Matt Thompson with the latest news for Iyonix owners.
Last month's column was a bit on the thin side, but thankfully this month there is more content, helped no doubt by the recent Wakefield show, which included a number of software updates. Unfortunately there is still no release of Oregano 3, but it seems the project is still alive and should happen, it's just a case of when.
Also there is talk of a new RISC OS 5 ROM release at some point soon, this could be a payable update this time and one of the features will be that USB 2 will be put into ROM. This will decrease boot up time, which is good news. (This update may have even happened by the time this goes to electronic print as Castle releases appear out of nowhere) anyway on with the stuff that is available.
The MessengerPRO updates keep coming and we are now at V4.12 - this new version sees a number of changes which include better control of distribution lists, a new address book system a feature which allows the program to read emails out loud, plus the email editor program has also been updated.
In addition to the updated program there are new printed manuals available for £8 inclusive. They are exactly the same as the original manual supplied with MessengerPRO but have been significantly updated to include the developments of the program over the years and is well worth obtaining especially as printed manuals aren't that common anymore. Indeed give me a printed manual over an electronic one any day, simply because you can take it and read it anywhere at all.
This is the broadband equivalent of Dialup and this new release takes it up to V2.20. This new version is much faster at downloading emails - it is said to be up to 5 times faster, I don't know what the exact speed increase is, but there is no doubt about it that the email/news downloading is definitely much quicker. The RSS fetching feature has also been updated along with a few other bug fixes.
This program has had a lot of work done to it over recent months, the current version is 2.11 and although there were a few some problems with V2.10 on Iyonix machines - mine in particular - the problems were soon dealt with. This, the latest version, runs fine. A big thank you to both Andrew at R Comp and the Grapevine author Alan Wrigley for their assistance and beta test versions to help get it working - it's very much appreciated.
For more information on the new versions of these programs and the new printed MessengerPRO manual contact firstname.lastname@example.org or see the website at www.rcomp.co.uk.
Updates to Easiwriter keep coming, now at V8.60, this version adds a number of new features to the program, a list of changes in V8.60 can be found at www.iconsupport.demon.co.uk/Latest/860.html the most notable change is the ability to save documents as PDF files.
This is a payable upgrade and the cost of upgrading will depend on which version you have, upgrades from the previous version V8.54 costs £20.00, and upgrades to the latest version from older versions will cost more. Check the price guide at www.iconsupport.demon.co.uk/Prices/Upgrades.html to see which upgrade cost applies, also new this time you can buy the upgrade as a download instead of buying a CD-ROM and save the £3.00 postage charge.
Another update to this excellent MP3 tag creation utility, now at version 0.21 and this release features a few changes and tweaks, you can download this new version from www.chrisjohnson.plus.com/software/id3taged.html.
Star Fighter 3000
Since the last column there has been a small update to the classic game Starfighter 3000. The game is now at V3.08 and this new version includes some changes which improve the running of the game but aren't changes that are obvious, never the less it's all welcome development. This update is available from http://starfighter.acornarcade.com.
One of the all time classic 8 bit games is Chuckie Egg, and the RISC OS version has now been updated by Alan Buckley to run on 32 bit machines, originally written for RISC OS by Michael Foot, it is a faithful update of the BBC Micro version and is still as good today as it was back then.
This screenshot is from the BBC Micro version running on 6502em - I couldn't get a screengrab to work properly from the new version, I assume this is because of the screenmodes being used, however they look the same anyway.
Download the latest version of RISC OS Chuckie Egg from http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mjfoot , the plan is to make Michael Foot's other RISC OS games 32 bit compatible as well, so keep a lookout for these and maybe some other games in the future.
Z80em is the RISC OS ZX Spectrum emulator, and was updated last year to Version 4 which, amongst a number of improvements, made it 32 bit compatible. However there was a problem with a sound module which wasn't 32 bit compatible, therefore many 128K games failed to work or if they did work they were silent. This problem has now been resolved and Z80em is now fully 32 bit compatible and the previous problem games now work perfectly.
Jet Set Willy5 (ZX Hero) - One of the games that now works with the new version of Z80em.
To obtain this upgrade to Version 4.00 of Z80em, contact the author Michael Borcherds at email@example.com and he will send you the upgrade, many thanks to Colin Ferris for making this module 32 bit compatible.
This text editor program has also had a recent update, now at version 4.67, this release includes a number of bug fixes and improvements, the latest version of StrongED can be downloaded from www.stronged.iconbar.com.
Ebay and Paypal on RISC OS
There have been problems with getting Ebay and Paypal to work properly with the selection of RISC OS browsers available, however I seem to have found a way of using Ebay reliably so I thought I would mention it here incase it is of use to anyone else.
Using Oregano 2, you need to make sure the "Enable Scripting" option is switched off - this is done by selecting 'Choices' from the program icon bar menu, then select 'Scripting' this is the 8th tab across, and then make sure 'Enable Scripting' is unticked as shown in the picture below, and then click on Save.
Ebay does seem to work well under these conditions - however it is not totally 100% reliable and it will crash occasionally but it is much more stable and usable than it would be if scripting was enabled.
If you are using Paypal to pay for anything then you will need to return to the choices menu and re-tick 'Enable Scripting' otherwise the transaction will get stuck and you will be unable to complete it, you do this once you are into the PayPal website.
I have found this method works successfully - hopefully we will see Cookies working very soon on Netsurf which will resolve the Paypal situation and hopefully let me log into Ebay as well. With the release of Oregano3 at some point this problem will hopefully become a thing of the past.
It is also worth mentioning that RISC OS Firefox works fine with Ebay/Paypal but it is rather slow, but it does work.
Talking of Ebay, a new magazine has appeared on the newstands, going by the name of Ebay Advisor - it is produced by Alligata Media and edited by David Bradforth.
The magazine is not platform specific, instead it is about general use of Ebay and Paypal, with hints, tips, advice and much more, therefore any user of any platform can read it and make use of the content. It even has an advert for the Wakefield RISC OS show in it!
Ebay Advisor costs £4.99 and is available from WHSmiths or buy it online at www.ebayadvisormag.co.uk - a second issue is planned for later in the year, perhaps with a few more RISC OS advertisements in it?
RISC PC Keyboard on the Iyonix
I don't know about other Iyonix users, but personally I don't go a lot on the standard keyboard that comes with the Iyonix. It may have changed recently but the one that was supplied originally I thought was a bit lightweight and not a particularly good keyboard.
I always thought it was a shame I couldn't continue using my Risc PC keyboard - but the lack of a PS2 interface on the Iyonix put an end to that idea. However after using my Risc PC again for a short while I decided that it's keyboard is so much better to use than the standard Iyonix one and set about getting it connected up.
An easy job this, I bought a USB>PS2 cable, which as you've probably guessed has a USB connection at one end and a PS2 connection at the other end, so with one of these in place the good old Acorn Risc PC keyboard was back up and running, and it seems to work perfectly.
Finally Bug Hunter In Space which appeared on last months CD will run fine on the Iyonix using Aemulor Pro, great to see this classic game back, it would be even better if the original Bug Hunter could make a re-appearance as well and maybe some more titles in Minerva's back catalogue. Some great games were released by them in early days of RISC OS.
This is an update of an old RISC OS game to make it work with the Iyonix, written by Paul Vigay. Supersnake is based on the arcade game of the same or similar name - you know the one, you control a snake which eats the things on the screen which make it get longer and longer until it takes over the screen.
Supersnake is a shareware game and if you like it then you are asked to pay £5.00 to upgrade to a version with more levels and options, if you don't upgrade then you get a cut down limited demo version.
You can download Iyonix Supersnake from www.vigay.com/software/snake.html.
And so we reach the end of another column. If you have any comments, questions, help or advice, about anything Iyonix related - then the Iyonix Issues column can be contacted at Iyonix@riscos.org.