RISC World


Aaron Timbrell dives into the software directory.

As usual we have pulled out all the stops to ensure out readers get the best selection of new software with this issue. Our exclusive full commercial title this time is SerialNET, the simple home network that originally sold at over £20. We have also included three complete versions of ex-commercial games to keep everyone busy until the weather improves.


SerialNet is a network system for two computers connected via their serial ports. Originally sold at over £20 we are giving all RISC World readers a free copy. SerialNET behaves just like a full network. You can drag and drop files and applications. Produce a file on one machine and save it directly from an application to the hard disk on another machine. SerialNET version 1.5 includes:

  • Message sending from one station to another.
  • Drag and drop transfer of files.
  • Block file transfer for multiple files.
  • ALL file transfer as a background task.
  • Background network printing - share 1 printer between 2 machines or have 2 machines with two printers and print to either one.
  • Transfer rates up to 12K a second are possible on Risc OS 3.1 machines.
  • Faster transfer between two Risc PC or A7000 computers of up to 120K per second.
  • Auto sync of baud rates.
  • Loads files and applications.
  • Transmit & receive routines hand coded in assembler.
  • Specially coded file integrity routines to ensure that all files are transmitted with no errors.
  • Full on screen manual.
  • Send text files directly from one machine to a wordprocessor on the other.
  • Full on screen reports of file transfer status, current speed and total speed.
  • Supports up to 6 remote disks of any type.
  • Compatible with ADFS, SCSI, IDEFS, QuadFS and all other filing systems.
  • Full remote disk access, multiple RiscOS filer windows. Drag and drop files/apps.
  • Multi-tasking file retrieval. Drag a file from a SerialNET filer window to an application. Then keep working, once SerialNET has transferred the file it will automatically be inserted for you.
  • Large, Small and Full Info filer displays.
  • Easy to set up, just connect the cable and then load the software.
  • Fully compatible with RISC OS 3.1 or later.
  • Supports Atomwide and Serial Port fast serial cards.

Customer Comments

  • Runner Up Best Network Software Acorn User 96
  • "..easily 4-5 times the speed of a fast modem." Acorn User Oct 1996
  • "...well pleased..." Mr A. Ashford
  • "I am very happy with the results...many thanks for your usual superb service." Mr P. Hants
  • "..the most professionally presented Acorn product i have so far purchased; and of course it does what it is designed to do." Mr B. Yorks.
  • "...worked really well and is a great product." Mr R. Byfleet
  • "I am very pleased to find such a simple and effective serial set-up." Dr R. Byfleet
  • "Serialnet is a cracker!...the software is most elegant and a delight to use." Prof T. Harrow
  • "...honed to be as fast as is possible.." Geoff Preston Acorn User Feb 97
  • "...well thought out, well presented, fast and straightforward." Archive Jan 1997
  • Time taken to transfer 100K file SerialNET 5 seconds / RSDFS 27 seconds Archive Jan 1997
  • "...half the price and 4 times the speed, (serialnet) has got to be the winner." Archive Jan 1997 RSDFS and SerialNET
  • "Many thanks for a superb application!" Mr C Cumbria
  • "...of considerable help..." Mr R. Essex
  • "Serialnet has worked perfectly and is a genuinely useful program." Mr C. Nairn
  • "..faster than alternatives...highly recommended..does what it sets out to do admirably" Risc User April 97
  • "...I am most impressed...does everything we need...far superior to remotefs..." Mr B London
  • " usual great value..." Mr C. Redruth
  • "Thank you for serialnet - it's great!" Mr C. Porthleven
  • "Excellent product" Mr M. Ipswich


This issue we have also included the latest version of Ancestor+. This can be used as a demo version, or can be dropped over an existing copy of Ancestor+ to convert it to the latest version. APDL are continuing to develop Ancestor+ and some of the new features are documented below.

New fields

Two new 'event' fields have been added to the database. These are nominally called 'baptism' and 'burial', although they can be used for any events which are associated with a date, eg. graduation, commission, etc. The default names and GEDCOM tags for these events can be set in the Choices window, and the names and tags are also saved with the database.

There are two buttons in the Choices window, 'Check baptism' and 'Check burial'. If these are set then quick checks are carried out on the date of the 'baptism' and 'burial' when validating a person. The date of 'baptism' is checked to make sure that it has happened after the date of birth and before the date of death, and the date of 'burial' is checked to make sure it happened after the date of death. As these fields may not actually used for baptism and burial and these checks may be inappropriate they can be disabled by these configuration buttons.

'Soft' links

As well as the normal family links a person can now have 'soft' links to other people. These could be used, for example, for business, social, or other relationships. They are formed by clicking on the '+' button in the person's Details window and entering the number of the person you want to link to. You can have up to 10 links for each person and they can be accessed from the Link menu. Selecting a person from this menu will open an abbreviated version of the Details window which will show information about the person linked to.

To remove a Soft Link click on the red 'X' button and select the person you want to remove from the red menu.

These links are not bi-directional. If you link person A to person B then person B will not automatically be given a link to person A.

Note that this feature will not be available to you if you have not upgraded to version 2.

New toolbar and files

The 'Details' window now has a separate toolbar on the left to accommodate the additional tool buttons. It's a bit bigger to hold the new fields, so it's now been made scrollable so that you can reduce it's size if you wish, for example, if you aren't using all the User fields.

Most users already use a textfile for their 'proofs' notes, so this is now directly accessible from the toolbar. The program will look in the person's resources directory for a file named 'Proofs'.

To make the Links more useful the program will also recognise a file named 'Links' which would contain information about any linked people.

To make it easier to create these new files and the Notes file if you click MENU over the 'cabinet' icon a menu will open from which you can create any of these three file types. For this to happen you must previously have created the Resources directory for the person. Assuming the file does not already exist, an empty textfile will be created and loaded into your text editor ready for you to add the notes and save it.


The search routines have been improved and a couple of bugs fixed. It is now possible to search the Place of Birth and Place of Death fields and each individual User field. This makes it possible to use a User field to hold flags.

You could use a series of (say) two character mnemonics as flags and put them in one of the User fields, separated by a space or comma. For example, you could use 'RN' to indicate that a person had been in the navy, then searching that User field for 'RN' would give a list of people who been in the navy. I'm sure you will be able to think of many other uses for this type of system to suit your particular interests, and it can be 'stretched' and have new flags added to fit almost any requirements without any modification to the database.


Although new fields have been added the new database structure is still compatible with the old, and can be loaded and viewed in earlier versions of Ancestor+.

Obviously the new fields will not appear in older versions of the program. The only problem will arise if you edit any person's details.

If you do this then any data put into the new fields and any soft links will be lost. As long as you don't edit a person's details the data will still be intact, even though you can't see it.

The complete DiscWorld line up

So to sum up this issues DiscWorld looks like this...


The latest version of Ancestor+ which can be used as a demo or to upgrade an existing version.


The latest set of RISC World CD inlays.


Support files for Paul Johnsons' article.


The latest freeware RISC OS games releases for your playing pleasure, includes three ex-commercial titles.


Following on from last issue, we have HTML converters for the Ovation family (and updated Impression ones).


All the latest PD, shareware and freeware releases from the PD column.


The latest version of PowerBase and the example files discussed in Derek Haslams article.


The simple home networking system.

Aaron Timbrell