RISC World

Editor's Corner

Aaron Timbrell's own bit of the magazine.

Well it's the start of 2006 and it's traditional for magazine editors to write a little "here's what I think we can expect in the next 12 months" article. The problem is that it's almost impossible to predict the weather more than 3 days ahead, so how on earth is anyone suppose to make sensible predictions about the next 12 months. Still It doesn't seem to stop anyone trying, so here goes...

Aaron's predictions for the next 12 months.

  • The A9home will get a full release. My money is on a release at Wakefield as it's Advantage 6's home ground.
  • A single unified version of RISC OS for all machines, including the Iyonix, to be released by RISCOS Ltd.
  • Select4 finally gets a release.
  • A MacOS version of VirtualAcorn gets released.
  • Impression X appears in some form or another.
  • Vantage gets taken over by another developer.

So do you agree with me? Or not? Either way why not drop us a line and tell us what you think might be coming up in the next twelve months. After all I am quite sure that I have missed out something obvious.

On a slightly different note here is a classic example of one hand not knowing what the other is doing. Severn Trent Water are about to dig up our road in the next two weeks to replace the water main. I went out to the Post Office this morning. When I came back a group of council workmen were busy relaying part of the road. I stopped and asked if they knew the road was getting dug up again in the next two weeks. "Yeah, we know", came the reply. Why the council can't repair the road after it's all been dug up I don't know.

And for anyone who thinks this is a one off around ten years ago the road we used to live on in Bracknell was resurfaced. Within two weeks NTL dug it all up again to fit a cable TV network...

Editors Rant of the month

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

Last issue I finished off with a comment about what's happened to the Beetle over the last couple of months. I didn't actually explain what had happened, but if you are ready I will now spill the beans, take a deep breath...

I was on the drive one afternoon when I herd a bang and a crack, I turned round and saw that the Beetle's windscreen was smashed. Leaping to a logical conclusion I rushed outside and found a couple of kids walking up the road. I ran over and asked the first one if they had thrown a stone. "No, he did it" said the little girl pointing to a worried looking eight year old. I then asked him if he threw a stone and he admitted it. I then "invited" him to come and see what damage his stone had done. I also explained that I was not best pleased and wanted a word with his Dad. To cut a long story short Dad offered to pay for the windscreen and we left it for the day.

Over night it rained. Then it rained some more. Then to add variety it rained.

In the morning the inside of the Beetle was soaked with several inches of water in the footwells. I was not pleased and got a bucket. I arranged for the insurance company to send out a fitter to replace the screen. Problem number one then reared its ugly head. The Beetle is a 1303 model with a curved screen, all other Beetles have a flat screen. The approved fitters couldn't get a screen for several days. To prevent any more water from getting in the car I went a bought a "waterproof" car cover. That night it rained. Next morning the car was full of water again. Presumably the use of the word "waterproof" referred to the manufacturer rather than any attempt by the product itself to stop water getting in the car. Luckily the next night it didn't rain.

Next day the windscreen fitter appeared (sounds like a Mr Benn moment doesn't it? - HJ) with the correct screen. That was the good news over with, the bad news was that the new screen was scratched. Yes he could polish the scratch out, but would have to come back. I asked him to fit the screen, which he did. Luckily the Beetle had newish screen rubbers, from when it was restored, so the job wasn't too difficult. He promised to come back with a polishing machine and get rid of the scratch. Much to my surprise he did, OK it was after I had made several phone calls to the company and finally threatened to complain about them to my insurer, but at least he came back.

In the meantime with a new screen in place the Beetle would now be watertight again wouldn't it? No, it wouldn't. The next time it rained there was more water in the footwells. How could this be? After a lot of head scratching I wondered if the screen was correctly fitted. I asked the screen fitter, when he finally arrived with his polishing machine, if he had any idea. He had a poke around and said that in his opinion the door seals were letting water in. Now luckily I had a new pair of Beetle door seals left over from another car a few years ago, all I had to do was spend 3 hours finding them. In the end they surfaced under boxes of VW parts in the front footwell of the camper. It was only a couple of minutes work to remove the old door seals. Mind you then it was an afternoons work to clean up the and derust the lip on the bottom of the doors.

With new door seals fitted I bailed out the car again and waited for rain. I didn't have long to wait and yes the footwells were now dry! Now I needed to sort out the floor that had started to go rusty. Luckily I had removed the carpets some time ago when I welded the front of the car, so all I needed to do was remove the seats. These seats are not original, they are actually from a Scirroco and had been "adapted" to fit. Late model Beetles have a three point fixing for the seats, two bolts at the back and a pin at the front to adjust the seat on the runners. On removing the driver's seat I found that it had no pin at the front. Even worse the seat had been cut with an angle grinder to "adjust" the base to fit the wider runners on he Beetle. This would be fine, if the seat had been welded back together again afterwards. It hadn't. As it was it was lethal. In any kind of accident it would have broken free and sent the driver (me) speeding into the dashboard.

I've never understood why some people spend so long restoring a car, only to cut corners on essential safety items. Anyway, having discovered the problem with the seat there was no way I was going to drive the car until it was fixed. So after a couple of weeks of pondering I took the seat down to our local engineering company to see if they could weld it. They could. They did. Then the seat didn't fit any more because they had welded it slightly out of alignment. I tried carefully bending it to fit, the new weld broke. So much for professionals. I decided to bite the bullet and weld it myself.

Rather than just "bodge" the seat I decided to cut the other end of the support brackets that had been cut before and to re-weld them in a different place, thus restoring the full strength to the seat whilst still allowing it to fit properly. Much to my surprise this actually proved very easy and it only took half an hour or so to properly weld up and adapt the drivers seat so that it was safe. The newly prepared seat was trial fitted and went in first time. Next job was to wire brush and Hammerite the driver's side of the floor. This took some time as there was a lot of surface rust to remove and I wanted the floor to be 100% dry before being painted. Still in the end, and almost a month after the screen got broken the driver's side floor was rust free and the seat was fitted correctly. Now it was time to do the passenger side....

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