Here we are again with another Iyonix column and more news for Iyonix owners. With the recent South East RISC OS show, there have been some new releases, including more of the RISC OS 5 source code, so let's see what's on offer this month. .
Emulation of the good old BBC Micro is something that interests me very much as, as far as I am concerned, those were the golden years of computing. As such it's great to see that nearly 25 years on the BBC is still very much alive.
BeebIt is a freeware emulator written by Michael Foot (not the politician from many years ago) and it does a very good job of recreating the BBC Model B, B+ and Master series. This is Version 0.60 of BeebIt and there are a number of changes over previous versions:
BeebIt has now been divided into 2 versions, BeebIt (V0.60) and BeebITJ. This new version is based on BeebIt but has been enhanced by James Lampard and has a completely new 6502 CPU engine, in addition to other changes and it is faster too. This is the first release of BeebITJ but changes from the last release of BeebIt include:
BeebIt behaves exactly like the BBC Micro, so when you drop the gamefile onto the program icon on the iconbar (it must be a SSD datafile) it will then automatically switch to the BBC start up screen (you know the one 'BBC Computer 32K') and then you press Shift/Break just like you used to do and the program will load.
I must admit I have never really used BeebIt in anger, as instead I have always used 6502em. However as BeebIt can run FireTrack (see picture above) then it is perhaps time I looked at it in more detail. You can download BeebIt from http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mjfoot/bbc.htm.
Another update to one my most used programs, this is a free upgrade and should have been received automatically by all registered users, if you did not receive it in your inbox, then contact RComp email@example.com.
Netfetch is now at V3.10 and includes a number of new features:
Speaking of Hermes, this has been updated to V2.10 and can now send email via Google's gmail service, which requires sending over SSL.
There are also a number of other little tweaks and behind the scenes updates. Also worth mentioning is the brand new NetFetch printed manual, at 24 pages this covers using Netfetch & Hermes in detail and is illustrated.
The manual is produced in the same style as the MessengerPro manuals and is a worthwhile addition to the program. It's much easier to read it away from the screen rather than having to trawl through textfiles and ReadMe files. The printed manual is not free but is available from R Comp for a very reasonable £6.50 inclusive.
Easiwriter (and TechWriter) the word processing programs (the key RISC OS applications for many users), have been updated with new releases. Now at Version 8.72, the main new feature is a style editor which allows users to define text styles, typefaces, colours, text positions and other settings.
This new feature was added after users voted for which feature they wanted to see included in future updates. Other popular suggestions included Word 2000 document export, which will be included in a future release. Full details of V8.72 can be found here www.iconsupport.demon.co.uk/Latest/870.html.
Version 8.72 is a payable upgrade, and cost depends on which version you are using, for full pricing details see Icon Technology's website www.iconsupport.demon.co.uk/Prices/Upgrades.html.
RISC OS 5 Sources
The second batch of RISC OS 5 source code has now been released by RISC OS Open Ltd, following on from the first batch in May, and it can be downloaded from their website. So what is now available? Well there seems to be quite a lot of RISC OS 5 available as shared source, together with an updated binary build environment . New components available include:
To download the source code head over to www.riscosopen.co.uk/content/downloads/risc-os-tarballs (you can also get the binaries from the software.Rool section on this issue - ED), you can also download prebuilt components in addition to the sources and build environment, as shown in the two directory pictures below:
Many applications, such as Edit, Paint and Draw, have updated version numbers so it would seem that they have been worked on since the release of the source code earlier this year. However these are effectively pre-release versions as there has not been proper testing on any updates, so there may be a few errors in these new versions at the moment. But they are free, so why not give them a try.
Hopefully all the new code, and enhancements to RISC OS 5 will be fed back to RISC OS Open, then to Iyonix Ltd who should then properly test the code. Then all new code could be included in a future RISC OS 5 ROM release, something which we have not seen for sometime now.
Time will tell how successful this venture will all be, at the moment it looks very promising (agreed - ED), so let us hope it is one of the RISC OS success stories and not another one that promised so much but failed to deliver. For more information on RISC OS Open contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or see the website www.riscosopen.org.
If you use any of the source code it is asked that you consider a donation to help support the ongoing shared source project, or perhaps you could buy the mouse mat and coaster set like I did, and they are certainly worth investing in. (especially when you see who is top right on the mouse mat -ED).
Foundation Risc User DVD 2
This is not a brand new release, but may have been missed by some readers. The second Foundation Risc User DVD is now available, this is an update from the first DVD and now includes Issues 1 - 20 of Foundation Risc User. The DVD contains over 1.5GB of material and also a large selection of free RISC OS software.
The cost of the DVD is £16.50 inclusive and if you purchased the first DVD you can buy the second DVD for £9.50 inclusive. For more details contact RISC OS LTD at www.riscos.com.
Photodesk is a bitmap graphics package, which has been updated with a new version released at the recent South East RISC OS show. This new update takes it to V3.08 and brings with it a number of improvements and bugfixes.
Changes in V3.08 include the ability to scan artwork directly into Photodesk and, for Iyonix users, selecting areas of an image is now much faster, where as in previous versions this action would bring the Iyonix to a virtual stand still.
This new version of Photodesk is available from CJE Micros who will no doubt have it in stock and upgrades cost £20.00 for existing users. For more details contact CJE Micros at email@example.com.
And so we reach the end of this months column, as ever if you have any comments, hints & tips, product plugging or anything related to the usage of the Iyonix, the the Iyonix column can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.