|-------------------------- 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 41 26 September 1999 |
| To send in your news items or comments, use the ANS website, |
| or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. |
| Featured site this issue: http://www.armclub.org.uk/ |
2) General News
3) Commercial News
4) PD/Shareware News
5) Club News
6) ANS information
It is now just over a year since Acorn announced the cancellation of
Phoebe on September 17th 1998. In that time a lot has happened, Acorn is
no longer with us, but the near future for Acorn users looks secure after
RISCOS Ltd. has completed the launch of RISC OS 4, and the release of new
computers is imminent.
It is reassuring that new Acorn compatible hardware is being developed,
and we are not in the position of Amiga users, who have recently been told
that the new Amiga will not be making computers. However we still need a
flagship computer, something as powerful as the Phoebe, and with a
similar software bundle.
Items below include news that RISCOS Ltd. is already working on removing
some hardware dependency from RISC OS to make new systems easier to
develop, while the development of ROX takes a different approach, adapting
and adding to Unix GUIs to create something a little more like the RISC OS
desktop, for virtually any computer.
An archive of newsgroup posts from the weeks after "Black Thursday" is
still available at http://www.acornusers.org/phoenix/.
James Sears, Editor
1) UK Acorn/RISC OS shows calendar
* The RISC OS '99 Show (Surrey)
The ARM Club, 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,
Spacetech, RiscStation and Castle Technology. Advance tickets are now
available. See http://www.armclub.org.uk/shows/riscos99/ for details.
* Acorn Midlands Show (Birmingham)
The ARM Clib is also repeating their popular show at The National
Motorcycle Museum just outside Birmingham, now in its fourth year. The
venue is on the M42 and very close to Birmingham International station.
This show is to take place on Saturday 20th November 1999. Details
* Acorn Southwest Show (Somerset)
The Acorn Southwest Show will take place on Saturday 19th February 2000,
at The Webbington Hotel, Loxton, nr Axbridge, North Somerset. The show
is supported by Bristol Acorn Risc User Group.
2) Paul Johnson's next charity event
The next charity fund raising event that Paul Johnson is organising is to
help Steve Turnbull's MENCAP bike ride.
The plan is to release a double CD containing all of the Acorn FTP sites,
but permission is required from authors.
If you have released any software to any Acorn FTP sites, please contact
Paul as soon as possible saying if the software can be included on the
The CDs could be out as early as the RISC OS '99 Show with a recommended
minimum donation of GBP12.50.
Also there are still a few copies of the Kosovo CD available. The minimum
donation is just GBP6.75 for an excellent CD and to support a good cause.
Cheques to P. F. Johnson, 77 Station Road, Haydock, St. Helens WA11 0JL
3) Acorn Arcade web site Quake section revamped
The release of R-Comp's Quake Resurrection pack is just around the corner
so Acorn Arcade have completely re-written their Quake support section.
RISC OS Quake resources include tutorials, reviews, information on
multi-player games, and soon a full review of R-Comp's product.
4) Closure of Acorn's FTP site
Pace has announced that the Acorn FTP site (ftp.acorn.co.uk) has closed.
Pace had continued to host the site since taking over the ex-Acorn set top
box business in June, but since Pace do not own the acorn.co.uk domain,
and given the low level of utilisation of the site, Pace decided it was
inappropriate to continue to host it.
The Acorn FTP site has been distributed on various CDs in the past. The
Acorn User 200th issue cover CD appears to include an up to date copy.
5) ROX desktop - testers wanted
The ROX desktop aims to provide a RISC OS style GUI on Unix machines.
Currently the filer is mostly finished and the desktop already supports
drag-and-drop loading and saving, application directories and an iconbar
Screen shots: http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~tal197/ROX/screenshots.html
You can download the core components (filer, session manager and text
editor). The author, Thomas Leonard, is looking for people to try out the
desktop and send feedback. You need access to a Unix or Linux machine, but
root access is not required.
The ROX homepage is at: http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~tal197/ROX/.
There are also RISC OS utilities on the site, including the popular
Clipboard program (which allows cut, copy and paste in writable icons via
the global clipboard): http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~tal197/.
6) fsck and RISC OS 4
Although a new version of fsck (1.35) is available, it will only recognise
new RISC OS 4 format discs, but can not fix or analyse them.
There is still a lot of work to do in order to make fsck work on new
format discs and even more testing and debugging. Author Sergio Monesi can
not afford to work on such a big and unpaid project, so unfortunately
there will not be a version of fsck that will fully support RISC OS 4 in
the near future.
However a new version of nuke, a secure file eraser, which supports
RISC OS 4 is available.
1) RISCOS Ltd update on sub-licensees negotiations
RISCOS Ltd has announced that negotiations with several sub-licensees, to
use RISC OS 4, are nearing a successful conclusion.
RISCOS Ltd is committed to carrying the operating system forward, and has
already commenced work on hardware (VIDC and IOMD) independence, the
ability run in 32 bit mode, and adding new features to the OS.
2) FastSpool v1.21 now available
FastSpool is a printer accelerator that works with almost any parallel or
serial printer on any RISC OS machine running RISC OS 3.1 or above. It
also allows network printing on almost any type of network. See
http://www.warmsilence.demon.co.uk/products.html#FastSpool+ for more
FastSpool v1.21 has been released, and is available as a free upgrade to
V1.21 allows a configurable number of multiple 'last jobs' to be kept in
an old jobs queue and instantly reprinted, as well as adding new tweaks
for use with turbodrivers etc.
3) DrawWorks Millennium half price
iSV Products is delighted to announce that DrawWorks has now sold over
5000 copies, so for the remainder of September DrawWorks Millennium
single user versions are half price,
The normal RRP is GBP61.50 - but for orders received before the end of
September the price will be only GBP31.50.
Please note that this offer expires on the 30th of September and will not
be repeated. So if you want to get hold of DrawWorks Millennium for half
price contact iSV Products as soon as possible.
For more details on DrawWorks and other products see
4) EBMS - Inventory management and point of sale
Over the past 18 months Darren Windsor of Image Software has been
developing a business management system for RISC OS, which should be
released in the next few months.
EBMS (electronic business management system) includes:
* Stock control / inventory management
* EPOS (electronic point of sale)
* Payroll functions
* Client / customer accounting (accounts receivable)
* Expense management (accounts payable)
* Job monitoring and time management
The application is network and multi-site compliant (for data sharing
within and between different branches of an organisation) and supports
handheld terminal integration for 'on the move' applications.
Anyone interested in more details can check out a draft of the website at
5) Simtec StrongARM upgrade service
For GBP100 (including VAT and UK postage) Simtec will upgrade StrongARM
cards, for users wanting either a faster 233MHz part or Rev T device.
6) Serious Statistical Software has moved
Since early June SSS has been planning a move from the Wirral to Central
England. This has now taken place, the new address is:
19 Station Road, Blackwell, Bromsgrove, B60 1QB
Telephone: +44 (0)121 445 6887
SSS products, 1st, 1stJr and 1stL, remain best statistics packages for
RISC OS machines. The current versions have improved graphics
functionality as well as providing a very wide-ranging collection of
statistical facilities, all wrapped in a comfortable front-end for ease
and speed of use.
Statistical levels covered range from very simple to research centre
capability. Visit http://www.serious-stats.co.uk/ and download a trial
7) Camera news from Spacetech
Two new digital cameras, with RISC OS connectivity software, are available
from Spacetech, including the small 190g Olympus C-21 at GBP699.99.
8) RISC OS version of British Parliamentary Constituencies CD
British Parliamentary Constituencies is a CD-ROM aimed at people who have
a general interest in politics and students from A-level to post graduate
It was released as suitable for Microsoft Windows only, even though it was
authored on Risc PCs. The publishers have now decided to make an Acorn
version available for a limited time.
The single user CD costs GBP50 including VAT.
JScript / ECMAScript authoring tool available on the RISC OS platform.
* Works well with Zap, StrongED, HTMLEdit, HTML3
* Powerful script based design allows countless possibilities
It is free and available for download from
2) Webite and WebProxy
WebProxy provides a local web proxy, in a similar way to Acorn's WebServe.
It uses Acorn's fetcher modules which are supplied with the Browse CD ROM,
the RisCafe CD ROM and J233 Risc PCs.
WebProxy can also proxy SSL. This feature requires the AcornSSL module,
available from Acorn. With the SSL proxy feature, WebsterXL and Webite
(1.45 or later) can fetch https:// URLs as if they supported SSL natively.
WebProxy (v0.04) is now available from Alex Macfarlane Smith's web site:
Also Webite, the browser from Doggysoft's Termite Internet has now been
're-released'. Webite is a small and efficient, if slightly dated, web
browser. Webite can now be used with any Internet software.
Alex Macfarlane Smith and Richard Walker have been playing around with
Webite, and have released version 1.45 in source and binary format. Both
releases include Alex's WebProxy application.
It is hoped that this source release will encourage some programmers to
develop the browser further. A fair amount of documentation is included in
the source distribution. You can also read the release notes from the web
site without having to download the archives.
Both the source and binary versions are available from:
3) FidoMail 2.03 released
The latest version of FidoMail, the Fidonet mail processor for RISC OS, is
now available from the Squirrel Solutions website
The changes between 1.96 (the last official version) and 2.03 are massive,
but here is a brief summary:
* Many sections recoded in assembler for speed
* Improved stability
* More scalable - will now work with up 4GB messagebase
* Completely redesigned templates, both 2D and 3D
* Now incorporates SparkMail control code, with flags for each downlink
* Automatic creation of new echomail areas
* New WIMP configuration utility to simplify setting up the system
In addition to this, most of the 3rd party hacks (1.96h, 1.96i, 1.96j etc)
have now been incorporated into the source, eg Away flags, list generation
and many other features. It also uses less memory than previous "hack"
FidoMail can be downloaded free of charge from the URL above. RISC OS 3.1
users please note that you will need the new boot structure installed,
along with at least version 3.36 of the Window Manager.
4) HTML3 released
Richard Goodwin has been working for the past couple of years on an HTML
macro inserter for RISC OS. Called HTML3, it replaces HTML2 and HTMacroL,
which were given free to ArgoNet users as well as being available from
various web and FTP sites.
HTML3 is a macro inserter, not a complete editor for web pages - you use
your favourite text editor and get it to enter HTML tags. HTML3 is
designed to help web designers take away some of the drudge from web
design, not replace the need to learn HTML.
HTML3 is free. For more information or to download see:
Also on this area of the site is a beta link checker (checks external
http: links as well as local ones), and two site templates.
5) RiscXLib - X Client libraries for RISC OS
RiscXLib will be of most interest to people who wish to develop or run X
client applications on RISC OS machines. You will require an X Server of
some description to display any graphical output from the clients, the
libraries do work with the freeware X Server available for RISC OS.
The first version of RiscXLib is available from the above URL. There are
also a couple of X clients and source available for download for people to
play with as well.
6) GNU GCC 2.95.1 (pre-release 2)
GCC is a free collection of compilers that provide the user with a
powerful tool for translating C, C++ and Fortran source into fast ARM
assembler that is suitable for execution on RISC OS.
Thanks to a little generosity from about 30 Acorn enthusiasts, Nick
Burrett is making the second RISC OS pre-release of GCC 2.95.1 available
The compilers are large programs and will require at least 6MB of free
memory to execute, so you will either require a Risc PC or an 8MB machine.
See http://hard-mofo.dsvr.net/gcc/ for download information.
7) Other new software
CDName will restore correct filenames when using a CD-ROM drive to back
up a RISC OS hard disc.
EasyCalc is a very simple calculator, that has the benefit of being able
to output the sum and answer to a text editor.
* Free CMHG replacement
As part of the effort to come up with a free alternative to the DDE,
Robin Watts has written a CMHG replacement, CMunge. It takes files in
the same format as CMHG, but rather than directly generating AOF files,
it generates assembler output suitable for feeding to objasm.
E-mail Robin.Watts@wss.co.uk for a beta test copy.
* LED_Board v1.22
LED_Board is and educational aid to demonstrate in how many different
ways one eight bit number can be interpreted. It is interactive in many
ways and will display on an external LED board, if one is fitted via a
user board. The program supports interactive help. LED_Board is
8) Updated software summary
* CamTrack v1.14b
CamTrack is a PD program for fetching and storing webcam images from the
net. The new version can fetch images from a practically unlimited
number of webcams, and two fetching modes are supported - Round robin
and Top first.
* Freeze v1.00 (RISC OS 4 compatible)
Freeze can save the state of a machine and restore it back at any time.
Using Freeze, a long boot sequence can take less than 5 seconds. Any
user can save time and work more efficiently with several applications
and documents, not only portable owners, and not only at power-on. The
new version is faster, very much improved and it works better with more
configurations, from RO3.11 to RO4.02 (including soft-loaded versions).
* guavac 1.0 release v1.3
guavac is a Java compiler for RISC OS. The new version includes various
fixes and new features.
* Mail-Lock / Q-Lock v1.3
Mail-Lock is a utility which enables users of Marcel in the ANT Internet
Suite to encrypt and retrieve sensitive mail folders with a high level
of security. Q-Lock is similar but will work on any data. The new
versions are fully RISC OS 4 compatible and include an even better
method of destroying plain text mail.
* PlaySound v1.70
PlaySound is a frontend to the PlayIt sample player by Rick Hudson.
PlayIt must also be downloaded from Rick Hudson's web site at
http://members.xoom.com/rick_hudson/software/. PlayIt can play most
sample formats, auto-detect most sample types (Wave, Audioworks, etc.),
and has drivers for normal 8 bit sound, 16 bit Risc PC sound cards and
Lark audio cards.
* Png2Spr v1.31
Png2Spr converts PNG files to Acorn Sprite files and vice versa. The new
version can now convert 8bpp sprites as long as there is at least one
duplicate palette entry. Also a minor memory leak fixed and the whole
thing compiled with latest zlib compression library and libpng image
* Q-Lock - see Mail-Lock
* RiscPCB v0.36 (RISC OS 4 compatible)
RiscPCB is a freeware printed circuit board designer. RiscPCB did not
function correctly with the new RISC OS 4 hard disc format. The update
cures this problem.
* StrongHelp v2.70b2 (RISC OS 4 compatible)
StrongHelp, a hypertext help file viewer, has been fixed so searching
works with RISC OS 4.
1) September/October meeting dates from AAUG
The following user group meetings are planned for September and October.
Always check the AAUG web site http://www.aaug.net/ to confirm details.
28th - Acorn Club NorthEast meeting
29th - Bristol Acorn User Group meeting
6th - SARC meeting
6th - Wakefield meeting - AGM + Cambridgeshire software
8th - Welwyn Hatfield meeting
11th - Southampton meeting
11th - SASAUG meeting
11th - DARC meeting - Advanced Pluto (TBC)
12th - Bottisham Acorn Usergroup meeting
12th - Liverpool Acorn Usergroup meeting
12th - Essex Acorn Usergroup meeting
14th - North Kent Computer Club meeting
26th - Acorn Club NorthEast meeting
26th - Blackpool meeting
27th - Bristol Acorn User Group 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) Proposed London RISC OS user group
Three MAUG founders, who have been drawn to the south-east by work
requirements, are planning to create a RISC OS user group for London.
Given the difficulties of transport and venues in London, and the fact
that a great many people work in London but live much further out, the
meetings will probably be smaller, more informal, in a wide variety of
locations, and at a wide range of different times.
It is likely to be a month or two before full-scale meetings, but they
plan to hold an initial meeting on a weekday evening in central London
If you would like to come along for a drink (alcoholic or not), and a
friendly chat about Acorn and RISC OS systems (and indeed anything else),
please e-mail email@example.com *now*.
RISC OS users working in London but living further out may also want to
check out SASAUG, EAUG and similar groups: http://www.aaug.net/. And of
course RISC OS 99 - http://www.armclub.org.uk/shows/riscos99/.
3) BARUG Meeting 29 Sept 1999
The Bristol Acorn RISC User Group September presentation will be by Simon
Abbott, Customer Service Manager of Reflex Electronics who provide
technical servicing backup for the RISC OS platform. Accompanying him will
be Jason Keeler.
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. Visitors are welcome, parking is free
and so is admission if it is your first visit. The annual subscription is
GBP7 which covers coffee and biscuits.
For a map and other information visit the website
4) Essex Acorn User Group - October Meeting
The next EAUG meeting, on Tuesday 12th October 1999, will feature Icon
Technology in the person of Mike Glover talk about EasiWriter and
Meetings are held in the centre of Essex, at the Library in Witham Town
Centre, starting at 7.45 pm.
For more details and directions to the Library, take a look at the group's
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