RISC World

Editor's Corner

Aaron Timbrell's own bit of the magazine.

Yet again I find myself at the helm of the good ship RISCWorld, sailing in the safe waters just off the coast of RISC OS, me hearties, ahhh, I bet ye likes a lick of the cat......sorry, where was I. Oh yes I was sitting here having just finished the rant bit of my editorial, which I always write first, and trying to decide what to write as my info bit of the editorial. The problem is that there are lots of exciting developments going on at the moment and I really can't talk about any of them yet. I can do my "packed issue" type editorial spiel again but that gets a bit repetitive after nearly five volumes. So what can I say, here's RISCWorld, if you enjoy reading it half as much as we enjoyed writing it, then we enjoyed writing it twice as much as you enjoyed reading it. Oh and please do e-mail us, if you don't the letters page is going to get very empty!

There's just time for a quick addition to my editorial, the latest copy of Archive (Vol 18 No.3) has just landed on my doormat and I was very interested to read a section by Paul Beverley inside the front cover.

"The bad news, however, is that there is still the tendency amongst the people of influence in the RISC OS community not to let go of the past, and this is spreading negative thinking...No! forget it, leave it!"

Indeed, I totally agree. The last we thing we need is someone continually digging up the same old nonsense about Omega serial numbers.

Editors Rant of the month

The following is about the vehicular faith, not specifically about computing.

Those who managed to stay awake during my last editorial based rant about Volkswagens might like to read the following. After my experience with the dim witted joker on ebay I decided not to buy another Beetle sight unseen. So two weeks later I change my mind and did just that and agreed to buy a car from VolksZone. Readers might have noticed that I have the strength of willpower to break any promise I make myself.

Now you might think that this rant will be about another rotten old heap being misrepresented by an over eager seller, but no. When I saw the Beetle I was more than happy with it, in fact in some ways it was better than described by the seller. It wasn't perfect, but wasn't advertised as such, so I paid the man his money and drove it home, from Sheffield. Now again you may think this is a rant about driving home, but no, I was home in under 3 hours and the car belted down the motorway without any VW overheating problems. In fact I am chuffed with it, I need some time to get the jobs done, but have promised myself that Camper welding still takes priority (we will see how long that lasts). No my rant this month is about the journey from merry Bracknell to the silvery mecca that is Sheffield, by train....(If we lived in Uberwald there would be a clap of thunder at this point)

Lets start at the beginning. First step is a bus from near home to the station; but wait, Ken my next door neighbour is just about to drive into Bracknell and offers me a lift, brilliant. So I arrive at the station and approach the booking office. I have already worked out my route, I want to go into London, round the tube, then sit on a train for 2 hours until I arrive at Sheffield, nice and easy. However the troglodyte behind the counter has other ideas, apparently it's quicker to go to Reading, then to Birmingham and then on to Sheffield. OK. So I buy my ticket, keeping my hands away from the bars on his cage and wait for a train. Low and behold one arrives only 5 minutes later and I am off to Reading.

On disembarking at Reading I find the station is heaving, and after the bumpy train journey so am I. Anyway I find the train timetables and see that the next train to Birmingham should be here already, but it isn't. I find a helpful member of staff (in fact so helpful that I can't help but feel he won't last long working on the railway), then the shocking news is delivered. "Sorry, there's track work between Reading and Birmingham and the line's closed." Er...why wasn't I told this at Bracknell? "Well they should know." Yes but they didn't tell me, so what do I do? I can't take a train into London as my ticket won't allow me to. "You can take a train to Didcot and get a bus to Oxford, north of the closure and then go on to Birmingham". Well I didn't have a lot of choice. After half an hour a train finally arrives and I fight my way on through the throng of confused pensioners, all of whom seem to want to visit their niece in Bristol, "you know the one who Uncle Roger doesn't like, you should hear what they say about her, and she want's to get married in white".

Anyway, I find a seat and the train clanks off to Didcot. Arriving at Didcot another member of staff is collecting passengers who need to go to Oxford, "The bus is waiting over there", he says pointing to an empty carpark. To add even more joy to the adventure it now starts to rain. A few minutes later a coach turns up, the sign on the side describes it as Deluxe, which it isn't, perhaps it meant Dulux and someone has added an "e". I manage to get a seat in the front so I have a good view of the road ahead. Unfortunately I haven't managed to escape the pensioners, who had obviously confused Bristol with Birmingham and are now merrily filling the coach with carrier bags. Once loaded we depart and after half an hour or so arrive at Oxford station, so where's the train? Well it's anyone's guess as not only are the station display systems knackered, so is the announcing system. At this point I have given up shaking off the entourage and find someone to ask. "Yes, it's the platform over the other side." So we troup across the foot bridge and wait. After a few minutes a train turns up and passengers leave, but is this our train? A few of the braver get on, but nothing happens and the train doesn't move. Eventually we find out that this train is a local service and stops here. So why isn't it moving to let our train on the platform? "It will only be a few minutes, your train is on the other platform and will move over here once this one has moved."

We wait, but the train doesn't move. Meanwhile we can see the train on the other platform filling up with happy travellers. Finally we discover that the train isn't coming to this platform, no, it's leaving from the other platform in 1 minute. Throwing OAP's before me I rush over and just get on board in time for the doors to shut. By this time I have been travelling about 3 hours and need a coffee. As an extra service to customers who have been messed about an announcement comes over the tannoy that this train does not have a refreshment car.

Eventually I arrive at Birmingham and find the information kiosk, "Yes, there is a train to Sheffield, about 20 minutes, on platform 6." Lovely, I find a shop selling what is described as Columbian coffee, I try the "Is this coffee ground, cos it tastes like mud" gag but get a blank response. So I head to platform 6, but wait, which one, there is a 6a, and a 6b. I head back to information, however in my absence the pensioners have reappeared and there is a queue 20 deep. I go back to platform 6a and find a train there. A porter is loading stuff on board, "Yes, this is the train to Sheffield", does it have a refreshment car? "Should do, but the train splits and only the front half has refreshments. Ok, which is the front half? I don't know but I make an educated guess and decide to head for one end, at this point my luck improves and I find the refreshment car and climb aboard, however it's closed.

I take a seat in carriage J, hold on that's the back half of the train, argh, too late we're moving. My improved luck still holds though as to help confuse passengers carriages H to E are the front half, and carriage D to A are the back half. So a few minutes in I manage to grab a sandwich. Now all I have to do is wait. The train gets to Sheffield in about an hour and a bit, and stops a quarter of a mile outside the station, where it stays for 45 minutes. To improve customer satisfaction even further the train has stopped in a cutting and no one has mobile phone reception. Finally I arrive at my destination, having only taken 5 and a half hours for a journey I can drive in a little over 2.

And the moral of the story? Well you can use trains, they're slow, infuriating, they used to have a charm all their own but these days it takes a flipping long time to get where you are going; a bit like RISC OS really.

Printing RISC World

The new look of RISC World means that you will no longer get the yellow background when printing articles from RISCWorld. However you will still get the blue border on the left unless you turn off the printing of background images. The example below shows the print dialogue box from Fresco.


As you can see the option "No Background" is ticked. If you want to print out any of the RISCWorld pages and don't want to waste ink on a blue border then make sure you have clicked a similar option in your browser.

Aaron Timbrell