|-------------------------- 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 27 21 February 1999 |
| To send in your news items or comments, use the ANS website, |
| or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
| Random site this issue: http://www.riscos.com/ |
2) General News
3) Commercial News
4) PD/Shareware News
5) Club News
6) ANS information
Welcome to yet another issue of ANS. Interesting developments by
RISCOS Ltd. have pleased many people, and everyone is eagerly awaiting
We're sure that developments will come thick and fast when the time
comes, but when that will be is anyone's guess!
ANS have been up to come exciting projects which are soon to be released.
Watch out, as they are around the corner, sure to cause a positive effect
in the Acorn Community.
Enjoy this issue, and don't forget the ANS Awards '99, which are only
active for a few more days. Visit the ANS site and vote now!
1) RISCOS Ltd. announce the launch of The RISCOS Foundation
The recently formed RISCOS Ltd. has announced the first of its new
initiatives to re-vitalise the RISC OS market: The RISCOS Foundation,
a brand new yearly membership scheme to replace the Acorn Clan.
The Foundation will be the new focus for users, who want to keep up with
the latest news about the RISC OS market, and see continued development of
RISC OS through into a full 32 bit version.
The scheme was formally launched yesterday at the Acorn Southwest Show,
membership costs GBP25 + VAT (for existing Clan members) or GBP30 + VAT
for new members.
Members will receive a newsletter 4 times per year as well as a CD-ROM of
the latest RISC OS software, shareware, commercial demos, etc, twice per
year. For non-professional coders there will be a chance for Foundation
members to subscribe to an e-mail based developer support scheme later in
Membership applications or queries should be sent to:
The RISCOS Foundation
3 Clarendon Road
The website (http://www.riscos.com/)
will be going live during
few weeks, so visit it soon for further news about RISCOS Ltd.
Remember: the company is "RISCOS Ltd.", the operating system is "RISC OS",
and "RiscOS" does not exist.
2) Acorn / E14 join the Comic Relief Auction
Acorn / Element 14 have just donated two lots to the auction for Comic
Relief. The first is 150 Acornsoft titles going back to 1983 - all on
tape. Mint condition, untouched, original BBC B tapes.
The second is the RiscCafe (Java) Update CD. This CD allows you to
install the Acorn port of Java onto your computer (RiscPC SA recommended).
Over GBP1500 has been raised so far. The auction has only a few days left
to run, so why not join in the fun and bid for some of the worlds best
Acorn software and hardware.
3) Mailing lists for Squirrel and Apollonius
David Wild has set up a mailing list for users of the Squirrel database
program with the intention of providing mutual support.
To subscribe to the new mailing list send a message with the *subject*
line containing just SIGNON, to email@example.com.
Also a mailing list for Dial Solution's Apollonius has been created.
To subscribe go to http://www.eps.co.nz/apollo/
4) Cross platform multimedia authoring
Stephen Scott has published online a dissertation he wrote for university
last year, asking the question "Can multimedia be platform independent?"
The report describes three particular machines (Wintel, Mac and Acorn),
and features a case study of his own personal experience in producing a
cross platform CD-ROM (Acorn User's December 1997 cover CD).
Anyone with an interest in multimedia should have a look at the site at
1) SibToDraw demo version available
A demo version of SibToDraw has just been released. It can be downloaded
SibToDraw is a new object-based graphic program, with Draw like interface.
It has been specially designed to work along with Sibelius to produce any
type of musical score.
It loads page and text style settings directly from Sibelius, importing
single pages as well as entire scores, correcting a number of things on
the fly, and converting all music symbols into paths automatically.
SibToDraw is available from Notensatz Freiburg, Germany. You can see more
details on the Web at (http://www.notation.de/), or you can
send an e-mail
to firstname.lastname@example.org with any
2) OvationPro and HTMLPro bundle pack
You can now buy OvationPro and HTMLPro together for the bundle price of
GBP170 inc VAT (saving GBP28 on unbundled prices).
Also HTMLPro 1.3 is due for release soon, which will include various
improvements over previous versions, such as speed increases and built in
frame support. It will also include the first version of the HTMLinks
applet, allowing HTML links to be added directly into OvationPro
See http://www.levens.co.uk/ for
3) x86 PC Cards available again
Acorn ACA57 PC second processor cards are now available again from Aleph
One. They have IBM/Cyrix 5x86 processors at 100MHz, and 128KB of secondary
The cards are offered with or without Aleph One's latest PCPro 3 Software
at the following prices, including UK VAT & postage. These apply to ONE
USER only. Enquire for overseas prices, indicating country.
* ACA57 x86 PC Card with no software GBP295
* ACA57 Card with PCPro3 software for new users GBP345
* ACA57 Card+PCPro3 upgrade (return PCPro2 disk) GBP310
For details see the Aleph One web site (http://www.aleph1.co.uk/).
4) i-cubed to withdraw from the Acorn/Ethernet markets
The following is the text of a letter sent to i-cubed's remaining
major dealers on Friday 12th February:
After careful consideration, i-cubed has decided that from 1st April
1999 it will cease to supply its range of Ethernet cards for Acorn
computers. It will also no longer supply any other Ethernet networking
products (these have only been supplied to special order for some time).
Throughout the time the company has been trading in the Acorn
marketplace it has sought to be honest and straightforward in its
dealings with customers and users, and to provide the highest possible
level of support. This commitment has led the company to conclude that
its customers are best served by a 'managed' withdrawal from the market.
The timetable for that withdrawal is therefore as follows:
* Friday 26th March 1999: Final date for the acceptance of orders for
cards, upgrades and out of warranty repairs.
* Thursday 1st April 1999: All outstanding orders are expected to have
been despatched by this date.
Clearly this is a rather sad time for those of us who have been
associated with 'Acorns' for many years. I know many of you will be
pleased to be re-assured that I and all the rest of the staff of i-cubed
will continue to work here on other projects. Thank you for your past
and present support. Yours sincerely
Technical Support Manager
5) ProCAD+ Release Imminent - demo downloadable
ProCAD+, the successor to ProCAD, is due for imminent release, and a demo
is now available from http://www.zynet.co.uk/dsnell/
David Snell, the author of the original ProCAD and the new ProCAD+, will
be demonstrating the myriad facilities built in to this piece of software
at the Acorn South West Show.
6) Acorn Heretic and Hexen now available
R-Comp Interactive (RCI) is pleased to announce the availability of the
two best selling 3D arcade/fantasy games, Heretic and Hexen. The games are
available together in a double pack, alongside the official Hexen
expansion pack - Deathkings of the Dark Citadel.
Both games use massively modified versions of the Doom engine, adding the
ability to look up and down, to fly and to jump. Water and lava flow,
complete with currents and waterfalls.
The games feature puzzle elements and an inventory system for holding and
using items. Hexen introduces 3 character classes, each with different
skills and abilities, as well as a multitude of special graphical effects,
such as fog, swamp mists, transparent floors, interactive scenery, and
even "random" elements that change every time you play!
The Acorn versions of both games are based on the Doom+ engine to provide
the best possible performance and graphics extensions, although even this
needed to be massively extended to accommodate all the new things in these
RCI have also included serial, modem and LAN drivers for the games so that
you can play against your friends. Hexen can be played against a Windows
PC as well. Both games have a multitude of deathmatch "extras", and allow
the use of downloaded extra levels designed for the Windows PC versions.
The bundle costs GBP32.50 and you can order it now from all good dealers,
or from RCI direct. E-mail email@example.com or
1) BBC Teletext software for RiscPC
Jeremy Brayshaw (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I'm slowly getting to grips with my web site and have put up a few
programmes I use regularly. My plan was to convert loads of teletext
interactive software from the BBC Micro to the RiscPC, but current
teletext software (Teletext+ or TeleCfax) isn't versatile enough.
However, some bits work fine, so I'll gradually update those ones! (If
you remember the days of the BBC's Telesoftware service, you may be
interested to know I ran that department for many years until it's
I haven't got to grips yet with the wimp front-ends, but most of these
little progs don't really need it anyway.
If you like any of them, help yourself, but I'd appreciate knowing (by
email to: email@example.com")
just to keep tabs on
want such software!
2) New version of Xenocide
Xenocide is a shareware vertical upwards scrolling shoot'em up. It will
run on any RISC OS machine with 4MB RAM and RISC OS 3. An ARM 3 is the
recommended minimum processor, though it will run reasonable on an ARM 250
and possibly ARM 2. The full version requires installing to a hard disc.
The game runs in 320x256x8bpp. More information can be found at:
The new version (1.02), fixes a bug that caused the game to crash on some
machines. There is a small patch available too, for people who have
downloaded a previous version.
3) New star chart software
ROCchart differs from many astronomy programs in that it is /not/ a type
of electronic planetarium but designed purely for the generation of star
charts. It knows nothing of solar system objects or observer specific
What it /can/ do is generate fast high detail charts from the Tycho and
Guide Star catalogues. To do this it requires the data resources of a
commercial product called "Guide" from Project Pluto
Of course Guide has its own star chart software but only for the common
PC OSs. ROCchart attempts to provide a RISC OS interface to some of the
extensive resources available on it.
However ROCchart also works quite well without the extra resources from
the CD, providing the following from its own internal resources:
* Bright stars down to 7th magnitude (about 15000).
* Common star names and Bayer references.
* Complete NGC/IC/Messier catalogue including common names.
* Constellation boundaries and figures.
* Object ID, location of pointer, equatorial grid.
It can be downloaded from:
4) Freeware release of Tiles, version 3.50
The game Tiles is now freeware and is available from
It runs in the Desktop with RISC OS versions 2.0 to 3.7. The download is
packaged in a Zip compressed data file and contains some ArcFS archives,
so you will need an UnZip application, such as SparkPlug or ZipFrend,
together with ArcFS.
Tiles is a visually attractive and entertaining crossword game that
provides a basis for learning spelling, vocabulary, strategy and computer
literacy. To cater for all levels of ability, 40 boards are supplied in
five languages: English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.
Tiles was originally released in September, 1991 and has been debugged and
updated several times to use newer system and hardware facilities. The
latest version will permit true-colour sprites to be used as tiles.
5) Release of Zonk version 1
A free beta version of Zonk has been released. Zonk is a program for
creating HTML files. However it is most emphatically *not* a WYSIWYG
editor, in fact it is not an editor at all. Instead, Zonk creates HTML
from templates and datafiles.
Here are just a few of its features:
* It is fast. A typical datafile/template pair will be processed in
less than a second.
* The layout of the plain text datafiles is easily understood by a
* Templates can be built quickly by anyone who is familiar with
elementary programming concepts, again they are plain text files.
* Includes a powerful Perl-compatible regular expression engine in
case you need to manipulate your data in any way.
* Can generate 'index' pages of already existing HTML files.
Zonk's output HTML is as compliant and reliable as the HTML you put into
the template. You are in control.
Zonk itself is 100% C. There are already versions of the program running
under Windows95 and MacOS 8.5. Zonk is intended as a commercial product
for those platforms, however as a lifelong user of Acorn systems the
author thought he would make my contribution to the Acorn community by
releasing this version on a free licence.
Further information on Zonk together with a download can be found at
6) DigitalCD 2.37
Release 2.37 of DigitalCD, a CD and music files player, is now available
This version introduces sound visualisation plug-ins, snaps the control
panels to the screen/iconbar limits, fixes some problems with skins
changes, allows to choose the CD polling interval (which some found too
small) and provides menus on the control panels.
7) SNES-emu & game demo
An unfinished sprite-engine demonstration of a game that was cancelled
after Phoebe was cancelled... Risc PC only! (size: 395k)
An unfinished native SNES emulator for the RiscPC. Release includes the
source code. (size: 258k)
*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) February/March meeting dates
The following user group meetings are planned for February/March. Always
check the AAUG website (http://www.argonet.co.uk/scs/AAUG/)
23rd - Blackpool meeting
24th - Bristol meeting - Paul Middleton of Uniqueway & RISCOS Ltd.
3rd - SARC meeting - Visit by Spacetech
8th - DARC meeting - Barry Thompson: Genealogy & The Internet
11th - NKACC meeting - DTP at Work
24th - Bristol meeting - AGM
26th - Blackpool meeting
2) Manchester Acorn User Group meeting
The next meeting of the Manchester Acorn User Group is provisionally
planned for 7:30pm, Wednesday 24th February, featuring Clares, at
Manchester University Students' Union, Oxford Road, Manchester.
Clares have long been famous as the suppliers of a number of top-notch
applications for RISC OS in a variety of fields, including the ProArtisan
series, Composition, Rhapsody 3 and many other titles. Clares were also
responsible for PCA, and, more recently, they have moved into supplying a
much wider range of products, with their regular "reports" sent out to
customers listing a choice of hardware bargains, and advice on what will
best suit each machine.
David Jackson, who is Clares' Technical Support Manager, and one other
Clares employee, will be giving a talk and demonstration on a variety of
products; and there will be an opportunity for questions and discussion.
As usual, it is planned that admission will be free, and refreshments will
be on sale elsewhere in the building.
Further updates on the details of the meeting will be sent out to members
and on our website as they are finalised.
RISC OS update
Not much to report this month, *except* for the news of the foundation of
RISCOS Ltd. (an initiative from the Steering Group), which aims to move
forward the RISC OS market by developing and licensing RISC OS.
RISCOS Ltd. has made some good progress since its formation (which was
announced at our January meeting), although most of the details are yet to
be made public. Some of the issues facing future developers of RISC OS
machines now include difficulties with supply of hardware components
needed for use with RISC OS; this may now mean that the Peanut portable
could be provided with an altered version of RISC OS 4, for compatibility
reasons, rather than RISC OS 3.7 as originally planned.
It now seems likely that RISC OS 4 itself will not see release before the
Wakefield Show at the earliest.
3) Suffolk Acorn Risc Club meetings
Suffolk Acorn Risc Club is a friendly user group for Acorn users. The
group meets in Ipswich on the first Wednesday of each month and have some
exciting events coming up:
* Spacetech, Wednesday 3rd March
Spacetech will be demonstrating Photodesk 3, Photodesk instructional CD,
PhotoReal printer drivers, digital camera software and their new OHP
presentation software. The talk will include some useful hints and tips
and there will be ample time for questions and answers.
* AGM, Wednesday 7th April
The SARC Annual General Meeting including election of committee members.
* Jonathan Duddington, Wednesday 5th May
Jonathan Duddington will be giving a talk and demonstration about his
Pluto mail reader and Speak speech software.
The club meets on the first Wednesday of each month at the Co-operative
Education Centre, Fore Street, Ipswich, Suffolk. Doors open at 7pm, and
talks/demonstrations usually begin at 7.30pm. Refreshments are available,
and the admission charges for non-members is GBP2.
Further details and a map can be found on the SARC Web Site:
4) Announcing Edinburgh RISC OS users Association (ERA)
After interest was raised in the comp.sys.acorn.* newsgroups and in other
online forums, Michael Marshall established a need for an Edinburgh Acorn
Given that in the future, we may well be using CTL, RISCOS Ltd., or
Interconnex's hardware as well as our trusty Acorn boxes it seemed more
appropriate to form a RISC OS user group instead, although this also
caters for other operating systems running on top of Acorn/ARM hardware
such as ARMLinux and RiscBSD.
Currently a few people meet up weekly - and anyone is welcome to turn up,
whether a resident of Edinburgh or not... The group meets in O'Neills on
South Bridge in Edinburgh at 9pm on Tuesdays. Plenty free parking is
available in Chambers street, which is about 20m from the door of
O'Neills. Walking time from Princes Street is about 7 minutes.
If you would like more information, feel free to contact Michael Marshall,
by email (firstname.lastname@example.org or
telephone (07010 700599). A
website for the
user group will be available soon.
Editor - Eytan Abrahams - email@example.com
Sub-Editor - James Sears - firstname.lastname@example.org
Webmaster - Stephen Courtney - email@example.com
Sub-Webmaster - Peter Price - firstname.lastname@example.org
Life-Webmaster - Richard Hesketh - email@example.com
ADL Moderator - Paul Johnson - firstname.lastname@example.org
2) How to send in news
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