RISC World

Editor's Corner

Aaron Timbrell's own bit of the magazine.

It's looking very exciting in the RISC OS market at the moment. Against all expectations Qercus has come back from the dead with a nice issue and John Cartmell is promising to deliver further issues roughly every six weeks. Another new RISC OS magazine has also been launched. RISC OS Now is, like Qercus, a proper A4 colour magazine and looks very promising for a first issue, although I have to say that the number of errors in this first example is a cause for some concern.

Moving on from magazines there have been two very exciting developments in RISC OS since the last issue of RISCWorld.

Firstly RISCOS Open Ltd announced that they, in conjunction with Castle Technology Ltd, would be making certain components of the RISC OS 5 sources available under a "shared source" licence. This, presumably, is what Castle's Jack Lillingston was referring to when he made statement saying that Castle was considering open sourcing RISC OS. At the time of writing no source code has been made available, neither have the licence terms, or the pricing structure. Until these appear there isn't a great deal more to say beyond the fact that this development could turn out to be very interesting.

Secondly RISCOS Ltd announced the imminent release of RISC OS 6 as part of the Select scheme. A preview version of RISC OS 6 will be made available to all current and most lapsed Select subscribers. The full release will only be available to current subscribers. By the time you read this RISC OS 6 should be available, so if your Select subscription expired after the end of May 2004 I strongly suggest downloading a copy and having a play.

So, there has been plenty of good news over the last couple of months, lets hope the flood of positive developments continues.

Editors Rant of the month

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

Those who have been able to keep up with my motoring mayhem may well realise that the size of the Timbrell fleet is slowly decreasing. Indeed the main daily vehicle is the Vauxhall Monterey (Isuzu Trooper in drag - DH). So, as you would expect, it got used to ferry me, my suitcase and the show stuff down to the RISC OS SouthEast show last month, As usual before setting off I did my regular checks on fluids, tyres etc. I noticed that the auto gearbox fluid level was low, so I topped it up to the correct level before leaving.

As an aside I feel that I should point out that very little of my driving involves motorways these days. To be honest I seem to spend most of my time on country lanes and the occasional 'A' road when I head into Burton or Derby. The previous owner also didn't use the vehicle to travel long distances, so this trip could easily have been the vehicle's first longish motorway journey in quite a few years. Can you see where this is going yet? Anyway, having loaded up and set off I bowled down to the top end of the M42, which then takes me down to Birmingham. As is often the case I crawled around Birmingham in the Friday lunchtime snarl up. Finally light dawned as signs for the M40 appeared. The M40 was much clearer than the M42 and I made good progress. I had already decided to pop in and see some friends in Maidenhead before going on to visit my parents then finally to the hotel in Guildford.

So far so good. At least it was so good until I got about ten miles from High Wycombe. At this point one of the myriad warning lights on the dash came on. This particular light was the overheat warning on the gearbox. Bugger. I slapped the car into neutral and coasted onto the hard shoulder and turned the engine off. A quick look underneath revealed a nasty pool of gearbox fluid forming on the tarmac. Double bugger. I left the vehicle to cool down for half an hour an then checked the gearbox dipstick which showed that there was still fluid present. I started the engine and no warning lights came on. Oh well, I thought, lets see what happens. I carefully drove to Maidenhead, being overtaken by trucks all the way. Having got to Maidenhead I checked the fluid level again and it was still within the marks on the dipstick. However I took the opportunity to invest in a bottle of Dexron III fluid at the local auto factors.

Having indulged in several cups of tea I drove to my parents, still with no problems showing. Then I headed on to Guildford, again with no problems. Next morning I topped up the fluid and drove to the show, which was only two minutes away. I'm not going to go over the show itself as Dave Bradforth has written a show report for this issue. At the end of the day I loaded up and went off for a meeting in Guilford town centre. Then I decided to go and stay with my sister-in-law in Reading since, as the car had gone wrong, it seemed sensible to drive back in the morning.

Next morning I re-loaded the car and set off. I drove all the way home at sixty mph, which interestingly used a lot less petrol than driving at seventy, and the car didn't miss a beat. So what was wrong? To be honest I haven't got the faintest idea! I can't find anything amiss, I havn't seen any further leaks so I am a bit stumped. The best suggestion so far, from Dave Holden, was that some plonker had filled the box up with the wrong type of automatic transmission fluid and this couldn't cope with the heat and was bubbling. This would result in the pump sucking air and the box overheating. Well it's a fair suggestion. In the meantime I shall continue pottering around and checking the fluid once a week to see if the level drops.

Cheap motors, aren't they fun?

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