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November news in brief

By Chris Williams. Published: 30th Nov 2004, 17:53:00 | Permalink | Printable

Artworks bugs, A500s, software and more

Round up motifAs the penultimate month of 2004 draws to a close, it's time to summarise recent news.

Artworks bug hunting reward
MW Software are in the process of fixing long standing bugs in Artworks 2 - and there's one fault that's proving to be particularly irritating for all concerned.

Martin Wuerthner describes the problem as follows: "Sometimes, when closing a document window, there is a repeating EM00 error, i.e., you get an error box showing EM00 and when you click on OK, there is another error box, etc. This is a serious bug because you have to quit ArtWorks using Alt-Break to get out of it."

If you are the first to produce a repeatable, step-by-step guide that causes this bug to manifest in Artworks 2.3, then MW Software will reward you with a 20 quid discount off a current or future Artworks upgrade - an approach that would be very interesting if other RISC OS companies considered this sort of offer too.

Photo of an A500 prototypeBargin history
An A500 prototype has been sold on ebay for just 56 quid. The auction concluded on the 29th after only seven bids, while a similar A500 went for over 400 quid in 2002.

From the item's description: "This Acorn A500 is one of just 16 handbuilt machines that were given to software houses to develop applications for the as yet, unreleased Acorn Archimedes computer. This machine has the original 'Arabella' processor in place and four Acorn Risc OS 2 ROMS. The serial number on the mother board is 63 and it is dated 4th December 1986. This particular machine was used by Minerva Software to develop MultiStore."

Really good updates
Richard Windley has updated a couple of pieces from his software range: Sourcery, a project manager for software developers, is up to version 0.41 and features initial support for CVS and Subversion plus bug fixes. Slideshow application Fade 0.60 now supports Select's ImageFileRender graphics system, if available, to render various image formats.

Example of Variations in actionWarp factor fun
Variations, Rob Davison's free bitmap graphics effects toolkit, is now even more impressive: version 0.38 features new mesh warping (as pictured) and the ability to export a directory of thumbnails. A free update for Composition users has also been released and includes 33 new graphic effects. Composition is Rob's commercial graphics package.

Delirious with code
In an announcement that's a blast from the past, Joe Oldak of Acorn era demo group Kulture has offered to hand the source code of Delirium over to anyone willing to develop the screen saver further.

"None of the original Kulture members have any time to work on it, nor do we have the latest RISC OS machines to play with. One of the main points of Delirium was to look good on the fastest RISC OS machines, and our StrongARM RiscPCs are now somewhat dated," writes Joe.

"If anyone with a nice new machine and a bit of time is interested in taking over the development of Delirium, then we're more than happy to make the source code available."

If you're up for taking Delirium further, Joe's email address is on the Delirium website.

A Frobbing feeling
Wacky, independent RISC OS fanzine Frobnicate issue 22 is available now online, in OvationPro and PDF format. Edited and mostly written by the ever excitable Castle cheerleader Rick Murray, the current issue covers programming language Lua, a look at magazine adverts from the Acorn era, hardware hands on articles, various opinion pieces on computers and the world in general and more besides. It's free to read and don't forget to drop Rick an email once you've read it.

Win a RiscPC and networking goodies
Paul Beverley of Archive mag writes, "Just a reminder to Archive Magazine readers that there is a RiscPC plus 100 pounds' worth of networking equipment of your choice donated by CJE Micro's awaiting the winner of our networking competition (Archive 18.2 p19). We've only had two entries so far, so the field is wide open. Just tell us your exciting idea for using a networked RISC OS computer for a specific purpose."

In brief
Christopher Fox has picked up development of his late father's software. You can download a bug fixed version of IClear here. Stefan Bellon has released RemotePrinterFS, enabling users to use printers that support JetDirect or the LPD protocol. R-Comp's Dialup 3 and NetFetch 2 software now pack the software publisher's new Hermes email software. The RISC OS port of CVS has an updated GUI, now incorporates the security fixes added to the mainstream version and has been rebuilt with an improved UnixLib. John Ballance has updated his RISC OS FTP server to allow the listing of large directories and improved support for particular FTP clients.

Finally, some of you have spotted that BBC Radio Four are doing limited MP3 trials of shows, allowing programmes to be enjoyed on RISC OS. Be sure to give them your feedback.


News? Comments?

Previous: Castle announces ARM9 MiMagic 5 support
Next: Win free kit this Christmas from STD


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Well I've got an A500, so that's 3, who's got the rest?

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 30/11/04 7:15PM
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I expect that at least 75% will no longer exist.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 30/11/04 7:35PM
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I still have A500 number 92 , feb 87 in my garage. It has the split clock, ARM3 and so many hand wired connections it looks like a bowl of rainbow spaghetti. The original casing got seriously scratched up so I stripped it and painted it a nice rich brown many years ago - I had to schlep it to the US for conferences so often that it wore through the original colour. I added a couple of welded on lugs for a decent handle as well to make it easier to take as hand baggage. Imagine trying that these days - an obviously not-commercial box of suspicious wires with od switches... I don't think so. I used it to develop the original Archimedes Smalltalk port that is mentioned in the first public net-mention of the ARM. It lasted me until an A540 was provide by the Active Book Company as we developed a variant Smalltalk for that late lamented tablet. After that came RPC(s) of course as I moved to silicon valley to make more Smalltalk and now an Iyo for developing Squeak.

Wow - eighteen years of making a living developing Smalltalk on ARM/RISC OS machines. Who'd a thunk it back then?

 is a RISC OS Userrowledge on 30/11/04 8:23PM
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Wow rowledge - give a shout when you reach 20 ;)

Is the 'Arabella' processor an ARM1 by any chance? Or an early ARM developed specifically for the Archimedes?

And talking about demos for RO ... anyone know about any recent efforts?

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 30/11/04 9:21PM
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A friend of mine has an A500 as well as the M4.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 1/12/04 12:10AM
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I went to a "classic computer show" in Silicon Valley (Mountain View, CA!) the other day and didn't see a single BBC (or Speccie) at all - mostly AppleII's and C64's.

An A500 with some history would have been lovely there! I guess Cambridge IT never made it across the pond :-(

They did have a Cray MkI, II and III though, so all was forgiven ;)

I remember that EM00 bug from Artworks 1

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 1/12/04 12:50AM
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Only 16 A500's I don't think so! There was reportedly at the time 500 of them made, IIRC Computer Concepts alone had about a dozen!

 is a RISC OS UserCJE on 1/12/04 11:27AM
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That exact one? Or just any odd bug causing an EM00 error? I have fixed various EM00 bugs and I do not think that the recurring EM00 problem dates back to AW1 - unless you can tell me how to provoke it, which would earn you 20 Pounds if it is still the same in AW2.3...

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 1/12/04 1:16PM
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No Martin, I don't think it was on closing the window, but I definitely remember seeing the EM00 dialog quite a lot in AW 1 (might have even seen it in Impression too). Sorry, didn't want to put you off track.

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 1/12/04 4:51PM
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In reply to Simo: Hey, I went to last years do just before moving up to Vancouver Island - it was a 25th anniversary bash for the Xerox Alto as well and we had talks from folks that were at PARC at that time. The Alto pretty much counts as the first 'personal computer' and was the first machine most people ever saw Smalltalk on. I was going to give my A500 to the museum but something happened to prevent it... can't even remember what now. Ah, come to think of it maybe it is because I can't find the keyboard/mouse anymore. Does anyone have spares - or wiring diagram for a later RPC or PS2 type?

 is a RISC OS Userrowledge on 1/12/04 7:26PM
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Variations, by Rob Davison.

Wow. Very simple and the Warp effect is useful for !Sprites & JPEGs.

I'm told that the Warp effect feature is in PC's PhotoShop?

Is it in our !PhotoDesk?

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 1/12/04 7:30PM
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Sawadee: Dunno, but I've got a program here called *Rephorm, 1993, Oak Solutions* - so it's not exactly ground-breaking ;-)


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 1/12/04 9:46PM
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oops, wish I could edit comments - I meant to add (obviously!) that Rephorm is designed to do this mesh warping thing...

 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 1/12/04 9:48PM
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Hmmm... That EM00 bug has never caused me a problem before, but now it's REALLY irritating me! Why? Well, I simply can't find it ;-)

Guess I'll have to get back to using the gorgeous ArtWorks 2 for the project I'm working on, rather than trying to win an 'easy' 20 quid...

Slightly bugged,


 is a RISC OS UserStewy on 1/12/04 9:58PM
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rowledge - yeah this was mainly Xerox PARC stuff, a Babbage machine, some Crays, an Enigma (shame it wasn't the RISC OS simulator!), AppleII's, an abacus....!

The "meet" upstairs it was all C64's and some DIY kits - heh, they did have a 6502 in a glass box, not on a keyring like the 286's! ;)

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 1/12/04 10:57PM
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hEgelia: Arabella was VIDC1. The original ARM chipset were names: ARM2: I forget (VL86C010) VIDC1: Arabella (VL86C310) MEMC1: Anna (VL86C110) IOC: Albion (VL86C410) I very much doubt it has an ARM1, since they were missing the multiply instruction so wouldn't run RISC OS 2.

rowledge: Assuming your A500 has a real Albion (IOC), it should speak the same KATN protocol as normal Archimedes keyboards. So you should be able to attach one of those. Didn't someone (Atomwide?) make a PS/2 to Arc keyboard converter in the early nineties?

 is a RISC OS Usercaliston2 on 3/12/04 5:41PM
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