Aaron Timbrell's own bit of the magazine.
Editors Rant of the month
Phew, that's 2006 over with, and wasn't it an exciting year? Lets, start with the good news for RISC OS users. Firstly the magazine Qercus, despite being considered dead by a lot of people, came back from the grave and is delivering regular issues roughly every 6 weeks. Not only was Qercus revived, but a new RISC OS magazine called RISC OS Now was launched at the South East Show. The first issue was a little ragged round the edges, but showed great promise. Other good news included the first new release of RISC OS from RISCOS Ltd for two and a half years. In addition a new company, RISC OS Open Ltd. was launched with the promise of RISC OS 5 being open sourced. This all sounds like brilliant news for RISC OS and the RISC OS community. So what's the bad news?
Well, lets go back to Qercus, the long delay (a year nearly) between issues has dented a lot of people's enthusiasm, plus the long term future of the magazine might be in doubt unless advertisers can be convinced that their adverts will actually appear when they are supposed to. Moving on to RISC OS Now, this was announced with a great flourish as filling the void left by Qercus. Now that Qercus is being delivered on a regular basis, guess what? That's right, RISC OS Now is late, and after only one issue. The editor, Louie Smith, was reportedly asking for help with rather basic DTP operations on a mailing list. Sounds familiar? Moving on, although RISCOS Ltd got a release out the door, it was a restricted preview version and wouldn't print or support the ViewFinder card. As for RISC OS Open Ltd, despite a great fanfare and the launch of a swish website not one single line of code has been made available. Meanwhile Castle are muttering about the licence conditions being with the solicitors. Wouldn't you have sorted that out first? I know I would have.
So what's my point? Well as you can see, the good and the bad are actually the same things. It's all a matter of perception. So, if you have a positive outlook the situation looks the best it has done for years. If you want to pick holes in it all and decide it's all depressing and that the gas oven beckons, then you can. I'm very positive about all the things that some people (or idiots as I prefer to call them) are negative about. The problem is that some people who post on the RISC OS newsgroups and forums are so negative that it beggars belief.
Actually I forgot one bad thing, what's the worst thing that happened last year? In my opinion it's the constant negativity from some people. I say lighten up, see the positives, either that or just get lost, the RISC OS world just doesn't need moaning idiots.
There isn't going to be much about vehicles in this issue, mainly because despite the previous overheating gearbox fiasco I haven't had any more motoring problems to date. This is despite my best efforts, even leaving my lights on for 5 hours whilst attending the RISCOS Ltd AGM didn't cause a major problem and I was able to start the Monterey with a bit of fiddling and plenty of wood touching. Well, when I say "wood", I mean plastic. It looks like wood, when I come to sell the vehicle it will be described as having a "walnut" dash. Yes, it looks like walnut, but like many things these days it isn't what it seems, it's plastic designed to appeal to the snob in all of us.
This brings me on to something that really does annoy me, a wonderful "new" word that has popped up over the last few years, I am sure you will recognise it, it's "faux". Yes, faux. As in not something. I first encountered this word a couple of years ago when I was looking at a poufee (another french word I note). It was marked as being made of "faux leather". Obviously at the time I has having a slight craft (can't remember a flippin thing) moment and wondered what sort of creature a "faux" was. Perhaps some sort of specially breed deer? A type of Siberian cattle famed for their hardiness? No, it's plastic. So when the tag says "faux leather" it means fake, not real, a knock off. Lets face it, it means crap. Given that my television and papers are bombarding me with adverts for "real leather" 3 piece suites for £499 it shouldn't be beyond the wit of man (with a big knife) to make a £69 pouf (English pronunciation) out of leather. Anyway I don't mind plastic, if it serves a purpose.
One purpose of plastic to to make a cheap pair of boots that don't leak. I know, I encountered a pair of plastic wellies in Lidl. They are waterproof, they have a furry lining (actually I just checked, it's "faux fur". Damn) so your feet don't get cold traipsing all over the National Forest with the dogs. However I still don't mind that much, because they were £6.99. And as the saying goes, they do exactly what it says on the tin, sorry, since they were in a plastic bag, "faux" tin. Anyway talking about the National Forest last year the 6th millionth tree was planted. As the Forest covers some 200 square miles I have worked out that means roughly 30,000 trees per square mile. Sounds a lot doesn't it? Except that 1 square mile is over 3 million square yards, which means assuming the trees were equally spaced there would be one every 100 yards, more of a "faux" forest at the moment then. In reality of course the trees are tightly packed into various bits, where one can walk the dogs. This isn't to say that I don't like the National Forest, I do, I love the idea. It just going to take another 20 to 30 years to make it a proper forest, by which time over 25 million trees will have been planted..
This is great, but a note of caution should be sounded. In order to keep this virgin forest pristine a number of signs have started appearing, "Clean up after your Dog". OK, that's sensible, nobody likes to walk out their front door and squelch into a pile of half digested Pedigree Chum. However these things have started appearing in the middle of nowhere. The old saying was "Do bears poo in the woods?" Well round here they poo in their enclosure at Twycross Zoo. However other animals are not so considerate. The average wooded area around here is knee deep in a collection of Fox, Badger, Deer, Rabbit, Buzzard etc. This is apparently fine, but not dog poo.
So now I have to put in my "faux" boots, get into my car with the "faux" wood dashboard, drive into the "faux" forest, but pick the real crap up with a real plastic bag.
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.