Matt Thompson with the latest news for Iyonix owners.
Another year is upon us, I wonder what 2007 will bring the world of the Iyonix and also RISC OS in general. Let us hope that it's a good one. This year sees the 20th anniversary since the launch of the first RISC OS machine - so here's to the next 20 years of using RISC OS and beyond.
There has been some important new releases which have found their way onto the hard disc of my Iyonix. These include a new updated version of Firefox, which gets better with every release, and also some updates from R-Comp with their internet software. It also looks like RISC OS Open is getting closer to actually happening (more on all of this later), but first we have to revisit last month's RISC World.
Some users may have experienced problems running Manic Miner. The program needs the latest version of the Tim player module, and will not run without it. The latest version can be downloaded from http://users.skynet.be/Andre.Timmermans by following the links to Tim Player.
Also a suitable MDF is needed for Manic Miner. If the game screen isn't displayed properly and it asks for a 320x256 screen mode the following one might be worth trying. I use this with my Samsung Syncmaster 152V and it works fine for me.
# 320 x 256 (70Hz - Modes 1,2,5,9,10,13) # Low band startmode mode_name: x_res:320 y_res:256 pixel_rate:12587 h_timings:36,14,12,320,12,6 v_timings:2,106,0,256,0,85 sync_pol:2 endmode
Jet Set Willy Article
Not an Iyonix issue, but as it was one of mine I have to mention it. Unfortunately a couple of the URLs for links to remakes of Jet Set Willy were incorrect, apologies for that, they are correctly listed below :
The PC version of Jet Set Willy 2 can be downloaded from http://homepage.ntlworld.com/dan_richardson_uk/JSWII.html. The website www.hallas.net/software/spectrum.htm does not exist anymore, the new website address is http://www.hallas.demon.co.uk/Software/spectrum.htm there are some ZX Spectrum format games here which will run with !Z80em on the Iyonix.
This is a very important development for RISC OS as we still do not have a fully complete browser. Firefox offers the chance to have a very good and up to date web browser. Since the last mention of Firefox there have been two releases, the first was Iyonix only, but the latest, which was released on Christmas Day, now also works on the A9. It now also works on VirtualRPC-SA and VirtualRPC-AdjustSA.
With each release Firefox gets better. The current release is very stable and displays a lot of websites that other RISC OS browsers have difficulty with. This version is definitely the fastest so far and it has been reported that if you have the new graphics card that Castle are selling with the RISC OS 5.12 upgrade then this will increase the performance as well. I certainly noticed a speed increase with the previous release of Firefox when I upgraded my graphics card.
The new version now installs on the icon bar, and even more work is being done to make Firefox more like a true RISC OS application. For example clicking the mouse Menu button over the browser window now brings up proper RISC OS menus.
However the development is not yet complete and there are still a number of things to be done. This will all take time as developer Peter Naulls is doing this in his spare time. I, for one, am very grateful and pleased he has continued with this project as we do need a quality up to date web browser for this platform to have any kind of future and Firefox looks like our best chance. It's also a good selling point for RISC OS that it can run Firefox as it is a well known application on other platforms.
The latest RISC OS Firefox can be downloaded from http://www.riscos.info/unix/firefox/ or you can find a copy in the Software.Iyonix directory on this CD.
If you do download it, make sure you read the instructions first, as there are some things you need to do before it will work. The help file also gives details of plans for future developments.
There is no doubt that having Firefox running on RISC OS will help the platforms future, so if you do use it then don't forget to contribute as much as you can towards the project and help reach the requested target of £4000 so development can continue. The donations page can be found at http://www.riscos.info/index.php/Donations.
Cino is the Iyonix DVD player which was being developed by Adrian Lees but was then put on hold due to technical problems. However the program has now been released for free and his available from his own website at http://adrian.aemulor.com/#cino or from the software directory on this issue of RISCWorld.
Unfortunately this is is not a finished program so don't be surprised if it doesn't work on your machine. I couldn't get it working my Iyonix, I kept getting error messages, so I cannot say how the program works or what it is like.
It would be really good if someone was able to take over development of Cino and complete it to give the Iyonix the ability to play DVDs. Whilst I am not a particular fan of watching DVDs whilst sitting at a computer monitor the fact is that all computers these days can play DVDs and if RISC OS is to feature as a computer of today then it needs to be able to do it as well.
RISC OS Open
Since the last issue of RISC World the RISC OS Open website has seen some activity. At the time of writing the shared source licence is currently with the lawyers to make sure everything is watertight. So it looks like we will to wait a little bit longer before it all happens.
Until recently the options on the RISC OS Open website were inactive, now they are active. There is a news section, forum, sources section, bug reporting section, documents and how you can contact RISC OS Open. Hopefully by the next issue it will be all up and running.
RISC OS Open can be found at www.riscosopen.co.uk.
Netfetch, the email/news transfer program for use with broadband, has had a significant upgrade. The latest version is V3.00 and this is a payable upgrade. There have been some changes to the Netfetch program, but the major change is Version 2 of Hermes - this is the program which does the email transportation. The news articles are still handled by Newshound but it is hoped at some point to have it all done by the same program. There is also a new updated version of Dialup, the internet dialup equivalent of Netfetch.
So what is new in this version? Well, looking at the Hermes history document, quite a lot. There have been a number of bug fixes and improvements, but the main new feature is the spam protection. You can now configure Hermes to block any emails using a number of different rules. There are currently nine rule sets which include bad domains, banned words and specified encodings. By using these rules you can (hopefully) eliminate most spam emails from your inbox.
There is also a 'Whitelist' feature (as opposed to a 'Blacklist' for spam). This allows any emails from people on this list to be fetched and delivered to the appropriate mailbox regardless of any rules you may have set up. This spam blocking feature is excellent and it is one I'm sure many people will welcome.
The upgrade price is currently £19 inclusive. Other upgrade options are available for Dialup3 owners who would like to switch to Netfetch3 for £20 and if you want to upgrade from Dialup 3 and Netfetch2 to the new versions you can do so for £25 inc. These prices are correct at the time of writing but the press release did mention that these prices would only be valid for a limited time. For more information about Netfetch3 (and Dialup4) contact R-Comp at email@example.com/uk or see their website at www.rcomp.co.uk
Email and news program MessengerPro has also been updated. The latest version is V4.24 and it's great to see continued development. This new version is described as a significant upgrade and includes a number of new features which includes HTML email handling. MessengerPro can now display HTML emails correctly and also allows you to reply to HTML emails with quoting in, where as before it was displayed as HTML code rather than the actual message.
Another new feature is support for extended character sets and non-latin characters, so now emails containing foreign characters should be displayed correctly.
For more details on MessengerPRO see their website at www.rcomp.co.uk. If you don't currently use MessengerPro for emails/news it is certainly a program well worth considering.
The Freeware BBC Micro emulator BeebIT has been updated again, now up to Version 0.59f18B (18 Dec 2006). This is a test version but it should work without any problems. The changes in this new version are as follows :
You can download this new version from http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mjfoot/bbc.htm, I have also put a copy in the software directory in this issue.
RISC OS Select
I got a re-subscription from RISC OS Ltd through the post and on the form it mentions that if you are now an Iyonix user who doesn't use a RISC OS 4 computer anymore to contact them so they can update their records accordingly.
It also states that they still plan on doing a version of Select for the Iyonix and they will be making an announcement about RISC OS Select for the Iyonix in early 2007.
And so we reach the end of the first Iyonix column of 2007 - there are some interesting things being mentioned at the moment, so let's hope that they become a reality and enhance RISC OS further.
As ever if you have any comments, useful tips, software to plug, or anything remotely Iyonix related then you can contact the Iyonix column at firstname.lastname@example.org.