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October news in brief

Published: 29th Oct 2006, 12:46:52 | Permalink | Printable

Games, accounting, software new and updated, and more

And now, a round up of news you may have missed this month.

School girl using an A3000A set of nostalgic videos promoting Acorn's early 32bit kit have been uploaded to the web by acornpreservation.org. The videos feature the A3000 and its learning curve pack, which is aimed at parents who want their children to use the computers they use at school at home. Any Acorn user who can remember the relatively buoyant days of 1992 will recognise the software and demonstration images - who can forget the scary clown? The clips, taken from the original VHS tapes, also include a more technical tour of the Archimedes architecture.

Webmaster Dave Moore said: "Watch them and see what you think - that's if you can stomach them as the cheese factor is very, very high. Micro News part two is worth a watch as it features Roger Wilson as a guest."

Weighing in at 22MB to 290MB in size, you can download the videos from here.

Steve Fryatt has released a home accounting application, albeit in beta form, called CashBook. Written four years ago for Steve's own personal use, the publicly released version can support multiple accounts, 'real time' statement views, budgeting and other interesting features - if you find counting the pennies interesting. Programming environment WimpBasic is now 32bit compatible, and its run time library is also now 32bit neutral. Software created with WimpBasic will need to be recompiled with the new 32bit safe version in order to run on Iyonix and A9home computers. Punters who already have an older version can upgrade at a discounted price, and wimpbasic.org is considering a comeback. NetSurf's James Bursa has rewritten his RSS feed reader Sargasso so that it is no longer built with Python.

Stunt Racer 2000Arculator 0.8 is now available, which features various updates and tweaks - the highlight being the improved floppy drive support now allowing Stunt Racer 2000 to work, pictured. Author Tom Walker has also checked in some source code updates to RPCEmu to improve the open source RiscPC emulator's timing. This is hoped to enhance sound emulation.

Sonic the hedgehog 2On the subject of emulation, Sega Mega Drive emulator PicoDrive is now officially available for RISC OS. Ported by Adrian Lees and Jeffrey Lee, the software is geared towards ARM-powered systems, such as PDAs and other gadgets. The emulator can run games in full screen or in the multitasking desktop, and you'll need an Iyonix to play it at full speed. Players can use the keyboard or a joystick for controls, there is limited sound support, and the display can be scaled to 200% if needed.

Sticking with games, Teeter Torture has been ported by Neil White, Chris Wraight has produced a fresh looking Risk-clone called Islands, SDL game Hex-a-Hop has been ported to RISC OS, and SuperDoku now includes 'hidden word' puzzles - there are also a number of other utilities and programs on the SD website. Meanwhile, FTPc now supports secure FTP transfers, and StudioSound author Henrik Pedersen is looking for a programmer to take on continued development of his software.

Ray Favre has updated his Dr Wimp, LaBella, and CSVamp software. Steve Revill has improved his multiple desktop organiser utility MoreDesk, and made his card game Moan cheaper. Paul Vigay has updated his Fireworkz utility Webworkz. Chris Bazley has updated his SFcolours, SFskyedit and CBlibrary packages. MimeMan and FormFiller have also been tweaked. The excellent Photodesk resources website is set to get a CSS make-over, as these tutorials on rotation and overlays show.

Prophet author Quentin Pain was spotted at the MacExpo show this week selling a version of his personal and business accounting software for Apple computers. A news mole said: "Users of Prophet would be at home with this version, as the spreadsheet style of accounts entry is retained. The only one of its type on the Mac too. It was a real pleasure to meet up with him again, and a few other Acorn fans too. His stand was well attended."


News, views, writs and fiction to the usual addresses

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you can get a latest build of riscos sdl for compiling yourown stuff via [link]

 is a RISC OS Usernex on 29/10/06 9:45PM
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The "Homecomputer Minefield" video was funny. All these exploding Computers. :-)

@nex: Interesting Site !

 is a RISC OS UserMHansen on 2/11/06 3:56AM
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Pity there is no link to the secure socket module of R-Comp and that the link at [link] don't work.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 2/11/06 6:54PM
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I have the 'Home Computer Minefield' on VHS video at my parents house. The marketing schtick is a bit embarrassing to be honest, and the music is terrible. I suppose I bought it out of curiousity and kept it for historical interest.

Some of the claims are rather dubious; for example that an Acorn computer is just as good for games as other home computers and consoles of that era (illustrated by a child playing Lemmings, if I remember correctly). The technology may have been as good, but the number of titles available wasn't comparable.

The exhortation not to buy a computer unless it is "32 bit RISC" also looks very dated nowadays. Fads in processor design come and go, and this just seems like an attempt to blind consumers with jargon. Perhaps as the result, some of my friends at high school were under the impression that in real terms the performance of an A5000 or Risc PC was the equal of an IBM-compatible clocked twice as fast. (Whereas the actual frame rate of 'Doom' on a 40Mhz Risc PC is similar to a 386).

 is a RISC OS Userthesnark on 2/11/06 7:59PM
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