RISC World

Editor's Corner

Aaron Timbrells own bit of the magazine.

Hello, good, evening and welcome. So who would read a magazine like this? David it's over to you.

Sorry. You see I have just had two months off, and hence have managed to watch some daytime television. Which, with the wonders of Sky, means there is a never ending source of poor quality drivel to watch, only eased by some gems amongst the dross. Anyway, back to the world of RISC OS. The summer is often quiet, but this summer has been less quiet than you might expect. There have been some most interesting software releases, both PD and commercial, such as Vantage. The Omega has had a couple of quiet showings in darkened rooms. So in this issue we have plenty to write about. Will we have a review of Vantage? Well as of todays date (the 3rd of September) I am not sure, but hopefully it will be completed in time, that's the review not Vantage.

Anyway, support for all iSV Products software has been smoothly handed over to APDL, and some products that I haven't had in stock for some time will be making a re-appearance, for instance, the Penulator graphics pen. So if you want a graphics pen, but can't afford a full graphics tablet, you could do worse then give APDL a try, and of course renew your RISC World subscription at the same time!

And talking of RISC World we have really pulled out the stops this month. Just check out the software section of this issues CD to see what I mean. Dave (Scrounge-amatic) Bradforth has excelled himself with hunting down the best software for our readers. And add Paul Bretts PD column, including an ARM development environment for Windows, and you have enough software to keep you busy for some time. Just don't forget to read the articles in RISC World as well!

Editors Rant of the month

This month's rant is sponsored by motor vehicles. The explanation is simple, about a year and a half ago we bought a VW camper (A 1970 Bay Window model - if you are interested). I have welded in new inner and outer sills and done a host of other jobs and had a year and a bits fun out of it. However it has never quite gone as well as it should, after all a one and a half ton vehicle with 50 bhp needs all the help it can get. Anyway last week the poor old thing overheated and limped home, so it was pull the engine time.

The engine removal went fine, and so did the laborious job of removing all the tin wear (designed to duct air around the engine for cooling). However after the last of the tin wear had come off some of the horrors started to reveal themselves. The VW engine is very strange, it has a two piece magnesium alloy crankcase, in which the crank shaft and cam shaft sit. Sticking out either side of the case are very very long bolts. Between the bolts are four holes, one for each piston. Barrels slide down between the bolts and then a cylinder head is bolted over each pair of barrels. Every bit has molded in cooling fins, until some dim wit breaks them putting the engine together, in which case it will run hot. It will also run hot if the same dim wit over torques the bolts holding the heads on a splits one of them. Of course this pails into insignificance compared to the moronic trick that had been carried out on the bottom of the engine. Because the crank shaft end float was too great (meaning the crank could move backwards and forwards) the twit had placed extra spacing washers along the crank. Over time the engine had gradually eaten these.

Having munched its way through the washers the end float on the crank was now about a quarter of an inch, so the engine then simply started to eat the case away; result one very, very scrap engine. Although it did run when removed from the camper another couple of hundred miles would have seen it seize completely, and why? Because when the engine was re-built for the previous owner someone decided to cut corners.

Anyway that meant that I needed another vehicle sharpish. The Lotus 7 is fine in the summer, but you don't want to drive it if it rains as the hood is designed as a decorative motif rather than a functional device. So a quick flick through the Auto Trader was in order. Hayley spotted a high mileage Peugeot 405 in Bracknell. One quick call later and it proves to belong to a car dealer I vaguely know. So off I trot. The car seems in reasonable condition, but has no water in the radiator. However I make a silly offer, and it gets accepted! So I drive it the 500 yds home. I top up the radiator and eventually the bubbling stops and the car seems to hold temperature OK. So I jump into the drivers seat and my feet get wet. Very wet. Very very wet. Yes that's right the heater matrix has sprung a leak!

So I am now going to go and repair the car that I bought to replace the other vehicle that needed repairing, am I ever going to learn? Oh and to add insult to injury both the network card and the graphics adapter in the PC have decided to go south for the winter.

Printing RISC World

The new look of RISC World means that when you want to print an article on your printer it will have the light yellow background. However most web browsers allow you to turn off the background images when printing. The example below shows the print dialogue box from Fresco.


As you can see the option "No Background" is ticked. If you want to print out any of the RISC World pages then make sure you have clicked a similar option in your browser.

Aaron Timbrell