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Home > Archive > Issue 31 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 Acorn Group PLC.    |
 | ISSUE 31                                                 18 April 1999 |
 |      To send in your news items or comments, use the ANS website,      |
 |                  or e-mail them to ans@acornusers.org.                 |
 |        Featured site this issue: http://www.acornusers.org/rc5/       |

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

  Welcome to another issue of ANS, including news of two major Acorn/RISC OS
  shows, as well as many new non-commercial software releases and updates.

  Perhaps most interesting is the mention of RiscStation, a new company
  which will be showing a new entry level RISC OS 4 machine at Wakefield.
  However people have pointed out NEC used to produce a machine called the
  RISCstation, so perhaps we will see a different name when final details
  are revealed.

  Work is continuing on new ANS features, and an announcement on a new
  Acorn banner exchange will be made soon. If you would like to comment on
  any ANS service please e-mail me with your thoughts.

  Also remember any topic in this newsletter, or the Acorn world in general,
  can be discussed on the ADL mailing list. See the ANS web site for details
  of subscription, and then post your comments to adl@lists.barnet.ac.uk.

  James Sears, Editor.

General News

 1) The ARM Club announces The RISC OS '99 Show

  The ARM Club (http://www.armclub.org.uk/), in association with AAUG, is
  organising a show to take place at Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey, on
  Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st October 1999. The event is to be sponsored
  by Acorn User magazine and Spacetech.

  This event will give anyone interested in RISC OS based computers the
  chance to see first hand the latest offerings from RISCOS Ltd. and third
  party software and hardware developers.

  This new event will be the natural successor to the Acorn World Show and
  will complement The Wakefield Show to provide a second large 2 day event
  in the South of the country.

  The show will be open from 10am until 5pm on Saturday 30th October and
  from 10am until 4pm on Sunday 31st October. Entrance prices are being kept
  to a low GBP3.50 in advance and GBP4.50 on the door. Advance tickets may
  be purchased by sending a cheque, payable to The ARM Club, to FREEPOST The
  ARM Club. The ARM Club cannot accept ticket orders by telephone or email,
  nor payment by credit card.

  Any organisation interested in exhibiting should contact The ARM Club by
  email at riscos99@armclub.org.uk.

 2) Latest Wakefield Show news

  Organisers of the Wakefield Show have announced that we will see a new
  company, RiscStation, at the Wakefield Show, which will be taking orders
  for a new computer.

  An announcement from RiscStation was quoted, stating that a new ARM7500FPE
  based entry level machine would be on show. Featuring RISC OS 4 from
  RISCOS Ltd., and hints of other features, the RiscStation computer is
  likely to attract much attention.

  The show organisers promise other announcements on this and other hot
  features very shortly. Check the official Wakefield Show web site
  (http://www.cybervillage.co.uk/acorn/wakefield/show99.html) for updates,
  as well as theatre programme, a full list of exhibitors, floor plan, and
  other details.

 3) AcornRC5 website

  A new website has been uploaded for the Acorn User Group RC5/DES Cracking
  Effort team. It features information on the distributed.net contest and
  the team, basic statistics and a page dedicated to utilities for the RISC
  OS cracker.

  The new pages are available at (http://www.acornusers.org/rc5/).

 4) MIDI Documentation available online

  Various documents relating to MIDI on RISC OS are now available online at
  (http://www.argonet.co.uk/users/lenny/midi/). Information includes MIDI
  hardware options, programmers' guide to RISC OS MIDI, and information on
  the Acorn AKA16 MIDI card and StrongARM.

 5) Eternal Destiny bulletin board

  A bulletin board for discussion relating to the game Eternal Destiny is
  now operational at the Official Unofficial Eternal Destiny Homepages
  (http://www.argbk65.force9.co.uk/destiny/). Take a look in the 'Latest
  Information' section.

 6) StrongHelp SWI Manuals

  The StrongHelp SWI Manuals are generally the best reference work available
  to RISC OS programmers, bar the Programmers Reference Manuals. Versions of
  the StrongHelp SWI manuals are currently available from

  The StrongHelp manuals are even slightly more convenient when you just
  want a quick reference to the details of a SWI, if the SWI is not covered
  by the PRM, or the PRM has an error for that SWI.

  However, the SWI manuals need updating. Iain Truskett has officially taken
  over from Justin Fletcher as maintainer of the manuals and needs to know
  everything you know, barring NDAs.

  What Iain would like from you, in order for us all to be able to help each
  other, is documentation on SWIs, Service calls, messages, file formats and
  basically anything you think may be relevant to the project.

  You can contact Iain at any of the following addresses:
    * s3181878@bohm.anu.edu.au
    * koschei@pagans.org
    * koschei@eh.org

Commercial News

 1) iSV Products April offers - Half price software

  After the success of last month's web site offer (FontFiend for only
  GBP50), iSV Products have added more half price special offers.

  You can save 50% on a range of leading software including:
    * DrawWorks Designer - now only GBP15 plus carriage
    * Professional Typography 2100 - now only GBP15 plus carriage
    * Mr Clippy - now only GBP10 plus carriage
    * FontFiend - now only GBP50 plus carriage

  Please note that these offers only run while stocks last. For more details
  see http://members.aol.com/isvProduct/.

 2) i-cubed Ethernet cards available again

  The range of i-cubed EtherLan Ethernet cards will continue to be available
  through Design IT (http://www.dezignit.demon.co.uk/).

  The EtherLan cards will continue to be manufactured by the electronic
  production company i-cubed have used for many years, ensuring that the
  current high quality is maintained. The agreement between Design IT and
  i-cubed means that i-cubed will be providing full and continuing 'back-up'
  support for these new arrangements.

 3) Internal Acorn podule modem cards available now

  Alsystems is pleased to announce the availability of internal 28.8kbps
  modem podule cards suitable for the Acorn RiscPC.

  The advantage of the modem podule card, over an ordinary external modem,
  is that it does not require an extra power point, and also frees up the
  serial port.

  The modem podule card is priced at GBP35 plus GBP5 postage and packaging
  (excluding VAT).

  The modem podule card and ANT Internet Suite including JavaScript is
  priced at GBP135 plus GBP5 postage and packaging (excluding VAT).

  For details or to place an order see Alsystems' web site

 4) Atomwide Serial Card price reductions

  Atomwide is pleased to announce a price reduction on its range of High
  Speed Serial Cards. With immediate effect, the single port version will
  cost GBP79, the dual port version will cost GBP89, and the triple port
  version will cost GBP99 (all including VAT). These changes represent an
  average saving of around GBP15 compared with previous prices.

  Atomwide's High Speed Serial Cards provide one, two or three additional
  serial ports on a standard width podule for Acorn computers. Each port is
  buffered to maintain performance and can typically communicate with modern
  modems at 115200bps. This allows dramatic speed improvements on pre-
  RiscPC/A7000 systems, since serial ports within early Acorn computers have
  a top speed of 19200bps.

  Serial Cards are compatible with any application software that supports
  block drivers, including most Internet access packages. For further
  information, or to place an order, contact Atomwide by e-mail
  sales@atomwide.co.uk, or see http://www.atomwide.co.uk/.

PD/Shareware News

 1) Utility to limit size of dynamic areas

  DA-Limit is a small utility for users with 64MB or more RAM in their
  RiscPCs. Many applications create their dynamic areas so that they can
  grow to contain all available memory. To do this a dynamic area is
  allocated an address range of this size.

  The problem is that the total available address range is limited, and when
  it is given out in 64MB (or even bigger) chunks, it does not take too long
  before there is nothing left! This little utility patches the OS so that
  areas that are created with max size=-1 (meaning 'give me everything'),
  instead are limited to 16MB.

  There is also a little BASIC program included that lists all the dynamic
  areas, so that you can see the effect of it.


 2) NumberFix 1.1

  NumberFix allows you to manipulate directories with numeric files. You can
  rename 1, 2, 3 etc to 01, 02, 03 so that the filer will display them
  correctly. You can renumber from, say 21 onwards, so that you can join the
  contents of one directory with another, and so on. Very useful for users
  of Spacetech's digital camera software.

  NumberFix is shareware and is available from

 3) New ArcQuake / New floating point functions

  There is a new version of ArcQuake available from Peter Teichmann's
  homepage (http://rcswww.urz.tu-dresden.de/~teich-p/asofte.html). It is now
  able to save the screen mode, and it is about 5-10% faster, because of new
  floating point routines.

 4) CBSA website updates

  The comp.{binaries/sources}.acorn website has been updated with a totally
  new section, some new software and a couple of software updates.

  There is now a section called Acorn which contains the latest versions of
  the font manager, toolbox and window manager upgrades, which the Acorn
  website states that everyone should be using.

  New software includes InterGIF/IGViewer (6.07), Peter Hartley's utterly
  brilliant GIF encoder/decoder/viewer and animated GIF maker, and
  SpriteExtendFix, a small module which fixes the SpriteExtend module so
  that it is more tolerant of non-standard JPEG format images.


 5) More Topix programs online

  After a long period of silence, TopixWEB has been updated again. The
  following programs have been added to the software archive:
    * AutoShrinkRMA
    * DOSMab
    * Proto (never released before)
    * RMA Manager
    * RAM2Disc

  Please visit the website (http://www.topix.demon.nl/) for information
  about the various programs. While you are there, you can also read
  information about the forthcoming database library, TBaseLib.

 6) Zonk update, version 1.14 released

  A new version (1.14) of Zonk is now available from

  The highlights of this new version are:
    * conditional form of the pullin command
    * optional automatic browsing of output html
    * no need to set the working directory
    * configurable configuration directory
    * better detection of out-of-memory condition
    * no longer considered beta

  Zonk is a program for creating HTML from data files and templates. It is
  not an HTML editor. Full details can be found on the website.

 7) FTPc v1.10

  FTPc 1.10 has recently been released. The changes from 1.09 are:
    * Newer option - only upload files newer than a set date.
    * : allowed in passwords.
    * Should be faster on a network.
    * URL handling corrected - the first / is ignored allowing
      relative paths.
    * Bug with uploading files with hard spaces fixed.

  FTPc is a freeware Internet file transfer program, and is available
  from http://www.c-granville.freeserve.co.uk/.

 8) MidiWays - Software available for download

  * Debbie v0.07 (11 Apr 1999)
    Provides basic control of an XG synthesiser card. NB This requires 0.31
    (or later) of the MIDISupport module, and its front end application,

  * Mixer v0.15 (28 Jan 1999)
    Provides volume control over the internal sound system, CD-ROM audio,
    and SharedSound handlers (eg MIDISynth, PCSound and the forthcoming DMI
    and ProSound/DMI replay drivers). Now has a 'Master' option, to over
    ride changes made by other apps (eg x86 games).

  * Midiphile v0.18 (04 Apr 1999)
    Produces a detailed description of, or strips unwanted data from, MIDI

  * Swish v0.08 (03 Apr 1999)
    An SWI listing utility. Output can be in plain text or in C header
    format (RISC_OSLib or DeskLib). It can also provide an SWI listing of
    a module on disc (without having to load it into the RMA). Now works
    with RISC OS 3.10.

  * Verma v0.11 (03 Apr 1999)
    Another module-related utility. This one reports version information
    about modules located on disc. It can recursively scan directories,
    reporting in a window on all modules found there-in. Multiple viewers
    are supported, and a viewer's contents can be saved as a Text file.
    Now indicates multiple copies of modules.

  * SysExy v0.13 (04 Jan 1997)
    A MIDI System Exclusive data recorder. This requires an Acorn compatible
    MIDI interface.

  They are all stored in Zip archives, and can be downloaded from

 9) New version of StrongMen

  Version 1.20 of StrongMen is now available. StrongMen is a little
  application launcher / hotlist manager, in the vein of Menon, only better.

  New in version 1.20:
    * Uses KeyExtend module, allowing you to specify awkward key shortcuts.
    * URL completion for Fresco/Browse.
    * Purges the 'history' section when you quit.

  StrongMen, including source, is available from the author's homepage
  at http://home.eunet.no/~guttorvi/.

 10) Caves, new freeware game

  Matthew Willson has just made available the first release of his new
  freeware Acorn game, Caves, an obstacle course / shoot-the-aliens / puzzle
  game, with 40 levels. Some information and the download are available at

 11) fishmpeg v0.10beta - audio MPEG player.

  Fishmpeg is an MPEG audio layer 3 (ie DOS TLE MP3) player which has been
  developed from 'mpegtest'. Fishmpeg has a Wimp front end, and also
  co-operates better with the desktop. It also has simple playlist support.

  Fishmpeg uses Peter Teichmann's AudioMPEG module, and therefore requires a
  StrongARM. The module ensures that there is no interruption to decoding,
  but can cause the desktop to slow noticeably.

  Fishmpeg is available from http://www.fish.zetnet.co.uk/.

 12) Acorn port of DOS VideoPlus codec available

  James MacDonald has ported some of the DOS VideoPlus codec (by Steve
  Hosgood and Douggie McClaggan) to RISC OS, in the form of a fully RISC OS
  compliant application.

  At present only decoding is supported, but encoding will follow shortly.
  The application is freeware, and the original DOS source code plus RISC OS
  CLI binaries are available on request.

  You can download this pre-release decode-only version from:

 13) Mad Cow Software website

  A new web site for Mad Cow Software (http://www.madsoft.freeserve.co.uk/)
  is online, and includes various utilities and graphical programs.

  This means that the Apocalypse web site has now been moved to
  http://www.madsoft.freeserve.co.uk/apocalypse/. Apocalypse is designed
  to allow easy cross platform games programming.

 14) Updated Cybervillage ANT Suite Utils

  Fetch by Barry Wickett has been added to the collection of ANT Suite utils
  at ftp://ftp.cybervillage.co.uk/pub/acorn/ant/ANTutils.zip.

  This freeware collection now includes:
    * ANTfix
      This little application was produced to ensure that there is always a
      small amount of free memory in the Module (RMA) area. This seems to
      help stop the ANT Internet Suite producing random DLL crashes.

    * GetmyMail
      If necessary loads the Suite, goes online if not already, gets your
      mail/news and goes offline if required. Basically automated email/news

    * MailCheck
      Provides a panel to indicate if you have mail/news resting in the
      In/Out directories.

    * Fetch
      Performs a 'Transfer' operation every X secs for those of you lucky
      enough to have a LAN connection, or if you just want to fetch/send
      email every X seconds.

 15) RecAddApp and a new version of Window Drag Fix

  A new version of the WindowDragFix patch is available from author Matthew
  Bullock's web site (http://dialspace.dial.pipex.com/matthew.bullock/).

  Also new is RecAddApp, a replacement for AddApp that recurses through
  directories, adding applications in subdirectories. It also adds just
  applications and does not fall over if you happen to have a file starting
  with a !, unlike AddApp.

  Both are available now from the Misc Software section of the website at

 16) Dave Raggett's HTML Tidy

  When editing HTML it is easy to make mistakes. Dave Raggett's HTML TIDY is
  a free utility to fix mistakes automatically, and will tidy up sloppy
  editing into nicely layed out markup.

  It also works well on the atrociously hard to read markup generated by
  specialized HTML editors and conversion tools, and can help you identify
  where you need to pay further attention on making your pages more

  Tidy is able to fix up a wide range of problems and to bring to your
  attention things that you need to work on yourself. Each item found is
  listed with the line number and column so that you can see where the
  problem lies in your markup.

  Tidy will not generate a cleaned up version when there are problems that
  it can not be sure how to handle. These are logged as "errors" rather than

  See http://eh.org/~koschei/software/tidy.html for further information
  and to download.

  Justin's earlier version is available from:

  David Raggett's official site for Tidy is:

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) April/May meeting dates

  The following user group meetings are planned for April/May. Always check
  the AAUG web site (http://www.argonet.co.uk/scs/AAUG/ to confirm details.

  April 1999
  26th - Blackpool meeting
  27th - Acorn Club NorthEast meeting
  27th - Bristol Acorn User Group meeting

  May 1999
  3rd  - SARC meeting - Visit by Jonathan Duddington
  5th  - Wakefield meeting - RiscStation
  10th - DARC meeting - Draw & DrawPlus
  10th - Southampton meeting
  10th - SASAUG meeting
  11th - Bottisham Acorn Usergroup meeting
  11th - Liverpool Acorn Usergroup meeting
  11th - Essex Acorn Usergroup meeting
  13th - North Kent Computer Club meeting
  14th - Welwyn Hatfield meeting
  15th - Wakefield Show
  16th - Wakefield Show
  25th - Acorn Club NorthEast meeting
  25th - Blackpool meeting
  26th - Bristol Acorn User Group meeting

ANS Information

 1) Contact ANS

  Editor         - James Sears      - james@ans.acornusers.org
  Webmaster      - Stephen Courtney - stephen@ans.acornusers.org
  Founder        - Eytan Abrahams   - eytan@ans.acornusers.org
  Life-Webmaster - Richard Hesketh  - richard@ans.acornusers.org
  ADL Moderator  - Paul Johnson     - paul@ans.acornusers.org

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