After careful overnight monitoring the letters page has recovered enough to be allowed home...
The page that everyone loves is making a sterling recovery, so what have our readers been saying to us recently?
This is a difficult one. Qercus is certainly late, well, 9 months late so far. As you are no doubt aware John Cartmell has offered a number of reasons for the delay, but has been saying for months that the next issue as at the printers. I'm sorry but that simply doesn't wash any longer. The delay in getting Qercus out the door is a huge embarrassment for the entire RISC OS community. However let's look at the situation regarding the erstwhile publishers of Qercus, Finnybank Limited.
The company Finnybank Limited (company number 04555426) was dissolved on the 25th of April 2006. Looking at the Companies House website it seems that the reason the company was dissolved was that it had failed in it's statutory obligations with regard to filing accounts. Accounts were due to be filed by the 31st of August 2005, but none had been filed. In addition a company return was due on the 4th of November 2004, again none had been filed. Companies can be dissolved even if they are in profit if they do not abide by the regulations, and it seems that Finnybank Limited did not do so.
So that sounds like the end of it you would think. However, a new company called Finnybank Ltd (not Finnybank Limited) was set up on the 5th of May 2006. This new company (company number 05807640) looks like it is continuing in the tradition of the old one and hasn't yet filed any paperwork. Now lets see if we can untangle this a little. Anyone who paid for a Qercus subscription before the 25th of April 2006 will have paid the old company, which no longer exists. Anyone who paid after this date will have paid the new company. The new company certainly seems to have taken on the assets of the old company, the question is, has it also taken on the liabilities? There is only one way to find out, ask for your money back and see what happens.
I don't like this sort of activity one bit. I've seen this sort of behaviour before with dodgy double glazing companies. One company goes bust and another one with an almost identical name springs up with all the assets of the old one, but none of the liabilities, usually with regard to guarantees etc. I am concerned about this sort of behaviour. I would be much happier of John Cartmell stopped messing around on the newsgroups and got on with the job in hand. I can only suggest that anyone who isn't happy should pursue the matter with John himself. If that fails then perhaps it might be worth contacting trading standards again and provide them with the information about both companies.
Now lets move on to a more pleasant subject...
The human mind seems to be quite predisposed to noticing patterns
and perceiving things as amazing coincidences when, in fact,
probability indicates that because there are so many amazing
coincidences that CAN happen, but mostly don't, the few that do
happen aren't actually all that amazing after all.
Thanks for this. I don't think this is a coincidence. When the new issue arrives it acts as a reminder to finish reading the last issue, before starting on the new one. This pattern of behaviour needs to be broken, so I have e-mailed you a reminder about finishing the last issue before this one arrives, hopefully that will correct the imbalance and mean that you will be freshly invigorated once the new issue arrives.
Moving on to the preemptive caption for the competition, this could prove interesting. I've passed this e-mail onto Hugh. This now means that when he selects his picture for this issues caption he will already know what the answer is supposed to be. This could cause all sort of potential problems, possibly including the word "quantum", but certainly not including the words "venting plasma from the warp nacelles". Put another way, your action, by sending the e-mail might have influenced future events in unpredictable ways. Much in the same way that a butterfly flapping it's wings in the rain forests of Brazil could easily cause knock-on effects culminating in the stuff I've won on eBay actually turning up.
Lets move on to something else related to past issues of RISCWorld.
Many thanks for the letter. There certainly seemed to be a big divide between those who welcomed the idea of emulation and those who saw it as the beginning of the end. However things have moved on and I think that most RISC OS users now realise that there is room for both the real and virtual machines. I know that a lot of VirtualAcorns are actually used on Laptops, where no "real" RISC OS solution exists. At the end of the day a computer is still simply s tool for a job. Ideally you use the best tools available. Some of the jobs I do are done on RISC OS, because it's better, some are done on Windows because that's better for those particular tasks.
I can't offer any help with the Cumana card. Have you tried asking Canon Computing as I believe they now handle Cumana products. Another suggestion would be to ask RISCOS Ltd, as they may have encountered the problem before. With regard to ArtWorks, the man to ask is Martin Wuerthner, because if he doesn't know I doubt that anyone does.
Well that's it for this issue. If you would like to write to us then use the following e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm off to find out how much a 30% stake in Castle Technology Limited is worth...