RISC World

Letters Page

Its bigger and better and there's more than one letter!

Hugh Jampton and David Bradforth open the RISC World mailbag.....whats inside?

Remember the request last issue for a copy of the nested wimp....

Dear Hugh,
Regarding the Nested WIMP. This is available from the RISCOS Ltd Acorn support website for RISC OS 3 (three) users. I forget the URL, but I'm sure you can include it in the next issue. Download is about 2MB, I seem to recall. Recently requested by a colleague - I was surprised to find the new !Boot available for free on their site...
Andrew Harmsworth

Many thanks, for readers who do need the nested boot it may well be worth heading over to RISC OS Ltds website and having a look.

Dear Aaron,
Keep up the good work on the mag BTW. It gets better (and bigger) with every issue...:-)
William McNee

Ah a happy reader, just the thing to warm the heart, we are trying very hard to make RISC World bigger and better each issue and its nice that the work gets appreciated. But wait, whats this a genuine complaint as well?

Dear Hugh,
Just thought I'd let you know that the index.htm and cont.htm files are badly formatted missing <tr> tags etc see below. This means that I'm unable to read my favourite magazine using Netscape 8-( which is particularly fussy with tables.

And you know what folks, he is quite right. From this issue onwards the HTML has been checked and should now work in Netscape correctly. I must say that this is totally Aarons fault and I asked him why he had made such a mess of it, his reply was "Sorry about the Netscape problem. It was noticed some time ago and a new set of fixed page templates were made. Due to sophisticated working practices (incompetence) I then carried on using the wrong ones." There now you know. And if that wasn't enough here is another complaint...

For the second time the application !RWORLD runs !CDFix WITHOUT ANY WARNING!
It is incredible impudently to change someones computer status as it is not up to you to decide how my arrangements should be. A bad behaviour in programming. Moreover it results in a 'Abort on data transfer' because the pointers of !CDFast are now wrong. (It is nonsense to run CDFix every time, therefore my own CDfix'ed CDFS resides in PreDesk.)
Due to the restriction of CDFix only DOS extensions of three characters wide can be used. Please avoid /HTML (found in ADVERTS) as it stays as Data in the filer. Such a file can be dropped in a new window of Fresco, but that is not a nice way.
!RWORLD.!Run ends in 'Run .runit .INDEX',
which can easier be done with 'Filer_Run .INDEX'.
With greetings,
Ed van der Meulen, the Netherlands.

Well, this really is one for Dave Holden however on a lot of machines CDFix is required which is why it is run. We could take it out, and then the CD wouldn't work on quite a few machines, instead of just yours. To avoid the problem simply open the HTML directory on the CD and double click on the INDEX file, instead of running the RISC World application. The magazine itself uses .htm extensions. If an advertiser wants to use .html then that is down to them, we can't edit peoples adverts for them.

Oh and by the way doing a 'Filer_Run .INDEX' didn't work on many machines which is why we started changing things, CDFix is only run if you have CDFS V2.29 or earlier. I have passed this over to Dave Holden as the !Runit application and the loader are his area.

Dear RISCWorld,
I've used Windows since 1995, at work only. It took me a while to work out that Win 3.11 doesn't actually have a desktop (I'd been using a Mac at work previously, as well as having dabbled with my lads' A3000, so I couldn't conceive of a GUI without a desktop). However, it worked, apart from the routine crashes. Since then I've been exposed to Win 95, Win NT 4 and Win 2000 (a breed of NT). Like Win 3.11, Win 95 is a pile of unstable junk, and difficult to install things on, although it does have a usable desktop (a bit inconsistent at times, though, but effective). Win NT and 2000 are both good and solid, but still inconsistent in use, and with that questionable installation issue.
Mac OS used to be good - I left it at OS 7. My sons have Mac OS 8 on their PowerBooks, and it has survived them and assorted installations well, in just the way Windows would not have, so that was a good buy. However, having grown up on a Model B and an A3000, they find it a bit clunky, and obscenely bloated. They don't have OSX, and I won't pollute your site with their comments about it. Let's just say that their comments about an OS that won't run in their 64M of RAM are less than polite.
I do get a little bit fed up with those who extol the glories of the RISC OS interface as if it was the panacea of all ills. Yes, it is good, it was easy to learn (but it did need learning), and it is reasonably consistent. However, it's not perfect, and I do find some things the other platforms do well are done less well.
However, RISC OS has, from my point of view, an overwhelming advantage, primarily over Windows. Not only is installation of programs dead easy, but it's maintenance-free! Well, almost, but if you do get into strife (usually your own silly fault), you just switch off, come back up under factory defaults, and take it from there, with a fully-functional GUI to help you. Mac OS is a good second-best from that point of view, but you do need the CD to rebuild the system (I'm talking about serious strife here). Windows? Well, at work, with professionals to hand to fix it, it's fine. At home, with only myself to maintain it - forget Windows! I literally won't give it house-room (all right, I've got Win 3.11 on the Downgrade, but I handle it with kid gloves, and it's not mission-critical anyway). I've been in some Windows "bother" at first hand at work, and well, I'm sorry Mr Gates, but I just don't want to know for home use.
So, until and unless it becomes unusable, I'll stick with my nice stable RPC. If, when the inevitable time arrives, the RISC OS platform is either defunct or just won't provide the update I need, then Mr Jobs will get my business, not Mr Gates, but solely on the grounds of maintainability (and for the same reason, Mr Thorvalds can forget it, too). However, as long as RISC OS remains viable, I'll stick with Herr Hauser's brainchild, thank you.
Here's another little advantage of the RISC OS platform. I now have two HDDs (and IDEFS to access them). The "new" drive was chucked out by a PC user, because at 3G it was far too small. On the RPC, despite having a full copy of my old drive on it as a backup, and my having dumped everything I've got onto it, I just can't find the edges!
Michael Poole

The RISC OS vs other operating systems debate will run for ever. I will say that Windows 3.11 is not very good, (ok, it's crap). Aaron uses RISC OS and Windows daily so I asked him about crashes etc.

On a crash by crash basis both the main RISC PC (287Mhz) and the Windows PC are on about the same league, they are both turned on between 7 and 8 in the morning, and off again at 8 or 9 at night. I expect to get roughly one crash a day, but it could be from either machine. On the other hand I know Windows and make strenuous efforts to ensure it doesn't crash, the Risc PC just gets used.

Last issue we asked for a reviewer for Oregano....

Dear Hugh,
Just received the latest issue of RISC World today. I see on the letters page you're asking for someone to review Oregano. I hereby put forward my application to write said review. I wrote a similar article for Acorn User some time ago, but that was done in a hurry and, um, there was no renumeration so it probably isn't as good as it could have been.
I could write something and if you think it's good enough I'll take the 50 quid and you have the article, and if you think it's crap keep the 50 quid and I'll try again.
Let me know if you want me to put something down. Expected length, well let's say 1000-2000 words plus screenshots. May as well make use of the extra space a CD allows and not have a silly rushed thing squashed into a couple of pages.

You can read Robert's review this issue. We also had lots of other offers from people who wanted to review Oregano. So it anyone would like to review a product contact Aaron.

Ans now another reader who has an article in this issue.

Dear RISCWorld,
Just to say that i enjoyed the inclusion of Wizards Apprentice in the latest issue of RISC World - for some reason i never got around to getting this game - well worth the inclusion.
I would definitely like to see other complete games included in RISC World in the future, perhaps some other oldies with are no longer available could be included, the old Minerva back catalogue? Bug Hunter etc ? Redshift/Hoverbod? Orion? or some of the CIS games or the PON games?
Matthew Thompson

We're glad you enjoyed the game, and over the next few issues you will find some ex-commercial games appearing on the disc, alongside a nice helpful mix of application-based items. All comments are most welcome - direct them towards We ran into difficulties with the domain, and recently transferred our website and email contacts to a domain instead. David Bradforth

And for this month we are serving up Terramex for your gaming pleasure, as well as 25 other games, can't be bad, can it? The Disc World section of the CD often gets a lot of correspondence that requires a detailed answer.

Dear Aaron,
Thanks for the Vol 2 Issue 1 of RiscWorld; in particular for the new version of MasterFile. This has provided me with and upgrade for the version 1.37 that I purchased some time ago.
One oddity. Why is the RunImage for v 1.38 more than twice the size of that for 1.37? Creeping M$Bloat?
Do you have a list of the differences between 1.37 and 1.38?
John Cartmell

Yes, and no.

Dear Hugh,
First I think you ought to know that Aaron is trying to remove your column by stealth. There's an email address for everything except the letters page. Perhaps you already realise this. I suspect you may have been involved with the editor's comment column. Someone didn't check the HTML and I surmise that you may have nicked the quote, probably to fill your article. How is your article, by the way?
In response to Dr. Cartlidge, you ask if anyone can tell you what you're talking about. If you don't know, how on earth do you expect the rest of us to?
Have you thought of giving prizes for letters to increase the number of responses. If you decide this is a good idea, choccies always go down well. If you're inclined, my favourites are "Spring Surprise".

Thanks for the letter, my article is fine and I am definite about that. I do in fact know what I am talking about, but the question still stands, if I know what I'm talking about and readers don't know what I am talking about then how am I supposed to know that they don't know what I am talking about unless they tell me that they don't know what I am talking about. Clear?
As for the suggestions, a prize for best letter of the month is a very good idea. We will have a sit down in the office and come up with something. I can tell you now that it won't be chocolates, I tried "Spring Surprise" once, but didn't like it, a bit harsh on the cheeks I thought.

Thats all for this issue, tune in to next issues exciting instalment of the letters page. A Bulge Temptingly Production.

Hugh Jampton