PHOTODESK 3 LAYERS, the award winning photo-retouching and
  original artwork package is to be demonstrated at BETT along with 2 new
  accessory CDs which include extensive tutorial material and school

  Entirely new models of Digital camera from Olympus are also on show with
  PhotoLink software for Acorn, MS Windows and Mac. Another new software
  release from Spacetech at this year's BETT is OHP, a brand new CD-ROM
  based Presentation package for RISC OS.

  For details see http://www.spacetech.co.uk/

 5) LOOKsystems Winter Sale

  LOOKsystems have gone completely mad this year and combined the discounts 
  that would have applied at Acorn World with their usual seasonal discounts 
  to come up with some very special offers.

    PRODUCT                       RRP  SALE

    Monotype Library (Packs 1-8)  480   125
    Monotype Pack                  60    20
    Font Directory Pro v3.03       65    35
    Font Directory v2.01           45    25
    Disc Rescue v1.52              45    30

  All prices are in GBP and include VAT and UK P&P. Note LOOKsystems do not 
  have credit/debit card facilities. Sale ends 14th January 1999. Contact
  adrian@looksystems.demon.co.uk, tel/fax: +44 (0)1326 318279.

 6) Acorn User magazine contact details

  All e-mail addresses have changed from @idg.co.uk to @acornuser.com. The
  full list of new e-mail addresses can be found on the Contacts page at

  Also a page of new information, of interest to both new and current
  advertisers, is now up and running at the Acorn User website. The page at 
  http://www.acornuser.com/issues/ads.html contains all the information you 
  need to know about the types of adverts AU can accept, and the deadlines
  by which they should be submitted.

PD/Shareware News

 1) New releases form Skullsoft

  * New Version of Nomen
    Nomen is a filename tidying program. It can tidy file names so that, for 
    example, 'nOMen' becomes 'Nomen' etc. It can also optionally strip
    filename extensions. The new version (1.03) fixes several bugs that were 
    present in the last version. http://www.eganc.demon.co.uk/skullsoft/ for 

  * Partial solutions for 'Arya: The Dragon's Quest'
    'Arya: The Dragon's Quest' is Skullsoft's shareware text adventure. It
    has lots of digitised graphics, interactive puzzles, people you can talk 
    to and much more. See http://www.eganc.demon.co.uk/skullsoft/arya.htm
    for details.

    A partial solution for the unregistered version is available from

  * Xenocide update
    If anybody still has version 1.00 of Xenocide, they should upgrade to
    v1.01. The new version fixes two small, but significant bugs that caused 
    the game to crash.

    There is a (small) patch available to upgrade version 1.00 to 1.01:

    Xenocide is a shareware upwards scrolling shoot'em up. It can be
    downloaded from http://www.eganc.demon.co.uk/skullsoft/

 2) Web site management utilities

  Updates to local website management utilities:

  * Validator v0.37
    Easy to use "Linter" for checking web pages for embarrassing HTML
    errors, locally before uploading. Now generates "Throwbacks" (to eg Zap; 
    if you have DDEUtils).

  * LinkCheck v1.29
    Checks all links and references within (the local copy of) a website.
    Originally devised for a "modest" site (eg, < 100 pages, plus a couple
    of hundred other files); but an editable "!Choices" file enables this
    limit to be extended to a few hundred HTML pages and a few thousand
    total files.

  * CopyAfter v0.08 (new addition)
    Originally devised as a sort of "Copy if newer" backup utility but with 
    greater flexibility on choice of "borderline" date; this is particularly 
    suitable for creating an "incremental upload" from the latest changes to 
    (the local copy of) a site.

  These, and other utilities by John Alldred, are freeware available from:

 3) Announcing Wimp2, a preemptor for RISC OS

  Niall Douglas has announced that the first release of the preemptive
  multitasker for RISC OS, Wimp2, should be available on 20th January 1999. 
  This module permits the construction of preemptively multitasked programs 
  for the Acorn RISC OS desktop and is fully compatible with the existing
  cooperative multitasker present in RISC OS.

  Wimp2 is fully compatible with all versions of RISC OS from RO2 to RO3.8
  (the forthcoming RO4), and existing cooperative applications can be ported 
  to the new preemptive multitasker usually without much difficulty.

  Also included in the release is a patch for normal Wimp calls, making them 
  call the preemptive multitasker SWIs instead. This allows a minority of
  existing unmodified applications to be preemptively multitasked.

 4) FreeTime V1.10 released

  Version 1.10 of FreeTime, a small program that will connect to an Internet 
  time server and then set your computer's clock to the correct time, is now 

  The main changes since the last version are support for autosetting the
  GMT/BST flag, a StrongHelp manual, better accuracy over slow connections, 
  and a configuration program.

  The 'normal' version is available at:

  There is also a companion module available that can act as a server for
  FreeTime - useful for running on the gateway machine between the Internet 
  and your internal network, to serve FreeTime clients on the rest of the
  network. This is called 'Tserver', and is unchanged from the first release 
  (0.01 / 26-10-97), except that the archive now includes the source code as 

  Both of these, and other programs, are available from:

 5) New BBC Emulator released

  BeebIt, a new BBC Model B Micro Computer emulator for RISC OS, has been
  released. It can be downloaded from  http://www.voyager.co.nz/~mikef/  -
  just follow the BBC Emulator link.

  Being a first release, this is intended to show what work has been done on 
  it so far, and what it will be able to do in the future. It is by no means 
  complete but will run a good many BBC games, even Elite. So far it has
  only been tested on a RiscPC with StrongARM processor.

  Any feedback on the emulator would be appreciated. You can contact the
  author at  mikef@voyager.co.nz .

 6) WritableUtils version 0.23

  WritableUtils version 0.23 is now available at

  WritableUtils is a module which provides two features to writable icons
  under RISC OS.

  The first is that it allows keys to be remapped - particularly useful for 
  those who sometimes use other operating systems in which the roles of
  'delete' and 'end' are significantly different. Much software allows the
  function of each key to be defined, and Olly Betts' LineEditor allows this 
  for the command line. This module allows it for writable icons.

  The second is that it provides an interface to the global clipboard, so
  text may be copied to and from other compliant applications such as Zap.

  This is a beta release and the author  rav21@cam.ac.uk  would be very
  grateful for feedback on it.

 7) AutoFocus, TitleMenu, Nice, ShiftResize and other utilities

  Here is the current status of some of Vincent Lefevre's patches/utilities 
  (and a description, for those who do not know them), all available from

  * AutoFocus 1.09 (03 Jan 1999)
    No need to click on windows any more to get the focus! This module has a 
    special support for panes, dialogue boxes (with writable icons) and
    block selection.

  * TitleMenu 2.05 (22 Nov 1998)
    This utility allows you to bring up a menu consisting of a directory and 
    its ancestors by clicking on the title bar of a window with the Menu
    button. The leaf directory is either given by the window title (filer
    window or an editor window) or the application directory; in the latter 
    case, the Help file is added to the menu if there is one, to get help on 
    the application.

  * Nice 1.00 (24 Nov 1998)
    Nice is a small utility that provides a very simple priority system on
    Wimp tasks, a bit like under Unix. Written because the RC5DES client was 
    slowing down the author's machine, and Nice solves this problem quite

  * ShiftResize 2.00 (07 Sep 1998)
    If you click on the toggle size icon while the shift key is pressed, the 
    icon bar will not be obscured. A bit of the CMOS memory allows to invert 
    this behaviour. This patch allows to change this bit and extends this
    feature to any kind of resize.

  * WatchTV 1.03 (22 Aug 1997)
    A small application allowing to watch TV (or, more generally, video
    images) full screen for the owners of an Eagle M2 card (and a TVtuner). 
    Miller's algorithm (Siggraph 84) is used to improve the image quality.

  * DMPatch (08 Aug 1997)
    Patch for RISC OS 3.7 that allows you to choose the frame rate from the 
    Display Manager.

  * TopIconBar (10 Aug 1997)
    Allows to bring the icon bar to the foreground with the mouse.

  * Other utilities
    rbd (random backdrops), crc (16-bit CRC of files), logring (logs the
    phone ringings if you have a modem), accounter 1.03 (system usage
    accounting utility).

  All the programs are distributed with their ARM source. They have been
  written for RISC OS 3 (and optimized for RISC OS 4), but some of them
  should work (or partly work) under RISC OS 2.

 8) Socketeer 0.14 beta

  There is a new release of Socketeer, the Internet dialler, for those who
  are not on the mailing list. For details and to download see

Club News
         *Brought to you 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) North Kent Amateur Computer Club

  The next NKACC meeting will take place on Thursday January 14th 1999 at
  Petts Wood Memorial Hall. This will be an OPEN EVENING, so please bring
  along your machines to show off, or to discuss any little problems you
  might have - we can have a play and probably confirm that you DO have a
  problem! If you are extremely lucky, you might even find someone who knows 
  what to do about it (although getting a sensible solution out of them
  sometimes proves to be a bit of a challenge!).

  For details see http://www.humperdink.demon.co.uk/nkacc/

 2) Southampton Acorn Users Group

  The next meeting of Southampton AUG will be held on Monday 11 January 1999 
  at Itchen College, First Floor, Middle Road, Sholing, Southampton from
  1900 to 2100 hours. All are welcome! Entry is free.

  For further information, please contact either Dave Higton, e-mail
  davehigton@arcade.demon.co.uk, on Arcade BBS, or 'phone 01703 222312
  (evenings/weekends); or Ted Lacey, e-mail tedell@argonet.co.uk,
  01703 325560.

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