Press releases from VirtualAcorn
This page lists all of the VirtualAcorn press releases since November 2001. The newest press release will always be at the top of this page.
Total press releases to date : 115 as of 02/11/2018
02/11/2018 - 'VirtualRPC in Use' 3rd Edition now available.
To celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the launch of VirtualRPC the wonderful people at T.O.M.S. have produced a fully updated 3rd edition of 'VirtualRPC in Use', the free guidebook to using VirtualRPC in real world settings. 'VirtualRPC in Use' has been updated to include information on Windows 8 and Windows 10. As well as changes to Windows other changes, for example the closure and archiving of the VirtualAcorn forums, has been incorporated.
This 3rd Edition is a comprehensive update not just to the text but also to the illustrations. When VirtualRPC in Use first entered publication the vast majority of VirtualAcorn users ran Windows XP. Now Windows 10 is the default operating system for a large percentage of users and 'VirtualRPC in Use' has been expanded to include Windows 7, 8 and 10.
'VirtualRPC in use' third edition, and the 2011-2013 supplements, can be downloaded free of charge from the 'VirtualRPC in Use' support page of the VirtualAcorn website.
21/07/2018 - Archived versions of the VirtualAcorn Forums now available
We are pleased to announce that the archived versions of the VirtualAcorn forums are now available here. Although all the content is available and all links between pages have been preserved the pages are 'dumb' HTML and do not include any of the forums systems, such as the ability to reply to or edit posts. Nor is there any facility to create new topics, produce polls, send private messages etc.
It's not been possible to trap all potential bookmarks that registered users may have created in their browser(s). Each user would have their own links to pages as all content was delivered from the database via php and displayed according to the registered users preferences. In addition the original forum system ran in php and the new system is 'just' thousands of HTML pages.
The new archived forum pages are included in the VirtualAcorn website search box. If you have any links to old forum pages which no longer work firstly remove any text that appears after the '.php' in the link. Then replace the '.php' extension in the link with '.html'. Most bookmarked links will then work correctly. If the bookmark still doesn't work don't worry, the page content has been preserved but some part of the link you have doesn't translate into HTML. Try searching for the topic using the Search form on any page of the VirtualAcorn website and you should find it. Once you have located it don't forget to update your bookmark.
The new GDPR regulations have had one negative effect, we are reluctantly having to close the VirtualAcorn Forums before the 25th of May 2018. In order to keep the forum systems running we need permission from every single user (past and present) so the system could keep processing their data to assemble pages and provide search results. Some of the accounts were created nearly 20 years ago and the contact details we have for many accounts are out of date.
We sent a test group of e-mails to a random selection of registered forum e-mail addresses and only received one reply. Most of the addresses bounced, in some cases because the ISP used by a number of RISC OS users at the time has since ceased trading. Whilst we would like to keep the information available it's impossible to operate the forum without active consent from every single user that has made a post and that's now impossible.
If we can find a way to make the information available in another way we will do so but, to meet the terms of the GDPR it will have to be without applying any processing to the data, which will be a very tall order.
However it's worth reminding users that there is a an alternative to the forums. The VirtualAcorn mailing list is run independently and it's members can provide a lot of help and support for other VirtualAcorn users.
12/12/2017 - Updated CMOS Restore tools now available
Having listened to customer feedback we have released new versions of the CMOS Restore tools. These are now available from the Recovery Utilities page. The CMOS Restore tools are designed to resolve the problems caused by a sudden loss of power (power cut, flat battery etc) that can damage the CMOS Ram file and prevent RISC OS from finding which file system and which disc to boot from. This results in either a black screen with a 'File &.!Boot not found' error or the later RISC OS 'green screen' boot menu. A 'real' RISC OS computer suffers from the same problem if the CMOS battery dies.
The new tools include comprehensive instructions, which have been re-written from scratch. They can be used for both early (2001 to 2014) and late (2014 onwards) versions of VirtualRPC and support all versions of Windows from 2000 to Windows 10 (and beyond).
That will probably be the last update for this year - so Merry Christmas and a happy new year.
31/10/2017 - VirtualAcorn website, Google Chrome and https
For some time now Google have been proposing to flag any website that doesn't use https as 'insecure' even if https isn't needed. The first step in this questionable approach started with the Google Chrome 62 update and was activated a couple of days ago. From now on any website that has a form without an https address will be targeted. Security is important but there are a number of different ways to secure customer data beyond https but Google has unilaterally decided that any website that uses http must be insecure. Of course that's not always true (as http data can be encrypted) but Google is far too big (60% of browser use is via Google Chrome) to
take note of a small UK company.
The net result of Google's decision is that anyone running a small business will need SSL certificates for their domains. If you don't have an SSL certificate every Google device will mark your site as 'insecure'. SSL certificates can be expensive and if you need one for several separate domains the costs quickly add up and new SSL certificates are needed every year. There is a work around and that's to use a shared SSL server and that's what we are doing for any VirtualAcorn systems that request personal information, for example the RUCHS unlock code request system.
This means that instead of seeing an address like this:
the address will now be:
Your browser, yes even Chrome, will now show the secure padlock symbol when you are in the VirtualAcorn registration systems and related pages. Hopefully competition will drive the cost of SSL services down once the changes have settled in but in the meantime you can expect that many small companies will end up either using shared https or passing the cost on to the consumer.
P.S. Of course just because a page is delivered using https doesn't mean it's actually 'safe'. Crooks can also write code, order web domains, buy hosting and pay for SSL certificates. Just don't tell Google as they won't hear you with their fingers in the ears and their heads up their ar*se.
22/09/2017 - Replacement Unlock Code Handling System (RUCHS)
We have been working on a replacement unlock code request handling system (called RUCHS) for some time and it's now in service on the VirtualAcorn Registration site (the address is in the VirtualAcorn registration window).
RUCHS is designed to offers a faster service as it checks all the information before sending it to us to process. This means errors get picked up and corrected at the time of entry. With the current system some data errors
are not picked up until we come to generate the unlock code.
RUCHS connects to a portable offline database so we can reply quicker and you get your VirtualRPC running sooner. The details you provide the new system are used to process the unlock code request and then update our
offline database. Once an unlock code request has been approved it's emailed to you and then any files relating to the request are permanently deleted from the VirtualAcorn server. Whilst your data is being held by RUCHS,
pending an unlock code request approval, it's protected by 256byte encryption and stored in a secure area.
Like all new services there is always the chance of something going wrong. We have tested the system extensively with 1000's of test requests before release and the service has been processing requests for
customers for two months. We are currently classifying the current release of RUCHS as a Beta as there is the very remote possibility of an unlock code request getting malformed. If you have any feedback about RUCHS please
lets us know using the email address at the foot of this page.
07/11/2016 - Update to our guidelines for buying a new PC
We have just completed an update of our 'Buying a new PC' article. The article has been modified to reflect the changes in consumer rights legislation and the recent closure of one of our recommended suppliers. We have also made a number of other smaller edits to ensure that the article remains current. The new article can be read here.
28/09/2016 - Windows technical support refresh
Over the last few weeks we have refreshing the Windows technical support section of the VirtualAcorn website. As part of this process a number of articles have been updated to reflect changes in Windows 10. In addition we have now published several new articles which have been prompted by recent support requests by customers:
Two of the new articles, 'Windows file cleaners' and 'Backing up VirtualAcorn' include links to suggested third party applications which we use here at 3QD Developments Ltd. The article 'Increasing the amount of RAM allocated to RISC OS' is a re-written and much expanded work based upon Appendix 2 from the VirtualRPC User Guide. The new article includes a lot of extra information designed to help prevent configuration mistakes which can make a VirtualRPC unstable.
14/03/2016 - Important update for VirtualRPC-SE white disc versions
A fairly serious fault with some white disc versions of VirtualRPC (numbers 12019-VRP to 12028-VRP inclusive) was reported to us this week. After testing we have determined that those versions of VirtualRPC were assembled with a faulty HostFS component.
The fault shows itself if the user has VirtualRPC in a window and click on the 'Tools' option along the top of the VirtualRPC window and then clicks on 'Options'. VirtualRPC will then crash when it tries to open the options window. We have identified the cause of this fault and have produced an update with a replacement set of components which resolves the problem.
This update is supplied as a Windows .zip file with the replacement components and instructions. It an be downloaded from the VirtualRPC-SE updates download page. Just scroll to the bottom to find it.
13/08/2015 - Windows 10 support
Over the last few weeks we have been testing and collating support materials for Windows 10. We have now updated our Windows support index to include Windows 10. We have done extensive testing and, provided the suitable installation instructions are followed, there have been no significant problems running VirtualAcorn products on Windows 10.
Our advice with regard to any new operating system is to never install the first release on any computer that's essential. Any new OS is bound to have some problems and it's better to give the developers a chance to fix any faults before taking the plunge yourself. Many users will be offered free Windows 10 upgrades. Once reserved these upgrades will download in the background and will announce when they are ready to install. It's worth knowing that you don't have to install them right away as you have up to 12 months to install Windows 10 (till the end of July 2016 for most users) before the free upgrade offer expires.
13/02/2015 - Technical Support Assistant for Windows 2.0
We are pleased to announce that a new version of the Windows Technical Support Assistant (TSA) is now available. The TSA is designed to provide quick access to the type of technical support
that can only normally be provided by a member of staff. The TSA asks a series of questions with simple yes or no answers to quickly diagnose over 95% of the technical support issues reported by VirtualAcorn users over the last 2 years. Once a problem has been identified the TSA will provide the solution and will also present the users with links to any appropriate articles in the support section of the VirtualAcorn website.
The new 2.0 version of the TSA replaces the earlier version and has a database with over twice as many questions as the previous version. It can also diagnose almost twice as many problems as the version that it replaces.
The Technical Support Assistant version 2.0 can be found from the main Windows Support Index.
02/02/2015 - Technical documentation updates
As part of our on going support overhaul two further new articles have been added to the support section of the VirtualAcorn website. The first article cover testing of Windows Drivers for Windows Vista and later. The second new article covers the Microsoft DirectX Diagnostics process. Both of these new articles will be incorporated into a new version of the VirtualAcorn TSA (Technical Support Assistant) for Windows which we hope will be made available shortly.
13/01/2015 - Technical Support Assistant for Mac OS X.
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that a beta version of our Technical Support Assistant (TSA) for Mac OS X is now available. The TSA is designed to help diagnose and suggest solutions for the more common support issues experienced by VirtualAcorn customers. Users are presented with a series of questions with yes/no answers, once the TSA has determined the problem and the solution the user is given a simple explanation along with a link to the appropriate technical support article.
A Windows version of the TSA has been available for some time but this is the first time a version for Mac OS X has been made available. The Mac OS X TSA can be found launched from the main Mac OS X support index.
12/01/2015 - Reading floppy discs on PCs or Macs with no floppy disc drive.
Our next pair of support articles document a useful workaround for reading the data from Acorn formatted floppy discs on Windows or Mac OS X computers without a floppy disc drive. The problem is that many computers only support USB floppy disc drives, but these drives are physically incapable of reading Acorn formatted floppy discs.
Provided you have an old Windows PC with a floppy disc drive it's possible to recover the data from the discs and then convince the copy of RISC OS running on the modern machine that it has a floppy disc drive. The Windows version of the article is here and the Mac OS X version of the article is here.
9/01/2015 - Installing VirtualRPC on a PC or Mac with no optical (CD/DVD/Bluray) drive
It's only a day since our last press release but two further pairs of Windows and Mac OS X support articles are now available.
Increasingly modern PCs and Macs, especially small form factor (SFF) machines, are supplied without optical drives. As VirtualAcorn products are currently supplied on CD you might think that an external CD/DVD drive would be needed for the installation of a VirtualRPC. However there is a workaround approach that makes use of the portability of our product installers. The Windows article is here and the Mac OS X article is here.
8/01/2015 - New support article documenting recovery of data from RISC OS hard discs
It's the start of the new year and we have already been busy. The first update of this year is the release of a new article dealing with file recovery from RISC OS formatted hard discs. There are versions of the new article for both Windows and Mac OS X.
The article discusses the types of interface used in Acorn RISC OS computers and the different types of hard disc. We have had several customers ask us about data recovery and our advice is always to do it sooner, not later. Many Acorn formatted hard discs cannot be read on anything but a 'real' RISC OS computer. Given the vast range of RISC OS hardware and the multitude of different interfaces it gets more and more difficult to maintain equipment to recover data from different drives. So if you have an old hard disc that's got some important files on, get it recovered as soon as possible.
3/10/2014 - Problems with the VirtualAcorn on-line registration system
We would like to apologise to any customers who have submitted any unlock code requests on-line in the last couple of weeks but have not received a reply. Some two weeks ago the VirtualAcorn on-line registration system was hacked. We believe the hackers attempted to use the system to relay spam e-mails. Once we became aware of the problem the system was shut down and alternative instructions were made available.
We have now overhauled the on-line registration system, closed the loophole the hackers tried to exploit and also made some changes to the layout. As of today the system is now back on-line. No customer information was compromised as the registration system doesn't hold any information once an unlock code request has been accepted.
One knock on effect of this problem was that some of the VirtualAcorn e-mail addresses were blocked. We have now resolved this but some e-mails are still taking longer than normal to arrive here. If anyone has contacted us via e-mail or via the on-line registration system but not received a reply we can only apologise.
5/9/2014 - New Windows versions of VirtualRPC-SE, VirtualRPC-SA and VirtualRPC-AdjustSA now shipping
From today's date we will be shipping upgraded versions of all our Windows products designed to better support Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Earlier this year we released an upgraded VirtualRPC-AdjustSA and since then we have been working on similar improvements to VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-SA. Having made the same improvements to all three products we then decided to make a number of further improvements to all three Windows products.
The new versions of VirtualRPC benefit from over 200 improvements (when compared with 'silver' CD versions), including:
- Products now function correctly with Windows 'User Account Control' enabled on Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
- Problems with ATAPI components causing startup or shutdown errors on PCs with no optical drives resolved.
- Support for all icon sizes up to 'extra large' under Windows 7 and Windows 8.
- All of the Windows products now include both Fireworkz and Pipedream as standard.
- Comprehensively overhauled User Guide with large sections being re-written.
- Full set of RISC OS documentation included (PRMs, User Guides, BASIC guide, C++ etc) as part of the 'RISC OS Bookshelf'.
- Updated with the latest !System components.
- PDF printing using Printers+ now enabled by default.
- Upgraded product installers making it easier to differentiate between each version of VirtualRPC.
- Refreshed set of RISC OS applications.
All future updates, some of which are already at the early development stage, will be based on these new versions which will ship on a 'white' background CD.
Upgrades for customers using VirtualRPC-SE, VirtualRPC-SA and VirtualRPC-Adjust supplied on the original 'silver' background CDs can be found on the Upgrades page..
Upgrades cost £15.00 plus £3.50 postage and packing and require the return of an original VirtualRPC installation CD.
Customers using VirtualRPC-AdjustSA supplied on a white background CD (CD serial number 732400 or above) can return their CD to us with suitable return postage and we will swap their CD for the latest version.
We would like to thank all our customers for their continued support. If you have any questions about VirtualAcorn products please let us know.
26/8/2014 - 'Incompatible host' error documented with new solution
We are still working on the Support section of the VirtualAcorn website with new articles appearing at a regular rate.
The latest support article deals with solving the obscure 'Machine Startup has not completed successfully: Incompatible host' error which can happen when a VirtualRPC is moved from one PC to another. The previous solution to this problem involved re-installing VirtualRPC, from the original CD, over the top of the installation reporting the problem. This solution always worked but some settings inside the RISC OS !Boot sequence would be overwritten and the VirtualAcorn install CD was required.
The new solution is much quicker, doesn't require any files to be replaced and also doesn't need the original installation CD.
30/7/2014 - Latest updates to technical support articles
As part of our continuing product support 3QD Developments Ltd is constantly updating our support database. Over the last 30 days there have been two new issues that have not presented before and that were not covered by existing technical support articles.
In both cases the issues encountered by the customers concerned were resolved and so we have documented both solutions. The first support article relates to the 'Teredo Tunnelling Pseudo Interface' which is designed to funnel IPV6 traffic over an IPV4 network. The second article addresses a potential issue with the 'ShowPrinters' file that lives in the HostFS::Harddisc4.$.Printing folder on Windows versions of VirtualRPC.
We have also taken the opportunity to update and simplify the instructions in the support article relating to security and updates on Windows XP. All of these support articles can be found from the Windows Support section of the VirtualAcorn website.
26/6/2014 - New VirtualAcorn website launched
3QD Developments Ltd are pleased to announce that a new version of the VirtualAcorn website has now gone live. We have been working on the re-designed website for several months with every page and every graphic on the site being updated. The new site is easier to navigate with a crisper more modern image. In addition the point size on the new site has been increased to make articles easier to read.
This updated hasn't just been visual, almost every page has been re-written, many from scratch. Information for customers thinking about buying a new PC has been updated to include the latest hardware. We have made it easier for customers to make sure their computer meets our product requirements. Product upgrades have now been moved into their own dedicated section and all upgrades can now be ordered on-line, although customers still need to return their old CDs by post.
With a number of our customers still using Windows XP we have added a new support article explaining how users can help keep XP secure from hackers. The resolution of modern display devices continues to increase and so we now offer support for displays greater than full HD.
This is the largest site redesign we have performed and we hope that everyone finds the new site easier to use. However if you do spot a problem please do tell us so we can fix it.
13/5/2014 - VirtualRPC-AdjustSA for Windows updated
We are pleased to announce that from today we will be shipping an updated version of VirtualRPC-AdjustSA for Windows. There have been numerous changes to the product documentation. Our acquisition of RISC OS last year has allowed us to greatly expand the RISC OS documentation included with VirtualRPC-AdjustSA. A complete RISC OS bookshelf is now included which covers everything from BBC BASIC to Programmer's Reference Manuals.
We have made several improvements based on customers feedback. We have also changed the product to better support Windows 8.
The new version ships on a new style CD with a white background. Over the next couple of months we will be updating our other Windows products to include the same improvements. Upgrades will then be available for customers with older versions of VirtualRPC.
(Update 18/6/14 - Product updates have been delayed due to the shock death of David Holden).
18/4/2014 - New support articles in the VirtualAcorn website
A number of new support articles are now available in the support section of the VirtualAcorn website. New articles that help users with the Windows Event Viewer have been added along with direct fixes for common problems. Articles relating to UAC (User Account Control) on Windows Vista and Windows 7 have been improved. In addition a new Windows 8 section has been populated with articles which are specific to the newest versions of Windows.
We have also re-designed the layout of the support section to make it easier for customers to access articles. The main support page now has links that go directly to both the Mac and PC support sections. A new page for repair utilities has been added to the downloads section of the website. This page mirrors the utilities found on a VirtualRPC CD. So if a customer needs a CMOS Repair tool but can't find their CD they can download the appropriate tool from our website.
There will be many more changes to the VirtualAcorn website going live in the next couple of months.
14/2/2014 - VirtualRPC-AdjustSA for Mac OS X - updated for Mac OS X Mavericks
Over the last couple of months 3QD Developments Ltd has been refreshing and updating VirtualRPC for Mac OS X. There have been a great many changes based upon customer feedback. In particular we have completely re-built the product installers to fix a long term issue which could make installing VirtualRPC difficult on Mac OS X Mavericks. All of the previous updates and changes have also been included.
We are offering upgrades to the new version for the discounted price of £15 (plus postage and packing). Full details can be found on the Upgrades section of the VirtualAcorn website.
18/12/2013 - 'VirtualRPC In Use' - Combined Supplements e-booklet
For ease of reference, the recent 10th Anniversary special 'VirtualRPC In Use' article is now combined with the 12 supplements issued in 2011 to form a baker's dozen. The revised e-booklet can be downloaded from http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk/support/vrpcinuse.index.htm. The Index on page 2 has been re-jigged to incorporate the additional topics and the extra 'out-and-back' links are activated.
12/9/2013 - 'VirtualRPC in Use' - VirtualRPC 10th Anniversary special
It's the 10th Anniversary of VirtualRPC, the first copies shipped on the 6th of September 2003. Things might have been a little rocky at the start but the 10 years have just flown by. (As well as being the 10th anniversary of VirtualRPC it's also Aaron's 23 year 'RISC OS development/support anniversary'). The RISC OS market has changed completely in the last decade, yet 15 years after Acorn Computers was broken up there's still plenty of life in RISC OS land.
To celebrate the anniversary the authors of ' VirtualRPC in Use' have written a brand new article. This anniversary article catches up on some of the subjects covered in the 'VirtualRPC in Use' ebook and previous supplementary articles. Topics include anti-virus software, scanning and image editing, sources of free software, memory and CMOS RAM, alternatives to Microsoft Word, smart PDF files, RISC OS colour depth and lots more. Many of the topics covered have been suggested by VirtualAcorn users.
As with previous 'VirtualRPC in Use' publications the new anniversary special is designed to be printed with two A5 pages on one A4 sheet of paper. The PDF is in full colour and includes active hyperlinks. If you are viewing it on RISC OS then you should use the latest version of !PDF. If you view it using an earlier version of !PDF some features may not display correctly.
The special 10th Anniversary edition of VirtualRPC in Use can be downloaded from http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk/support/vrpcinuse.index.htm. We hope you enjoy it and if you have any suggestions for the 20th anniversary let us know.
10/9/2013 - New support articles available
As part of our on-going product support VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that a number of new technical support articles are available. These articles have been written following support requests from our customers. The new articles include:
We have also re-designed the main support index pages for both Windows and Mac OS X and have grouped articles in a clearer way.
7/1/2013 - Windows 8 Support
We have recently received a number of questions regarding support for Windows 8. There are several different versions of Windows 8 and we will support all versions that are running on x86 compatible processors. This means that we support VirtualAcorn products for desktop, laptop, netbook and nettop PCs running Windows 8. We have added a specific Windows 8 section to our support documents alongside sections for Windows 7.
We do not support Windows 8 RT, as this is designed to run on ARM processors. Windows 8 RT does look very similar to 'desktop' Windows 8 but is completely different under the skin and cannot run traditional Windows applications. Currently Windows RT is only available on touchscreen tablet computers.
Hopefully the above will address any confusion about Windows 8 support.
18/12/2012 - VirtualAcorn Christmas holiday closure
The VirtualAcorn offices will be closed from 4:00pm on the 18th of December and will re-open on Thursday the 3rd of January at 10:00am. During this period there will be no one available to handle the phone lines. We will endeavour to ensure that any orders placed over the Christmas period are shipped prior to the office re-opening. Unlock codes will be available via the web based service as normal, although please allow extra time for requests to be processed. We would like to wish all our customers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
10/5/2012 - VirtualRPC In Use printed booklets - no longer available
T.O.M.S. would like to thank all those of you who have bought the printed 'VirtualRPC In Use' booklets throughout the last year. Thanks to your generous payments, a 3-figure donation has been sent to Cancer Research UK.
Unfortunately, the recent 30+% increase in shipping costs has screwed the costings and, for that and lesser reasons, T.O.M.S. have decided to discontinue providing the ready-printed booklets. However, they will be happy to supply the print files on request, so you can either print your own personal copy or get your local friendly print shop to print a copy for your own use.
If you would like a copy of the print files emailing to you, please contact T.O.M.S. (not VirtualAcorn) on toms at ndirect co uk.
14/12/2011 - VirtualAcorn Christmas holiday closure
The VirtualAcorn offices will be closed from 4:00pm on Friday the 16th of December and will re-open on Tuesday the 3rd of January at 10:00am. During this period there will be no one available to handle the phone lines. We will endeavour to ensure that any orders placed over the Christmas period are shipped prior to the office re-opening. Unlock codes will be available via the web based service as normal, although please allow extra time for requests to be processed. We would like to wish all our customers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
1/12/2011 - VirtualRPC in Use Supplement 12 now available
The twelfth and final article in our series of 'VirtualRPC in Use' supplements is now available for FREE download from the 'VirtualRPC in Use' section of the VirtualAcorn website. This article revisits, updates and expands on various topics discussed in the booklet and earlier supplements:
- Handling large documents
- Large maps and satellite imagery
- AVG anti-virus/anti-spyware
- Printer properties
- Monochrome printing
All of the 'VirtualRPC in Use' articles can be downloaded from http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk/support/vrpcinuse/supp.htm
A composite Index for all 12 articles is included with Supplement 12, as is a composite URLs file with links to all software and sites mentioned in the main booklet (Editions 1 & 2) and the supplements. Readers of the First Edition of the booklet are advised NOT to use the URLs listing on the Archive website as it contains anomalies and may not be updated.
1/11/2011 - VirtualRPC in Use Supplement 11 now available
The eleventh and penultimate article in our series of 'VirtualRPC in Use' supplements is now available for FREE download from the 'VirtualRPC in Use' section of the VirtualAcorn website. This article covers vector graphics in general, with the following sub-sections:
- Draw for RISC OS
- Oak Draw for Windows
- Windows Metafiles
- Inkscape for Windows
- DrawPlus for Windows
- Exporting vector graphics from RISC OS as-is
- Exporting from RISC OS in SVG format
- Sundry image export considerations
- Exporting from RISC OS for re-editing
All of the 'VirtualRPC in Use' articles can be downloaded from http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk/support/vrpcinuse/supp.htm
1/10/2011 - VirtualRPC in Use Supplement 10 now available
The tenth article in our series of 'VirtualRPC in Use' supplements is now available for FREE download from the 'VirtualRPC in Use' section of the VirtualAcorn website.
This article covers the following topics:
- Re-installing Windows
- Safe start-up (Windows)
- Backing up Windows
- Selective back-up (Windows)
- Backing up VirtualRPC & RISC OS
- The VirtualRPC-xxx folder size
- Re-installing VirtualRPC
- Corrupt CMOS file
All of the 'VirtualRPC in Use' articles can be downloaded from http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk/support/vrpcinuse/supp.htm
1/9/2011 - VirtualRPC in Use Supplement 9 now available
The ninth article in our series of 'VirtualRPC in Use' supplements is now available for FREE download from the 'VirtualRPC in Use' section of the VirtualAcorn website.
This article covers scanning and rendering large-format documents, with the following sub-sections:
- Scanning revisited
- Panorama software
- Large-page scanning
- Extra-large-format documents
- Scanning maps
All of the 'VirtualRPC in Use' articles can be downloaded from http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk/support/vrpcinuse/supp.htm
15/8/2011 - Important: 15th August 2011 - Un-Change of e-mail address
Temporarily we have had to revert to using the AOL e-mail address due to on-going problems with BT Infinity (the problems being that it doesn't work). Once (if ever) these issues are resolved we will publish the new e-mail addresses.
5/8/2011 - Important: 12th August 2011 - Change of e-mail address
As many customers will know I have used the 'email@example.com' e-mail address for the last 16 years. This e-mail address will cease to function from the close of business on the 11th of August 2011. So please update your address books as any e-mails sent to this, or my other aol.com, e-mail address after 5:00 pm on the 11th will not be forwarded.
All of the '...@virtualacorn.co.uk' e-mail addresses will continue as usual. However it's possible that any e-mails sent to one of the VirtualAcorn addresses between 5:00pm on the 11th and 5:00pm on the 12th may not get correctly forwarded. If anyone sends an e-mail during this period and does not receive a reply then please re-send the message on the 13th of August.
As part of the process of changing ISP it will not be possible to answer our phone lines before 2:00pm (at the earliest) on the 12th of August. We apologise for any inconvenience whilst the line is upgraded and our new equipment is installed.
3/8/2011 - VirtualRPC in Use Supplement 8 now available
The eighth article in our series of 'VirtualRPC in Use' supplements is now available for FREE download from the 'VirtualRPC in Use' section of the VirtualAcorn website.
This article covers the following topics:
- VirtualRPC on a netbook (concluded)
- Using a scroll-wheel mouse
- RISC OS v4.02 Vs v4.39
- Multiple monitor displays
- Dismounting plug-in media
- Compressed folders revisited
All of the 'VirtualRPC in Use' articles can be downloaded from http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk/support/vrpcinuse/supp.htm
1/7/2011 - VirtualRPC in Use Supplement 7 now available
The seventh article in our series of 'VirtualRPC in Use' supplements is now available for FREE download from the 'VirtualRPC in Use' section of the VirtualAcorn website.
This article covers running VirtualRPC on a netbook, with the following sub-sections:
- Netbooks vs Laptops
- Typical netbook features
- Installing VirtualRPC & RISC OS
- Configuring VirtualRPC & RISC OS
- Comparative performance tests
Also included with Supplement 7 is an index covering the 7 supplementary articles published to date. This index will be updated as further articles are published. An up to date index will be included with each further supplementary article.
Also available for download is a URLs file covering the e-mail and website addreses contained in the printed booklets (both First and Second Editions). Please note that this listing supersedes the one on the Archive magazine website which is no longer being updated.
All of the 'VirtualRPC in Use' articles can be downloaded from http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk/support/vrpcinuse/supp.htm
27/5/2011 - VirtualRPC in Use Supplement 6 now available
The sixth article in our series of 'VirtualRPC in Use' supplements is now available for FREE download from the 'VirtualRPC in Use' section of the VirtualAcorn website.
This article covers the following topics:
- Smart PDFs (concluded)
- Windows anti-malware revisited
- Anti-malware for Macs?
- Rick Maybury's bootcamp
- Save & restore the Windows desktop
- Window handling (under Windows)
- Closing multiple windows
- Keystroke for Windows?
- Printing problems fixed
All of the 'VirtualRPC in Use' articles can be downloaded from http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk/support/vrpcinuse/supp.htm
16/5/2011 - Printed version of 'VirtualRPC In Use' (Second Edition) now available.
A printed version of the Second Edition of the 'VirtualRPC In Use' e-booklet is now available to order direct from the authors on a 'not for profit' basis. The contents are a verbatim copy of the main 80-page booklet, followed by the supplementary articles 1-5 published to date.
The booklet is comb bound to allow for further supplementary articles to be slotted in by the reader. These will be sent out at a later date, as a batch.
Further information, prices and details of how to order on-line or by post can be found at http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk/support/vrpcinuse/printed.htm
Please note that orders for a copy of 'VirtualRPC in Use' are placed directly with the authors (T.O.M.S.) and not with VirtualAcorn/3QD Developments Ltd. Payment will go directly to the authors, who will fulfil the order.
6/5/2011 - The latest from VirtualAcorn, Free 'VirtualRPC in Use' Second Edition, Apple Magic Mouse
'VirtualRPC In Use' e-booklet
VirtualAcorn are delighted to announce that users can now download the brand new 'Second Edition' of 'VirtualRPC in Use' from the VirtualAcorn website. To download a free copy just visit the VirtualAcorn website and click on the link to go to the 'VirtualRPC in Use' pages.
The new 'VirtualRPC in Use' second edition e-booklet replaces the two printed booklets originally published by Archive magazine. It also replaces the previous first edition of 'VirtualRPC in Use' that was available from the VirtualAcorn website. The e-booklet has been extensively revised by the authors, based on reader feedback and includes a great many changes and improvements:
- Graphics and screen shots optimised for far greater print quality.
- All pages now include a clickable 'Return to Contents Page' option.
- The section regarding Windows anti-malware has been overhauled.
- A full set of Bookmarks are now included, which can be used from RISC OS, Windows and Mac OS X.
- All details relating to software price, availability and URLs have been double checked and updated if necessary.
- There are hundreds of improvements throughout, far too many to list individually.
VirtualRPC in Use Supplement 5
Also available from the 'VirtualRPC in Use' pages is Supplement number 5 (May 2011). This supplement should be of interest not just to users of VirtualAcorn products, but to anyone using PDF files on RISC OS, as it covers some of the techniques used to add 'smart' content to the new second edition of the 'VirtualRPC in Use' e-booklet:
Supplement five covers the following:
- A 'smart' VirtualRPC In Use e-booklet
- Viewing Bookmarks in !PDF
- Bookmarks Vs Contents pages
- Hyperlinks revisited
- Handling the select-drag boxes
- Further Foxit features
- Alternative application software
- Splitting, editing & merging PDF files
Supplement 5 can be downloaded from the 'VirtualRPC in Use' supplements page.
Apple Magic Mouse
VirtualAcorn have released a new technical support article related to using the Apple Magic Mouse with VirtualRPC. The default Apple setup of the Magic Mouse makes it difficult to use with RISC OS as it doesn't respond to centre 'button' clicks. This article covers the problem and how to alter the Magic Mouse configuration options so that it correctly works with RISC OS.
1/4/2011 - VirtualRPC in Use Supplement 4 now available
The fourth article in our series of 'VirtualRPC in Use' supplements is now available for FREE download. This article covers the following topics:
- A history of PDF
- Upgrades to RISC OS PDF handling applications
- PrintPDF's 'Queue' feature
- PrintPDF's 'Bookmark' feature
- Foxit's 'Links' feature
All of the 'VirtualRPC in Use' articles can be downloaded from:
2/3/2011 - Phone lines closed from 7th March to the 11th March 2011
Regretfully it will not be possible for us to have anyone available to deal with phone calls for the week beginning the 7th of March. We will still be replying to support e-mails but the service may be a little slower than usual.
Unlock code requests, sent via the Registration section of the VirtualAcorn website, will also be handled during this week. Users should consult the information on the VirtualAcorn Registration window for more information.
Any orders placed during this period will be shipped on the week starting the 14th of March. We will also be available to answer phone calls from this date.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
1/3/2011 - VirtualRPC in Use Supplement 3 now available
The third article in our series of 'VirtualRPC in Use' supplements is now available for FREE download. This article covers the following topics:
- Windows updates
- Manual updates for Windows
- If things don't work with Windows updates
- Re-positioning VirtualRPC, a warning!
- Paul Vigay's software
All of the 'VirtualRPC in Use' articles can be downloaded from:
1/2/2011 - VirtualRPC in Use Supplement 2 now available
Following on from our announcement in January, the second 'VirtualRPC in Use' supplement is now available for FREE download. This article covers the following topics:
- 'Photo-real' printing
- Optimising the Print Image
- Accessing the Printer Driver
- A Windows iconbar?
- Re-arranging folder contents
Both of the released 'VirtualRPC in Use' articles can be downloaded from:
22/1/2011 - VirtualRPC in Use FREE supplements
We released the free 'VirtualRPC in Use' PDF e-book one year ago today. 'VirtualRPC in Use' was published in association with Archive Magazine and contains over 80 pages of helpful ideas, hints and tips about using VirtualRPCs. The e-book contains updated versions of all the 'VirtualRPC in use' articles published in Archive magazine over the last few years.
For anyone who missed the original announcement a free copy can be downloaded from:
Over the last 12 months the authors of 'VirtualRPC in Use' have been collating material for a series of follow on articles. Some of this material has come from their own experiences in using VirtualRPC day in day out for their business. Other suggested material has come from the many thousands of RISC OS users who have downloaded the e-book.
In conjunction with the authors we aim to be publishing one new supplementary article every month for the next year. All the articles will be made available free of charge and have never been published before. The first article in the series is available now and can be downloaded, in PDF form, from:
Further articles will also be available from the same web page at the proposed rate of one per month.
VirtualAcorn would like to thank the authors of 'VirtualRPC in Use' for allowing it to be made freely available and for working so hard on producing the series of supplements. We would also like to thank the readers who have made suggestions for future topics.
15/12/2010 - VirtualAcorn Christmas Holiday closure
VirtualAcorn's offices will be closing at 4pm on Friday the 17th of December. We will re-open at 10am on Tuesday the 5th of January.
Unlock Code Requests
During this period unlock codes will only be available via the web based service.
For VirtualRPCs manufactured prior to August 2010 please send an e-mail to the Product Registration e-mail address shown in the VirtualAcorn Product Registration window. You will receive an automated reply, from the registration address, with full details of the web based service.
For Versions of VirtualRPC manufactured after August 2010 the web address is already shown in the Product Registration window.
Please allow extra time for requests to be processed, our staff will be checking for requests, but the service may be slower than normal.
Unfortunately it will not be possible to reply to any unlock code requests sent directly via e-mail during the Christmas break.
During the Christmas Period any technical support requests must be submitted via The VirtualAcorn Forums. If you do not have an account on the forums then please do register as our staff will be checking and activating new accounts over the holiday period.
Regretfully it will not be possible to reply to any technical support requests sent directly via e-mail during the Christmas break.
We wish all our customers a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
6/9/2010 - VirtualAcorn Plugin SDK
VirtualAcorn are please to announce that the Plugin Software Development Kit (SDK) is now available for direct download from the support section of the VirtualAcorn website. This SDK is designed for experienced developers who are used to both C++ on the Microsoft Windows platform and development of relocatable modules on RISC OS.
The SDK includes 3 documented sample plugins (software podules) that show the basics of the plugin system. These plugins could easily form the basis of a more complex project.
The SDK is released under licence with no support or guarantee offered by VirtualAcorn.
13/8/2010 - VirtualAcorn August 2010 Holiday Closure
VirtualAcorn's offices will be closed from 4:30pm on August the 13th, until 10:00am on Tuesday the 31st of August. During this period unlock codes will be available via our on-line registration service only. Full details can be found by e-mailing the address found in the VirtualAcorn Product Registration window. Technical support will only be available via the VirtualAcorn Forums. During this period we will still be dispatching orders placed via the website, but please allow an extra few days for delivery.
5/3/2010 - VirtualAcorn Offices closed week beginning Monday 8th March 2010
VirtualAcorn's office will be closed from Monday the 8th of March and will re-open at 10:00am on Monday the 15th of March. During this period unlock codes will only be available via the VirtualAcorn Registration section of the website. Any orders placed during this week will be dispatched from the week beginning the 15th of March. Technical support will only be available via the VirtualAcorn Forums. It won't be possible for the VirtualAcorn phone lines to be manned during this period and the answerphone will contain information about requesting unlock codes, handling support requests and placing orders.
19/2/2010 - VirtualRPC Unlock Code Requests
Over the last few months VirtualAcorn have been in the process of altering the unlock code process for our products. This is in response to the difficulty that some customers have experienced with the existing process. Despite the correct registration address being shown in the product registration window we have had customers send e-mails to all sorts of different addresses, some of which don't even exist or aren't even even part of VirtualAcorn. Some customers have also had difficulty in including all the required information thus causing a delay in the generation of their unlock code. As a result of this on-going problem we have been testing a number of alternatives and have now selected the preferred process which includes a dedicated VirtualAcorn registration website.
After several months trial we are switching over to the new process from today's date. Customers can still send an e-mail to the address shown in the product registration window. The new instructions will be sent via an automatic reply. Any unlock code requests that are sent directly via e-mail, for example to our "info" e-mail address, will no longer result in an unlock code being issued. Updated printed Installation Guides, which include the information on the new process, are being introduced across our product range.
Our test results have shown that the new system has reduced the number of incomplete, or malformed, unlock code requests by over 90%. This has reduced the amount of time that VirtualAcorn staff need to spend processing unlock codes whilst also ensuring that customers receive their codes quicker.
8/2/2010 - Updated details for 'VirtualRPC in Use'
In response to reader feedback, a supplementary ReadMe file has now been added to the zipped folder containing the main booklet on the main VirtualAcorn website. This ReadME file is supplied in PDF format.
If you've already downloaded the booklet from the VirtualAcorn website, the ReadMe file is available as a separate item via the Archive Magazine website at http://www.archivemag.co.uk. From the main Archive website select the 'Files' page and click on the 'ReadMe (PDF)' link against the VRPC In Use entry.
22/1/2010 - FREE copy of 'VirtualRPC in Use', over 80 pages devoted to VirtualAcorn
VirtualAcorn, in association with Archive Magazine, are delighted to announce that an updated version of the popular 'VirtualRPC in Use' booklet can now be downloaded free of charge from the VirtualAcorn website.
'VirtualRPC in Use' contains a large collection of articles published by Archive magazine over the last few years. In total there are 15 major articles running to over 80 pages. 'VirtualRPC in Use' is the most popular in the Archive booklet series. The free version, available from the VirtualAcorn website, has been thoroughly updated to reflect any changes since the articles were originally published.
Existing VirtualAcorn users, or those considering the move to VirtualAcorn, can download the book in PDF format by following this link www.virtualacorn.co.uk/support/vrpcinuse/index.htm. A printed version of the updated book is available direct from Abbey Press, the publishers of Archive Magazine.
Archive magazine, the longest running RISC OS magazine and one of the longest running computer magazines in the world, will shortly be starting a new series covering VirtualRPC.
17/12/2009 - VirtualAcorn Holiday closure
VirtualAcorn's offices will be closing at 4pm on Friday the 18th of December. We will re-open at 10am on Tuesday the 6th of January. During this period unlock codes will be available via e-mail only. We wish all our customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
6/12/2008 - VirtualAcorn Sale starts Today
The VirtualAcorn Christmas sale is now on. We have slashed our prices for the Christmas period and VirtualRPCs now start at under £50. The top end VirtualRPC-AdjustSA for either PC or Mac is now available for only £79 (plus carriage), a saving of £40 on the normal rrp. Orders can be placed at the special sale prices using our secure on-line ordering system which takes PayPal and a range of credit or debit cards.
If you haven't yet purchased a VirtualRPC, or want to buy a copy as a present, then now is the ideal time as stocks available at these special prices will be limited.
2/12/2008 - Latest VirtualAcorn news
VirtualAcorn have today released new versions of the HostFS updates for Windows products. These new updates replace the versions released in September 2008. They offer the same functionality, but are designed to resolve the following problems reported by some users:
- Duplicate files appearing on some ShareFS file transfers.
- Problem producing PDF files with a "/PDF" extension using GhostScript and PrintPDF
These new upgrades can be found from the main VirtualAcorn downloads page.
As well as releasing these new updates work has been done on updating parts of the www.virtualacorn.co.uk website. As part of this overhaul a search facility has now been added to the support section of the website. In addition several new articles have been included in the VirtualAcorn Knowledge base. These include information on using VirtualRPC on a Netbook style computer (such as an Asus Eee) and dealing with access violation errors on installing RISC OS 6 on a Windows VirtualRPC.
10/9/2008 - VirtualRPC for Windows HostFS update
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce the immediate available of an updated version of HostFS for all Windows version of VirtualRPC. The updates can be downloaded from the VirtualAcorn downloads section of our website at:
This update addresses the following issues:
- New version of HostFS that preserves the datestamps of files when copying.
- Datestamps of archive files are not updated when the archive is opened, update only occurs when the archive is changed.
- A new HostClock plugin designed to prevent the occasional problem of the RISC OS clock getting the year wrong.
- Instruction file for activating the HostClock plugin.
- Shortcut to the VirtualAcorn forums placed in the Tutorials directory.
VirtualAcorn would like to extend their thanks to the numerous beta testers who have been testing the new HostFS and the HostClock plugin over the last few months.
17/7/2008 - VirtualRPC-AdjustSA for Mac Updated Internet Plugin
VirtualAcorn have today released an updated Internet Plugin for VirtualRPC-AdjustSA running on Mac OS X.
This new plugin resolves some reported issues with networking using Omniclient and LanMan98. The update can be downloaded from the VirtualAcorn downloads section of our website at:
We have also taken the opportunity to improve the design of the entire downloads section of the website for both Windows and Mac versions.
VirtualRPC-AdjustSA for Mac Beta versions
All owners of VirtualRPC for the Mac should note that we are no longer offering support or unlock codes for the Beta versions of this product. All Beta users should return their Beta CD to VirtualAcorn for a FREE upgrade to the release version as soon as possible.
12/6/2008 - VirtualAcorn Forum and Mac Knowledge base Update
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that the Virtual Acorn forums at:
have had a major overhaul. There have been numerous improvements across the board. As well as many changes "under the skin" we have also taken the opportunity to re-design the forum graphics to improve the site.
Some of the new graphic designs have also been incorporated into the main VirtualAcorn website.
As a result of the changes we are asking all registered users to check to make sure that their account details have been transferred correctly as part of the update.
VirtualAcorn for Mac Knowledge Base
We are continuing to populate the VirtualAcorn for Mac Knowledge base and have recently added another article relating to function key use under RISC OS. The new article can be found from the main Mac index:
12/2/2008 - VirtualRPC for Mac full release now shipping
VirtualAcorn are delighted to announce that the full version of VirtualRPC-AdjustSA for Mac OS X is now shipping and will be available at the Wakefield 2008 show.
The first beta version was made available at Wakefield 2007 and in the 11 months since then we have been hard at work improving the product with the valuable assistance of all the beta testers. The feedback offered has been excellent and has allowed us to greatly improve the product. In addition we have been able to add a number of features that we hadn't previously considered.
All pre-orders for the full version of VirtualRPC for the Mac have now been dispatched and are in the postal system. Customers can expect them to arrive in the next few days (subject to local postal systems).
Upgrades for Beta testers
All beta testers are encouraged to take up our offer of a free upgrade to the full version of VirtualRPC for the Mac. In order to obtain this upgrade beta testers need to return their Beta2/3/4 CDs to us (Just the CD not the rest of the packaging). We will then send out a new replacement CD ASAP.
Beta testers will also be able to pick up the new version of VirtualRPC for the Mac at the Wakefield show, but don't forget to bring your old Beta CD(s). Existing Beta testers should note that support will now only be provided for the full release version.
About VirtualRPC-AdjustSA for the Mac
VirtualRPC for the Mac is supplied as a universal binary suitable for Intel, G5 and some G4 Macs. VirtualRPC allows the user to run RISC OS and RISC OS applications either in a window or in full screen mode. More details can be found on the VirtualAcorn website at:
12/2/2008 - VirtualRPC for Mac Technical Support Area
Whilst VirtualAcorn prepare the next release of VirtualRPC-AdjustSA for the Mac we have taken the opportunity to update the technical support section of our website. Following feedback from our beta testers we have now opened a Mac specific section of the site to run alongside the existing Windows section.
The new part of the site can be reached using the Support button on our main index page. This leads through to the main support page. Clicking on Knowledge Base will open up the main article index. From here there are options to view both the existing Windows articles and the new Mac OS X articles. VirtualAcorn aim to include further technical articles in this resource as and when appropriate.
VirtualAcorn would like to extend their thanks to those testers who have contributed to this resource whilst it's been prepared. The intention is to gradually extend the Mac Knowledge Base to contain a similar range of articles to the Windows version.
8/2/2008 - VirtualAcorn Technical Support Assistant updated
Following user feedback VirtualAcorn have today uploaded an updated version of the automated VirtualAcorn Technical Support Assistant. The Technical Support Assistant (TSA) is designed to offer out of hours support by diagnosing a number of common issues encountered by users. The TSA asks a series of questions with yes or no answers and can generally solve 80% of technical issues in a few minutes.
The updated TSA can be found from /www.virtualacorn.co.uk/support.htm.
2/10/2007 - VirtualRPC for Intel Macs
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that a version of VirtualRPC-AdjustSA suitable for Intel based Macs is now available. All existing VRPC for Mac beta testers have already been sent an update CD.
This new version is being released as part of our beta testers program and incorporates a Universal Binary for both PowerPC and Intel based Macs. Feedback from testers has been very positive and their comments†have been incorporated into this new release. Some of the improvements include:
- Support for RISC OS 6.
- Updated display code allowing RISC OS to display full screen modes
- larger than the resolution of the display.
- Changes to the mouse handler to improve integration between the RISC OS and Mac OS pointers.
- Improved User Guide with extra information on setting up VRPC and the Mac.
- Pre-configured to automatically print out in PDF format.
- Scale the RISC OS desktop whilst running inside a window on the Mac OS desktop.
- Numerous other bug fixes based on feedback from users of Beta1.
VirtualRPC-AdjustSA for Mac can be ordered from the VirtualAcorn on-line store or by phoning VirtualAcorn on 01283 522969 (10am till 5pm weekdays). Copies will also be available at the forthcoming RISC OS South East Show on the 20th of October at Guildford College.
More details can be found on the product page:
11/9/2007 - On-line ordering from VirtualAcorn
From today VirtualAcorn customers will be able to order items on-line 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Payment can be made using a wide variety of popular debit and credit cards as well as with PayPal. Customers can select the items(s) they require on screen, then arrange payment using a secure server. A receipt will be e-mailed to customers on completion of a transaction with the goods following by post. The system can handle orders from the both the UK and overseas and will automatically convert from local currencies into Pounds.
VirtualAcorn have taken this move after recent problems with the phone lines, which meant that some customers were unable to contact us to place orders. Visitors to the VirtualAcorn website will now see a "Checkout" button on most pages. This takes the user to the secure payments area. The specific product pages have also been updated to include "Add to Basket" buttons.
On-line ordering is in addition to orders being placed over the phone, by cheque, or by official order for recognised educational establishments.
14/6/2007 - Updated VirtualRPC components for RISC OS 6
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that a new section has been added to the downloads part of the VirtualAcorn website. This new section contains updated RISC OS components for use on VirtualRiscPCs running RISC OS 6. As part of the many improvements in RISC OS 6 there is much more stringent checking of file headers. Some of the existing VirtualAcorn supplied RISC OS applications do not have suitable 32bit AIF headers and so will not run without the RISC OS 6 compatibility settings enabled. As part of our continued development process we are updating our applications to conform to the requirements of RISC OS 6.
the first release of updated applications include:
- AccessSet - designed to make handling Acorn Access shares easier.
- DrivePop - pop up disc manager for StrongARM VirtualAcorns.
As well as updating these applications we are taking the opportunity to address issues that have been reported by users. Further updated applications will be made available in due course.
The RISC OS 6 component download page can be located at www.virtualacorn.co.uk/dloadpage/ro6.htm.
17/5/2007 - VirtualRPC for Apple Macintosh
VirtualAcorn are delighted to announce that as part of our beta product testing scheme a limited number of VirtualRPC-AdjustSA products suitable for use on G4 and G5 PowerPC Apple Macintosh computers are now available. As this is a beta quality product potential users will need to be familiar with both RISC OS and Mac OS and will need to accept the following conditions:
- The software is still in a Beta form and may not perform as expected.
- Technical support available may be limited and it may not be possible to full resolve any queries you have until a non beta version is released.
- We will use your feedback to improve the full release version of this product.
- That the product is not suitable for mission critical purposes and that you should save your work on a regular basis.
- You will be provided with a free upgrade to the full release version when it becomes available.
Full product details are available from the VirtualAcorn for Mac page of the VirtualAcorn website.
If you are not familiar with beta test software then we advise you not to purchase a copy of the product at this time and to wait for a full non-beta release in due course. If you are prepared to accept the limitations of beta software and to assist in the development process then please call us so we can check that your machine is suitable for running VirtualRPC.
22/2/2007 - On-line Technical Support Assistant launched
In order to further improve our out of hours technical support service, VirtualAcorn have today made available a beta version of the Technical Support Assistant (TSA). This is an online version of the system used in house to help diagnose and solve any problems reported by customers. The TSA will ask the user a number of yes/no questions in order to diagnose the problem and provided the solution is known, will present it to the user.
In addition the TSA will link into the revised on-line VirtualAcorn knowledge base. This allows the TSA to provide a simple solution to the problem as well as provide links to more detailed technical articles.
The updated VirtualAcorn technical support services, including the Knowledge Base articles and the TSA, can all be found from the Support button on the main VirtualAcorn website.
6/2/2007 - VirtualAcorn extends support to include Windows Vista
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that, following extensive testing on the release versions of Windows Vista, we have extended our product support to include all versions of Vista. This support only extends to new "retail" versions of Vista and does not include any of the Beta or RC versions, as these have known issues that we have fed back to Microsoft. VirtualAcorn are pleased that the problems we reported have been resolved by the full Vista release and as such we are now supplying VirtualAcorn products on the basis that they are suitable for use on Windows Vista.
12/1/2007 - Upgrades for all versions of VirtualAcorn
VirtualAcorn have today released new free of charge upgrades to all versions of VirtualRPC. These upgrades are designed to support the forthcoming RISC OS 6 (Select 4) and to deal with issues reported by some users.
Upgrades for VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust resolve the problem, reported by a couple of users, of not being able to print from RISC OS 4.xx after installing the December 2006 upgrade.
Upgrades for VirtualRPC-SA and VirtualRPC-AdjustSA resolves the following problems reported by users:
- Incorrect handling of the F1 key.
- Problems when a hardware scroll is issued when using RISC OS 6.
All of these upgrades can be obtained from the downloads section of the VirtualAcorn website.
12/12/2006 - RISC OS 6 on VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that new free of charge upgrades for VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust are now available. These upgrades are designed to support the use of RISC OS 6 (either the RISC OS 6 Select 4 Preview or as part of the RISC OS Select Scheme) on the standard versions of VirtualRPC. For those that are not aware RISC OS 6 is the new version of RISC OS recently released by RISCOS Ltd.
These new upgrade to VirtualRPC are available from the downloads section of the VirtualAcorn website at http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk. The RISC OS 6 Select 4 Preview is available for free download from the http://select.riscos.com website for those who renewed their Select subscriptions after May 2004.
The new upgrades from VirtualAcorn will allow thousands more RISC OS users to experience RISC OS 6 on their machines. Included in the upgrades are improved versions of HostFS (the VirtualAcorn filing system) and an updated power management system. All copies of VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust manufactured after today's date will include these upgrades automatically.
VirtualAcorn would like to extend their thanks to the numerous beta testers who have been running RISC OS 6 on test versions of VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust over the last few weeks.
9/10/2006 - VirtualAcorn upgrades
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that upgrades for all versions of VirtualRPC are now available from the downloads section of the VirtualAcorn website. Upgrades for VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust replace the existing single tasking HostFS::HardDisc4.$.Printing.ShowPrinters file with a multi-tasking version, which makes it much easier to set up a RISC OS printer definition file. These upgrades also include an updated HostFS extensions file which allows RISC OS to open PDF files with a .PDF extension. In addition .zip files are now correctly mapped so that they will be opened by SparkPlug.
The upgrades for VirtualRPC-SA and VirtualRPC-AdjustSA also include the multi-tasking ShowPrinters file as well as a new version of HostFS2. This new HostFS2 is recommended for all users and resolves an intermittent problem on multi-core processors and on some single core processors. The symptoms reported by some users include a failure on running the RISC OS Boot sequence as well as occasional random "Data Abort" errors. Users who have not experienced these problems should still download and install this upgrade. All copies of VirtualRPC-SA and VirtualRPC-AdjustSA manufactured after today's date will include the new HostFS2 automatically.
24/8/2006 - VirtualAcorn Holidays
VirtualAcorn's offices will be closed from Monday the 28th of August until Monday the 4th of September for our annual holiday. Unlock code requests and tech support enquiries sent via e-mail will still be handled during this period.
24/8/2006 - VirtualAcorn postage and packing charges
Regretfully VirtualAcorn are having to increase our carriage charges due to the new way that post is being handled in the UK. We have managed to absorb previous Royal Mail price rises and have not increased our charges in 5 years. However under the new way of calculating postage rates, by size and weight, rather than just size, our carriage costs have more than doubled. So from today postage and packing for UK orders has increased by £1.00, to £2.50. Postage and Packing for overseas items has gone up by 50p, to £4.00.
18/5/2006 - StrongArm VirtualAcorn printing
A few users have experienced problems when printing from the new StrongArm VirtualAcorns. We have tracked down the problem and upgrades for both VRPC-SA and VRPC-AdjustSA are now available from the downloads section of the VirtualAcorn website.
10/5/2006 - The StrongArm VirtualAcorns are here!
VirtualAcorn are delighted to announce that two new VirtualAcorn products will be launched at the Wakefield 2006 Show. VirtualRPC-SA builds on the success of VirtualRPC-SE, it includes the industry standard RISC OS 4.02 operating system but includes StrongArm and Arm7500 processors, in addition to the Arm710 processor supplied with VirtualRPC-SE.
A StrongArm version of VirtualRPC-Adjust, which comes with RISC OS 4.39, will also be launched at the Wakefield show. These new StrongArm VirtualAcorns include a number of new features including:
- StrongARM, ARM710 and ARM7500 processor cores.
- HostFS2 allowing on the fly creation and deletion of mounts from within RISC OS.
- DrivePop HostFS Mount manager allows one click setup of cameras and pen drives.
- Faster screen update with support for a greater range of resolutions.
- AutoMode configuration plugin to generate correct mode sets for non standard display sizes.
- Mappings for files generated by the Windows version of OvationPro.
- Includes WinClip, allowing RISC OS to read and write to the Windows clipboard.
- Includes CallWin32 podule to allow communication between RISC OS and Windows.
- Autolaunch files under Windows from inside RISC OS with the VirtualAcorn Windows Controller.
- Improved battery manager with user configurable delay between battery checks.
- Includes complete version of First Steps with RISC OS 4, as published by Alligata Media.
- Improved version of the RISC OS user guide.
- Updated applications including new versions of NetSurf, KinoAmp and WebsterLT.
- Updated !System folder with the latest modules included.
- RISCOS side VirtualAcorn user guide now split into separate chapters for ease of printing.
Upgrades for existing users will be available both at the show and my mail order. The following upgrades are available:
- Upgrade from VirtualRPC-SE to VirtualRPC-SA (StrongArm) - £30 (plus postage and packing of £1.50 UK £3.50 overseas).
- Upgrade from VirtualRPC-Adjust to VirtualRPC-AdjustSA (StrongArm) - £30 (plus postage and packing of £1.50 UK £3.50 overseas).
- Upgrade from VirtualRPC-SE to VirtualRPC-Adjust (StrongArm) - £79 (plus postage and packing of £1.50 UK £3.50 overseas).
To qualify for an upgrade price users need to return their original CD. In the case of an upgrade from VirtualRPC-SE to VirtualRPC-AdjustSA users also need to return the DVD case, colour cover, installation guide and RISC OS 4 licence sticker.
10/5/2006 - VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust, new lower prices
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that we have lowered the prices for both VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust. VirtualRPC-SE now retails at only £79 + post and packing (saving £20 off the old rrp). VirtualRPC-Adjust is now only £99 + post and packing (also saving £20 off the old rrp). These new low prices mean that even more people will be able to join the thousands of RISC OS users who already use VirtualAcorn products. More details can be found in the products section of the VirtualAcorn website.
10/5/2006 - VirtualRPC, GhostScript and TechWriter
There have been a number of problems with the latest versions of GhostScript and TechWriter reported by VirtualAcorn users. This problem has been tracked down to a patch in the RISC OS boot sequence that is designed to allow older versions of iSV products software to run on RISC OS 4 and above. APDL, who now own iSV products, have supplied us with a new patch that has been tested and resolves the problem. This new patch will shortly be included in all VirtualAcorn builds. Existing users can download an upgrade that install a new version of the patch from the downloads section of the VirtualAcorn website.
5/1/2006 - VirtualRPC-Adjust upgrade
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that a new upgrade for VirtualRPC-Adjust is now available for download from the www.VirtualAcorn.co.uk website. This upgrade fixes some problems that have been reported by users. In particular the upgrade installs fixes for KinoAmp, Genesis and a number of the programming tools supplied as part of the optional software packs.
9/9/2005 - new low price for VirtualRPC-Adjust
At VirtualAcorn we are keen to ensure that users keep up to date with the latest developments in RISC OS. As such we are delighted to announce that from today the price of VirtualRPC-Adjust, complete with RISC OS 4.39, has been reduced to only £119 (plus carriage). The upgrade price for users of VirtualRPC-SE has also been slashed to only £79 (plus carriage - users need to return their old product). These new prices will mean that even more RISC OS users will be able to enjoy the RISC OS Adjust experience.
15/8/2005 - VirtualAcorn upgrades
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that new upgrades to both VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust are now available for free download from the download section of the www.VirtualAcorn.co.uk website. Users are reminded to read the full information from the website before trying to install any downloaded upgrades.
These new upgrades include a number of small bug fixes, updated unlock code information and an updated phone number shown on the unlock code screen. Users should check their CD serial numbers to see if these upgrades are required.
Existing users are advised that the old 01344 phone number used for obtaining unlock codes is no longer functioning and the new phone number (as shown on the VirtualAcorn website) should be used instead.
11/3/2005 - VirtualAcorn on the move
On the 21st of March VirtualAcorn will be moving premises, after this date our new address will be:
29 Alma Road
This move means that our offices will be shut from close of Business on Friday the 18th of March, and will not re-open until Tuesday the 29th of March. During this period it will not be possible for us to respond to any enquiries or unlock code requests either by phone, post or e-mail. We urge all customers who have recently purchased a VirtualAcorn product to unlock it on or before the 18th. We apologise to any customers who are inconvenienced by this temporary closure.
Our existing phone number will continue to be in operation for a number of months, although a new number will be phased in shortly.
22/9/2004 - VirtualRPC-SE only £99.00!
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that to celebrate VirtualRPC's first birthday as a stand alone product we are running a special offer. Customers can now buy VirtualRPC-SE for only £99.00 inc VAT (plus £1.50 p+p in UK, £3.50 p+p overseas). VirtualRPC-SE allows user to run RISC OS and RISC OS applications on PCs running Windows 2000 and Windows XP. VirtualRPC-SE comes complete with RISC OS 4, which normally costs £85 on it's own, along with many RISC OS applications including Ovation, DrawWorks Millennium, Mr Clippy, SiteWriter and WebFX3D.
VirtualRPC-SE is easy to install using the Windows front end on the CD. Just put the CD in your PC and the installer will start, click on a few buttons and within a few minutes RISC OS will be installed on your PC along with hundreds of RISC OS applications.
VirtualRPC-SE includes networking support so you can easily share files with a real RISC OS machine, you can even browse the web using a RISC OS browser on a PC. Also included is our power management plugin that significantly increases battery life on portable computers. Unlike a real Risc PC VirtualRPC-SE supports screen modes up to 8Mb in size, including 1280 x 1024 in full 24 bit colour. On machines with standard internal CD and floppy drives VirtualRPC-SE can even read Acorn format discs directly allowing, allowing users to install software from their original discs.
31/8/2004 - VirtualAcorn taken over by 3QD Developments Ltd
From the 1st of September 2004 VirtualAcorn products will be handled exclusively by 3QD Developments Ltd. 3QD Developments Ltd will take over sales and all technical support for VirtualAcorn products as well as publish future upgrades. Customers will see no real immediate change as the address and phone numbers will remain the same for the time being, although customers should note that the ordering details on the VirtualAcorn website have changed slightly. New versions of VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust will shortly be available as free upgrades for existing customers, these upgrades will reflect the change of status of VirtualAcorn.
11/8/2004 - Upgrade from VirtualRPC-SE to VirtualRPC-Adjust
VirtualAcorn can now offer customers upgrades from VirtualRPC-SE to VirtualRPC-Adjust, which includes RISC OS 4.39. Upgrades cost £129.25 (including VAT but plus carriage of £1.50 UK or £3.50 overseas). In order to take advantage of the reduced upgrade price customers need to return their complete VirtualRPC-SE pack including the DVD case, colour cover, installation guide, the VirtualRPC-SE CD and the RISC OS 4 licence sticker. VirtualAcorn will then supply a complete new complete VirtualRPC-Adjust package including a new CD and licence sticker.
29/7/2004 - Internet 6.11 released
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that a new version of the Internet plugin for VirtualRPC is now available. There are versions for both VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust. Internet 6.11 adds support for some older e-mail clients such as Marcel and can be found (along with host of other upgrades for VirtualRPC-SE) in the downloads section of our website.
29/7/2004 - We are closed on Friday the 30th of July
Customers should be aware that due to building work our offices will regretfully be closed on Friday the 30th of July. We will open again as normal on Monday morning (provided we have finished the work in time).
19/7/2004 - VirtualAcorn shipping again
We are delighted to announce that as of todays date we are now shipping both versions of VirtualRPC. Our first priority will be to ship out copies to customers who placed orders over the last 8 weeks. Once those orders have shipped we will then dispatch new orders. Our intention is to fulfil all existing orders by Monday the 26th of July. If any customers have not received their orders by Wednesday the 28th of July then please contact us.
15/6/2004 - Press release from VirtualAcorn
As various RISC OS users may know there is a third party dispute which has caused supply problems in the RISC OS market. We are in the process of taking legal advice on the matter with regard to how we proceed.
In the meantime we have been advised that although we can still accept orders for both VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust we will be unable to supply a delivery date and that all orders will only be accepted on that basis.
This also means that regretfully we are highly unlikely to have any representation at the RISC OS 2004 Expo this weekend.
We wish to assure customers that our tech support service remains open and that we will do our best to maintain our dedication in the RISC OS market.
6th May 2004 - VirtualRPC-Adjust and new lower price VirtualRPC-SE
VirtualAcorn are delighted to announce that a new version of VirtualRPC will shortly be released. VirtualRPC-Adjust will include RISC OS 4.39, also known as RISC OS Adjust.
RISC OS Adjust is the most feature rich version of RISC OS to date and includes a vast number of improvements over RISC OS 4.03. Paul Middleton, MD of RISCOS Ltd, had this to say about RISC OS Adjust:
"The development work that the RISCOS Ltd team has put into RISC OS over the past five years is now being enjoyed by an ever increasing number of users. We are seeing a large number of new RISC OS users purchasing VirtualAcorn products and it is fitting that they are now able to enjoy the very latest version of RISC OS."
VirtualRPC-Adjust will retail at exactly the same price as the current VirtualRPC-SE, £169 including VAT (plus p&p) and users will be able to see VirtualRPC-Adjust on a wide range of computers from a number of leading suppliers at the Wakefield 2004 show.
Andrew Rawnsley of R-Comp, who supply the RISCCube and RISCBook computers said:
"We are pleased that our latest machines will now ship with the most up to date operating system to give RISC OS users not only high performance but also a feature packed computing experience."
Stuart Tyrrell of Advantage6 who produce the A6 computer added:
"It's fantastic to see RISC OS moving forward with all it's extra functionality and we are pleased that we are able to make this available as standard on the A6 series."
Chris Evans of CJE Micros, who supply a range of VirtualRPC laptops said:
"The release of VirtualRPC with Adjust is a great step forward in the progress of RISC OS, we look forward to offering our Clevo range of laptops with this new and exciting version of RISC OS."
David Atkins of MicroDigital, suppliers of the Alpha range of laptops also went on to add:
"We were delighted to a hear that VirtualAcorn had secured RISC OS Adjust, it's a great operating system and represents a huge step forward for RISC OS."
With the forthcoming launch of VirtualRPC-Adjust we have decided to slash the price of VirtualRPC-SE from £169.00 inc VAT to £117.00 inc VAT (£99.57 exc VAT). This new sub £100 price will allow more users to experience a modern version of RISC OS on their Windows PCs.
VirtualRPC-SE will also benefit from a number of upgrades including support for new versions of NetSurf, as well as support for WebJames and WebServe. An upgrade for existing VirtualRPC-SE users will be available shortly.
With the new low price on VirtualRPC-SE VirtualAcorn have decided to cease supply of VirtualA5000 effective immediately. VirtualA5000 has been available for nearly 2 and a half years and has been a massive success with thousands of copies supplied. We will continue to offer technical support for the forseable future.
30th December 2003 - New prices and new features
VirtualAcorn will become VAT registered from the 1st of January 2004, this means that regretfully some prices will rise slightly. For example VirtualRPC-SE now retails at £169.00 inc VAT (plus p&p), as opposed to £159.00 (plus p&p). Upgrades from VirtualA5000 are now £149.00 inc VAT (plus p&p), the old price being £139.00 plus p&p). More details are available from the ordering page on our website.
However although the prices have risen, the specifications of VirtualRPC-SE have improved even further. We are pleased to announce that all copies of VirtualRPC-SE supplied after 1st Jan 2004 will include the facility, first seen on the A6 from Stuart Tyrrell Developments, to use extended video modes up to 8Mb in size. This allows RISC OS 4 to use resolutions up to 1600x1200 in full 24 bit colour. This feature has proved so popular that we have decided to make it available to all customers and would like to thank STD for their assistance and support. Existing users can download a free upgrade from the downloads section of our website that will add this feature to existing VirtualRPC-SE installations.
We are also pleased to announce that all copies of VirtualRPC-SE supplied after the 1st of January will also include power management support developed in conjunction with RISCOS Ltd. Power management is primarily intended for laptop computers and will reduce noise, since the machines fan(s) will not be running continuously, and will significantly extend battery life when running RISC OS. Our tests so far indicate that battery life under RISC OS is now similar to battery life under Windows XP. A free upgrade that adds power management support for existing users will be available shortly.
Also available is a free upgrade that fixes a couple of problems reported by users. This upgrade solves the intermittent error messages when printing on some machines and also fixes the "Compact disc is faulty" message returned by some makes of high speed CD/DVD drives. This will be included in all copes of VirtualRPC-SE supplied after the 1st of January.
24th October 2003 - VirtualRPC-SE Networked
The new network aware version of VirtualRPC-SE is now shipping to customers. The network version of VirtualRPC-SE has been in testing for some time and was on show at the RISC OS South East Show on the 18th of October. This new version adds the following features over the older non network aware VirtualRPC-SE:
- Networking support plug-in including an upgraded Boot sequence.
- Access the Internet from within RISC OS, browse the web, FTP, send e-mails etc.
- Connect VirtualRPC-SE to "real" Acorn machines over ethernet using ShareFS.
- Connect multiple PCs running VirtualRPC-SE over ethernet using ShareFS.
- Long file name support under ShareFS.
- Includes a number of sample programs including FTPc, FreeTerm and a demo version of Oregano2.
- Includes a new manual with a comprehensive networking chapter.
- VirtualRPC-SE now also ships with both WebFX3D and SiteWriter (worth over £60) from Dansoft Developments.
Existing customers using VirtualRPC-SE on a PC, or the MicroDigital Alpha can download a free upgrade from the downloads section of the VirtualAcorn website. This upgrade will add networking functionality to existing VirtualRPC-SE installations.
10th Sept 2003 - VirtualRPC-SE Launched
VirtualAcorn are pleased to announce that following the recent agreement reached with RISCOS Ltd a new version of VirtualAcorn, called VirtualRPC-SE will has now been launched. This new version of VirtualRPC-SE is very similar to that found on the MicroDigital Alpha computer and recreates the environment of an Acorn RiscPC running RISC OS 4. In operation VirtualRPC-SE is similar to VirtualA5000 but with a significant number of improvements including:
- Support for up to 256MB of memory for RISC OS.
- Support for 16 million and 32,000 colour screen modes.
- Support for 2Mb of VRAM and much higher screen resolutions (eg. 1600 x 1200).
- Networking support.
- Ability to run RISC OS Select.
- A much larger disc build including audio and video editing.
VirtualRPC-SE will start shipping immediately.
2nd Sept 2003 - RISCOS Ltd Licenses RISC OS 4 for general use with VirtualAcorn Emulators
RISCOS Ltd and Virtual Acorn have recently signed an Agreement to allow for the distribution of RISC OS 4 ROM images with the VirtualAcorn range of Emulators.
Paul Middleton, Managing Director of RISCOS Ltd said "I am pleased that we have now reached agreement to allow a fully licensed copy of RISC OS to be shipped with the Virtual Acorn Emulator program. Whilst it is regrettable that the RISC OS market has not seen the launch of the planned RISC OS portable computers, this Agreement will allow RISC OS users to continue to enjoy the RISC OS experience."
Aaron Timbrell of Virtual Acorn went on to say that "We are delighted to be working with RISCOS Ltd and to be supporting the use of RISC OS 4 with VirtualAcorn products. We will continue developing VirtualRPC as both a stand alone product and for the MicroDigital Alpha."
It is intended that new more powerful versions of VirtualAcorn will supersede VirtualA5000.
VirtualRPC is already fully compatible with the RISC OS Select system, and subscribers to the Select Scheme will in the future be able to install a special VirtualRPC version of the Select ROM image to further improve the Select experience.
Pricing details and availability of the new Virtual RPC emulator will be announced shortly. Software developers interested in exploiting their products using the Emulator should contact VirtualAcorn for details of volume licensing of VirtualRPC.
For further details contact
Paul Middleton firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Clarendon Road
Tel: 02920 464020
Fax: 02920 492326
Aaron Timbrell email@example.com
Tel: 01344 452868
18th Feb 2003 - VirtualA5000 Version 1.4 at RISCOS SouthWest
VirtualAcorn are delighted to announce that version 1.4 of VirtualA5000 will be released at the RISC OS SouthWest show on the 22nd of February 2003. This new version of VirtualA5000 includes a number of quite major changes including:
- Direct Acorn format floppy disc access on Windows 2000 and XP
- Floppy disc support includes both 800K and 1600K discs (as well as 720K and 1.44Mb DOS discs)
- Direct Acorn format CD access on Windows 2000 and XP (You can even run DrawWorks direct from CD)
- Directly access DOS format and Music CDs
- Play Music CDs directly from RISC OS using the supplied CDPlayer application
- Improved sound support allowing much shorter sound samples to play
- Sharper sound playback without the "muffled" sound of a real A5000
- Smoother mouse pointer in hi-resolution screen modes
- "ColourCard" style graphics acceleration which can improve application redraw speed by up to 50%
- A number of new screen resolutions including 1128x864 in 16 colour and 1024x384 in 256 colour.
- Support for Acorn style display of DOS files names so that the trailing DOS extensions can be displayed
- An updated Manual
In addition a number of extra applications have been added to the disc build, increasing the size by almost 50%. These include:
- FasterPC - the PC Emulator with a copy of FreeDOS
- Asylum and Oddball games (kindly supplied by AcornArcade)
- The GameSuite games programming package (kindly supplied by AcornArcade)
- Ample the music programming language
- SoundCon sample player and convertor
- PDVivaldi Tracker editor with sample tracker file
- ReMidi midi file player with the latest instrument patches
- Updated versions of Account2, Merlin and other programs
- An increased selection of PD and Freeware applications
- A number of commercial demos including Ancestor+, Prophet, Schema and Techwriter
An upgrade to existing users will be available for £10 plus p&p (£1.50 in the UK, £3.50 overseas). To quality for an upgrade users will need to return their original CD in the VirtualAcorn jewel case.
A free upgrade that will include direct floppy for Windows 2000/XP will be available from the VirtualAcorn website early next week. This upgrade will not include the new bundled applications, new screen modes, "ColourCard" style graphics acceleration or CD-ROM support.
29th November 2002 - VirtualA5000 FREE demo now available
A downloadable 30 day demo version of VirtualA5000 is now available from the download page of the VirtualAcorn website at www.virtualacorn.co.uk/download.htm. This demo is 21Mb in size and includes a cut down disc build (the full version of VirtualA5000 is over 100Mb in size). In common with the full version of VirtualA5000 the demo requires a 400Mhz processor, 64Mb of RAM, an 8Mb graphics card and Direct X V8 or later. The demo includes RISC OS 3.11, the universal !Boot sequence and some sample RISC OS applications.
Please note that the demo version mentioned above is no longer available.
28th November 2002 - VirtualA5000 speed comparisons
The FAQ section of the VirtualAcorn website at www.virtualacorn.co.uk/faq.htm has been updated to include details on approximate performance of VirtualA5000 on different x86 type processors. It will now be possible for potential VirtualAcorn users to get some indication of the performance they are likely to get from their PC before buying VirtualA5000. For comparison purposes we have also included performance figures from a "real" A5000 computer, an ARM 7500 based machine and a StrongARM RISC PC.
27th November 2002 - VirtualA5000 and 32 bit Software
Following the recent release of the 32 bit compatible C development suite from Castle Technology, VirtualAcorn can confirm that 32 bit neutral applications designed for XScale based machines will also run on VirtualA5000. A number of key developers have expressed concerns that they might need to have two different versions of their products, one for the next generation computers and one for VirtualA5000. We are delighted to confirm that our tests so far indicate that this is not the case and that the new SharedCLibrary and programs that make use of it run correctly.
26th November 2002 - The VirtualAcorn Forum
VirtualAcorn are delighted to announce that the VirtualAcorn forum is now online at www.virtualacorn.co.uk/forum. Although the forum has been running for some weeks we decided not to announce it until any potential problems had been reported and ironed out. The Forum includes a number of discussion boards for VirtualAcorn users. Anyone can browse any part of the forum without having to join. If users do wish to join then they can register for free and will be e-mailed a password that will allow them to post to any of the boards.
4th October 2002 - "Laptop Friendly" VirtualA5000 version 1.3 now available
As of today's date the new version of VirtualA5000 is shipping to customers. Existing customers can upgrade their copies of VirtualA5000 to the new version by downloading upgrades from our website. The new "Laptop Friendly" version of VirtualA5000 includes support for integrated graphics cards as found on many laptops and some cheaper desktop computers. Previous versions of VirtualA5000 required the computer to have a powerful graphics card in order for VirtualA5000 to perform well. The new version has a software scaling mode that allows the PCs processor to perform the screen update, this offers a very large performance benefit on almost all machines. The hardware scaling model from previous versions can still be selected using the VirtualA5000 options window.
In addition version 1.3 includes a scrolling desktop feature, this allows large RISC OS desktops to be displayed on smaller resolution displays. As the user moves the mouse pointer to the edges of the screen the whole RISC OS desktop will move to track the mouse. In addition we have made changes to the sound system to improve its performance on high speed processors. The new version of VirtualA5000 also includes full long file name display in the RISC OS filer, although we have always supported long file names older versions of VirtualA5000 have truncated the name in the filer window. The new VirtualA5000 also has a smoother mouse pointer than older versions and supports some new display modes including 1400x520 (For Dell Inspirons and some other laptops) and 1600x600 for desktop machines. Version 1.3 also ships with the latest version of the ArcDisc Acorn format disc reader.
Existing users can obtain the version 1.3 upgrades from our downloads site.
30th July 2002 - ArcDisc now supplied with VirtualA5000
VirtualAcorn are delighted to announce that copies of VirtualA5000 are now being supplied with the excellent ArcDisc Acorn format disc reader. This provides a Windows front end to the DOS ArcImg program and makes it much easier for users to read their old Acorn format floppy discs without having to go to a DOS prompt and type in commands. all a user needs to do is pop their Acorn format floppy disc into the PCs drive , load ArcDisc, and just click on the "Go" button to read the disc. We have also taken the opportunity to significantly improve the VirtualA5000 instruction manual to cover ArcDisc and reading Acorn format discs in much greater detail.
25th June 2002 - VirtualA5000 Demo versions
At VirtualAcorn we are often asked by customers if we have a demo version of VirtualA5000 available. Although we do have one it's too large for a sensible download. However if potential users do want a demo version then the latest issue of PC Utilities (August 2002) contains a full time limited demo version on CD2 in the "Essentials" section. The demo version expires 30 days after first being used, or at the end of August 2002, whichever is the earlier. Cover mounting demo versions of VirtualA5000 on magazine CDs gives RISC OS a much wider exposure in "PC Land". Users of RISC OS already know that they have a superior operating system, now its possible to show PC users what they have been missing all these years. PC Utilities can be found in most newsagents.
25th June 2002 - Credit/Debit card ordering
VirtualAcorn are delighted to announce that, after some initial teething problems caused by a faulty terminal, we can now accept payment by Debit and Credit cards. Accepting credit and debit cards makes ordering much easier for customers both here in the UK and especially for those overseas. We are able to accept Visa, Mastercard, Switch, Solo, JCB and Maestro cards.
15th May 2002 - VirtualAcorn V 1.20
VirtualAcorn will be exhibiting at the Wakefield Show on the 18th and 19th of May. At the show we will be launching version 1.20 of VirtualA5000. This is noticeably faster than previous versions and includes a number of improvements, including better keyboard handling, a new version of HostFS, improved disc build, higher screen resolutions, extended manuals and third party plug in support. In keeping with our current free upgrades policy existing customers will be able to get a free upgrade to version 1.20 from the VirtualAcorn website shortly. Customers with VirtualA5000 V 1.0 will need to upgrade to version 1.10 (also available on our website), before downloading the V 1.2 upgrades.
15th May 2002 - VirtualAcorn Universal Printer Driver
The VirtualAcorn Universal Printer Driver will be unveiled at the Wakefield show. This allows RISC OS to print to any Windows printer on any interface. At the show VirtualAcorn will be showing RISC OS printing to a Windows only inkjet connected to the computer via a USB interface. The Universal Printer Driver is still in beta test stage and is currently only suitable for Windows 98 and ME. VirtualAcorn are continuing with its development and a version that works on all versions of Windows will be released when completed. In the mean time users of VirtualA5000 V 1.20, with Windows 98 or ME will be able to download a free beta version from the downloads section of the VirtualAcorn website.
15th May 2002 - VirtualAcorn Windows Controller
As well as the Universal Printer Driver VirtualAcorn will also be showing a small part of the new Windows Controller. This allows RISC OS to control some Windows functions. For example, if you double click on a directory in RISC OS while holding down the Alt Gr key instead of the directory opening in RISC OS it opens in Windows. You can do the same thing with files. Holding down Alt Gr while double clicking on a file will load the file into a Windows program, rather than a RISC OS one. For example you can open a text file using either !Edit or Notepad using RISC OS, or an HTML file with either Webster or Internet Explorer. The Windows Controller is still in a beta test stage, users of VirtualAcorn V 1.20 will be able to download a free beta version from the VirtualAcorn downloads page.
16th April 2002 - Packet CD Writing using VirtualA5000
VirtualAcorn can now confirm that VirtualA5000 V 1.10 can read and write Packet CDs. Packet CD (also called UDF) allows CD writers to copy files using drag and drop file transfers, files can be renamed, deleted, or have their filetypes changed on a writable CD. This means that users can backup their VirtualA5000 hard disc directory to a CD whenever they need. Once a CD has been finalised using Windows it can also be read on a "real" RISC OS machine, and provided applications and files have been archived then all the filetypes will be preserved. Depending on the particular CD software provided on the PC it is also possible to write data to a CD on VirtualAcorn, then read the CD on a "real" RISC OS machine and then add further data to the CD using VirtualA5000. So far CD writing has only been tested using CeQuadrat PacketCD(tm) and Roxio DirectCD(tm).
16th April 2002 - DOS Floppy, CD ROM and LanMan98 Networking support
The VirtualAcorn technical support pages have now been updated to include information on how to get VirtualA5000 to read and write directly to DOS floppies and also read some CD-ROMs. VirtualAcorn are indebted to Dave Daniels who came up with the method used to access DOS floppies. Also included on the updated technical support section of the VirtualAcorn website is information on how to set up VirtualAcorn to read and write RISC OS files stored on a PC fileserver using LanMan98. This allows establishments that have networks of "real" RISC OS machines to also use PCs with VirtualA5000 installed.
11th March 2002 - VirtualAcorn versions of TechWriter and EasiWriter
VirtualAcorn have been working closely with Icon Technology, the publishers of TechWriter and EasiWriter, to make VirtualAcorn versions of these two titles. If users have a single user copy of either of these titles, then they will obviously need a 2nd licence to run the software on VirtualAcorn as well as on a "real" Acorn. We have produced special versions of both TechWriter and EasiWriter that come in a Windows installer that will install the relevant product into a copy of VirtualA5000. These special copies also come with the relevant licence allowing their use on VirtualAcorn products. For more details please see Icon Technology's website.
22nd February 2002 - VirtualA5000 V1.10 starts shipping
Version 1.10 of VirtualA5000 is now shipping. This includes a number of changes, and is faster than version 1.00. Users of V 1.00 can upgrade their copy from the VirtualAcorn.co.uk web site. The new version 1.10 also includes a bigger disc build, with the facility to only install a bare system, or to install the complete build with the Shareware and Public Domain titles supplied free of charge on CD. We would like to thank all the authors who have contributed their work to this new version.
14th January 2002 - Developers sign up for VirtualA5000
A leading RISC OS developer will now be using VirtualA5000 to develop software for RISC OS. The company in question produce both PC and RISC OS versions of their programs. VirtualA5000 means that the same machine can be used to write, test and compile code for two different operating systems. The high speed disc access of VirtualA5000 means complex compilations can take less time than on a "real" RISC OS computer.
VirtualAcorn have also been approached by a number of other developers who can see the advantages VirtualA5000 offers. We will be working with these developers to produce versions of VirtualA5000 that are suited to their particular needs.
12th January 2002 - VirtualAcorn at the BETT show
VirtualAcorn have just returned from the BETT show at Olympia in London where VirtualA5000 was officially launched. The response from current and former users of RISC OS was amazing. It is very clear from the comments that we received on the stand that VirtualA5000 fills a much needed gap in the RISC OS market. Those who saw the program demonstrated could not believe the speed which VirtualA5000 could run RISC OS software.
14th December 2001 - VirtualAcorn screen shot
We now have available a screen shot of VirtualAcorn running on a Pentium PC. The screen shot is 1024x768 in GIF format and us just over 100K in size. To view the new screenshot please click here.
10th December 2001 - VirtualAcorn and Hardware manufacturers
VirtualAcorn have been talking with the Managing Directors of all the RISC OS hardware manufacturers (Castle Technology, MicroDigital and RISCStation). This is to ensure that VirtualAcorn will not harm the sales of "real" RISC OS computers. We are delighted to announce that without exception all of the hardware manufacturers have been very supportive of the VirtualAcorn project and we thank them for their help and advice.
4th December 2001 - RISC OS 3.11
3QD is delighted to announce that after lengthy negotiations with Pace, the copyright holders of RISC OS, we have an agreement that allows us to supply copies of VirtualAcorn complete with RISC OS 3.11 ROM images and other appropriate files.
Work is continuing on VirtualAcorn and we hope that a new version will be available at the BETT 2002 show, where we will have a stand. The aim is to supply an "out of the box" RISC OS solution for use in schools and other establishments that have been forced to purchase Windows PCs. Although VirtualAcorn is in no way designed to replace a "real" RISC OS computer it may well re-introduce RISC OS back into a number of environments.
10th November 2001 - VirtualAcorn announced
VirtualAcorn is the new brand name for commercial versions of the Red Squirrel freeware Acorn emulator. VirtualAcorn is a joint effort between Graeme Barnes, the author of Red Squirrel, and Aaron Timbrell of 3QD, iSV Products and RISCWorld magazine. VirtualAcorn aim to produce software that will turn Windows PCs into Acorn compatible RISC OS computers. We cannot say much more at this time as we are still negotiating with a number of key players in the RISC OS market.