RISC World

Questions and Answers

David Bradforth explains what our new Questions & Answers column is all about, and we kick off by answering some queries posted to the Internet

Even to the most experienced user of RISC OS, there will be occasions where you have difficulty with one topic or another. Perhaps it’s how to get a certain effect in ArtWorks, or you’d like to find out what SWI “Hourglass_Smash” actually means. Over the course of the next year, we hope to be able to offer answers to any and all queries RISC World readers may put to us.

We have a team of experts available, (David means the best brains that low wages can buy - ED) able to answer the vast majority of questions, and whilst we cannot guarantee to reply personally to every issue sent to us we will do our very best to answer as many queries as possible through this column.

If you have a problem that needs solving, email and our expert team will look at your problems before the next issue!


I'm running RISC OS 4.02, and have recently removed some fonts from my !Fonts directory. Unfortunately, when I restart my computer they’re still available in Ovation Pro’s menu – what have I done wrong?
Keith Wilson

Open the !Fonts directory (stored within the Resources folder of your !Boot application). Search for a file called messages1: if this is present, RISC OS will use this instead of scanning the directory to locate which fonts are present on your system. It’s quite likely that the content of this file has not been updated to recognise the deleted fonts.

If this is somewhat complex, it may be worth considering an application such as Easy Font Professional (from iSV Products) offering font management and manipulation features. It requires a CD-ROM drive, but is quite reasonably priced at £16.50.


I've recently been having major problems trying to send postings to, for subsequent posting to the announce newsgroup. Immediately following the sending of the email, I find that I receive the email back with a bounced message; yet subsequently the message often appears in the newsgroup anyway. What's happening?
David Bradforth

Argonet do, at the moment, seem to be having problems with the csaa autoresponder. Andrew Conray, the backup moderator, usually gets most messages sent through irrespective of the messages given by the system. Stuart Marshall, the moderator, doesn't seem to.

The recommendation from Stuart is send an email to him directly at - and he will ensure your message is posted to the newsgroup. David Ruck also points out that if you try to post directly to c.s.a.announce it'll usually be forwarded to the moderators anyway.


I hope you can help me – I’m shortly due to leave school, and would very much like to have a future in magazines. How do I go about it? Does RISC World need any help, and could I get involved in any way?
Amy Smith

RISC World welcomes all contributions from readers of all ages. If you have an idea for an article, email the editor as and put your pitch to him. This should, simply enough, be an explanation of the article topic; an estimate of length; how long it would take you to complete and whether you would be able to help further.

A number of columns within RISC World are now looking for new editors – this included. If you feel you’re able to offer useful advice, in any column, do email Aaron in the usual fashion – if he can make use of you, he will.


I've been developing a small WIMP program, which takes as its import MPEG files and will export either a Replay file or a series of sprites. Whilst it seems to work okay, I seem to be having one very simple problem: the mouse pointer has disappeared and is replaced by an hourglass. How can I make this disappear without restarting the machine?
Phil Good

It’s actually quite easy. On the keyboard, press F12 to enter the command line. Here enter BASIC followed by RETURN. You'll be given a ">" prompt, at which point you can type SYS "Hourglass_Smash" followed by RETURN. Type QUIT and press RETURN and you should have your mouse pointer back.


Quick and Easy question: can the AOL software, from AOL Time Warner, be run in any way under RISC OS. I’ve seen their advertisements for their 24 hour Internet service, and would very much like to join on my Acorn computer.
Amy Lodge

At present, there is no way of using the AOL service under RISC OS. If the situation changes, we’ll let you know – but once you’ve joined AOL on a PC, you can use webmail through Oregano or WebsterXL to gain access to an AOL account. This may be your best solution.

David Bradforth