RISC World

Editor's Corner

Aaron Timbrell's own bit of the magazine.

Editors Rant of the month

Do you know what one of the main problems facing RISC OS is these days? I do, it's people saying "sod this for a lark I'm going to run Linux." So why are people doing this? Well there are a number of reasons, some we can't do anything about, some we most certainly could. Firstly one of the complaints is slow pace of development on RISC OS. Certainly Castle have just released RISC OS 5.13 for the Iyonix, but that seems to have had 30 minutes worth of quick bug fixes applied. Indeed there haven't been any new features in RISC OS 5 for years. So what about RISCOS Ltd? Well they have got one release out recently, the RISC OS 6 Preview, but it was a preview and it didn't print, or run Impression. Oh dear.

Now I know a full version of RISC OS 6/Select 4 is imminent, mainly because most of this issue of RISCWorld has been written on it. However it's still not quite ready because sterling efforts are being made to deal with any problems that were reported by people using the preview release. Ideally this should be done quicker, but it can't. So why doesn't RISCOS Ltd tell people what's going on? Well that's a double edged sword. If you say anything you get pushed by some in the market and get accused of pre-announcing things. That's a fair comment, the RISC OS market has had lots of things that have been pre-announced but never arrived. People get sick of waiting, then they go away never to return. So it's better to wait till it's ready, which I know will be very soon although this issue of RISCWorld will be out before the full Select release. On the other hand people take silence to mean inaction, especially if prompted to by some rather vocal critics. Here's a thought, it they are so critical of everything related to RISC OS why are they still here?

Which brings me to my next point. I don't know about you but I am on the verge of giving up with the RISC OS newsgroups. Once of the only reasons I remain is to try and catch and correct any nonsense I see from certain RISC OS "experts". I have corrected a few things in the last few months, whilst trying to avoid (with great difficulty and limited success) the firefights that are going on. Most annoyingly you could remove five people from the groups, one of whom has announced that he's "taking a break" anyway and a lot of the antagonism and negativity would be removed at a stroke. The level of nastiness and vindictiveness is reaching ridiculous levels. So look guys, take a deep breath, pause for ten seconds, exhale then leave the keyboard alone for a half hour or so. I know that I am one of partially guilty ones, because I get wound up by some people's attitude. I try not to, but a couple of those on the newsgroups could do with having their heads nailed to a table. Sorry, I'll calm down.....breath in....

Here are the facts. The RISC OS market is a small one. Developers are doing their best with limited budgets. Instead if fighting why not try co-operating? Accept that things won't go as quickly as they like, accept that other people may have a different view and above all try to have an open mind. Give others some slack, try to be polite. If the negativity and the pointless infighting stops then perhaps people will stop leaving. Wouldn't that be good for everyone?

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

I've been so busy with RISC OS things in the last few months that I haven't had any time for much motoring nonsense. The VW Camper is still slowly turning into ferrous oxide and the Talbot Samba has started joining it. We had decided that the Talbot needed an MOT. Either we were going to start using it, or we were going to sell it. So whatever we did an MOT would be essential. A brief check round revealed that one of the rear tyres had gone past it from standing (the sidewalls had cracked). However with a bit of persuasion the car was started. Then it was promptly stopped again whilst I fixed the fuel leak from the carb. This is annoying as I changed the fuel pump just after the car came off the road and must have dislodged the inlet pipe to the carb whilst doing so. Having sorted this out I did the usual check of the electrical system and after remembering how to get the lights to work they all seemed ok.

Having checked the electrics I then carefully examined the bodywork using the correct Ministry of Transport approved tool (hammer). Within a few seconds I had put a hole through the driver's sill. Never mind, soon after I made a matching hole on the passenger side. I dug out the welder and it didn't take ten minutes to make some repair plates. Indeed not ten minutes, it actually took two and a half hours - still at least the sills were now serviceable. I then checked the front wings, which had started to bubble. They had now stooped bubbling and were fermenting at a surprising rate. Not only that but the flitch plates (where the wings bolt on) had also been attacked by the rust flies. I debated removing the wings but couldn't find a suitably large dustpan. Perhaps some new ones would be in order.

Now you can't just pop into Talbots-Are-Us and pick up some new wings and a quarter of spark plugs. So I consulted eBay. Believe it or not someone was selling two used but rust free front wings. Ah, pretty beauties you are mine. And after clicking on "Buy-it-Now" they were. The seller wanted some extra money for the carriage (fair enough) so we sorted this out and then I waited. Then I waited some more. Having got waiting down to a fine art I continued waiting for the rest of the week. By the next week I was out of patience. I contacted the seller. I got a quick response, "My husband is away on business and won't be back till the middle of next week." Bugger, and lots of other words ending in "er". So I waited some more. The wings still didn't turn up. Perhaps they had flown away?

Eventually I got a message from the seller saying he would chase them up. He then came back later that day and said that Interlink had "lost" them. Apparently a van got stolen and 250 parcels had gone missing. I must say that I am a little unconvinced but I got my money back, but that doesn't help. So if by any chance you happen to have a pair of front wings for a Talbot Samba please do get in touch as I am desperate (and he wants the wings - HJ).

(As an aside whilst checking this I had a blind spot over the word "ferrous". So I typed it into Google. One of the sponsored links was an offer to "Buy Ferrous Oxide on eBay". That's how I found the Talbot Samba in the first place).

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