RISC World

Editor's Corner

Aaron Timbrell's own bit of the magazine.

So, here we are at the start of Volume 7 of RISCWorld and I'm knackered. The reason that I'm in this state is because I am writing this the week after the Wakefield show. Although the show may only be one day, it's a very long day, as indeed are all the days for several weeks before the show. As you are no doubt aware we launched two new versions of VirtualAcorn at the show, which meant the usual round of coding, compiling, testing, bug fixing etc. This is a surprisingly time consuming process. Everything needs to be tested but before it's tested it needs to be written. This meant that Graeme was writing the new Windows stuff and I was writing the new RISC OS stuff. Then the two have to be combined, disc builds produced, then tested, then tested again and of course finally, once we are both happy, duplicated.

Of course packaging also needs to be produced. OK, it might not look like much, but when you want to make 200 DVD cases that equates to 200 covers that need printing and cut; 200 manuals that have to be printed, folded, stapled and cut. Then there are two registration cards per pack, so 400 in total, and again these have to be printed and cut. It's a lot of work. In fact it takes a full day and a half to assemble the packaging. When you add in the regular work of answering the phone, dealing with e-mails etc it's flippin tiring.

Add in the CD duplication and other odds and ends and you are looking at several weeks work to produce the final products (that's after the usual testing etc). I was working 18 hours days for the 7 days before the show to make sure we were ready. A couple of days before the show, and once I was happy we were going to make the deadline, I sent out press releases announcing the new StrongArm VirtualAcorns. What was the first two comments I saw on the newsgroups? "Wot, No Linux version?", then the next comment was "Wot no Mac version?". Great, thanks guys. We've busted a gut getting new versions out, we are developing our products and the first comments are complaints that we haven't done something else. So here is an idea. Instead of moaning about the companies that do produce new products, why not raise issue with those that don't? I nearly posted back to the newsgroup, my comment was going to be "Wot no Iyonix2? Wot no Oregano3? Wot no ImpressionX?". Oh, and before I forget, "Wot No Qercus...again?"

Here's a final thought. Do you know what, in my opinion, causes most damage to the RISC OS market? Is it the divergence between RISC OS 5 and RISC OS 4? No. Is it the lack of Flash support? No. Is it the lack of a decent modern browser? No. I'll tell you what I think it is. It's the continual whinging on newsgroups, news websites and almost any place else. Anyone interested in finding out about RISC OS is going to quickly find a bunch of rude, opinionated twits, moaning about all and sundry. So here's an idea, instead of going off on a rant these people should sit down and work out what they can do to promote RISC OS to the wider world and help out. It's a small market, we all need to work together to promote RISC OS. I can understand users being unhappy because there is something that can't be done on RISC OS, but instead of complaining loudly, why not try and do something to resolve the problem. Help not hinder, that's my motto.

Editors Rant of the month

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

Let's talk about welding. Why welding? Well those who have been reading my editorials for a while might have guessed that I have decided that it's VW Camper time. As most people know the Camper has been sitting in the garden since we moved here over a year ago. No work was done on it for almost a year before we moved. So it's been sitting there quietly rusting for nearly two years since I last raised a welding torch in anger.

Anyway with the Easter bank holiday coming up I decided it was time to see where I had got to. The answer was actually quite a long way. The structural welding on the passenger side is complete, as was the welding at the rear. So it was time for a quick look at the drivers side. This was a bit more messy. The outer sill was missing, presumed lost, and the centre sill was incomplete, so that looked like a good place to start. I am still having trouble finding tools since I haven't yet got a proper garage built, but the welder was easy to find. It's been sitting under the kitchen table for months, conveniently positioned for tripping up guests when they arrive.

Anyway, having located all my other welding paraphernalia, masks, gloves, grinder, cutters etc, I was ready for inaction. But that won't get the job done, so instead I dived in. Only I didn't. I needed some sheet steel to make a panel for the sill, and this was inside the camper. Not a problem you might think, and you would be wrong. It was buried under boxes of spares, repair panels, wheels and what looked suspiciously like rusted components of the Forth bridge (why the Forth bridge? Well the first three fell down).

So we (Hayley) emptied the camper contents all over the garden to see what he had, and there was my sheet steel. So off I went like a mad thing. Cutting, welding grinding, swearing, welding, swearing, swearing, getting burnt and finally getting annoyed. However I did get nearly three days of work done. This meant I was able to repair the cab floor on the drivers side, remove the front wheelarch and repair behind it, make the centre sill, weld plates over the inner sill and finally weld on an outer sill. Lovely.However whilst cleaning up the side panel above the new sill a nasty hole appeared. It seems as though it had previously been repaired with filler, the VW repair medium of choice. OK, so I'll pop a plate behind it and level the outside with filler. No I won't. I can't get to it. So this time we (me) have to empty the camper again to get to the hole. When I finally do examine it I discover the hole extends to the main floor (you can't see it from underneath as the suspension is in the way) and also along the top of the sill as seen from inside. Blast.

So I break out the tin snips. Then it starts raining and I have to quickly get all the new panels back inside the camper before they get too wet. I haven't been back to look at the hole again yet, I will do it after Wakefield, promise...if it doesn't rain...

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