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Acorn News Service

ISSUE 12623 February 2003
An independant fortnightly newsletter for the Acorn world.
Send your news items or comments to ans@acornusers.org
Featured site this issue: http://www.drobe.co.uk/riscos/artifact570.html


  1. General News
  2. Commercial News
  3. PD/Shareware News
  4. Club News
  5. ANS Information

General News

  1. RISC OS Jobs web site

    After a long absence ROJO, the RISC OS Jobs website, is back and in a new permanent home at http://www.riscos.org/rojo/.

    If you wish to advertise any RISC OS related jobs on the site please send an email to mailto:rojo@riscos.org. If you want to be automatically sent details of any jobs which are posted on ROJO, send an email to rojo@riscos.org with "Subscribe" in the subject line.

    In addition ROJO is now providing space for requesting help with any RISC OS related voluntary project. Just send an email describing the project and the help needed. Also there is space for freelancers who provide services to the RISC OS community to advertise. If you want to be promoted send details of what you do, etc. to mailto:rojo@riscos.org.

  2. Unix Porting Project Developer Subscriptions

    Developer subscriptions are now available for the Unix Porting Project. The cost is GBP25 in addition to the regular subscription cost.

    The developer subscription gets you access to various tools to help you with porting, and support for solving common porting problems.

    Visit http://www.chocky.org/unix/developer/ for more details.

  3. Updated Support Site for IYONIX pc and 32-bit Software

    Castle Technology have recently published additional material to enable developers and programmers to write software for the 32-bit IYONIX pc. The latest technical documentation is now available at: http://www.iyonix.com/32bit/

  4. Charity programming books still available

    The books "Starting Basic" and "Dr Wimp's Surgery" (both by Ray Favre) are still available. Over 200 copies of each have been sold so far - generating over GBP2000 for charity (all excess of income over costs goes to charity).

    Each is over 300 pages in A5 ring-bound format and each costs GBP16 inc. P&P and discs, of which about GBP4 per book goes to charity.

    "Starting Basic" assumes the reader knows nothing and takes him/her progressively through the learning curve. The book also forms a good reference manual for BBC Basic.

    "Dr Wimp's Surgery" concentrates on using the freeware Dr Wimp package for Wimp-programming, but is also a very good introduction to general Wimp-programming in Basic. It assumes the reader is broadly familiar with Basic.

    Cheques to Ray Favre at: 26 West Drayton Park Avenue, West Drayton, Middlesex, UB7 7QA. http://www.argonet.co.uk/users/rayfavre/

  5. RSS news summaries now available from riscos.com

    The main RISCOS Ltd. site now provides a RSS summary of the most recent news items, allowing you to view a digest of the latest news from any web sites which provide information for an RSS client.

    To use the service you need a RSS client. A RISC OS based client will be available as part of the Select Scheme. To view the RISCOS Ltd. updates point your reader at http://www.riscos.com/cgi-bin/news.rss.

Commercial News

  1. RISCOS Ltd. starts its fifth year of trading.

    RISCOS Ltd. celebrated the completion of its fourth year of business on 31st January 2003 and is now in its fifth year of trading.

    There have been many changes in the RISC OS market since Acorn announced that it was pulling out of the production of desktop computers in September 1998.

    Since the launch of RISC OS 4 in 1999 RISCOS Ltd. has sold over 3900 end user upgrades and there have been approximately 1500 new computers sold with RISC OS 4 pre-installed.

    2002 was a quiet year on many fronts, and the uncertainty over the development of new computers meant that sales were for the most part very sluggish. The launch of RISC OS 5 and the subsequent rejuvenation of software development from many publishers has however created a new enthusiasm for RISC OS.


  2. ExpLAN Printers for RISC OS

    ExpLAN has recently expanded the range of printers available with RISC OS drivers and PrintControl.

    Laser printers: http://www.explan.co.uk/printers/kyocera.html Inkjet printers: http://www.explan.co.uk/printers/canon.html

  3. TEK Update

    After some more weeks of hard work, Artex is proud to present the PYRO Update 2 for the realtime strategy game TEK1608. The Pyro update can be downloaded for free from http://www.artexsoft.com/tek/. Also the latest Viewfinder upgrade makes this graphics card compatible with TEK.

  4. New Products from R-Comp Interactive

    • Remote Control

      Designed to allow a RISC OS user to drive a Microsoft Windows PC over a network, directly from the RISC OS desktop. The software itself is based on two technologies called VNC and RDP, and builds on programs that can be downloaded elsewhere. Remote Control from RCI, including manual and technical support, will cost GBP17.50 including VAT and UK delivery.

      • SpaceCube Computers

        SpaceCubes are very small computers (about the size of a shoebox) which provide full, high speed computing and can run Linux or Microsoft Windows. Prices range from around GBP599 to GBP1000 depending upon specification, and R-Comp prefer to discuss requirements with customers in order to build a machine exactly to their needs.


      • Simtec announce new USB stack

        Simtec is pleased to announce a new release of their USB stack for RISC OS. Version 1.3 is a bug fix release to improve stability and interoperability still further. While an upgrade is not required it is advisable for all users.


        All users will see some small performance improvements but this release is mainly intended to improve compatibility with the large number of "soft" (DFU) devices which need their firmware uploading when connected.

PD/Shareware News

  1. New software summary

    • AppFS DAFS ModFS VarFS

      An attempt to put all OS objects into genuine filing systems.


    • DirSync, a directory synchroniser

      Compare two directories. The result is presented in a window where you can filter some type of differences, for example only different files, or only files that are newer in the source directory. In the compare window are icons to manipulate the synchronise direction, and if they should be synchronised at all.


    • OneDay, satellite image display

      Shows one day in the life of the planet Earth. It consists of 24 animated sprites harvested from ESA's Meteosat archive. You see the Earth light up in the East - light travels towards West until night falls. There is an interesting flash of light in the morning when the sun is reflected from the sea off the coast of the Arabian peninsula.


    • Remane, batch renaming

      Batch file renaming program. Once you drop a selection of files onto the window you can rename them in many imaginative ways. There is a choice of file names. Either todays date or the date stamp of the individual files - very useful for photographs - or any other name you can think of. You can add an extension of any kind or length always assuming that you use RISCOS 4 or 5 or anything that can handle long file names.


  2. Updated software summary

    • Account2 v1.24b

      Home Accounts freeware application. 32 bit compatible and various other improvements and bug fixes.


    • ARMalyser v0.43

      An ARM code analyser that understands RISC OS executable, module, object and library formats. ARMv5 and ARMv5TE (XScale) instructions added.


    • ASM v5.01

      Freeware macro assembler. Changes since 5.00 include some minor bug fixes, and new features to make it capable of following much of the ObjAsm syntax.


    • ButtonBar v1.59

      Allows user definable button bars to be created for any program which accepts keyboard input. In the latest version, support for menu selections has been added, so that buttons can be set up to simulate a mixture of keypresses and menu selections.


    • CCres v1.02

      An application for converting Toolbox Res files (&fae) and Wimp Template files (&fec) to and from text format. This version contains two bug fixes, and adds the facility to convert Wimp Template files.


    • CVS v1.11.5

      Port of the version control system.


    • DoubleTake v1.05

      Allows you to simulate Shift-doubleclick by holding down the second click of the mouse for about 0.2s. Various improvements and 32 bit.


    • EnBank v2.03

      Multi-currency accounts package. Import facility now supports Javascript v1.5 and adheres to ECMA-262 revision 3, bug fixes, 32/26 bit neutral.


    • Enigma v1.32

      Realistic simulation of the war-time coding machine used by the Germans to encrypt their messages. Bug fixes.


    • PDF v1.01.1.10

      PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file viewer for RISC OS. Bug fixes.


    • Squeak Smalltalk v3.4

      A public domain Smalltalk programming system. This version has many improvements to the virtual machine, not least of which is that it should be Iyonix compatible. It is also some 30% faster than the last release after extensive work on the handling of important internal globals.


    • Thumbcat v2.0

      Image catalogue application. It will handle a variety of formats without additional applications. "Native" formats currently handled are Sprites, Drawfiles, JPEGs, EXIFs and Digital Camera AVIs (if they have an embedded thumbnail). In addition it recognises ImageFS and ChangeFSI (if running/booted) and all formats handled by those applications. It also includes an editable image details database based on the EXIF tag standard. It will create an HTML version of a catalogue.


    • TimerMod v4.12

      Provides SWIs and *commands for timing to microsecond accuracy. Bug fix.


    • USBinfo v0.42

      Shows the topology of your USB system in a graphical manner and allows you to read system information from each device. This is a major new release that copes with the many changes in the USB API.


    • Variations v0.18

      Image processing. Bug fixes, new feature: masking.


    • WimpMon v2.00

      Monitor Wimp events and messages that are passed around between the Wimp itself and desktop applications. This is a complete rewrite of the software with a number of new features, including: monitoring of Toolbox events; event decoding now done by plugin modules; many more messages and events understood and decoded; 26/32 bit neutral.


    • XChars v1.20

      Freeware advanced character picker to replace the standard Chars application that comes with RISC OS. An earlier version of XChars features as the new Chars application that comes with RISC OS Select. This new version finally fixes the irritating "flickering zoom window" bug and, most notably, introduces support for font encodings.


Club News

  1. Upcoming meetings

ANS Information

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