David Bradforth brings news of some new hardware developments
Welcome to our occasional hardware column. Within this feature, we'll take a look at, or round up news of, new hardware products which, for a variety of reasons, may be of interest to RISC OS users. You'll see products here that are of immediate use to an Acorn user, such as printers, speakers, network/expansion cards and so on; but you'll also see products which require further expansion (usually in the form of a USB port) before they're of use.
We hope that as the new volume of RISC World progresses, we'll be able to provide you with means of accessing hardware and expanding your computer in a truly diverse fashion without spending a vast amount of money. Of course, we'll support you if you wish to do that too. Anyway, let's get on with the column.
New 100baseT network cards
Do you have more than one computer? Do you find yourself regularly transferring data between them, but having to resort to either writing a CD-ROM or transferring via a floppy or zip disc? Do you find this truly tedious, and a way of wasting many hours of your precious time? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it's time you considered networking.
Whether it's two Acorns or a PC and an Acorn computer, once you've added a network card into each machine you'll be able to share files between machines with little more than a drag and drop action. Whilst for PC owners speedy network cards are available in quantity, and cheap, up until recently RISC OS users have been stuck with 10baseT (slow) varieties.
The situation is set to change with the release of a Podule and NIC 100baseT network card from Castle Technology and an NIC and RiscStation compatible 100baseT network card from Simtec (being distributed through CTA, R-Comp and Stuart Tyrell Developments). Whilst we've yet to see the cards themselves, production of both should be in evidence by April and from a features point of view there looks to be little in it. It will be interesting to see if the two sides "decide" on a very similar price, or try and undercut each other, either by price, or with "special" offers.
If you're looking for a budget networking solution, two of Simtec's cards with cables and a router will provide a cost-effective network for RISC OS users; similarly add a copy of LanMan98 from Warm Silence Software and add your PC into the equation for immediate access to a powerful networking solution. We'll have more news of these cards, and a review, in a future issue.
Lexmark Laser Printers
Chris 'we have it in stock' Evans has recently announced that The Fourth Dimension have a limited number of end-of-line Lexmark laser printers. Boasting 600 dpi, and both USB and Parallel connectivity the printers work with a PCL6 driver and as such are fine with RISC OS. The price is around £255 plus carriage, but we would urge you to confirm this with the company before ordering. For further details, visit www.cjemicros.co.uk/4d/.
The coming months are promising a number of new hardware developments for RISC OS users. With the new RISCStation laptop, the promise that the Omega will be ready shortly and a number of developments concerning RISC OS it's likely that we'll have a lot to write about in coming issues. The only way you can keep up to date is by reading RISC World! The hardware column will be back next time, with an EXCLUSIVE product review!