RISC World

Letters Page

Look someone's written to us....

After the last issue, where to be honest we were a bit light on the letters front, it's nice to see a whole pile of your words come tumbling in.

Following your comments on the problem with X-files (vol4 issue5 letters) a possible alternative for archived files would be to use either zip or arc archives which would not be a problem for Iyonix users as it comes pre-loaded with a read only version of SparkFS. You could include a copy of the read only version of Sparkplug so that 26 bit users who don't already have SparkFS could use it to gain access to the archives.
The problem with using SparkFS/SparkPlug is that it can corrupt stuff with long file names, and then things don't work :-( Try de-compressing some of Chockys games ports and you will see what I mean. It would be better to use Zipee, is a 32bit version of that available?
Richard Darby

Ah, the reason for using X-Files is that you an run things directly from the CD, you can also copy the entire X-Files folder off the CD and still use programs that require long file names on a machine that only supports 10 character file names. However we have now solved the problem by getting hold of the X-Files sources and have converted it to 32 bit ourselves. So from now on Iyonix owners can run X-Files archives directly without having to use a 26 bit machine. A copy of this new 32bit version is hidden inside the !RWWorld application. I don't know about a 32bit ZipEE, but one would be very useful.

I was interested by your article about speeding up StrongArm boards, and might even try it, though I think both my processors are early ones and not capable of the highest speeds. I remember waiting for them - you paid and were sent a numbered card. Messages passed around about how far down the list they had got. They certainly speeded things up, but I would question your 'several orders of magnitude' (= multiples of ten). I have probably forgotten, but were the ARM processors they replaced not run at about 70 or 80 MHz? That would make the speed-up about 3 times, though there were probably technical differences with enhanced the improvement.
I enjoy RISC World - hope it continues to thrive.
Philip Draper

Thanks for the nice comments about RISCWorld, we hope it continues to thrive as well. As for the StrongARM upgrade, some tests were indeed 10 times faster then on older processors, the Arm610 was a 30Mhz part and the Arm710 was 40Mhz. The original Strongarm was a 202Mhz part, an overclocked version can go up to 287Mhz, which is almost 10 times the speed of the original Arm610. BASIC in particular benefited from the StrongARM as, by luck, more than design, the BASIC interpreter could sit in one of the StrongARM's caches, and so wasn't limited so much by the slow RiscPC bus speed. If you are going to try overclocking don't forget to read this issues article on cooling.

And now a complaint.

I must protest! You wrote: "... decided that the machines increasing unreliability, it's age ...". I presume you are talking about one machine? Therefore: machine's (possessive: belongs to the machine). Alternatively: machines' (possessive: pertaining to both machines). Also: its age (possessive its has no apostrophe). For more on this, I urge you to read Any errors there are nothing to do with me:-)
Andrew Harmsworth

Well there are two approaches to this, the first is to agree and to say that yes I will try and get this right in future. The other is to point out that English is a dynamic language and has changed over the years, the rules of punctuation should perhaps be seen in a modern context as simply guidelines that one might decide to adhere to in particular circumstances, however as guidelines they must remain flexible and allow the creative spirit of the author to shine through without being chained down by a totalitarian regime with it's roots buried firmly in the past. Actually I think I will try and just get it right in future, it will be easier.

Oh and what happened to your article for the last issue?

Now a letter about a piece of cover software we ran last year.

I sent an email letter for RISCWorld , about the Recycler application that was on RISC World a couple of issues ago, asking if it can be made to run on the Iyonix, did you get this letter? I just find it strange about the lack of letters and mine wasn't there! I'm not too worried I just wanted an answer if Recycler can or can be made to run on the Iyonix, as despite being a much better machine than my Risc PC , RISC OS Select did have a number of features that i used that i miss from the Iyonix - and Recycler is one of those.

Sorry I didn't get your first e-mail. A few e-mails have gone back and forward with regard to Recycler, since other users may well be interested Dave Bradforth had this to say..."Recycler is going to be rewritten at some point to work properly on the Iyonix, as well as to remove some annoyances with earlier versions of RISC OS. At the moment, it's a low priority because of the other work taking place, but it's certainly in the works.".

Which kind of solves that, sort of, however Matt also went on to say...

if possible can you put the "Iyonix OK" logo with a program, so that we know if it will work or not on the iyonix?

I will do my best to try and implimemt this from this issue onwards. Now a subscriptions foul up...

It would appear that there has been a glitch in someone's system, as I received 2 copies of RW Vol 4 issue 5 today.
I don't mind, as the extra copy can be used as a table mat, but I hope that someone somewhere else isn't short of their issue. I suppose it's all Hugh J's fault again, though...
Do I need to return the disc? It's not been used as a table mat (yet), so should still work, if the editor has done his job properly...;-)
William McNee

Sorry about you getting 2 copies (perhaps one for the week one for Sunday best?). I have forwarded your e-mail to Dave Holden as he sends out the CDs. I suggest using the spare as either a wildebeest scarer (since hanging some CDs in my parents garden none of their plants have been eaten by wildebeest), or with the addition of a bit of string, a nice medallion.

Finally an update on !Convolve from a previous issue.

Dear Aaron,
Would you let it be known that !Convolve (image matrix convolution) Version 2.00 and !BBC_C (BBC Basic to Acorn ANSI C Translator) Version 8.67 are both now available for free download from the Melotech web site, or follow the links from my web site at
The new version of !Convolve offers more choices concerning the manner of the image filtering, all from new facilities selectable from the ToolBar. The new version of !BBC_C deals with in-line (single line) BBC Basic Functions and Procedures correctly, handles string arguments returning values to calling routines better and corrects some reserved word tokens where the assumed coding was incorrect. The old version 8.66 is still available from my site.
Martin Carradus

Users would be well advised to have a poke around the software that Martin has written, indeed if you have a look at this months PD column you will find a copy of !Text2Draw, a very useful app written by Martin.

Well that's all we have this volume. If you have any comments on this issue don't forget to write in.

Aaron Timbrell