|-------------------------- 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 25 24th January 1999 |
| To send in your news items or comments, use the ANS website, |
| or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. |
| Random site pick this issue: http://www.arcade.demon.co.uk/ |
2) General News
3) Commercial News
4) PD/Shareware News
5) Club News
6) ANS information
25 and still counting.....ANS is going strong, but where is Acorn? Have we
left them behind? Let's hope we see some major developments in '99. Now
nearly a month into '99, Acorn companies only have another 11 months to
prove themselves! LET'S SEE IT!!
The ANS site is being constantly updated, and new features are due out
soon. Remember that we now feature some great reviews from Archive
magazine, sometimes before they are even published!
ADL had a little set back over the past few weeks with some technical
problems. These have now been solved, and we're waiting for you to start
the discussion! Join the growing membership now! Just follow the simple
procedure to join on the ANS site.
Enjoy this issue of ANS, which James has once again put together so well.
1) Acorn launches Element 14
14 Jan 1999 - http://www.acorn.com/acorn/news/press/element14.html
Acorn Group plc (LSE:ACN) today announced that its 100%-held operating
company Acorn Computers Limited is adopting a new name, Element 14 Ltd
Element 14 is targeted on the creation of next generation silicon and
software Intellectual Property (IP) for multimedia devices, initially
focused in the digital TV market. In addition, the company is aggressively
growing its sales of the Active range of highly interactive digital TV set
top boxes - specifically to telecom network owners.
The new name was selected because it represents the core values of the
company. Silicon is the 14th element on the periodic table. Elements are
the basic building blocks of matter, and Silicon is the building block of
The rebranding is a culmination of six months of rapid transformation,
involving a major restructuring and the development of a very strong
focus. Recent milestones include the recruitment of a leading silicon
design team (previously at ST Microelectronics) and a design win for
10000 Active set top boxes to ImagicTV, for the first commercial roll-out
of a broadcast TV solution over existing copper telephone wires. During
this period, Acorn has also undertaken a controlled de-emphasis on desktop
products, highlighted by the recent sale of Acorn's 50% shareholding in
Xemplar - an education joint venture with Apple.
The Element 14 brand will encompass the following product areas - the
Active range of highly interactive digital video receivers; development of
silicon and software IP for the DiTV market; as well as continuing support
for multimedia terminals and desktop workstations. Only the desktop
workstations will continue to carry the Acorn brand, and will be
manufactured in line with market demands.
2) Coder's Revenge disc/demo magazine
The much missed Coder's Revenge disc magazine has returned, for one issue
only, to coincide with the Evolution demo competition. Coder's Revenge
contains articles on writing demo effects, optimising ARM assembler,
reviews of recent demos, previews of the Evolution entrants, and much
Download from (http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/~pat/dfi/dfi_code/cr_evol.zip).
3) Evolution Demos now available for download
As mentioned in the February edition of Acorn User magazine, the full set
of Evolution Demo competition entries are now available for download from
Acorn Arcade for users without CD-ROM drives.
The URL is: http://www.acornarcade.com/features/demos/evolution/
You can also check out the new Heretic/Hexen preview and more at the
usual URL (http://www.acornarcade.com/).
4) Icon Tech software users discussion group
A mailing list for users of Icon Technology's software products
(TalkWrite, EasiWriter and TechWriter) has been created.
The list is hosted by eGroups (http://www.egroups.com/), which means that
short adverts (of about two lines) are occasionally appended to
subscribers' contributions. The list has no connection with Icon
Technology itself other than as a discussion group for users of its
Use the joining form (http://xmm4.xra.le.ac.uk/acorn/index.html#IconTech)
or alternatively send a blank message to email@example.com.
5) Acorn FTP Mirror
The Acorn FTP site (ftp://ftp.acorn.co.uk/) is now mirrored at HENSA. The
mirror's URL is http://mic2.hensa.ac.uk/cgi-bin/browser/mirrors/acorn/
1) World Factbook CD ROM available
Interconnex are pleased to announce the availability of a new CD ROM title
- World Factbook - for RISC OS users.
The World Factbook CD ROM gives you data on over 260 countries and
geographical regions. The RISC OS frontend allows you to browse satellite
maps of the world, and reference maps of continents and individual
The main factbook viewer presents all the data you could ever need on a
country. Areas covered include: Physical Geography, Population, Economy,
Government, Communications, Transport, Military and Transnational Issues.
Information which can be exported from the viewer is in the public domain
(the viewer is not). The viewer requires a machine with 4MB of RAM and
RISC OS 3.5 (or RISC OS 3.1 with a modern Boot).
The current price is GBP20. For orders placed after 1999-02-01, (or
overseas orders) please add GBP2 for P&P. A site licence version is also
Further details are on the web site (http://www.interconnex.co.uk/).
2) Zenta Multimedia: sale and new web site
Zenta Multimedia announces a new look website and a New Year Sale. All CDs
can now be purchased for as little as GBP5.
Font Emporium // ClipArt Collection // Symphony Masterpieces // Photo
Album Movies Super CD // Demos Super CD // Audio Super CD // Graphics
Super CD Application Mega CD // Fun 'n' Games Mega CD
All of the above titles are now only GBP15 each. And as a very special
offer, if you feel like buying more than one additional CDs will cost just
GBP5 each, providing the purchases are made at the same time. You may have
as many extra CDs for GBP5 as you wish.
The Zenta Multimedia (http://www.zenta.freeserve.co.uk/) website has just
undergone a major reworking. Full details of all of the above products are
now featured, including many example pictures.
3) MelIDI trade-in offers
Liquid Silicon are pleased to announce a special trade-in offer on MelIDI
for owners of other sequencers.
MelIDI is an easy to use but highly capable PowerSequencer for Acorn
computers, with at least RISC OS 3 and 2MB RAM, and retails at only
GBP129.00 including VAT & UK carriage.
Features include: no track limit; 192 MIDI channel support; easy to use
drag-and-drop editing; reads and writes standard MIDI files (0 and 1);
user friendly - select instruments by name; graphical map displays allow
you to simply draw in tempo, pitch bend or any other controller changes
using the mouse; powerful transformation functions; expandable, flexible
plugin interface (eg for sample playing, light driving, lyrics etc).
A selection of quotes from current users, plus a fully working demo and
manual of the current release are available from the MelIDI web site at
Future developments of MelIDI include text objects (and lyric support),
sample playback, timecode support, recording on multiple channels and so
As a special offer to users of other programs, Liquid Silicon are offering
a discount of 20% against MIDIWorks Lite (Oregan), Music Studio 32
(Longman) and Serenade (Clares) and 30% against the full MIDIWorks. See
http://www.cybervillage.co.uk/acorn/liquid/ for details.
4) Convergence print now available unframed
Following on from the release last year of the framed 'Convergence'
limited edition (150) print by Astute Graphics, due to a number of
requests the signed and numbered print is now also being made available
By eliminating the cost of the frame, special packaging and courier
postage, the print is now available for the reduced price of GBP75 (no
VAT) which includes roll package, postage to the UK and certificate of
authenticity. The print itself is identical to the framed variety and is
still part of the limited edition sequence.
The print dimensions are 45cm x 51cm and are on 200gsm semi-gloss quality
art paper. As the original was produced at an excessive resolution of
600dpi, the crispness and clarity is outstanding. The print is also fully
colour calibrated, thereby ensuring the reproduction is absolutely
faithful to the original.
The final result is a picture that grabs attention and maintains interest
Examples of the image may be found at:
* Astute Graphics website (http://www.astutegrfx.demon.co.uk/).
* Acorn User Convergence advert in issue 203, page 48.
* Acorn User issue 201 front cover.
* Photodesk 3 publicity material and tutorial CD.
The image itself was constructed using Spacetech's Photodesk on a RiscPC
and the process is covered in an on-line tutorial found on the Astute
website as well as the new Spacetech tutorial CD. Request forms and
further details may be found on the Astute website.
5) Heroes Of Might and Magic 2 Update
R-Comp Interactive is pleased to announce the availability of an update
for the top-rated Heroes of Might and Magic 2 game.
The new patch is available from the game downloads section of the R-Comp
web site (http://www.rcomp.co.uk/).
The main additional features include AGG updates to support random map
generation in the level editor, additional support for the creation and
play of "oversized" XL maps, and auto-switching of the front end between
a memory-saving version for 8MB users, and the full graphics mode for
users with more RAM.
The good news is that all this has been crammed into a 15KB update patch,
so it's well worth grabbing this update ASAP!
6) January 1999 issue of Acorn User
The January 1999 issue is out in the shops. This issue is the first of two
consecutive issues to carry a cover CD-ROM. It contains a set of movie
trailers in Replay format, among which is Blade, Lost in Space and Little
Voice. The movies will work only on the Risc PC and A7000+ machines.
There is also a copy of the great public domain game Infestation, where up
to four players can team up and help prevent the spread of deadly alien
species across the planet.
More details can be found on the Acorn User website,
7) PICsuite expanded to include simulator
Jaffa Software's group of PIC software (PICsuite) has now been expanded to
include a simulator - to improve development time by only committing to
hardware at the last stage.
The package includes: assembler, disassembler, programmer (with hardware
board connecting to the printer port), and tracer, all for under GBP100.
See http://www.york.ac.uk/~rps102/pics/picchips.htm or Jaffa Software's
web site (http://www.jaffasoft.co.uk/) for details.
8) Tau Press acquires Archimedes World magazine
18 Jan 1999 - http://www.tau-press.com/
As of 13th January 1999, Tau Press Ltd became the owners of long-running
Archimedes World magazine, previously published by Nexus Special Interests
Nexus recently ceased to publish Archimedes World and offered the title to
Tau Press. While the sales of Archimedes World make it unsuitable to
continue to publish as a separate entity it will be incorporated into
Acorn User from the March 1999 issue.
All AW subscribers will receive Acorn User instead, those who have dual
subscriptions will have their issues remaining with AW added to their
issues on Acorn User. Retail distribution of Acorn User will be increased
to fill the gaps left by Archimedes World.
Some of the articles intended for Archimedes World will now be used in
Acorn User however the AW regulars will not be included as they already
have counterparts in Acorn User.
Tau Press would like to take this opportunity to state their continuing
support and confidence in the RISC OS market.
9) Interconnex Peanut update
Due to chip supply problems Interconnex (http://www.interconnex.co.uk/)
have had a bit of delay in production of the Peanut RISC OS portable.
Firstly the PCMCIA bridge chip was marked as a "Mature product" by Cirrus
Logic which meant that it would only be available in quantities of 6000.
Some time was spent trying to source an alternative part (there isn't
one). However this decision has apparently been revoked and that
particular chip will now be available after all. Unfortunately the same
cannot be said of the Floppy Disc Controller (and hard disc, serial port,
CD controller) combi chip. It is no more, so Interconnex are currently
working out how to use a different FDC chip. This will inevitably lead to
delays as any necessary redesign work is completed.
10) TriLink v1.44 released
Users of TriLink v1.40 and above can upgrade to the latest version (1.44)
by visiting the updates section of the Bajorasoft web site
The main new feature in this version is that it now has support for
Viewdata bulletin boards such as Heaven and CCl4.
11) XStitch Sovereign
iSV Products is delighted to announce the launch of XStitch Sovereign, an
improved cross stitch design package. This new product builds on the
success of XStitch 2 and offers even more features.
Included are all the features of XStitch2, along with backstitch support
and a WYSIWYG preview mode that shows the design as it will appear when
stitched (including any backstitch). Other new features include a motif
library, that allows pre-defined motifs to be pasted into a canvas. Users
can also design their own motifs and store them for later use. Outline
fonts can be used to add text to the canvas.
Sovereign costs GBP35.00 plus carriage (GBP1.50 UK, GBP3.50 overseas).
Upgrades from earlier versions of XStitch cost GBP15.00 plus carriage.
Contact iSV Products on 01344 455769 for more details.
A demo version is available at http://members.aol.com/isvproduct/
1) Announcing Translator 8.01
Translator 8.01 adds BMP output support and improves BMP input support.
Translator is a pixel image viewer, processor and converter, all in one.
It is able to read and write a wide variety of pixel image formats, while
also providing a good set of processing functions with which these images
may be enhanced and manipulated.
Translator can read AIM, BMP, CadSoft, Clear, Degas, GIF, IFF, IMG, Irlam,
JPEG, MacPaint, MTV, PBMPlus, PCX, Pineapple, PNG, QRT, Sprite and TIFF
formats. It can write BMP, Clear, GIF, JPEG, PBMPlus, PNG, Sprite and TIFF
formats. All new Sprite formats are supported.
Translator 8.01 is shareware and available now from
2) Wimp2 - pre-emptive multitasking
Wimp2, the preemptive multitasker for RISC OS, is now available from
* Fully configurable millisecond accurate time slicing.
* Support for VDU redirection and FP register usage.
* A Wimp2 task manager, allowing the setting of task priorities and
examination of utilisation of CPU time.
* Support for Assembler, C and BASIC programs (including module tasks).
* Use of dynamic areas for workspace when supported.
* Compatibility with RISC OS 2 to RISC OS 4.
* 1ms accurate timer available to all code.
* Blazingly quick code due to the entire module being written in
lovingly hand-crafted assembler.
* Full documentation on the use of Wimp2, plus example code.
* Full sources under GNU public licence provided so you can play with
Also supplied is a patch to force existing applications to use Wimp2.
3) Animate version 2.24 now available
Robert Hancox has just uploaded version 2.24 of Animate to his web site
If you are interested in making lumps of plasticine walk and you have a
video camera, a digitizer card and a lot of patience, you might like this
Animate, and a dinky temporary file storage program called (wait for it)
Temp, are both on the web site at the moment. To download them, follow the
software link from the address above.
4) aICQ 0.14 uploaded
AcornICQ v0.14 is now available. It is a bugfix release, with lots of
improvements in the user interface and some new options. The bug fix is
that registration did not work anymore with version 0.13. It does now work
again. Also the receive, send, info and register windows are much smaller
To download aICQ or for further information about aICQ or ICQ in general
go to http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Hills/5544/
5) Tagline generator, URI request converter, ...
New software on http://koschei.shada.com/software/
* RiscosTaRT (13 Jan 1999)
The Automatic Random Tagline, ported from LinuxTaRT which was converted
from DOS. The program generates sig files for you with customisable bits
and pieces such as machine uptime, date, etc.
* URIConv (13 Jan 1999)
As seen on AUCD4, this program converts Acorn URI requests to ANT style
ones. Minor bug fix and version of AcornURI required lowered.
* ChaosHS (13 Jan 1999)
Also previously seen on AUCD4, it has been updated to cater for the new
MS Windows version of Spheres of Chaos (http://www.chaotica.u-net.com/)
as well as the RISC OS version. It edits the highscore files. It also
has the handy feature of being able to import and export both file
formats, so can be used for converting your RISC OS highscores file to
the MS Windows version of Spheres of Chaos or vice versa.
* IdentD (13 Jan 1999)
A very simple, basic, ident daemon, as per RFC 1413. It works, just
ensure you read the documentation before using it.
* Petey 0.95 (20 Dec 1998)
A port of petey, a program which generates either random quotes from a
suitable input file, or can generate random sentences. It is quite nice,
although you will probably want to change the data files from what they
are, and the original author recommends you do.
* Reminder 1.02 (15 Oct 1998)
A program to give warning for events before they happen. ie put a date
in its data file, along with some text describing the event, and when
you run it and you are a [user specified] number of days away from the
event, it will list that event.
* Other stuff...
bashprompt, pascalbits, pt text utility, easter, saveboard, pgp extend,
makesig, isopascal bits, dropboard, bootboard, siolfer [cmos handler],
leapyear, zones, shutdown warner, antauto and uniqueid.
Almost all programs are being distributed under the GPL. The site again?
6) Announcing ArmSort v3.12
Computers are used to hold and manipulate data. This is easily achieved on
RISC OS computers by using BASIC arrays to hold the various data items.
However, anyone who has experimented with such data manipulating programs
is likely to have wished for the sequence of the data in the arrays to be
easily changed, or sorted into different sequences. This is perfectly
feasible within a BASIC program, using one of the common routines, like
Bubble, Shell, or Quicksort, but these can be very slow in BASIC, and
usually with just one array and limited features.
Armsort is a module which implements a *Sort command which provides BASIC
programmers with very easy and fast facilities for sorting arrays.
ArmSort caters automatically for ANY number of ANY type of single or
multiple dimension BASIC array, in ANY combination of Integer, String or
Floating Point arrays, in ANY key sequence. It also has flexible
parameters and comprehensive error checking. ArmSort is VERY fast, using
the Shell Sort technique in ARM Machine Code, and it is therefore very
capable of complex sorts on the large data volumes that RISC OS computers
are able to hold and process.
Version 3.12 has just been made available from the WWW. Full details are
available from http://www.avisoft.force9.co.uk/ and it can be downloaded
as a 34KB ArcFS archive file.
7) Announcing TaskUsage v1.32
TaskUsage is a little application to display in figures and graphically:
* the recent average processor usage for each Task.
* the recent average processor usage for each Wimp Reason Code.
* the number of Wimp Polls being processed.
The Reason Code and Poll details can be for all Tasks, or for a specific
Task. If for a specific task, any Reason Codes masked out by the task are
shaded. This is all done with as little processor overhead as possible
(usually less than 1%), and only uses 15k of memory.
Version 1.32 is now available. It is now even more efficient, minor bugs
have been fixed, a 'peak hold' has been introduced, and some minor
improvements have been made.
Full details are available from http://www.avisoft.force9.co.uk/ and it
can be downloaded as a 35KB ArcFS archive file.
8) Commodore emulator, Vice 0.16.1, for RISC OS released
Vice 0.16.1 is upon us. You can download the binary release archive from
Vice is a GPL Commodore emulator. For more information on Vice see the
official Vice homepage at http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dsladic/vice/vice.html
Warning: Vice is *huge*. There's little to no point in downloading it
unless you've got a StrongARM RiscPC with 8MB minimum spec, 16MB if you
don't want to start juggling.
9) Stephen Scott personal page relaunched
Stephen Scott has relaunched his personal website. The new address is
http://www.sassquad.freeserve.co.uk/ and contents include:
* Cavern Duel and Jaw Wars games
Two arcade games for all versions of RISC OS. Jaw Wars a beta version.
Various essays and articles for university, and for Acorn User magazine,
such as how the third cover CD-ROM on the AU December 1997 issue was
* Cross platform multimedia
Currently being rewritten, this area is based on a dissertation Stephen
wrote during the final year of his degree (1997-98), and asks the
question whether multimedia can be truly platform independent. The site
includes a form for multimedia designers and/or students to fill in.
10) Nutters - Zero (plus upgrade patch) released
Now that the Evolution issue of Acorn User is in the shops, Nutters are
pleased to announce the release of their entry, Zero. Also, a patch is
available for the demo that enables it to run on non-StrongARM RiscPCs and
machines with 1MB of VRAM.
For info on the demo, where to download it, and the patch, check out the
restyled Nutters WWW pages at: http://www.bath.ac.uk/~ee5cph/
11) Jerome Mathevet's homepage, including FYEO2
Jerome Mathevet's personal web pages have moved. The new site includes the
latest FYEO2 image viewer and sources, STSound, a player of YM files
(plays 99% of ST games music and 90% of ST demos music).
Also, some StrongHelp manuals such as star commands, POVray3 (not
finished), filetypes (updated from R.Goodwin's) and more, as well as a
'hardware section' where you will find many projects and information
related to hardware modifications.
*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) Acorn Users North East meeting
The next ACNE meeting will be held at Heworth Hall Club near Gateshead at
7.30 on Tuesday 26th November. All Acorn users welcome, no charge. The
subject of the meeting is *The Internet*. The original subject, RISC OS 4,
will be held when there is a RISC OS 4.
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