Date 19-Jul-2008 20:01:07
Topic: Software News
|Unsatisfactory Software have been rather busy this year, so I thought I'd take a moment to highlight the last two months' worth of new and updated software. They come under three main headings, XAD clients, Datatypes and Other.|
I'm going to split Other into two sections and put the two "others" most people will be interested in at the top:
Wet is the Workbench weather program for OS3.9bb2 and OS4.0, and was rated 6Ws in aMiGa=PoWeR when they reviewed it some time ago. This update to v5.3 fixes all the major known problems, including potential crashes and display errors.
GuideML is the AmigaGuide to HTML converter originally written by Richard Koerber and adopted by me since 2001. This year it has had updates to support macros and improve single-file handling and inter-AmigaGuide links. It is compiled for OS3.5 (although the command-line interface might work on OS2.04) and OS4.0.
RAR3 client is a new release based on Rar_Extractor 0.21, and contains code written by Chris Young, Stephan Matzke, Shay Green and Alexander Roshal. It is a RAR plugin for xadmaster.library (UnArc) which supports the newer RAR formats and is a direct replacement for libs:xad/rar. At the moment it is only available for OS4.
In a similar vein, the 7-Zip client has recently been updated, and has just reached the "top downloads of all time since the top downloads of all time list was started" list. This is a UnArc plug-in for the 7-Zip format and supports LZMA, BZip2 and uncompressed 7-Zip files. v1.7 is a minor update available for OS3.x and 4.0, containing code written by Chris Young and Ivor Pavlov.
Two new datatypes and two updates (all OS4 only) brings the total up to seven.
First up, JNG is a JPEG-alike format primarily used within MNG files, and this datatype manages to successfully display most of the JNG and MNG test suite without errors. MNG support is limited to the first frame only, and is mostly there as a side-effect of using libmng (it also supports PNG but I don't know of any good reason to use jng.datatype for PNG files).
Secondly, an addition to the rather small collection of animation datatypes, is Autodesk Animator (FLIC). This supports old-style FLI and FLC animations and handles every file I've thrown at it - although the frame rate drops dramatically on some. Thanks to Alan Novak for loads of test files, and Hans de Ruiter for advice on animation datatypes - much of which still remains unimplemented.
SCR (Spectrum SCREEN$) has been updated twice in the last two months, to add support for reading Spectrum screen memory directly out of various emulator snapshot files. It also supports Timex hi-colour and hi-res modes, and the flash attribute (as a second picture)
Finaly, the RISC OS Sprite datatype has just been rewritten and now supports new format Sprites and transparency.
libbz2 is worth downloading if you have OS4, as it contains the latest libbz2.so (v1.0.5) that fixes some security holes. v1.7 of the XAD 7-Zip client will use this sobj on OS4. The archive also contains static libraries for OS4 clib2/newlib and OS3 vbcc.
ppmtoscr converts PPM format pictures into Spectrum screens, updated after ten years and now with an OS4 native version thanks to Chris Handley's PortablE. There is also a version of PDHFIC, a GUI version of ppmtoscr which also loads Datatypes images, now ported to OS4 native. 8081Utils is a collection of programs for dealing with ZX80/ZX81/TS1000 program files, newly compiled for OS4. The reverse is possible with zxtext2p, which converts text files into ZX81 program files - newly bugfixed and ported to 68k by James Jacobs, and originally written by Chris Cowley.
If you're wondering about what to do with these emulator utilities, you might find my OS4 ports of PSPZX81 - the ZX81 emulator for the PSP - and FUSE - the Free UNIX Spectrum Emulator - useful. Both of these have been updated this year although not within the last two months.