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Acorn News Service Newsletter

Issue: 136 (13 July 2003)

Featured site this issue: http://www.drobe.co.uk/riscos/artifact741.html

h2>General News

Castle Technology buys RISC OS from Pace

On 4th July 2003, Castle Technology Ltd announced the purchase of the RISC OS technology from Pace Micro Technology plc. The transaction involves the payment of an undisclosed cash sum, ongoing technical support for Pace's existing products and the grant of a licence back to Pace for intellectual property rights. Castle have been developing and supplying RISC OS products for over 10 years and this acquisition will ensure that RISC OS products continue into the future.

Castle have also formed a joint venture with Cambridge based Tematic Ltd who will develop, market and support an embedded version of RISC OS which has been designed for use in the new generation of multimedia products for the high volume consumer electronics market, while Castle will continue to service the desktop market.

Anthony Dixon, Company Secretary of Pace commented, "We are delighted to have concluded this transaction with Castle. This allows Pace to maintain the necessary intellectual property rights and technical support for our RISC OS based IP gateways through these new licence agreements. We wish Castle every success for the future".

Jack Lillingston, Castle's Managing Director, said, "The purchase of this technology combines perfectly with our expertise in manufacturing and marketing RISC OS computers (illustrated by our recent success with the launch of the IYONIX pc). This deal will allow us to be at the heart of exciting new products."

<http://www.iyonix.com/iyonix/news/riscos.shtml> <http://www.pace.co.uk/content.asp?id=10031&template=0>

Commercial News

CJE digital cameras and digital card readers

CJE Micro's have announced a new range of digital cameras and USB Memory Card Readers for the Iyonix & Castle USB podule.

The Yakumo compact digital camera has adjustable high resolution of up to 4 Megapixels and costs GBP176. The Olympus CAMEDIA C-4000ZOOM has innovative yet easy-to-use technology and a high-quality, bright 3x zoom lens able to draw in distant objects for a more detailed view, for GBP380.

The two slot, 4-in-1 Digital Memory Card Reader (external) costs GBP22, and is USB bus-powered card reader for CompactFlash (type I and II), IBM Microdrive, and 3.3V SmartMedia. The four slot, 7-in-1 Digital Memory Card Reader (external) costs GBP36, and in addition can read Secure Digital (SD), Multimedia (MMC), and Memory Stick. An internal version of the second reader is also available for GBP36.

Prices include VAT & UK delivery.

For details see <http://www.cjemicros.co.uk/>.

APDL/ProAction upgrades

  • Desktop Repton
    It was impossible to complete the first desktop release of Repton 2. This, along with a few other minor issues, has now been resolved and an upgrade is available for owners of the APDL-issued CD-ROM edition from <http://www.apdl.co.uk/proact.htm>. Users of previous versions can upgrade to the latest CD edition for GBP10 inclusive. For a limited period, you can upgrade ANY version of Repton to the new Desktop Repton for GBP15 - return the original discs INCLUDING PACKAGING to APDL.
  • Rhapsody 4
    There was a bug present in versions of Rhapsody 4 around 4.09 which meant that pressing Return after entering text into a score didn't function correctly. This, along with a few other minor issues, has now been resolved and an update is available for owners of the APDL-issued CD-ROM edition from <http://www.apdl.co.uk/proact.htm>. Users of previous Clares-issued versions can upgrade to the latest CD edition for GBP10 inclusive. Please return the discs to APDL, but not the box or manuals.

Free Universal Card Reader with Every New Iyonix pc

For a limited period Castle are offering a free 6-in-1 Universal Card Reader with every new IYONIX pc ordered in July and August 2003.

This card reader supports 6 of the most popular types of removable card media in use today (CompactFlash, Smart Media, Memory Stick, Multimedia Card, Secure Digital media, and IBM Microdrive).


Technical Reference Manual for the IYONIX pc

The Technical Reference Manual is the definitive hardware reference guide to the motherboard used in the IYONIX pc and provides full technical details, including: * system and architecture overview * the 200MHz DDR RAM interface * power requirements and the software power control * the audio input/output system and details of the Risc PC compatible audio connectivity * the non volatile EEPROM and flash memory and accessing the RTC * the enhanced expansion bus implementation * the ATA100 UDMA hard disc interface * using the floppy drive * the motherboard gigabit networking hardware * USB ports and power control * the RS232, IrDA, MIDI, and S/PDIF serial ports * a survey of all of the option headers * the 64-bit PCI bus and its low latency bus mastering capabilities * the programmable logic function and register layout * a full bill of materials and build options * references, standards, and datasheets

The Technical Reference Manual for the IYONIX pc's motherboard features over 93 pages in total. Additionally, the manual is supplied in a sturdy 4 hole ring binder with full size A2 schematics of the hardware, and A3 engineering drawings of the front and rear side of the PCB. The manual also contains an updated (Issue 6) Expansion Card Specification (the Acorn Podule specifications).

Aimed primarily at developers and volume OEMs, the accompanying CD-ROM also contains electronic copies of many examples of the artwork and datasheets used in the creation of the motherboard and this manual. This Technical Reference Manual (product code TEC10) is priced at GBP99 (delivery is GBP6). This is the same price as the original Risc PC manual that was released nearly 10 years ago.


Digital Signal Generator Updated to Iyonix

Digital Signal Generator has been updated to Iyonix compatibility. It will now work on Iyonix, Risc PC with 2MB VRAM and Risc PC with ViewFinder.

It is a really comprehensive digital signal generator and costs GBP27.95. Full technical details are available from: <http://rogerdarlington.members.beeb.net/ShopDG.htm>

PD/Shareware News

New software summary

  • nstall, software installation
    Makes it easy for users to install software on RISC OS computers. Installing software is more complicated than it used to be, because programs now often need to be supplied with system resources to ensure they work across as many systems as possible, especially since the release of RISC OS 5. Nstall enables developers to supply various system resources along with their applications with flexible delivery media, while making the process easy for end users with a Wizard-like progression through pages in a window for customising the installation, and progress bars while the files are being copied and unpacked, showing overall and per-disc progress.

Updated software summary

  • DDF2Html v1.50
    Impression to HTML converter. The latest version allows any Impression style in a given DDF file to be specified for conversion to any arbitrary HTML tag.
  • MiniB OS v0.20
    OS ROM for the MiniB computer - the BBC micro compatible 6502 computer the size of a floppy disc. The new version includes a more complete implementation, documentation for which is also available to download.
  • PCAPaint v1.00
    Image editor and a suite of seven tools. These may be used with the enclosed PCAPaint application or with other software that supports the PCA protocol (like the Variations mask editor and Compo).
  • Printers+ v1.91
    The first release of open source Printers+ to be made through SourceForge.net. Printers+ 1.91 is functionally identical to the previous version 1.90b4 released through RISC OS Select, but is being released as a common starting point for open source development.
  • Thumbcat v2.4
    Image catalogue application. Bug fixes.
  • Variations v0.25
    Image processing program. Highlights in this version: magic wand masking and feather mask; save for web; more effects; different colour models.
  • Webgen2 v2.02
    A simple application that will take a directory of images, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, or Sprite, and turn it into a complete web site. Bug fixes.

Club News

Linux on IYONIX at RISC OS Users' Norfolk Group (RUNG)

Speaker: Peter Naulls (a.k.a. Chocky). Topic: Demonstration of Installing Linux on an IYONIX PC. Time: 7:00pm for 7:30pm. Date: Thursday 17th July 2003. Venue: Holy Trinity Church Hall, Cambridge Street, Norwich. NR2 2BA <http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M&X=622110&Y=307977&A=Y&Z=1>

(If driving: Park in Church car park on Essex Street. Exit car park onto Trinity Street, and then walk through passageway between house nos. 25 and 26 to get to Hall.)

Entrance Fee: GBP2 (To cover costs. [Tea, Coffee & Biscuits are included])

Peter Naulls may also give details of his Unix Porting Project (UPP), which is bringing Unix programs across onto the RISC OS platform.

RUNG meets on the third Thursday evening of every month, usually at the same venue. The RUNG Mailing List at <majordomo@pagehosting.co.uk> can be joined by sending a message with a subject line: subscribe rung.

Upcoming meetings

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