RISC World

Letters Page

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?

Dear Editor,
When I renewed my subscription to Qercus early in October last year, a note on the renewal form stated that the next issue was about to go to the printers. When nothing had appeared.
By the end of the year I tried to telephone the publisher, but the only response was a recorded message to the effect that "the person you are calling is unavailable at present", there was no response to a written enquiry.
In February this year I wrote to the trading standards office in Manchester in case it had some information. and several weeks later received me following response from the trading standards office in Hereford:
"I can confirm that according to the Companies House website the status of the Company (Finnybank Ltd) at this time is 'Proposed to strike off'."
"Therefore at the moment there is little chance that you will be able to obtain any redress until the company is wound up and a liquidator is appointed. Once this has occurred the details of any liquidator will be shown on the Companies House website, Therefore my advice so you is to monitor the website ( until these details appear so that you may contact them."
I infer from this that the publisher of Qercus is bankrupt, so I was very surprised to read in your report on the Wakefield Show in the June issue of RISC World that John Cartmell gave a talk about Qercus magazine, and hope that he wasn't taking subscriptions,
Mr A.J. Beasiey

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...

Dear Aaron 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.
So it's probably not an amazing coincidence, and it's even more likely that it's not even a slightly dull coincidence or, in fact, not even a coincidence at all, that while reading the latest issue of RISCWorld I spotted a pattern - not least because that pattern involves RISCWorld.
Specifically, whenever RISCWorld arrives, I've only ever read about half of the previous issue, so I will invariably then finish reading that before making a start on the latest issue - which I'll get half way through before being distracted by something else (probably either a pattern or something that isn't remotely interesting, let alone amazing, irrespective of whether or not it's a coincidence) and subsequently forget to read the rest of the issue until the next one arrives to serve as a reminder.
One example amongst many of the problems this presents me is that I can't enter the caption contest on Hugh Jampton's page, since when I come to read it the results have already been published (although I won't actually get around to reading those results until the next issue arrives).
With this in mind, I have decided to offer an entry to the NEXT issue's caption contest now, even though I have absolutely no idea what the picture will be. So, with no further ado, my caption for the RW7.2 caption contest is as follows:
"And in conclusion, gentlemen, it is plain to see that the planetary core is in fact a very big ball of belly button fluff."
Vince M Hudd

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.

Hi Aaron,
I have recently subscribed to RISCWorld and took out the DVD compilation of volumes 1-6 option.
After reading the article on the debate between emulation and hardware for RISC OS, I am pleased to inform both the reviewers that I purchased VIRTUAL RPC-SE (later upgraded to SA) and found my interest in RISC OS had been rekindled. I dusted down my Risc PC StrongARM and started to use it again. I upgraded some of my most frequently used programs and upped the system to RISC OS 4.39.
I use the emulator on my laptop at work as the ones there are all Windows PCs and I find RISC OS so much easier to work with. There are some programs I have that allow me to use files I have created on both my Risc PC and Windows (Artworks and Xara Xtreme to name 2) which can only be a good thing.
So I say that BOTH options are good, as in the case of emulation reminding people of what they're missing and of purchasing new hardware to support our dwindling suppliers.
On a personal note, may I ask subscribers if they could help with the following:
After upgrading to Adjust, my Cumana SCSI II card no longer functions correctly, so is there a way around this?
I have the original Artworks 1.56 CD and some files on it will not load into 2.34. I seem to recall a way around this but I cannot remember the fix for it. I seem to recall it meant having to alter the files, loading them into Edit and stripping some info from the file and then resaving.
Thanks for a great 'magazine'.
Peter Dalziel.

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 I'm off to find out how much a 30% stake in Castle Technology Limited is worth...

Aaron Timbrell