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Home > Archive > Issue 37 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 37                                                  25 July 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.octosys.co.uk/srch.html      |

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


  RISC OS 4 is here, more and more users are will start to benefit as they
  upgrade and, as you can see from some items below, minor problems with
  software compatibility are being fixed by developers.

  Looking at the RISC OS 4 software package it seems to be similar to
  Phoebe's, which was focused on cross platform compatibility. I thought
  the software package was one of Phoebe's most attractive features, and
  although RO4 does not include some of the most interesting elements such
  as speech recognition and OmniClient, it does make life much easier for
  RISC OS users.

  The use of flash ROM is also an interesting change. Although RISC OS's
  elegant module system allows easy soft loaded upgrades to parts of the
  operating system, I think more frequent OS updates, providing fixed
  configurations for developers to test software against, may make life
  easier and reduce the potential for obscure bugs caused by odd software

  Sorry for the delay in getting this issue of ANS out, unfortunately I was
  unable to finish it before leaving on holiday. Here it is finally,
  somewhat larger than usual.

  Also it was brought to my attention that e-mail sent to ans@acornusers.org
  had not been getting through to us for some time. This problem has now
  been corrected, so please do continue to send any relevant news items for
  ANS to ans@acornusers.org.

  James Sears, Editor

General News

 1) Successful launch of RISC OS 4

  At the beginning of the month RISCOS Ltd successfully launched RISC OS 4,
  which will be incorporated in newly designed computers, and is available
  as an upgrade for existing Acorn A7000, A7000+ and RiscPC systems.

  Key features of RISC OS 4:
    * Great increase in speed.
    * Support for hard discs up to 256GB.
    * Long filenames.
    * Boot system implementing drag and drop.
    * Advanced Configure and Pinboard tools.
    * Security features.
    * Compatibility with earlier RISC OS software.
    * Fully Millennium compliant.

  Bundled software includes:
    * Writer, from the authors of Easiwriter and Techwriter, for producing
      properly formatted letters and documents.
    * Vector, a powerful drawing package to supplement Draw.
    * Organizer, a diary and address book.
    * ImageFS, an excellent graphics conversion system.
    * Taborca, PDF file generator.

  It has been decided that RISC OS 4 will be carried on FlashROM. This will
  make upgrades cheaper, and allow each copy to be personalised. This means
  that, for example, foreign language versions of RISC OS 4 can be produced
  in very small quantities. In line with RISC OS's high security against
  virus attack, it is important to note that the FlashROM is NOT user

  For further details of RISC OS 4 see http://www.riscos.com/.

 2) QuickaVista search tool updated

  The latest QuickaVista is available on the Octopus Systems web site at

  Quicka Vista provides a fast and powerful way of searching the Internet,
  using the most important search engines and directories. It is useful for
  new and experienced Internet users alike, and it is free.

  Just access http://www.octosys.co.uk/srch.html and you will have quick
  access to Alta Vista, Yahoo, DejaNews, the BT Telephone directory and
  Yellow Pages, as well as the major news and weather services and language
  translation services.

  Since Quicka Vista is an HTML page, rather than a program, it can be used
  on any platform, with any browser. For faster access you can even save a
  copy on your own hard disc and make it your default page which opens
  automatically whenever your browser starts. This removes the wait for your
  favourite search page to download, and enables you to start entering your
  search string while your modem is still dialling.

 3) New mailing list for Acorn Browse users

  Carl Pfeiffer has set up a mailing list for users of Acorn Browse, in
  order to act primarily as a focus for support. 

  The list allows users to discuss anything to do with the application, be
  it hints, tips, bugs, and most pertinently its future.

  Browse is a fine program, as most of its users agree, but as with many
  things related to the Acorn world, the issue of "where do we go from
  here?" is a pressing one. By establishing this list, Carl hopes Browse
  users will able to come together to ensure that it has a viable future.

  To subscribe send an email to browse-l@carlbob.freeuk.com with SIGNON in
  the subject header.

 4) RISC OS 4 Compatibility site updated

  Paul Johnson's RISC OS 4 compatibility site has been updated, with new
  information on over a thousand extra titles.


 5) comp.{binaries,sources}.acorn website updated

  The CBSA website has been updated with an entirely new area for to
  archiving software, as well as a slightly modified version of MultiShow.

    * http://www.acornusers.org/cbsa/
    * ftp://ftp.acornusers.org/pub/cbsa/

 6) UK8 Convention cancelled

  Due to a sudden and substantial change of circumstances, the UK8
  Convention (a cross-format event for 8-bit computer users) which was to be
  held in Walsall, West Midlands, England in September 1999, has had to be

  Regrettably, it is not possible to arrange for the event to be moved to an
  satisfactory alternative venue on or about the same date. However, it is
  expected that an alternative venue will be found in time for the event to
  be held early in 2000.

  Contact: Brian Watson uk8@spheroid.demon.co.uk.

 7) Fantasy Football RISC OS user superleague

  Tim Fountain (tim@markgf.demon.co.uk) is setting up a RISC OS user
  superleague in this season's Daily Telegraph Fantasy Football game.

  If you are interested you can join the mailing list he has setup, by
  emailing 'football-l@markgf.demon.co.uk' with the subject 'SIGNON
  football-l'. You will then be sent information on how to enter.

 8) New PlayIt mailing list

  Rick Hudson has set up a new mailing list for new release announcements
  and general discussion of PlayIt, a multi-format disc-based sound sample
  player which applications can use for miscellaneous sound playing duties.
  Any existing or potential software authors that use PlayIt are invited to

  If you wish to subscribe to the list you can do so on the web at
  http://www.onelist.com/subscribe/riscos-playit, or possibly more easily
  by sending a blank e-mail to riscos-playit-subscribe@onelist.com.

 9) The Event Horizon closes, ExMac and ChangeTxt go PD

  With the launch of the Kosovo CD, which included MacFS Lite, ExMac's only
  rival on the RISC OS platform, the market niche for ExMac is well and
  truly gone.

  Development of The Event Horizon's RTF products such as Reader/Writer and
  RTF Library halted once it became clear that other developers were either
  developing their own libraries or were unable to incorporate it into their

  So as a final farewell, both ExMac and ChangeTxt will be provided with a
  public domain key enabling full functionality. These can be downloaded
  from The Event Horizon's website http://www.ehorizon.demon.co.uk/.
  There will be no support for these products.

Commercial News

 1) Acorn User Music CD

  Acorn User magazine is currently planning an audio Music CD for
  cover-mounting in association with City Audio Services.

  The idea behind it is to produce a CD with a wide variety of musical
  styles originated and mastered 100% digitally - no analogue recording at
  any stage - and 100% on a RiscPC.

  If you compose music on your RISC OS computer, or you know someone who
  does, contact Julian Coleman cas@argonet.co.uk to register your interest
  but do not send any music files until he asks for them.

 2) RiscStation Australasia

  The web site for RiscStation (Australasia) Pty Ltd. is now complete.

  The site now includes an on-line version of the R7500 information pack
  being distributed to customers in Australia, New Zealand, and surrounding 
  areas. In addition customers can obtain contact details for their nearest
  Authorised Reseller.


 3) Fabis Computing ceases trading

  As of the 31st July 1999 Fabis Computing will cease trading. The following
  statement was made by Sean Aylett of Fabis Computing:

  "Due to the increasing difficult trading conditions within the Acorn
  market the decision withdraw has been made.

  We are in discussions with a third party regarding the continued
  availability of Recycler and EasyFont Pro.

  Both myself and Andrew would like to thank all our customers for their
  support over the past 6 years."


 4) CDBlaze summer offer

  Until 6pm on the 6th September 1999 you can order CDBlaze, Cumana's CD
  writer software, for the special offer price of GBP59.98 (including VAT
  and postage).

  For more information or to place an order for CDBlaze, telephone
  +44 (0)1279 730900 or e-mail sales@cumana.co.uk. For further details see
  Cumana's web site http://www.cumana.demon.co.uk/.

 5) Cumana - Important SCSI 2 Announcement

  All Cumana SCSI 2 card users should register their interest for a
  RISC OS 4 upgrade as soon as possible.

  Send your name and e-mail address, and card serial number if possible, to


PD/Shareware News

 1) FTPc 1.17

  FTPc is a freeware internet File Transfer Protocol Client. This version
  fixes a display problem with RISC OS 4, and a compatibility problem with


 2) Network released

  Network consists of two programs for very quickly and easily setting up
  a serial PPP network between any two RISC OS computers, ideal for file
  sharing, print sharing and network DIY Doom.

  Network also has a built in chat server/client to talk to the person on
  the other end of the line. It is currently released in beta but should be
  developed very quickly.

  Available free (with source) from http://www.madsoft.freeserve.co.uk/.

 3) Chopper

  Readers of comp.sys.acorn.apps may have seen a recent thread about a
  'sprite chopper' which allows an image to be divided up into a number of
  rectangular areas for careful use in web site creation.

  A simple program to do this, Chopper, is now available at

 4) MultiShow 1.88 released

  After a good few months of development and testing, the final ever version
  of MultiShow application has now been released.

  The software is faster and more efficient than the last release version.
  It has many fixes, a load of additional features and is RISC OS 3.1 - 4

  For details see http://www.acornusers.org/cbsa/Art.html or download
  direct from ftp://ftp.acornusers.org/pub/cbsa/Art/MultiShow.zip.

 5) CSS Designer Released

  CSSDesign is a freeware Cascading Style Sheet (Level 1) designer for RISC
  OS computers. Cascading Style Sheets are used to suggest more precisely
  how an HTML page should be displayed.

  Download at http://www.dyoungs.clara.net/software/.

 6) ToolBoxLib release

  ToolBoxLib, a freeware library for programming in BASIC with the Acorn
  Toolbox modules, is now available.

  You can download the archive from the software section of

 7) DigitalCD 2.41

  DigitalCD v2.41, including RISC OS 4 compatibility and other fixes, is
  now available from http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Horizon/4471/.

  DigitalCD is a desktop music player compatible with RISC OS 3.1 or later.
  It provides independent control panels for any connected CD drive and
  music files playlists.

 8) WinBack desktop util

  WinBack was at first a application to change the colour of the window
  backgrounds, but now has been updated to v1.50 which has more functions:
    * Pengo hourglass to change it from the Acorn one.
    * Easy pinboard backgrounds.
    * Start up picture for if you have it in the boot sequence.
    * Changes some icons.

  You can download it at http://mars.spaceports.com/~kez/.

 9) Lua 3.2 ported to RISC OS

  Reuben Thomas has ported Lua, a dynamic extensible embeddable language, to
  RISC OS. The README says:

  Lua is a programming language originally designed for extending
  applications, but also frequently used as a general-purpose, stand-alone
  language. It combines simple procedural syntax (similar to Pascal) with
  powerful data description constructs based on associative arrays and
  extensible semantics. Lua is dynamically typed, interpreted from
  bytecodes, and has automatic memory management, making it ideal for
  configuration, scripting, and rapid prototyping.

  The home page is at http://www.tecgraf.puc-rio.br/lua/. Get the RISC OS
  version from http://sc3d.org/rrt/program.html.

 10) Embeddable Forth compilers

  Reuben Thomas rrt@persephone.joh.cam.ac.uk has also ported two
  embeddable Forth compilers to RISC OS:

  * Ficl 2.03  http://www.taygeta.com/ficl.html

               (ANS Forth interpreter/compiler)
  * 4tH 3.3a   http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Bay/2334/basefold.htm

               (ANS-compatible Forth, compiler only, good safety mechanisms,

               excellent docs.)

  Binary only distributions are available at:

 11) Hugs98 RISC OS port

  Hugs is a Haskell 98 interpreter. Haskell is a functional programming
  language descended from Gofer. For more information see
  http://www.haskell.org/ and http://www.haskell.org/hugs/.

  Download the RISC OS port by James Shiell jwds1@cs.waikato.ac.nz at

 12) RiscFree v1.40

  RiscFree v1.40 has now been released. RiscFree (previously RiscNet) is a
  package that integrates and configures your Internet software simply and

  Changes in version 1.40 include:
    * Configuration is now in the installation utility.
    * Provider creation is now included in RiscConfg.
    * Various bugs have been fixed.
    * The whole system is much smoother.

 13) Risc AMP

  Risc AMP is a fully featured shareware MPEG audio player and sequencer,
  based on Thomas Olsson's excellent decoder module. 

  * Plays AMPEG layer I, II and III files using Thomas Olsson's AMPlayer 
    module. This enables play to continue in the background even when 
    single tasking!

  * Displays ID3 track name, artist and album information when available 
    and the leaf and path name of the file if there is no ID3 information.

  * A fully drag 'n' drop playlist allows easy ordering and sequencing of 
    the files you want to play.

  * Files, lists of files and directories can be recursively added to the 

  * Skins can easily be added with complete control over the appearance 
    of the user interface.

  * Full interactive help makes it easy to use.

  The program is not completely finished and will not be for some time
  because the feature list just keeps on growing. The main areas in need of
  extra work are plug-ins, WinSkin and a few oddities in window opening

  For more details see:

 14) New version of CamTrack

  A new version (1.03b) of CamTrack, a PD program for fetching and storing
  cam images from the web is now available from the author's web site:

  This version is capable of fetching several image types and is more 'fool
  proof' than earlier versions.

 15) WebMan web site scanner

  WebMan (available from http://www.argonet.co.uk/users/musus/) maintains
  a database of your locally-held web site and lists changes you have made,
  making the job of uploading much easier. WebMan is command-line driven.

  A front end for WebMan is now available, which produces a text file
  listing all changes alphabetically. Optionally, it may create a command
  file for use with sFTP.

  WebMan (front end) is at http://www.locationworks.com/kang.html.

 16) Thump image viewer

  Version 1.31 of Thump is now on its web page at:

  There are only minor improvements since 1.30; most of the recent
  significant changes were made in 1.29. Thump's features include:
    * Thump is a freeware multi-format image viewer and thumbnail browser.
    * Thumbnails are generated in on-the-fly by browsing the directory
      structure, there is no thumbnail archive to keep up to date.
    * Thumbnail viewer is similar in appearance and function to the filer.
    * Awareness of ImageFS, raFS and image files.
    * Toolbar, menu, mouse and keyboard operation.
    * Full-screen mode and previous/next image stepping (manual & auto).
    * Extensive user configuration.
    * Location independent caption & keyword system with search facility.
    * Interface specs and sources for format modules available to allow 3rd
      party additions.

  Also a new Thump mailing list has just been created for new release
  announcements and general discussion of bugs, features, module writing,
  etc. To subscribe see http://www.onelist.com/subscribe/riscos-thump.
  Sending a blank e-mail to riscos-thump-subscribe@onelist.com may also

Club News

 1) July/August meeting dates from AAUG

  The following user group meetings are planned for July and August. Always
  check the AAUG web site http://www.aaug.net/ to confirm details.

  July 1999
  27th - Acorn Club NorthEast meeting
  27th - Blackpool meeting
  28th - Bristol Acorn User Group meeting

  August 1999
   4th - SARC meeting - TBA
   4th - Wakefield meeting - PD/Shareware
   9th - Southampton meeting
   9th - SASAUG meeting
   9th - DARC meeting - Advanced Pluto (TBC)
  10th - Bottisham Acorn Usergroup meeting
  10th - Liverpool Acorn Usergroup meeting
  10th - Essex Acorn Usergroup meeting
  12th - North Kent Computer Club meeting
  13th - Welwyn Hatfield meeting
  24th - Blackpool meeting
  25th - Bristol Acorn User Group meeting
  31st - Acorn Club NorthEast meeting

  The AAUG website provides details of all the user groups worldwide, and
  how you can benefit from becoming a member. For more information, visit

 2) Norfolk Acorn User Group

  A few months ago Jonathan Balls naug@ballsy.demon.co.uk announced plans
  to start a group supporting users of RISC OS based computers, living in
  the North Norfolk Area.

  Users have now formed a group called NAUG (the Norfolk Acorn User Group).
  NAUG is a member of the Association of Acorn User Groups which means that
  our members are entitled to the usual benefits, such as access to the
  Global Discount Scheme.

  NAUG has a new look website http://www.ballsy.demon.co.uk/naug/ with
  more information and an Online Application form for those of you who are
  interested in joining. Membership is FREE!

  NAUG can be contacted in any of the following ways.
    * E-mail: naug@aaug.net
    * Fax: 0870 0524617
    * Snail Mail: Jonathan Balls 
                  20 Rye Close 
                  North Walsham 
                  NR28 9EY

 3) BARUG Meeting 28 July 1999

  BARUG's July Speaker will be David Snell who will be demonstrating ProCad+
  and will have copies of the program available at a special price.

  Computer aided design is a fascinating area and it should be an enjoyable
  and informative evening.

  BARUG meet on the last Wednesday of each month at 7.30pm at the Burden
  Institute, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, which is virtually next door to the
  University of the West of England. Parking is free and so is admission if
  you are a first-time visitor. The annual subscription is GBP7.

  For map and other info visit http://www.snave.demon.co.uk/BARUG/.

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
  Translator     - Michael Gerbracht - michael@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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