RISC World

Letters Page

Its been a busy few weeks on the letters front, so lets see what our readers have to say....

Dear Aaron,
What a surprise I got when I looked at your latest CD ROM! I had assumed that my stuff had disappeared down a bottomless pit, as you must get inundated with things touted by various people. And an article too:-) Since the date I submitted the software, it has gone on a bit further, but if they want the latest version they'll just have to contact me. The grammar I have developed for BBC Basic paves the way for translation from other forms of BASIC to compiled languages. I have been looking into the feasibility of doing that for GW-BASIC, but certain things available in that language may not translate exactly (e.g. PEEK, POKE and random access files).
Thanks again,
Martin Carradus

Sorry about the delay between us getting the application and including it, it turned up as one issue was being finalised, and hence there was a two month delay before it got published. The latest version of both the demo version of !BBC_C and the library 'LeafLib' are available for download for free from Martins website. If you are using them I would strongly suggest downloading the new improved versions.

Les Chant has been following Brian Pickards ARM code series and has a few questions.

my name is Les Chant, I have been spending some time working through the ARMcode series by Brian Pickard. I want to kick off by saying that I have found this to be clear, informative and very helpful for my understanding of ARMcode. None-the-less I have some queries to make, and as I make them I am willing to accept that I may have missed something somewhere....
In part 4 related to pre-indexed addressing, the statement is made "The offset can be immediate, register or shifted (see later)"... I am unable to find the follow up on shifted offset. Again in part 4 Ref the programme parread, Brian states "I will return to real numbers (floating point) in a later part"... he did, but I don't believe that he gave a routine, like the others in parread, which could be used to read real number parameters...
In part 8. I believe that there is a mistake in the explanation of the exponent and mantissa for the floating point representation, mantissa is 0.110000001, exponent is 001001, which indicates that the point should be moved nine times to right, but in the line 01100000.01=96.25 , it is only shown as having moved 7 places...
I would appreciate some thoughts on this, I know that it must be a little difficult at times to cut a clean edge when making a short introduction to a long topic, but I think that just providing the follow-up to these points would have nicely rounded off the topic. Is there any chance that some short follow-up could be given in a near future edition?
To sign off, I would like to say that now that I have got used to the idea of a CD based magazine, I'm enjoying the current contents, and I've got into the routine of printing off as text files, and studying in slower time, off machine the topics that particularly interest me.
Les. Chant,

We passed your letter on to Brian Pickard for his comments......

I have looked at Les's letter. No Shifted registers in LDRs, STRs Pre indexed address (pt 4). I did not include these, perhaps a follow up part called Arm code programming re visted? could include the use of shifted registers and floating point work. However Les has found one inaccuracy! (pt 8) floating point coding.
Example 0.110000001 001001
This should give the answer 1100000001 (point shifted 9 places) = 385
Sorry about this, must have had a mental lapse or I just cannot count up to 9!

And now another letter from a reader who have been following another series.

Dear RISCWorld,
Sorry I couldn't see an address for Richard Walker I wonder if you may be able to pass this query onto him. I have been keenly following your series on networking RISC OS and have been following you instructions however I have come across a error and I wondered if you might possibly be able to tell me what I can do about it.
I an using a RISCPC Arm710, running RISCOS 3.6 using R Comps DialUp and Messenger Pro. Everything appears to work fine with the network connection. However if I connect to the internet using dialup then when I shutdown the computer I get the following error: Object is not held by this machine (&809F02)@15490 The network still works fine and the internet connection works fine it is just when I shutdown if I have done a dialup that I get the above message. If you have any idea what this error means or what I can do about it I would be very glad for your help.
Many Thanks
David Hawes

Well that looks like an open challenge to us, we don't use the same sort of setup as David does, do any of our readers have a solution to the shutdown problem?

Dear Aaron,
I have a kinetic RISC PC and at the Wakefield show bought a CD Writer which came with CDBurn 1.57 ©Steffen Huber for Warm Silence Software. Maybe it's me, but I find it difficult to follow the instructions and have not been successful in backing up files etc. No problem copying or making a CD (music) or doing a one off, but the intention is to be able to build up a collection of Photo's, Files, etc over several sessions, even to use as backup storage, archiving etc. So I thought as a suggestion for Risc World, that maybe you could do a series of articles such as 'Getting to grips with CDBurn' or if anyone else has problems getting their head around a particular program they can request a session covering that, ie 'Under the skin of Photodesk', 'A session with StrongED' etc. Even a session covering the good quality programs in PD. I like the mixture of articles in Risc World so keep up the good work, the only complaint is that it's more difficult to curl up with the monitor for a quiet read, but i'm getting used to that.
Dennis R. Williams

We are starting a new column in the next issue covering writing CDs, and also the general use of CD-Burn. As for curling up with a monitor, may I take the opportunity to suggest a nice RISC Station laptop? It's small, light, runs on batteries, and it would mean you could read RISC World in the smallest room in the house, and no not the airing cupboard.

Keen eyed readers may remember the on-going conversation regarding the RISC World inlays that were produced in Ovation PRO format, Alan Shooter has some good news....

I am here again! Can I claim a prize for the number of times my name appeared in the RiscWorld issue 5, or do I have to say something like you are Lobby Ludd and I claim my £5?
Further to my query about the inlays being in Ovation Pro. On the RISC OS Foundation Risc User CD was a version of Ovation Pro with some facilities inoperable, but not the print facility, problem solved. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank David Ruck who talked, well e-mailed, through getting rid of a directory on my hard drive using DiscKnight. Also I would like to thank Dave Holden for putting up with me on the e-mail to sort out a problem with a CD writer and interface. As you can see I just hover around totally useless when it comes to computers.
As you want comments on our platform I will put my penny worth in. The internet is probably the fastest growing part of computer. We lag behind with the basics, being Real Audio and Real Video. We are told that Real Audio has been used on RISCOS set top boxes but due to licensing we cannot have it on the desk top. Well I say stuff the yanks as they did to the BBC computer and let it escape. I also have some so called enhanced music CDs which I have to hawk around to people with Gates' Gaff to be able to see what I have bought, we need a converter.
I have said this before, the British and especially the government are not very pro British industry. Before anyone starts to jump up and down, I am a ex-pat so speak from experience. From a distance Blair looks as if he wants to run for the American presidency but will settle for the EEC president at the expense of Britain. If the Acorn had been a French computer that is all you would have seen in France and more than likely the rest of the EEC.
That should take up a bit of space on the next RiscWorld and don't forget to print the usual disclaimer.
Alan Shooter

Sorry Alan, but there is no prize for the most number of times your name gets mentioned in an issue, mind you we could think about doing it, but then I could win by cheating..... Anyway your comments about the internet are interesting. Many years ago I made the decision to use PCs for internet access, as opposed to RISC OS machines. At the time the playing field was fairly level, but the world wide web was very young. PC companies can have some very large budgets to throw around when it comes to software development, while RISC OS developers regretfully have to turn the sofa upside down and bang it a lot to get their budgets. One could put the argument that "protecting" British manufacturers in some way could be against the policies of the World Trade Organisation. Britain has followed the "free market" theory for a long time now, with the result that in many ways Microsoft does indeed have a "free market".

If you are thinking of writing to RISC World then here are a few suggestions for subjects that you might like to write about.
Where's Dave Holdens series on BASIC gone?
Why wasn't my letter printed on the letters page?
VirtualAcorn is it really a good idea?

Well that is it for this volumes final letters page. What will volume 3 bring? Who knows......

Aaron Timbrell