Software newsBy Chris Williams. Published: 16th Dec 2003, 21:05:49 | Permalink | Printable
Christmas offers, Excel, Viewfinder, CLib problems and moreMW Software are running what is probably the first Christmas special offer of the season. When purchasing Artworks 2, or an upgrade from AW1, you can knock 10 quid off the normal price and get a fine, free 64 page printed manual or alternatively knock a full 25 quid off the standard price. The offer lasts from December 15th 2003 to January 15th 2004.
Windfall Engineering have somewhat attempted to make their Viewfinder card upgrade scheme less complicated this week. John Kortink of Windfall announced today the online release of version 1.60 of the graphics card's firmware and said the firmware subscription system had been "withdrawn". So forget the subscription scheme, it's all wonderfully straight forward now. Version 1.60 of the firmware for non-Radeon Viewfinder cards contains just bugfixes and no extra features. Version 1.60 for Radeon powered Viewfinder cards, however, has the old subscriber only features like bank switching and overlay support as well as Radeon only features, like dual head operation and TV out.
Gerald Fitton of Abacus Training, which distributes and supports Pipedream and Fireworkz, has warned users to not upgrade to Castle's CLib 5.46 and instead use 5.45.
"We do not want to force current users of PipeDream or Fireworkz to upgrade their version (of PipeDream or Fireworkz) because of a change in the way the CLib works", Gerald said earlier today on the Archive mailing list. "Whilst we are not averse to rewriting the code for PipeDream or Fireworkz in order to 'work around' a change in the way the new CLib treats the int() function, we do not like the idea that we would then have to charge those who wanted to continue to run PipeDream and Fireworkz under the new CLib."
Abacus Training, therefore, could release an update to Pipedream and Fireworkz, but they would have to charge for such work to be done on the applications' source code. Instead, they insist users step down to CLib 5.45 and hope that the next release of the SharedCLibrary module will correct the problem affecting the two spreadsheet packages. The "serious bug" apparently only arises for users of 26bit RISC OSes with CLib 5.46 loaded.
RISC OS users can now view Microsoft Excel documents, thanks to Anton Reiser's recently developed and released ViewXLS software. ViewXLS can open Excel 4 to Excel XP files for your viewing pleasure and also export in TSV format. There are a few limitations, such as inability to handle password protected spreadsheets and Excel files that employ Unicode or RTF formated text. Despite this, Anton believes his program will "close a long outstanding gap of RISC OS software" and his app was able to handle Excel workbooks I had to hand to throw at it.
"I was annoyed about not able to open Excel files with RISC OS programs. So about two years ago I started to examine XLS files", Anton told us in an email, earlier this week. "The result was something like 'xls2csv', written in BASIC. But I was not very happy with it, I had the feeling that C would be more suitable. So I started to learn C and ViewXLS was the result.
"Fortunately Excel saves usually the result of formulas in the file and ViewXLS need only display this pre-calculated values. A book, written by Gunter Born about file formats and published by Galileo Computing, was very helpful for me. I'm not sure if it is available in english.
"Occasionally, questions in comp.sys.acorn.* showed me that there was a demand for such a piece of software and I decided to publish ViewXLS in its current incarnation: 'far from perfect'. Now I'm very impressed by the great interest and the very positive feedback from ViewXLS. This is a good reason to do some further development, but don't expect too much."
Too bad ViewXLS can't make financial reports more exciting
John Tygat has taken over development and support of Dave Appleby's CCres software and also placed it under the GPL. Version 1.09 can be downloaded from here.
Composition is up to version 1.22f and this week's patch release sees bugfixes and support for libraries in Composcript. Lenny is also credited for his help in updating the Composcript manual. Eddie Lord has released his IP address calculator. APDL/ProAction are touting special offer educational Sherston Software titles via ebay. ProAction aka Alligata Media, have also accquired Topologika Software's RISC OS line of products, more details on that when they're made available.
And finally, we've learnt that some major bugs in GCC 3.3 have been fixed and the team are near release.
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