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Acorn News Service Newsletter

Issue: 285 (6 May 2012)

Featured site this issue: http://www.riscository.com/2012/wakefield-2012-show-report/

General News

Wakefield Show reports

WROCC Newsletter CD - 2nd Edition

The Wakefield RISC OS Computer Club released the 2nd Edition of the Newsletter Back Catalogue CD at the Wakefield Show

Ever since the first disc was released, a number of members have been searching through their hard discs, as well as boxes of old papers in their lofts, with the result that the new collection contains over one hundred issues not in the previous copy. In fact, there are only a handful of months now missing - some of which may never have existed in the first place! Plus the past 12 months issues, to bring it fully up to date.

The price is unchanged at GBP10.


OLEsupport module available for developers

A problem has been reported in the current version of the OLEsupport module when Scrap is used on SCSIFS. This has now been fixed in v0.30.

OLEsupport is normally included within applications and so will flow out to users when updates occur. However, if you are a software developer and are currently including older versions of OLEsupport with your programs, please contact RComp for the new version.


Commercial News

ArtWorks 2.X2

MW Software released ArtWorks 2.X2, the latest release of the platform's most powerful vector graphics package, at the Wakefield Show.

Its main new feature is "Artistic Lines": these are lines with a variable thickness that offer a lot more variation and creative possibilities than the usual constant width lines.

Details can be found at: <http://www.mw-software.com/software/artworks/aw2features15.html>

ARMini breaks the 1GHz barrier

R-Comp Interactive is pleased to announce that a free ARMini update has been released unlocking the full 1GHz potential of the ARMini CPU.

The extra performance allows for smoother operation in your favourite applications as well as allowing for smoother video and audio processing. Not only does this latest update provide extra general performance, but up to 20 seconds has been shaved off startup times.

The ARMini is the premier pure-ARM RISC OS computer offering 1000MHz CPU performance with a highly-efficient, dual-issue Cortex A8 CPU architecture with 512MB of high performance RAM.


Organizer On A Stick

Organizer On A Stick has the very latest version of Organizer loaded on top of the RPCEmu emulator, running a licensed version of RISC OS 5. The emulator will load quickly and run on all recent versions of Microsoft Windows, directly from the memory stick on which it is supplied.

The Organizer data file is saved in the HostFS, accessible to both the emulator and to native RISC OS systems (though the file type may have to be changed to access it).

The latest version of Organizer included with the package, version 2.15, offers a greater range of colours to highlight information.

Organizer 2 is the personal information manager for RISC OS systems, and includes Diary, Address Book, Calendar and ToDo sections, plus a Notes section and Journal facility. Version 2.1 allows users to add many more user-defined fields to the Address Book, to list entries by organisation, and to add thumbnail pictures.


Genealogy Records update

R-Comp demonstrated an updated version of their DP Genealogy Records software at the Wakefield show. Version 1.50 is available as a free update for existing customers.

New features relate to finding information on the Internet and importing it for analysis. The software is aware of various web sites and the data formats that they report in, so that you can easily import the results of your genealogy web searches.

Genealogy Records is a program for storing your research and keeping track of your family history. It allows you to input all your findings and documents, and census, birth, marriage, death and other records, and then link them together to help build your past.

Unlike family tree programs which tend to focus on the end result, Genealogy Records focuses on the research element which is what most people find most time consuming.


EasyFont Pro and RISC OS 5.18 or BeagleBoard

Users of EasyFont Pro, a font management system, have reported problems after installing RISC OS 5.18 on the Iyonix.

APDL have now fixed this problem and also made some other modifications to ensure that EasyFont Pro works on the BeagleBoard. Users of 32bit versions of EasyFont Pro, namely v5.11 or better, can now download the upgrade to the latest version from the APDL website.


R-Comp software updates

  • DataPower 3
    The latest version of this database improves compatibility with the latest RISC OS hardware including ARMini, PandaBoard, and BeagleBoard, as well as improving links to external files via the File field. There are a number of new configuration options too, so you can tailor the software to your needs, and improvements to the facilities which allow you to send e-mails directly from your database.
  • MusicMan 2
    Playback of music CDs and conversion of the music to digital formats. Recent improvements have ensured best sound quality during playback, and smooth mixing with the sound system.
  • NetFetch 3.5
    NetFetch and its Hermes mail transport component have been updated, dealing with problems on the PandaBoard and supporting the quirks of authenticated SMTP servers which incorrectly report their capabilities. Hermes will now quietly try less elaborate encryptions if the "best" ones fail. This resolves problems with certain servers. There are various minor fixes and improvements, too.
  • SafeStore 2
    Comprehensive RISC OS backup system. Primarily a maintenance release, the latest SafeStore 2 is designed to cope with more of the errors that can occur with different network backup drives.


Sine Nomine Software updates

Impact, the relational database, has had a major update focussing on the editing interface and the mail merge tool. A brand new release, available as part of the Impact upgrade, is ImpEmail. Impact already provides mail merge and formatted reporting via Ovation Pro and Impression. ImpEmail allows the same flexibility for generating e-mails.

House of Cards, a patience game system, and SuperDoku, for sudoku-type puzzles, have had a few improvements made since the last Wakefield Show, and Wrangler, the general mathematical puzzle application, has had three more puzzle types added, including Suko and Sujiko puzzles.


luafox 1.40

A new version of luafox, a program for scientific data analysis, has just been finished in time for the Wakefield Show. Version 1.40 offers the following new features:

  • Support of virtual memory
    You can configure a maximum for the RAM usage of luafox, especially on machines which support only 27MB application space. You can specify a path for the VM files or you can also switch it off.
  • File history
    Quickly load files that you worked on in one of the previous sessions. You can also use it to quickly change between a number of projects to exchange data between them. You can configure the maximum number of files in the history and how many days it reaches back in time.
  • Reformat and Header with automatic scripts
    The Reformat and Header dialog boxes let you save a script with the settings you made. You can then apply it to other tables in the same way. This can be very useful if you would like to add the same header to all of your files or if you need to reformat your data in the same way, very often because the data source has a strange format.
  • Set operations
    luafox now supports set operations. So you can for example compare two columns and get as result the union of both columns.
  • Improved user input handling
    When manually entering a value into a cell you do not need to set quotation marks if you need to enter a word (string). It is now automatically converted which makes manual entries much easier.

A new manual is also available from the web site with a more detailed description of the new features.


Photodesk 3.12

Version 3.12 of Photodesk, the photo retouching and painting package, was released at the Wakefield Show.

It contains several improvements and bugfixes, most notably the support for interactive help, previews of brush shapes, and new scaling options for the crop/extend tools.

  • Upgrade from 3.09-3.10: GBP12
  • Upgrade from 3.08: GBP17
  • Upgrade from 3.05-3.07: GBP27
  • Upgrade from 3.00-3.04: GBP42
  • Upgrade from 2.xx: GBP63

An illustrated list of the major changes is available from: <http://www.cjemicros.co.uk/photodesk/>

10) The R-Comp Tablet

R-Comp Interactive are pleased to announce a new product - the affordable R-Comp Tablet. Powered by a Cortex A8 architecture similar to the ARMini, the tablet runs the latest version of the Google Android operating system.

The tablet computer an almost 10" full-colour screen, and hooks up directly to USB-equipped RISC OS computers so compatible files can be easily transferred. The tablet also plays a wide range of music formats, and can even wirelessly stream content to your hi-fi.

The R-Comp Tablet costs just GBP259 inclusive of VAT. Note, to get the best out of your R-Comp Tablet, wireless Internet is recommended. The tablet is quite happy running offline, but web-browsing, app-downloading, and video-streaming naturally require such connectivity.


PD/Shareware News

New software summary

  • HHeretic and HHexen, games ports
    Ports of the original Hexen and Heretic games by Raven Software. Heretic is a fantasy based first person shooter using the DOOM engine. Enhancements include an inventory system, flight, and the ability to look up and down. Hexen is the sequel to Heretic. There are three character classes to choose from with differing weapons and abilities. The levels are made up of a hub system interconnected by portals.
  • MAME, emulator
    A RISC OS port of MAME, the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. MAME will run most ROMs at playable frame rates on BeagleBoard or PandaBoard based machines. This version includes support for around 1700 ROMs. More will be added in later versions. Due to memory/resource requirements, RISC OS 5 is recommended to run MAME.
  • Mednafen, multi-system emulator
    A RISC OS port of Mednafen, the multi-game-system emulator, for various platforms, including emulation of the following systems: Atari Lynx, Famicom, GameBoy, Neo Geo Pocket, NES, PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16 and SuperGrafx, PC-FX, and WonderSwan. Mednafen will run most games at playable frame rates on BeagleBoard or PandaBoard based machines.
  • MonopolyCal, calculator for the board game
    Keeps track of players' money for the board game Monopoly.
  • Snes9x, emulator
    A RISC OS port of snes9x, the freeware Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) emulator. Snes9x will run most SNES games at playable frame rates on BeagleBoard or PandaBoard based machines.

Updated software summary

  • BBFlash v0.02
    BBFlash writes files to an SD or micro-SD card for a BeagleBoard without needing to remove the card from the board. It now copes with the smaller compressed RISC OS ROM images and flashes the files in a different order.
  • FFmpeg v1.23
    FFmpeg is a versatile, open-source, multi-platform video and audio converter. FFplay is a simple media player built on FFmpeg and SDL. This release fixes some bugs and tidies up some loose ends in the 1.22 releases. Player start-up on BeagleBoard-based systems is reliable and time spent hourglassing has been greatly reduced. The entire codebase has been rebuilt with the recent GCC 4.1.2 release.
  • Lcheck v1.07
    Lottery syndicate checking application, for the UK National Lottery, Thunderball and Euro Millions. New in this version is the ability to get the last 11 draws from the main lottery, Thunderball and Plus 5 draws and check those numbers to see if you have any winning lines.
  • OpenVector, OpenGridPro and DrawPlus v3.40
    Open source enhancements for Draw.
  • PlayIt v1.73
    A disc-based engine for playing sound samples. This release can recognise more Replay/ARMovie files containing supported audio formats. It also includes a RISC OS 4 fast service handler and a slight improvement in overall performance. All users should upgrade to this version.
  • Snapper v1.14
    Saves a specified area of the screen as a Sprite. Apart from some 'under the bonnet' changes and minor bug fixes, the most obvious visible changes are full interactive help and that the mouse is now correctly constrained when an attempt is made to push the snap area tool offscreen using the sides of the area.
  • WebChange v2.95.26
    A web site maintenance tool. This version adds the ability to change the case of matched wildcards when including them in the replacement text.

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