RISC World

PD World

Alasdair Bailey takes RISC World readers through the world of PD and Shareware.

Naturally Napster

A Napster client for RISC OS has just been released. The program will allows RISC OS users to take part in the revolutionary music distribution network.

Napster is basically an organised network for people who want to swop music files in the compressed MP3 format over the internet. Although it is not solely for copyrighted material, piracy is rife on the Napster network. The scheme works like this; Every one running the client software specifies a directory of music files which they wish to make available to other users. That way, when you connect to the service, you have access to the music collections of thousands of people across the world. Typically, the total sum total will be somewhere around 10GB of compressed music.

With that much music to sort through, it's a good job a search facility is present. It allows you to search the entire online database by artist or song title. Once you have found the song you're after, a simple double click starts the transfer directly from the other Napster member's machine directly to you. That way, there's no central server so Napster themselves are not liable for any copyright infringement.

Napster has been brought to RISC OS in the form of the aptly named Riscster by Robert Dimond of Drobe software. A copy of Riscster can be found in the SOFTWARE directory on this CD but if you get the chance, do check for the latest version. The main Drobe portal site at is also well worth a visit.

Note: Since this article was written legal action by record companies has forced the closure of the Napster web site.

Is it Wheely a Mouse?

John Scott has produced a very handy little app in the form of !Wheel. The program allows you to connect a standard Microsoft Wheelmouse to the serial port of a RiscPC. Scrolling windows using the wheel is supported just like in Windows 98.

For those of you not yet aware of the Wheelmouse concept, I am referring to those mice which have a wheel mounted vertically in the space where the menu button should be. Do not fear though, the wheel itself can be depressed for use as a button as well as being turned to scroll the active window up and down.

Since the wheelmouse uses the serial port, it needs its own dedicated port. On RISC OS machines this causes a problem because most people will already have an external modem and only one serial port. Don't worry though, podule cards with extra ports are still available from Atomwide (phone 01689 814 500).

The Wheelmouse comes highly recommended and now with this handy bit of shareware, we can all enjoy it. The mouse itself can be obtained for around £20 from most major PC retailers. We've included a copy of the unregisterd version of !Wheel in the SOFTWARE directory on the CD to save you the download. Registration costs just £5 and is highly recommended; it all goes towards helping with future development.

PD News on The IconBar

Only weeks after its launch, the IconBar has started offering comprehensive PD/shareware news. A simple html form allows PD authors to draw the attention of the masses to any new or updated PD/shareware for the platform. Take a look at the bottom of for more info and to try the service yourself.

You may hae noticed that this issue's PD World is a little shorter than usual. This s partly due ot other work commitments but more to do with the fact that there's not terribly much going on at the minute. Let's see some action then people, keep me posted on as usual.

Alasdair Bailey