RISC World

Editor's Corner

Aaron Timbrell's own bit of the magazine.

Editors Rant of the month

There is lots to be cheerful about at the moment. The Wakefield show was a cracking success. RISCOS Ltd. have finally released a full version of RISC OS 6 as part of the Select scheme, the first full version 1.00 release of Netsurf is now available and the first RISC OS 5 sources are now available from RISCOS Open Ltd. The Macintosh version of VirtualAcorn is coming alone nicely (feedback from the beta version we made available at Wakefield has been very positive), a full version of RISC OS 6 for the A9 is on the cards and there is lots more good news all over. So why am I so browned off with RISC OS?

I can tell you in one word, idiots. I don't mean people who are after technical support from myself, although regular readers may be pleased to know that "Mr Snap" has come out of retirement for one last special farewell concert. In fact the technical support side of VirtualAcorn has been bouncing along very nicely since the website was re-jigged so users could actually find the information they need. No, I am referring to the rude, abusive and damn right nasty postings that have been appearing on the RISC OS newsgroups and some of the RISC OS news sites in the last few months.

A couple of individuals have especially annoyed me, I don't want to name names but I am sure that regular newsgroup readers will know exactly who I mean. The long running dispute between two particular individuals has reached new heights of absurdity. Now before you think, "hold on...who's Aaron to go complaining? He's just as bad if not worse...". Well, yes, I have been bad in the past, basically because I can't stand people deliberately making false statements, so I got annoyed and respond. However this isn't really helpful, so I have made deliberate efforts to curb my tongue.

Having now managed to get one fingertip clenched onto the moral high ground I have tried, with possibly some success to broker a truce between the worst two protagonists. One of the two was prepared to give a truce a chance, one wasn't (or at least tried to insist that there were a load of "terms" that were "non-negotiable" attached). I'm sorry, all I would like is for the abuse and the arguments to stop. Lets just dump the baggage and start again. I would not expect anyone to apologise for past "wrongs", at least not yet, but just to sit down think about it and try to avoid the destructive abusive arguments.

Here lies the real reason I am browned off. I've busted a gut working on RISC OS over the last few years and it seems as though all the good work has been wasted as people leave the market due to the abuse and negativity. There's a lot of good news about, lets celebrate it instead of pointlessly arguing about this, that and the other. Yes some things could be better, but if more people leave then things will certainly get a lot worse. Sermon over.

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

I've sold my Camper. That was a surprise wasn't it? After seven years of happy ownership I have finally had to admit defeat. Over the long April Bank Holiday weekend I decided to have a couple of days welding so I could complete the driver's side wheel arch. I dragged all the tools out from their various hiding places and sat down to see what needed to be done first. I started with the suspicious looking plate to the rear of the inner wheel arch. The filler fairy had obviously paid a visit in the past, but why? The answer was to cover up the pop riveted plate. Oh well it's not as though I am unfamiliar with this sort of "repair". So I made a new repair section, then started welding it in, then gave up.

Having had a sit down and a think I decided to take long hard look at the Camper. Firstly would I ever use it once it was finished? The answer was no, I wouldn't. Not having a "pop top" meant you needed to hunch yourself over and couldn't stand up (my back is much worse than it was a few years ago). Having two dogs meant there wasn't enough room inside anyway. So why was I carrying on? Because I don't like giving up on a project once I have started, because I had done so much work already, because I "owed" it to the Camper...

I sat down and had a coffee. Then I made the decision, I was going to sell the Camper as a project vehicle to someone else who might have more enthusiasm. I did some quick calculations and worked out what I would like to get back in monetary terms. The only way to get close was to sell the Camper with the original parts, but sell all the new parts as separate lots. So out came the camera.

I started listing the items on eBay the next day and was rather surprised at the amount of things I had collected over the years. Two complete sets of window rubbers, new doors, new lights, door handles, trim etc, the list was quite large. Selling the parts was no problem, they were all new and unused, so I would get back most of my money, or even make a profit on the rarer items. But what of the Camper itself?

I set up an eBay auction with no reserve. Within a day I had a phone call. A chap wanted to come and see it, he was only round the corner and came round 10 minutes later. Yes, he liked it, would I take £500 for it? Errr, ummmm. Having sold many things in my time I know not to take the first offer, unless its more than you want. I took his number. The next phone call was someone from Manchester. Could they come down and take a look? Of course. When would they be coming? Tomorrow at 7pm. Lovely. Fast forwarding to "tomorrow" evening 7 o'clock came round, but a buyer didn't. At 8pm the phone went, they were running late but were on their way. At 9:30 the hone rang again. Where were we? Where were "we"? "We" are still here where we live, where are "they". Well "they" have ended up nearly back where they started by the simple mechanism of not grasping the concept that a road goes in two directions. "We got on the A50 like the directions said..." Yes, well you got on the A50 going the wrong way didn't you?

They finally turned up at 10:45 in the evening. By this time it was too dark to see. Would I take £700? Actually if you had got here on time I would have done. But whilst you were driving in circles someone else offered me £1400 via e-mail. They went home (I wonder if they ever arrived). So I contacted the e-mail chap and said yes, but wait, can you see what's coming? Yes it was a time waster, he wouldn't return any e-mails and didn't answer the phone number he gave me. What a nice man. I was on the verge of going back to the first chap who had offered me £500 when I got another phone call. Another local person wanted to have a look. He and his wide came along and were here for two hours, had I had any offers. Yes I had accepted an offer of £1400, but I liked his face and he could have it for £1350...

He would think about it...I gave up, then two days later he was on the doorstep at 9:00 in the morning. OK, he will give me £1350 for it. Whoppeee. I took a deposit and gave him a receipt. So last weekend he came along with a tow rope and I said goodbye to Hooch the Camper. It's all a bit sad, but never mind I have already spent the it a classic, It's a sensible modern find out what you will have to wait for the next issue...

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Aaron Timbrell