RISC World

Letters Page

Quick it's the letters page, all the answers take an age...

Dear Aaron,
Am I the first to point out the non-closure of an HTML anchor in your news page? It all goes pear-shaped once you get to:
"The A75 has a dedicated website at Stuart Tyrrell Developments launch A6+ and Confirm as Wakefield Show Prize." The rest of the document is one giant link for the A6+. Perhaps this was deliberate? The machine certainly looks nice. Now, if only John Lewis stocked it, I could have put one on the wedding list..
Andrew Harmsworth

Whoops, well it is fine on my version here, so it might be a "post-production" misfeature, so no it wasn't meant to be a giant link to the A6, or the A75 for that matter. Of course you don't need John Lewis to stock one, simply write out a wedding list in money, so guests can either give you 10, 20, 50 or even as much as 500. This also ensures that you can get what you actually want, and not three sets of the wine glasses that you didn't really want anyway. Good luck with the wedding and don't forget to get a cool car, we had a Packard straight eight as our mode of transport. Except Hayley got nearly half an hour being driven around and I got two minutes...grrr...

Now Paul Beverley spots another mistake...

Hi Aaron,
Thanks for the RISCWorld CD - all good stuff!
In the Show report, you said that Castle were "muttering about a big order for between 10,000 and 100,000 machines for a customer outside the normal desktop market (as far as I have been able to tell this seems to be for set top boxes that don't run RISC OS)."
I'm pleased to be able to tell you that they *are* RISC OS boxes - very much so - although it's true that they aren't desktop machines. Encouraging stuff, eh?! 50,000 RISC OS boxes! :-)
Paul Beverley

I am more than happy to print a correction, it seems I was wrong and these are RISC OS machines. However although it looks like a good order for Castle Technology it doesn't have any immediate effect for desktop users of RISC OS. It's worth remembering that Pace supplied more copies of RISC OS in a couple of years than Acorn did in 10 years. Or to put it another way, how many of the users of these boxes will be supporting RISC OS by buying software, or indeed subscriptions to Archive or RISCWorld?

Now it's "why I cancelled my subscription time"...

I am not renewing my subscription as I have no RISC OS computer now, although I liked using the RiscPC I have found that I can not access many web sites that I wish to look at, also no real audio or dvd rewriters, also a shortage of up to date software, plus several other issues. As I am nearing my 69th birthday I can`t wait for many more years, so I have had to go to Windows software to do virtually everything you can think of. I know there is the Virtual RiscPC software but I still have to use Windows for many other things. If the RISC OS companies can get their problems sorted out quickly I may eventually come back to RISC OS. Many thanks for your RISC World CDs.
Mr J Howarth.

Well, I can' t really argue. At the end of the day a computer is a tool for doing a job. If RISC OS can't do the job then it's not unreasonable to expect people to look elsewhere. I know that Oregano2 is improving all the time, and that NetSurf is also coming along very nicely, but if you absolutely have to have RealAudio then RISC OS is simply not for you. On the subject of DVD writers I ought to point out that Stefan Huber is working on a new version of CDBurn, called DVDBurn. As for RISC OS companies sorting out their problems we will have to see what happens.....

Thank you for including my !Kclock app in 5 1 of Riscworld, it was a pleasant surprise to find it there.
Kevin Wells

It was a pleasure to include it. As a general reminder to all readers if you do have any software that you think we might like to publish then please do get in touch.

Thanks for publishing my games article in RISCWorld. However a couple of errors have crept into it the article, one of which was my fault , the other I don't think was :-
"People often advertise their old games for sale in csa.acorn.misc, or csa.acorn. misc, a bargain can often be found." This should have been csa.acorn.misc and
The paragraph below is what I sent in originally, the web address for !A310emu is missing from the published article.
Many of these games won't run on the Iyonix, but by using !A310emu a free program currently work in progress and is available from many of the games will run OK, I have tried many games and there are not that many that failed to work, the downloads of Darkwood, Cycloids and Ixion from Acorn Arcade all worked fine, and with Aemulor PRO on the way, there should be more than enough ways to get the games up and running.
Matthew Thompson

Sorry about that. Yes those are pretty much all my mistakes. Although we have published the link for !A310Emu before I am more than happy enough to publish it again. Now another comment about software on the RISCWorld CD....

Dear Editor,
Having somewhat belatedly got into Vol. 4 Iss. 6 of RISCWorld, I was interested to see that you've bundled !Reporter with the CD. I haven't, checked the version against what I have at the moment, but I guess it's probably an update. What you don't mention (and nor does any of the other blurb on this program, including the author's) is one of its most mind bogglingly useful general-purpose features.
Sitting (usually "REM'd" out) in my !Boot!Run file, right after Set Boot$Dir is the line:
    RmEnsure Reporter 0.00 Run IDEFS::Zaphod.$.Utilities2.!Reporter
the path being of course where I happen to have my copy stored. With this feature, if I do something silly that produces an error on boot-up, or at any other time, all I do is remove the "|" at the beginning of the line, re-boot, and !Reporter displays everything that's going on, with errors usefully highlighted in red. Once I've found and fixed the problem, I simply restore the "|" and !Reporter ceases to start on boot-up until the next time its life-saving services are needed. (To stop it during a session, simply get into the Task Display and exit it - but don't forget to save its log to file first if you still need it - instructions available in StrongHelp.).
If that's not mind bogglingly useful, someone please tell me what is.
To be fair to the author, the instructions on how to do this are in the StrongHelp file, and are quite clear, but you do need to know to go looking. I guess the reason he doesn't highlight it is simply that it isn't the program's primary purpose, which is as a programmer's debugging tool. Regards
Michael Poole

That is a very useful tip, and could save hours of work for anyone who has accidentally messed up their boot sequence. I wasn't aware that !Reporter could do this myself and have often spent time manually going through boot sequences for customers after they have "upgraded" (broken) them. If only I had known earlier. If anyone else has any more useful tips please do write in, perhaps we could start a tips column at some point.

Finally we finish off with some words from Alan Shooter...

We are told the Bill Gates type machine runs over 90% of the world's desktop computer market, figures kindly supplied by the BBC program Click Online. That is Click Online's excuse for feeding us all things Microshit oops Microsoft. I get fed up with people who use M/S complaining about how terrible it is, but they never do anything about it. One thing about M/S is that it keeps computer technicians in well paid jobs. The thing is that if I move to another machine it would more than likely be a Apple Mac. We have VirtualRPC-SE for the PC market but do we have anything for the Apple market. My present machine is a RiscPC with StrongARM which I brought back to NZ after a stay in England. The problem with upgrading to another Risc computer is the conversion rate of the NZ dollar against the English pound. Also I would like to use Real Audio and to read Excel file without asking people to save them as single files.
Alan Shooter

I agree that MicroSoft software is found on over 90% of the worlds PC's, in some countries it's quite often been paid for. The newer versions of Windows are actually very very good, and when used with a moderate amount of common sense are very reliable. The problem is that a PC is a very complex piece of equipment, I always remember a Young Ones episode when they get hold of a video recorder, and because the manual says the machine should be well lubricated Vivien fills it with washing up liquid, after all the manual doesn't say ensure the machine is not full of washing up liquid! Manning a tech support line sometimes makes you feel that this isn't very far from the truth. As for getting a new machine in NZ, it might be worth considering a locally assembled Iyonix, or you could see if MicroDigital will ship an Omega motherboard which you could assemble with locally sourced case, PSU, hard drive etc. Or you could buy a PC and run VirtualRPC-SE. (assuming that any RISC OS solution is actually available by the time this issue of RISCWorld goes out.)

Aaron Timbrell