RISC World

Editor's Corner

Aaron Timbrells own bit of the magazine.

There have been some very interesting behind the scenes manoeuvres going on in the RISC OS community over the last few months. So interesting in fact that I couldn't bring myself to publish the Insider article that was prepared for the last issue in case its content damaged some of the deals going on out of the public gaze. This issue sees the return of Insider, and very interesting reading it makes (unless I have edited it heavily after having written this).

We have lost a few readers over the last couple of issues, and if you check out the letters page you will find out why. Regretfully people are leaving the RISC OS market and the delay in producing announced products does not help. Still on a brighter note RISC World welcomes a number of brand new subscribers with this issue.

Anyway moving on, we have another action packed issue for you this time (gosh - I almost sound like a real editor), with some quite different articles. Feedback on this issue would be most appreciated as I am seriously considering doing more experimentation with RISC World, but only provided you, the reader, agrees!

Editors Rant of the month

Barclays. Pure and simple this months rant is Barclays. Barclays. Since we started shipping VirtualAcorn CDs in January we have been trying to get a credit card machine. My business bank account has been with Barclays for some time, so there shouldn't be too much of a problem. Ahhh, but the name on the account changed after I handed over iSV Products to APDL. This is obviously too difficult for Barclays to deal with. The nature of the business is the same, we develop software, we produce all the stock in house, and then we sell it mail order. "You will have to go to our new business department", but I am not new business, I have been with you for years. So I decide to go through my business manager, who although she is very nice, is about as effective as an ashtray on a motorbike. Result? Barclays want a years trading figures, fine have them. Ahh, but the name is different. Yes that's right the name of the business has changed, so they won't give us a credit card machine. Yes, but its the same account. Oh OK then, we will lodge an appeal on your behalf.

Now the story gets muddy as my Business Manager then vanished for 6 weeks, presumably to have an official company lobotomy. When she finally gets back the appeal has been rejected, why wasn't I told? Well she has been away. So, does Barclays not have any other staff?. I gave up and decided to sort it out myself.

As many people might realise as far as I am concerned "No" is not an answer. So how to get a card machine? Simple deal with Barclays Merchant Services directly. The only problem is that the only phone numbers you can get hold of put you through to previous sucsesful graduates of the Barclays lobotomy training program. I need to speak to those who actually make a decision, but no one will let me. The solution is simply ring up (having done a 141 first in case they track phone numbers) claim to be someone in Barclays in Bracknell and ask for a direct number. Hey presto. Excellent security from Barclays there. Now having got a phone number, all I have to do is ring up, then get the name of the person I am talking to. After all I cannot be a customer as I have the direct phone number. By luck I not only get the persons name, but also her boses name, and his extension number....he he he.....

So I plagued the poor man, every day I would ring. I also started e-mailing after I got his e-mail address as well. And for the next two weeks I drove him potty. In the end he gave in and we now have a merchant services account, so we can take credit cards. The funny thing is the reason that our original request had been declined was that Barclays just didn't understand what we were doing. I had to explain repeatedly that not all websites were on-line stores, that not everyone who sold computer software did so at a 5% margin and that what we did just didn't fit into their nice neat business models.

So does this story have a moral, I don't know. However I figured telling you this was better than complaining that the engine in my little Lotus 7 replica has just gone bang.

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