The Iyonix column returns, now hosted by Matt Thompson.
The new RISC OS 5 ROM
RISC OS 5 is now up to version 5.10, this latest update deals mainly with bug fixing and also updates to the USB and Nvidia graphics card drivers. The update to the USB drivers is an important fix as many USB devices (including my MP3 player) now work fine on the Iyonix.
There were a few initial problems with this ROM release which created some clashes with the programs !HID and Quickfiler, but these problems have since been sorted out, and a new updated version of !HID has been released which will work fine with RISC OS 5.10. This updated version can be downloaded from http://www.xat.nl/en/riscos/sw/usb/hid.
The current release of RISC OS 5.10 is at number 9. Whilst this may seem to be a lot of updates it does show how quickly any problems which occurred were corrected. Whilst all these bug fixes are welcome and it is good to see continued updates and development, it would be nice to perhaps see some new features in RISC OS 5 at some point.
With this update to RISC OS 5, the big improvement for me is the updated USB drivers, as I can now use my MP3 player with my Iyonix. It is very easy to use, just plug it in, drag the MP3s to the players filer window, and that's all there is to it really, and the USB2 upgrade makes the data transfer even quicker.
DVD on Iyonix
It came to light recently that some people may not be aware that the Iyonix can now fully read and write DVDs (including me - ED). So to clear up this once and for all since the RISC OS 5.09 ROM release the Iyonix can read DVDs without any problem. I assume it can also write to DVDs without problem at all. I say assume as I haven't actually got around to creating a DVD myself but have seen evidence to say that it does work. The screenshot below shows the RISC OS Foundation DVD filer window on the Iyonix desktop.
New Iyonix Machines
Since the launch of the original Iyonix machine, there have been a number of other models added to the range. There was the Panther design and then the standard desktop machine instead of the tower case design. Now there are some more additions and a welcome reduction in price.
This is the new reduced price Iyonix machine, the specifications for these machines are:
The £799 Aria Cube is the lowest non-offer priced Iyonix yet. However you do not get the bundled software, such as Oregano2, Writer+ and FireWkz32 which normally come with new machines. These are available for an additional £100 should you want them. The Aria cube series only includes support via email. For those that would like an Iyonix but have been put off by the price then this machine may be worth considering especially if you already have, or do not require the software bundle.
In addition to the Aria cube machines, there is also a new tower/desktop machine available, which has a different case design to the original Iyonix, and comes with 80GB hard disc and 256 of RAM. The prices for this machine start at £999, see the Iyonix website for full details and specifications.
Select for the Iyonix
The never ending debate of Select on the Iyonix continues to go on. Recent developments show quite a number of unhappy Select subscribers due to receiving nothing for their money for 26 bit machines. Some Iyonix owners who have continued their support in the hope of the Iyonix Select appearing at some point have also been complaining. ROL said recently that they had no more than about 15 interested people for Iyonix Select and that they need 100 users to sign up before they can start development. In light of this an online pledge system has been set up at www.pledgebank.com and at the time of writing there are over 70 people interested, certainly more than ROL's original figure. This pledge total is by no means a final figure as I am sure there are many others who haven't signed up to it for whatever reason but would be interested in Iyonix Select should it ever happen.
A beta version of Select for the Iyonix was on show on the RISC OS Ltd stand at the recent RISC OS show in Guildford, which was showing a number of the Select features. It is not ready for release yet, but clearly is showing that it can be done.
Anybody who is interested in Select on the Iyonix should contact RISC OS Ltd at email@example.com to register their support. Whether Select ever appears on the Iyonix, we will just have to wait and see.
A couple of recent updates to some Iyonix compatible programs. A particular favourite of mine is !Vice, the collection of Commodore computer emulators. Now at V1.17, this release seems to be a bug fixing exercise, and the new version can be found at www.viceteam.org.
A new upgrade for Star Fighter 3000 is available. Now up to V3.05, this new update includes a number of improvements and some bug fixes. This upgrade is available to anyone with a copy of the game, which will then upgrade it to the latest version, Star Fighter 3000 is fully Iyonix compatible and the upgrade is available from starfighter.acornarcade.com.
Also of note is Desktop Repton Plus, which has had it's price reduced to £6.99 including postage. This is easily the best RISC OS version of Repton so far, the only problem is that the brand new graphics do not work on the Iyonix for some reason, and nearly a year since the release of Desktop Repton Plus it looks like no solution has been found. This is a shame as it looks good with these new graphics. If you fancy a copy anyway with the old graphics, then contact David Bradforth at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just for the record there is no problem with the new graphics on anything RISC OS 4 related, just the Iyonix.
The RISC OS version of Firefox goes from strength to strength, with Peter Naulls releasing Beta version 5 recently. This is a 'Work In Progress' release, so do not be surprised if you get odd goings on with it in use. This release is to show the progress that has been made, and the most obvious change is that the program now installs on the icon bar. It's also much faster and the RISC OS menu system is implemented. See www.riscos.info/unix/firefox for more information and the latest version.
A new version of !ViewXLS has just been released, a useful program to read Excel documents on RISC OS. The latest version, number 0.10, can be downloaded from http://home.allgaeu.org/areiser/riscos/software/viewxls.
!Musicman from RComp Interactive, has also been updated taking it to V1.50. This version features a number of enhancements including the ability to 'Save Track Listings', playback facilities have been enhanced as well. There are also number of other new features and fixes to this very useful program, see www.rcomp.co.uk for more details.
Oregano 3 was demonstrated at the recent Guildford RISC OS show, but still no release date available. Hopefully it won't be too far off as Oregano 2 is now starting to show it's age and still has a number of bugs in it which are rather annoying.
Aemulor and Aemulor Pro are due an update to V2.32 (these should be available by the time you are reading this). This update include bug fixes and emulation enhancements in order to get the Sherston and Anglia multimedia CDs to run without problem, which is good news. I wonder if Wizards Apprentice will work properly now? I bet it doesn't.
Finally a new updated version of Geminus is due for release shortly (and again should be available by the time you are reading this). This version will include a number of new features which include - Accelerated sprite plotting, hardware acceleration of horizontal and vertical line drawing, rectangle inversions - these are now hardware accelerated, and the caching of screen redraws.
These new Geminus features should be available shortly after the recent Guilford show.
And so ends my first Iyonix column. If you have any comments, news, suggestions, hints & tips, or anything to do with the Iyonix, then drop me an email at Iyonix@riscos.org.