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p R E S S 9 770263 745109 1 

ISSUE 207 MAY 1999 

■# Doom level 
designer competition 

i^BTMLJ’roreviewed ^ 

• Fmalimpacl^i^l^vSarticles 

• Helvetic ancTflexen 





25% off when bought with drive or scanner etc 

CT’i Storm SCSI interface offers unbeatable 
performance. Using ISHB/s SGI components 
and our ultra-reliable SGI IS, Storm’s a 
guaranteed winner. 

A30x0 IDE interface kit - 2.5" hard drive 
A3020 fixing kit - 2.5" hard drive 
A3/400 IDE interface for 2.5" & 3.5" h.d. 
Storm8 SCSI2 interface - A30x0 A4000 
Storml6 SCSI2 i/f - A300/A400 A5/7000 
StormDMA32 SCSI2 i/f RPC 
Storml6 SCSI2/IOBaseT Ethernet i/f 
Storml6 SCSI2/IOBaseT&2 Ethernet i/f 


170MB A3000/A30IO interlace included 
170MB A3020 fitting kit included 
170MB A300/A400 interface included 
500MB A3000/A30I0 interface included 
500MB A3020 fitting kit included 
500MB A300/A400 interface included 
210MB 3.5" IDE for A4000 &A5000 
500MB 3.5 IDE for A4000 & A5000 
1.2GB 3.5" IDE for RiscPC & A7000/+ 
2GB 3.5" IDE for RiscPC & A7000/+ 
4GB 3.5" IDE for RiscPC & A7000/+ 
100MB 3.5" SCSI 
500MB 3.5" SCSI 
2GB 3.5" SCSI 
4GB 3.5" SCSI 
6GB 3.5" SCSI 




for hard drives CD drives & removeable drives 
FREE headphones and data cable worth over £20 

Acorn M E U 2x CD + free 5.25" slot 



Case for single SCSI device 



Combo case for 2 SCSI devices 




inc FREE software worth £49 

The new ultra-slim ScanExpress 36-bit 
colour scanner has a compact footprint, 
fast scanning speeds and quiet operation. 
Free ImageMaster software and TWAIN 
driver, free PC interface/software kit 
(SCSI only). Optional transparency 
adaptor available. 


- free media with all drives 

For flexible, expandable storage, the infinite 
capacity of a removable drive is perfect. All 
drives are the latest spec, and internal versions 
can be fitted into the CT Combo case. Data 
transfer rate up to 8.8HB/sec (Nomai). 

COMBOS (no & CD) 

Full range available - free fitting in combo case 
when all purchased at the same time 


Guaranteed 4MB+/sec read transfer rate with 
Castle Storm DMA32 SCSI card 

Ex VAT Inc VAT j 

£52 £61.10 1 

£8 £9.40 1 

£60 £70.50 1 

£88 £103.40 1 

£96 £112.80 1 

£128 £150.40 
£148 £173.90 [ 

£196 (230301 

18GB XTRA 3.5" SCSI 

£179 (210.33 
£329 (386.58 
£599 (703.83 


Fastest on market - externally boxed and ideal for 
Video use - Storm DMA32 card recommended 

I 4GB Video SCSI external 
9GB Video SCSI external 
18GB Video SCSI external 

£349 (410.08 
£599 (703.83 
£899 (105633 

£95 (111.63 1 

£59 (69.33 1 

£100 (117.50 1 

£128 (150.40 1 

£89 (104.58 

£134 (157.45 

£45 (52.88 

£59 (69.33 

£69 (81.08 

£80 (94.00 

£99 (116.33 


inc FREE driver software & fixing kit worth £29 

Castle Technology’s range of CD ROM 

drives are chosen for their reliability, 

ease of use and robustness. They have 

fast access times, and include driver 

software. They are particularly suitable 

for multimedia applications. 



£115 (135.13 
£149 (175.08 
£239 (280.83 

4x speed SCSI CD ROM drive 
8x speed SCSI CD ROM drive 
32x speed SCSI CD ROM drive 
24x speed IDE CD ROM drive 
32x speed IDE CD ROM drive 
IDE CD driver for Rise PC & A7000 
6x4x2 CD int ReWriter inc ICDBurn 
6x4x2 Ext CD ReWriter inc ICDBurn 
16x4x4 CD int ReWriter inc ICDBurn 
16x4x4 Ext CD ReWriter inc ICDBurn 
CD ROM fixing kit (data & audio cable) 


7 SCSI CD towers with lockable doors 

Add the Castle Technology CD Tower to your 

network and have simultaneous access to 

between 7 & 28 CD-ROMs. Enables CD 

resource discs to remain locked and 

untouched but accessible from all over the 

network. Up to 4 towers can be connected 

to one computer. Fully compatible with 

Access CD network software. 

ZIP drive internal I00MBSCSI 



ZIP drive external 100MB SCSI 



ZIP drive external parallel not A300 etc 



Iomega Parallel ZIP driver (100MB) 



MaxIT internal 500MB SCSI drive 



JAZIGB internal SCSI drive 



JAZ IGB external SCSI drive 



Syjet internal 1.5GB SCSI drive 



Syjet external 1.5GB SCSI drive 



JAZ 2GB internal SCSI drive 



JAZ 2GB external SCSI drive 



PD 24x CD & 630MB optical SCSI drive 




A300 &A400 I-4MB 



A300 &A400 4-8MB 



A3000 I-4MB 



A3000 4-8MB 



A3000 serial port upgrade 



A30I0 I-2MB 



A30I0 I-4MB 



A3020 & A4000 2-4MB 



A5000 2-4MB 



A5000 4-8MB 



16MB SIMM -Rise PC A7000/+ 



32MB SIMM -Rise PC A7000/-F 



64MB SIMM -Rise PC A7000/+ 



128MB SIMM - Rise PC A7000/+ 






8x CD & 100MB HD - external SCSI 
8x CD & 500MB HD - external SCSI 



(152.75 1 
(176.25 1 


Zip 100MB media £8 (9.40 1 

Zip 100MB media (6 pack) £45 £ 52.83 1 

Syquest 105MB media £29 (34.03 1 

Syquest 135MB media £21 £24.63 1 

Syquest 230MB media £19 £2233 1 

Syquest 270MB media £32 (37.60 1 

MaxIT 500MB media £29 (34X21 

Nomai 750MB media £38 (44.65 1 

JAZIGB media £58 (68.15 1 

Syjet 1.5GB media £55 (64.63 1 

JAZ 2GB media £79 £92.83 1 

PD 630MB media £18 (21.151 

CD 630MB write once media (Pk of 10) £12 (14.10 1 

CD 630MB re-write media £12 (14.10 1 


3 year warranty on all monitors (I year on AKFI8) 

J 32x CD 7 drive Tower 

£379 (44533; 
£579 (68033; 


- The ultimate colour 


This 4-colour bi-directional printer has a 
resolution of 1200x600dpi, and can print 
up to 4.5 ppm on paper up to A4+ size 
(so you can print 
right to the edge of 
A4) Choose from 
Canon’s special hi- 
resolution papers & 
optional Photo 
Cartridge for Super 
PhotoReal quality 
prints. For sheer Special price only 
quality and durability, £222 qs 

this has to be the one! jnc y‘ A j 

The latest developments in TFT 
screen technology bring the Prolite 
36 space-saving flat screens from 
liyama. The 14.1" screen has a 
viewable area almost 17" and a 
maximum resolution 1024x768. 

It is ecologically advanced with 
low power consumption and 
reduced eye strain. Suitable for 
schools or business. 

AKFI8 14" grade B - pre RiscPC" 

14" SVGA 

15" digital SVGA 

17" digital SVGA 

15" digital SVGA liyama 

17" digital SVGA Pro 0.25 liyama 

21" digital SVGA liyama 

14" colour LCD display (TFT Analogue) 


£79 £92.83 1 

£89 £104.53 1 

£110 (12935 
£200 (235.00 
£159 (186.83 
£340 £399.50 
£729 £856.58 

£599 (703.83 ■ 


ScanExpress 6000 parallel 



ScanExpress 6000 SCSI 



ScanExpress 12000 SCSI 


(198.58 1 

Scanflat 1200 pro SCSI 


£468.83 1 

ImageMaster & Twain 



Scanflat transparency kit - slides etc 



ScanExpress transparency kit-slides etc 



CanoScan 2700F film scanner 




I 28k ISDN Modems 

Join the digital revolution at lightning fast 
speeds! Using a Castle Technology ISDN 
modem (connected to an Integrated Services 
Digital Network pair of lines from BT), you 
can take advantage of fast Web browsing, fast 
data transfer, fast faxing, 
and a hi-performance Special 

phone line - all from Offer 

one hi-tech box! f rom 

Choose from four 

network/stand-alone £11633 inc VAT 

models at great prices! 

Rise OS 3.11 chip set 



Rise OS 3.11 manual set 



Rise OS 3.11 hardware upgrade - A300 



ARM 610 processor (2nd user) 



ARM 3 processor for A3000 A300 A400 




All modems arc external and come with 

FREE on-line time 

56k modem 


(6933 1 

128k ISDN modem 



128k ISON + 2 analogue phone ports 



128k ISDN hub router with lOBaseT 



128k ISDN modem router (managed) 




inc FREE data cable & Acorn driver WORTH £20 

Advanced inkjet technology for bright 

I colour images & fast printing times. 
Up to 1200dpi resolution (virtual 
photographic quality). Supplied with 
Acorn drivers & data cables. 

IN BJC-250 
EPSON Stylus colour 440 
EPSON Stylus colour 640 
EPSON Stylus colour 850 
Parallel printer cable 
Turbo driver for above printers 
Acorn printer driver for any listed printer 
TCP/IP (LPR) postscript printer driver 


DOA warranty only 

JPI50 sheet feeder 

Master 128 motherboard 

German keyboards RiscPC/A7000 etc 

A5000 Power Supply Unit 

SJ Econet Bridge 

Acorn Econet interface 

SJ Econet starter kit 

PC card for A3000 A30I0 A3020 A4000 

Startwrite wordprocessor 



















j Podule case for A3000 


(18.80 : 

Fixing kits for hard drives 


(9.40 : 


A4 IDE hard drive fixing kit 



; A300 series backplane (4 way 4 layer) 



Ergo keyboard for pre Rise PC 



; A7000/-I- 1 slot backplane (not with CD) 



Ergo keyboard for Rise PCA7000/+ N/C 



' Rise PC 2 slot backplane 



Keyboard for Rise PC A7000/+ N/C 



2nd slice for Rise PC inc I05watt PSU 



Keyboard cable (6 way) 



2nd slice for Rise PC 



Mouse for all Acorns (not A7000 etc) 



SCSI 1 & II cables choice from 



Mouse for A7000/+ N/C 



SCSI/IDE ribbon cables from 



Mouse balls heavy (pack of 10) 



SCSI terminator/adaptors (selection) 



Floppy drive any Acorn except A300 A4 



Monitor cable for all Acorn (selection) 


(11.75 ! 

Replacement floppy drive for A4 



FreeFax 0800 783 9638 

Phone 01728 621222 

DELIVERY CHARGES - Next day insured 
Orders over £200 paid by debit card FREE FREE 

Small items £6 £7.05 

All other orders £11 (12.93 

Fitting charge (inc collection) £18 £21.15 

We welcome payment by cheque (allow 5 days to clear), 
Credit and Debit cards. 


CASTLE TECHNOLOGY, Ore Trading Estate 
Woodbridge Road. Framlingham, Suffolk IPI3 9LL 
TEL-01728 621222 FAX: 0800 783 9638 

Sales lines open Monday to Friday 9.00am till 5.00pm 
Saturday 9.00am till 1.00pm 

Contact us by e-mail: 
Visit our web site! 

All trademarks acknowledged. 

All products carry a 
full I year warranty 
unless otherwise stated. 









Mark Moxon ends his Java 
programming series with a look at 
keyboards and mice 

Impact instruction 

Brain O'Carroll and Alex round-up 
their series on Hmpact-3 with some 
time-saving Action scripts 

Acorn Confidence 

Part II of a look at confidence within 
the troubled Acorn market place, this 
month it's Hardware 

Published by 


Media House, Adlington Park, Macclesfield SK10 4NP 

Tel: (01625) 878888 Fax: (01625) 850652 
Printed by Apple Web Offset, Warrington 

Editor Steve Turnbull 
Assistant Editor Dunstan Orchard 
Production Manager Alan Jones 
Art Editor Anthony Broughton 


Dave Acton, Simon Anthony, Ian Burley, Alasdair Bailey, 
Mike Cook, David Dade, Chris Drage, Dave Lawrence, 
Mark Moxon, Brian O'Carroll, John Pettigrew, Jill Regan, 
Mike Tomkinson, Pam Turnbull, Paul Wheatley, 

Mike Williams 

Account Manager John Snowden 
Ad Production Dunstan Orchard 
Finance Manager Charlie Moran 
Subscription Manager Richard Siggee 
Circulation Director Darren Whiteman 
Distribution COMAG (01895) 444055 
Managing Director Steve Turnbull 


0870 6060424 

13 issue subscription rate: £39.99 (UK), 
£53.99 (EU), £68.99 (World) 

Acorn User is available as speech from the 
Talking Newspaper Association UK 

©1999 Tau Press Ltd. 

No material may be reproduced in whole or in part 
without written permission. While every care is taken, 
the publishers cannot be held legally responsible for 
any errors In articles, listings or advertisements and 
the views of contributors do not necessarily reflect 
the views of the publishers 

Internet Services 

• reviews 



Simon Anthony reviews this month's 
big release, !ProCAD+, and puts it 
through its paces in the work-place 



John Pettigrew decides if ! HTMLPro 
really is Internet ready 



Education News 

The Industrial age, Ocean voyages, the 
Environment and more in Education 
News this month 

Education Review 

Pam Turnbull looks at the latest 
educational products 







RISCOS Ltd gain development licence, 
manufacturing interest from Germany 
and lots more... 


Paul Wheatley has some more 
/ Vantage news, plus a great Pic of the 


Automate your mail collection with 
lAntUtils, easy Web uploads with 
!FTPc plus the usual new sites 

Public Domain 

Paul Wheatley invites you to have 
your say on the future of the PD 
scene, plus the usual PD info 

Business Page 

More advice on becoming a Computer 
Contractor and news of a Dutch 
design company 

hands on 



In this month's *lnfo; a driving game, 
more IP files, a new version of Fish, 
and a bunch of spooky eyes 





Cover disc 

Have a closer look at what's on 
offer on this month's cover disc 



* ^0 ft 

* r 

Run the Rise 

Mike Cook goes all melodic with his 
electronic wind chimes 

Rambles through Acorn Wood 

Mike pulls on his hiking boots, and 
sets off on another Q+A session in 
Acorn Wood 

Game show 

^Play your own "Destiny" 

Page 42 ' 

/Doom level-designer competition 

New fonts and graphics offer 

Page 56 

plus reviews of / Heretic and IHexen 

Back issues 

Page 60 

Subscriptions page 

c Advertisers Index 

Page 68 J 

Take advantage of our fantastic 
offers and get yours today 


More readers have their say on 
our letters page 

The Regan Files 

TV star Neil Spellings sits down 
for a cup of tea and a chat with 
Jill Regan 

Next month 
in Acorn User 

The making of RISC OS 4 - inside news 
from the RISCOS Ltd camp; Arc World's 
MIDI series continued plus games 
and Clip-art CD's reviewed 

June issue on sale 
13th May 1399 

May 1999 Acorn User 





See us at Acorn Wakefield 99 Stands 3 & 4 

Tel - 01942 797777 Fax - 01942 797711 

Curriculum Training Associates 
Dept. AU05, 168 Elliott St. 

Gtr. Manchester 
M29 8DS 

We can offer Domain names, 
registration and maintenance, web 
design, virtual server, secure server, 
Web server housing, Web & FTP space. 

Introductory special offers 

** £25.00 Voucher or Webster XL ** 
*** with all packs *** 

1 years unlimited access for £99inc vat 
33K Modem and 1 yr. for £99 (£1 16.33) 
56K V90 Modem + 1 y r £ 1 25 (£ 1 46.88) 


33600 Voice BABT approved £40.00 £47.00 
56k x2 / V90 3Com USR £1 18.30 £129.00 

56k Flex /Y90 (Rockwell) £58.72 £69.00 
ISDN modem (external) £169.36 £169.00 

High speed serial cards from £78.30 £92.00 

Internet & Modem Software 

Ant Internet Suite 
ArcFAX Fax software 

£94.05 £110.51 
£26.38 £31.00 

High Quality Acorn 
ERGO mouse 
£12.00 + VAT 

Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 

£89.00 £104.58 
£105.00 £123.38 
£110.00 £129.25 
£129.00 £151.57 

Km - k,r MONITORS 


14" SVGA 0.28 (3yr on-site) 

14" SVGA 0.28 Multi-Media 
15" SVGA 0.28 (3yr on-sitc) 

15" SVGA 0.28 Multimedia 
1 5" liyama Vison Master 350 £ 1 29.00 £ 1 5 1 .57 
17" SVGA 0.28 ( lyr RTB) £159.00 £186.83 
17" SVGA 0.27 (3yr on-site) £185.00 £217.38 
17" SVGA 0.25 (3yr on-site) £275.00 £323.13 
17" liyama Vison Master 701 £249.00 £292.58 
1 7" liyama Pro 400 £3 1 6.00 £37 1 .30 

19" SVGA 0.26 ( lyr RTB) £280.00 £329.00 
19" SVGA 0.26 (3\r tiu-site) £360.00 £423.00 
19" liyama Pro 450 £460.00 £540.50 

2 1 " SVGA 0.25 (3yr on-site) £540.00 £634.50 
21" liyama Pro Diamondtron £665.00 £781.38 
38" SVGA ( lyr on-site) £1500.00 £1762.50 
AKF18 Multisync (14") £115.00 £135.13 

AKF53 Multisync (14") £165.00 £193.88 

AKF50 Multisync ( 14") £195.00 £229.13 

AKF12 PAL ( 14" refurb) * £65.00 £76.38 

* 2nd user mon's available with 90 days WTY 
Multisync A300/3000 cable £8.50 £9.99 


( Please ring for latest prices ) Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 
Canon BJC 250 colour A4 £84.00 £98.70 

Canon BJ C 20(H) colour # A4 £ 1 00.00 £117.50 
Canon BJC 2000 Scan ! # A4 £149.00 £ 1 75.08 
Canon BJC 4650 colour #A3 £228.tH) £267.90 
Canon BJC 4650 Scan ! # A3 £275.00 £323. 1 3 
Canon BJC 7000 colour *A4 £169.00 £198.58 

Epson Stylus 440 colour A4 £99 .(H) 
Epson Stylus 640 Colour A4 £124.00 

Epson Stylus 850 Colour A4 £213.00 
Epson Stylus 1520 Colour A3 £350.00 
Epson Stylus Photo 700 #A4 £139.00 
Epson Stylus Photo EX # A3 £290.00 

IIP420C A4 £74.00 

HP 695C Colour A4 £104.00 

HP895CX I Colour A4 £200.00 
1 1 P LASERJET 1 1 00 £249.00 

I IP LASERJET 2 1 00 £454.00 

Photo drivers for # £58.72 

Scanner drivers for ! £29.79 

1 timer si 

* FREE Acorn driver by 

request *** 


Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 
60 waits with PS U £ 1 6.98 £ 1 9.95 

240 watts with PSi; £24.68 £29.00 

Subwoofer system w ith PSU £42.00 £49.35 

0% Interest FREE credit (6 months) or LOW cost finance 

on all new systems, & FREE Internet connection worth £99 

6 months Interest Free Credit On All Systems inc peripherals, software and 2/3 vr optional warranties 

233Mhz SA RiscPC Offers 

e.g. RPC SA 2M+32Mb/2. 1 G/40x CD 
& 17" monitor for only £1125 + VAT 
or £34.00/month via L.C.F. * 
RPC SA bases from £850 inc VAT or 
£22.00/month via L.C.F. * 

AND we will match or beat vour best offer 


SAJ233 Web Wizard 

2M+32Mb/2. 1 G/24x CD/15" mon/Stereo Spk & 
FREE software inc !Browse, Jarva and Word 6/7 
compatibility. Free 56K modem for only £1145 + VAT 

Finance Deals 

* 0% Buy now, nav 6 

months later. 

* Can convert into 
standard finance 
package, no penalty 

* Low Cost Finance 
Option @ 1.5% per 

month (19.9% APR) 

up to 5 years to pay. 

* No early settlement 

* Can make additional 
purchases up to your 
credit limit without 

♦Ring For full details 

A7000+ System Offers 

e.g. A7000 +16M / 2.1G / 

40x CD /15" mon & Stereo 
Spk for only £749 exc VAT 
or £23.00 / month via L.C.F. 

Please ask for other 

A7000 + Peak Performer 

8M / 2.1G / 32x CD /14" mon / Stereo 
Spk & FREE Software Bundle for only 
£749 + VAT (£808 + VAT for both bundles) 

Casio OV100 
Digital Camera 

PC s/w only £189.00 exc 
vat (£222.08) 

Acorn & PC s/w 
£270.00 (£317.25) 

Qvl la/QvlOO s/w kit £96 


A3000 /A3010 A3020 

Ex.VaT Inc. V/\'t Ex.WI 1 Iuc.VaY 

£ 95 £111.631 £55 £64.63 

£112 £I31.60| £69 

£127 £149.23] £85 

£139 £163.33!# £119 
£149 £175.08!# £124 
£159 £186.831# £134 
£169 £198.58!# £144 
£189 £222.08 \tl £164 
A3000 versiun includes Cl) ROM i/f which can he used 
In A3020 ur A4000 For external A3000 add £20.00 +VAT 
if includes parlitiiming software 

170 Mb 
340 Mb 
512 Mb 
810 Mb 

1 Gb 

2 Gb 

3 Gb 

4 Gb 








A4000/A5000/A400 RPC /A7000 

Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 
210 refurb £30 £35.25 
420M # £49 £57.58 
540Mb* £85 £99.88 
730Mb* £93 £109.28 
1.2Gb *£115 £135.13 
2.1Gb *£125 £146.88 
3.2Gb *£135 £158.63 
4.0Gb *£145 £170.38 

• inc. internal removable HD & CD 
ROM i/f. For partitioning software 
only deduct £25.00 + vat (29.38) 

Ex. VAT 

210 rtfurb £30 
512M £59 











Inc. VAT 






£90 £105.75 
£100 £117.50 
£110 £129.25 
£210 £246.75 

# limited supply 

£29.79 + VAT 




40x £45.00 (£52.88) 32x £80 

32x £39.00 (£45.83) 32x £70J 

24x £35.00 (£41.13) 16x £40. 

8x £30.00 (£35.25) 8x £30. 

For EXTERNAL IDE or SCSI 1 add £50.00 + 
(3.5 IDE driver £15 + vat) IDE int. fitting 
For external SCSI II add £55.00 + Vat. 
Internal SCSI fitting kits from £10 





VAT (inc. cable) 
kit £5 inc. 

(inc. cable) 


540M (# limited Stock) £60.00 (£70.50) 

1.0Gb £70.00 (£82.25) 

2Gb (7200rpm) # £110.00 (£129.25) 

4.3Gb (5400 or 7200rpm)£l 40.00 (£ 1 64.50) 
9.1Gb (7200rpm) £235.00 (£276.13) 

18.6Gb 7, 200rpm £425.00 (£499.38) 


| Prices Start 
V."- r from 

j £170.00 + 

2x2x6x Re-Writer £170.00 (£199.75) 
4x4x 1 6xRe-Writer £235.00 (£276. 1 3 
CD-BURN £49.00 £57.58 

CD-SCRIBE2 £49.00 £57.58 

SCSI 8x 


£85.00 + vat 

IDE Removable Drives 

Zip 1 00 IDE £65.00 £76.38 
Zip SCSI ext £85.00 £99.88 
Zip SCSI int £85.00 £99.88 

IDE drives require suitable drivers/ hardware 

Parallel Removable Drives 

Zip Parallel * £1 10.00 £129.25 

Jaz IG Parallel* £239.00 £280.83 
Syjet 1.5G p’ll £249.00 £292.58 
Jaz 2G Parallel* £3 15.00 £370.13 

SCSI Removable 

PD650/CD £139.00 
Nomai 750 £165.00 

Jaz 1G int £189.00 

Jaz IG ext £199.00 

Syjet 1 .5G int £199.00 
Syjet 1.5G ext £199.00 
Jaz 2G int £265.00 

Jaz 2G ext £265.00 

* P'llel drives inc. Acorn 











Removable Drive Media 

Ex. VAT 

Inc. VAT 

Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 

lOOmb Zip 



1Gb Jazz 


£68. 1 5 

Zip 5 pack 



1 .5Gb Syquest 



1 20mb L.S 1 20 



135 Syquest 






230 Syquest 



CDR 10 pack 



270 Syquest 



CDR 25 pack 



650Mb Pan. PD LI 9.00 


CDR/WCDROM £10.00 


750Mb Nomai 



CDR/W 10 pack 




P'llel Mustek A4 600dpi inc Acorn s/w £99.00 (£116.33) 
Mustek A4 600 dpi inc Acorn s/w £119.00 (£139.83) 
Mustek A4 1200 dpi inc Acorn s/w £149.00 (£175.08) 
Epson GT7000 inc Acorn s/w £199.00 (£233.83) 

Epson GT7000P inc Acorn s/w **«sk £249.00 (£292.58) 

Interface Adapters 

Storm SCSI 8 bit (A30x0 int) 



Storm SCSI 16 bit (podule) 



Storm SCSI 32 bit (podule) 



Powertec SCSI3 32 bit (Pod) 



Simtec 8 bit (A3000/A3010) 



Simtec 16 bit (AX00/A5000/RPC) 



APDL (ICS) 16 bit DMA 






Removable IDE or SCSI Housing Unit £20.00 (£23.50) 

6 Drive CD-ROM 
SCSI Towers 
4x 8x £699.00 exc. 
32x £499.00 exc. 

StrongARM Special 

£259.00 inc VAT 
(with any Hard Drive / 
Memory purchase) 

3 yr Warranty on ALL Acorn MEMORY why ray More?? I 


Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 

1 4-8 MB Up. (A3 10,440,3000*) U £99 £116.33 
1 4-8 MB Up. (A5000*) U £119 £139.83 

♦rework for A3000/5000/25mhz £25 £29.38 

A3010 1-2 MB Upgrade U £25 £29.38 

A30I0 2-4 MB Upgrade (exch) U £45 £52.88 

IA3010 1-4 MB Upgrade 8 £55 £64.63 

I A302(V4000 2-4 MB Upgrade 8 £40 £47.00 

A5000 2-4 MB Upgrade U £45 £52.88 

A3000 1 -2 MB Non-Upgrade £20 £23.50 

I A3000 2-4 upgrade (exchange) 8 £45 £52.88 

A3000 1-4 MB Upgrade 8 £55 £64.63 

I A3000 Serial Port Upgrade £23 £27.03 

I A3 lo 4Mh Upgrade 8 £50 £5875 

IA400/1 1Mb Upgrade per meg 8 £25 £29.38 

I Rise OS Carrier Board (A3 1 0) £ 1 9 £22.33 

I MEMC 1 A upg (short supply) £15 £52.88 

1 **NEW»* A540 4Mb 8 £97 £113.98 


Also FOR A7000 Ex. VAT 

Inc. VAT 




16Mb SIMM 



32Mb SIMM 



32Mb High Clearance 



64Mb SIMM 



128Mb SIMM 









1-2 Mb (exchange) 



Please ring for latest prices 

33 Mhz Arm 3 upgrade 

with FPA socket U£115.00 inc 

with FPA 10 fitted(25Mhz) £165.00 inc 

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RISCOS Ltd secures RISC OS 4 

Every month we have been hoping to 
report a breakthrough in the resurrection 
of something useful from Acorn after the 
closure of Acorns Workstations division 
last year. At last, following disap- 
pointment and other delays, Acorn/E 14 
has secured the future of RISC OS by 
granting an exclusive license to complete 
the development of RISC OS 4 to RISCOS 
Ltd, the independent company formed by 
Acorn dealers and developers earlier this 

The new company will bring it to 
market as an upgrade for current Rise PC 
and A7000+ users and for new machines 
dedicated to the desktop market in 
following months. This means RISCOS 
Ltd now has access to the full source code 
of RISC OS and programmers are already 
at work preparing it for the upgrade 

It should also be possible for RISCOS Ltd 
to produce new versions of RISC OS which 
are no longer dependent on the original 
Acorn IOMD and VIDC20 controller chips, 
enabling third-party off-the-shelf chips to 
be used instead. Once this is done it will be 
possible for many more hardware 
manufacturers to produce RISC OS 
compatible products, including an upgrade 
for the existing Rise PC. As if to underline 
this hope, a company in Germany called 
Galileo RISC Computers has publicly stated 
it will develop RISC OS computers. 

Next month’s June issue of Acorn User will 
feature radical (but still readable) new 
page designs to give the magazine a fresh 
new look and feel. This is 

Chief Executive of Element 14, Stan 
Boland said “I am proud to announce, 
that after having originally developed 
RISC OS, Element 14 now feels that the 
time is right to offer the other companies 
who have supported Acorn for the past 20 
years the chance to continue to develop 
the RISC OS market” 

Senior Vice President of Marketing, 
Andy Mee went on to say that 
“By licensing RISC OS 4 to RISCOS 
Ltd, there will be more chances for 
both new and existing users to protect 
their current investment in Acorn 
computers and also benefit from the 
advances that the dedicated RISC OS 
developer community is able to offer in 
the future.” 

Managing Director of RISCOS Ltd, Paul 
Middleton commented “The announce- 
ment by Acorn that they were closing the 
Workstations Division last year had sent 
shockwaves through the Acorn 
community. I see the signing of this 
agreement as a very positive sign for 
current Acorn users. 

“While Phoebe Rise PC 2 was cancelled 
by Acorn due to the economic and 
commercial climate, users should not be 
dissuaded from buying RISC OS based 

RISCOS Ltd’s mission statement goes 
like this: “To provide a continued 
availability and route to market for the 

accompanied by a price rise to £4.20 per 
issue, however you can avoid the 
additional expense by subscribing as soon 
as possible at the old price. 

Other developments include a change 
in fulfilment house. Database Direct will 
no longer be handling our subscriptions. 
The new company will be shipping 
magazines but they will not be handling 
subscription transactions. In future, all 
subscription calls will come to Tau Press 
and subscriptions by mail should not be 
sent to Database Direct but to the 
magazine address. The national rate 0870 
subscription hotline number is to be 
redirected to us and a new subscription 
fax line will also be available soon. 

RISC OS 4 product originally developed 
by Acorn Computers and to develop that 
product into a full 32-bit based operating 
system to support the future generations 
of ARM based processors.” The company 
will be dedicated to developing and 
promoting RISC OS in order for the OS to 
have the best possible opportunity to 
thrive in whatever hardware host it can 

RISCOS Ltd has also set itself the tough 
task of delivering a full 32-bit version of 
RISC OS which will be required for future 
versions of the ARM processor when the 
original 26-bit internal architecture is 

The RISCOS Ltd deal is not a free for 
all. As we understand it, Acorn/El 4 won’t 
want RISCOS Ltd competing with them, 
although the current direction of El 4 into 
the digital TV set top box market would 
appear to make the likelihood of this 
pretty small. Our understanding is also 
that El 4 will retain full access any 
developments made by RISCOS Ltd for 
their own use. However, once again 
although some older products El 4 
currently depends on continue to be RISC 
OS-based, this dependence disappears the 
further down you travel along El 4’s road 

Although Phoebe wasn’t saved and is 
well past resuscitation, RISC OS is the real 
jewel in the old Acorn crown. Some Acorn 
stalwarts may have to swallow some pride 
in that the days of custom-designed 
silicon are now over, but RISC OS and the 
ARM are enough to keep the spirit that 
was Acorn in the eyes of many, including 
readers of this magazine, alive and for 
that spirit to prosper. RISCOS Ltd now 
has its own Web site at: http://www. 




Wimp2 v0.35, the latest version of the 
pre-emptive multi-tasker for RISC OS, has 
been released. The latest version deals 
with some bug reports and other tidying 
up. However, this version has not been 
extensively tested according to its author. 
Wimp2 is available from Niall at 
-OS/Wimp2/. Comments on Wimp2 
should be sent to e-mail address: 




New-look AU next month 


Acorn User May 1999 

http : //www. acor n u ser. co m/ 

Galileo lives on - in Germany? 

Two years ago, it seems now like 
another age - we reported the then- 
big idea from Acorn which was called 
Galileo. This was to be a software 
version of the success which came out of 
Acorn to become ARM Ltd, an advanced 
and compact operating system to 
conquer the world. Today, bits of Galileo 
code live on in Acorn/El 4 projects, but 
the Galileo OS was abandoned some time 
ago. Now, Galileo was a nice name and a 
German concern has adopted it as the 
title of its bid to bring to market nothing 
less than an exciting new range of RISC 
OS-compatible computers. 

Galileo RISC Computers, based in 
Wolfsburg, Germany, have set up a Web 
site declaring their devotion to ARM- 

based computers and RISC OS. 
Unfortunately, the English translation of 
the Web site leaves a little to be 
desired and we’re not entirely sure 
what the long term plans for Galileo 
RISC Computers are. One statement, for 
example, reads like this: “The first Galileo 
models are delivered as intended 
with RISC OS. Since this however 
no genuine network operating system 
is, is the following decision please: 

We will develop a new OS particularly 
for the Galileo! Special features are to 
become e.g. the support of clusters, 
multi-processing and ARMv5.” From 
what we can fathom, the first Galileo 
models are planned to be RISC OS 4 
models rather then being delivered now 

and that unless a new 32-bit version of 
RISC OS becomes available in time, the 
company may have to develop its own 

Despite the lack of apparent product, 
Galileo have already quoted starting 
prices of DM999 - which is under £400, 
making them competitive with cheap 
PCs, although we have no idea what 
peripherals you get for this price tag. 
However, Galileo is promising its first 
computers before the end of this year, 
powered by a 280MHz StrongARM. No 
doubt we will be hearing a lot more about 
Galileo in the coming months - and we’ll 
certainly be keeping an eye on them. The 
Galileo Web site is at http://www. 

Wheel-mouse supported 

John Scott has developed a mouse driver 
for Microsoft-compatible mice which 
feature a wheel instead of the centre of 
the usual three buttons. The wheel, which 
doubles as a button, is typically pro- 
grammed to scroll the contents of a 
window as an alternative to dragging the 
vertical window bar. However. John has 
not yet decided what to do with the 
added feature for RISC OS users. 

John says he has decided to release 

the driver which he originally 
developed for his own use. However, he 
warns that the device number and 
module name have not been registered 
yet but he doesn’t think that that will be 
a problem for a while. 

If you would like a copy of the driver. 
John asks you e-mail him at jjrsl01@cs. with "Subscribe Wheel 
Mouse” as the subject so he can filter 
them out. There is no charge. 

MP3 module 

Peter Teichmann has converted his MPEG 
audio decoder program into a module 
which makes it accessible to other 
applications. The module supports the 
increasingly popular Internet music file 
standard, MP3. Peter reports that the 
module requires about half the CPU 
bandwidth of a StrongARM Rise PC. Peter 
can be contacted in Germany at teich- and his Web site 
is at 

Cerilica's overseas dealers 

Overseas Acorn users looking forward 
to Cerilica Software’s new Vantage 
vector drawing suite will be able to 
buy from three official overseas 
dealers. Cerilica says each dealer has been 
selected on the basis of knowledge and 
proven track-record in the Acorn 
market, with customer care 
being a high priority. 

North East Europe, 

(Germany, Denmark, 

Sweden, Norway and 4 
Poland), will be supplied 
through Orcom 

Systemhaus GmbH, 

Leipziger StraBe 70, D- 
06766 Wolfen, Germany, 
tel: +49 3494 6950, fax: +49 
3494 45164, e-mail:, Web: 

South West Europe, 

Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, 
France, Italy, Greece) will be handled by 
X- Ample Technology bv, PO Box 77, 5340 

AB, Oss, The Netherlands, tel: +31 412 
634433, fax: +31 (0) 412 643884, e-mail:, 

In Australia, your dealer is The Image 
Factory, PO Box 599, Rosanna, Victoria, 

^ successiui ui\ ue| 
# 1 # N ° wt ; 




3084, Australia, tel: +61 3 
9458 3599, fax: +61 3 9458 3488, e-mail: will 
be selling Cerilica Vantage at the price 

of DM 699 (inclusive of MwSt. @16%) 
+ shipping. The Image Factory price 

will be Aus$530 + shipping. XAT’s 
pricing information will be available 

Cerilica says it has received 

many enquiries from overseas 
customers concerning a version of the 
successful UK deposit scheme. 

that the UK scheme has 
ome to an end, 
Orcom and The Image 
Factory have agreed to 
offer an identical 
scheme in their 
territories. XAT of The 
Netherlands will hopefully be able to join 
in too. 

For details of the individual deposit 
offers which will enable you to save 
money, please refer to Cerilica’s Web site 
updated ordering page: http://www. 

Cerilica Limited, tel: 01989 567350, e- 

May 1999 Acorn User 



The great news for Wakefield show 
visitors (15th/ 16th May) this year is that 
now the RISCOS Ltd deal has been 
formally struck with Acorn/El 4. RISCOS 
Ltd can be an exhibitor at Wakefield in 
force. Millipede Electronic Graphics, the 
video effects hardware company which is 
working on next-generation Rise PC 
internals, are also committed to attending 
the show. 

In total, it looks like there will be up to 
60 exhibitors and it’s hoped that late 
bookers will mean this figure ends up as a 
conservative estimate. For more last 
minute show information, have a look at: 


Parallel to 
SCSI adapter 

If you have been saving your pennies for 
a pricey SCSI interface card and still can’t 
afford one. Pineapple could have a 
solution. This is a parallel port to SCSI 
adapter cable which allows SCSI scanners 
to be used with any Acorn computer that 
has a bi-directional parallel port. This 
includes the A3010, 3020, 4000, 5000, 
7000 and Rise PC. The cable has a 
through port for a printer and power is 
derived from the SCSI connector on the 

Pineapple say the speed of operation of 
SCSI scanners via their adapter is similar 
to that obtained using a full SCSI II card. 
Presently the only SCSI devices supported 
are scanners, but it may be possible to add 
extra software to drive other SCSI devices 
if there is sufficient demand in the future. 
Pineapple Software’s new hardware 
product is priced £59 inc.VAT. Pineapple 
is on the Web at http://www. 

on hold 

While RISCOS Ltd is now beginning to 
see the light at the end of the tunnel. 
The ChiOS and ChiBER project to 
bring a RISC OS-equivalent operating 
system with ARM card to a PC-style 
PCI architecture system has been put 
on hold, according to Jason Tribbeck. 
Apparently the main financial backer 
of the project has pulled out. The 
project remains frozen until new 
backing can be found. Potential 
backers can contact Jason via e-mail at: The ChiOS Web 
site is at 

Sibelius companion utility 

A new demo version of ISibToDraw, the 
recently announced object-based graphic 
editor program designed to work 
alongside the well-known Sibelius music 
notation application, has been released. 
ISibToDraw works with Sibelius to produce 
any type of musical score. It loads page 
and text style settings directly from 
Sibelius, importing single pages as well as 
entire scores, correcting a number of 
things - rastral size, over-hanging slurs, 

text hyphens and so on - on the fly, and 
converting all music symbols into paths 

All editing actions on paths, text and 
sprites are solid, performed in real time, 
making it an interesting piece of software 
also for non-Sibelius users. ISibToDraw is 
available from Notensatz Freiburg, 
Germany. For more information, check 
the Web site at , 
or e-mail: 

MAUG features Icon Technology 

The Manchester Acorn User Group meeting to be held on the 27th April will 
feature a guest attendance by a speaker from Icon Technology. The meeting will 
take place in the Cockcroft Building at the University of Salford, starting at 7:30pm. 
Admission is free. For more information, check or e-mail Paul Johnson at 

NCs post-Xemplar? 

With Xemplar now unconnected with Acorn (and 
also moving out of Cambridge) and in the 
process of being absorbed into Apple UK, the 
NCs in education initiatives which Xemplar 
worked hard on looked like being 
abandoned. However, Dr. Stephen 
Borrill, who did much of the work 
which created the Xemplar 
Network Computer Solution, is 
setting up a new company called 
Precedence Technologies Ltd 
to continue supply of NCs and 
NCManager servers along with 
the continued development 

and support. Dr. Borrill commented: “We’ve spent two 
long years evangelising about the Acorn/Xemplar NC 
to schools and things are really starting to take off.” 
He added: “Xemplar have a large installed 
base of NCs, the support of which will 
hopefully be transferring to Precedence. 
I’m very keen to reassure both existing 
and potential customers that the 
support for NCs in schools is going 
to get even better with a much 
stronger focus along with my 

We’ll have more information on 
Precedence Technologies next 
I o N month. 

n i p i 


Acorn User May 1999 

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m i t e d 

• PE9 4NB 

New Creator 
and Translator 

Also from John Kortink this month, 
updates of his Creator and 
Translator utilities. Creator 3.30, 
the shareware bit-map image 
conversion utility, has been 
rewritten in C++ and there have 
been some changes made to the 
user interface. Creator can now 
also write the Windows BMP form 
at and is better at reading BMP 
files. Translator 8.02, the 
shareware combined pixel image 
viewer, processor and converter is 
up to 6 times faster loading JPEG 
and PNG images. John's extensive 
library of utilities is available from 
his Web site at: http://www. 

Linking old and new 

Prolific Acorn utilities author. John Kortink, has 
updated his 65Link application to make it 
compatible with more Acorn machines, 
including the A5000. 65Link connects a 6502- 
powered Acorn, like a BBC Micro, to an ARM- 
based Acorn. 

The host ARM-based computer can then 
share its harddisc storage capacity for files being 
used by the 6502 machine. 65Link’s only 
requirement is that the 6502 machine has a 
user port, and that the ARM machine has a 
parallel port that supports ‘PS/2’ mode. Most 

6502 and recent ARM machines qualify for 
this. In addition, you will need to make a 
suitable cable and have an EPROM 
programmer. 65Link should work with the RISC 
PC, A5000, BBC model B and 6502 second 
processor and will work on any Master, A7000, 
A4000, A3020, A3010, A4 and non-6502 second 

65Link 1.20, which is freeware, can be 
downloaded from: 
users/J. Kortink. John can be contacted at e- 

Over £4,000 for Comic Relief 

user group 

Jonathan Balls, based in North 
Walsham, is looking to see if there is 
scope for a new Acorn user group in 
the Norfolk area. The proposed new 
group will be called the Norfolk 
Acorn User Group and is likely to 
meet in Norwich. If you're interested 
in supporting Jonathan, you can 
contact him at Jonathan Balls, 20 
Rye Close, North Walsham, NR28 
9EY. Jonathan can be e-mailed at 

New Dutch RISC OS 

Ottens' Dutch Designs, O'dd may 
have an, urn, odd name, but it's 
the latest company to join the RISC 
OS fold. The company comprises 
two Dutch brothers, Maarten and 
Steven Ottens, who have been 
Acorn computer users for more 
then ten years and have several 
years of designing experience. 

The brothers said: "We want to 
show the world the power of this 
platform so we design and we 
design in specific web pages. We 
know many people can make 
home pages, but not many can 
make them like RISC OS: small, 
fast, beautiful and easy to use. We 
can make those pages. We also 
design logos, company styles (such 
as logos, letterheads) and many 
other things. For more information 
about O'dd, e-mail steveno@lx. Their Web site is 
at http://www.futuretrain. 

Contacting me 

You can contact the news page 
by writing to me Ian Burley 
at the usual Acorn User 
address or by e-mail: 

Paul Johnson’s online software 
and hardware auction in aid of 
Comic Relief generated pledges 
totalling £4,277. Items auctioned 
ranged from a lifetime membership 
of the RISC OS Foundation to some 
Acorn Master 128s from Acorn/E 14. Paul 

has also found out that this is the first 
time that an online auction has 
contributed to the Comic Relief 

Paul’s Comic Relief Web site is at: 

Big Ben Expo 99 

The now traditional Big Ben Acorn show in 
the Netherlands will take place on Saturday 
5th June 1999 at the Hotel Mercure 
Nieuwegein. One thing 
you always hear about is 
how much fun the Big 
Ben Club show is each 
year. This year should be 
no exception. Naturally, 
the show is dominated 
by Dutch and German 
Acorn fans and sup- 

However, there will be some familiar names at 
the show from the UK point of view. Icon 
Technology, R-Comp and RISCOS Ltd will 
definitely be there and 
several other high profile 
UK companies are 
seriously thinking about 

If you’d like to 
be there too, contact 
Matt Hendriks, e-mail: 
demon .nl 

Psion file access 

Bournemouth-based Alexander Thoukydides 
has developed a new freeware filing system, 
called PsiFS. This gives access to files on an 

EPOC 16 or EPOC32 device, such as an Acorn 
Pocketbook or a Psion Series 5, respectively. 
Files can be dragged simply from a RISC OS 
directory to a Psion directory using the mouse. 
PsiFS is similar to Interconnex’s PsiRisc. 

The main differences being that PsiFS is free, 
but it does not contain any file converters. 
PsiFS implements intelligent read-ahead 
caching of directories making it significantly 
faster than PsiRisc, and automatically refreshes 
any open Filer windows to show changes 
made to files on the EPOC device. More 
infor-mation is available on the Web at 
-thouky/tcfp.html, e-mail: alex@ thouky.tcp. 


Acorn User May 1999 

Rise TV f Videodesk 

Videodesk is a powerful non-linear video 
editing system. It allows full-size, full-colour 
and full-motion video to be edited to frame 
accuracy, and effects and titles added. The 
finished material can then be output back to 
video for recording or display. 

Key Features: 

• Composite and S-Video inputs and outputs. 

• 50 fields per second capture and playback. 

• 24 bit colour range. 

• Resolution of up to 768 pixels x 576 lines. 

• High-quality uncompressed still grabs. 

• VITC Timecode input and output. 

• 16 bit stereo audio inputs and outputs. 

• Audio sampling at up to CD and DAT rates. 

• Multiple audio tracks (polyphonic). 

• Instant playback of edits. 

• High performance Replay movie capture. 

• Multi-level undo and redo. 

• Edit Decision List (EDL) generation. 

Sophisticated video editing software is supplied as 
standard, which is flexible and simple-to-use. Editing 
is performed on a multi -track time-line with separate 
audio and video tracks. 

Video effects are generated digitally and include over 
100 dissolves, wipes, fades and slides. Comprehensive 
titling software uses the RISC OS outline font system, 
and titles can be made to scroll, flash, fade and be 
overlayed onto the video. 

Rise TV is a unique multimedia digitiser 
complete with built-in television tuner and 
audio processor, which allows you to watch 
television on the desktop and digitise high 
quality still images from the tuner or an 
external video source. 

Unlike other digitisers, Rise TV uses 
special hardware to overlay video directly. 
So, full motion video can be displayed in 
24 bit colour, with no processor or bus 
overhead. Now you can watch television 
and use your computer! 

We support Epson's range of high quality 
colour flat-bed and film scanners, suitable 
for home, school and business applications. 
All scanners are supplied complete with 
our renowned Proimage driver software. 

As the leading independent supplier of 
digital cameras to the Acorn market, we 
have support for over thirty different 
models from the leading manufacturers - 
Agfa, Epson, Olympus, Sanyo, and Sony. 

Contact us for full details of scanners and 
cameras, and latest pricing information. 


For the Complete Picture... 

Irlam Instruments Ltd, 

Brunei Science Park, Brunei University, Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PQ 
Tel/Fax: 01895 81 1401 Email: 
Visit our website: 

B H 



•Low cost per unit 

• Low maintenance 

• Reliable 
•Very flexible 
•Centralises maintenance at the Server 
•Can be used as RiscOS or Windows 

Terminals or Both! 

Acorn Network computers when used in conjunction with 
a LanServer or NT Server can be used as economic RiscOS 
terminals which offer performance, security and much 
reduced maintenance since all services are provided from a 
central server. 

Introducing a WinFrame/MetaFrame Mutli-user Windows 
server allows NC's, using the Citrix ICA Client from 
Acorn, to run Windows NT4. Again, all resources are 
located centrally at the server offering the same level of 
central management. Why install Windows or RiscOS 
software on EVERY workstation when you can simply 
install it once on the Server. 

Ring us now to arrange a demonstration. 

Robust, Reliable It is possible to have 

roanomi/ a Server with ALL 
L I I 1 I 1 1 ' these attributes! 

& Flexible 

LinServer - An Internet Gateway & File Server 
running LINUX (UNIX® for PC's) which supports 
PC, NC & RiscOS Computers 

LinServer is an incredibly robust 
and dependable File, Print & 
Internet Gateway server providing 
virtually every internet resource 
which doesn't cost the Earth! 
There are NO licensing issues on 
the number of users supported. 
LinServer supports over 10,000 
users, the limit being only storage 
capacity and RAM. 

Standard features: 

NFS, PC File server 
with disc quota's 
Mail Server 
NNTP News Server 
Web/Proxy Server 
FTP Server 
Printer server 
Internet dial-on-demand 
using ISDN or modem 
Dial-in modem access 
WWW Server Tools 
... Plus many more. 

j JL 

\ i / 

y | \ 

Ea\ c 

It supports PC's, Network & 
RiscOS computers. You can 
literally place this server in a 
secure room and forget about 
it, being almost completely self 
maintaining except for user 

Contact us now to arrange 
a demonstration. 

J Other Remote Networks 

ie. schools, branch offices 


I I Remote 


RiscOS, PC Windows 
Apple & Unix 
Desktop Computers 



RiscOS & PC 
Network Computers 

' Server 


Wireless Terminals and 
PDA's etc. 

A Citrix® WinFrame or MetaFrame Server provides access to 
virtually any Windows® application, across any type of network 
connection to any type of client (including Thin-Clients & 
RiscOS). It allows multiple, concurrent users to log on and run 
applications in separate, protected Windows sessions ON the 
server, resulting in each user consuming as little as one-tenth of 
their normal network bandwidth. 

It gives you centralised management, exceptional performance 
and improved security for all your education/business critical 
applications and data. 

Ring us now for further information or call into our showroom 
for a demonstration. 

Active Speakers 
200W (PMPO) 

Mains powered, Magnetically Shielded 

£15 • 

Suitable for ALL RiscOS Computers 

£5 Inc VAT 


Inc VAT 

Tel: 0161-474 0778 - Fax: 0161-474 0781 
Open 10.00 - 18.00 Monday - Saturday 

All prices Include VAT. Carriage not included. - email: 
Unit 2A Heapriding Business Park, Ford Street, STOCKPORT, Cheshire. SK3 OBT 







The real phoenix 

Wantage's anti-aliasing at work 

At a time of such uncertainty over the 
future of RISC OS computers, the future 
of RISC OS software could not be more 
assured. The graphics world is about to 
discover a revolution in computer based 
design and publishing and it’s happening 
right here on RISC OS machines. 

At this point the more astute (if you’ll 
pardon the pun) among you will have 
noticed that I’m about to start hyping up 
Cerilica Vantage again, but to be honest I 
think it needs to be done. While the RISC 
OS market is steadfastly marching 
onwards under a bold but very uncertain 
banner of ‘business as usual', a new 
application big enough to make waves 
even outside of our niche scene is about 
to be launched. 

John Stonier’s latest show in the South 
West was the first chance for the public to 
see the almost complete ! Vantage in 
action and with the final Tenderer on 
show it was an impressive sight. 

The list of technical specifications 
and indeed achievements at such a 
fast rendering speed as detailed on 
the Cerilica web site can easily be written 
off as technical jargon, but with a 
demonstration of the package comes 
the recognition that these guys 

This month’s reader art is sourced 
from a stock of excellent work from 
the art students of well known PD 
author Jochen Lueg. The winning 
picture was produced by Gail Mahon 
using !Studio24Pro. Working with a very 
stylistic approach, Gail has produced an 

mean business and 
! Vantage is here 
to do that business. 

The low key 
launch of the beta- 
test version of 
/ Vantage last year 
was seen by many 
sceptics as just 
another great hope 
for the would 
probably never see 
a final release. 

Indeed, many 
people on the 
scene that I’ve 
talked to know 
very little about 
the package at all, 
especially after the rather unfortunate 
project name change. 

However, all this rather understated 
build up has actually been an intensive 
final development phase of the project 
which has seen a lot of involvement from 
ordinary users. 

This bears out when you get down 
to the finer points of the package and it’s 
hands-on usability. For me, a quality 
application will have all those 

amazing picture of a wind-swept 

Congratulations and the usual 
Graphics page prize of IPhantasm and £15 
goes to Gail for one of the best Pic of the 
Months in recent times. Keep those 
entries coming. 

fantastic elements to the interface that 
make your user productivity surpass 
anything you’re ever likely to see on a 
Wintel PC. 

In the latest news release Nick Van Der 
Walle, Cerilica’s Marketing Director 
mentions that the invaluable ability to 
drag-select objects and then drag them 
straight out of the IVantage window to 
another application wasn’t even 
mentioned before now due to it’s lack of 
perceived importance over other features. 

But it’s this attention to detail that 
really shines through when you sit down 
and use the application, or even better, 
see a demonstration from the team. So we 
aren’t just talking a revolution in real 
WYSIWYG ink printing and colour 
separation which on their own are quite a 
lot to shout about. 

Future Publishing’s new DTP magazine 
was set to be PC and Mac-based only, but 
after seeing the Cerilica Website the editor 
is already planning a full review of the 
software once complete. This is only the 
start of ‘real world’ interest in IVantage 
and our RISC OS platform. 

It’s certainly not the first time these 
things have been experienced - whether 
it was lArtworks or the flagship ISibelius 
package, we’ve always been so close to 
widespread recognition. But with 
Vantage's incredible benefits over existing 
software, Cerilica are set to take the 
publishing world by storm. 

01989 567350 

Contacting me 

You can contact the Graphics page 
by writing to me, Paul Wheatley, at 

Acorn User.Tau Press Ltd, Media House, 

Adlington Park, Macclesfield, SK10 4NP. 

Or preferably, by e-mail to 

Picture of the month 

May 1999 Acorn User 

http : //www. 


incl VAT & delivery 

for ordering details 

Love it or hate it 

Ask a group of Acorn users what Internet 
software they use or would choose, and you’ll 
get a selection of answers that include 
IVoyager, lAcornet, ISocketeer, lArmTCP, IConnect 
and the ANT© Suite, and there are others. All 
programs have their idiosyncrasies which their 
users either love or hate, but some will take 
steps to improve what they’ve got. 

lAntUtils by Paul Vigay implements useful 
extra functions for the ANT Internet Suite 
merely hinted at in its manual. Paul is a 

You takes your choice 

strenuous defender of the Acorn faith and 
active crusader in the Anti-Microsoft 
Campaign. Just try to look at his Interalpha 
Web site with Intregret Exploder and you'll see 
what I mean. 

lAntUtils optional extras include automatic 
periodic mail and news fetching, a random 
cookie or quote added to the e-mail signature 
line, and support for users of IPluto, the 
newsreader by Jonathan Duddington for those 
who prefer not to use ANT’s own IMarcel 
reader. Other task scripts can be run using the 
built-in Cron timer while lAntUtils is running. 

A recent addition is the facility to create an 
HTML thumbnail index of browser-viewable 
images in a directory. This needs using with 
care as the resulting page will expect the 
browser to scale the images to thumbnail size, 
and may take a long time to render if the 
pictures are large and/or many. 

Paul’s Acorn Shareware page is worth a look 
for a selection of other downloads and 
utilities. If you share his interest in 
Unexplained Phenomena, you can explore 
this award-winning site that reports on some 
fascinating happenings and theories. 

lAntUtils by Paul Vigay 

Freeware fulfilment 

One of the acknowledged problems of 
companies employing professional pro- 
grammers is how to rate their work against 
the quality of code produced by 
enthusiast programmers, who work for 
personal satisfaction and fulfilment. 
Whereas commercial operations are usually 
bound by deadlines and costs, amateur 
programmers spend time to achieve quality 
and refinement. This usually results in 
freeware that performs better in parts than its 
commercial equivalent that may have more 

Colin Granville’s IFTPc is a simple 
freeware graphical File Transfer Protocol 
client that is ideal for uploading Web pages to 
a user’s Home Page Web server. Unlike some 
of the commercial competition, IFTPc can 
upload a whole Web site directory to the Host 
ISP’s Home Pages site in a single drag and 
drop action. The usual slash-to-dot RISC 
OS/Unix translation of file names is handled 
automatically. Single files or selections from 
the current remote directory can also be up or 

Although there’s no configurable list of 
sites built-in, IFTPc supports the 
Acorn/ANT© URI (Universal Resource 
Identifier) system which allows you to 
connect just by double-clicking on a text URI 
file containing the username, password, 
hostname and home directory of the FTP site 
required. You’ll need the Acorn URI module 

FTPc files this page 

on the Acorn User 200 CD or from 
The text format is ftp://username:password@ 
ftpsitename/pathname/ and the URI filetype 
is &F91. 

Colin has incorporated requested features 
in the still-developing software in response to 
users’ suggestions, resulting in frequent, 
sometimes daily updates. It’s this instant two- 
way communication that enables freeware 
authors to score against the professional 
publishers. You can find the latest version of 
IFTPc at http://www.c-granville.freeserve. 

Contacting me 

Keep sending me interesting URLs for 
the next yoUR List by e-mail to david@arcade., or mail #2 on Arcade 
BBS 0181 654 2212. 

Bleeding web 

Dr. Jakob Neilsen has been called 
the "Guru of Web page usability" by 
The New York Times but "not yet as 
famous as Elvis" by CONTENTIOUS 
Magazine. His bi-weekly Alertbox 
Web column "Current Issues in Web 
Usability" will continue to make 
interesting reading for an estimated 
5 million page viewers in 1999. 

Articles such as "Top ten mistakes 
of Web design" and "Why frames 
suck most of the time" show that his 
views are somewhat controversial. 
Alertbox is recommended reading 
thanks to our own Acorn-friendly 
Web guru Derek Moody, an 
advocate of Web page design which 
'degrades gracefully' when viewed 
on simpler browsers. 


h ttp://www. useit. com/alertbox/ 

HTML sucks 

HSC may help you avoid the afore- 
mentioned ten mistakes by pre- 
processing your HTML files, 
performing a basic syntax check, 
validating local links and setting 
image size attributes. Style macros 
can be defined that present a 
consistent appearance across Web 
pages. The author, Thomas 
Aglassinger, stresses that HSC is not 
for the beginner but requires certain 
skills of the user. He warns that 
exploring HSC could be either 
uplifting or harrowing, depending 
on your experience. 

The program is ported to RISC OS 
by Sergio Monesi and Nick Craig- 
Wood who suggest the use of a 
filing system that supports long 
filenames such as IraFS or ILongFiles. 


h ttp://www.alphawa ve. 
ltd. uk/sergio/hsc. h tml 

Engaged tones? 

You can hardly move for free ISPs 
these days. Martin Dawes 
Communications' Breathe Net offers 
local call 0845 56k and ISDN access, 
10Mb free Web space and five e-mail 
addresses, newsgroups, 50p/min 
technical support and so on. Web 
browser accessible voicemail, fax and 
e-mail boxes are projected, and 
e-mail will even be spoken to 
computerless users over the phone. 

An Acorn-friendly free Internet 
service is provided by Richard 
Chiswell's BeebWare Internet. 
BeebWare offer free technical 
support, unlimited e-mail addresses, 
news access and best of all, signup 
is easy on any Acorn browser. But to 
avoid the engaged tone on a 
Sunday evening, I recommend that 
you pay an ISP. 

Breathe Net 
http://www. timetobreathe. 


BeebWare Internet 

May 1999 Acorn User 


3.5" IDE Hard Discs Public Domain, Shareware and other low cost hardware and software for Acorn computers 


IDE Hard Discs 


Plus i/face 

210 Mb 



420 Mb 



540 Mb 



850 Mb 



1.2 Gb 



2.1 Gb 



2.5 Gb 



3.2 Gb 



4.2 Gb 



5.1 Gb 



6.3 Gb 



8.2 Gb 



10 Gb 



12.4 Gb 



'Plus H face' price includes an 
APDL fast IDE interface. 
Part-exchange available if 

you need a bigger drive. 

\ lease phone for prices. 


IDE Hard Discs 

A 3 020 


30 Mb 



60 Mb 



80 Mb 



l 120 Mb 



170 Mb 



210 Mb 



i 250 Mb 



330 Mb 



420 Mb 



512 Mb 



1.4 Gb 






I A30 1 0/3000 includes APDL IDE 

j interface , A3020 includes fitting kit 

SCSI Hard Discs 

| 210 Mb 


420 Mb 



540 Mb 




4.2 Gb 

I 1 /I 1 


4.2 Gb 


8.7 Gb 



7i//i ' indicates half-height approx 

PA inches high , others are l " high. 

IDE CD ROM drives 


Drive with all cables and drivers 
for RO 3.6+ where required 
36x £47 

40x £49 

Drive including APDL IDE interface 
36x £94 

40x £96 


Drive in case with power supply and 
including an APDL IDE interface. 
Probably the best way to fit a CD to a 
pre - RISC-PC machine. 

36x £151 

CD ROM driver software 

Works with most ATAPI CDs including 
Goldstar. Panasonic, Lite-on. Mitsumi, 
Sony. Hitachi, Pioneer, NEC, Toshiba, 
Sanyo, etc. Includes CDFS so can be 
used with RISC-OS 3.5. Intended for the 
RPC but can be used with an A5000.\ 
Only £8 or £7 with a drive 

RiscPC and A7000 RAM 

8 Mb 


16 Mb 


32 Mb 


32 Mb High Clearance 


64 Mb from 


128 Mb from 


2 Mb VRAM 


1 Mb to 2 Mb exchange 


Datafile PD CDs 

PD CD - 3 


PD CD -4 


PD CD -5 


Various games 

1 * 

Association of 
Snare ware 


Prices include VAT and UK carriage except hard drives add £5 for internal drives, £8 external 

This is only a fraction of what we have available. Wc also have thousands of discs PD and Shareware and around 500 discs of 
Acorn format clip art. For a full catalogue on 800K or 1.6Mb disc please send 50p or two 1st class stamps or see our web site. 

C APDL, 39 Knighton Park Road, Sydenham, London SE26 5RN ■■■ 

Phone: 0181 778 2659 Fax: 0181 488 0487 www.apd! 

APDL Public Domain, Clip Art and other CDs 


The best PD CD from the best PD library. Over 1,800 programs and utilities, only £12.50 
more than 100 novels, etc. No games, clip art, music, or other non-serious stul^^^ |qj. £22 

P D-2 Around games and novelties, over 250 games cheats and over 200 demos, J 

p|u S over 2,000 music files and more than 550 digitised sound samples. 

DTP-1 and DTP-2 

Games CD 1 
Games CD 2 

Each have over 500Mb of clip art files, all ready to use in Acorn 
Draw, Sprite or Artworks format. Ideal for use in education. 

The third highly acclaimed APDL clip art CD. More than 720Mb of material. Great 
for schools or anyone who needs a huge collection of clip art at a sensible price. 

DTP-1 plus DTP-2 plus DTP-3, just £34.50 

Our new clip art CD. Over 12,000 clip art files, plus more than 400 Artworks files and 
170 high quality colour pictures. All catalogued and complete with thumbnail images 

A collection of twenty of the best PD games of all types. Ready to run direct 
from the CD on almost any machine. Hours of fun for an unbeatable price. 
Our Games Collection No. I CD was so popular we’ve done it again. 
Another twenty of the best best games at a real budget price. 

only £12.50 
only £9.90 each 
only £17.50 

QLi illcrhft A great budget priced games CD from APDL. Full versions of 

OKUIIoUl l LrUllcLllUII three popular games from Skullsoft, !Arya, IXenocide and !Plig 

Fantasy Pictures 

By request from our customers, the pictures from the Fantasy section 
of the APDL catalogue. Lots of Sword ’n Sorcery pics and many others 



Earth in Space 
Earth Data 

Wizard Apprentice 


A CD from APDL especially for schools. Has all the things we 
know you want. More than 5,000 Acorn format clip art images, 
hundreds of e-texts, over 300 popular and useful programs. . . . 

Pictures, databases, information on stars, planets, moons, space 
missions, etc. etc. A massive amount of data at a realistic price. 

Geographical database with a huge variety of data and statistics 
on every country in the world. Simple menu-based interface 

Have you got what it takes to become a Wizard? 100 levels of 
this great game with superb graphics and sound. RISC-PC only 

New version now has eight games. AlfaXL5, Pharoahs Secret Tombs, 

Last Cybermoch, Sea Trek, Caves of Confusion, Robocatch, and two ■ U.50 
new additions. Gold Run and Jewels of Jezabar. Also available on disc. 

only £19.50 

only £7.90 
only £7.90 

only £9.90 
only £7.90 

Ten for just £79 
only £9.90 

only £9.90 
new low price 


APDL ideA fast IDE interface 

General software 

• No complicated setting up. It's self-configuring so just plug it in! 

• Uses DMA (Direct Memory Access) on Rise PC. Over twice as fast as the 
built in IDE interface or others which don’t use DMA. 

• Includes CDFS and ATAPI CD drivers for many popular CD ROMs. 

• Four devices, any combination of CDs and hard drives. 

• Up to 8 partitions, so you can have large drives on pre RO 3.6 machines 

• Software in flash EEPROM for easy update (including VProtect). 

• Supports the new range of Syquest SparQ low cost 1Gb removable drives. 

• Connectors are available for external drives or CD ROMs 

• Fits A3 10, A400, A5000, A540, A7000 and any RiscPC. 

All these features for the incredibly low price of just £52 
A version lor (lie A3000, A4000, A3010 or A3020 is available with all the 
above features. Supports two internal and two external devices - £67 

Syquest SparQ 1Gb removable drive 

The 1Gb SparQ drive is the ideal solution for backing up larger hard drives 
where old technology like a Zip drive just isn't realistic. Big enough to hold lots 
of data, and with our interface, faster than a built-in hard drive on a RiscPC so 
you can use it as an extra hard disc. Discs are much cheaper than anything of 
comparable size, just £29. The drive can be fitted in a 3 Vi" or 514" drive bay. 

SparQ internal IDE drive with APDL fast IDE interface just £ 199 

NEW - APDL printer port Syquest drive 

At last you can now have a 1Gb Syquest SparQ printer port drive at a realistic 
price. Not as fast as the IDE version but you can fit it to any machine with a bi- 
directional printer port (ie. anything with a hi -density floppy drive) and move 
it between machines. With Acorn and DOS driver software, just £199 

Faster PC - £20 The alternative XT PCI 
emulator. Works on any model with 2Mb 
RAM from A3000 to Strong ARM RPC. 
PowerBase - £15 Popular extremely 
powerful but very easy to use database. With 
examples, tutorials and printed manuals.! 
Better than most products costing many 
times the price. Does everything that 99% of 
database users will ever need. 

Menu Bar - £15 The very best pull-down 
menu system. An absolute essential for any 
hard disc user. You can switch between up to 
30 different menu bars. Incredibly easy to j 
set up, add items to menus, move them, etc. 
Tiger - £15 Lets you use very longl 
descriptive filenames. Unlike some products] 
this is very robust as it works in parallel 
with the filer so can't corrupt discs. 
YVorkTop - £15 Switch between up to 30 j 
different environments with a single mouse 
click. Stars the tasks you require, opens 
directories, loads files, changes screen mode. 
Just like moving to another computer. An 
essential productivity tool. 

Joy Connect joystick podule 

ACE 586 PC cards 

Works with most games. Podule with one] 
joystick £42 Extra joysticks £6 each. 

Available with 128K cache from just £199 or 5I2K cache from £299. We can? 
offer a trade in against your old card, which makes it even cheaper. Good) 
performance for Windows at a sensible APDL price. 

Connect 32 fast SCSI 

We have a limited number of these very fast 
interfaces (up to 7.5 Mb/sec) at only £109 ! 

Data Safe - A new concept in backup and data security 

Emotions (RPC only) 
Flying High (RPC only) 
Fire and Ice (not S/Arm) 
Hero Quest (not S/Arm) 
Quest for Gold 
Starfighter 3000 
Revelation (not RPC) 

A new idea from APDL, Data Safe consists of an external case to hold a 3.5" IDE 
hard drive, connected to your machine's printer port. This gives a large capacity 
portable drive, movable between machines and locations. Ideal for backup, secure 
data storage and transport. The filer has all the features of our ideA card so you 
can partition drives, password protect partitions, etc. Great for schools. Supply 
your own drive or we'll fit one for you. 

Data Safe Super has the drive fitted in a removable drawer. You can fit a similar 
drawer to your Rise PC (best if you use our IDE card) and then just unplug the " 
drive from the RPC and transfer data to another machine using the Data Safe. 

Prices start at £ 1 04 or w ith a 3.2Gb drive from just £199 

pubik domain 

The future 

As one of the more public voices of the PD 
scene, I’ve always encouraged Acorn to 
make use of the wealth of talent and 
software in the PD world. But other than 
a few minor moves linked with the Clan, 
Acorn seems to have wasted the most 
valuable part of it’s computing niche - the 
owners of it’s brand of computers. With 
such a slow development of the OS over 
the last few years it’s been left very much 
down to PD authors and a few like- 
minded commercial developers like 
Quantum Software, to fill the gaps Acorn 
left. And despite the difficult 
circumstances, what a great job they’ve 
done of it. 

I really didn’t appreciate it fully until I 
accidentally disrupted a vital part of my 
machine’s boot-up sequence, leaving me 
in a raw desktop with no additional 
software loaded. Being forced to work 
without all those short-cuts I’d become so 
used to was just awful. 

Having all these PD programs loaded 
doesn’t cripple my computer with 
instability even though I usually go on to 
fill the iconbar up enough to rely heavily 
on it’s sideways scrolling abilities. Using 
more than about three applications often 
seems inadvisable on a PC... 

Past achievements 

In all fairness to Acorn, they 
deserve credit for creating what is the 
best windows interface in the world 
and they certainly introduced the climate 
of clever time-saving features that 
the PD world has continued to support. If 
I’m ever showing a PC user why 
RISC OS is so good, I always bring up a 
picture in something like IPhotodesk, 
zoom in and then scroll around by 
dragging one of the window’s scroll bars 
with Adjust (letting me scroll in any 

There are so many of those fantastic, 
yet on their own seemingly insignificant 
features, that it makes such a difference to 
your work productivity. 

Unfortunately Acorn didn’t carry on 
RISC OS development in the inspirational 
way they started. The people who use 
Acorn machines, do so because there 
really is this massive usability difference 
over Microsoft-drowned PCs. If RISC OS is 
to continue, it’s this ethic that we need to 
embrace and develop so much further. 


Acorn’s failure to capitalise on it’s 
valuable home grown PD talent was just 
one of the many missed chances in it’s 
history. But we now have the chance to 
embrace a hands-on, and more 
importantly, user-driven development of 
our beloved OS. With the formation of 

RISCOS Ltd, we really are at a major 
turning point and the potential of success 
might just be rather good. 

RISCOS Ltd has already appealed for 
willing parties to contact them with 
details of their programming abilities and 
I hope this first step of communication 
with the authors of the PD scene is indeed 
not the last. But where should RISCOS Ltd 
be taking us, and indeed the OS, now? 

Much uncertainty currently abounds 
over RISC OS 4 and when we’re finally 
going to get hold of it. but it seems with 
RISCOS Ltd at the reins things should be 
straightened out soon and a release will 
finally be made. But where will that leave 
us with the future in mind? A release with 
not enough for the user at a profitable 
price? Compatibility problems with 
applications and PD utilities? These 
things could all be very damaging at this 

Difficult times 

Even with the best will in the world, and 
a commitment to future development, it’s 
going to be difficult for RISCOS Ltd to 
convince enough users to buy OS4 
and stick with it until they’re again going 
to charge us for another set of ROMs. 
Now, I’m not criticizing what they’re 
attempting to do, and it does seem 
that selling us what Acorn has put into 
OS4 really has to be the first step, 
but it’s going to be a tricky tightrope 
to walk. 

To make it through these difficult 
times, RISCOS Ltd has to avoid the 

mistakes that Acorn made. They must be 
willing to communicate much more 
freely with the user-base, and take on 
board any help that existing coders on 
the scene can give them. Last year I 
actively tried to encourage Acorn to 
incorporate into RISC OS a new GUI- 
related application I had co-written. 

Finding anyone who was actually 
prepared to reply to my e-mails, 
never mind talk to me on the phone was 
really not an easy task. The end result 
from Acorn was that the person we 
needed to talk to hadn’t been recruited 
yet. In the end we decided it would 
simply be easier to release it into the 
Public Domain. How many other 
opportunities Acorn missed with this 
kind of attitude is anyone’s guess. 

RISCOS Ltd must be prepared to 
actively go looking at the utilities and 
applications already available on the 
scene (and indeed on other platforms) 
that would benefit from being 
incorporated into RISC OS. 

The danger is that these finer interface 
issues are going to disappear behind calls 
for greater technical additions (like 
virtual memory for example) and all the 
problems involving compatibility with 
future processors. At the end of the day 
we have to remember what it is that 
makes RISC OS good, and take it further. 

I’d love to hear your views on 
the future of RISC OS and hopefully get 
a nice discussion going via the PD 
column. Drop me an e-mail with your 

Looking good 

Paul wrote this column before the RISCOS Ltd meeting on Friday 19th March. 
Having attended the meeting my mind has been put at ease regarding many of the 
points he raises. The three very competent programmers seem fully aware of the need 
to increase or at the least maintain the usability of RISC OS. They have already 
incorporated a number of PD application ideas into the beta version, and are all 
using RISC OS 4 on a day-to-day basis without any problems. At the meeting they 
were extremely open to suggestions and keen to know which PD applications we 
used and found most useful. 

With regards to compatibility, they have thoroughly tested RISC OS 4 with all the 
software at their disposal and have only found one or two obscure pieces of PD 
which produce problems. Any compatibility issues will be with future hardware and 
software, not with current or past products. 

The PD scene need not fear that RISCOS Ltd will shut them out. For the first time 
those people responsible for producing the ROMs we use have the intelligence to 
listen to PD programmers and the inclination to hardwire their ideas into our 
operating system. This obviously isn’t going to happen every five minutes, no doubt 
new ROMs will be produced when significant changes occur (like the transfer to a 
hardware-independent OS) and at these points the best features of PD applications 
will be considered. In the meantime we shall continue to place them in our Boot 
sequences and make-do. 

On a final note, don’t expect to see the first version of RISC OS 4 crammed to 
bursting with radical GUI changes, the three guys only have a short time to de-bug 
the current version, add their own ideas, and ensure it still maintains RISC OS's 
reputation as a solid, reliable operating system. Good luck to ’em. 

Dunstan Orchard 

May 1999 Acorn User 



Before the popularity of the 
Web, Internet users had to 
rely quite heavily on FTP to 
get hold of files off the Net. 

But with more graphical links 
for just about everything on 
the Web most people simply 
use a browser to get what 
they want. A File Transfer 
Protocol client can be quite 
useful however, especially 
when you need to upload as 
well as download, which 
many users do to their own 
Web sites. 

FTPc goes way beyond the 
old command line style of file 
transferring and provides a 
RISC OS filer type interface to 
your transfers. It's also well 
supported and documented 
with simple explanations for 
the beginner. FTPc can be 
obtained from http://www. 

Faster floating 

A very useful tool for C 
programmers is a set of highly 
optimised, single precision 
floating point routines from 
FQuake coder Peter Teichman. 
You can use the set of 
function calls straight from 
your own code, allowing time- 
critical calculations to be 
called direct or even inlined. 
This is much faster than using 
the standard FP operations 
which take time to be 
processed via the FPEmulator. 

Obviously this is only a 
short term solution for the FP 
unit-less among us and it does 
introduce more work for code 
porting to other platforms. 

But full marks to Peter for 
releasing these valuable 
routines. Check the code on 
Arcade BBS. 

Coding contest 

Alan Brobecker is organising a 
RISC OS coding contest called 
CodeCraft. Emphasis is placed 
on small programs; entries 
should be between 1-4K. 

Check out the Web site for 
more details at: 

Contacting me 

You can contact the PD page 
by writing to me, Paul 
Wheatley, at Acorn User,Tau 
Press Ltd, Media House, 
Adlington Park, Macclesfield, 
SK10 4NP. Or preferably, by e- 
mail (but no large files) to 

Digital CD 

An area where PD support has made up greatly 
for the lack of original RISC OS functionality is 
in music controls for your CD player. There are 

Music Bit* 


K » H . M 

► It < 


<fi> Non Audu. Cl> 30IJ23 

LED ii . ■ « ►> — w — h , 

n -21 


TUI* | 
Track (T* 

Tales of the future 

Andre Timmeman's Digital CD 

an awful lot of apps out there that do the job 
really well, but one of the most regularly 
supported and well developed is Digital CD by 
Andre Timmermans. 

As well as all the usual controls 
and support for module playing as 
well as CD control, you've got a 
complete playlist and CD 
catalogue. You can even select the 
funkiest design from a range 
of control panels. As I’ve already 
said, there’s plenty of offerings 
to choose from in this area, and 
its worth looking around 
and downloading a few, but 
Andre’s Digital CD has to be one of 
the best. Point your browser to 
horizon/447 1 

Don't leave me this way 

ExitOut by Justin Fletcher fixes the 
rather obvious yet until now, rather 
unfortunate RISC OS problem of accidental 
presses of Control-Break. The tiny ExitOut 
module brings up a confirmation box 
when you do hit that fateful key combination, 
although on my machine, clicking on 
Cancel seemed to cancel my mouse pointer as 

Teething troubles apart, it’s certainly 
one for my boot-up sequence, but I think 
a little more testing is needed to see if it gets in 
the way when you 
really do need a 
Control-Break after a 
serious crash in the 
desktop. Get it from 
uk/j us tin/so ft ware, 

~RcftoonHc computer 



Timmy Ciwpcr i»k Iiiki* 

Two uttniKiU c.i my at town, 

One m>> u> the other 'IVv* tl»* ijm«! I urny to you? ' 

I went mMiIUo ml »ji.I "I wan to buy tKii’ lit uU "Toc»mp’\ 
ItoiJlbukMyt 'Sorry. I »•»'< to Ivy a tent I wul‘1 aU> 
want to buy Jciman' 

Ik toul 'CAnpcrr 

I told lumpily > Mil y our tno»J up" 

"You luv* . KWMbody j.tojlly cmttptu 
K«)ey 7 Ik> Mi t> Unit ik«< i«ii)k 
So tliJt vu*nU.«." 

Awl the Kkh o( hi* Jtueak w a* Inping 


Are you sure you want toc.vit tins way *. 



Ar« you none you wjtttuic.vitifai* way 

Ik tokJ ‘Say A I wwi 'Why?* 

tn the wuUI jiv Ouno«. An) ituiv arc S 
it ti'ii-t he mat »< them, It* ciitvr my mom or nty 
r Culm Or my ytwnjtr brvaher IkvOu-Chu. 

Useful in saving important work 

Top PD 

Acorn Arcade are holding a competition 
for the best PD games running under 
RISC OS. As AA Editor Tim Fountain 
describes “Basically we’re hoping to 
get people to tell us their 10 favourite 
PD games, and we can then compile a 
league of games, and give ‘awards’ to the 
top ones." Interested parties can vote by 
e-mailing a list of their top 10 games 
to or by filling 
in the form at 
features/misc/ league/vote. html 

Also of PD relevance on the Acorn 
Arcade pages is the new Coding Vault. The 


The latest version of AcornlCQ is now 
available from http://www.geocities. 
com/SiliconValley/Hills/5544 and now from 
version 0.11 onwards is classed as 
Charityware. Regular users are encouraged 
to donate to the Dutch ME fund. If you want to 
know what ICQ is, visit 

section is a joint venture with VOTI "to try 
and get coders to finish off abandoned games 
to which we have the sources." For more 
information, point your browser to http:// 


Acorn User May 1999 



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months to the full ArgoNet and ArgoSphere 
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For Laptop users, this pack 
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Prices include VAT and UK carriage & packing, unless stated otherwise. E&OE 

Canon BJC7100 A4 Colour bubblejet, up to 550gsm paper, HUGE inexpensive ink tanks! 

with Acorn Driver £ 260 
56K (V90) Modem £ 80 
CD ReWriters IDE with S/W from £ 275 
CD ReWriters SCSI with SAY from £ 345 (needs SCSI interface) 

Acorn C++ HALF PRICE £ 125 
RiscOS PRM's Voll-4 HALF PRICE £ 55 
Acorn SCSI Interface for A3 1 0, A5000 etc Ideal for CD or Scanner £ 80 
Acorn MEU CD ROM Drive Unit for A310/A5000 etc needs scsi interface £ 1 15 
Acorn MEU as above with Acorn SCSI Card £ 175 
VTI Sound Sampler £ 47 / Acorn Rise PC 16 bit sound card £ 52 
Internal Zip Drive with IDE interface & 1 disc £ 165 
RiscPC backplane £5 off, £ 30 / A7000 Backplane £ 1 0 off, £ 30 
RISC OS 3. 1 ROM set £ 30 / RISC OS 3. 1 Manual & Apps Discs £ 1 5 
Roller ball with Guard, Acorn or PC versions, over £ 50 OFF £ 95 
8.4GB IDE IBM/Quantum Fireball Hard Disc £ 200 
Acorn Access+ interfaces A5000 i()b2&T, A3000 i0b2&T, A3020/4000 10b2 or RiscPC i0b2&T £ 105 

Epson Film Scan 200 with S/W new lower price £ 375 
High Res Plustek OpticPro 1200x600 optically with Acorn S/W NOW £ 150 
Epson Scanner GT7000 SCSI 1200x600 with S/W £ 275 inc Film adaptor £ 350 

PC Card 5x86 133MHz 512k Cache £ 300 
S/H 9MB RiscPC’s from £ 550, A5000's 4MB £ 350 
RiscPC Systems Some still in stock as at 23.3.99 phone for price & specification 
For RAM pricing please phone (prices rising fast!) - 32MB £ 60? but 64MB Now £ 105! 
Acorn Advance Wordprocessor, Spreadsheet, Database & Graphs £ 58 

YITM Science Series CD's 

Anglia CD's 

Elements £ 30 Materials £ 25 


Vikings! £ 25, Garden Wildlife £ 25, Seashore 

Electricity & Magnetism £ 25 

Life, £ 25 & Looking at Animals £ 25 

RRP £93 each! 


RRP £47 each 

All 3 CD packs for £ 50 

All 4 CD packs for £ 60 

All prices INCLUDE VAT @17.5% 


CJE Micro's 
78 Brighton Road 
West Sussex 
BN11 2EN 

Tel 01903 523222 Fax 01 903 523679 

& Delivery. Official Orders Welcome E&OE 
Prices subject to change & stock. 

Games Newly StrongARM Compatible 

Saloon Cars Deluxe £30 Holed Out Comp. £25 Chocks Away Comp. £25 

Upgrades available from £ 6 

Other StrongARM Compatible titles 

Anagram Genius (£20), Cataclysm (£20), Chopper Force (£30), Cyber Chess (£35), 
Demon's Lair (£20), Drifter (£35), Groundhog (£12), Logic Mania (£30), 
Pandora's Box (£25), StuntRacer 2000 (£25 *NEW PRICE*), WimpGame (£20) 

Other titles being worked on 

The Fourth Dimension, 
78 Brighton Road, 
Worthing, West Sussex 
BN 11 2EN 
Tel: 01903 213361 
Fax: 01903 523679 

Prices and specifications are correct 
at the time of going to press. All price; 
are fully inclusive. E&OE. 


First steps for first timers 

Those of you who read the first article in this 
series back in the March Issue will remember 
that we were looking at the many advantages 
of becoming a Computer Contractor. We 
reached the stage of having prepared a CV 
and distributed it to a number of the 
specialist agencies which exist in the IT 
industry with the aim of bringing contract 
and contractor together. 

Much of the initial contact will be via e- 
mail and phone. So, first off get an e-mail 
account, preferably a free one, a modem and 
some e-mail software. I personally use the 
ANT Suite, not cheap but good. By the way, 
anything you now buy with a view to setting 
up a business may be an allowable business 
expense, so get into the habit of keeping 
copies of all invoices and VAT receipts. 1 
would also suggest, if you are working, 
buying a mobile phone. Agencies trying to 
contact you at work can be a little 

You may require some persistence but if 
your CV does contain a reasonable and 
marketable skill-set it will eventually be 
picked up by an agency. Sometimes they will 
contact you for further details, like preferred 
location and required pay rate. You need to 
think about the answer to both questions 
very carefully and not be caught on the hop 
by a recruitment consultant on the phone. 

Let’s think about location - obviously the 
nearer to home the more convenient in most 
cases. However, as a contractor it does not 
always work that way - you have to go to 
where the work is and that could be a 
considerable distance. If you are not prepared 
for this eventuality then contracting is 
unlikely to be the work for you. Obviously if 
you are prepared to work away from home 
then it will need to be reflected in the rate 
you expect. 

An increasing trend is for British IT 
contractors to work abroad - if you have any 
language skills as well as IT skills you will be 
at a premium, especially with French or 
German, but English is pretty much a 
universal language. The present honey-pot 
for IT contractors is the Republic of Ireland 
who are leading the way in the first wave of 
the Euro/EMU countries. 

The rate is usually expressed in terms of 
pounds per hour. You will be paid for the 
hours you work, usually around 37 hours per 
week. Any overtime is usually pro-rata but if 
you are expected to work longer or more 
unsocial hours you may like to negotiate 
additional payments. Beware (do not touch 
with a barge pole) any contract which states 
you will only be paid overtime after some 
qualifying time, for example: after 37 hours 
you will be paid overtime if the time is greater 
than six hours. I have seen such contracts and 
they are a method of getting five and a half 
hours of unpaid time out of you. 

The agency may suggest a rate but it is 

better if you have a fairly solid idea of what 
you can afford to work for. I use a simple rule 
of thumb. Let’s say you are in full-time 
employment and earning £20,000 per annum 
in salary. Now try to quantify what the 
benefits (company car, mobile, pension and 
so on) add up to in total. I would guess not far 
outside the range of £5000 to £10,000 if the 
company car is fully financed. This gives us a 
range of £25,000 to £30,000. 

If the rate being offered does not allow you 
to earn or have the potential to earn that 
amount of money then it is not worth giving 
up the full-time job. A bit of simple 
arithmetic gives us a rate of about £18 per 
hour based on a 37 hours week and working 
48 weeks per year with no overtime. You may 
think the difference is not that great given the 
insecurity of contracting but more of that 
money should be yours to control if you set 
the company up in the most tax efficient way. 

You may also be prepared to take a little 
less for your first contract depending on the 
experience it offers you and its length. A six 
month contract at £ 1 7 per hour is probably a 
better prospect than a three month contract 
at £18 per hour. 

You do not have to take my word for this 
and I would strongly suggest you contact any 
of the accounting companies or contracting 
agencies specialising in what are called First 
Timers, that is those considering going into 
the contracting market for the first time. 
Good sources of information include the two 
main weekly IT newspapers Computing Weekly 
and Computing and the various Internet Web 
sites containing guides for First Timers. 
Obviously you can contact me at and I will try to answer 
any specific queries you have, but be please be 

In the next article we will cover setting-up 
a company, accounting, book-keeping and 
the dreaded VAT. 

A message from Holland 

We are pleased to announce the formation of a 
new RISC OS based company. 

It is called Odens' Dutch Designs, O'dd. We 
are a new design house using the RISC OS 
platform for designing. We are two Dutch 
brothers who have been with the Acorn 
computer for more than ten years and do have 
several years of designing experience. We are 
convinced of the quality of the RISC OS platform 
for designing. 

If you want more information about O’dd or 
want to contact us drop an e-mail or send a letter 

MM. Ottens, Odens' Dutch Designs, Stationsweg 
9, 521 1 TV ‘s Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. 

MM. Ottens + 31-736 135 050 (Maarten) 

S.M. Ottens + 31-317 422 607 (Steven) 

Steven M. Ottens - 

A salutary tale 

Have I told you the one about the 
Joe Muggins who bought a PC from 
a leading High Street retailer which 
was not as advertised or fit for the 
purpose as specified? Have I told 
you about the aforementioned 
retailer who appears never to have 
heard of the Sale of Goods Act or 
the Finance Company who appear 
never to have heard of the 
Consumer Credit Act? No? - well by 
the time you read this I should have 
had the pair of them in court so I 
will tell you about it sometime. 

In the meantime those of you 
thinking of purchasing a PC rather 
than an Acorn just ask yourself the 
question - when did you ever need 
to take an Acorn retailer or dealer to 
court and when did they ever 
misrepresent goods to you? It's a 
tough old world out there in PC land 
and we do not realise how much we 
all benefit from being part of a small 
but perfectly formed community 
rather than just being seen as saps to 
be parted from their money. Support 
your local Acorn dealer is what I say 
and I will see the PC vendor in court. 

Printer drivers 

The printer market is hardly static 
and with the demise of Acorn many 
of you have asked where up-to-date 
printer drivers are going to be 
available from. The answer is that 
we are unlikely ever to have new 
drivers for all new printers. 
Therefore I would strongly suggest 
buying an Acorn driver before or at 
the same time as buying a printer. 
That way you can be sure that a 
driver exists before being left with a 
new printer for which no Acorn 
driver exists or will ever exist. 

In the meantime ExpLAN 
Computer Ltd have made drivers 
available for the Canon BJC-7100 
with the printer. If any developers of 
such drivers for new printers would 
like to contact me at this page I will 
ensure that they are mentioned. 

ExpLAN, tel: 01822 613869; 
fax: 01822 610868; e-mail:; Web: 

Wakefield show '99 

As you should be reading this 
before the Wakefield Show '99 
(15/16th May) I thought you might 
like to know that I will be at the 
show on the Acorn User stand on 
one of the days, so please pop along 
and say hello if you get the chance. 

Contacting me 

You can contact me, 
MikeTomkinson, by post at the 
usual Acorn User address or 
by dropping me an e-mail at: 

May 1999 Acorn User 


™ spell it 


picture book I 

A phonic-based approach to easy early learning 

1*1 m 




word match 

12 3. count 'em 


flash card 

Notes The 'sticky note pad' for Acorn computers 

Create notes, reminders, etc, on your computer for yourself 
and others. You can 'stick' Notes on to files or directories 
and have them appear at specific times on-screen, on 
starting up or when a file is opened. £7.50 


Don't lose all your hard-won BBC data, use MultiLink to 
transfer data effortlessly between old Acorn 8-bit computers 
and RISC OS 32-bit machines, including the Rise PC. Easy 
click and drag operation. Machines are linked by serial cable 
With serial cable: £29.95 

This easy and enjoyable phonic-based approach to early 
learning includes both a-b-c and phonic pronunciation. Both 
spoken alphabets can be heard and repeated at the touch of a 
key when the matching letters are on screen. 

Using Picture Book 2 reading, spelling and counting become 
enjoyable for pre-school and primary school children, and those 
with learning difficulties. The six Picture Book programs offer 
varied and interesting work and play activities. A wide range of 
setting options allows each program to be matched to an 
individual child's ability. The lAlphaEdit utility supplied with 
Picture Book 2 helps you create your own alphabet files for use 
with the programs. 

Single user: £ 24.95 Site Licence: £75.00 

Picture Book 2 can be run on all Acorn RISC OS 
computers. Minimum system requirements are RISC 
OS 3. 1 or later and at least 2Mb of memory 

The Really Good Software Company 

39 Carisbrooke Road, Harpenden, Herts. UK. AL5 5QS 
Tel/Fax: 01582 761 395 E-Mail: 
Post/packing add UK & Europe £1 .50. Other countries £5.00. 

No VAT. Cheques, with order please, made payable to 
The Really Good Software Company. 

Official orders welcome. 


liyama 15" 350 
liyama 17" (S702GT) .28dot 
liyama 17" 400 Pro .25 dot 
CTX 14" Digital Scan 
CTX 15" Digital Scan 







CTX 17". 28 70Khz Digital 
CTX mons have (3 year on-site warrty) 
Many other models available 

Switch Boxes 

Parallel 2 way (25w 'D' skts) £16.99 
Parallel 4 way (25 w 'D' skts) £19.99 
Serial 2 way (9w ’D' skts) £ 1 9.99 
Monitor+Keyboard 2 way £19.99 
Suitable cables and other boxes 
available, please ask 

TV Converter 

The VGA Converter 
allows the output of any Acorn running 
in a VGA or SVGA mode (or PC comp) 
to be displayed on a TV or recorded 
onto a video recorder. Please ask for 
more information. 

Price £159.00 inc vat 



Epson Stylus Colour 440 £125.00 

Epson Stylus Colour 640 £159.00 

Epson Stylus Colour 850 £279.00 

HP Laserjet 1100 (laser mono) £289.00 


Pineapples Virus Protection 
Scheme has been running for 
over six years and is still 
being updated with new 
viruses on a regular basis. 

New software versions are 
sent out to members every four months 
and the total number of viruses which 
can be removed is well over 200. The 
latest version is now scanning at up to 
four times faster than previous versions 
despite coping with many more viruses. 

Joining fee just £28.20 

'If you 're interested in virus protection , 
join the Pineapple Virus Protection 
scheme and buy Killer. Accept no 
alternative - 'Acorn User Feb 96 
Inexpensive multi-user licences 

Pineapple Software 

352 Green Lane, ILFORD 
Essex IG3 9JS 

Tel 0181 599 1476 Fax 0181 598 2343 

Parallel to 
SCSI adapter 

A brand new product from Pineapple providing 
an inexpensive alternative to a SCSI card when 
using SCSI scanners. The SCSI adapter plugs into 
the parallel port (with a 'through' printer 
connector), and can be used directly with SCSI 
scanners. Works with A30 10/3020/4000/5000/ 
A7000/RiscPC (inc StrongARM). 

Price just £59.00 inc vat 

Colour Scanners 

The new Epson GT7000 is great 
value and the Photo version with 
transparency adapter gives excellent quality on 
both transparencies and negatives. Our new SCSI 
parallel port adapter cable makes this excellent 
scanner very affordable. The Plustek 12000P 
parallel port scanner also gives excellent quality at 
the cheapest possible price. All scanner prices 
include Imagemaster and Twain software. 

Epson GT7000 - SCSI £259.00 

Epson GT7000 Photo - SCSI £299.00 

Epson Filmscan 200 - SCSI £435.00 

Canon Canoscan 2700F - SCSI £557.00 
Plustek 12000P - Parallel Port £149.00 


'Many Acorn User front covers have been 
created from scratch using this program alone, 
concrete proof of the power of this creative 
tool'- Acorn User Mar96 

■ * Now just ★ £99.00 ★ 

nP [ Jscrs note FREE update v2;I6 is now available. 

Terms:- All prices include 
11.5% vat. Carriage £5 on most 
hardware. Small items £3 (or 
less). Phone for quote outside 
UK. Official orders, cheques 
and all major credit cards 
accepted at no extra charge. 

cover disc 

Any 1 There? 

Not everything is... 

!B_and_W by Peter Kingsbury (‘96) is a 
simple drawfile changer. It’s main use is to 
take a drawfile and convert it to light grey 
for use as a background in DTP. however 
I’ve also found it’s monochrome colour 
features very effective. With so many 
possible combinations of colours and 
fades it’s worth playing around with this 
program before deciding on your final 
choice of graphic. 

The main window is split into two 
parts (see right); on the left is the Control 
Panel and on the right is a display of the 
file loaded. This display can be accessed 
by clicking on the icon in the top right- 
hand corner of the window. 

A word of warning here, this version 
does seem to have a file size limit. The 
Mini processed well enough, but when 
the window was extended to display the 
file !B_and_W locked up (press Alt+Break 
if this happens), but don’t worry this will 
be fixed for next month’s cover disc. 
Other smaller files produced no such 

There are three functions that can be 
performed on the file: 

• Scale - maps the colours onto the scale 
shown. The upper and lower limits of 
this scale can be altered by clicking on 
the scale itself or on the arrows top 
and bottom. For light grey, put the 
upper limit at the top and the lower 
limit about half the way up. 

• Invert - inverts the colours 

• Mono - makes the picture 
monochrome. The colour for the 
monochrome picture is set from 
the main menu ‘Monochrome’ 

These functions can be applied to 
any or all of the fill colours, the 
outline colours and/or the text. 

Having selected the functions 
and the objects to which they 
are to be applied, click on the 
‘Process’ button. The display 
should show the altered 
picture (the original is 
unaltered by this operation). 

‘Copy’ makes the altered 
picture the original so that you could, for 
example, alter the fill colours only, Copy, 
and then alter the outlines in a different 

The picture below shows that well 
known Mini in three stages - the original; 
monochrome orange; and monochrome 
black. Below each is a copy with 50% 
‘Scale’ or fade on. For this the upper limit 
was set to the top and the lower limit to 
roughly half way (see right). 

!B_and_W is not intended to be 
comprehensive. It is a simple utility 
designed for one purpose which has been 
extended to include some others. Good 
little program I think. 



Disc information Faulty disc? 

The software on the cover disc has been 
compressed using lArcFS 2 from VTi, and 
are opened by running a copy of ArcFS 
then double-clicking on the archive to open 
it. There is a copy of ! ArcFS on each disc. 

Most software will run straight from the 
archive, but some programs may need to 
be copied out of the archive before being 
run, uncompressing them in the process. 
Any program that saves a file to disc, for 
instance, will be unable to do so into the 
archives on the disc. 

If your disc is faulty, test whether it will 
verify by clicking with Menu on the floppy 
drive icon and choosing Verify. 

If it fails to verify or is physically 
damaged you should return it to TIB, TIB 
House, 1 1 Edward Street, Bradford, 
Yorkshire BD4 7BH. If it verifies 
successfully return it to the Acorn User 
editorial office at the usual address. 

The Acorn User cover discs have been 
checked for viruses using IKiller version 
3.001 from Pineapple Software. 

This utility by Chris Flynn (age 13) sits on 
the icon-bar waiting for the parallel port 
state to change. Chris says "It saves you 
having to look at the printer’s LED. This 
has been a project for me for about two 
years because my dad always leaves the 
printer on overnight and blames me. 

“It should be able to be used on any 
printer (I think) and you could even 
change the sprites if you’ve got 
something else connected to the printer 
port, for example Zip drive, sound 
recorders, MIDI interface and so on. It 
tells you everything from the iconbar. just 
a quick glance away.” 

Unfortunately, Chris has had to set the 
compatibility limit at RISC OS 3.0 as help 
menus aren’t supported below this. If this 
really bothers you, he suggests changing 
the 300 at the beginning of the file to 200, 
although he hasn’t tested this. Anyone 
interested in an updated version of 
!Anyl There should write to Chris. 

Regulars & Features 

• Doom level designer 

• ProCAD+ specifications 

• Final Java tutorial files 

• All the *INFO and RTR programs 

May 1999 Acorn User 



— , 

•V Pel 5757 3316843 689 

■ r.j 


8 Elevation: Wwt aspect 

0 Class 0 

B ack in 1994 David Snell created a 
professional Computer Aided 
Drawing package for Minerva Software 
called IProCAD. Now. in 1999 he has 
updated his product and called the new 
version IProCAD plus - but it's a bit more 
complicated than that. At these times of 
great change in the Acorn/RISC OS world 
it is a brave man who will spend time and 
money on a massive upgrade task such as 
this - unless that is there is a very good 
reason to do so. In this case there is. 

IProCAD has a large and influential 
user base which lias been growing ever 
since the mid ‘90s and there is no reason 
to think that it will stop now just because 
the company which used to make the 
computer which runs their CAD package 
has ridden off in to the sunset. Too much 
time and money has been spent and 
saved - by many industrial Acorn users 
for IProCAD to be switched for something 
else now. 

It’s not just large firms who can use 
IProCAD , anyone can as long as their 
machine has at least 4Mb of RAM. RISC 
OS 3.1 or better and a harddrive - so that 
is most of us outside primary schools. 

So what is it about IProCAD which lias 
kept industry using it and how has it been 
improved for. the next millennium? 

Simon Anthony combines work with 
more work, to put this new release 
under the microscope 

documentation and an apparently full 
feature plotter driver application (which I 
can say lilt It 1 about as I don't have a 

What you see 

Any technical drawing package* worth its 
salt must provide at least a basic set of 
drafting facilities. This review will neither 
list nor describe these as the manual 
which came with the earlier product ran 
to 210 pages and was not a CAD tutor so 
there's no span* here to do that job either. 

There is a text file list of features on the 
cover disc though. The new manual has 
just 1 7(> pages and here is the first clear 
— improvement in Plus 

| as 1 1 le new manual is 
much easier to read 
IQHjl and even though it is 
si lorler il covers more 
IT detail than before. Il 
| ran almost be used as 
i a CAI) tutor it you 
I need one. 

xA heller read for tin* 
■— beginner is the Quick 
Start guide which is 
t available 

H [ 

and will form part of 

■ l the finished package. 

Please read il and 

the manual, indeed 
rmm ,im(> ,o ,im( ‘ 

■ your manuals as I ! lere 

| will always be 

Hi something new for 
mmmmmmmlsSm SS you (O team (‘Veil ill a 
package which you 

What you get 

IProCAD + comes as a two disc pack with a 
loose leaf manual in a smart white plastic 
A5 ring binder. The software is not 
protected in any way and so there are no 
installation procedures to follow and 
none of the subsequent dangers of 
mucking anything up in your first mad 
dash to get it going. This shows 
commendable faith in human nature, but 
beware all you possible pirates as each 
copy is individually traceable. 

The two discs also hold sample 
drawings, a symbol library, some 

Fig II: Highlighted detail from Figure I 

use every day maybe especially then. 

It is very easy to get in to habits which 
are not necessarily the best way to do 
things, a quick glance at the manual often 
shows you a quicker and better way. 
During the review process for this article 
tin* staff here at Electronic Control 
Services kept finding new facilities in Plus 
which turned out after a look at the 
manual to have been in the old version 

This shows the next important 
aspect of Plus, that it is both a new 
product (with a version number reset 
to 1.00) and an upgrade. Any existing 
user will be able to transfer at once to 
Plus and not even notice the change 
until they look closely at the toolbars. 
All the short cuts remain and the way 
of working can be the same. The total re 

Fig I: One of the supplied demo files 

Acorn User May 1999 



Spandrel panel 

Embellishment F 

Existing gutter 1/2 
Embellishment (Oblique) 
Freize (Oblique) 

m Delete ? 

Spandrel panel [*/ Scale lines 

X scale 1.000 Y scale 1.000 Anglel 0.0° 

<5 Ang J2pt J 2pt*X J 2pt*XY _J Shape V OKj 

Fig III: The symbols directory 

work is under the bonnet. 


IProCAD was never particularly buggy but 
any package can’t really be said to ever be 
perfect, all the known faults have been 
removed in Plus and so stability can be 
considered the same if not better than 
before, and ‘before’ was good or it would 
not have lasted this long. Any new faults 
which may crop up can be fixed almost 
by return of e-mail if the bug report is 
detailed enough. 

Good and continued support exists for 
this product which can be expected to 
carry on for a long lime. A continually 
updated web site carries FAQs, Hints and 
Tips and anything else which users ask 
for. At the time of writing this is all at an 
early stage but it shows good promise. 

!ProCAD+ at work 

Figure I shows one of the supplied demo 
files displayed in Plus. This is a real- world 
drawing of the Hathersage Bandstand as 
provided by AHD Limited. I have 
highlighted a detail using a method with 
which any user of !l)mw will be familiar. 
Figure II shows the expanded detail in its 
full glory. In this case I he object is held as 
a IProCAD* Symbol, Figure* 111 shows that 
there can be a lot of them. 

Defining repeated details such as 
symbols keeps the* memory down and 
speeds up the* drawing process 
considerably. The user is not limited to 
any preset selection of symbols, although 

many are provided such 
as those needed for 
electrical design work. 
PCB and OS Map 
making and so on. 

New symbols can 
be created with ease 
and added to the list. 
Figure IV shows one 
1 made by taking 
the detail selected from 
the bandstand apart, 
deleting sections of it, 
re-grouping the remains 
and then using an 
inbuilt facility to turn 
the group back into a symbol. A very 
simple process. 

Once a symbol has been created it can 
be used at any scale rotation or aspect 
ratio. In the bandstand example this 
detail has been displayed at a reduced X 
scale (of 0.707) to get a side-on view 
effect. The symbol left in the pool retains 
its engineering drawing accuracy as the 
symbol itself has not been altered. 

Figure* V shows IProCAD being used in 
another real world situation. Just because 
the application can be highly accurate 
does not mean that it has always got to be 
used that way. for example this drawing is 
not to scale. 

Each job type though can already be 
set up automatically with files loaded and 
windows positioned in just tin* right 
places by using an Obey file generated by 
the application. Running this file will 
restore IProCAD to the state it was in 
when the obey file was generated. 

Another new feature of IProCAD + 
provides the facility of a Control iTab tap 
to zoom a selected object to fill the 
window as in Figure VI where the logo has 
been tin-grouped from the rest of a mast er 
template file. Control+R will revert to the 
previous view. This is a very powerful 
system which can save multiple clicks and 

of what ever habit you use to perform the 
same task at the moment. 

At the time of writing this review the 
Quick Start manual-ette was being 
printed. This introduces new users to the 
wonders of CAD from the ground up and 
lets you in to IProCAD in as painless a 
fashion as possible. Part of this 
introduction covers aspects of the tutor 
files available from the Web site. I created 
the simple clock face in Figure VII using 
roman numerals in just a few minutes 
following one of these web site tutor files. 

A text help file there shows a 
staggering list of over 900 (yes nine 
hundred) key short-cuts. Fortunately only 
a few of these are accessible via the 
keyboard, the others are ‘internal’ but it 
gives a good idea of the number of 
facilities available. If. among all that lot, 
you still can't find what you want you can 
add your own, on top of that many of the 
others can be redefined to your taste. You 
can create Macros of these by listing 
sequences of hot key definitions in a Key 
Dels files placed inside the applications 
directory. This way often repeated 
processes can be assigned to one single 

The term ‘Preferences* gets taken to a 
higher than normal level as Figures VIII to 
X show, the daunting facilities here 
almost let you re-design the way it all 
works. These figures show three views of 
the same preferences window. I couldn’t 
get my screen big enough to show the full 
contents all at once. 

Figure X shows the technique used by 
David Snell for making sure the settings 
can be saved no matter what the size of 
the window. The bottom of the window 
has a pane attached which stays put as the 
view above changes. The way l took the 
pictures cut it from the other two figures. 

Any menu entry followed by an ellipsis 
will open other windows of the style 
described above in several places in ^ 
IProCAD. For example Figure XI shows a 

hence considerable time once you gel out 

Fig IV: Creating a new symbol 

Fig V: Not all drawings have to be to scale 

May 1999 Acorn User 



Group 0 1 

S.ECSexample * 


J2 I ! I I I L_ 


i i i — i — 

% x “ 





Fin \/ll* frpafpH fnllnwinn thp 

\A/ph citP tutorial 

Fig VI: Zooming in is simple 

demo CAD file underneath the main 
menu which is itself shown leading to the 
new Layer manipulation window. The last 
incarnation of IProCAD showed all 
possible 32 layers at once irrespective of 
their being in use. Now the window only 
shows the currently relevant information. 

This cuts down on screen clutter and 
also on possible mistakes as editing with 
multiple levels can get confusing - there 
can be up to 256 of them within 
IProCAD*. The Text Classes window has 
also been tidied up in this way since 
IProCAD first came out. 

Acorns in the real world 

IProCAD has always done just about 
everything one could want of it. It is 
currently being used by Zeus Engineering 
of Exeter who are an automotive design 
company and Highpath Engineering of 
Ceredigion - both of whom are happy to 

public knowledge. Once the dust has 
settled Acorns tend to creep back in to the 
factory floor and back in to use as their PC 
replacements just can’t cut the mustard. 
After all. it’s only on merit that H 
Acorns were used in the first 

1 must congratulate these 
and other companies for 
sticking to equipment which 
they know works well and does 
the job they need doing. 

The big changes 

So far I have only really 
covered cosmetic changes and 
other wrinkle removing. On 
the larger scale of changes 
there is a new way of handling 
files. The ‘File Manager 1 as 
shown in Figure XII keeps track 
of all IProCAD ' s files in a way 

current file will be shown at the other side 
when you select one of them. Details of 
the currently selected file are shown in 
the middle. Drag the file from the left 
hand list on to a IProCAD Drawing 
window to load it. 

It is important to note here that 
the contents of the File Manager are 
the same as the normal RISC OS 
file window and hence of the hard 
drive itself. Anything you do to files 
in File Manager you will also do to 
the ones on the disc - because they 
are the same files just 
I shown in a different window - 

not a new copy just for 

a splay 

| [7 Cross haif s 
JGtk) knw <tot!»d 
Construction knos dotted 

Colours Monochrome 
j Screen colours j 
j Prreer peleoe 


CMC mm decimal pia 

[CMC use arcs 

| CMC include port 

[7 Import Text files a 
Text import line wrap 
(7 Import Draw with 
[7 Convert thin Draw 

(7 import dxf with c I Drag symbol shape 

_J Import DXF points 

j Export DXF point! 

DXF end oflne on e< 

<S Otl J LfCr 

J Points layer number 
J Centre ref. point lor groups 
J Shift-pan on rubber-band ng 

J Copy grid etc. in new views 

[7 Scale to M page 
(7 Print Spies 

| Show printer kmts 

| Show plotter kmrts 


Grads start angle 
_J Grads run ctoch wise 
Angle deomat places 
ADJ step angle 
*AOJ step angle 

mm decimal places [ 

|Fte merge as po«i 

_J Squash CAD Mes 
[7 Warning on Me up 
Fra & Replace 

| Case sensitve se 

J Wildcard search 

| Selection only 

(Within Groups 

f7 Zoom 

Fie manager 

(Open at startup 

(5 Empty / Uncfcangt 
J Orawings director 
J Blank drawings di 
J Symbols • YeBow 
J Symbols - Whie p 

jPona layer numb 

J Snap lock to grid 
[7 Snap sound 
7 Horizontal tool bar 
(7 Show icon message 
J Clear icon bar 

| ADJ effect in menu wntaWes 

| Ftetum in Text for OK 

[7 Join closed lines 
J Close paralei lines on break 
Pending OK’ colour 

let the world know. 

I have heard tales of companies who 
have used Acorn/RISC OS equipment in 
the past but who removed the computers 
after the fact that they were not using the 
‘industry standard’ systems was made 

which makes them easily |CEgS 
available from wherever they 
are without you having to 
move them about. 

This way you get the ■fetjH 
advantages of the RISC OS filer BHj 

need without 
undue searching. To use 
it. simply drag an 
existing directory of 
CAD files, or a single file 
from a CAD directory, 
on to the File Manager 
window. The left hand 
side of the window will 
list all the files in the 
directory and a 
thumbnail of the 

Product prices (see also special offer in text) 

Single user licence: £250 + VAT (£293.75) 

Licence up to 5 machines: £315 + VAT (£370.13) 

Licence up to 10 machines: £375 + VAT (£440.63) 

Licence up to 20 machines: £500 + VAT (£587.50) 

For more than 20 machines on one site please e-mail for quote. 


ProCAD single user to ProCAD+ single user £95 + VAT (£111.63) 
CADet single user to ProCAD+ single user £140 + VAT (£164.50) 
ProCAD site license to ProCAD+ site license £190 + VAT (£223.25) 
CADet site license to ProCAD+ site license £280 + VAT (£329.00) 
Prices include UK mainland postage 

Figs VIII, IX and X: A very 
large preferences menu 


Acorn User May 1999 


5 Border 


Layers for Chainset 


2 48t 

3 cranks 




Drg. no.: 


Creation date: 14/09/94 
Revision date: 30/04/98 
Revision no.: 25 

?| Paper size: A4 L 

Symbols $ Selected 

IProCAD. You may have seen lliis sort of 
thing before when using the Computer 
Concepts compression Filing system, For 
example where a Filing window For a hard 
drive can he opened as either ADI'S::!. $ 
or as ADFS: : Ihml Dr ivrNnmc.S (or 
CFSttADFS::...) and bolh/all versions oF 
the window can he open and on screen at 

Although this does not happen oFlen it 
is handy to know what's going on iF it 
does. The trick to avoid wiping valuable 
Files is to look at the path name at the top 
oF thi' Filer window to see exactly what it 
is you are looking at in the window. The 
same trick therefore applies For tin* 
IProCAD File Manager. 


Files can he saved in many Formats 
including the ‘industry standard" DXF. 
Data Files can hi* produced which will also 
drive CNC machines. The CAD Files can 
he set to save as Squashed versions which 
will load directly iF dropped on the 
window or iconhar icon thus saving disc 

Isometric projections have always 
been tricky to do well, they can 
now he made very quickly From any 
existing 2D drawing. Croup your target 
objects then copy the group using 
an isometric transformation Function 
From a subsection oF the copy menu, 
then, assuming you know how to use 
isometric projections correctly the job is 


Long time users oF IProCAD may need 
a hit oF convincing to go For the 
upgrade as it works so well as it is. 
The new Features as powerful and 
well thought out though they are. 
still make the upgrade price of £5)5 Feel 
a bit steep. New users though are 
getting a splendid product for their 

Fig XI: Layers at work 

Fig XII: ProCAD's file manager 

money and will soon wish thev had 
Forked out earlier. Corn! news here 
though as For a limited time David Snell 
will offer a 10% reduction For Atom User 
readers. The offer applies to new sales of 
the Full package only and will last until 
3 1 si July 15)95). Readers must telephone 
01392 21 1033 and quote AU+ to gel the 

IF you choose to upgrade then there 
are a Few points to make about the 
File transfer process. Do not Fall in to 
the trap of running both old and 
new versions at the same time as they do 
tend to look very similar when both 
have toolbars and windows on screen. It 
is easy to use the wrong set. It is not 
necessary anyway as Plus loads tiles From 
the previous version with no trouble but 
it does convert them to the new Formal 
and so they will no longer load hack in to 
the old version once they have been 

It is probably a good idea to make 
a new directory and till it with new 
copies of your old Files For use with 
the Plus version. That way you 
automatically have a set of backups 
(which you should have anyway) but also 
if you need to revert to the old program 
For some reason then you still can use 
your old Files. 

As easy as it is to use, the complexities 
of such a massive application could 
convince users of the previous version 


Snap r 

Find & replace A F4 r 

User menu 

that going to the new one may be too 
much of a culture shock. From the 
experience of using Plus in our office 
these minor problems can be over come 
quite quickly and the effort is well worth 

Another point to bear in mind is that 
IProC AD is sold with either a single user or 
a site licence. As mentioned there is no 
copy protection on the product so there is 
no difference in software terms between 
the products. However you are legally and 
morally required to purchase the site 
licence version if you wish to run it on 
more than one machine at a time. 

You can lest drive the product if you 
have an internet connection by going to 
lit tfj:/ ' and if you've 
not yet bitten t he internet bullet then the 
demo can be had by post From the author. 
C all 0135)2 214033 and a 1.6Mb disc will 
be sent Free of charge. (An 800K disc is 
also available but only contains part of 
the demo.) This postal offer applies to the 
UK mainland only. The demo copy is in 
all respects complete - except that it 
won't save. 

For prices current at time of going to 
press and to see a Full list of IProCAD ' s 
old and new features please see the files 
on thi' cover disc. 

!Prn('AD+ is not a Minerva product but 
will be available From Minerva as well as 
direct I v From the author. The upgrade 
includes a new manual and 90 days 
support From the author himself. 

Product details 

Product: !ProCAD+ 

Supplier: David Snell, 35 Wrefords 

Close, Cowley Park, Exeter. 
EX4 5AY 


+44 (0) 1392 214 033 


+44 (0) 1392 496 599 

Upgrades: Minerva Software, Minerva 
House, Baring Crescent, 
Exeter, EX1 1TL 


+44 (0) 1392 437756 


+44 (0) 1392 421762 

The demo disc can be 
obtained by phoning 01392 
214033 or by pointing your 
browser at http://www.zynet. 

May 1999 Acorn User I 27 


H TML Pro is a new add-on for 
lOvationPro that gives the ability to 
convert lOvationPro documents into 
HTML, ready for publishing them on the 
WWW. Levens Software have chosen to 
enter a demanding area with this product, 
especially given the difficulty of the task. 
The question is, how well does this 
product perform at its stated goal - 
turning lOvationPro into a web-design 


John Pettigrew sees whether 
IHTMLPro is all it could be 


Header options 
Title [_ 
Link j 
Visited j 
Selected Link [ 
Saw Options 

j No graphics 


Test page) 

Seas hell 

13j I #FFF5EE 


' ngj | #F8F8FF | 


*FFEEP4 | 



Image Directory [~ images 

Please configure links 



UP£ " a | Links 



Figure I: IHTMLPro's save window 

What is HTML? 

HTML is the language used to define how 
a page on the WWW will be presented to 
the user. Originally, this language was 
very simple but, over time, it has become 
more complex as authors and designers 
have demanded more control over the 
way their pages appear. 

There are two basic approaches to 
producing HTML. One group of people 
(of whom I am one) perform their mark- 
up by hand, inserting the HTML tags in a 
text editor such as IZap. The other group 
prefer to design visually, laying their page 
out so that it looks the way they want and 
trusting the software to convert their 
design into HTML that will appear the 
same on as many browsers as possible. 

The advantages of a visual approach 
are that the designer can move elements 
around more easily, just as you would 
move frames in a DTP program, and that 
it allows the designer to create web pages 
without learning any HTML. 
Unfortunately, this path is fraught with 
difficulties, because HTML is not designed 
to operate in the same way as DTP 
software, and was never intended to be 

First impressions 

The software comes on a single floppy 
disk, with an attractive manual. 
Installation is simple, although there are 
some odd aspects - should it really be 
necessary for the installer to be told where 
the System folder is? On installation, a file 
is created containing the user’s 
registration details, which can be e-mailed 

to Levens. The package itself 
consists of two parts: the 
IHTMLPro application, which 
performs the translation from 
lOvationPro to HTML, and 
HTMLinks, an applet for 
lOvationPro that inserts 

On running. IHTMLPro 
installs to the iconbar. To 
convert a file, simply drag it to 
the icon and, once IHTMLPro 
has finished its import, the 
main window appears (Figure 
I). This is, unfortunately, a 
little daunting owing to the 
number of options that are 
available. To save the HTML 
file, however, you simply 
name your file and drag, and 
IHTMLPro will create the HTML and also 
convert the graphics into web format (GIF 
or JPEG). 

• HTMLinks applet - This is designed to 
insert hyperlinks into your document, 
after all a web page will not be much 
without links to other pages. You can 
insert either a hyperlink to another 
document or a marker within this 
document; the latter option allows links 
to be made within a page - for example, 
to the different section headings of an 

With either option, the details of your 
link are entered into a dialogue box 
(Figure II). The link itself appears as 1- 
point text around the area you have 
selected. This text is too small to see but is 
stripped out of the document by 
IHTMLPro when it 
converts it. 

The dialogue boxes 
are an area to which 
more care should 
have been paid. For 
example, Tab does 
not move from one 

icon to the next, nor does Return close 
the window. Having continually to move 
from mouse to keyboard is rather 

• Meta tags - These contain information 
about a document but are not displayed 
by the browser and can include the 
author’s name, a description of the page 
and a set of keywords. They are often used 
by search engines when trying to 
catalogue your page so it is worth using 
them properly. IHTMLPro allows control 
over which meta tags are included in your 
HTML file, and what their content is. 

• Graphics - Each of the graphics in the 
page can be examined and various 
attributes altered. For example, you can 
set the alt text (which will be displayed if 
the reader has images turned off in their 
browser) and control whether the image 
will be saved as a GIF or a JPEG, whether 
GIFs are interlaced and the quality of the 
JPEG images. 

• Fonts - The use of named fonts in web 
pages is becoming more and more 
common, but is especially problematic for 

Figure II: Where do you want to go today? 

Acorn User May 1999 


RISC OS users because we do not use the 
same fonts as our cousins in the PC or 
Mac worlds. However, there is basic 
control over fonts offered in IHTMLPro, in 
that each font in the document can be 
defined as a normal (where each letter is a 
different width) or typed (where each 
letter is the same width, as in Corpus). 

• Frames - IHTMLPro allows the use of 
frames in a rudimentary way: a page can 
be defined as containing two frames, each 
with a separate HTML file, and frame sets 
can be built up by making the files within 
a frame contain two more frames. This is 
not an ideal approach but it is probably 
inevitable because lOvationPro has no 
concept equivalent to WWW frames. 

• Links - I can’t comment on this 
feature, because it crashed consistently 
when 1 tried to use it in my latest review 
copy (and, although it didn’t crash in the 
original version, I still couldn’t work out 
what it was supposed to do). It appears 
that the aim is to permit links to be 
customized but I can’t see what use this 
would be outside the document - these 
features would be better included in the 
HTMLinks applet. 

• Output - As a test, I tried using some of 
the sample files that come with 
lOvationPro as well as my own files, using 
a variety of features that may or may not 
be supported by IHTMLPro. The results 
varied from almost completely faithful 
conversion to crashes. Figures III and IV 
show the lOvationPro and WWW versions 
of the same file. 

IHTMLPro achieves its ends by making 
extensive use of tables. It creates cells 
for each part of the file to ensure 
that each is correctly positioned. 
However, it can only do this by 
forcing the width of the page to a specific 
number of pixels. Thus, if someone is 
reading the page at a narrower width, 
they will not see all of the text (Figure IV). 
Also, not all browsers support tables, and 

Hot off the press 

After this review was written, a new version (1.31) of IHTMLPro has been released. This 
addresses some of the criticisms mentioned in the article - for example, the windows are 
less cluttered and daunting, some bugs have been fixed, and entity handling is now correct 
(although, for some reason, the & symbol is still not handled correctly as &amp;). There are 
also some new features, such as control over background images. 

However, there are still problems with stability and with link handling (I still have no idea 
what the links database is for because, even though it now works, the contents are not 
available to the HTMLinks applet). Levens Software are updating their product continuously 
and this latest version means that I can moderate some of my criticisms of it, but there is 
still some way to go before this becomes a great product. 

ffliu!U:*Gi0iBi*iO; - s r OTQ i 

Njf| Brochtu) S*nt*nc«Ca»: SwtchWordsj Hm*nq| Pataitej Off«rs| 

Cfairfo Htunbrid^e 
ItmiMnfim ri Hood 
Her ks 


V 01 70.1 Ho To 7.1 
JMh February twv 

IVar kuvhv. 

luM a 'hort note to text mil im now OTP ivukouc. I haven't 
entirely to uri|* with it )vt. Inti I van make my letter* look 
vonsklcralt)} more attrvulhe. 

tor e\am|i)e the telephone symbol above was inserted it'liitf the 
Uiaravters dialogue U>x. and then vertically shilled to allyiii it 
with the oilier characters on the line. 

the dale is automatically u|Klated each time I o|tcn Hie 
document hy inscitinyi an active date command into the letter. 

the nra|»hiv* loHowinu the address and this text arc embedded 

.ittlkJaUho mono lln v i 


Figure III: The original lOvationPro document 

so they will fail to display anything 
intelligent when faced with this sort of 

There is, it should be said, nothing 
wrong in using tables, but there should be 
an option to save the page without them, 
even at the expense of control over the 
layout. At the moment, this is only 
possible by saving a ‘local’ DDL file from 
lOvationPro (that is, a file containing only 
the contents of one frame), and this does 
not allow the inclusion of graphics. 

There are some problems: some images 
vanish (e.g. the swash below the address 
in Figure III), font translation means that 
some characters will not display properly 
(for example, the telephone symbol, 
although it’s not IHTMLPros fault that 
font names differ between platforms and 
so cannot be supported fully), active fields 
are not displayed (such as the date in 
Figure III, although this would be 
extremely hard to implement) and entity 
handling is poor (special character such as 
&, <, > and smart quotes should be 
referred to by name but IHTMLPro uses 
the ASCII code, which will not work on 
all platforms). 


IHTMLPro attempts an extremely difficult 
task - translating from a DTP paradigm 
into the WWW paradigm. Within its 
limitations, it does a good job: the 
text and graphics are easily converted, 
with the graphics 
automatically being linked 
to, and the layout of the 
page is preserved. 

If you want to go to 
the minimum of effort to 
create pages that can be 
viewed by people with the 
latest browsers (many 
older browsers, especially 
in the Acorn market, do 
not handle tables well), 
then IHTMLPro may be for 

But, the approach 
taken to producing the 
HTML means that 
there will always be 
problems. Those who 
object to tables will not 
be likely to use IHTMLPro, 
and the incorrect use 


m « 

m J/IM&M 

URL|fit#MDFS HardOI*c4$' , !BOOT/Cholc«fcBooiTaik8.1PinFiliaI 

1 Charles Bamhrldge 

-V TiimMedimn Road 

Ti abridge 



a 01763 867673 

Dear JaMioc. 

Jum ii 'hurt note to tea out my new DTP package . 1 luivcn't j 
grip* with it yet. hut 1 can make my lcticr> lock consfclci j : 

Pie example the telephone '> mM above win ni'crtcd tning j 
dialogue box. and then vertically dirtied to align it with die t ) 1 
on the line. 

The ilite i> automatically updated each time 1 open the d< • 
inserting an active date command mto the lette ; 
The graphic' following the nddre" and tilt' text are embedi 1 
ihi> mean' they move with the text, 1 do not have to potion j 
more and more. 

Imag* fetching complete 0 error* 

Figure IV: Ready for the Web? 

of entities means that any non-standard 
character may not display correctly on 
other computers. The design problems in 
the program itself (daunting interface, 
unfriendly dialogue boxes, lack of 
explanations, crashes on loading or 
saving files) mean that it also can’t be 
wholeheartedly be recommended to the 

It should be said that IHTMLPro 
is undergoing continuing development, 
and the problems highlighted here 
may be solved before this review 
appears. However, there are many 
small niggles that really should 
have been sorted already and it is 
definitely too unstable. 

If you want to create web pages 
without learning HTML and already own 
lOvationPro, then IHTMLPro may be worth 
buying. Otherwise, there are better i 
ways to get the job done. / J 


Product details 




£40 plus p&p 


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Drive, Langley Mill, 

Nottingham. NG16 4BE 


0500 121 242/0500 131 288 




May 1999 Acorn User 


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Keyboard •+ Monitor (twisted pair VDU cables) £39.95 
Keyboard. Monitor, Serial (eg serial mouse) £49.95 
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1 5HD m-m tw pair (as supplied with switches) £1 4.95 
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Single Width I/O Card 

Compatible with the original Acorn double width I/O 
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Uses the Dual High Speed Serial Card. Baud rates up 
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Tel: 01703 261514 Fax: 01703 267904 

Mark Moxon finishes 
his series on RISC OS 
Java programming 
with a look at 
keyboards and mice. 


L ast month we briefly mentioned strings. 

but they’re such an important tool in 
programming that they’re worth looking at in 
a bit more detail before we get stuck into our 
two main topics this month, the mouse and 
the keyboard. 

String handling 

Strings are not built into Java as one of the 
primitive types. The primitive types are 
fundamental to Java and have types that don’t 
start with capital letters; they aren’t classes, 
they’re part of Java itself, like the new command 
or the if statement. Although we’ve been using 
them happily without really talking about them, 
now is as good a time as any to list them. 

• Bytes (8 bits): declared with the byte 

• Short integers (16 bits): declared with the 
short keyword; 

• Integers (32 bits): declared with the int 

• Long integers (64 bits): declared with the 
long keyword; 

• Floating point numbers (32 bits): 
declared with the float keyword; 

• Double precision floating point 
numbers (64 bits): declared with the 
double keyword: 

• Characters (16 bits): declared with 
the char keyword. They are 16-bit 
values rather than 8-bit because 
they support the Unicode 

• Booleans (true or false): 
declared with the boolean 

All these should be self-explanatory. 
Strings aren’t in the above group, although ^ 
single characters are; instead strings are ^ 

May 1999 Acorn User 

• Recognition of OvationPro Styles. Including 
SmallCaps and Title Caps 

• ' Best Fit ' of text sizes giving clearer presentation 
on the Internet 

• F nil colour support for CMYK , RGB and l ISV at 
any tint level 

• F ull Acorn graphic support and conversion to 
Internet graphics 

• Links Database with definable link colours 

• Multiple site support 

Ovation Pro to HTML Co n v e rt e r 

• Internet GIF import filter for OvationPro 


single user licence £40 

primary school licene £60 

secondary school licence £65 


business site licence £70 

P&P UK a. 50, EU £2.50, Other Counries £6 

Freephone 0500 121 242 



Kable House, Amber Drive, Langley Mill, 

Ovation Pro and HTMLPro 

single user licene £175 

P&P UK £6, Overseas is charged at cost 

New RISC OS Computers? 

Indeed there are, and you can read about them in the latest edition of Archive Magazine! 

Archive contains... 

• Hints & tips 

• Articles for learners 

• Information for the more technical 

• Readers’ comments 

• Averages over 45,000 words per issue 

• Over 70 pages of articles 

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Or email your address to: Paul Beverley, 

provided by the class String and are 
defined as objects of that class. The String 
class also provides us with a number of 
methods for manipulating strings. 

Because strings are just objects of the 
class String, we can define them with the 
standard constructor, using new StringO. 
but in deference to the way other 
languages handle strings, Java provides 
another way to define them, using the 
equals sign and a pair of quotes, as in: 

s = "" 

which is equivalent to: 

s = new String() 

If you’ve programmed in C, you might be 
wondering if Java strings have null 
characters to terminate them, but in Java 
this question is irrelevant: strings are 
stored in a way that means you can always 
find out their length, and terminators are 
not needed. Concatenating strings is just a 
case of using the + operator, or the 
alternative concat() method, so the 
following two lines are different ways of 
doing the same thing: 

String s = "1234" + "5678" 

String s = " 1234". concat( "5678") 

This is the best way to overcome the fact 
that strings can’t be broken over more 

than one line in Java (unlike commands 
and statements); you can, however, break 
up long string definitions by splitting the 
string into sections and concatenating 
them. For example: 

String s = "This string is 
very long and could not be " 

+ "entered as one long line." 

You can also produce a string from various 
other types of objects, such as integers and 
booleans, in which case the string is set to a 
representation of that object. The valueOfO 
method is used to make strings from 
booleans, characters, arrays of characters, 
doubles, floats, integers and long integers, 
as in: 

String s = String. valueOf (1) ; 
String s = 

String. valueOf (true) ; 

Note that valueOfO is what is known as a 
static method, so we call it with 
String. valueOfO rather than 

obj. valueOfO: static methods are invoked 
through the class name rather than 
through an object of that class and are the 
closest thing to global methods in Java. 

To convert the other way, from strings to 
other objects, we need to use the specific 
method for the class we want to convert to. 
For example, to convert a string s to a 

Strings, mouse input and keyboard input as shown by / Fresco and Acorn's JVM 

double we would use Double. valueOf(s), 
and to convert s to boolean we use 
Boolean. valueOf(s) . 

Note that in these cases the primitive 
types have capital letters; as double and 
boolean aren’t classes but types, we can’t use 
them in the class. method 0 syntax, so Java 
defines some special classes, called the 
wrapper classes, that let us put primitive 
types into the class.methodO syntax, and 
they are simply the primitive names with 
capital letters. 

Another rather subtle area of Java is 
equality testing of strings in things like if 
statements. We can’t use the == operator for 
strings because they’re not primitive types 
but a special class. Instead we use the 
equalsO method, as in if (s.equals(r)) to 
compare the strings s and r. Similarly we 
can’t use the <, >, <= or >= operators, but 
instead use the compareToO method, as in 
if (s.compareTo(r) < 0) or if 

(s.compareTo(r) >= 0). 

String methods 

Let’s take a look now at a few handy 
methods from the String class. 

• s += t: Concatenates strings s and t and 
puts the result in s; the equivalent of s = 
s + t; 

• s.charAt(int i): Returns the character 
from string s at position i (numbered 
from 0 to the number of characters in the 
string - 1); 

• s.length(): Returns the number of 
characters in string s; 

• s.indexOf(t): Returns the position at 
which string t appears in string s, or -1 if 
t doesn’t appear; 

• s.toLowerCase(): Returns the string s 
converted to lower case; 

• s.toUpperCase(): Returns the string s 
converted to upper case. 

We make use of these methods in our 
example program Exl8/java. It’s a simple 
program that takes an input string from the 
text field textl and processes it according to 
the user’s choice, displaying the resulting 
string in the text field text2. It’s pretty self 
explanatory, except for the two for 
constructs that reverse the string or remove 
its vowels. In the following: 

for (int i = 0; (i < 
s . length ( ) ) ; i++) 

the integer i is initially set to zero. Then we 
enter a loop where the code in the brackets 
is executed and then the third part of the for 
statement is run, in this case i++, which is 
just a shorthand for i = i + 1. Then if the 
condition in the second part of the for 
statement is still true, we repeat the process, 
running the bracketed code and increasing i 
by one. 

In our example the code in brackets will 
be executed with an incrementing value of i, 
going from 0 to the length of the string - 1; 
the code itself looks at the character at 
position i on the string, and replaces it with 

May 1999 Acorn User 


^ an asterisk if it is a vowel. A similar 
construct is used to reverse the string, this 
time counting clown from the end of the 
string to zero, and pulling out the 
character at that position and sticking it 
on the end of an initially empty string, t, 
thus reversing the string. 

Mouse and keyboard input 

Our other two examples this month 
concern the mouse and keyboard. Both 
these input devices have dedicated 
event handler methods that deal with 
relevant events, and they sit at the same 
level as our familiar actionO method: you 
don’t need to write your own 
handleEventO method, but instead can 
define the following methods to cater for 
mouse and keyboard events (see the 
examples Exl9/java and Ex20/java for 
more information). 

For the mouse there are the following, 
where in each case x and y contain the 
pointer coordinates of the pointer when 
the event took place, relative to the 
applet’s display area: 

• mouseDovvn(Event e, int x, int y): 
Called when the mouse button is 
pressed down; 

• mouseUp(Event e, int x. int y): 
Called when the mouse button is 

• mouseDrag(Event e, int x, int y): 
Called when the pointer is dragged; 

• mouseExit(Event e, int x, int y): 
Called when the pointer leaves the 
applet’s display; 

• mouseEnter(Event e, int x, int y): 
Called when the pointer enters the 
applet's display. 

And for the keyboard, these can be 

• gotFocus(Event e, Object arg): Called 
when the applet gains the input focus; 

• lostFocus(Event e, Object arg): Called 
when the applet loses the input focus; 

• key Down (Event e, int key): Called 
when a key is pressed down. If has 
the value Event. KEY_PRESS the key’s 
character is given by e.key; if has 
the value Event. KEY_ACTION a 
function key has been pressed as 
given by the value of key. Modifier keys 
are given in e. modifiers. 

• keyUp(Event e, int key): Called when 
a key is released. If lias the 
value Event. KEY_RELEASE the key’s 
character is given by e.key; if 
function key has been released as 
given by the value of key (see below). 
Modifier keys are given in e. modifiers 
(also below). 

The possible values for key are as follows: 
Event. Home for the Home key; 
Event.END for the End key; Event. PGUP 
for the Page Up key; Event. PGDN for the 
Page Down key; Event. UP for the Up 
arrow key; Event. DOWN for the 
Down arrow key; Event. LEFT for the 
Left arrow key; Event. RIGHT for the 
Right arrow key; and Event. Fn for 
the function keys key, where n is between 
l and 12. 

The value of e. modifiers determines 
which modifier keys were pressed as well. 
It should be tested against the following 
masks using the & operator, as in: 

if ( (e. modifiers & 

Event. SHIFT_MASK) 1=0) { 

...If we get here, Shift was 
pressed. . . 


Note that != is Java’s inequality operator, 
the equivalent to BASIC’s <> operator. 
Possible masks are Event.SHIFT_MASK 
for the Shift key; Event.CTRL.MASK for 
the Ctrl key: Event. ALT_MASK for the Alt 
key (which in RISC OS means the left Alt 
key only); or Event. META_MASK for the 
Meta key (which in RISC OS means the 
right Alt key or the mouse’s Menu 

The above methods are fairly 
self-explanatory: the two example 
programs simply trap every mouse and 
keyboard event and report them. The 
mouse program, Exl9/java, uses the 
showStatusO method to display mouse 
events; this method passes a string to the 
browser, which then normally 
displays the text at the bottom of its 
window. In Ex20/java the events are 
reported in a window to avoid 
clashing with the other applets in our 
index/html file; to give the window the 
input focus just click on 
the button and type away 
(though see the bug note 

These examples do 
point out a number of 
bugs in Acorn’s JVM 
version 0.74, namely: 

Labels leap to a 
higher font size and 
have their anti-aliasing 
switched off randomly: 
try pressing Page Up 
or Page Down in the 
keyboard applet and see 
what happens; 

• If the pointer is left over the window 
that reports the keypresses, no keys are 
detected, but moving the pointer off 
the window fixes things; 

• Some keys, such as Home and End. 
only report a KeyDovvn, never a 

• Sometimes with IFresco (not IBrowse) 
the MouseExit event is not reported, 
even though MouseEntry always is; 

• The gotFocus() and lostFocus() 
methods are never called, even when 
the focus is changed; 

• Label text is clipped badly: look at the 
label in the keypress window. This 
problem also occurs with long buttons. 

Add to this the fact that version 0.74 also 
refuses to display buttons and check 
boxes unless they’re in panels, and the 
non-Acorn JVMs begin to look much 
more attractive... 

Border layout 

There is one final point to raise about the 
Exl8/java and Ex20/java examples, and 
that’s their use of the BorderLayout 
layout. This layout is particularly useful if 
you want to arrange buttons in a window 
quickly, and that’s the reason that 
the default layout manager for dialogue 
boxes is BorderLayout. Let’s see how 
it works. 

As per usual we define a new border 
layout with the BorderLayout() 
constructor, which takes no arguments, 
and set the window to use this layout 
using setLayout(). We can now add 
up to five components to this layout: if 
we want to include more than five objects 
we must group some of them together in 

Each of the five objects can be placed 
in either the top, bottom, left, right or 
central part of the layout, (referred to as 
North, South, East, West and Center) with 
only one object in each part. Our add() 
method now takes two arguments, the 
first being a string that contains the 
compass information, and the second 
being the object to be placed in the 
layout. Thus: 

this. add ("North", label 1) 

will place the label label 1 in the centre of 
the top of the window. 

One last thing: objects will be 
stretched to fill their slots unless 
they are first placed in panels and 
the panels then added to the layout 
rather than the objects themselves. In 
Exl8/java the objects are all in 
panels, otherwise the Process button, 
for example, would be as wide as the 
applet's whole display; in Ex20/java no 
panels are used, so everything is stretched 
to fill. 

And that brings us to the end 
of our look at strings, mice A . __ 
and keyboards. iWJ 


Reporting mouse events in the status bars of 
IBrowse (top left) and IFresco (bottom right) 


Acorn User May 1999 

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PC Cards Again! K1 

We can now offer from stock Acorn ACA 57 Aieph one Limited 
PC Cards with Cyrix/IBM 5x86 processors at 100 MHz. 
With this Card you can run Windows (and DOS) appli- 
cations under Windows 3.1 or 95 or 98. You can use PC 
CD ROMs and, with an Ethernet Card and our Network 
Links software, your Rise PC can act like any other PC on 
a PC network. The PCPro software now supports for the 
games-writers' favourite VESA2 & DirectX standards. 

Prices include VAT & UK postage: 

ACA57 PC Card with no software £295 

ACA57 Card with PCPro3 Software for new users £345 
ACA57 Card + PCPro3 if you return PCPro2 disc £310 
The following prices apply if ordered at the same time: 
Windows 95 on CD ROM £65 

PCSound Professional (sound support by RCI) £35 
IBM PC DOS v7 (not required for Windows) £10 

Network Links Software for one user £20 

Our Web page on Benchmarks shows the tiny effect of a 
larger cache or a 133MHz processor; the processor we 
offer here has a heat sink fitted and does not need a fan 
DirectXA/ESA support does not generally benefit from 
more than 1 28Kb cache anyway. 

Aieph One Limited 

The Old Courthouse, Bottisham, CAMRIDGE CB5 9BA 
Tel: 01 223 811 679 Fax: 01 223 812 713 

The Dutch Acorn Computer Users Club 
"The Big Ben Club" 

Acorn Expo '99 

Demonstrations and Presentations 
by Clubmembers 

Dutch, German and British RISC OS Dealers 

Hotel Mercure Nieuwegein, Holland 

Saturday 5th June 1999 

http : //www. nedernet . nl/~bigben 

liquid Silicon 



An impressive, state-of-the-art, multi-function DVD and Compact Disc 
device, is now available for the Acorn platform with the Eesox DVD-RAM 
drive. This drive uses rewriteable DVD-RAM cartridges with a capacity of 
either 5.2GB or 2.6GB. With cartridges costing 0.5 pence per Megabyte, 
this drive is essential for anyone who needs large amounts of storage, 
and it is an ideal device for backing up your data. 

5.2 CB 

Includes 5.2GB DVD-RAM cartridge. 


A revolutionary way of accessing multiple CD-ROMs in the fastest way 
possible. The CDBrick unit is an alternative to jukeboxes or towers of 
multiple CD-ROM drives, but provides faster access, larger capacities, 
improved security, better reliability and less maintenance. 


We have our own ‘fast’ SCSI-2 interface card for the Acorn platform. 
This SCSI-2 card is one of the fastest cards available and has many 
unique performance enhancements specific only to this card. The card 
is simple to install and is auto-configuring, which means it is extremely 
easy to use by anyone - just plug it in and play. There are no awkward 
configuration commands every time you change, add or remove a device. 

See us at the Wakefield Spring Show 
(Stand No.8) 

CD-ROM Dri ves 

40x speed drive. 

36x speed, Parallel Port drive. 

40x speed, Internal drive. 

40x speed, External drive. 

External enclosure. 

CD-RO M Towers 
40x speed, Six drives. 

40x speed, Four driv es. 

CD-ROM Recorders 

SCSI DVD RAM, Internal drive, 5.2GB cartridge. 
SCSI DVD RAM, External drive, 5.2GB cartridge. 
SCSI DVD Media 5 .2 


SCSI Eesox 'Fast' SCSI Card. 

Disk Sox ROM. 

Disk CDFast. 

Prices exclude V.A.T and carriage. 

CD a) 

□ 20 

a gs 


0 co 


I — , «£ (D 

ft o S 

(JJ LL D) 
X if) *£= 

e -f 

0 §3 

o X >• 

Q b 0) 

0 3 > 

0 S I 

h GW 

K . Easy 16 Use drag & drop 
ControHtr maps (e.g. 
lig/r . *e««PO and velocity) 
easily alterable by 
drawing with the mouse 
Patterns can bo tinkod to 
retTlect changes made to 
other potterns 

^ * . Handles System Exclusives 
Multitasking playback 
Supports any MIDI 
v interface, Including 

parallel and sorlal 
Up to 192 MIDI channols 
and no track limit 
Free demo disc available 
Now available -£129.00 

32-bit MIDI Sequtnctr 

Recent/New Releases 

Abuse - £23.00 
Descent CDs - £28.00 
Heroes of Might and Magic 2 - £32.00 
Heretic & Hexen CD - £32.00 
OHP CD (Spacetech) - £28.95 
Photodesk 3 - £279.95 
Sunburst -£12.50 
Syndicate Plus CD - £26.50 


Discs (example lOx white discs - £4.60, 50x black discs - £16.59, 
5x HD red/blue/greon/white discs - £2.49) 

Batteries (e.g. 4x AA Xtrn alkaline - £2.20, lx 9V alkaline - £1.84) 
Audio & Video Tapes - EVarious 


£ ^ Kirkcaldy, Fife, KY2 5BR 
United Kingdom 
Tel: 01592 592265 Fax: 01592 596102 


YST-MSW5 subwoofer- £63.00 
YST-MSW10 subwoofer - £67.00 
Yamaha MU10 sound module - £169.00 
Other software: 
MediaPack- £23.95 
MIDI Support- £18.50 
Prosound -£116.95 
Rhapsody 4- £94.95 
Junior Sibelius - £49.00 
Sibelius 6- £99.95 
Sibelius 7 Student- £319.95 
Sibelius 7 - £625.00 
Sibelius for Windows is availablo 
Optical Manuscript - £259.00 
Sound module serial driver - £37.95 
Studiosound- £116.95 

Other Hardware 

Dual fast serial card - £104.50 
Ethernet cord (Combi NIC slot) - £104.50 
Hard drives & kits - ECall 
Rise PC second slice - £140.00 
RPC second slice (no PSU) - £90.00 
StrongARM upgrade - £275.00 

Other Software 

Ankh - £23.00 
ANT Internet Suite 2 - £112.00 
Brutal Horse Power - £26.00 
DataPower 2 - £165.00 
Doom+CDs- £30.00 
EosiWritcr Pro -£129.00 
Empire Soccer 94 - £22.00 
Exodus- £21.00 
Impression Style - £88.00 
Impression Publisher -£135.00 
Inferno - £9.50 

iXRC - £14.99 
Ovation Pro -£150.50 
Personal Accounts 3 - £43.00 
Photodesk Light - £125.00 
Prophet 3 -£160.00 
Schema 2 -£116.00 
Sleuth 3 -£110.50 
Textease - £54.50 
TopModel 2- £145.00 

Books & Manuals 

BBC BASIC Manual - £21.95 
RISC OS 3 PRM- £104.00 
RISC OS 3 PRM V5a — £32.75 
The Tckkie CD - £45.00 


Our free catalogue contains over 2000 
items. Please ask for a copy. 

All prices INCLUDE VAT & UK carriage 

Official orders and callers welcome. Finance available. 

We supply a rango of CCD /jmM 
and laser bar code scanners /Mm 
and Includo with those our /WMk 
IBarReader drivor software 'AVm 
which allows bar codes to control 
most desktop software. 

Further information is available. 
Complete systems from £193.88 

Computer Systems 

These prices do not include monitors, 
unless specified. 
Rise PC 4+0Mb 1.7Gb HD- £911.00 
Rise PC 4+OMb 1 .2Gb HD, 8x CD - £939.00 
Rise PC 842Mb 1.7Gb HD, 24x CD - £1099.00 
J233 Rise PC 32+2Mb 2.1Gb, 24x CD - £1239.00 
"Web Wizard" - os J233, with speakers, 
Easiwriter Pro and 33.6K modem - £1265.00 
A7000+ 8Mb, 2Gb HD - £720.00 
"Poak Performer" - A7000+, 32x CD, 14" 
monitor & software pack - £875.00 
"Sprintor” NC system - lObaseT, 16Mb, 
14” monitor, keyboard A mouse - £445.30 

PC cards 

5x86-133, 512K cache & PC Pro 2 - £360.00 

Psion Series 5 

8Mb, with PC connection kit - £395.00 
8Mb, SPECIAL EDITION - £445.00 
Parallel link- £34.95 
PsiRisc link - ECall 

Memory Upgrades 

Ploase call to check current prices. 
Othor upgrades are available. 
A3000 1-4 Mb - £64.60 
A3010 1-4 Mb — £69.30 
A3020/A4000 2-4 Mb - £52.80 
A5000 2-4 Mb - £69.30 
A300, 400, 5000 4-8 Mb - £128.00 
Rise PC/A7000 SIMMs: 
Call for EDO SIMM prices 
4Mb- £6.00 
8Mb- £10.00 
16Mb- £33.95 
32Mb (not original RPCs) - £73.50 
32Mb (high clearance) - £73.50 
64Mb -£122.00 
128Mb- ECall 
1Mb VRAM- £49.00 
1-2Mb VRAM swap- £55.00 
2Mb VRAM- £92.80 

Music & Sound Section 

Please call for other musical items 
MIDI interfaces: 
DMI 50 dual MIDI card (2x2) - £149.95 
XG upgrade for DMI 50 - £151.95 
16-bit sampler for DMI 50 - £87.95 
MIDI Max II internal 1x1x1- £92.75 
Parallel Port 1x1x1- £89.20 
Synth 8 or Basic Synth - £46.95 
Synth Plus- £58.65 
Music & Sound Prog. Guide - £16.95 
Othor hardware: 
Fntar SL 760 - £450.00 
Fatar SL 880 - £600.00 
FotnrSL 11 00 -£800.00 
Fntar SL 2001 -£1050.00 
Irlam sound sampler - ECall 
Digital upgrade for Irlam sampler - ECall 
Sound Byte Recorder - £57.50 
Yamaha YST-M8 speakers - £41.50 
YST-M20 DSP speakers - £59.00 
YST-MS2B speakers & subw.- £79.00 
YST-M100 speakers - £99.95 

Our bar coding 
software produces 
WpF Draw files of the 

y following formats: EAN 8, 
Code 39 (Normal and Full 
ASCII), Tolcpcn and Binary. 

Further information is available. 

IBarCoder - £69.33 


(Either bought with computer or separately): 

iiyama 350 (15") -£169.00 
iiyama S702GT (17") - £279.00 
iiyoma 400 (17") -£316.00 
iiyama Pro 400 (17“) - £363.00 
iiyama 17ES (17") -£420.00 
Iiyama 450(19") -£478.90 
iiyama Pro 450 (19") - £521.20 
Iiyama 501 (21") -£769.00 
Iiyoma Pro 501 (21 ") - £769.00 
Iiyama 502 (21") -£799.00 
Iiyama Pro 502 (21") - £799.00 
iiyama Pro-Lite 36 14.1” LCD - £685.75 
iiyama Pro-Lite 38 15” LCD - £908.90 
iiyama Pro-Lite 46 18” LCD - £2475.00 

PC Pro 2 
PC Pro 3 
PC Sound Pro 2 
Windows 98 CD 

- £38.95 

- £70.50 

- £39.95 

- £39.95 
-£ 100.00 

Brian O’Carroll concludes 
his Umpact-3 campaign 

T he two previous articles in this series 
have revealed Hmpact-3's calm and 
logical basic workings. This months 
article suggests ways of creating larger and 
more diverse scripts, continuing to make 
life easier and easier. 


The Action script commands First. Next. 
Previous, and Last can be used to access 
the data in different records in the 
database from within an Action script. 
They do not actually change the record 
displayed since they operate in their own 
context that is distinct from the user’s 
context. These commands also work in 
conjunction with Index Filter and 
TempFilter commands, enabling the 
database to be worked through in a way 
that is useful to you. 

These commands can be used to write 
what I call a housekeeping script. For 
example, if you wanted to be sure that all 
the post codes in your addresses database 
(in a field called postcode) are in capitals 
you could use a housekeeping script like 

Local "keepgoing"; 

TempFilter "Len (postcode) > 0"; 

keepgoing = 1; 

While (keepgoing) ; 


postcode = 

UCase (postcode, 1, Len (postcode) ) ; 

keepgoing = Next; 


The variable keepgoing is used as the 
condition for the While loop, which will 

be repeated until its condition is ‘false’ (or 
zero). The command Next will move to 
the next record and also return a ‘true’ 
value (non zero). If there is no next record 
Next returns a ‘false’ value. By assigning 
keepgoing to the value returned the loop 
can be made to end only when the last 
record is reached. 

Beware of using variables that are the 
same as a command: if next is used as a 
variable it will also act as the command 
and move onto the next record each time 
it is used. This kind of error can be very 
difficult to track down. 

A housekeeping script can be used to 
copy data into a new field if you change 
your mind about how you want the data 
stored in a database. If your database has 
a Notes field, but its contents are brief and 
occur on many records, the data could be 
stored in a short Text field instead. A 
housekeeping script can be used to copy 
the data from the old Notes field into 
your new Text field before deleting the 
Notes field. You can't do the reverse of 
this example, copying from a Text field to 
a Notes field, because of the special nature 
of a Notes field. 

In this manner you can change your 
mind about how your database is set up at 
any time without losing any of its data. 
Note that you can only access the first 255 
characters of a Notes field from an Action 

command, although it can be merged or 
exported complete. 

Action script workhorse 

The housekeeping script described above 
is a basic form that can be adapted to do 
some very serious day-to day work. By 
stepping through each record in turn a 
script can take a different action for each 
record based on the contents or setting of 
a number of fields. This is where 
workflow comes into its own. All those 
flags and dates that have been dotted 
about the database to keep track of real 
life processes can be used to decide which 
action to take for each record. 

The following script written for an 
address database will print a letter if the 
person in the record lives in a given street... 

Local "keepgoing" , "streetname" ; 

keepgoing = 1; 

streetname = "Wood Avenue"; 


MergeTo "OvationPro"; 

DocLoad DataName + 

" . Documents . SpecOf f er " ; 

While (keepgoing) 


If (SubText(address, streetname)) 


DocMerge "SpecOf fer"; 

DocPrint "SpecOf fer"; 

} keepgoing = Next; 

An Action script 

The new text field is used to copy the 
Original database j S created to replace Notes field into the Finally, the old 

using a Notes field 

the Notes field 

new text field 

field is deleted 






Notes Field ; 


Notes Field 

Notes Field 
jData from notes 

Data from notes 


The stages involved in using an Action script to change the 
field type used for a particular set of data in a database. 



" { f ilescrap ( current file ())}", "SpecOf 

The final command will only work with 
lOvcitionPro, and simply closes the merge 
document once it is finished with. Notice 
that the merge document is only loaded 
once, outside the While loop. 

This document is then merged and 
printed every time a record matches the 
condition SubText(address, streetname), 
which is true (non-zero) if the phrase 
Wood Avenue is found in the address 


May 1999 Acorn User 


^ field of the current record. The condition 
W for printing a letter could be anything - the 
script could be made to send a reminder 
invoice if payment on an account has not 
yet been made. 

This kind of script can also be left to run 
while you go and have lunch. When you 
return there’ll be a pile of letters for your 
assistant to stuff ‘n’ stamp, and then you 
can send your junior assistant down to the 
post office with them! 

File storage 

You’re probably going to create 1 many 
invoices, orders, letters, and so on, using 
Action script and Merge documents. After 
creating and printing them it is useful to 
retain a copy of the printed document on 
the computer. So far in this series I have 
always described saving a document as a 
user operation - an Action script merges a 
document ready for editing and printing, 
then the user saves it to a filer window. 
This is of no use if you want your invoices 
printed out over lunch - !impact-3 must be 
able to decide where to save them itself. 

Here’s a script that merges a document 
called “Invoice” and stores it somewhere 
sensible. To achieve this the blank merge- 
tagged document is first copied to where 
the final document will end up, then this 
new copy of the document is used as the 
source for the merging process. 


"srcfile" , "destpath" , "destf ilename" ; 
Global "invoicenumber"; 
destfilename = 

"INV"+Format( invoicenumber, "104. Of") 


destpath = 

"ADFS: :HardDisk4.$. Work. Invoices" + 
DFormat ( Today, "Icelyr") + + 

DFormat( Today, "Imn") ; 
srcfile = 

Datapath ( ) +" . Documents . Invoice" ; 
*copy (srcfilet" "+destpath+" . " 
+destfilename+" sv~c"); 

DocLoad destpatht" . "+destf ilename; 
mergeto "OvationPro"; 
docmerge destfilename; 
docfix destfilename; 

Macro "{savedocument(\"\") 

}", destfilename; 

The last line is another !OvationPro only 

command, and, 

unfortunately for 
non -lOvationPro users, 
it is the crucial one - 
there is no alternative 
for Umpression users. 

The command 
saves the document 
named in the variable 
destfilename to its 
existing save path. In 
this case, it will be 
saved over the top of 
the merge-tagged 
which was created 

using the *copy 

command (see below 
for an explanation of star commands in 
Action scripts). 

I’ve used today’s date to make 

names for suitable sub-directories 

inside the directory ADFS::HardDisk4. 
$. Work. Invoices. You could substitute your 
own system variable for this part of the 
file path, one that is defined in your !Boot 
sequence for example, which would 
enable you to easily change where all the 
documents go should you get a new hard 
disk or connect to a network. 

One thing the above script does not do 
yet is create any of the sub-directories it 
needs. This has to be done before the 
*copy command is used, or it will have no 
effect. The additional script needed is... 

Local "dot", "pos" 
dot = 1; 
pos = 0; 

While (dot) 


dot = 

SubTex t ( Text ( destpath , pos+1 , - 1 y, 

pos = pos+dot; 

If (dot) *CDIR 
(Text(destpath, 1, dot-1) ) ; 


*cdir (destpath); 

WimpPoll 100; 

This piece of script could go immediately 
before the *copy command in the script 
before, and uses the destpath variable to 
create the path required. The WimpPoll 
instruction gives control back to the 
operating system for a moment, and is 

needed to make sure the *cdir command 
gets actioned before the directories it 
creates are used. 

Star commands 

As indicated by *copy and *cdir (create 
directory) in the scripts above, star 
commands can be issued from Action 
scripts, and, crucially, data from the 
database can be put into these 
commands. Look at this script, for 

♦Spool RAM: :RamDiscO. $ .TestFile; 

♦Echo This is some test text; 


♦SetType RAM: : RamDiscO . $ . TestFile 


Provided you have a RAM disc set up this 
script will create a file in it called ‘TestFile’ 
that contains a line of text saying “This is 
some test text”. 

However, if the data after the star 
command is replaced by a bracketed 
expression, this expression is evaluated by 
!impact-3 before the command is issued to 
the operating system. Try this script 

Local "filename"; 

filename = 

"RAM : : RamDiscO . $ . "+DFormat ( today , " %c 

elyr-lmn-ldy") ; 

♦Spool (filename); 

♦Echo ("The time is 

"+DFormat (today , "%zl2 : Imilpm" ) ) ; 


♦SetType (filename +" Text"); 

How a 'Bubble Help' application helps a user to 
understand what a briefly labelled button actually does. 

This script creates a file, named for today’s 
date, that contains a line giving the time 
at which the file was created. Using 
*Spoolon instead of *Spool would not 
overwrite an existing file, but instead adds 
to the end of it. 

Beware that the angle brackets, ’<’ and 
V, are used to surround system variables 
in an *Echo command, so you’ll need to 
use ‘I’ (ShiftA, next to the ‘Z’ on a 
standard keyboard) to force a *<’ into the 
output. So, in an !impact-3 script, the 

♦Echo ( " | <html> | <head> | <title>Home 
page|</title>|</head>") ; 


Acorn User May 1999 

*Echo ( “The year is <Sys$Year>") 
...produces the output... 



The year is 1999 

The Action command SysO is used to find 
the value of a system variable. A useful 
system variable to know is Printers, 
which is set by the printer driver to the 
name of the printer selected. The script 

If (Sys("Printer$") == "") Error 

"No Printer driver present" 

...will abort a script that prints something 
if you’ve forgotten to load a printer driver, 
and will generate an error window that 
says as much. 

A quick ’phone call 

The Action script command Modem is 
used to send data to a modem. What to 
say to your modem depends on what one 
you’ve got, but the most useful 
application for ! impact-3 users is 
saving your fingers by making the 
database dial a telephone number on the 
record. A script for auto-dialling might 
look like this... 

Modem "ATDT" + telephone + " A ;\r"; 

Pause 800; 

Modem "ATH0\r"; 

...where telephone is the name of a 
field that contains a telephone 
number. The Pause is to give you 
enough time to pick up the handset 
after the modem has dialled, in this 
case 800 causes an eight second wait, 
and the last command tells the modem 
to hang up. 

Help text 

Who is going to be using your database? 
If it is just you. and that’s definite, 
then if you make a mess you live in 
it. and whatever makes you happy 
is fine. If, on the other hand, other 
members of your family or work 
colleagues might use it then some kind of 
intuitive order needs to be imposed on 
your databases. 

Putting comments in Action 
scripts (use a T to start a one line 
comment) is a good idea, although 
that will affect only those who edit 
them. But you can put comments in 
every field too via Hmpact-3 ' s help text 

When editing a card, menu-click over 
a field, then follow the Field 
*<fieldname>’ option on the menu. 
There is an option called Help Text 
which allows you to enter a helpful 
description of what the field is for. 

This text will be displayed by the RISC 
OS help application when the pointer 
moves over that field. I find it useful to 

include the name of the field in the help 
text (with correct case) so that writing 
scripts is easier. There are three lines of help 
text, each of which will remain separate 
when displayed. Other help applications 
like ‘BubbleHelp’ may only display the first 
line, so make that one count. 

The addition of Help text to !impact-3 
really puts polish on the illusion that each 
database is a RISC OS application itself. 

And finally....backing-up 

Backups are very important - they not 
only keep you sane, but can make you feel 
warmly smug when you need to resort to 
using them. In !impact-3 each database 
can be made to backup automatically at 
certain times to a specified place using the 
blue disk backup tool and the application 
choices. At any time a database can be 
manually backed up, using its backup 
tool, to any filing system destination as 
required. Circle Software’s generous 
investment in backup facilities is with 
good reason, data loss can happen to you! 

The easiest way to lose all your hard- 
won data is by using a human error, often 
encountered as ‘whoops, I didn’t mean to 

It’s turned out nice again 

Wednesday, 6.14pm: It is still light outside 
now that Spring has been announced, and 
Alex is doing his chores. Every evening 
he enters the receipts he has 
accumulated through business expenses 
into an !impact-3 database called 
Purchases. This will make end of year 
accounts very easy since a single Action 
script can be written to run through the 
database between two dates and generate 
an end of year summary. 

It is also backup day. Should the data 
Alex is feeding into his accounts 
database could get lost without backups 
he will have to spend many long nights 
reconstructing it, and will be tormented 
by the knowledge that he had wasted half 
an hour every working day entering it in 
the first place. 

Thursday: 1.07pm Alex has decided to 
be a little more commercial and has left 
his computer printing postcards for him 
over lunch. With the help of an optional 
thick-sheet feeder and the appropriate 
Action script, Alex is sending all his 
clients a postcard advertising his services 
(of course, Alex is registered with the 
Data Protection Registrar for the purpose 
of using names and addresses of clients 
for advertising purposes). 

He has decided to send cards just to 
local people initially, so only addresses 
with the same general post code as his 
own are printed. The postcards (sporting 
a catchy plumber cartoon) are addressed 
and printed with a friendly message on 
the back at the click of a button. 

Some clients get sent other letters 
from Alex as well. Sometimes, when 

click on Delete’. Another common cause 
of data loss is the ‘software bug’, which is 
a human error on the part of the 
programmer. Note well that as soon as 
you start writing Action scripts you 
become a programmer, which gives you 
more power than other users to do 
something awful. 

In addition to software problems there 
are the hardware failures to think 
about. These are rarer but when they do 
happen they are more devastating. A 
hard disk failure will eradicate all the data 
on that entire disk, these days that could 
be up to twelve gigabytes of data. For this 
reason, it is sensible to store additional 
backups of your databases on separate 
media to the working copies. !impact-3 
databases take a long time to become 
bigger than a single 1.6MB disk in 
domestic use, but you may have an 
exceptional use, in which case a large 
format removable device like a Zip drive 
might be required, or a backup utility that 
can split the database over many disks. 

Remember, data loss is indis- 
criminating and can even happen to 
nice people... 

working for a company, payment is not 
made to him immediately and an invoice 
has to be sent to head office. Alex sends 
these invoices on Monday evenings using 
a ‘round up the stragglers’ button that 
also prints reminder invoices for all jobs 
that have not yet been paid for in full, but 
were completed more than 28 days ago. 

Friday 4.11pm: Alex walks backwards 
down Miss Polly White’s garden path and 
waves ‘au-revoire’. 

“I’ll meet you in front of the cinema at 
eight, then.” she says, finally closing the 
door. Alex nods and climbs into his van. 

His nervous grin turns to a ponderous 
pout a moment later when he turns to his 
Peanut and hits the ‘List Work’ Action 
button in his Jobs database. Sure 
enough, 8pm tonight is listed as ‘service 
call for new central heating pump’ for Mr 

Alex clicks on the entry then brings up 
Mr Kenyon’s Client record. Clicking on the 
‘Dial’ Action button, Alex raises the 
beeping mobile phone (it’s OK, his vehicle 
is stationary) to his ear and waits for an 

After explaining to Mr Kenyon’s 
answerphone that he has been called out 
to deal with a burst water pipe on the 25th 
floor of a tower block, the silly grin 
returns to his face and he drives off to do 
a little shopping. 

That evening Alex takes extra safety 
measures - he a disk backup of his 
databases with him in his shirt pocket, 
just in case his house burns down while 
he’s out. The remainder of Alex’s weekend 
is outside the scope of this article. 

May 1999 Acorn User 



experience the brave new RISC 

Saturday and Sunday / 1 

Thornes Park Athletics Stac 

Saturday 10:00 to 17:00 
Sunday 1 0:00 to 1 6:00 

(opens 15 minutes earlier for advance tickets) 

Sponsored by 

©Astute Graphics 1998 • Designed using a StrongARM RiscPC, Cerilica Vantage, Artworks, Draw and Publisher 

Easy access by road (Ml and M62) and rail. 

Less than % mile from Wakefield City Centre with frequent bus services 

passing park entrance. 

Now the SbK's 


ium, Horbury Road 

The official launch of Cerilica Vantage 
Prize draw and charity stall 

Tickets booked in advance are £2.50 for adults and £1.50 for children under 16. 
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Acorn User May 1999 


'Acorn Confidence ", 

L ast month I looked at those 
companies who continued to support 
the Acorn software market, this month I 
turn to that other vital part of computing 
- the machines themselves. 


What of hardware? With Acorn ditching 
the one thing all the software hinges on is 
there a basis for optimism here? If you 
look through Xemplar’s website Acorn 
products are now conspicuous by their 
absence. They are there, buried away 
almost shamefully in a cupboard. But 
fear not,_ Castle Technology Ltd has 
stepped in to handle all the distribution 
and warranty agreements for Acorn 

CTL will distribute to quality dealers 
like, for example, Cannon Computing 
who themselves remain dedicated to 
selling and supporting Acorn machines. 
The icing on the cake is that as never 
before, you will be able to buy Acorn 
machines customised for specific needs 
like the Web Wizard Rise PC and the 
Sprinter N.C. 

Jack Lillingston of CTL comments, 
“Although Acorn’s recent restructuring 
may have appeared ruthless, there are 
some very important facts that we should 
all consider that make the prospects for 
the future very bright indeed. In recent 
years various restructurings of Acorn have 
led to full accountability within the 
company. Unfortunately bad decisions 
were made in the mid-1990‘s and these 
have now come home to roost. I feel that 
the following points should ensure that 
what is to come will, sooner rather than 
later, prove to be very successful for 
schools and colleges who stand to gain 
the most. 

"The re-organisation in September 
1998 has enabled a new and 
unencumbered structure to emerge. This 
structure is now purely commerce driven, 
where tangible profit (the life blood for 
any company) is king. Gone are the days 
of decisions that could never be 
profitable. This is not talk of profiteering, 
but essential and sensible cost conscious 
decision making that enables all levels, 
from the product design and build, to the 
purchase by the end user, to be rewarding 
and therefore sustaining for all 

“Acorn has, and I hope always 
will, produced excellent, reliable world 
class technology. From time to 
time Acorn has released its current state- 
of-the-art computers with varying 
degree of success. All of the successful 
(biggest selling) Acorn computers 
have been variations of the state-of-the- 
art theme, with specific parts kept and 
developed, ie the BBC Master, A3000. 
A3020/A4000 and more recently the 
A7000 and N/C. The current computers 
are no exception, they are very powerful 
systems that provide a reliable and 

To PC or 

not PC?, g 

Chris Drage rounds up his 
series on Acorn confidence 

cost effective base for education 
and a wide range of other markets. 

“Of course part and parcel of this 
important product range is RISC OS, 
Acorn’s easy-to-use, reliable, powerful, 
ROM based operating system. Recent 
developments have made this even more 
powerful and fully-featured. I hope that 
the industry will soon be benefiting from 
these developments. Although in recent 
years Acorn’s name has not been 
particularly prominent. Acorn computers 
are widely respected by those that use 
them. This is a very sound foundation for 
future marketing promotions and 
something that we will be focusing and 
building on. 

“The technology that Acorn uses to 
produce its computers ensures that an 
Acorn computer will still be going long 
after the competition have given up. It is 
worth re-emphasising these points: 
Acorn’s excellent build quality with 
integrated motherboard design, ensuring 
that power is kept to a minimum and sub- 
system compatibility is maintained. 
Acorn’s robust design and quality 
components mean that in service repair is 

"Acorns are designed for long in- 
service use. This flies in the face of built- 
in obsolescence, commonly found on 
other platforms. The industry can boast a 
complete product support 
infrastructure. From small or large 
publishing houses, through a 
knowledgeable and efficient 

dealer base, to a dynamic and enthusiastic 
user base’’. 

The latest news as I write this is that 
CTL has acquired the licence to build 
Acorn A7000+ computers - a licence 
which also permits CTL to enhance and 
develop the product for the future. This is 
great news for schools who, I can assure in 
all confidence, will benefit substantially 
from the experience and commitment of 
CTL. The future is assured as far as CTL 
are concerned but what about other, third 
party hardware providers? 

Cannon Computing and Cumana 
remain fully behind the Acorn platform 
in terms of supplying and developing 
hardware. They have for many years 
offered a vast range of third party 
peripherals to go along with the Acorn 
range of machines. Even though the 
Acorn name has suffered over these last 
few months they believe that the 
structure which has been put in place will 
work out, but it does mean that everyone 
must get behind the system and strategy. 

This is a point which Nigel Taylor of 
Cannon Computing is keen for schools to 
be aware of, “As a company Cannon 
Computing and Cumana have put in a 

''Acorn Confidence j 

large amounts of money to promote 
Acorn within schools, and with the 
release of NGFL money into education it 
is of utmost importance that schools 
know that Acorn equipment can still be 
purchased, delivered and above all. 
supported. Most schools are being 
pressurised into buying PC’s and from 
their experiences these schools do not 
want this, they often want to buy Acorn 
because it’s what they know and the 
machines are easy to use. 

“Cannon Computing and Cumana 
have gone to great lengths to find out 
from the Department of Education the 
actual rights for the schools. Schools do 
have a choice and it important that they 
know it. 95% of the money is theirs, they 
can do whatever they want with it, they 
do not necessarily have to go with the 
local authority decision." A point to 

If the future distribution of existing 
Acorn machines looks secure, what about 
new models? There are two new A7000+ 
clones on their way: the Medi and the 
Peanut. Not exactly ‘new’ machines in 
terms of technology, but certainly in 
terms of packaging and I.T. provision. 

As far as the soon-to-be-released Medi 
is concerned, David Atkins of Micro 
Digital is only too anxious to get the first 
machines into production. The Medi 
looks to be an ideal machine for any 
school upgrading from A3000s, 
A3010s, A3020s or A4000s and 
could be the machine that teachers 
use at home in order to maintain 
compatibility with school. It 
should certainly offer stability and 
good performance with low 
running costs. 

Interconnex (UK) Ltd is so 
confident in the Acorn market place 
that it is currently making the first ever 
RISC OS portable computer to be 
produced by a company other than Acorn 
Computers. The ‘Peanut’, represents a 
highly specified, integrated, portable 
computer solution which fills a gap that 
has been left wanting for too long. 

For the education market Peanut 
provides portability and ease of use. As 
Paul Corke, Interconnex’s MD, is quick to 
point out, “We’ve also recently released a 
new digital camera (the Mustek vdc300) 
and a new CD-ROM (World Factbook). If 
we didn’t think there was a market, then 
we wouldn’t bother developing new 
hardware and releasing new products”. 

The attitude of other third party 
Acorn-related hardware developers is 
probably summed-up by Barbara 
Higgingbotham of Data Harvest: “We 
launched EcoLog this year and this works 
with Acorn computers with Sensing 
Science software. We felt there were 
plenty of Acorn computers that teachers 
and children are used to using in primary 
schools all around the country. Why limit 
the new product just to completely new 

computers? We will continue 
demonstrating our equipment on Acorn 
machines in schools and at I.C.T. Centres, 
where they have them". 

Other hardware related developers are 
also confident. Both Spacetech and Irlam 
Instruments have peripherals like 
scanners and digital cameras well sorted. 
As Jim Irlam of Irlam Instruments 
comments: “We are still supporting our 
products and customers and will continue 
to do so for the foreseeable future. In fact, 
we continue to develop products for 
Acorn machines. 

There is lots of software work going on 
with IVideodesk and we are about to 
launch a low-cost 16-bit sound card (as 
lots of people have asked for this recently 
with advent of cheap CD writers). So the 
bottom line is that we don’t intend to 
leave the Acorn market". 

And they’re not the only ones, as we 
go to press rumours abound that at least 
one other interested party is set to 
produce RISC OS machines in the near 
future. If such projects come to fruition it 

will mean a re-vitalised Acorn 
marketplace and a brighter future for our 


Computers are a resource just as 
photocopiers are a resource. Just because a 
photocopier manufacturer decides there 
will not be any further models does not 
mean you stop using the existing copier. 
It just means that when you buy new in 
the future, you have less choice. Many 
schools seem to be responding to the 
understandable, if depressingly 
predictable, clamour from parents and 
governors to move to ‘industry standard’ 

Those who work ’in industry’ know 
that there ain’t no such thing as an 
industry standard machine, it’s an 

illusion. Congratulations to those LEAs 
who’ve decided to put Windows NT into 
primary schools because it was 
better/more stable that Windows 95\ What 
are they going to do about Windows 98? 
and Windows 2000? Windows is a costly 
platform for development and schools 
who start throwing out Acorns and 
buying PCs are going to find software is 
mighty expensive! 

Those who still have Acorns are going 
to find our software is still relatively 
cheap for them. I fear that schools being 
forced to disregard Acorn computers now, 
won’t realise their mistake until it is too 
late to change back. It remains my 
opinion that the A7000+ and Rise PC are 
excellent computers for use in schools. 
Their life expectancy is much longer than 
one might expect from a PC. In my school 
we have two A3000s dating from 1987 
still in service and running the latest 
version of ITextEase. Let’s face it. Acorn 
computers are going to be around for 
many years to come. Schools using some 
of the older Acorn computers (A3020 and 
A4000) could make more use of these 
machines if they were to invest in a hard 
disc and/or a memory upgrade to 4 Mb. 

It is very frustrating and limiting that 
when software developers develop new 
software for Acorn that they have to 
think in terms of a 2Mb memory limit. 
This limits the features they can 
incorporate into the software - a 
problem they don’t face with PC’s 
which are typically shipped with 
16Mb or more memory and always 
have a hard disc. What I do fear 
most is that Acorn machines will 
get passed ‘down the years’ like 
Beebs and Master 128s did - and we 
all know what head teachers tend to 
say when you ask if you can buy some 
software for ‘old’ machines.... 

No company is going to instantly scrap 
years of work, so as far as third party 
products are concerned these are 
largely secure with the added bonus for 
school users that, unlike the PC world, 
the Acorn world is a community of 
users and suppliers who actually listen to 
each other. But rationally I can’t see 
anyone starting major new products. 
A lot depends on how things settle 
down and the rate at which Acorn 
users desert or are forced out by 
changes in standards to move to other 

The only standard schools should be 
concerning themselves with are 
educational ones, so your decisions about 
which platform is for you largely 
controlled by which machines software 
publishers write software for. The Acorn 
ball is really in your court. As we look 
forward to the next millennium I imagine 
that there will be many more changes in 
the computers we use, but one thing is for 
sure - there will still be an A3000 Aj*, 
lurking about somewhere.... ll\j 


Irlam Inter 




v lt»bo£fOT*fcrr*crw<Y 




Acorn User May 1999 

New Computers) Acorn f Used Computers 

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Acorn AKF60 £199.00d 

Samsung 15" 500s .28dot £159.00d 
Samsung 17" 700s .28dot £269.00d 
Samsung 17" 700p .26dot £379.00d 
Samsung 19“ 900s .26dot £539.00e 
All Samsung Monitors come with a 

For a full catalogue visit our web site 

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£9 each or any 3 ' \ 
for £24 + £2 postage 

Dinosaurs, Spelling & Punctuation, Driving Test, English 
English a foreign language. Essential IT, Words. Ess. Maths 
Ess. Science, Early Essentials, Structured Spelling, French 
Geography, German, Jr.Essentials, Tables, Maths Algebra 
Maths Geometry, Maths Number, Maths Statistics 

All are StrongARM Compatible 

Hardware Upgrades) 

3.2gb IDE 3.5" HD E99.00C 

4.3gb IDE 3.5" HD £1 29.00c 

6.4gb IDE 3.5" HD £1 49.00c 

8.4gb IDE 3.5" HD £1 69.00c 

32X CD Atapi £59.00c 

Lark Midi Sound-Sampler £1 72.00c 
Rise OS 3.1 Upgrade Chips £30.00a 
RiscTV (Irlam) £295.00c 

Teletext module for above £45.00a 
SCSI 1 16bit (Cumana) £99. 00c 

SCSI 2 32bit (Cumana) £1 75.00c 

SCSI 2 32bit (Castle) £1 50.00c 

SCSI 3 32bit (power-tec) £205.00c 

TV T uner + T eletext £1 59.00c 

All Upgrades fitted free if ordered 
with Computer else £18.00 

CD W riter / Re writer ) 

Yamaha CDRW441 6s SCSI £299.00c 
CD Blaze (Cumana) £94. 00c 

CD Burn (WSS) £58.00b 

CD Gold writable xIO (Verb) £1 3.00b 

CD Disc rewritable each £7.00a 

External SCSI PSU Cases From£90.00 




VAT @ 17.5% 

RPC Upgrades 

A7000+ 16Mb EDO RAM £29.00b 
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RiscPC 16Mb RAM £35.00b 

RiscPC 32Mb RAM £65.00b 

RiscPC 64Mb RAM £1 29.00c 

RiscPC 2Mb VRAM simtec £95.00c 
A7000 Backplane £29.00b 

RiscPC 2 Podule Backplane £34.00b 
Access+Card £1 39.00c 

Audio Mixer £39.00b 

Movie Magic £279.00c 

Rise OS 3.7 Chips + Software £64.00b 
Second Slice no PSU £88.00d 

Second Slice with PSU £1 39.00d 
Sound Card £34.00b 

M emor abili a ) 

Acorn China Mug £4.75a 

Acorn Parker Pen £4.50a 

Acorn HTML Mouse Mat £5.50a 



Plustec OpticPro 9636p 

A4 Colour Flatbed Scanner 600x1200 DPI 
Scanner + PC Software £99.00d 

Above + Imagemaster/Twain 
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Epson GTX5500 scsi £239.00d 

Epson GT9500 para/scsi £539.00d 

Image Master/Twain Driver £35.00a 











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Stylus 440 



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& Repairs ) 

A30 1 0/A3020/A4000/A5000/ A7000/R PC 
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Power Supply Refurb/Exch £40.00c 
We carry an extensive stock of new and 
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Why spend on a PC card when you can 
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Using a Dual Data Switch Box 
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Example PC: 

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1.44 Floppy 

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Acorn AKF1 1/12 £99.00d 

Acorn AKF17 £119.00d 

Acorn AKF30/40 (swivel stand) £1 39. OOd 

Acorn AKF18 M/S (sw.vei stand) £1 39.00d 
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monitor cables from £10.00 
Other refurbished hardware available 
ie: interfaces, drives, PSUs, PCBs Etc: 

ring for details or visit our web site 
All Used/Refurbished Hardware comes 
with a 3 Months RTB Warranty 


» Audio Control - Volume 
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Davyn Computer Services 
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off Princess Street, Sandal, 
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Opening Hours: 

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Terms: All products, prices and 

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request. E.&.O.E 26th March 1999 


Rise PC £35.00 C SSM SSIC 
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Tel: 01925 755043 Fax: 01925 757377 Email: 



Grab your 
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offline viewing! 

' Game Show^ 



Alasdair Bailey invites you round to play 

W elcome to a very murky edition of Game 
Show. This month I bring news of an 
exciting new competition for you to all to enter. 
We’re giving away one copy of the new CD 
version of IDestiny to the designer of the best 
!Doom level. More on that competition can be 
found on the following pages, there’s also a full 
review of the new IHeretic and IHexen double 
pack from R-Comp. 

The competition 

Right then readers, there’s a level editor on the 
cover disc, if you want to stand a chance of 
winning - get designing! OK, so you don’t 
have the slightest clue when it comes to 
designing !Doom levels? Fear not, my gaming 
chums, a full tutorial to help you design your 
first level is provided for your Dooming 

First off, dig out the !Doom WAD editor 
which will be located somewhere on this 
month’s cover disc going by the name of !Deth. 
However, you do not have to use IDeth to 
produce your level, entries created on similar 
PC/Mac map editing suites will also be eligible 
for entry. 

Entries to the competition must be 
submitted as WAD files. WAD files are, quite 
simply, a level or collection of levels for use 
with / Doom . In the words of the mighty Justin 

'The game play can be changed 
through the use of WAD ’ files, collections of 
graphics , maps and other information. Of 
these, there are two variants, primary ‘ Initial 9 
WAD (IWAD) files which contain everything the 
game needs to function, and secondary ‘ Patch ’ 
WAD (PWAD) files which only change part of 
the game. PWADs always override IWADs, so 
any PWAD you add will change the game 
itself ." 

You will be working on designing PWADs, 
the main IWADs for IDoom and IDoom II 

What you can win 

Those nice chaps at R-Comp Interactive 
have kindly offered to put up the prizes for 
this competition: 

• First prize - £20 voucher for any RCI 
game. Available games include IHeretic and 
IHexen, IHeroes of Might and Magic 2, 
lAbuse , IDescent , !Syndicate+, lAnkh or 

• Runners-up prizes - 5 copies of Heroes 
of Might and Magic 1 (PC version only). 

Each R-Comp offering will be matched by 
Acorn User with a copy of IDestiny on CD 

will have been supplied with your copy 
of IDoom and they contain all the 
wall textures and sound effects that will 
be used to make your levels work. 

Getting started 

Before you start to edit your level, you’ll need 
to tell the editor where to find the main IWAD 
file for IDoom II. This is done by altering 
the path in the file !Deth.config.Doom2/cfg 
(shift double-click on IDeth) to that of 
your own copy of the IDoom II WAD. If you are 
using R-Comp’s !Doom(+), the WAD 
will be located in the same directory 
as IDoom, simply drag the WAD to the 
text editor window while holding down 
the shift key and RISC OS will 
automatically enter the full file path 
for you. 

Once that’s done, double-click on 
IDeth and you will hopefully be 
presented with the main menu. From 
here, click on the create button in the 
bottom right hand corner of the 
screen. Now it’s time to start creating 
our level. 

This tutorial will talk you through 
creating a very simple room with four 
walls and a single raised pillar in the 
centre. If you get stuck, please refer to 
the more in-depth tutorial located in 

To create our level, we must first position 
the vertexes (corners) then link them together 
with walls (called linedefs in this editor). First, 
press V to change to vertex mode. Now that 
we’re in vertex mode, position the mouse 
where you want to have each vertex and press 
the insert key (located just to the right of 
backspace on your keyboard). 

The four corners of the room should now 
be in place so it’s time to add some walls. Click 
select on each vertex in a clockwise direction 
around the room. This has now selected each 
corner to be joined and told the editor that they 
are to form a room with walls pointing inward. 
Press insert once again to add linedefs (walls) 
to the selected vertexes. 

You will notice that the editor has 

automatically added linedefs to three sides 
of the room but not the fourth. This is done 
by switching back to vertex mode by 
pressing V, selecting the two vertexes to 
be joined and finally pressing insert to add a 
linedef. In order to ensure that the level will 
work properly, all of the linedefs need to be 
pointing in towards the centre of the room. If 
any are pointing outwards, simply click select 
on them then use the menu bar at the top of the 
screen and click on Misc->Flip LineDef. 

Your map should now look something like 

Figure I (note that the linedefs have all been 
selected in order to illustrate orientation). 

Press V once again to enter vertex mode and, 
using the method outlined earlier, position four 
vertexes in the middle of the room 
to form a pillar. 

Now select each of the vertexes in turn in 
an anti-clockwise direction (so that the 
linedefs will point outwards) and press insert 
to add linedefs. If a linedef is missing, add it in 
as described earlier. Now that we have walls 
and corners marked out for both the room 
itself and the pillar, we need to tell the game 
some things about each section. 

In this editor, sectors are used to divide a 
level into sections, each of which can have 
different floor and ceiling heights and textures. ^ 
To create the sectors first ensure you are in W 

Figure I: The beginnings of a room 

May 1999 Acorn User 
I il i p://wvyw.ncorni isoi .com/ 


(' Game Show ^ 

^ linedef mode by pressing L then select all the 

W visible lines by holding down shift whilst 

dragging the mouse with select. 

Press insert and a sector will be added 
covering the outside of the pillar. We also need 
a sector to cover the pillar itself. Simply repeat 
the above process but only select the pillar’s 
linedefs and be sure to press L before starting 
to switch back to linedef mode. 

You should now have two sectors, one 
covering the outside of the pillar where your 
character will walk and another just covering 
the pillar (see Figure II, sectors are shaded for 
clarity). The editor has automatically set the 
floor and ceiling heights to its default values. 
However, the sector containing the pillar must 
have a floor height equal to that of the ceiling 
height of the rest of the room. 

Press S to switch to sector mode then with 
the pointer over the pillar sector so that it is 
highlighted yellow, click the middle mouse 
button. A small window will pop up from which 
various attributes of the sector can be 
modified. Click to change the floor height and 

enter a value of 256 units. 
This will ensure that there’s 
no space between the 
ceiling of the room and the 
top of the pillar. 

In !Doom , each linedef 
must have a specific wall 
texture set up. These are 
handled as what are called 
sidedefs.You needn't worry 
to much about them for 
now, just be aware that they 
concern the attributes of a 
particular side of a wall 
section. !Deth will have set 
up wall textures already but 
we need to alter the 
textures for the pillar 
because it is raised up from the main room. 

Press L to switch to linedef mode then 
select all of the linedefs forming the pillar. Click 
once with the middle mouse button over the 
selected linedefs then select ‘Edit the first 
sidedef’ followed by ‘change normal texture’ in 
the resulting menus. Delete what is currently 
present in the text box and replace it with a 
single dash. This will remove the normal texture 
from the pillar sidedefs. 

Now we need to add a lower texture to the 
linedefs associated with the pillar. This is done 
by clicking on each in turn then on the middle 
left of the large grey panel in the bottom right of 
the screen. Thumbnail pictures of all the wall 
textures available will be shown and all you 
need to do is select a texture and that will be 
used on that linedef. 

The level is now complete, all we need now 
is a start position. Press T to switch to things 
mode then press insert somewhere within your 
room. By default, a player one start position is 
placed down but this can be changed to a 
number of other things including monsters and 
power-ups by clicking the middle mouse button 

over it. Finally, press F10 to perform all checks. 
All being well, a couple of warnings about 
deathmatch player start positions will pop up 
but they’re nothing to worry about at this stage. 
If you’ve messed up any of the textures on the 
pillar, the computer will automatically mend 
them for you at this stage. 

Once the checks are complete, click on File 
then Save As. Since !Deth is a conversion of a 
PC editing suite, by default it saves into your 
computer’s CSD (currently selected directory). 
For most users this will be set to the root 
directory of one of your hard discs but if the file 
goes walkabouts, a quick filer search for 
‘MAP01/WAD’ will find it. Press enter to accept 
the filename and then to save the map as a 
replacement to ! Doom’s own level 1. Now all 
you need to do is quit the editor and double 
click on the level and hey presto, !Doom loads 
up and you’re able to walk around your rather 
dull little room with a pillar in the middle of it. 

If something goes wrong at this stage, you’ll 
need to re-read the instructions and refer to the 
example WAD file supplied on the cover disc. To 
load your WAD back into !Deth, load the editor 
then click select on the grey ‘command line’ bar 
at the base of the screen. Then just type ‘R 
MAP01/WAD’ to re-load your map (remember to 
type it without the quote marks). The editing 
screen is then reached by clicking on Edit. 

Your level will, of course, have to 
include more complex elements such as doors, 
switches and even monsters. A very thorough 
tutorial is contained within IDeth.Docs.Tutorial 
which you should refer to for further 

The conditions of entry are shown 
below. If you get stuck, e-mail me at and I’ll be happy to 
help you out. Snail mail requests for help 
should be sent to the usual editorial address. 

Once complete, entries should be e-mailed 
to along with the 
completed level info template which can be 
found on the disc. Alternatively, they may be 
mailed on a floppy disc to the editorial address. 
The closing date for entries is the 14th of May 
and entries will be judged by a hand-picked 
group of experts with the result appearing in 
the August edition. 

The rules: 

Every competition has to have some rules so 
here are some for you to stick to if you’re 
entering this one: 

• The competition closing date is Friday 14th 
May, entries received after the closing date 
will not be judged but may still appear on a 
future cover CD-ROM. 

• The judges’ decision is final. No 
correspondence will be entered into. 

• The maximum file size for entries is 300K. 
Anything greater than that will not be 

• Competition entries may be included on a 
future covermount CD-ROM, if you don’t like 
it. don’t enter. 

• No cash alternative is available, in the event 
of non-availability of the published prize, an 
alternative prize of equivalent value will be 

Don't make your level as boring as this 


Acorn User May 1999 

http://www.ncoi tii 

' Game Show 

W hen people talk about 3D walk-about 
games, we all think of titles such as 
/Doom, Quake and even Quake II. However, 
IHeretic and IHexen are an often overlooked 
pair which arrived between the blockbuster 
Doom and Quake PC releases. 

The IHeretic and IHexen double pack is 
the latest offering from conversion masters R- 
Comp Interactive. This pair of titles uses a 
game engine very similar to that used in 
/Doom. Although IHeretic and IHexen were 
sold separately in their native PC territory, the 
games compliment each other to such an 
extent that R-Comp have bundled the two 
together along with an expansion pack for a 
very reasonable £32.50. 

As is usual with R-Comp’s PC 
conversions, the game is supplied in its 
original PC packaging along with three discs 
containing Acorn player applications. 
Installation is childsplay and the high quality 
front-ends that we have come to expect from 
R-Comp are also included with this release. 

and also the addition of a power-up which 
enables flight. However, the design of the 
levels and the almost seamless theming of 
the whole game are what make it different 
from the earlier titles of this genre. 

As I mentioned in the preview, a distinct 
magical twist is built into both titles. An 
inventory of power-ups and spells allows the 
selection and use of power-ups when 
required rather than upon picking them up in 
the game.This is a welcome feature over titles 
such as /Doom and IQuake where power-ups 
such as health packs and invincibility have to 
be used immediately and cannot be stored for 
future use. A number of unique power-ups 
exist in IHeretic. 

The Morph Ovum is one such bonus, when 
used, this spell will transform everything 

within its range into small - 

chickens for later extermination 

with even the weakest weapon, j ~ 1 | 

Although the weapons in 

IHeretic do not lack imagination, 

the majority of them are rather 

low powered. 

Many of the weapons 
provided take an awfully long j 
time to kill the stronger 
monsters which can make the 
gameplay a little tedious on the 

first few levels. Once the Phoenix Rod 
(/ Heretic’s own implementation of the rocket 
launcher) becomes available though, the 
ball’s very much back in your court and even 
the toughest baddies may be eradicated with 
only a couple of direct hits. However, this 
weapon will inflict a fair bit of damage on you 
if you’re too close so it’s one of those ones 
that’s best used for long range work. Overall, 
the spread of weaponry available is quite 
good but it could be better. 

IHeretic will run quite happily on any Rise 
PC or A7000 but, as with most of R-Comp’s 
titles, options to boost resolution and colour 
depth for higher end machines are included. 
One rather nice boost available to StrongARM 
users is the bi-linear filtering option. This is 
controlled by an in-game ‘cheat’ code which is 

IHeretic was the earlier of the two releases 
when they first appeared on the PC platform. 
The game engine itself doesn’t really offer 
much over the now classic /Doom with the 
exception of the ability to look up and down 

I didn't kill your cow, honest! 

fully documented in the manuals and, without 
going into too much detail, it prevents the 
horrid pixellation which used to occur when 
close up to a wall in any sort of 3D walkabout 

This title is bound to be compared with 
/Doom. In my opinion, IHeretic lacks a 
little something that /Doom has. However, 
I did notice that although IHeretic seems 
easier to complete than the /Doom titles, the 
gameplay is very different and the game does, 
in fact, contain an extra two episodes over 
/Doom. The nice thing about IHeretic is that the 
later levels are, for the most part, made harder 
with more devious and complex puzzles rather 
than a /Doom like let’s chuck loads more 
monsters in and make the game harder”. 


IHexen was originally released a couple of 
years after IHeretic and as you might expect, 

May 1999 Acorn User 
I ill | )7/www.aCoi 

(^Game Show y 


etbeweni, orpqws 

it’s that little bit better as a result of the 
lessons learnt from the first release. 
Although the IHeretic and IHexen game 
engines are almost identical, IHexen 
requires slightly more processor power so to 
get any sort of decent colour depth or 
resolution, a StrongARM processor is highly 
recommended for this title. 

IHexen features a far better all-round 
gaming experience than its sister, IHeretic. 
This title is definitely the more addictive of 
the two and the complex puzzle-based 
gameplay is very absorbing. In IHexen , 
groups of levels are based around central 
‘hubs’ which act as gateways to seven or so 
further levels. Switches are spread around 
each level, some of which will allow access 
to a new level, others to previously closed 
areas of an already explored level. 

The scope of character movement has 
also improved over that present in IHeretic. 
Jumping is now supported along with 
some rather cool slippery ice where your 
character’s inertia becomes very apparent 
especially when trying to jump across 
stepping stone type arrangements. Water 
currents are put to better use in IHexen than 
in IHeretic and small baskets which explode 
when fired upon often reveal hidden 

Upon starting a game in IHexen , you are 
offered the choice of which character to play 

throughout your turn. Three characters are 
available; warrior , cleric and mage. As you 
may expect, the warrior is good at 
fighting and has excellent strength whereas 
the mage uses magical powers to his 
advantage. The cleric comes somewhere 
between the two and, in my experience at 
least, should be avoided since the old adage 
‘jack of all trades, master of none’ is 
applicable here. 

Each character also has his own 
weaponry and will also use the artifacts 
available throughout the game in different 
ways. This adds to the longevity of the game 
since although you'll be going through the 
same levels again, a different character adds 
a touch of originality to the game. Powerups 
are dealt with in the same way as in IHeretic 
with an inventory from which items can be 
selected for use once collected. 

Graphically, IHexen lies somewhere 
between IHeretic and IQuake. A wide range 
of graphical styles are present, allowing for a 
number of nicely themed levels. There are 
also more opportunities to interact with the 
scenery in IHexen with its nice stained glass 
windows which actually shatter when fired 
at. Another notable new feature in IHexen is 
transparent walkways which open up 
numerous possibilities for devious puzzles 
and secret areas. 

The same texture filtering options are 
available as seen in IHeretic and 
on a StrongARM machine, the 
game will run quite happily with 
bilinear filtering turned on in a 
suitably large 24-bit screen 
resolution. IHexen is playable 
on lower-end Rise PCs but the 
forthcoming RISC OS 4 upgrade 
should produce a notable 
increase in performance. 

As with many other R-Comp 
releases, a full set of add-on 
levels are included for use with 
IHexen. Deathkings of The Dark 
Citadel provides 20 new levels 
along with six multiplayer levels 

designed with deathmatch play in mind. 
There’s nothing significantly new in 
Deathkings but as you may expect, the extra 
levels do add nicely to the original game. 


Both LAN (local area network) and serial link 
drivers are supplied with IHeretic and 
IHexen. R-Comp kindly lent me a second 
Rise PC to test these multiplayer options and 
I’m pleased to be able to report that both 
LAN and serial play work just fine. Serial play 
against PCs should work in theory but 
contact R-Comp at the address below for up- 
to-date information. 

Games like these are always fun when 
you’re fighting a human opponent as 
opposed to a dumb computer and that 
applies as much to IHeretic and IHexen as it 
does to the mighty Quake. On a slightly 
different subject, this review has given me a 
chance to test the multiplayer support in 
!Doom+ and that also works faultlessly over 
LAN and serial cable. 


To conclude, this IHeretic and IHexen 
double-pack outclasses IDoom II by a long 
way. Although some might say they’re just 
“ Doom with a crossbow”, they do refine 
the genre to something even more 

At £32.50, this should be in every 
StrongARM owner’s collection, ARM6/7 / 
users won’t be disappointed either. /I U 

Product details 

Product: Heretic & Hexen double-pack 




R-Comp Interactive, 22 Robert 
Moffat, High Legh, Knutsford, 
Cheshire WA1 6 6PS 


01925 755043 


01925 757377 





Acorn User May 1999 

I itlp://www.iicoi i uisoi coi 1 1/ 

The pot ypLfwitsq ^anE5 /n/WiZjnE, 

9 U 771466"2 73000“ 111 






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Birthday boys Dave Acton 
and Dave Lawrence 
unwrap another... 

Happy birthday to us! 

We’ve just done a very complicated sum 
on the office abacus and worked out that 
this is the 100th edition of *info! The first 
appearance was in issue 108 back in July 
1991, it was formed from the amalga- 
mation of Rise Revue (edited by DA) and 
Eight Bits (edited by DL). To give you some 
idea of the passage of time, memory cost 

£40 a megabyte, now you get 32Mb for 
the same price. Harddiscs were £470 for 
80Mb - you can’t even spend that much 
on an IDE drive these days, £379 will get 
you 25Gb though. 

The latest games were ICIiock s Away and 
ITwin World and even then we were being 
promised that more games ports were on 

the way. Our first submissions included 
some Lissajous figures from Michael 
Attenborough, a squiggly game from Barry 
Wicket, a Spritefile tip from Graham Hick 
and a whole three pages about different 
sorting methods! The long running themes 
of bendy patterns, daft games and helpful 
hints were already in place... 

What an eye-saw Author: Mark Adcock 

Welcome to Mark Adcock corner. We 
have three submissions from him this 
month, the first is a bit of an eye opener. 
Eye expect you can see what the program 
does from the eyellustration - 
it draws eyes. An assortment 
of eyes of different colours 
and different sizes are 
distributed randomly about 
the screen, they will then 
either follow the mouse 
pointer, or if you leave them 
to their own devices, they will 
bounce about merrily by 

If you wish you can edit 
the textures used, the only 
stipulation being they must 
by 64x64 8bpp sprites. You 
can also change the number 
of eyes by editing the variable 
num_eyes% at the end of the 
program. This is the 
maximum number; once the 

screen is packed no more will be added. 
The program uses a table to map every 
pixel of square parts of the screen to a 
point in the randomly chosen source 

texture. Onto the x and y positions 
within the texture x and y offsets are 
added; these depend on the position of 
the mouse. 

This table also contains the 
brightness of the eyeball at that 
particular point. If the 
brightness value is 0, then we 
have reached the part of the 
square that is blank (part of the 
background not the eyeball). In 
this case one of the other 
entries in the table contains a 
value to add to the current plot 

By skipping over the blank 
parts of the screen the routine 
can be about 20% faster. If the 
brightness is non-zero, another 
table is used to convert the 
source texture’s mode 13 colour 
information into a 24bpp word 
at the right brightness. This is 
then poked to screen. 

May 1999 Acorn User 


Not waving but drowning Author: Mark Adcock 

Mark Adcock’s second program this 
month is Distort. The program asks you 
for the name of a sprite which must be in 
mode 13 and either 16, 32, 64, 128 or 256 
pixels a side (the sprite must be square). It 
then tiles it in a 256 by 256 box of a mode 
13 screen. 

A sine-wave is used as a table of 
horizontal offsets. You can change the 
frequency by changing frequency%. A 
value of n means the sine-wave fits n 
times into the height of the screen: that is 
a wavelength of 256/n. The sine-wave 
table is moved up the screen by one pixel 
every Vsync, so n must be an integer to 
ensure the start and end offsets of the 
table line up. The amplitude of the wave 
can be changed by changing 

At the same time, the screen is also 
moved up and down. The velocity of this 
movement is determined by another sine- 
wave. The wavelength of this wave can be 
changed (by altering length%) so you can 
get the two sine-waves drifting in and out 
of phase. The amplitude in two hundred 

and fifty-sixths (l/256ths) of a pixel is 
amplitude2%. To this wave a constant is 
added, aboveO% (in l/256ths of a pixel). 
This means that many different types of 
movement can be catered for. You 
can get it to move up and down but never 
move overall (eg. amplitude2%=256 
above0%=0), move up all the time 
at a constant rate (0,256), move up 
but at a changing rate (256,512) or 
move up for most of the time then 
down a bit (512,128). 

For a sprite that is, say, 64 pixels 
wide, the same pattern is repeated 
across the screen four times. The 
original code didn’t account for 
this: it Just plotted a line 
horizontally, recalculating the 
location of the sprite each time, so 
that x_coordinate_of_sprite = 
x_coordinate_of_screen MOD 64. 

This version doesn’t do this: in the 
case of a sprite 64 pixels wide it 
would only have to calculate a 
strip 64x256 and duplicate it four 
times. To speed things up even 

further, one word is poked instead of four 
bytes. This gives a speedy frame rate of 
70fps on a Rise PC 700 for sizes below 
256x256 and 35fps at 256x256. On an 
A5000 you get a reasonable speed too. If 
you take out the VSync it really flies for 
smaller sizes but you get a lot of tearing. 

Up and atom 

Author: Daniel Barron 

Prompted by Adam Granger’s Chemistry 
(Nov ’98) and Carbon (Dec ’98), Daniel 
Barron has sent in application Structurer. 
This is a fiendishly clever program that 
converts drawn organic molecules into 
their IUPAC name (International Union 
of Pure and Applied Chemistry). Daniel 
explains that the interface is very crude 
and was knocked up in a couple of hours, 
the point of the program is demonstrate 
the IUPAC ‘engine’ that he has spent 500 
hours developing! 

Double click and select your monitor 
type, this simply controls the screen 
mode to make sure the writing doesn’t 
come out ridiculously small. You are 
now able to draw molecules. To add an 
atom first select the atom type by pressing 
the appropriate key, for example C 
for Carbon (see table for full list) then 
click with the left-hand mouse bottom (I 
think you mean button - Ed). The 
program will not allow you to place atoms 
too close together. To remove an atom 
Adjust-click over it. If you have added 
bonds to the atom they will be removed 
as well. 

C - carbon 

0 - oxygen 

N - nitrogen 

F - fluorine 

1 - iodine 

B - bromine 

P - phosphorus 

S - sulfur 

L - chlorine 
E - silicon 

To add bonds select the bond order by 
pressing 1, 2 or 3. Select-click on the 
first atom then Adjust-click on the 
second. You can abort this process by 
pressing A. You can draw a bond over 
the top of an existing bond to replace it 
with one of a different order. To remove a 
bond altogether select ‘0’ then proceed as 

When you are happy with your 
molecule [now there's a sentence you 
don’t write every day - DL| click Menu 
and the IUPAC parser will be kicked into 
gear. Press the Spacebar to continue 

The good news 

The current version of the program can 

• rings 

• chains 

• some non-carbon chains and rings 
(nitrogen, silicon and phosphorus) 

• ketones 

• aldehydes 

• cyanides 

• carboxylic acids to a large extent 

• nitrosos 

• thiols 

• amines 

• i mines 

• halogens (Cl, Br, I and F) 

• alcohols 

• multiple hydrides 

• complex hydride depth to at least 3 

• multiple bonds - double and triple 

• multiple bonds to the parent hydride 
from a sub-hydride of order 2 and 3 

• all IUPAC punctuation name 
standards associated with the above 

• nitrogen, carbon, silicon, [hydrogen], 
oxygen, halogens, phosphorus, sulfur 

The bad news 

It can’t (yet) handle: 

• esters, ethers, or similar (R-C-O-C-R j 

• acid halides (but easy to add with 
hetero-chain finder tool) 

• hydroperoxides (again easy to add 
with hetero-chain finder tool) 

• peroxides 

• salts of carboxylic acids (not too hard 
to add) 

• thiolates 

• fused rings 

• more than a simple guess at the parent 

• functional groups not mentioned 

• non-systematic rings, (for example 

Basically avoid -C-O-C- or, less 
importantly, more than one ring in a 

Daniel is working on a Java version, so 
you should be able to check up on your 
molecules on the Web in the near future. 


Acorn User May 1999 

Smoooth zooom 

Author: Alain Brobecker 

BiZoo is not an exhibit of hermaphrodites - 
it’s a visual demonstration of the difference 
between a standard zoom and a bilinear 
zoom. The routine was written by Alain 
Brobecker three weeks after buying a Rise 
PC. More commonly known as bilinear 
filtering, this sort of graphical calculation is 
now a standard feature of 3D accelerator 
cards in PCs and the latest generation of 

games consoles. Run ClickRPC! to see 
the effect ( ClickOlci ! for the pre-Risc PC 
version), the difference is quite 
apparent. Hardwiring this ability 
into 3D cards relieves the poor 
little processor of the not 
inconsiderable amount of adding-up 
required. Most cards can now 
support trilinear filtering as 
well, Alain hopes to 
demonstrate this another 

The code is commented, 
but for the 10 cents tour... 
Suppose u,v are the texture 
coordinates for the pixel to 
draw on the screen, the 
standard zoom routine would 
texture|INT(u), INT(v)|. The 
bilinear (linear for each 
variable) zoom uses the 
fractional parts of u and v to 
combine the four pixels nearest 
to [u,v|. Suppose u and v are 
both equal to 1/4, and U=int(u) 
and V=int(v) we would use 

3/4*3/4 of the value of [U,V], l/4*3/4 of 
[U+l.V], 3/4* 1/4 of |U,V+1] and 1/4* 1/4 
of [U+l.V+1]. 

If the problem was set in a single 
dimension we would say that since u is at 
a distance of 1/4 to U and 3/4 to U+l, U 
would give more of it’s ‘energy’ to u. The 
ratio is linearly proportional to 1 -distance. 
With the two dimensional problem we 
extend this reasoning to think in terms of 
areas rather than distances. 

Well officer, it was like this... 

Author: Owain Cole 

We can always rely on Owain Cole for a 
game that goes against the grain. Quite 
literally in this case. It’s also entirely 
played on the iconbar and fits nicely into 
the games-you-don’t-realise-you-are- 
playing category started last November 

with Owain’s iconbar one armed bandit. 
ISpiat is a charming little game of 
Slaughter and Butchery. 

That’s Mr. S. Laugther and Mr B. 
Utchery, honestly. We’d never condone 
violence. Run the game and move the 
mouse up and down to 
move the red car. The 
aim of the game is to 
avoid the tanks and other 
cars speeding in the 
opposite direction and 

try to mow down any by-standers and 
sheep to get kill-points. Ahhh, hang on, 
I’m sure Owain means ‘rescue any by- 
standers and sheep to get bonus-points’. 

The more things you dispatch (rescue) 
the faster your car goes. The faster 
your car goes the more likely you are to 
plough into oncoming traffic ending your 
joy-riding (rescuing) spree. You can pause 
the game at any time by adjust-clicking 
on the icon. Select-click starts a new 

My balls are always bouncing Author: Mark Daniel 

Cube27 is a demonstration of balls in a 
box. If you were thinking of buying some 
balls in a box and weren't sure if it was 
going to be worth it or not, you 
could first run Mark Daniel’s 
program to get the idea. If you then 
thought that balls in a box was a 
good thing you could head down to 
John Lewis to buy some. 
Alternatively if balls in a box was 
not for you then you can rest happy 
knowing that you hadn’t wasted 
your money. 

Mark says that the code is 
heavily based on Paul Thompson’s 
Basic 3D graphic routines that 
appeared in January 1998, although 

Mark’s own program is written in C. You 
can rotate your box by moving the mouse 
and change the number of balls in the 

box using the Menu and Adjust mouse 
buttons. High res (mode 27) and low res 
(mode 12) versions of the program are 
available. Mark has also provided a 
simple depth cued version. This is 
achieved by cutting the lines of the 
box into four segments and 
colouring each piece appropriately. 

In this version, the mouse 
buttons move your box in and out 
of the screen, except for some 
reason the depth cueing then goes 
mad. The balls are not scaled either 
so, (if you ignore the psychedelic 
box), the effect of making your box 
smaller actually appears to make 
your balls bigger. 

May 1999 Acorn User 


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All clip-art on the Bitfolio 6 CD is in Draw file format, 
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Bitfolio 6 

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Acorn User May 1999 



This superb special offer 
available to readers of Acorn 
User is one not to miss. This 
pack, available on high density 
or double density discs, 
contains over 50 different fonts. 

It even comes with its own 
booklet, making it possible to 
browse for the font you want 
without the hassle of going 
through various menus and 
options in search of it. 

Author: David Gamble 

A blob on the landscape 

We think our quest for the ultimate lava- 
lamp is nearing it’s conclusion, although 
knowing most *info contributors we’ll still 
be receiving better and better examples in 
1900. Sorry. 2000. You’ll have to wait until 
next month to see Alex Waugh’s Lavalump 
(oo-er!) but until then you can amuse 
yourself with Blobby from David Gamble. 
Run the program and enter 1, 2 or 3 to see 
some of David’s preset demos, 
alternatively select option 0 and configure 
the parameters of the program yourself. 
There are some very strangely named 
options, just try fiddling with them all. 

David says he uses Wyvil, McPheeters 
and Wyvil’s method - we’re not sure if 
these people are real or not, they may be 
just a firm of solicitors. The method goes 
something like this: 

The Blobby concept entails that 
objects merge together. The model is 
based on a modelling of the objects as 
point sources. The intensity for a point is 
governed by a formula of distance, which 
is summated for each point to give a final 
result. The equation used is: 

C(r)=-(4/9)r°/R tt + (17/9)rVR‘ - 

(22/9)r 2 /R 2 +1 

when 0<=r<=R, and 0 otherwise. NB - this 
has a finite limit 

r = distance from source to point 

R = max distance from point to source 
almost ‘intensity’) 

If we re-write this equation, several factors 
become clear: 

C(r)=-4r7R° + 17rVR 4 - 22r 2 /R 2 +9 

Now, supposing we need to calculate r. 
Cartesian geometry defines r to be: 

r=sqrt(dx 2 + dy 2 ) 

If we look at the equation, we will see that 
the sqrt is entirely unnecessary. Define 
D=r 2 = dx 2 + dy 2 

C(r)=-4DYR 6 + 17D7R 1 - 22D/R 2 +9 

Now, Let us define R* as a constant term, 
which it will be for these equations. 

C(r)=-4D7R 2 + 17D2/RJ - 22D/R 0 +9 

Again, let us redefine R0.R1.R2 to 
C0,C1,C2, where: 

C 0 = 1/R o 

C 1 =l/R 1 

c 2 =1/R 2 

And the equation becomes: 

C(r)=-4D :, C 2 + 17D 2 C! - 22DC 0 +9 

And as a further redefinition, let us create 
F0,F1,F2, where 

Fq=(-22*Cq)/9 = (-22/R 0 )/9 = (-22/R 2 )/9 
F ! = ( 1 7^0 1 )/9 = (17/R x )/9 = (17/R')/9 
F 2 = (-4*C 2 )/9 = (-4/R 2 )/9 = (-4/R')/9 

And so, our equation becomes 

C(ij=D‘*F 2 + D 2 *F 1 + D*F 0 + 1 

And so, this becomes nothing more than 
5 multiplies, and 3 additions, excluding 
the equation required to calculate DATA. 
Alternatively, you can calculate a square 
lookup table, with a source centred in the 

What this means in practice is you get 
some nice blobby colours on the screen 
when you run the program. 

News flash - 
fish crash 

Author: Toby Hunt 

We have just received news from Toby 
Hunt that his fish program from last 
month does not work correctly on 
A5000s. A new version is available on 
the cover disc. We are sorry for the delay 
and any inconvenience caused. No, 
really, we are. Honest. 

There is no black and white Author: Mark Adcock 

Our final visit to Adcock Corner this month is in seven 
parts. Mark has written a series of short (all less than IK) 
programs that all use interference patterns to generate their 

GryPattml first picks several randomly positioned control 
points. The colour of every pixel is proportional to the sum of 
the SINes of the squares of the distances between the control 
points and the pixel itself. If you get a boring pattern try again - 
the pattern generated each time will be different because as well 
as having a random number of randomly positioned points, the 
wavelength of the sine-waves is not fixed (in that you multiply 
the squares of the distances by a random constant before you 
SINe them.). 

Apply a few tweaks to this and you get GryPattm2 - a pseudo- 
3D version resembling a range of hills, though admittedly they 
are blue and purple. GryPattrn3 and 4 are the definable palette 
256 colour mode versions of GryPattrnl and 2. 

The rest of the programs use 24-bit colour modes only. 

RGBPattrnl just needed a 
few subtle tweaks. Instead 
of using a single grey scale 
as a palette, determined by 
a single sine-wave, the Red. 
Green and Blue levels are 
all determined by different 
wavelength/am plitude 
sine-waves. The different 
wavelengths give you a 
strange wrap-around 

palette (try running the program with just 1 point). What’s more, 
each point has different amplitude/wavelength sine-waves 
associated with it. The program will produce a wide range of 
different effects, often it looks good with just 1 point, but most 
values below 5 look interesting as well. 

RGBPattrn2 is the same as RGBPattrnl, but gives a brighter, 
psychedelic output (try with 1 point or <5 as usual) 

Finally, in HSVPattern, the Red, Green and Blue values for each 
pixel on the screen are added together and then used as the Hue 
in a HSV palette. Because the RGB waves have different 
wavelengths/amplitudes, they interfere with each other, 
producing even more weird effects. 

All submissions if you please - applications, doodles, hints, 
tips, molecules, modules or moles, to: 

‘INFO, Acorn User,Tau Press, Media House, Adlington Park, 
Macclesfield SK10 4NP 

or, e-mail us (including your real address please) at: 

No e-mails longer than 100K please. Screenshots, background 
info and customisation ideas are always most welcome. Please 
put your name, address and program title on every disc and 
include a text file containing your name, address, disc contents 
and program details. An SAE will ensure your discs are returned. 
If you are responding to one of our challenges, please mark your 
envelope accordingly, ‘info submissions only please. 

May 1999 Acorn User 



Dedicated to serving the Acorn community 

From Data Store 


New control panel with 

many improvements FClISIlFX 
New border effect 

including 'compass' knobs 


User-definable shadow length and direction 


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New grow and shrink feature 

Version 6.02 now available! 

PRICE £31.95 inc.VAT and postage 


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plus a full range of hard discs , memory , switch boxes , cables , 
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tu it - jeu nt, II - - tu df-jeu-ni. Ja-co? As- la df jeu-nt, It 

Sibelius 7 £620 

Sibelius 7 Student £320 

Sibelius 6 £1 05 

Optical Manuscript £275 

And new... 

Sibelius for Windows £695 

Acorn Sibelius users wishing to move to Sibelius 
for Windows: we can supply specially-priced PC 
systems that share your exisiting monitor/printer - 
please phone for details... 

The Data Store is one of the few dealers in the 
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Sibelius software. If you want to find out how the 
best just got better, ring us NOW for an 
appointment - you'll need at least an hour! 

There are THOUSANDS of software titles available for Acorn Computers! We stock hundreds of the most popular 
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Tel 0181-460 8991 • Fax 0181-313 0400 


Virtual rust 

If you’ve been enjoying Fred Dibnah’s 
tour of the Industrial Age on BBC 2 and 
want to use it as a History resource in the 
classroom then you’re in luck, the world’s 
most famous steeplejack now has a Web 
site for you too - 
education/ dibnah 

As well as re-discovering important 
sites of industrial heritage and talking to 
fellow enthusiasts of this bygone age, the 
plain-talking Lancashire presenter is 
calling on Internet users to get to 
grips with this dynamic period of change. 
As well as information on Fred, you 
can play with the animated steam 
machines, and find out more about how 
to discover industrial history on your own 

Fred says: “I’m not one for computers, 
but it’s great to think of people getting 
virtual dirt under their fingernails. Our 

industrial history is as important a part of our 
heritage as our great houses, abbeys and castles, and 
in many cases these sites provide real hands-on 
involvement in history. It’s a real thrill to be 
involved in a project which makes it so easy for 
people to engage directly with a fascinating period 
of Britain’s history." 

Around the globe 

The class has been recording data from the 
local environment, they’ve made some 
interesting discoveries and discussed their 
methods and approaches. The objectives have 
been met and the topic is over. So what do you 
do with all that information? Enter, GLOBE. 

This is an international programme which 
takes the measurements of the local 
environment made by an individual school 
and integrates them with those from other 
schools over the Internet. The aim of the 
project is to enhance worldwide envir- 
onmental awareness and scientific knowledge, 
but also to let pupils increase their science, 
numeracy and ICT skillbase. 

Started in 1994 by US Vice-President A1 
Gore, there are now over 5,000 schools from 

70 countries involved. UK teachers are 
provided with a teaching package linked to the 
National Curriculum with standardised 
methods for pupils to measure aspects of the 
environment, a satellite image of the area 
around your school, a full-colour cloud chart, 
and a range of worksheets. 

Once recorded, information is sent to 
the Web site - - where it 
is integrated with the data from other 
schools all of which you can access for 
comparison or analysis. There’s a £10 
registration fee, and if your school hasn’t got 
the instruments needed for the experiments, 
the manual will show you how to make some 
of them while your nearest GLOBE centre will 
loan you the rest. 

Wet and webby 

During April and May schoolchildren can 
design their own ocean voyages, while ‘talking’ 
to the explorers of the 15th and 16th centuries, 
all via the Internet. Ocean Explorers 
index.htm) is an eight-week online adventure 
for 9 to 14-year-olds providing scientific 
and historical backgrounds to the great 
ocean expeditions of the Age of Discovery, 
charting the journeys of John Cabot. 
Amerigo Vespucci, Ferdinand Magellan and 
Vasco da Gama. You can talk to these great 
sailors by e-mail, learning more about their life 
and times. 

With obvious links to the History 
and Geography curricula, children are 
also engaged in classroom activities to 




An Educational Journey 

design an imaginary voyage by choosing 
a route, provisioning the ship, predicting 
the weather, plotting the course and 
keeping journals of a lively, imaginary 

Auntie beeb's digital 

The beginning of June sees 
the launch of BBC Knowledge. 

One of a host of new digital 
services to hit the UK it promises 
a practical learning resource for 
pre-schoolers to adult learners. 

The aim is to combine the 
traditional television programming 
with the more interactive digital 
TV and the Internet. Free to 
those with digital TV - satellite, 
terrestrial or cable - it will 
initially be broadcast for six 
hours a day. Half the output 
will be new programs with 
the balance consisting of 
updated existing factual 

Explorer update 

Granada Learning (0161 827 2927) 
may be moving away from 
the Acorn platform, but there 
are some exciting programs 
coming out on CD-ROM for 
RISC OS machines in the next 
two months. As well as their 
SATs revision programs (Practise 
Maths at 7 and Practise Science 
at 11) Science Explorer 1 is 
available now with Science 
Explorer 2, Exploring World 
Religions and Maths Explorer 
following in June. 

Maths knowhow 

With the National Numeracy 
Project due to be initiated into 
schools in September, Polydron 
(01285 770 055) have released 
a Mathematics Dictionary on CD- 
ROM. Priced at £35 not only 
do you get a detailed and 
highly graphical dictionary but a 
further two sections providing 
both topics and resources, and a 
third section of some 80 games 
and activities. 

A standard dictionary page 
contains a definition, description 
(the words can be read to you) 
illustrated by a photograph, 
animation, diagram or video clip 
as well as the root definition of 
the word. For instance, capacity 
comes from the Latin capacitas 
meaning to take or hold. A further 
section provides a list of related 
subjects which will take you to a 
new definition page. Suitable for 
Key Stages 2 and 3 the 1000+ 
pages can all be printed out. 

Contacting me 

You can contact the Education 
page by writing to me, 
Pam Turnbull at Acorn User, 
Tau Press, Media House, 
Adlington Park, Macclesfield 
SK10 4NP or e-mail: 

May 1999 Acorn User 



Missed out on one of 
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Now’s your opportunity 
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Issue 206 - April 1999 

• !OHP uncovered 

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Issue 205 - March 1999 

• Web Wizard 

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Issue 204 - February 1999 

• Evolution demo CD 

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Issue 203 - January 1999 

• Rhapsody 4 

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• Film Trailer CD 

Issue 202 - Christmasl998 

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Issue 201 - DecembejJ.998 

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Issue 200 - November 1998 

• CD Writers 

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'Education Reviews/ 

k . : - . ■ ^ 

Get literate 

A vailable as two separate programs for 
Key Stage 1 and 2, WordWork 
provides resources and activities for word 
level work. You can dip into this or follow 
the week-by-week sections, all of which 
are closely tied to the National Literacy 
Strategy. The format of the two programs 
is similar, providing around 40 activities 
for each year group. 

Some of the activities work best in 
whole class sessions, in the whole class 
word level, or in plenary sessions, while 
other games also work well as individual 
carousel activities. The program provides 
for these different uses (and audiences) 
with three sizes of display. 

WordWork 1 

Loading is very straightforward and it's 
nice to see programs of this quality on 
floppy disk (although you will need a 
harddisk machine). Set at the seaside, the 
graphics are great - full of detail and 
humour. On-screen instructions are 
minimal but the manual is detailed, 
giving sound and practical advice on best 
use of the program in the classroom. 
You're presented with a choice of five 
options, the first of which - Preset 
Searches - provides wordlists for 
Reception and Years 1 to 3 which are split 
into relevant sections with Phoneme: ai 
(train) being one of 46 on offer for Year 1. 
Wordlists can also be exported for you to 
use elsewhere. 

With your list chosen, it's now time to 
get to work. The choice of activities using 
one word lets you browse the list with 
your class to point out peculiarities or 
spelling rules, or how about a few games 
where children suggest a letter which can 
be removed while keeping a real word, or 
they could insert a letter. With the latter 
the program will give clues by 
highlighting letters on the alphabet bar 
and aid the teacher by showing a faint 
grey image of the next word coming up. 
Or how about changing a letter or finding 

Some schools have 
found it difficult to 
integrate ICT into 
their Literacy Hour. 
Pam Turnbull 
examines a new 
product to make word 
level work a pleasure 
for everyone 

words within words or even revealing a 
word a little at a time? These work very 
well as group activities and the design of 
the program allows for good levels of 

Another set of activities work with two 
words. Again you can browse, but a very 
nice activity for this age range is Word 
Shapes which presents two words and one 
word shape with the children deciding 
which is the hidden word. Speech is used 
throughout so any word clicked on will be 
spoken, whether playing at putting words 
in alphabetical order or deciphering 
backwards words or even merging two 
words to create new ones in Portmanteau 
(breakfast and lunch to make brunch for 
instance). Or how about guessing a 
hidden word from the one you can see? 
Wordlists which work well with this - 
such as antonyms - are highlighted in the 
main selection screen. 

But there's more. A Sorter lets you 
decide on up to three categories you want 
your wordlist split into, for instance 
nouns, adjectives and verbs, while 
Shannon's Game provides a type of 

The detail in this program 
is superb and you are 
not confined to the Preset 
Searches as you can create you 
own lists by specifying 
beginning, end and middle 
letters as well as the number of 
letters in a word. 

The Onset, Rimes, CVCs section 
lets you specify what onset 
or CVC combination you're 
working on at present and play a 
group or class recognition game 
- a superb reinforcement activity 
for a plenary session. The Blender 
lets you create words, deciding if 


n ^ Poetic Licence 

ObK Boos by Fung 



Boos where bomb which brog on bear. 

Cove which cheep the crass you cone. 

Bug than bid might birch in blown. 

Coo were con if cress then care. 

■ ! ! ! THE PATTERN 

II 1 1 A : bcpaiiijqt c 

Export poem Click to compoSS^ 


they are real words or not from 
22 possible categories. And finally, 
Starts and Ends makes a good 
consolidation exercise on beginnings and 
ends of words. 

WordWork 2 

Very similar in format, apart from the fact 
that you can change the characters to 
follow a history theme with 17 sets of 
correctly dressed bods from Pre-historic to 
Futuristic; you are again offered the 
chance of following the Preset Searches or 
devising your own. 

There are two search options: the 
simple variety as in WordWork 1 but also 
a more complex and advanced option 
which might be a little overwhelming 
for some. But it's actually very 
straightforward and very useful if you 
want to work in more detail on a specific 
area such as compound words using horse. 
However, you could easily get your 
money's worth out of this package by 
sticking to the Preset Searches for Years 3 
to 5 with a Misc list for Year 6 and 

The one and two word activities are 
the same, as is the sorter and Shannon's 
Game. Find Rhymes is a new activity and is 
self-explanatory and good practice for 
syllable work, as is the final activity Poetic 

Ihis brilliant little activity provides 
you with a grid. You play around with the 
number of syllables, rhyme pattern and 
alliteration, even altering the language 
from simple to archaic. The program then 
creates, and recites, a poem for you - great 
fun and a very useful tool. 

The detail in WordWork is fantastic. 
Not only does it support teachers in the 
word work elements of the NLS but it 
makes playing with words and language 
fun. Whether you'll use this for whole 
class work depends on your classroom set- 
up, but the way the children get involved 
makes a little extra manoeuvring ^ TT 
worthwhile. ilXJ 

r Product details 

Product: WordWork 1 and 2 




£45 each 


Resource, 51 High Street, 
Kegworth, Derby DE74 2DA 


01509 672222 


01509 672267 


L Web: 

May 1999 Acorn User 


''Education Reviews 

Know your rocks 
from your fossils 

Whether you’re a 
Nascent paleontologist 
or revising geography 
or science, Pam 
Turnbull looks at one 
package which could 
have all you need 

A nother title from AVP's PictureBase 
range, this one brings together 
modules on igneous, metamorphic 
and sedimentary rocks as well as common 
minerals, crystals, mining, fossilisation 
and common fossils - eight science 
modules on one CD-ROM. 

Once installed on your hard 
disk, all you have to do is to choose 
one of the modules from the contents 
screen and a list of pictures appears in 
one of the panes. For instance, Igneous 
Rocks has some 29 images. A button 
offers you the chance of seeing the 
first. However, if you're not sure whether 
the module holds what you need, look at 
the the right-hand pane which presents a 
brief textual overview of your chosen 
module. Scroll through this detailed 
introduction using the arrow keys on the 

keyboard or click the picture button to 
see thumbnail images of the pictures 
held here. 

Once you've make your selection and 
are in the main program, the image comes 
with an explanation and a space for you to 
add your own notes, commentary or 
thoughts. This text and the description 
and images can all be saved for use in 
other programs or simply printed. 

Navigation is standard to others in the 

PictureBase range allowing you simple 
and complex searches, adding these 
modules to others you've installed if you 
want. Images are clear and useable, and I 
particularly like the Trail tool. 

You can make your own trails (and 
then password protect them) of pictures 
and images, adding your own text and 
changing the font size, or image display 
for different types of presentation with 
text read out loud in an autoplay mode. 

My reservations about this are really 
down to the interface. This is an excellent 
range which allows you to control access 
and look. The help is good as is the 
dictionary/glossary feature. However, the 
installation and navigation feels a 
little dated and clumsy especially as it can 
get in the way of the excellent Aj T 
content. ziU 

r i 

Product details 


Rocks, Minerals and Fossils 




11 + 




01291 625439 



~ "rr 

Module from CD: 

Installed Modules: 

2752 : Science : McUimvpIiu' 

2?55 . Science : Sedimentary R«*A» 
2 '51 : Science : Common Minerals 
2755 : Science : Ci.uudi 
2'5<» : Science : Muting 
275? : Science : Iwnlivation 
2?5S : Science : Common IwiN 

Picture Titles: 

l i:.; i i>Ic 

I Innile 

OaMiro in Thin Section 
Dolor ite 

Drtleriie in Ihui Section 

H..c.ili in Thin Section 
Vcckuhr Lava 
A lia'.ill Pcbbk 

crust, a vety hot rr*>rt is 
caitec maerrue Wr««n 
1 mflqvj 

i fr. — i r/v M , /< nc. ■?/ 1 A*.« 

pftrp • 


r £ 



H - 




. — — : 

i.-; . 







Acorn User May 1999 

Business and Utilities 

Ant Internet Suite II 





CD Burn 

Complete Animator 
DataPower 1 
DataPower 2 
DaVinci 90 
Digital Symphony 
Disc Doctor 
Disc Rescue 
Draw Works Designer 
Easy C++ 

EasyFont Pro 
Eureka 3 

Fireworkz Pro 
Font Directory Pro 
Game On! 2 

















Holy Bible (lllus.) BP(KJV) 82.25 

HTML Edit 4 53.00 

ImageFS 2 44.59 

IMaster & TWAIN Driver 35.00 
Impact Pro 139.53 

Impression Publisher 136.41 
Impression Style 83.54 

LanMan98 41.12 

MellDI 129.00 

MIDI Synthesizer 46.94 

Midi Works 151.95 

MovieFS 29.95 

OHP (Presentation) 29.95 

Ovation Pro 158.62 

P'rllel port Zip driver (Argo) 34.08 
PC Pro2 39.00 

Personal Accounts V4 49.00 
Photo Link 65.55 

Photo Real (Canon/Epson) 65.86 
Photodesk 3 299.50 

ProArtisan 24 (RPC Only) 89.95 

Prophet 3 
Rhapsody 4 
Schema 2 
Sibelius 6 
Sibelius 7 
Sibelius 7 Student 
Sleuth 3 
Studio Sound 
Tablemate Designer 
TopModel 2 










Turbodrivers (Can/HP/Eps) 54.69 


WebTool for ANT Suite 2 
WIMP Basic 
XStitch 2 




Animated Alphabet, Talk 
Arc Venture (various) 
Aztecs, Age 7-11 
Calabash Pirates 
Crystal Rain Forest 
DataSweet 3 
Dazzle + 

Dinosaurs (10/10) 


English (10/10) 

Essential Maths (10/10) 
Essential Science 
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''Mike Cook's hardware series 


Wl e .« tlhe 

M any people ask where I get my ideas 
from, most of the time I can’t tell 
but with this month’s project I know 
exactly. I was hill walking in the Lake 
District with a friend talking about music 
and some of the strange instruments I 
have made over the years. As we gained 
the ridge an icy blast of wind hit us and I 
thought that wind chimes might just be a 
wacky enough electronic instrument to 
be worth making. 

In conventional wind chimes air 
currents disturb a pendulum causing it to 
bang into hollow tubes thus creating 
tones. One of the problems with this is 
that the sound is always the same, but 
with electronic wind chimes you can 
make whatever sound you like and it can 
be changed at any time. You can also 
change the mapping of the notes, that’s 
the pitch each tube produces. By utilising 
the MIDI system you can get a really good 
quality sound, but even if you haven’t got 
that the system sounds are not too bad. 

The basic idea is to use reed switches 
and a magnet to feed information into our 
computer to turn into sounds. A reed 
switch is a small glass tube with a magnetic 
sensitive switch in it. As a magnet is placed 
near the switch it closes, and when the 
magnet is removed the switch opens. The 

wind blows 

Mike Cook gets his dingle-dangles 
to play a tune 



PI (3) R 






P5<7) R 

Strobe (1) 
Earth (25) 

Fig I: The wind chime circuit 

main use of these switches are in 
burglar alarms, where the switch 
is embedded in the door frame 
and the magnet sunk into the 
door. When the door is closed so 
is the switch, if the door is open 
or the switch wires are cut the 
open circuit can be made to 
trigger an alarm. 

The electronic circuit is simple 
and is shown in Figure I. Six reed 
switches are connected between 
the first six bits of the printer 
port and earth. Each switch also 
has a pull-up resistor up to 5V. 
However, as there is no 5V supply 
on the printer port we have to 
cheat a bit and connect them up 
to the strobe pin, and make sure, 
in software, that this pin sits at a 
logic one. 

Although the circuit is 
conceptually simple you have 
to perform a bit of mental 
topological gymnastics to lay it 
out. While the physical 
positioning of the reed switches 
could be anything, to keep it 
consistent with my software the 
switches have to be arranged in 
a hexagon as shown in Figure II. 
However, you can arrange them 
in what ever form you like, you 
might consider mounting the 
switches vertically instead of 
horizontally. I laid out the 
circuit on a piece of Veroboard 
and, as I hadn’t any 8 core 
cable, had to use two lengths of 
6 core cable instead. You can see 
my layout in Figure III. 

Next we have to arrange this 
sensor circuit where the magnet 
can affect it. There are two 
possible arrangements as shown 
in Figure IV. In the traditional 
arrangement a hole is cut in the 
veroboard and the board is 

Fig II: The physical arrangement of the switches 

hung from the ceiling using several 
lengths of string. A longer piece of string 
is threaded through the hole and a weight 
attached. A small thin magnet is fixed to 
the string and arranged close to the hole 
in the board. Finally a sail or small piece 
of card can be placed on the lower part of 
the string to catch any air currents going. 
The longer the string the slower will be 
any change. 

The other arrangement in Figure IV is 
perhaps functionally more interesting as 
it turns out to be a chaotic pendulum. A 
much larger magnet is placed at the end 
of a long length of string and arranged 
above the circuit so that the reed switches 
trigger as the magnet swings over them. 
What makes this system interesting is 
that the switches exert a small force on 
the magnet each time it swings over 
them. This gives the pendulum a small 
tug each swing and so disturbs the basic 
predictable periodic swing. 

The upshot is that you can get some 
complex patterns of switch triggering that 
are different every time, this is because it 
is a chaotic system and so is hyper- 


Acorn User May 1999 

'Mike Cook's hardware series! 

^ 4 

Fig V: Optional fan exciter 

sensitive to the initial conditions of the 
swing. In fact this could form the basis of 
a completely different project, 
investigating the sensitivity to initial 
conditions of a chaotic dynamic system. 
You could measure the sequence and 
timing of switch closures and see how 
quickly this deviates from the last swing. 

The idea is that you would try to have 
the same initial conditions, that is the 
position you release the pendulum. The 
closer these initial conditions are, the 
longer the pattern remains the same 
before deviating. This could form the 
basis of an excellent science project, and 
could be performed on any computer 

platform, however, you have to have a 
good teacher. I did suggest this as a 
project for the son of a friend, but his 
teacher said it was not a good project 
because there were not enough variables 
to alter. It’s quite appalling the standard 
of some science teachers nowadays, no 
wonder there are increasingly fewer 
physics students at universities. 

I used this second arrangement and 
had a two meter pendulum, make this 
longer if you can, as this will make for a 
much slower swing. I placed some extra 
weight at the end of the pendulum and 
you could also add a sail to pick up the 
wind if you want. 

Now, if you are using 
this indoors away from 
drafts you might get a bit 
fed up having to keep 
giving it a push, so you 
can use the circuit in 
Figure V. This is simply a 
motor with a fan or 
propeller on the end. This 
is positioned to blow 
on the wind chimes 
and disturb the system 
whenever the computer 
detects there has been no 
activity for several 
seconds. This brings me 
neatly on to the software. 

The application IChime 
is on the cover disc and 
monitors the logic levels 
on the First six pins on 
the printer port. Of 
course you need a bi- 
directional printer port for 
this but if you haven’t got 
one then you can use one 
of my many published 
alternatives to read the 
switches. You will need to 
make the appropriate small 
tweeks to the application 
to reflect your interface. 
When a switch is detected 

Fig III: Mike's circuit 

as being closed, that's a logic zero, the 
appropriate LED icon is changed to a lit 
LED icon and a sound is generated. 

If the menu selection is for a MIDI 
output the appropriate Note On 
command is sent to MIDI channel 5. 
When the switch is opened, thus giving a 
logic one on the input, then the Note Off 
command is sent. If you haven’t got a 
MIDI system then you will have to use the 
computer’s own sound system. I used six 
channels so that you can get the 
maximum polyphony; that’s notes on at 
the same time. You can use the built-in 
sounds here or any other system format 
sound. Use the !Boot application to set the 
sound you want. 

If you are really interested in sounds 
then a MIDI interface and sound module 
are essential. With this you can generate a 
wide variety of quality sounds, use my 
MIDI sound software, also on the disc, to 
select what sounds you want. I found the 
best results were with sounds that had a 
sharp decay like chromatic percussive 
sounds. I liked church bells and tubular 
bells but other sounds can be interesting, 
however the washy synth pad sounds 
were less effective as there was not much 
change when the pendulum triggered 

With all projects there is room to add 
your own touches. For example you can 
modify what notes correspond to what 
switches by changing the numbers in the 
procedure PROCmap. You could make this a 
two dimensional array and change the 
mapping on the fly, by generating a random 
number for the other array index. Also you 
can change the MIDI sounds automatically, 
say every time the fan kicks in. 

Hopefully with all these variations 
my electronic wind chimes won’t 
drive you as mad as conventional Ajj 
ones. /1U 

Chaotic Pendulum Traditional 

Fig IV: Two possible arrangements for the wind chimes 

May 1999 Acorn User 



Rambles through 

Mike Cook catches up on his correspondence 

A bumper post bag this month helped 
by the discovery that some of my 
mail, both written and electronic has 
been going astray. So first up is Francis 
Chin who has some good news for audio 

“In the January issue of Acorn User, 
someone by the name of ‘Kato’ 
inquired whether someone would take 
up the challenge of porting the 
excellent Win Amp program from the 
PC. David O’Shea (of SymbioSyS) has 
been working on a RISC OS version see 
soon.html for more details. 

It is currently being beta-tested, but 
there is still some work to do before it 
has the array of features that WinAmp 
boasts. Unfortunately, its MP3 playback 
capability is limited to that of dmpa 
which does not appear to be actively 
developed by its author. Ossi Lindvall. 
However, it supports the majority of 
skins available for the PC version.” 

A regular visitor to the Woods here is Dr 
Tony Lindop who wants to comment on 
the problems Richard Fearn was having 
with BBC DFS floppy disks in the February 
‘99 issue: 

“What he needs is a buffered 

interface which fits into one of 
the standard A5000 podule slots. 
They cost about £25 from an 
Acorn dealer and provide the link 
between the A5000 internal disk 
connectors and a standard BBC-B 

disk drive connector. "I got one with 
my A5000 when I bought it originally 
and I use it to connect to a Cumana 
40/80 track 5.25 inch drive. When the 
drive is switched on it appears as a 
floppy disk icon alongside the normal 
3.5 inch drive. I bought my interface 
from AlSystems and had to replace it 
only last year after an accidental short 
circuit. They even had one in stock 
when I visited their shop. 

“If Richard needs to read old 40 
track DFS disks on an A5000 the best 
solution is UmageDFS from Warm 
Silence Software. When this is run any 
DFS disks can be read using the normal 
RISC OS filer system. It works 
particularly well with the parallel 
application !6502Em, which is a very 
good BBC-B emulator and allows old 
DFS disks to be run using Shift+Break. 

“If anyone wants a cheaper 
alternative 1 wrote a disk sector reader a 
few years ago as an exercise in learning 
Wimp programming. This includes a 
capability to read DFS 5.25 inch disks 
and copy files to the normal ADFS filer. 
Perhaps I should post it on my Web site. 
When I get round to it my Web site will 
although at present it only contains 
advertising material for the family 

Hugh Fletcher has another solution: 

“Richard Fearn wanted to put a 5.25 
floppy on his A5OO0. Easy, just plug it 
in to connector B (PL 11) which is 
nearest the internal floppy. These 
descriptions are looking from the front. 
Link 19 is towards the back, it should 
be unmade (plug retained on one pin) 
Link 21 is towards the front. 

“It should connect 2&3 (centre + 
right) *Configure step should be 3 or 6 
for 80 track double density or 6 or 12 

Hugh Fletcher, who describes himself as 
being from another one of the worst 
Universities has some feedback from an 
earlier issue. Mind you his University 
will have to be pretty bad to rival 
Manchester Met, remember girls and 
boys stay away from that one. 

“With regard to the StrongARM not 
running with a PC card, I have been 
surprised not to see this before. I was 
told that 5% (1 in 20) of machines 
have this problem. It is a timing 
problem between the StrongARM and 
! the PC. via the motherboard. 200Mz is 
; VHF, so I guess inductance or 
! capacitance effects. It will be fine 
I with an A710. 

“The simplest change is to turn a 
resistor through 90 degrees on the 
| StrongARM card. If this doesn’t work, 
i the whole shabang goes to Reflex 
Electronics for modifications to the 
I motherboard. This should work, and 
should be free, certainly under 

“When this happened to me they 
arranged a carrier to collect and 
return. This would have been fine if 
| they hadn’t destroyed the hard drive 
I (switched off without parking the 
| head?) so the whole lot had to go back 

“Then the motherboard failed - a 
temperature sensitive loss of video on 
hot days. I got a new motherboard 
(warranty) but guess what? No reply 
from the PC card. So back to Reflex. 
This time they didn’t fix it properly, 

but I had such a backlog of work and 
publisher pressure that 1 put the A710 
back in and am living with it... I now 
discover that the Lark card has lost all 
in/out, so I am not at all pleased. 

“Did some professional forget to 
earth himself? Does this make me the 
I in 400 who get two dodgy 

“While I am writing could I ask a 
question some of your projects use an 
I2C bus, which I have no doubt you 
described in detail about 1995. 1 know 
nothing about it, is it on the card 
slots? Is it the card slots themselves? 
As a past constructor of a 1MHz bus 
interface for a spectrophotometer, I 
am interested.” 

Well the original I2C articles are on 
the Net if you want to look them up but 
basically this interface is built into all 
Acorn machines so that they can read 
the real time clock and parameter RAM. 
It consists of just two wires that are 
brought out to two pins on the podule 
connectors, data pin 20c and clock pin 

So if you have a spare podule socket 
you can make up a wire that brings 
these, together with two power supply 
wires to a back panel plug or flying 
leads. If you don’t have a free socket 
then these signals can be accessed by 
simply soldering a wire to the pins of 
one of your podules. This bus is not too 
fast giving access at only about 3K 
accesses per second, but it is fast enough 
for most things. 


Acorn User May 1999 

for 40 track single density. Formats 
accepted without further software 
are ADFS 800K E , 800K D, 640K L, and 
(I think) DOS 360K. DFS needs 
DFS software. This can take two 
external floppies, internally set to 0 
and 1, so the pair straight off a 
Master work OK. Some very old drives 
may not work. 

“The types supplied with later 
Masters seem to work, hut he may 
have to change the ^Configure step 
setting, 3 seems to work for me. 
There should be lots of old 5.25 drives 
about, if they haven’t gone in the 
bin. The Master used ADFS, and the 
A5000 is quite happy, I am 
still transferring View files from my 
Master to my A5000, importing them 
as text. Uinprcssion will do a 
conversion, but doesn’t like the 
extra highlights.” 

Next up, Allan Williams from Alphington 
wants to know why his 98Mb machine is 
apparently running out of memory: 

“Can you please advise me why 
when I am using !Draw I am advised 
that there is not enough memory, and 
am advised to quit any unwanted 
applications? When I load 20Mb of 
Sprites on to a draw canvas and then 
attempted to add another of 4,773,224 
bytes the out of memory message 
appeared, there is still 74Mb left in 

I think you are running up against 
the limit of the operating system here. If 
you try to drag the Next bar in the 
Task Manager window you will 
find it won’t increase past 28Mb. This is 
because RISC OS is only a 24-bit operating 
system and you are running up against 
the limit of memory it thinks there can 
be. This is one of the problems 
any successful OS upgrade will have to 
cope with. 

In your case you seem to be 4 Mb short 
of the maximum but I suspect undo 
buffers and the different way /Draw stores 
the sprites is to blame. Now the error 
message was designed at the time when 
28Mb was indeed infinity and so the 
programmers reasoned that if there was 
not enough memory left then quitting a 
few applications might just free up some 
more, it was supposed to be user friendly. 

Alan also has a bunch of PC card 
related problems, thanks to Mike 
Buckingham on the PC page for some of 
this information: 

“I want to add the ideA interface to 
speed things up. Will this be seen by the 
PC card and would the interface really 
give about twice the speed of the 
present setup?” 

No reason why not provided they are 
set up as PC partitions as per normal. In 
fact the PC card Mike Buckingham 
uses runs off RapIDE, as does everything 
else! You can also run off SCSI if you 

I got an e-mail from Sam Ellis at the 
Department of Electronics & Computer 
Science. University of Southampton. He 
is writing an Ockham compiler that 
produces PIC code and has been using 
my simulator to test it out. He has found 
a couple of bugs and so has Anthony 
Pleace who writes: 

“I have been successfully using 
these programs for the past term with 
the sixth form boys in the school 
where I teach. I am very pleased with 
the programs as they are easy to use 
and work well. I have only 
experienced one problem with the 

“The simulator does not indicate a 
change when setting the carry bit of 
the status register. Up to now I have 
used PIC 16C84s but I am not able to 
get any more of these chips and have 
been told that I should now use a PIC 
16F84. I have so far been unable to 
program this new chip with the 
Maplin programmer. I understand 
that there are few differences between 
these two chips. Can you help? 

“I have another problem that I 
have been trying to solve which you 
may be able to help me with. I would 
like to write a program to get 
information from the serial port and 
save it in a file. I have been able to do 
this for a PC by writing a program in 
C but I have little idea how to address 

the serial port on the Archimedes. Can 
you help?” 

Thanks. I have amended the 
simulator code to cover these bugs and a 
couple of others I came across myself, 
and the latest version is hopefully on 
this months cover disc. In his full letter 
Anthony says the RRF instruction 
when used on PORT A will work. 
However, according to the data sheet 
the top three bits of this register can t be 
written to. so shifting a 1 from the carry- 
will not. after three shifts, appear on the 
display. I have not tested if it does in 
"real life", but that's how the simulator 

I use the 16F84 all the time and have 
no problem with it. it does have twice as 
much register memory as the other chip 
and the simulator won't cope with that 
at the moment. The only thing that is 
different is that the delay on power up 
flag is inverted. When the programmer 
first runs this is ticked, make it a cross 
and that will enable it, otherwise it is 
the same. However I have found with 
the 1 6F84 chip I have to do an erase the 
first time I use the chip, this wasn't the 
case with the C type chip. 

You access the serial port using SWIs 
and it is quite simple. Look at the Basic 
programs in any of my articles that use 
the serial port and you will see. 
However, just to remind you there is an 
example on the cover disc - hopefully. 

want. As to actual speed increases you 
will only see this if the program or 
booting procedure is being held up by 
hard disc access and seek time, there is no 
real way to predict any real life 

“Can you tell me why Quicktimc 
32 is very bad at reproducing sound. 
1 have noticed that the Quicktimc 
program only recognises my PC card 
as a 486 and there appears to be no 
way of changing this. Could this be 
the reason for poor performance?” 

No, in the greater scheme of things 
you only have a 486, what the program is 
recognising is the instruction set in your 
processor. The problem with Quicktimc is 
that it is an Apple product that was added 
to the PC, and Microsoft made a very 
poor job of porting it (this is part of what 
they are being sued for at the moment). 
Now bear in mind that this has to be 
simulated on an Acorn and you can see 
the difficulty. 

I know that there is a real PC processor 
in your machine but all the peripherals 
have to be simulated by the RISC 
machine. I understand Aleph know about 
this problem but can’t find a solution. !PC 
alone has limited sound capability but 
IPCSoundPro from R-Comp fixes many 
problems and improves matters greatly. 
Should be used with !PCPro too. 

“Also could you also advise me how 

to improve the setup of the filing 
system in System Properties on the PC 
as it defaults to the MS-DOS 
compatibility mode file system 

Sorry, you can’t improve things 
because this is right. Windows doesn’t 
like the software drivers that are used in 
the Rise PC because we don’t have 
‘proper’ chip sets and PC type stuff. So 
the DOS disc drivers are software 
emulated. This means that they appear to 
Windows as second best, which therefore 
advises we arrange for proper’ ones. Well, 
you are using the best and only ones 

Maybe if RISC OS Ltd, or whoever, 
redesign the motherboard with PC style 
chip sets that will change, but not yet. 
There is a 32-bit driver around (third 
party but I think can be accessed via which should speed 
things up and make better use of bigger 
discs. But I haven’t tried it and Aleph 1 
don’t recommend it for a primary 
partition or drive. 

“Can you also tell me if the 
restriction to 32Mb on the PC card is a 
hardware or software restriction, and if 
it can or will be overcome with the 
current Rise PC.” 

I am not sure on this one but I think it 
might be due to the operating A-j 
system again. /1U 

May 1999 Acorn User 




AJS 35 

Aleph One 35 

APDL 16 

Archive 32 

Argonet 1 9 

Castle Technology OBC, 1BC, 69 

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Desktop Projects 1 2, 69 

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R Comp 46 

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Spacetech IBC 

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Anybody out there? 

Recently a reader wrote that Acorn 
computer users were not prepared to pay 
out for software for the Acorn platform. 
Now while I think that some of the 
software is good it is a bit expensive. 
Games on the other hand are no dearer 
than on other platforms. 

My gripe is the lack of support for 
users, I updated my Rise PC to StrongARM 
last year so I could run my software faster 
and hopefully play the latest games. I am 

still waiting for an update for ISuper pool & 
Snooker from Fourth Dimension (since last 
October, whenever I ring they just say 
they are having problems with it, but they 
still cashed my cheque, so I won’t be 
buying anymore of their software) and 
other software and games I have either 
refuse to work any more or don’t work as 
well. ICannon Fodder (slow) ! Lemmings, 
ISimon the Sorcerer, Turbo Driver even 
though I updated it and yes I have 

Also what has happened to Acorn 

IQuake ? Well in the games world it’s 
already too late - there is now Quake, 
Quake2, Unreal and the best of all HalfLife . 
Now if someone was to put that on the 
Acorn platform.... 

After that I got fed up and, you guessed 
it, I bought a Pentium PC for Christmas. I 
had thought of selling my beloved Acorn 
but I am keeping it so I can play on that 
when the PC has crashed and is running 
Scan Disc or something. By the way I have 
bought the above games for the PC, if only 
they could have been for the Acorn, and yes 
I bought Acorn IDoom as soon as it came out. 

I would still be interested in buying 
IQuake just to see how it runs compared to 
the PC and if I could network them 
together, wow, that would keep the kids 

Chris Hallows 

Well Chris, I’m afraid that I'd have to 
disagree with your opening statement "Now 
while I think that some of the software is 
good it is a bit expensive. Games on the other 
hand are no dearer than on other platforms 

Acorn software has always erred on the 
affordable side, especially in comparison to 
the PC and Mac world. Games on the other 
hand have tended to be a bit pricey when 
comparing across platforms. There’s no doubt 
bargains can be picked up, but we have to 
remember that many games have to be 
licensed and ported, adding cost and delay to 
the releases. 

With such a small market and with 
computers that last forever, the games scene is 
bound to lag behind the PC world. Just be glad 
we’ve got people like RCI who' re willing to take 
a chance and support the Acorn games market. 

RISC OS optimism 

I, like many Acorn users, was totally 
shocked by the announcement by 
Acorn at the end of September, but have 
been generally heartened by the news 


WhenTau Press was formed to take over the publication of Acorn User I was reasonably 
confident about the future - we were expecting the Phoebe and RISC OS 4 at the Acorn 
World show - but Acorn were still Acorn and there had been recent nastinesses 
perpetrated in the boardroom. 

Tau Press was having its first staff meeting on the morning of Thursday September 14th 
when I received a phone call telling me of the Acorn debacle. What could I do? Well I 
laughed - probably hysteria setting in - but again I was reasonably confident in the market 
itself, after all the users weren’t going to disappear overnight. 

But it did make things harder. 

The long haul from then to now has been quite painful - those who don’t have access 
to the Acorn newsgroups on the Internet have been spared the rumours, false dawns and 
the gloating of anti-RISC OS gadflies who make it their business to be unpleasant. 

Here we are six months down the line finally at the point we would like to have been in 
much earlier: RISC OS development in the hands of people who both care about the 
product and have a proven record in sales and marketing - a rarity in the Acorn world. 

But it is not over. 

RISCOS Ltd has the right to develop RISC OS, they are taking the trouble to extend its 
functionality well beyond what was envisaged and planned by Acorn - the original RISC 
OS 4 had much improved performance but had few additional features. The new RISC OS 4 
will have the features as well. 

Further developments include removing the dependence on expensive custom chips 
(IOMD and VIDC) so new hardware will be cheaper. And, perhaps even more Importantly, 
altering the software so that it will run with full 32-bit addressing (instead of 26-bit) 
otherwise there will be no ARM chips that will accept RISC OS, since ARM Ltd are no 
longer developing chips that permit 26-bit addressing. 

If you care about the future availability of your chosen platform become a member of 
the RISC OS Foundation and you’ll know that your cash is going to directly to keeping 
RISC OS at the forefront of computer development. 

Perhaps they can do it without your help ... but with it they can do it more easily and 

Steve Turnbull 


Acorn User May 1999 

which has appeared since then. While I 
would agree that Acorn/Element 14 are 
wrong in completely alienating 
themselves from the desktop machine 
market, perhaps it was time for Acorn to 
change direction and investigate another 
branch of electronics. 

I have been using a 2Mb A3010 for five 
years, and have been very happy with its 
performance and ability to run the latest 
versions of many commercial programs; 
the dealer and mail order network has 
impressed me too. 

I am very proud to be an Acorn user. 
But my letter is about the new RISC OS 
Ltd. venture, of which I am very 
optimistic. I hope that this will see 
RISC OS being marketed as a completely 
independent operating system, suitable 
not only for Acorn desktop machines 
but also in applications. Having spoken 
to several friends at school with Wintel 
PC’s, I asked them to truthfully tell me 
what they thought about Windows. 
Almost all of them said that they are not 
particularly happy with using Windows, 
but have had to because there is no 
alternative to it. If you buy a new PC ’off 
the shelf, you will almost certainly be 
using Windows on it. 

Wouldn’t it be nice then, if people 

had a choice as to which route they took 
when it came to operating systems. Of 
course, Windows is developed by the 
colossal Microsoft so at first RISC OS 
might seem like a very small force. But if a 
stable, well-developed and 100% British 
operating system can be successfully 
marketed the possibilities could be 

I also point to a news report that 
I read in which the head of 
Microsoft’s R&D team admitted that 
Windows ‘‘will almost certainly lose its 
dominant position in the market 
over the next five years’’ and that 
“computers are significantly hard to use 
still... land] aren’t all they are made 
out to be". Is this criticising Microsoft’s 
own OS?! 

I have been very saddened by 
the constant flow of bad news in the 
last quarter of last year, but I think that 
the creation of RISC OS Ltd. is one of 
the most important opportunities for the 
Acorn market, and one which must 
be supported outright by as many of 
us as possible. While I hope to upgrade 
to a Rise PC one day in the future, I 
would think about purchasing 
another-branded machine if it was 
running RISC OS. This new venture 

is similar to that of ARM Ltd., which 
as we know was born from the Acorn 
stable and is now enjoying worldwide 

I will support Acorn machines for as 
long as they are being manufactured and 
developed, and while some people in the 
Acorn community mourn at the 
retirement of Acorn themselves, I think 
we must all learn to look further than the 
news about Phoebe and reassure ourselves 
that while there are still committed Acorn 
enthusiasts out there with expertise and 
practical minds, then we are in safe 

The future for RISC OS users is 
bright, and perhaps now the focus is 
less on one single ‘Acorn’, and now on 
several Acorn-born companies we will see 
change for the better. 

Thank you for reading my views, and keep 
up the good work - the magazine’s excellent! 

Rod Dennis (aged 16) 

Cue those nay sayers who just love it when 
people say this.... " But if a stable, well-developed 
and 100% British operating system / RISC OS] 
can be successfully marketed the possibilities 
could be endless ." batten down the hatches 

To Luton 
& Midlands 



SATURDAY 3rd July 1999 

Alban Arena, Civic Centre 
St. Albans, Herts 

Doors open from 10am until 4.30pm 

FREE bus shuttle from St. Albans train stations 

Theatre programme: 

1 lam - Beyond the Rise PC 
12am - Acom product scene 
2pm - Future of RISC OS 
3pm -TBA 

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Fax : (01707) 390 410 
E-mail : 

http : //www. argonet . co . uk/ acorns how 

Supporting RISC OS 

in SE England 

P- Parking 
• - Station 



To Watford , 


St. Pancras 

May 1999 Acorn User 


I t’s a lovely scene - I find Neil Spellings 
with the film ‘Herbie’ on his new state- 
of-the-art wide screen TV. His excuse: “I 
used to have a red VW Beetle. It was 
infamous in The ARM Club, parked 
alongside Matt Cook’s Mini. I have just got 
rid of it; it was spending most of the time 
just standing in the garden because I use 
public transport.” 

Neil Spellings is the Chairman of the 
Association of Acorn User Groups, which 
sounds to me a bit like one of those titles 
people invent for themselves for their CVs. 
And it turns out that Neil did invent the title 
in a sense, because the group was his idea. 

“I originally was in the DARC 
(Derbyshire Acorn Rise Club). I moved 
down south and thought I still would like 
some user group type thing. It was 96/97, 
and all the user groups were working 
towards the same thing but none of them 
communicated. They were dotted around 
the country and I thought that it would be 
nice if there was some central point that the 
user groups could go to and get 
information. Out of that the AUG was born; 

I made myself chairman. 

“I try to go to a lot of user groups but 
there is that thing called distance. I attend 
all the shows on behalf of the groups. There 
is a web site with all events and what is 
going on and an e-mail mailing list which 
every committee member of every user 
group in the world is on.” 

I should point out that the AUG is a non- 
profit-making organisation and is funded 
most of the time by Neil’s own pocket and 
the articles he writes for Acorn User. None of 
it would be possible with out Neil’s own 
input of huge amounts of time and effort. 

Neil first got into using Acorns for his 
GCSE’s and ’A’ levels. This was thanks to 
Neil having a good computer teacher called 
Ian Rendall, a classroom full of BBC B’s and 

his spending every lunchtime in there. Neil 
was made assistant network manager 
because of his enthusiasm. “You wouldn’t 
believe the excitement,” laughs Neil “when 
the school got its first A3 10.” 

Neil spent a gap year working as the 
school technician, maintaining Acorn kit 
before going to university to read electronic 
and computer engineering. There were 
Acorn computers there but only in the 
physics department which became well 

I thought 
that it would 
be nice if there 
was some 
central point 
that the user 
groups could 
go to and get 

visited. Neil worked at Acorn during one 
summer for an industrial placement. 

“I worked on a lot of things but 
unfortunately they were scrapped, so 
Phoebe is not the first thing they have 
canned, there is quite a history. I did quite a 
lot of work on the Stork which was the 
portable project working on the backlight 
and the parallel port floppy disc. I did bits 
and bobs on other projects like the FP 1 1 and 
PCMCI stuff. It was interesting to work 
there and it meant I got to buy a top-of-the- 

rangc machine for half price. 

“At the moment I am working in the City 
as a systems analyst, on Windows NT doing 
roll outs and integration work. And you 
don’t know how good it feels to come home 
at the end of a very long day to an Acorn 
machine and RISC OS.” Incidentally Neil’s 
high spec Rise PC occupies pride of place in 
his ‘bachelor pad’. 

“RISC OS 4 will work; there are enough 
people who want it," Neil emphasises. “I 
decided to get some shares, I am doing 
my bit and putting my money where my 
mouth is. I think it is about one percent 
of the company I own. Well I had a bit of 
spare cash lying around.” 

Neil’s interview for Acorn User was just 
another thing he took in his stride. After 
all he had just been on television as part 
of a discussion about Acorn changing its 
name to E-14. 

“My involvement came because the 
production company had visited the Acorn 
web site where AUG has a link, and so they 
e-mailed me. I did not know Stan Boland 
was going to be on until a few minutes 
before taping. I was put in a room with him 
with no introductions, I sort of recognised 
him and said: ’You must be Stan’. 

"It was interesting just watching how 
the programme was made. They record it 
in a way to make it appear live, so they try 
and do it in one take. It is quite scary 
when you walk in and see all the 
monitors. Both Ian Burley and I expected 
our sections to be longer, but we both got 
our twopenneth in. Afterwards we had a 
long chat with Stan - he seemed quite an 
open and genuine guy. It was interesting 
hearing things from his perspective." 

So Neil’s already had five minutes of 
fame; I wonder when his other ten will 
come? t 

Jill Regan /LU 


Acorn User May 1999 






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