RISC World

Editor's Corner

Aaron Timbrell's own bit of the magazine.

There is a very slight change to this months RISCWorld, for the first time in ages there is no commercial product on the CD. Why is this? Well we have a budget for paying for commercial software, although many titles come from the APDL stable, work still has to be done on them, copyright boxes need updating and in some cases large printed manuals need to be OCR'd and converted into HTML. So, if we have been doing this for several years why the change this time? Simple, we have spent the money on something else. Rather than spending it on old software we have spent it on new software, Pater Naull's port of FireFox to be exact. If you pop along to the FireFox for RISC OS website you will see that among the many sponsors of the project are APDL. So this month instead of an old product, subscribers get a new one. For those that haven't contributed to the porting of FireFox, why not try it first, if you like it then stump up some money!

Normal service will be resumed next issue when we have another big commercial package scheduled for cover mounting, assuming we manage to OCR the manual in time!

A quick aside

I meant to use this is as the basis for by editorial, but I forgot! Anyway much to my amusement a number of copies of VirtualA5000 have been coming up for sale on eBay over the last few weeks, here are the links:

As you can see the prices are quite surprising, I mean £60 for a VirtualA5000! You can buy a whole new VirtualRPC for not much more! So if you have an old copy of VirtualA5000 that you are no longer using it might be worth cashing in.

RISC OS SE Show 2005

Just as we were finalising the magazine it was confirmed that there will be a RISC OS South East show on October 22nd this year at Guildford College. There are few details apart from this at present, but the show website will have further information as it appears.

Editors Rant of the month

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

Here's a quick joke, "What's got 6 wheel and flies?", the answer is of course a dust cart. So here's another one, "What's got 12 wheels and doesn't move?" The answer is my current fleet of vehicles. Ok, the long term project VW camper can move, but the somewhat fatal flaws of having a lack of bodywork, lights and seats, not to mention an MOT prevents it being used. So what of the Beetle and the Shogun? Well read on and I will explain.

A couple of weeks after moving to Newhall we had to journey back to Bracknell for the wedding of some friends. After being parked outside the registry office the Shogun "failed to proceed". In fact it failed to do anything at all when the key was turned. Carefull application of logical thought and swearing started the vehicle and it was fine again. So after the reception we drove home with no problems. A few days later I was driving into Burton and just got onto the main bridge when the Shogun died completely, luckily I was just able to roll into a bus stop. I tried my usual car starting tricks but nothing worked, so I called the AA. After almost an hour and a half a friendly an AA man appeared. "You are right it won't start", thanks I knew that. "Has it got petrol?" Oh yes. After a bit of fiddling he gave up and summoned a flat bed lorry. This finally tuned up almost 4 hours after I broke down. The Shogun was winched aboard and deposited outside our house. So what's wrong with it?

Well firstly the coil has no power, so there's no spark. It took a week to track down a 2nd hand coil, this didn't make any difference. I cleaned all the wiring connections, but still no joy. So I then called out an auto electrician, he couldn't get it to start either, but suggested the ECU might be faulty. So off the ECU went for testing, "It'll only take a couple of days". Of course it will, the fact that those couple of days are spread out over three weeks of increasingly frustrated phone calls are an irrelevance. Finally I got the ECU back with a clean bill of health, although after my experience I couldn't trust the people who tested it, still what else could be wrong?

In the end I made a diagnostic tool that plugged into the diagnostic socket and flashed out any stored fault codes. There was only one, crank angle sensor failure. This sensor is located inside the distributor and Mitsubishi won't sell the sensor on it's own. "It's £780 plus VAT for a new distributor, not that we have any in the UK." Brilliant. In the end after many hours of searching I found a nice man who sells just crank angle sensors from his home in Essex. He even knew about Mitsubishi distributors and was apply to supply a new sensor for next day delivery. I tentatively fitted this, but still the ECU reported a crank angle failure.

I then had a brain wave and found a distributor for sale fairly locally, and picked it up from the seller in the dead of night in a Little Chef car park. Still this must work. No, it didn't the Shogun was still dead. At least we had the beetle to use..

Well we did, but a few days ago I was driving through Burton (again) and was run off the road by an over eager road hogging HGV. Although the car suffered no bodywork damage the front suspension was bent and smashed. Once again I waited for the AA, having told them I needed a flat bed as the car was totally non driveable. In the end a recovery truck turned up, but not a flat bed. It was driven by the most morose unhelpful bugger I have ever met in my life. "It's lowered I can't lift it". Yes you can. "You should have told them it was lowered" I did. "You should have asked for a flatbed". I did. "Well lots of people ask for a flatbed when they don't need it". Well I did need it and I did ask for it, is it my fault you don't listen? At this point I actually lost my temper and told him to look at the car, see the interesting angle of the front wheel? Well that's because the car is damaged, now get your bloody van in front of it and lift the beetle up and lets get it home. "Yeah, but it's lowered and the exhaust will hit the ground". No it won't, just get on with it. Finally grumbling all the time he lifted the front of the car and we finally got it home, five hours after the accident.

So what's the moral of the story, firstly the "we fix 80% of breakdowns by the side of the road", well not my breakdowns mate. So we were now stuck with 3 vehicles that all needed to be fixed, the only sensible thing to do would be to buy a fourth....

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