RISC World

Letters Page

The latest letters (What's wrong with A to Z? - DB) from our readers...

Dear Aaron,
I am having a problem loading this piece of software that appeared on issue 1 Vol 3 CD. The load fails with the message 'SWI value out of range for module SharedCLibrary'. I am using SharedCLibrary v. 4.84 on a SARPC with RISC OS 3.7. Any ideas?
Many thanks,
Tom C
PS Any news on the programs directory for the C++ software?

Most likely the program was written and tested with a different SharedCLibrary, version 4.84 dates from 1996. It might be worth having a browse around the RISC OS Ltd website for a later version. The example software for Easy C++ is in the software directory on this issue, sorry it got missed out, but then I didn't get it sent to me, so I didn't know it wasn't there, well that's my excuse anyway. However I don't have much of an excuse for the next mistake...

Dear Aaron,
Just got my CD. Where's the education column???!?!??!?!?
Andrew Harmsworth technically it hadn't gone anywhere since it was on the last RISC World CD in the correct place. However due to a small oversite caused by stupidity I forgot to link to it from the index page. So I can only apologise to both Andrew and our readers, we are running the article again this issue for anyone who missed it last time.

Dear Aaron,
Attached !HyperMand with a very slight alteration to make it easier to get out of. That is, once you have read the initial screen telling you what it does. Please tell your readers (hyper readers?) that I now have a Hyper Julia Set Generator - !HypaJulia available for free download from my web site - You can generate a Mandelbrot, then pick a point in it to base a Julia Set on. Besides Fractals, this site has some useful programmers' tools available for download. In particular I have now managed to produce an Acorn Front End to the GNU C Compiler GCC in the same vein as the Acorn C Compiler.
Hope this is not too late for going to press,

Martins !HyperMand mandelbrot generator is in the software directory on this CD. Of course the following correspondent won't ever see it...

Dear Sir,
In answer to your reminder. I have owned and operated all models of the computer from the original BBC up to my present one - RISCOS4 and can claim to be a loyal supporter of the range and have always felt that they are superior to what I term the 'Bill Gates Machine'. Over the past six years or so I have operated both types of computer, but gradually I have found myself using the Bill Gates PC more and more. Apart from the excellent Impact database programme, the Acorn gets little use.
Very reluctantly I must now ask you to terminate my subscription - it is as simple as that ! Thank you for past service, I wish you all the very best for the future.
Yours sincerely
Noel Griffiths

This letters sums up the current problem for the RISC OS market nice and neatly. People buy PCs and find they don't use the RISC OS machine very much any more. However we need to examine this problem a bit more, why do people buy PCs in the first place? There are a number of reasons that people decide to do this....

Dear Sir,
Thank you for your letter Ref 1898 reminding me of my lapsed subscription and your request for feedback if I chose not to renew. First I have enjoyed the magazine and its content . If I had to make a suggestion for improvement it would be to have more "how to do it" type articles. The demo software is always welcome and the free utilities very helpful. I have cancelled all my subscription to publications on the RISC OS Platform, including the Foundation.
I have decided reluctantly to change over to the PC platform after many years (early 1980's) with both Acorn and RISC OS. The RISC operating system is first class and very easy to use and leaving it has been a difficult decision . I have all the major software packages for the platform and find them excellent in use, but many of them are no longer supported and are showing their age.
Browsing the internet has become a pain over the years . Voyager is almost useless on many of the site I need to access .Oregano has made life a bit easier but even this causes me problems , I purchased NUTMEG to try and improve the speed of Oregano but have never managed to get the thing working correctly. I shall continue to use RISC OS software for a short time but over the last two years almost of my work has been stored in a format readable on both platforms.
One area where your magazine might be potentially very useful is showing how the two platforms can be networked and integrated to get the best of both worlds. The lack of a credible web browser is a major factor for swapping over but, more important is the lack of a upgrade path for the SA RiscPC. I intended to buy the Omega but without good software to run on it I won't be any better off. The inability to read DVD discs is also a factor. The RISC OS market is very small and software development is slow. Hardware is very expensive , for example a SCSI card for RiscPC cost me well over £100 pounds but a similar spec card for the PC Cost £29.
The platform is falling behind in so many areas. The availability of printer drivers for many of the latest models just do not exist, the same situation is often the case with scanners and digital cameras, not to mention many new devices currently available on the PC platform.
Of course this has nothing to do with the quality and professionalism of your magazine however you may agree that there are others (once loyal to the platform) like myself who feel the same way which directly impacts on subscriber numbers. Acorn User is so slim these days that its in danger of becoming a pamphlet taking 10 minutes to read; a sign that all is not well.
I intend to buy Virtual Acorn and use TechWriter and Ovation Pro (hopefully). If Virtual Acorn works out to be successful then I may reconsider my subscription at a later date. Pity that RISC OS cannot be written to run on a PC making it independent of RISC architecture.
Yours Sincerely
Roy Philpott

Well, there isn't a great deal I can say to this. I am, in many ways, forced to agree, I don't want to agree, but I cannot in all honesty argue that strongly against Roy's points. Although you might well feel differently. Still at least he is going to buy a copy of VirtualA5000, so he won't lose touch with RISC OS completely, although I would prefer it if he bought an Omega! Meanwhile someone else has noticed the lack of the EasyC++ example files....

I am very keen to have a bash with the EasyC programme, but can't find the programs directory containing hello World. Is it missing? If not, where can I find it, and if it has been omitted, where can I get hold of the file?
I have a couple of days free and would really like to have a try - it looks really interesting. Will even get the upgrade if I get past chapter 1!
Excellent magazine. I always look forward to reading all of it. It constantly reminds me of all that's best about the RISC OS world.
Kind regards,
Tom Chubb

The EasyC++ sample files are on this issue. I am glad that you enjoy RISC World, I enjoy editing it a great deal, and I hope very soon to be able to do an entire letters page without apologising for a mistake in the previous issue. Still carrying on.

Hello Aaron,
my name's Les Chant, I've been in touch with you before. I'm a subscriber to RISC World, and would just like to say that I'm very sorry to see that the !Powerbase articles have suddenly stopped....Are there any plans to continue this in future issues? Even though I've had !Powerbase for some time, I'm only slowly learning it's capabilities and was finding Derek's series a very useful adjunct to the Manual that I got with the application.
Thanks, regards,

We have been doing a bit of RISC World re-structuring of late and a few series have stopped (as opposed to finished). The first one we stopped was the BASIC programming series by Dave Holden. I must say I did expect a lot of complaints, but there were none, if you were reading this series and would like it to start up again please let me know. The next one for the chop was Hugh Jampton's Weird World Web (again did anyone miss it?) and in this issue we may well stop another series... However back to PowerBase, we do hope to have a further "advanced" PowerBase article in a future issue.

Well once again I find myself closing off another letters page. What mistakes will I make this issue? Stay tuned to find out....

Aaron Timbrell