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RISC World

Iyonix Issues

Matt Thompson

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Happy New Year

As it's a new year in the world of the Iyonix and RISC OS I wonder what changes and developments we shall be seeing. Personally I would like to see Javascript included in NetSurf, which I believe would be a massive boost to the platform. However even without Javascript I think we all owe a massive credit and a big well done to the NetSurf team for their continued work. As without NetSurf I think many more users would have jumped ship.

It would also be good to see the source code from the ROOL project begin to offer new releases with significant changes. At the moment it seems that we are just treading water, and not really going anywhere, but who knows what is going on behind the scenes? Let's hope 2008 is a good year.

Boot Passwords

In recent months a number of Iyonix machines have appeared on Ebay for sale. However the new owners of these machines have received them without any information on what the !Boot password is and therefore the machine is locked and cannot be used.

Iyonix Ltd are offering an unlocking service to resolve this problem, if you have bought a second hand Iyonix and do not have the !Boot password then John Ballance at Iyonix Ltd can solve the problem. Although you should note that thus is a chargeable service and will cost 30.00.

You will need to prove legal ownership of the machine, to the satisfaction of Iyonix Ltd, this is done by the following method:

  • Press CTRL-F12, then in the task window type
  • *savecmos $.public.mycmos

Then email jwb@iyonix.com with this created 'mycmos' file, the Iyonix serial number, the Iyonix ethernet MAC address and your contact details. When the password has been regenerated Iyonix Ltd will contact you, and then on payment of the £30.00 they will supply the new password. For more information, or to get your password reset, contact John Ballance at Iyonix Ltd on 08717 891861.

(All of these "locked" Iyonix machines seem to have come from a school in the Midlands, which has recently moved away from RISC OS. As such, the number of machines available will be limited - ED)

ID3TagEd

ID3TagEd has had a recent update, the latest version is now V0.24 and has a number of changes since the last version:

  • A number of minor bug fixes.
  • Correctly treats a change only in "Rename" by not adding a tilde suffix.
  • Rename pattern can now be set from main window.

ID3TagEd is an excellent program which is used to create tags for use in MP3s so that when they are played on the computer or on an MP3 player the song name, artist and other information can be displayed.

It is good to see contined development on a very useful little program. You can download the latest version from http://www.chris-johnson.org.uk/software/id3taged.html. It's also on this CD.

Easiwriter

A small bug appeared in the release of V8.73 of Easiwriter, it was only a small problem, but if your version of Easiwriter (or Techwriter) gives the following message "File name'_config' not recognised Code 0/204" when you select 'Choices' from the program menu, then you need to apply the following manual fix:

  • Find the !Run file in the program directory and change
  • Set EasiWriter873$Dir
  • to
  • Set EasiWriter874$Dir

It should now work, for Techwriter replace the word 'Easi' with 'Tech', all new copies downloaded from around 20th November 2007 should not suffer from this problem. IF you do have any problems then contact Icon Technology at www.icontechnology.co.uk or you can email mike@icontechnology.co.uk..

ROOL + ROL Agreement

Some excellent news here, RISC OS Open (ROOL) and RISC OS Ltd (ROL) have reached an agreement to enable co-operation in the development of the two variations of RISC OS. How well this will work only time will tell, it's a shame that there are two variations of an operating system with a not particularly large user base, but it's done now, so any co-operation can only be good news.

The full press release is repeated here in case anyone missed it.

Right back to the days of Acorn, there have been two distinct strands of RISC OS development. These two strands were developed to exploit different markets and hardware platforms. The Castle Technology strand is used in a number of products, including the IYONIX PC and various set top boxes. The RISCOS Ltd strand is also used in a number of different products, including the A9Home, the VirtualAcorn range of software emulators and as upgrades to existing Acorn computers via the RISC OS Select scheme.

Sources to both strands are available free of charge to developers. One strand is gradually being published under the Castle Technology Shared Source initiative by RISC OS Open Ltd. The RISCOS Ltd strand is available to Registered Developers and Hardware Manufacturers under NDA or as part of the Authorised Manufacturer Scheme, for both commercial and non-commercial exploitation.

Today, RISC OS Open (ROOL) and RISCOS Ltd (ROL) are pleased to announce an agreement to enable co-operation in the development of these two strands of RISC OS.

It is envisaged that this will be a two-step process:

Step One: to jointly co-ordinate future developments in order to avoid work being carried out on one strand of RISC OS which is incompatible with work on the other. For example, ensuring that when new features are added, they are implemented in a way which can interact as smoothly as possible with those features where they already exist on the other strand. This will broadly be achieved through the publishing and maintenance of public API documentation and guiding developers to that documentation.

Step Two: to investigate ways to improve the current situation for developers of software. It is hoped that RISC OS Open and RISCOS Ltd can implement solutions to problems which developers are currently faced with, for example the existing situation with software version numbers being divergent on the two different RISC OS strands.

RISC OS Open and RISCOS Ltd are committed to ensuring that RISC OS users and developers will see real benefits from this co-operation over the coming months and into the years ahead.

For further details contact info@riscosopen.org and/or developer@riscos.com.

NetSurf Printing

Some very welcome news was announced at the end of last year. With the release of the RISC OS 5 source code one of the developers of web browser NetSurf has been able to fix a problem in RISC OS 5 which prevents NetSurf printing.

This has been a problem that I have suffered from in particular over recent months, what with my sales on Amazon marketplace, my manual work-around solution does work, but is a bit annoying. So I look forward to printing from NetSurf direct, many thanks to all involved in this project.

I don't think this fix has been released yet, if it has then please let me know, as I've missed it! When it is available then printing from NetSurf will finally be working, although not on PostScript printers as they use a different driver. See www.riscosopen.co.uk for more details.

(The fix is now available from RISCOS Open, but a number of users have reported problems. These include ArtWorks crashing on trying to print, Netsurf still being unable to print and various other problems. My advice is to wait until these issues are addressed before downloading the update -ED).

!MiscSetup

MiscSetup is Paul Vigay's configuration program for use with the Iyonix, and other RISC OS machines. A new version was released a few weeks before Christmas. Version 1.10 includes a number of visual effects options, which have existed in RISC OS 5 for some time, but have never been easy to control. So with a click of the mouse you can now control:

  • Textured menus.
  • Transparent icon boxes either in windows or the pinboard.
  • Font blending.
  • 3D Window borders.
  • Fully 3D iconbar.

The program installs itself in the machine Configuration, so if you double click on !Boot and you will find an icon called 'Misc' has now appeared. Double click on that and the following panel will appear:

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From here you can set up and choose your options. MiscSetup is a very nice and useful little program, which is trying to plug a few of the gaps missing from RISC OS 5. MiscSetup is freeware and can be downloaded from www.vigay.com/software/miscsetup.html. You can also find a copy in the Iyonix directory inside the software section of this issue.

ROFS

A small update for this utility was recently released, for use with V0.09 of ROFS, this is a patch which features the following changes:

  • Corrects an omitted module-ensure which can give error conditions under some circumstances.
  • Uses a slightly improved application icon.
  • Changes the USB icons whilst loaded to remind you NOT to click on it/them, changing it/them back on quitting or under error conditions.
  • Stops you inadvertently loading more than one copy of the application with a warning using a TaskCheck utility.

This patch was not written by ROFS author Dave Higton, but was written by John Williams, and it is hoped that these modifications will be included in a future release of ROFS. For the time being it is placed as patch application at http://petit.four.free.fr/ROFSpatch.zip and on this RISCWorld CD.

Once downloaded simply drop it over your copy of V0.09 (making sure you first make a back up) and it should work fine.

A310Emu

This is a program that I thought had ceased development, so I was pleasantly surprised to see an announcement saying it had been updated. !A310Emu is a program which emulates the good old Archimedes series of computers and allows you to play old games from the RISC OS 2 + 3 era on the new machines of today.

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The emulator is a very good one and can play many of the old games, many of us thought we'd never see again. To get the games to run, they need to be in an ADF datafile format. These can be created from your original game discs or can probably be found in various places on the internet, but I'm not saying where as many are still copyrighted.

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Shown above is ArcEmu in action, playing the old classic from Minerva software, Freddy's Folly, does anyone remember it? It was quite basic but had very good graphics and was good fun.

If you are interested in replaying old RISC OS games on the modern machines then this program is highly recommended. There is plenty of in depth documentation to help you get it up and running, and I always found the author helpful with email communications. (Absolutely, he's a top chap -ED)

The latest version can be downloaded from here http://home-1.worldonline.nl/~jandboer/ and in case anyone is interested I get a mention in the helpfile !

And so we reach the end of the first Iyonix column of 2008, all is a bit quiet at the moment, but hopefully this means things going on behind the scenes. The Iyonix column at RISC World can be contacted at iyonix@riscos.org.

Matt Thompson

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