RISC World

Letters Page

It's gone very quiet...then suddenly...nothing happens

Normally I kick off a letters page with last issue's mistakes. Indeed keen readers may remember that last issue I said "Still one day we will have an error free RISC World, it just seems as though that day will be a long time in the future." Well perhaps not that far in the future as we didn't get a single mistake pointed out in the last issue. I have to stress that this doesn't mean that there weren't mistakes, just that no one spotted them!

The mail bag this month is very light, perhaps due to the rather nice summer weather we have been having, or perhaps it is due to the new draconian AOL anti spam "features" which "prevent" spam by blocking all e-mails regardless of their content. Still let us see what we do have this issue.

Dear Aaron,
You've griped about your car in RW on at least one occasion. I have cause for complaint this month, too!
I ordered a Honda Civic IMA (petrol-electric hybrid) 12 days ago. Honda Kettering assured me it wouldn't be ready until mid-September. So, I've planned around financing it, getting it insured, and selling my Rover 114GSI (anyone want it? R-reg, 38k, 5 doors, etc.) on that schedule.
They said they'd ring in a week to confirm delivery. A week being 5 days ago now, I phoned them today (1st September). "It'll be arriving here tomorrow, sir.". Bloody Japanese efficiency, coupled with English incompetence!
Cheers, Andrew Harmsworth

Yes, well if anyone does want a Rover 114 (It's a Metro - HJ) then contact Andrew, you can get his e-mail address from the bottom of the Education column. As for the English vs the Japanese, remember we design the stuff, bugger it up a treat, then the Japanese go and build it properly and clean up. Mind you then the Chinese and the Koreans come along and build it just as well for half the price and so they clean up. I am just waiting to see what happens when the Russians get their act together, that should be very interesting, Zaporojetz Turbo anyone?

And now another regular on the letters page, VirtualAcorn plugging corner....

Dear Editor
Following Dave Holden's feature in vol 4 issue 2, and at the risk of repeating what I have already written on Drobe, I should like to reinforce Dave's plea for a high-end emulator such as Alpha to become more generally available.
At the school where I am Consultant there are 122 RiscPC's - 40 Kinetics and 82 StrongArm/OS4/64MB machines. In other words, every 48th OS4 machine is one of mine. They are immensely popular, in use late into the night 7 days a week (it's a boarding school) but they are aging.
I could not possibly justify upwards of 150,000 pounds to replace them with Iyonixes. Not just that; Ovation Pro is infinitely preferred to Word, but internet is crucial, and there is still no adequate RISC OS browser.
I have to conclude that unless a Virtual RiscPC becomes available, and not too far into the future, this site will be lost to RISC OS. Incidentally, several pupils now have their own Alphas.
Best wishes
Martin Devon
ICT Consultant Stonar School

Well then you are in luck, because VirtualRPC-SE is now available as a stand alone product and is shipping as we speak. For more details don't forget to check out<end plug>

After subscribing to Acorn User for around 15 months and feeling that they'd lost the plot along the way, I decided to give RISC World a try.
What a treat when APDL delivered my first discs (yes, I decided to embark upon the special offer and take the previous 3 years worth as well as the first issue of volume 4). I like the format of the CD, even though it's not a magazine to read, I find it consistent and well presented.
However (there's always one of those, isn't there!), I find myself in the realms of some of the PC CD's, where they offer free software that simply just doesn't run on your machine - do you ever get round to testing this, or do you assume it's going to run?
I was particularly interested in TableCalc and must say that it meets my criteria exactly as regards work I do with Ovation Pro, you don't even have to save it as a Draw file, just drag and drop the TableCalc file into Ovation Pro and hey presto! Full marks for TableCalc.
DrawWorks Millenium is something different, there are quite a few functions that simply just don't work, the merge tool for one, is this intentional?
Several of the games across the 4 discs don't function. Wouldn't if be worthwhile trying the software out and letting us know what features have been disabled, etc.
Yours, somewhat bemused (only with the non-working software),
Bryan Page

It is always nice to welcome more new readers, especially ones that start their letters with compliments! When we have software on the CD it will be the full versions, unless it is specifically marked as a demo. One of the early decisions made when I took over RISC World was that we would carry a full commercial software product on each issue. Why? Well because demos annoy the hell out of me. If I get a bit of software I want to be able to use it fully. So I applied the same critea I use when buying a magazine to editing one. DrawWorks is a full working version and the Merge tool does work, however the usual problem people have with it is either not selecting two objects, or selecting one object consisting of text that has not been converted to a path (later versions of DrawWorks automatically work out when text should be converted to path for for). To check the merge tool draw two over lapping rectangles, select them both and click on merge.

We do test all the cover software on a wide range of machines but that does not mean they are going to work on all machines, especially if the machines have not been kept up to date with the latest patches. If you are running a RISC OS 3 or 4 machine then you really should get the latest stuff from RISCOS Ltd. The latest toolbox modules themselves are supplied with this issue.

And finally a suggestion for an improvement to one of last issue articles...

Having read the article in the current issue about improving the RISC OS video by fitting a heatsink may I make a suggestion. The photo shows the heat sink with its fins running north south, if they were running east west then the fan from the power supply would cool them much better, have a look and see what you think.
Kevin Simpson

The completed heatsink

Yes I think you may well be right about this one, I hadn't noticed this, so if are fitting a heatsink fit the fins so they run across the machine and not from front to back.

That's it for this issues letters page. Why not write in, go on you know you want to...

Aaron Timbrell