RISC World

Letters Page

It's still getting smaller...oh nuts to rhyming it...

So lets start with more on the VirtualGolf competition saga...

I have just been reading the new edition of RISCWorld. It has occurred to me that I have not received the copy of Virtual Golf which I understand I won in the competition from the previous issue. Could you please advise if it has been sent?
Thanks for continuing to publish an interesting magazine - I look forward to each new issue.
Kind regards,
Julian Benton

Ah, well you are asking the wrong person, although I edit the magazine I don't handle any production or dispatch of issues or prizes. I have forwarded your enquiry to a Mr D Holden in our complaints department who will be delighted to assist in any way that doesn't actually involve doing anything. After being poked with a fully charged cattle prod he has promised to e-mail you directly. It seems we have the games, but not the instructions, with a bit of luck this will be sorted out by the time this issue arrives.

I'm glad you enjoy RISCWorld, don't forget to renew your subscription for the action packed volume 6, coming soon to a wastebasket near you.

Now it's a response to our VirtualAcorn problem solving article.

VA and Disappearing directories,
I bought a RiscBook+SE at the Guildford Show from RComp. One objective was to use it to show slideshows produced on the KineticRPC. The images I get from my Olympus C920Z using the SmartMedia card. The RiscBook has a built in card reader. I also bought a USB plug-in floppy disc drive for transferring stuff from the KRPC.
As a totally non-MSPC user I have problems with Windows in any case, but in trying to transfer images from the SM card directly into VirtualRPC, files / directories were lost when I went back into Windows so that I could experiment with the picture display methods in there. My wife did a "search" and found them in very odd places. I am not now sure that I did not have oddities also when using the floppy drive.
On shutting down and starting in Windows and going to HardDisc4 there were the directories and images as originally set up in VRPC. This carried on as a mystery, but we decided to shut down the laptop every time instead of going back into Windows.
My wife decided to change the Windows background to something she liked better and one thing was immediately obvious. If turning on and going straight into VRPC to work, when shutting down to revert to Windows the background screen that appears is the original as set up by RComp. It is in here that the odd things seemed to happen. We now always open in Windows -the new background - then VRPC. When going back into Windows it is to the new screen and everything seems to be where expected.
We have not done recently the sort of investigations we did to start with so this may all be irrelevant!
Another small detail I have just become aware of is my tendancy to turn on and when the initial choice of screens comes up, to immediately select on VRPC to get it to load, which it does with varying levels of flashing screens. What I have been doing is to beat Windows being loaded properly, especially as the signs for this are not very obvious. From now on I must be more patient. I dont know if any of this is significant.
Eric Dobson
PS I have more major problems which I am raising on Archive-on-line.

Dealing with the problems in turn. If you or your wife finds a directory in an odd place then it's there because you put it there. I have seen this happen with laptop users who are not familiar with Windows on countless occasions. The first thing to do is buy a mouse and stop using the touchpad. What many users don't realise is the the surface of a touchpad not only acts as a mousing surface but also as a button. So you move the mouse around with the touchpad and can easily accidentally end up clicking on something and dragging it around. This is where the second problem kicks in; if you drag a directory from one place to another Windows doesn't copy it, like RISC OS does, it moves it from one place to another. My advice is get a mouse and I bet the problem will go away.

With regard to changing the Windows backdrop, your wife only changed the backdrop on one user account, which is why the other user account kept the original backdrop. As for "beating" Windows that isn't the problem. Most likely Windows is loading all sorts of stuff as well as VirtualAcorn, but you will need to ask R-Comp as they set up the machine.

Now moving on...

Dear Aaron,
In your rant, you connected two paragraphs with 'however'. Were the two events connected in some way? Is there something missing? Or are you trying to say that although it's easy to fit a new seat belt, the radiator can sometimes spring a leak? Or was it an 'act of God'? (I think we should be told.) By the way "Editors Corner" should have an apostrophe. The corner of the editor? Or the corner of editors? In which case there should be more than one editor in the corner. Otherwise it's "Editor's Corner".
A P Dant
(Aka Lol Simmonds)

Sorry, you are wrong. I've gone back and re-read the article and the "however" refers to the vehicle passing its MOT at the first attempt, seemingly providing some degree of reliability, and then going wrong shortly afterwards. I do however accept the comment about Editor's Corner, after all it's possessive, so I have corrected it for this issue, but reserve the right to mess it up again at some unspecified future point.

Dear Sirs,
I am running OS 4.02 on a Risc PC with 42MB RAM with Oregano and Webster and having difficulty accessing a number of websites, for example the Consumer magazine 'Which' website and the mobile phone operator O2. They throw up the statement that the browser is out of date and needs updating. I had a long argument with the Information Typist at 'Which' who said I should download all sorts of browsers for Windows and Macs but had not heard about RISC based computers - she knew nothing about them - and that I should upgrade.
Can you suggest how I can access these sites that do not follow the protocols of the WWW? Additionally I find eBay is incredibly slow to load and operate; suggestions please on how to improve the load up speed.
Nigel Price

Yes, I can make a recommendation - buy a PC and run FireFox. For those that don't like this suggestion then you do have a couple of RISC OS alternatives. Have you tried NetSurf? It's free and exceptionally good. Or you could upgrade what sounds like Oregano 1 to Oregano 2, although this will cost money. My bottom line advice though would remain to buy a cheap secondhand PC for a hundred pounds or so and use that. As for the speed of eBay this depends on your connection speed. I find eBay very fast, but then I am on broadband and am just over 40 feet from the local exchange.

Dear Aaron,
I agree wholeheartedly with James Regan's comments at the end of "DTP Experiences", although I'm not so sure about the cocoa. Tea is much better.
A T Drinker
(Aka Lol Simmonds)

Thank you, I think the point about cocoa is that it's a sleeping aid. I don't think Tea is, unless you get hit by the urn of course.

That seems to be it for this issues letters column. So to avoid this column being rather short next time why not write in to us what you would do with any well known RISC OS figure of your own choosing, a stake, a shovel, a crossroads and six months of spare time.

Aaron Timbrell