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Home > Archive > Issue 147 Current Issue: No. 286 (03 June 2012)
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Acorn News Service Newsletter

Issue: 147 (14 December 2003)

General News


The RISCOS SOUTHWEST show will be taking place once again, at the Webbington Hotel, North Somerset, on Saturday 28th February 2004. This will be the seventh show at the Webbington hotel, and we hope it will be one of the most successful.

Already a number of well known companies have signed up for the show. There will be a number of presentations in the show theatre for up-to-date news and an opportunity to air your views and ask questions. Test your skills on the latest games and surf the web at the Internet Cafe.

A free bus shuttle will be provided from Weston-super-Mare train station. Please come along and support fellow RISC OS users! For more information, see the show web site at:


ANS Filebase update

The ANS Filebase, an online database of RISC OS software, now includes entries for 820 programs contributed by 134 registered users.

Using the ANS Filebase web site <http://filebase.acornusers.org/> you can find RISC OS software by searching for keywords or by browsing categories. Registered users can also contribute entries for new software or update information for software that they have written. You can also create a 'watched items' list and choose to receive e-mail alerts when updates are released. Register now at <http://filebase.acornusers.org/register>.

The ANS Filebase can also be accessed directly from the RISC OS desktop with NetWatch:


Commercial News

Qercus: A fusion of Acorn Publisher and Acorn User

Tau Press has sold Acorn User magazine to Finnybank Ltd., home of Acorn Publisher magazine. All enquiries about Acorn User should now be directed to Finnybank Ltd. <http://www.finnybank.com/>, 30 Finnybank Road, Sale, M33 6LR; tel: 0161 969 9820; e-mail <editor@finnybank.com>.

As there are subscribers to Acorn Publisher who may not be interested in a general RISC OS magazine, the new publication replacing Acorn User will alternate in format each month. One issue will contain a core of graphics, desktop publishing, web design and networking, together with RISC OS news and reviews of hardware and software. The following issue will concentrate on all other aspects of RISC OS, including programming, audio, data, utilities, games, education, etc., in addition to profiles of RISC OS people and PD sources.

The first format (element) will be the magazine produced for Acorn Publisher subscribers whilst Acorn User subscribers, and those ordering the magazine from newsagents, will obtain the whole picture by taking both elements. As both elements will have to be handled by distributors as one magazine, the combined magazine has been given a new name, Qercus. The Acorn User name will be featured on the front cover of Qercus until the newsagents' distributors update their records.

Acorn Publisher subscribers will be able to transfer their subscription to the new complete (monthly) magazine. The cover cost of Qercus will be the same as the old Acorn User rate and subscription rates will lie between the costs of AP and AU. During December there will be a special offer for both new and returning subscribers, and current subscribers can take advantage of the offer by extending their subscription:

  • Qercus - graphics & design (6 issues annually + 1 review issue free)
    UK: GBP29.95, Europe: GBP38.84, World: GBP41.15
  • Qercus - the whole picture for RISC OS users (13 issues annually)
    UK: GBP45.95, Europe: GBP55.05, World: GBP66.75 (special offer)
  • Qercus - Single issues
    GBP4.20 plus P&P (UK: GBP0.60, Europe: GBP1.30, World: GBP2.20)

Current Acorn User subscribers will receive Qercus automatically. Unless they upgrade their subscriptions, Acorn Publisher subscribers will receive the graphics & design issues of Qercus every 2 months, together with the free review issue if their subscription extends to the end of next year.

Those at present subscribing to both Acorn Publisher and Acorn User will receive all issues of Qercus and their subscription will be extended automatically.

For more information visit <http://www.qercus.com/>.

*Info in Qercus

Finnybank Ltd. plan to bring back *Info in Qercus, the magazine that is taking the place of Acorn User and Acorn Publisher, and are looking for small RISC OS programs (or part-programs):

  • that do a simple task or illustrate a simple effect
  • are new to readers (or have been significantly changed)
  • part or all of the programming is explained
  • can be put on the Qercus website for free download
  • author will answer feedback questions about the app

For details visit <http://www.qercus.com/> or contact <starinfo@qercus.com> (but do not e-mail software).

Weenies - new BBC Micro game

Weenies is a wonderful new game for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron by Christopher Dewhurst. Featuring all the best bits of Lemmings - great graphics, spectacular sounds and perplexing puzzles - all shoehorned onto a tape!

Weenies costs just GBP2.99. To find out more and to order your copy visit <http://www.cronosoft.co.uk/> or contact <chaosmongers@yahoo.com>.

RISC OS Manuals

IC Software has launched a new web site containing details of their current RISC OS printed manuals, as well as those which might be produced in the near future.

IC Software's first manual is a 64 page Artworks 2 manual, produced in association with MW Software. It is hoped that future collaborations will result in the production of other paper-based documentation, including a much needed, up-to-date Photodesk manual.

All of IC Software's manuals are produced with high-quality materials and are bound within 4-ring, PVC A5 folders so that new sections may be added when they become available.

The Artworks 2 manual is available for immediate dispatch and is priced at GBP17.50, which includes postage and packaging within the UK. International customers should see the web site for more information.


RCI announce new wireless ADSL router

R-Comp Interactive has announced a new addition to their range of ADSL products - an ADSL router with the addition of wireless networking.

The new unit has a PCMCIA slot (as found on laptops) into which the supplied 802.11b wireless network card fits. The unit also has four standard network ports, which are recommended for use with desktop machines (for speed and reliability benefits) with the wireless networking being ideal for laptops.

The price is GBP149 inclusive of VAT and delivery, and includes NetFetch RISC OS software and documentation. UK delivery is also included.


R-Comp Interactive announce availability of the RISCBook

The RISCBook is a fast Intel Centrino based laptop, running Microsoft Windows XP and VirtualRPC emulation software. It costs GBP1250 inclusive of VAT and UK delivery.

Commenting on the release of the RISCBook, R-Comp Interactive's Andrew Rawnsley said, "Given that a number of companies are now offering laptops with RISC OS, we wanted to bring something special to the table, and the Centrino platform seems ideally suited to the needs of a RISC OS laptop. I am particularly pleased by the value for money offered by the RISCBook given its superb performance and battery life."

UniPrintVA is included free of charge as a special offer. Customers should note that because the RISCBook is a truly mobile computer, legacy ports such as parallel and floppy are not present. This ensures low weight, and is made up for by other inbuilt technologies.


A6 now shipping with VVRAM technology

Advantage Six are pleased to announce the addition of Virtual VRAM (VVRAM) technology to their A6 series of RISC OS emulation computers.

VVRAM allows users access to the enhanced screenmodes available to the A6's Geforce4 graphics controller, giving large true colour RISC OS desktop operation. Sixteen million colour screens at 1600x1200 and beyond, coupled with the performance associated with the high memory and disk bandwidths of the machine make DTP and graphics processing a dream.

VVRAM is available on the A6 with immediate effect. All A6 machines shipped by Stuart Tyrrell Developments from 10th December 2003 will be VVRAM enabled. Upgrades will be made available to existing customers in due course.

The A6 is a new generation of RISC OS machine, designed from the ground up to complement VirtualRPC-SE emulation technology, and presents a familiar RISC OS environment in a machine little larger than a stack of A4 paper. The machine is capable of running both RISC OS and Microsoft Windows applications, and users can expect day-to-day RISC OS performance which exceeds the fastest traditional StrongARM machines.

The A6 starts at GBP599+VAT, and is available from Stuart Tyrrell Developments. Further details may be found at <http://www.thea6.com/>.

Second user Risc PCs

Future Computer Services Limited currently have a large range of second user Risc PCs, StrongARM Risc PCs, A7000s and A7000+ machines, due to recent acquisitions from some school ICT suites.

A7000s start from GBP40+VAT, A7000s are all under GBP100+VAT, and StrongARM Risc PCs are available for under GBP300+VAT. Warranty and inspection details are on the web site.


Alligata Software acquire Topologika Software for RISC OS

Topologika have made, with effect from the start of September, an active decision to focus on their top-selling educational titles for Microsoft and Mac users, and have passed on to Alligata Software the right to sell, support and distribute their existing RISC OS line.

The recommended price for all of the Topologika RISC OS titles is to be slashed by at least 45%. From the start of the next year all titles will be available through APDL. In the interim, please do not call APDL unless you would like a copy of Talking Clocks (which is available from stock).

Topologika's web site is located at <http://www.topologika.com/> and an appropriate variation focusing on the new RISC OS releases will shortly be announced.

PD/Shareware News

New software summary

  • NetCalc, IP address calculator
    Calculate subnet and supernet IP addresses including the appropriate subnet mask. NetCalc should appeal to users who want to see how subnets are related to their netmasks and the binary equivalents. NetCalc was originally written to illustrate a series of articles on IP addressing and netmasks, which will appear in the next issue of Archive magazine.
  • ViewXLS, viewer for MS-Excel files
    Viewer which allows you to open many native MS-Excel files from 4.0 to XP, as well as workbooks.

Updated software summary

  • Bogofilter v0.15.10
    Bayesian spam filter. The initial wordlist is now created automatically and the executables are much smaller than before.
  • FontMgr2 v1.31
    Font management system. Cleanups to enable it to work with the latest toolbox modules and a couple of minor bug fixes.
  • GamSetup 0.07
    Hardware gamma correction for the Risc PC and Iyonix (previously known as Gamma). Enhancements include the ability to act as a Configure plugin (RISC OS 4 and later), contrast and brightness controls, and all of the controls now work in concert to alter the display.
  • Nettle v0.2040
    Terminal emulator and telnet client. 32 bit compatible. Bug fixes.
  • ODBC libraries
    ODBC is an industry standard API for connecting to local and remote databases without the client application needing to be aware of the type of database it is connecting to. This is a small update with some fixes for the SQLite library and ODBC driver.
  • PDF v2.03.1.12
    PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file viewer. Upgraded to xpdf2.03; some improvement in display of truetype and truetype based type1c fonts; print dialog box now uses logical page number system; use paper margins added to 'Print setup'; scale to fit option added to 'Print setup'.
  • Spatience v1.27
    Patience card game. The main changes in this version are: better manual (script language to code new patience games); many options can now be set using a Choices file; display colours can now be configured by the user; changes in default options (mainly flying cards).
  • Sunfish v0.95
    NFS client implemented as an image filing system. Added support for symlinks. Bug fixes.
  • TapirMail v0.92
    A remote inbox POP3 email client. Now includes a manual explaining the various features of the program. Other improvements to the program: the e-mail list font has been made configurable; default login account can be configured to open automatically; status of emails is reflected more clearly using icons; improved URL handling; general bug fixes.
  • Textseek v1.42
    A fast file search program which can locate and display multiple occurrences of a string across files of specified types, including tokenised BASIC. This release seeks to address the long-standing problem with queued throwback requests when a given search string occurs many times within a single (large) file.
  • Variations 0.29
    'Variations on a theme' image processor. Improvements include fully automated batch processing mode and bug fixes.

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