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Acorn News Service Newsletter

Issue: 283 (4 March 2012)

Featured site this issue: http://www.raspberrypi.org/

General News

South West Show reports

Commercial News

CMOS widgets for BeagleBoard and PandaBoard

RISC OS Open Ltd. (ROOL) are pleased to announce that they have teamed up with Sprow to bring you an EEPROM carrier board (or "CMOS widget") for the BeagleBoard, BeagleBoard xM, and PandaBoard.

You simply plug this little board onto the relevant header pins on your board, and newer versions of RISC OS (5.18 or newer) will automatically detect it and start saving your RISC OS configuration over reboots.

These boards are an essential add-on for BeagleBoard and PandaBoard users. They cost just GBP5 plus GBP1.50 P&P.

Find out more at <http://www.riscosopen.org/content/sales/cmos-widgets>.

RISC OS 5.18 stable release

ROOL are pleased to announce the immediate release of the latest stable RISC OS ROM image featuring no less than 340 improvements since the last even numbered release.


This is an official release that has been vetted by Castle Technology for the Iyonix PC desktop computer and RComp for the BeagleBoard xM based ARMini.

You can download RISC OS 5.18 free of charge from the ROOL web site: <http://www.riscosopen.org/content/downloads/other-zipfiles>

This software is subject to continual improvement and work has already commenced on RISC OS 5.19! Anyone downloading RISC OS 5.18 is encouraged to donate a few pounds to one of the open bounty scheme items to help fund changes into the future.


ARMini OS update 3 released

R-Comp Interactive is pleased to announce that OS Update 3 has now been rolled out to all ARMini users via the private Users' area of the RCI web site.

OS Update 3 has been developed in close collaboration with RISC OS Open Ltd, and stems from the new "long term stable" 5.18 release of RISC OS 5.

Highlights include support for a wide range of USB CD and DVD drives, as well as internal CD drives which can be mounted in the ARMini. The ARMini sound system has also been improved.

However, the big new feature is improved CMOS RAM handling, including support for Sprow's new CMOS RAM widget which is the first hardware upgrade specifically for RISC OS since the Vpod some years ago. This adds "real" CMOS RAM to ARMinis, for a totally transparent experience (like a Risc PC/Iyonix). CMOS RAM is used to store many OS settings between sessions, and to ensure that the RISC OS ROM card in the ARMini is kept read-only.


MusicMan 2 launches at SouthWest Show

R-Comp has announced version 2 of their MusicMan CD software. The new version is particularly exciting because, for the first time, RISC OS users are able to enjoy digital playback of music CDs in the desktop. This is hugely significant, as modern CD/DVD drives no longer have analogue connections (as used by RISC OS itself), so you simply cannot hear anything if you try and play CDs on modern USB or SATA drives.

MusicMan 2 solves this by digitally reading the audio from the disc and playing it back in realtime, multitasking in the desktop. As always in MusicMan, information about your CDs can be downloaded from the Internet and MusicMan displays this as it plays. The system has been designed to be very easy to use, and most operations happen in just a single click. For users of older machines, analogue playback is still supported.

Of course, playback is just one part of the equation. MusicMan 2 now supports many more formats of raw or compressed audio. This allows you to extract your music from CD either in uncompressed format for editing (WAV or raw audio), or as smaller, compressed files for later listening.

MusicMan 2 supports hardware accelerated audio on modern machines such as the ARMini, which can yield significant performance boosts.


New release of Fireworkz Pro

R-Comp is pleased to announce another new release of Fireworkz Pro, the integrated word processor, spreadsheet, and database program for RISC OS.

This new release expands Microsoft Excel support in the package, allowing it to handle multi-sheet documents and cope with malformed files. There have also been a number of changes based on user feedback.

The update has been e-mailed to existing owners. New users can order it via the R-Comp web site.


PD/Shareware News

New software summary

  • MPlayer, movie player
    MPlayer is a movie player for RISC OS. It is a direct build of the Linux sources using GCCSDK. There is not much RISC OS integration other than the fact it runs in a window on the Desktop. It uses the SDL library for the display. It makes a good attempt at playing most MPEG, VOB, AVI and WMV formats, plus many others. You can expect reasonable frame rates up to 480p resolution on recent RISC OS hardware, which currently includes Beagleboard and Pandaboard based machines. Also included is MEncoder, a simple movie encoder designed to encode MPlayer-playable movies.

Updated software summary

  • BarFree v0.02
    BarFree copies revised Messages and Templates files to your PreDesk directory to enable a different style of Free Space windows. This version works with RISC OS 5.18.
  • ID3TagEd r108
    Create and edit ID3 tags attached to MPEG audio files. The new version is BeagleBoard compatible and features improved handling of tags with text frames in unicode format and multiple images.
  • Murnong v2.14
    Fetch videos from YouTube. This release corrects a bug and increases the length of the format selection list.
  • OpenVector, OpenGridPro, DrawPlus v3.38
    Open source enhancements to Draw. This release features improved compatibility with Cortex-A8 hardware such as BeagleBoard. Compressed Drawfiles and libraries can now be loaded when alignment exceptions are enabled. Consistency of layered merging is also improved.

Club News

Upcoming meetings

ANS Information

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