RISC World

Editor's Corner

Aaron Timbrell's own bit of the magazine.

I always have trouble writing this bit of RISCWorld mainly because there are lots of things I feel like saying, but I don't want to say any of them...yet. Still, let's have a quick look at one particularly positive bit of news from the last couple of weeks. Castle Technology have announced a special offer on the base model Black Panther Iyonix, taking the price down to a very tempting £835 inc VAT. For this a customer gets 128Mb of RAM and more than ample 40GB hard drive, CD Writer and the usual cables, mouse and keyboard. Looking at the Iyonix website (on the 7th of Jan) it seems as though the special price monitor offer might also be running. So in theory you could get a free 15" TFT monitor as well!

This is quite a marked price reduction, as a similar spec machine in the beige mini tower case still costs £1249, so a user would be saving over £400 against the normal machine, and getting a better case into the bargain. Of course all special offers come at a price, and in this case anyone who purchased the motherboard only deal a couple of months ago might quite rightly feel a bit miffed, as they paid almost as much for a bare board as a new customer would now be paying for a full machine.

Let's hope that this new price becomes the new RRP for the base machine, as to be honest £1249 really is a bit too much for most home users to justify, but under £850 is the sort of deal RISC OS enthusiasts need, after all the last issue of RISCWorld contained the following comment on the Iyonix "Right guys, why not just slash the price of the Iyonix and forget the cheapo free monitor?" I am glad to see that Castle took some notice.

Editors Rant of the month

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

I was having a think the other day about what I could write for my vehicular editorial for this issue of RISCWorld. In the end the only thing I could come up with was the rivetingly exciting story of getting a new seat belt for the Shogun. You see its MOT was due and the driver's side belt was badly frayed. So I went to Mitsubishi's website and found the nearest dealer. At this point I should point out that "nearest" is a relative concept, they were still 25 miles away. Anyhow I rung them up, gave them the chassis number and ordered a seat belt. Next day I get a phone call to say the belt has arrived, so Hayley and I went to pick it up. Fitting the new belt was a doddle, as an aside anyone who as worked on 50's British cars will be well at home with the engineering on a Shogun. Then it's time to bait my breath and go for an MOT, which the Shogun passed first time. See it wasn't much of a story was it?

Now we will have the long winded "however" section...are you ready? Here it comes...

However a couple of days ago the power steering started loosing assistance at low revs. I opened the bonnet and couldn't see anything obviously wrong, apart from the belt being very slightly lose, so since a service is due in a few hundred miles I thought I would put up with it until then and then adjust the belt (before you start wondering all the belts were replaced at the last main service in March). So I carried on driving, blissfully unaware of what was going to happen. The 5th of January is my brother in law's birthday and a small evening party was organised. Hayley and I merrily bowled down the A329M and came off at the Winnersh turn. "The Shogun's been a great car hasn't it", said Hayley in a Murray Walker kiss of death style. As we started slowing down a few wisps of what looked like smoke appeared from under the bonnet. Then the engine cut out. Then a there was a major unscheduled steam event. I managed to coast down the slip round and off onto a muddy verge. There then followed a short outburst of words that almost rhyme with Horlicks.

So I popped the bonnet to be greeted with more clouds of steam. Hmmm, I think, Watson, the vehicle might have overheated. After a couple of minutes the worst of the steam cleared away. Removing the radiator cap revealed a very dry looking cooling system. Luckily we had a two litre bottle of water in the boot. Unluckily it was carbonated water. So Hayley spent 10 minutes shaking the bottle, then releasing the cap, then shaking again. The Shogun swallowed the water without any effect. So we called my brother in law and dragged him away from the party with a number of bottles of water.

Once he arrived we refilled the cooling system and started the engine. All seemed OK, but it raining? No. The radiator had sprung a leak and was spraying water out over the bottom of the engine. The fan was catching this, hence the rain. Luckily Halfords was only 5 minutes away so we went and purchased a bottle of RadWeld and dumped this in the rad. After 5 minutes or so the light shower ceased and we were able to drive on to our destination, and then drive home again. I haven't checked the water level this morning but I am going to drain the cooling system in a minute, as well as fit a new thermostat as the old one has jammed open, which means no heater, not ideal in the winter. With a bit of luck we haven't blown a head gasket, but time will tell.

So do you remember that power steering problem from the start of this little rant? Well it was caused by water jetting out of the rad and over the belt, making it slip. So if I had investigated it properly to start with we wouldn't have overheated and had the problem. So what's the moral? Well if you play silly buggers and don't do a job properly it can very easily blow up in your face.

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