June news in briefPublished: 19th Jun 2007, 23:52:14 | Permalink | Printable
Software free and non-free and moreThings haven't been active round here for a number of reasons, but first, a catch-up of news you may have missed.
The Acorn Archimedes celebrates its 20th birthday this week. The launch of the ARM2-powered machine was announced on June 16 1987 in a national newspaper and released to the public soon after. The humble A305 had 512KB of memory, Arthur in ROM, and sold for 900 quid. The anniversary is also marked by the unveiling of a new RISC OS search engine, riscpedia.net. The website run by Rebecca Shalfield only allows one free search a day unless you pay for more. Searching for 'Castle' returned zero results before locking us out for 24 hours.
Free and open source RiscPC emulator RPCEmu is up to version 0.7. Author Tom Walker claims his software is now up to VirtualRiscPC-grade speeds thanks to its dynamic recompiler. It also now supports CD-ROM drives through its .iso file handling, can handle hard disc images up to 32GB in size, boasts a new DOS port and also compiles for big-endian machines - such as PowerPC Apple Macs. RPCEmu's sister emulator Arculator has lost its FDI support for "licensing reasons", mysteriously. Meanwhile, VirtualAcorn have updated some RISC OS software to allow it to run on VirtualRiscPC and RISC OS 6.
Rik Griffin has published a new version of games C library Popcorn, which now features support for 32bpp screens and sprites, alpha-blending, Iyonix hardware acceleration and other tweaks and improvements. His precision timer module HALTimer is also online as is his XScale-accelerated memory copying module. Rik said the Iyonix's IOP321 can throw around 300MB of data a second with this acceleration.
APDL have produced a new version of their driver software for the Arcin and Blitz IDE cards. With the updated software, Flash-programmable Arcin devices will be compatible with RISC OS 6. The drive icon height bug is also fixed for RISC OS 4 and above. The new version costs about ten quid. For more details, see here.
Democracy tool MPdata, which displays information about your member of parliament, can now report issues and problems to a local authority for you. Maths accelerator module SuperFPEm has been fixed to not crash Moredesk and an Iyonix-compatible version is now available. BBC Micro game Dominion, which was developed in 2004, is now online as a free download - a version for emulators and a RISC OS build are available.
Popular NFS client Sunfish is up to version 2, and can now act as a full filing system as well as an image filing system. The user interface has been improved to make creating connections easier. New utility StickyPad allows users to pop handy post-it notes on their desktops.
A full-time ICT technician capable of looking after 40 RISC OS 4.39 RiscPCs is needed at Knightsfield school. All their teachers have PC laptops with VirtualRiscPC on them and data projectors in every classroom. Deputy head Sharon Pointeer said: "We have increased the hours to full-time - 30 hours per week, term time plus two weeks (40 weeks) in the hope that we might attract someone with the right knowledge and skills. This will give the person more scope for development work such as production of software guidance for staff and making of resources, both paper based using ICT and also hopefully computer based materials." The school is also after a Head of Care and after-school activities coordinator.
R-Comp's technical support has been on hold this month after the company's Andrew Rawnsley was laid low. A spokesman for the software publisher said: "Due to medical problems with neck and arms and on doctor's advice, R-Comp's Andrew Rawnsley will be reducing typing-time for the next few weeks. This means that email technical support and some telephone support will not be available for the next few weeks. We hope that normal service will be resumed progressively during July. Sales are unaffected by this."
The NutShells website has upgraded its back-end software to Drupal 5 and moved to more reliable hardware. It is hoped this will allow developers to log in again and update their profiles to point to their updated software.
Speaking of websites, you may have noticed that drobe.co.uk has been running as a minimal service of late. This is due to drobe towers moving house, having no Internet connection, and its regular contributors being tied up with social lives and day-jobs. We'll strive to improve things, but in the meantime, anyone who wants to help out should step forward and get in touch. Otherwise, we might have to switch drobe to an NTK or popbitch style publication.
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