RISC World

Letters Page

Now on critical life support, it's the RISCWorld letters page...

This issue we will kick off with the only letters anyone could be bothered to send us...(sniff)...

Hi Aaron
Very informative issue, especially Virtual Aaron oops Virtual Acorn and Dave's spring cleaning. Where I live (south Italy) the so called computer technicians (PC) usually tell you, "it's totally f**kt, buy a new one." Usually after reformatting your hard disk. (Letting an Italian computer technician near your PC - RISC or otherwise - is like asking an Italian car park attendant to park your car for you.)
Apropos cooling on laptops. I've got a 'Tiny' laptop (I know what you're thinking Hugh Jampton, so keep your comments to yourself) to run VRPC and the problem I had was that the fan would go from low revs to high revs every couple of minutes, like this "uuuuuuweeeeeeeuuuuuuuuweeeeee" etc, ie from the slowest speed to the fastest, but then I heard about a program called 'speedfan' (thank you Andrew at RComp). I've used it to permanently speed up the fans, not to maximum revs but higher than they were originally set at, so now it goes "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaweeeeeaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa", ie from the next fastest speed to the highest, and is a lot less irritating. Of course if I had the money I'd have bought a better laptop. After fixing the hole in the roof, decorating the living room and sorting out the Fiat uno. One day.
Keep up the good work
Laurence Simmonds

Thanks for the kind words. Regarding computer technicians I don't think it's just Italian ones that have problems diagnosing problems. I've been aware of a number of cases of ct (computer technician/complete twit) overload recently. One example that stuck on my mind was a customer who was told that the network interface on his laptop had died and so he needed a new laptop. He obviously rung me having got the machine back from the shop he had taken it to over a week before. It took me about 5 minutes on the phone to discover that the reason the interface didn't work was because no drivers had been installed for it!

This brings me neatly to someone even worse than a real computer technician, the "friend". In many cases I see examples of the "friend" re-installing Windows on a machine, but neglecting to install any of the motherboard drivers, brilliant.

Anyway thanks for the tip about SpeedFan, I have put a copy in this issues software directory in the Windows section. For anyone that's thinking of buying a new laptop I can thoroughly recommend SterlingXS. I recently purchased a new laptop with a 15.1" screen, Athlon 2400+ processor, 30GB harddrive, integral CD writer/DVD reader and a host of ports, including 4 USB ports and a firewire one for the princely sum of £399 (including VAT). This wasn't a second hand machine but a brand new one. Sterling were even kind enough to unbox a machine to find out what motherboard chipset it used and then ring me back with the answer. Even better the machine came without an OS, so I wouldn't be paying for yet another copy of Windows when I had a spare WinXP sitting in the office. I ordered it at half past four on Wednesday and it arrived before ten on Friday morning.

So far I am very pleased with it. Despite the low price it's well made, although it's from a brand I had never heard of (iFriend). It runs VRPC well and even runs some older 3D games very well, including Serious Sam. Anyway enough of that and lets please leave the subject of fixing roofs, decorating the living room (now 90% done after 2 months) and especially fixing cars.

Anyway that's enough waffle from me, lets move on to out second letter...

Dear Aaron,
Perhaps this might swell the letters page.
In his review of the APDL Car Racing Games CD (Risc World 6/2), Matt Thompson wrote enthusiastically about Stunt Racer 2000 but doubted whether the Series two tracks were included. For anyone interested, let me confirm that not only are the Series two tracks on the CD but there are also a half dozen tracks from Series three! There is also a directory which purports to contain the Series four tracks - sadly this is not so, what it actually contains is a copy of the Series 2 tracks in uncompressed format.
Matt also mentioned the !SRDesign track design program and offered to send a copy to anyone interested. To avoid troubling him, this is available from:
Note that it is classed as a Beta release and has not been updated since August 1998.
I also know of two other facilities for use with SR2000:
To edit a driver file giving increased ability rating, equipment and so on. It was published on an Acorn Computing Subscription disc in June, 1994.
To redefine the keyboard control keys used by SR2000. This also was on an Acorn Computing Cover disc from Feb, 1994.
If anyone has the original Acorn User Collector's CD-Rom No.1, they can be found at $.ACORNUSER.DISCS.ACORNCOMP.SUBS.9406S.Databay.StuntEd.!StuntEd and $.ACORNUSER.DISCS.ACORNCOMP.COVER.9402.Databay.!SRKeys
All three utilities are freeware and OS4 compatible but !SRKeys is NOT compatible with Select or Adjust! I cannot speak for Iyonix.
If the rush is not too great, I could offer to e-mail copies or, dare I suggest it, they might be published in RISCWorld or even posted on the update section of the APDL web site!
Best wishes
Alan Minns

Not so much swell the letters page as double it! Thanks for confirming that the series 2 tracks are on the CD as well as the series 3 tracks. Perhaps it might be worth passing on the problem with the series 4 tracks directly to APDL. It's interesting to see that third party hacks for StuntRacer were produced and I wasn't aware of these. As for hosting them on the APDL or RISCWorld websites this isn't something we would want to do. Mind you what I would like to see is a general RISC OS software repository, a one-stop shop for freeware, along the lines of TuCows.

So that's it for this letter(s) page As before why not help save the RISCWorld letters page from wasting away to nothing by e-mailing us to the following address

Aaron Timbrell