Matt Thompson with the latest news for Iyonix owners.
RISC OS 5.12
First up this month is the all important new ROM release. As promised by Castle, RISC OS 5.12 has now appeared. This new upgrade is, as expected, chargeable and will set you back £69 if you wish to upgrade. This is the version of RISC OS 5 which is now shipped with new Iyonix computers.
This is the first time there has been a charge for a ROM upgrade and this new release will form the base for all future ROM upgrades. These are expected to be free, but will not work with any other versions of RISC OS 5 except for 5.12 and there will be no more free upgrades for earlier versions.
The new ROM upgrade can be downloaded from www.iyonix.com and is available to buy now.
New features include support for a wider range of nVidia graphics processors and USB2 has now been moved into ROM. There are also a number of other improvements. Unfortunately at the time of writing these seem to be unknown, although I'm sure a list of changes will appear at some point.
When you upgrade to RISC OS 5.12 you can also, if you wish, upgrade to the nVidia FX5200 graphics card at the same time. The cost for the card and the upgrade is £139.00 - the quoted prices include VAT but not delivery (if relevant)
I have now upgraded my Iyonix to RISC OS 5.12 and I am pleased to say that by putting USB2 into ROM it has indeed improved the boot up time. It is much quicker and the delays that were there before have now gone.
Long boot up times are one of my pet hates with computers, so anything that helps reduce this is very welcome and as you can imagine I am very pleased to see this improvement. Apart from that and the version number change I haven't seen anything else different yet, although I am sure there are plenty of behind the scenes changes.
For more details on the upgrade or to order contact :
It is excellent to see further development on RISC OS 5 - and with the appearance of RISC OS Open Ltd (see below) we will hopefully be seeing even more developments and new features in the future.
RISC OS Open Ltd (ROOL)
After much speculation and discussion about RISC OS being made open source it would appear that this project is now going ahead. RISC OS Open Ltd - or ROOL for short - issued a press release on 29th September detailing the company's plans for the future of RISC OS development. The press release can be read in full at www.riscosopen.org/press_20060929.html.
At the time of writing the RISC OS Open website is quite basic with just some information pages available. There are a number of links to different parts of the website which are all inactive at the moment and as things progress these will be activated. Once it goes live then parts of RISC OS 5 will be available to develop. This includes the Shared C library, disc based applications (Edit, Paint, System, Boot) and the configuration plugins.
Also on the list is the old Acorn web browser Browse. This could be very interesting as we still are without a really good web browser for RISC OS despite the excellent work from many people who have been addressing the problem. I have never used Browse myself but have read many comments from users who speak very highly of it.
I personally think that this open source project could be very good for RISC OS 5. We have a good stable base with RISC OS 5.12 and now it can be enhanced further by the many RISC OS programmers, developers and enthusiasts who have the skills and knowledge to improve it but have been unable to do so in the past. As many of the main developers and programmers all have Iyonixes we could be seeing some interesting enhancements to RISC OS 5.
RISC OS Open Ltd are looking to recruit people to help with this project so if anyone if interested in contributing then contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and details about the RISC OS open source project see their website at www.riscosopen.org.
Easiwriter and Techwriter
A free update to Easiwriter and TechWriter was released recently. This was a bug correcting release, which corrected a problem with conversion of special characters during Word document import.
The latest version is V8.64, and this is a free upgrade to V8.6x users. You can download the new version using your user and password codes, which would have been emailed to you when you upgraded. The link to the download area is in this email as well. Any problems contact Mike Glover at Icon Technology - email@example.com.
A new version of the RISC OS PDF file reader !PDF was released recently. The latest version is now V3.00 1.18, which fixed a few bugs and problems. Download the latest version of this very useful program from www.pdf.iconbar.com/.
The second issue of the Ebay Advisor magazine is published on 2nd November. This is a magazine which covers all aspects of using Ebay and is non platform specific. If you use Ebay or are interested in finding out about it, then this magazine worth checking out.
Contact David Bradforth at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or buy a copy through stores.ebay.co.uk/More-to-Read. Ebay Advisor costs £4.99 per issue, and if you missed the first issue and are interested in this magazine there is a special offer for issues 1 and 2 together for £5.99.
Talking of magazines, I am sure everyone will be aware that Qercus is now being published again, so check their website at www.finnybank.com/qercus/index.html for subscription information and more details.
In addition to the re-appearance of Qercus I am pleased to say that a brand new RISC OS magazine has been launched. RISC OS NOW is the magazine and check out the website at www.riscosnow.com for more details and subscription information. It seems that while the RISC OS market may not be that big, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of people wanting to produce magazines about it.
Ebay and Paypal
Following on my recent article showing how to use PayPal successfully on RISC OS browsers I have found an even easier way round it and this method should be used instead. I am using the latest Netsurf build at the time of writing which is 27th October 2006.
To pay for something bought on Ebay with PayPal simply log into your PayPal account. Make sure you are on the 'My Account' page, and then just above the table of recent activity you should see the following:
Click on 'Items Won' next to the Ebay logo and you will then go to the 'Send Money' page. Here you will see listed any items you have bought on Ebay which need to be paid for. Simply click on 'Pay' and the payment process will begin and within a couple of minutes you'll have paid for your item and will have the confirmation email delivered. Another RISC OS browser issue solved! If only the other problems could be fixed as easily!
A bit of a RISC World exclusive here. After seeing the 32bit conversions of Chuckie Egg and the other BBC Micro games from Michael Foot I asked the conversion programmer, Alan Buckley, if he would be interested in making both Jet Set Willy and Manic Miner (two of my all time favourite games) 32bit compatible. He said he would have a try if the source code was available. Luckily the author of Manic Miner on RISC OS, Darren Salt, was able to provide this and after a number of months of hard work Alan managed to make Manic Miner run successfully on the Iyonix.
The game runs perfectly and you should encounter no problems at all. If you do please do let me know. However, there is one slight glitch in this program and you will only notice it when you quit the application from the icon bar as the standard system beep gets changed from a beep to a horrible monotonous tone.
To see what I mean, before you load Manic Miner go into BASIC by pressing F12, then type BASIC (press Return) at the star prompt then VDU 7 (Return) you will hear the standard beep. Now run the game, quit it and when you return to the desktop, go back to BASIC in the same way and this time you will now hear the horrible tone instead!
Attempts to get this problem resolved have so far failed, but if anyone out there has the knowledge to fix this it would be excellent if this small glitch could be removed. The source code for Manic Miner is included in the same directory as the game, so if anyone does fix this sound glitch please let me know. A temporary fix is included in the directory of Manic Miner the file called 'ResetSnd' will put things back to normal. See the !Help file for more details.
Manic Miner is on this months CD so enjoy a welcome return to an 8bit classic. My thanks go to Alan Buckley for his time and effort for doing this conversion, and also to Darren Salt for converting the game to RISC OS and also providing the source code. If anyone can 32bit Jet Set Willy then that would be fantastic. Anyone fancy the job? (I can but hope!)
If you have any comments, hints & tips, corrections or anything Iyonix related then contact the Iyonix column at RISCWorld at email@example.com.