RISCWorld useful links
In the last issue of Volume 3 we included a selection of useful links, and as a number of people have said that the actually did find it useful, it seems like a good idea to do it again.
These are not just the usual links to RISC OS specific sites. If you want those the best place to go would be one of the main RISC OS portals such as The Iconbar or Drobe Launch Pad or the extremely comprehensive Nutshells, which has links to hundreds of dealers, developers, suppliers, FTP sites, and much more. These are links to sites you might find useful, but which are not RISC OS specific, so might not be quite so easy to find.
If you're using an inkjet printer and do a lot of printing then refilling the cartridges can drastically reduce your costs. The problem is getting decent ink to refill them with. The 60 ml bottles normally available from the likes of PC World, are not only quite expensive, but in my experience the ink is often of very poor quality. Not only does this mean that print quality isn't too good, some types seem to cause rapid degradation of the print heads. In fact, if I was a believer in conspiracy theories I'd be inclined to think that some brands were sold by the printer manufacturers to make you think that refilling is a bad idea.
One source of good quality ink that I can highly recommend is PhotoGlossy. I've mentioned this company before, but it's worth repeating. They don't just do ink, of course, but also original and 'pattern' cartridges as well as a variety of photo quality papers. For the average user the fact that they are in Guernsey is another big advantage. You pay just 95p postage per order and no VAT. You might be able to find slightly lower prices elsewhere, but probably not if you aren't VAT registered.
If you have a laser printer then you can probably refill that, too. Toner refills are available for most mono printers, and are now beginning to become available for colour lasers too. As with inkjets the cost savings can be considerable, especially if you do a lot of printing. U Refill Toner can supply bottles of toner or complete refill kits with instructions for a huge range of popular printers. They are not the cheapest (but not by a large margin) but they do have a very large range, and so are probably a good first stop if you haven't done this before.
Photography and more
If you're into digital photography, and particularly if you're on the lookout for a new camera, there's one site you really ought to have a look at. Digital Photography Review has reviews of all the latest digital cameras plus lots of related news. There are also discussion forums, samples galleries and a large database of digital camera specifications.
One thing that often comes up on the various newsgroups is someone asking "I've just been sent a file from a PC user with the extension .XXX (or whatever), does anyone know what it is ?" Well, here's the place to find out. Every File Format In The World might seem like a slight exaggeration, but probably not by much.
In these days of CD writers, networking and other means of transferring data between computers we can sometimes forget the older methods. I recently had a customer ask me how he could transfer around 40 Mb of data from an old A440 to a RiscPC. In the end I lent him an IDE interface and he used an old IDE drive to copy everything over, if you ever need to do something similar, especially as a 'one off', then the Serial Cable Networking Pages will probably be worth a visit.
Links for VirtualAcorn users
Having swum in our tiny backwater for so long, we have the advantage of such obscurity that we are deprived of the excitement of the regular virus attacks that the majority of computer users enjoy.People who are now using RISC OS under emulation often don't take the proper precautions before connecting a PC to the internet. This is absolutely essential if you are connecting via ADSL.
The first thing you need is a Firewall. If you don't have one and have already connected to the internet, even if only briefly, then your computer is probably already infected. So before you do anything else you'll need to disinfect it. The obvious problem is that you must not connect until you're protected, which creates a bit of a dilemma.
Luckily free software in the three categories you'll need is often available on magazine CDs, but most people will probably have access to the internet on another machine so you can download the software on that and transfer it to you new machine.
We'll try to cover this in more detail in a later issue, but you will need some anti-virus software to scan your hard disc. There are many options, but one that seems quite good is AVG Anti Virus which is free for home users.You'll also need something to look for 'spy' software. Probably the most well known is Ad-Aware from Lavasoft. Alternatively you could have a look at Spy Stomper. Both of these are free, and the Spy Stomper site has various other useful items.
Last, but certainly not least, you absolutely must install a decent firewall. Without this your computer is simply wide open. The most well known is ZoneAlarm. This is a commercial package, but there's a free version available for download which is perfectly adequate for most people's needs.
When you've disinfected your machine and installed all your new protection you can visit Shields UP! This is a service offered by Gibson Research Corporation, who specialise in hard drive recovery software. They will 'probe' your defences and tell you if you are vulnerable. If you installed the necessary software you shouldn't have any worries - but it's reassuring to be told that you're protected.