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Home > Archive > Issue 32 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 32                                                    2 May 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.useit.com/alertbox/        |

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

  It would appear the events that started in September last year, with the
  restructuring of Acorn, have reached their conclusion with the sale of
  Acorn as detailed below.

  We are now left with RISCOS Ltd., about to ship RISC OS 4, and several
  companies with plans for new Acorn compatible hardware. Reading the
  RISC OS 4 Features List  http://www.riscos.com/Features.html, I feel
  almost as optimistic as when details of the Phoebe package and special
  offer were announced just before "Black Thursday".

  RISC OS is in good hands, it seems as though we will enter a period of
  relative stability, and for a time we can enjoy the eagerly awaited
  operating system update and hardware releases. What happens in the long
  term is still unclear, but for now the situation looks better than it has
  in recent times.

  Incidentally I would like to take a moment to draw your attention to the
  featured URL in this issue (http://www.useit.com/alertbox/), even though
  this time it is not Acorn related.

  The Alertbox site is made up of fortnightly articles on web usability, and
  is well worth visiting on a regular basis. If everyone publishing on the
  web considered the issues raised, using the web would be a much nicer

  James Sears, Editor.

General News

 1) Acorn to be sold

  As stated in our newsflash on 27th April, Acorn released financial results
  for 1998, which included the announcement that MSDW Investment Holdings
  had offered to buy Acorn, exchanging 2 ARM Holdings PLC shares for every
  5 Acorn Group PLC shares. Also:
    * Pace will buy Acorn's STB business (including RISC OS) for GBP0.2m.
    * The remaining design activity will be sold for GBP1.0m.
    * Acorn reported GBP11.5m revenue, and GBP10.0m operating loss for 1998.

  The deal is designed to distribute Acorn's valuable stake in ARM to Acorn
  shareholders, without the company becoming liable for capital gains tax.
  Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, the US investment bank that is buying Acorn
  with Acorn's own ARM shares, will keep a large number of the ARM shares
  and make an estimated profit of GBP50 million, while writing off the gains
  against losses from other activities to reduce tax liability.

  A copy of the official Acorn 1998 accounts and announcement, obtained via
  the Regulatory News Service, is on Convergence International's web site at

  Any deals should not affect RISC OS Ltd., which has already secured a
  license to develop and market RISC OS.

 2) ANS and ADL mailing lists moved

  The ANS Acorn Discussion List (ADL) mailing list has changed servers. You
  can still send messages to the list by writing to adl@ans.acornusers.org,
  which will be posted to the list when approved by the moderator, Paul
  Johnson. See  http://www.acornusers.org/ans/discussion.shtml for details.

  However administrative addresses have changed:
   to subscribe e-mail adl-subscribe@ans.acornusers.org
   to unsubscribe e-mail adl-unsubscribe@ans.acornusers.org
   for help e-mail adl-help@ans.acornusers.org

  The content and subject of e-mails is ignored. The new list is being run
  using different software (ezmlm), which is easier to use and will maintain
  original message headers, hopefully making the list easier to follow and
  promoting discussion.

  The ANS mailing list has also moved. The same type of addresses are used
  for (un)subscription as for ADL, eg ans-subscribe@ans.acornusers.org. If
  you experience any problems with the new setup, or have any comments or
  suggestions, please e-mail me at james@acornusers.org.

  The ANS team would like to thank Carol Carpenter for providing the
  original home for the ANS mailing lists, which has been a great help.
  I now have the facilities to host the lists myself, which should make
  administration easier, and so we have decided to move the lists.

 3) Font Emporium web site updated

  Font Emporium web site (http://www.argonet.co.uk/bladerunner/fonts/) has
  recently been updated. The site has almost doubled in size, and now
  features a total of 1125 fonts, available to download for free.

  There are three new sections, some problems have been fixed, and extra
  characters have been added to the new thumbnails to show how well the
  character set is supported.

 4) StrongHelp programming manuals

  New versions of the StrongHelp SWI manuals have recently been uploaded to
   http://koschei.shada.com/software/manuals/, and an updated version of
  the StrongHelp BASIC manual is now available from

 5) RISC OS Jobs (ROJO) web site

  Nathan Atkinson has announced a new web site where companies can announce
  vacancies for RISC OS related jobs. ROJO is available at

 6) Acorn technicians mailing list

  An email forum is now up and running for those servicing Acorn and related
  products, for sharing of repair tips, software fixes, fault histories,
  parts sources, circuit schematics etc. Queries such as 'My RiscPC is has
  stopped working - how do I fix it' should be posted elsewhere, eg the
  comp.sys.acorn.hardware newsgroup.

  To subscribe, send an email to atechs-l@clear.net.nz with the subject

 7) Wakefield Show update

  Wakefield Show organisers have announced three new exhibitors, ESM/World
  of Multimedia, David Buck (RiscCAD), and Reflex Electronics Services.

  An updated floor plan and other details are available on the official web
  site at  http://www.cybervillage.co.uk/acorn/wakefield/.

Commercial News

 1) Clearance sale at Atomwide

  Due to continued expansion of its networking business, Atomwide is having
  a clearance sale of assorted computer hardware and software. Amongst the
  available items are second-hand/ex-demo Acorn RiscPC and A7000 computers,
  plus a wide range of expansion cards, peripherals like tape drives,
  printer consumables, and software packages.

  For a list of items see  http://www.atomwide.co.uk/offers.htm or contact

 2) RiscCAD Release 8

  Release 8 of RiscCAD, including many new features, is now available only
  from the author, David Buck. This release of RiscCAD is not available from
  Davyn Computers.

  The prices for new installations are GBP150 for a single user, or GBP500
  for a 20 user site licence. A disk and manual upgrade from version 7 is
  available for GBP40.

  For details you can contact the author at david.buck@freeuk.com.

 3) New Olympus Camera prices from Spacetech

  Spacetech have reduced the prices of several Olympus digital cameras and

  For example the C900 ZOOM is now available for GBP549.99 (incl VAT). The
  C900 ZOOM is a compact camera with a resolution of 1310000 pixels
  (1280x960), and a motorised optical zoom as well as a digital Tele mode.

  For details see  http://www.spacetech.co.uk/ or phone +44 (0)1305 822753.

 4) HTMLPro 1.32 - price reduction

  HTMLPro, the Ovation Pro to HTML converter, is now available for GBP29.95,
  including VAT and postage & packaging (was GBP40).

  See  http://www.levens.co.uk/ for details. Orders can be placed by email
  to sales@levens.co.uk.

 5) Educational software sale at The Data Store

  Following the success of last year's 'Bargain Basement' promotion, and
  reflecting the fact that The Data Store is unable to exhibit at the 
  forthcoming Wakefield Show, they have decided to hold an Educational
  Software Sale.

  A full list of the reduced prices is now on The Data Store's web site at
   http://www.datstore.demon.co.uk/ and will also appear in a full page ad
  in Acorn User. Offers include:

    * ArcVenture 1, 2, 3 or 4 (Sherston) GBP27
    * Being a Scientist CD (Anglia)      GBP30
    * Crystal Rainforest 2 (Sherston)    GBP35
    * Dinosaur Discovery (4Mation)       GBP20
    * Elf Tales CD (Sherston)            GBP25
    * Granny's Garden CD (4Mation)       GBP27
    * Kiyeko/Lost Night CD (UbiSoft)     GBP20
    * Rusty Dreamer CD (Sherston)        GBP39
    * Talking Clocks (Topologica)        GBP25

  These offers are only whilst stocks last, and will end in any case on 30th
  June 1999.

 6) RealAudio will NOT be at the Wakefield show

  Due to the recent changes at Acorn (see above), Warm Silence Software
  (http://www.wss.co.uk/) will be unable to launch a RealAudio player at
  Wakefield as originally planned.

  WSS hope to reach an agreement with Pace soon, and the RealAudio player
  will hopefully be available after the Wakefield show. Other products
  intended for launch at Wakefield (CDROMFS, new CDBurn, new emulators)
  will still be on sale at the show as planned.

PD/Shareware News

 1) AntUtils version 1.15 now available

  AntUtils version 1.15 is now available to download from Paul Vigay's Acorn
  Shareware site (http://www.interalpha.net/customer/pvigay/shareware.html).

  In addition to offering timed mail/news fetches, and random signature
  changes, AntUtils will also automatically create an HTML index of images
  in a specified directory, and will now support interactive help and
  rudimentary control of Fresco's cache.

  AntUtils is Freeware and v1.15 is available now.

 2) Microsoft WheelMouse driver

  John Scott has uploaded Wheel, a mouse driver for the Microsoft
  WheelMouse, which runs on RISC OS 3.6+. The driver is available from

 3) FreeTerm v1.39

  FreeTerm v1.39 is now available at  http://www.xargle.demon.co.uk/2020/.

  Alterations include a couple of bug fixes, and an NC mode designed for 
  mouseless operation.

 4) Fresco history list editor

  Historian, a History list editor for use with Fresco, is now available
  from  http://www.argonet.co.uk/users/lenny/soft/.

 5) Free OSLib version 5.4 released

  OSLib is a library of APCS compliant veneers to allow each and every
  registered SWI to be called from C and C++ in a consistent, type-safe way.
  Originally designed and written by Jonathan Coxhead, it is now in the
  public domain as Free Source software under a relaxed GNU Public Licence.

  The latest version contains a number of new interfaces, and a few bug
  fixes. It is available from  http://www.mk-net.demon.co.uk/oslib/.

 6) Vice 1.0 and DIY preview released

  Vice, the Versatile Commodore Emulator including emulators for the C64,
  C128, PET, VIC20 and CBM2 has reached version 1.0. The RISC OS port is
  available at  http://www.forwiss.tu-muenchen.de/~dehmel/Software.html.

  The Zip archive is almost 2MB large. Vice needs a StrongARM processor for
  best operation, but will work on any computer with 8MB RAM.

  A preview of a major update of DIY, the free and legal Doom for RISC OS,
  is available on  http://www.forwiss.tu-muenchen.de/~dehmel/DIY.html. The
  full release will probably be in late May.

 7) Aladdin Ghostscript 5.50 for RISC OS

  Aladdin Ghostscript 5.50 is now available for RISC OS users from
   http://www.acornusers.org/ghostscript/ and will hopefully be available
  from the HENSA archive soon.

  Ghostscript allows conversion of Postscript and PDF documents to a variety
  of formats, including PDF and many printer and image types.

 8) ASM V4.00

  Version 4.00 of ASM, a freeware ARM assembler, is now available from

  There are a number of enhancements over version 3.11, including limited
  scope labels, objAsm label syntax support, and structures, as well as some
  performance improvements.

 9) New version of Make

  Reuben Thomas has released a relinked version of the RISC OS make port.
  Improvements include:
    * files are correctly time stamped
    * as a result, a touch utility is included
    * error codes from programs that make calls are not ignored
    * recursive makes should be much more stable

  Make is available at  http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/users/rrt1001/program.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) May meeting dates

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

  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

 2) Acorn Expo 99

  The Big Ben Club, the national Dutch Acorn User Group, is now preparing
  for the Acorn Expo 99. The show offers exhibitions/promotions by various
  companies, including Dutch, German and British Acorn dealers, 
  demonstrations by club members, etc. 

  Show date: Saturday, June 5th, 1999.
  From:      10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
  Venue:     Expohall, Hotel Mercure, Buizerdlaan 10, Nieuwegein 
             (near the city of Utrecht).
  Admission: Members free, non-members NLG10.
  Details:    http://www.nedernet.nl/~bigben/

 3) Essex Acorn User Group

  This month's regular Essex Acorn User Group meeting is on Tuesday 11th May
  1999. There will be two parts to this meeting. First, the Annual General
  Meeting, and then a tutorial on Acorn Draw, given by a Club member, Martin

  Meetings are held in the library in Witham Town Centre, starting at
  7.45pm. For non-members, the first visit is free! Then you will learn how
  cheap it is to join.

  For more information on the club's future programme and directions to the
  Library, see the web site at  http://www.watsnees.demon.co.uk/eaug.html
  or e-mail eaug@watsnees.demon.co.uk.

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

 2) How to send in news

  To send in your news items simply e-mail ans@acornusers.org, or use the
  form on the ANS website (http://www.acornusers.org/ans/newsdesk.html).
  Also if you have an Acorn related announcements mailing list, feel free
  to subscribe ans@acornusers.org.

 3) How to subscribe to ANS

  If you are reading this on the ANS web site, or have received a forwarded
  copy of ANS and would like to subscribe to the mailing list, simply send
  any e-mail to ans-subscribe@ans.acornusers.org. Alternatively use the form
  on the ANS web site at  http://www.acornusers.org/ans/subscribe.html.

  For details of other commands e-mail ans-help@ans.acornusers.org.

 4) Fetching web pages via e-mail

  If you do not have web access you can fetch any URL referenced in ANS by
  using the KFS web by e-mail service. To use this free service send an
  e-mail to www@kfs.org with the subject header "send (URL)". For example to
  fetch the web by e-mail service information page send an e-mail like this:

    From: youraddress@example.com
    To: www@kfs.org
    Subject: send http://www.kfs.org/web-by-mail.html

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