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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 27                                              21 February 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.riscos.com/ |

 1) Editorial
 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
  more developments.

  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!

General News

 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
  the year.

  Membership applications or queries should be sent to:
    The RISCOS Foundation
    3 Clarendon Road
    CF3 7JD


  The website (http://www.riscos.com/)
will be going live during
the next
  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 squirrel-l@argonet.co.uk.

  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

Commercial News

 1) SibToDraw demo version available

  A demo version of SibToDraw has just been released. It can be downloaded
  from http://www.notation.de/pages_e/stddemo.html

  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 info@notation.de 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

    George Hawes
    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 rci@rcomp.co.uk or

PD/Shareware News

 1) BBC Teletext software for RiscPC

  Jeremy Brayshaw (jeremy.pressxpress@argonet.co.uk)

    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: support@pressxpress.co.uk")
just to keep tabs on
whether people
    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
      non-technical user.
    * 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
  from http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Horizon/4471/

  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

  * SpriteDemo
    An unfinished sprite-engine demonstration of a game that was cancelled
    after Phoebe was cancelled... Risc PC only! (size: 395k)

  * SnesEmu
    An unfinished native SNES emulator for the RiscPC. Release includes the
    source code. (size: 258k)

  URL: http://hrz.uni-paderborn.de/~n96477/mops.html

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) 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/) 
to confirm

  February 1999
  23rd - Blackpool meeting
  24th - Bristol meeting - Paul Middleton of Uniqueway & RISCOS Ltd.

  March 1999
   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
  user group.

  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 (micm@toth.org.uk or
telephone (07010 700599). A
website for the
  user group will be available soon.

ANS Information

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  Webmaster      - Stephen Courtney - stephen@ans.acornusers.org
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