Unfortunately there's not a huge amount of stuff this issue, but it was going to be hard to follow up last months new ROM release and the USB radio to name but a few things. However the Wakefield show is not too far away, so hopefully there will be some new releases and updates for next months column.
A new module has been added to the Geminus graphics enhancement suite of programs, this new release gives JPEG rotation and acceleration, which means that the Iyonix can now render JPEG images three times faster than it could before.
This new module will be of great interest to users who use digital cameras and deal with images frequently, the full details of this new module are as follows :
Decoding and rendering on the IYONIX is about 3 times faster than the RISC OS 5 SpriteExtend module. Other machines also exhibit faster rendering than the RISC OS 4/Select/Adjust SpriteExtend module but the difference is not as great because these versions already have faster JPEG decoding.
Decoding and rendering of JPEGs is now performed in USR mode so that audio playback and ShareFS network traffic, for example, will continue even when decoding and rendering large images. (This also allows the code to be Alt-Breaked in the event that an incorrect/corrupted file exposes a flaw in the decoder.)
Greater robustness against incorrectly coded images. (RISC OS 5 SpriteExtend will often crash the machine if presented with spurious information.)
A modified version of the 'djpeg' utility will be released as open source code allowing other applications to benefit from the faster JPEG decoding by calling the Geminus module.
!OpenVector has been updated to allow rotated JPEGs.
The JPEG rotation and acceleration module costs £25.00 + VAT for more information and to order your copy visit http://buyit.spellings.net. A limited demonstration version is available from the website as well. Thanks to Neil Spellings for providing the Geminus image for this article.
The open source web browser Netsurf continues to be developed, it is hoped that the first proper release will be available in the not too distant future. There are a few issues and some bugs that need to be sorted out before it is ready for a proper release and it remains a test/beta piece of software until V.1 is released.
Even though it is not completed yet Netsurf is a very good web browser and does a better job with some websites that other RISC OS browsers fail on, and is it definitely worth a try especially as it's free - what have you got to lose?
However do be aware that some things don't work properly at the moment such as cookies but these should be all sorted out for the first version release, and hopefully the development won't stop there either.
The latest build of Netsurf can be downloaded from http://netsurf.sourceforge.net.
It's Vice free!
There are no Vice updates this month (the first time since writing this column!!) but one update to a program which I've found very useful is the new rewritten version of !ScGrabber (V2.16) by Christopher Bazley, and it has been used to create the screenshots used in this months 4th Dimension games CD review (well the ones that worked on the Iyonix with Aemulor Pro)
It is easy to use, the program installs on the icon bar and to get a screen grab press "Print Screen" and you should now see a spritefile on your hardisc. You can download this new version from www.bigfoot.com/~chrisbazley.
Seeing as my Iyonix has USB 2, I thought it was about time that my USB hub was upgraded to the same, so to benefit from the speed increase.
I carried on using my MP3 player and Pen drive on a USB 2 machine through a USB1 hub, so gained no speed increase whatsoever, I didn't realise at first that there were USB1 & USB 2 hubs, so I had just carried on as before! but when I did change the difference was more than evident.
I bought the following from a certain RISC OS dealer who just happened to have it in stock!
Belkin 7 Port USB 2.0 Hub (Powered)
The device plugs into any of the USB Ports on the Iyonix, (I used one on the back of the machine), then just plug in the power supply and thats all there is to it. USB Hubs with their own power supply tend to be better as they are not being powered by the computer and operate better, and I can see this to be true as my KVM switch does not have it's own power supply and often gets in a mess and doesn't seem to know what it's doing! (Non powered hubs also draw all the power for devices from the main computer, not a good idea if you have a number of devices- ED)
The hub has 5 USB ports at the back and 2 on the top, the 5 at the back are ideal for plugging in Keyboards, Mice, Printers, Scanners etc, currently mine just has the Printer plugged in, but the top USB ports are ideal for Pen drives and MP3 players, plug them in transfer the data, then unplug them again, quick and easy and very useful.
It would appear that Castle Technology are on the move again, so there new address and contacts details are :
The Telephone number 0870 383 4543 stays the same, as does the Fax number 0870 705 8879. All contact details should be on their website at www.iyonix.com (although their terms and conditions still show the registered office as Framlingham, where they moved from a year ago - ED).
Iyonix support list
The Iyonix support list has moved from Smartgroups due to it being unreliable and there being problems with postings taking forever and a day to actually appear, which is not a lot of use if you want some help with an urgent problem!
So as from now the Iyonix support list is being run on freelists.org ,if you were already a subscriber to the Smartgroups list then you should have received an email from John Ballance explaining the changeover.
There is no need to subscribe to this new list, everything will carry on as it was before.
That's pretty much it for this month, not a great deal happening at the moment. I think a lot of developers will be holding back anything significant until the Wakefield show.
As ever, any comments or any release info, or anything Iyonix related, feel free to contact the Iyonix column atIyonix@riscos.org.