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p R OJ! 9 77026! 

ISSUE 208 JUNE 1999 


in the world 

f Inside RISCOS Ltd 

PD games return 
en masse 

The best of 
Acorn clip-art 


- free media with all drives 




25% off when bought with drive or scanner etc 

CT’s Storm SCSI interface offers unbeatable ^ 

performance. Using ISMB/s SCSI components jjf * 

and our ultra-reliable SCSI FS, Storm’s a t * ■$. 
guaranteed winner. Mtew/ 

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 - MOxO M000 
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 


18GB XTRA 3.5" SCSI 



£88 £103.40 



£128 £150.^0 



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 8.8MB/sec (Nomai). 


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

£179 £210.33 
£329 £386.58 
£599 £203.83 


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

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

£349 £410.08 
£599 £203.83 
£899 £1056.33 

£196 £23030 

170MB A3000/A30I0 interface 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 & A7000/4- 



4GB 3.5" IDE for RiscPC & A7000/-F 



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 

The unique Combo Case • takes any 
two SCSI devices & gets rid of all those 
.> cables, mains leads etc. Accepts any 
: 5.25 unit. 

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



Case for single SCSI device 



Combo case for 2 SCSI devices 




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. 

;] 4x speed SCSI CD ROM drive 
8x speed SCSI CD ROM drive 
32x speed SCSI CD ROM drive 
1 24x speed IDE CD ROM drive 
j 32x speed IDE CD ROM drive 
| IDE CD driver for Rise PC & A7000 
j 6x4x2 CD int ReWriter inc iCDBurn 
| 6x4x2 Ext CD ReWriter inc ICDBurn 
j 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 100MB SCSI 



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 



A3 00 & 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/+ 



64MB SIMM - Rise PC A7000/+ 



128MB SIMM -Rise PC A7000/-4 







inc FREE software worth £49 

8x CD 7 drive Tower 
32x CD 7 drive Tower 

£379 £445.33 1 
£579 £680.33 

- 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, ^ 08 

this has to be the one! 

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

adaptor available. 

ScanExpress 6000 parallel 



ScanExpress 6000 SCSI 



ScanExpress 12000 SCSI 



Scanflat 1200 pro SCSI 



ImageMaster & Twain 



Scanflat transparency kit - slides etc 



ScanExpress transparency kit-slides etc 



CanoScan 2700F film scanner 




Podule case for A3000 



Fixing kits for hard drives 



A4 IDE hard drive fixing kit 



A300 series backplane (4 way 4 layer) 



A7000/4- 1 slot backplane (not with CD) 



Rise PC 2 slot backplane 



2nd slice for Rise PC inc I05watt PSU 



2nd slice for Rise PC 



SCSI 1 & II cables choice from 



SCSI/IDE ribbon cables from 



SCSI terminator/adaptors (selection) 



Monitor cable for all Acorn (selection) 



128k 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 ta(<e advantage of fast Web browsing, fast 
data transfer, fast faxing, 
and a hi-performance Special 

phone line - all from Offer 

one hi-tech box! tow 

Choose from four 

network/stand-alone £ H 6 33 inc VAT 

models at great prices! 

COMBOS (iin & cn) 

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

H 8x CD & 100MB HD - external SCSI 


£152.75 ■ 

| 8x CD & 500MB HD -external SCSI 


£176.25 ■ 


Zip 100MB media 



Zip 100MB media (6 pack) 



Syquest 105MB media 



Syquest 135MB media 



Syquest 230MB media 



Syquest 270MB media 



MaxIT 500MB media 



Nomai 750MB media 



JAZ IGB media 



Syjet 1.5GB media 



JAZ 2GB media 



PD 630MB media 



CD 630MB write once media (Pk of 10) 



CD 630MB re-write media 




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

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) 

£ 599 


















Ergo keyboard for pre Rise PC 



Ergo keyboard for Rise PC A7000/-F N/C 



Keyboard for Rise PC A7000/+ N/C 



! Keyboard cable (6 way) 



j Mouse for all Acorns (not A7000 etc) 



Mouse for A7000/+ N/C 



i Mouse balls heavy (pack of 10) 



• Floppy drive any Acorn except A300 A4 



; Replacement floppy drive for A4 





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 are external and come with 

FREE on-line time 

56k modem 



128k ISDN modem 



128k ISDN 4- 2 analogue phone ports 



128k ISDN hub router with lOBaseT 



128k ISDN modem router (managed) 



DELIVERY CHARGES - Next day insured 

Orders oyer £200 paid by debit card 



Small items 



All other orders 



Fitting charge (inc collection) 



We welcome payment by cheque (allow 5 days to clear), 

Credit and Debit cards. 


inc FREE data cable & Acorn driver WORTH £20 

Advanced inkjet technology for bright 
colour images & fast printing times. 

. Up to 1200dpi resolution (virtual 
: photographic quality). Supplied with 
• Acorn drivers & data cables. 

N 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 A30I0A3020 A4000 

Startwrite wordprocessor 










































CASTLE TECHNOLOGY. Ore Trading Estate 
Woodbridge Road, Framlingham, Suffolk IPI3 9LL 
TEL0I728 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. 


FreeFax 0800 783 9638 Phone 0 1 728 62 1 222 FreeFax 0800 783 9638 Phone 0 1 728 62 1 222 


36 RISCOS Ltd 

^ ^ Alasdair Bailey takes a trip to 
RISCOS Ltd and meets three 
bachelor boys 





Published by 





Media House, Adlington Park, Macclesfield SK10 4NP 
e-mail / 

Tel: (01625) 878888 Fax: (01625) 859808 
Printed by Apple Web Offset, Warrington 

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


Dave Acton, lan Burley, Alasdair Bailey, 

Mike Buckingham, Mike Cook, Mike Cowgill, 

David Dade, Dave Lawrence, Steve Mumford, 

Jill Regan, Steve Scott, Pam Turnbull, Paul Wheatley, 
David Watkins, 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: £45.99 (UK), 
£51.99 (EU), £63.99 (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 cam 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 provided by Argonet, 




Read about the new RISC OS 
computers from RiscStation Ltd, and 
Interconnex's new Micro machine 


Paul Wheatley takes a brief look at 
DrnwWorks Millennium, the new 
vector package from iSV 


JavaScript Fresco©, a virtual 
harddrive, cheaper BT lines and 
another ISDN offer from Clares 

Public Domain 

Connect your Psion for free, find out 
what's slowing your computer down, 
change ISP with ease.. .and more 

21 PC page 

“ Can't be bothered to go to work? 

Now you can control your office PC 
from home 

O'! Cover disc 

Find out what's on this month's CD 
cover disc 

Game show 

A look at the latest games news from 
Alasdair Bailey 



Subscriptions page 

Take advantage of our fantastic 
subscription offers and get yours 


More readers have their say on our 
letters page, including one very odd 

H A The Regan Files 

AAUG Chairman Neil Spellings 
gives a world exclusive interview in 
this months Regan Files 

Next month 

For those lucky enough to own Photodesk 3, 
Walter Briggs presents the first of his Photodesk 
layers tutorials; and for those who aren't so 
fortunate, Simon Anthony demonstrates photo- 
retouching using Paint and Draw. 

On sale 10th June 1999 




Education News 

Pam Turnbull reveals the latest 
education news 

Education Reviews 

Pam looks back over the last 


r yn DigSigGen 

“ " Mike Cook gets busy with a new 
digital signal-generator 

APDL Games 

David Watkins reviews the value-for- 
money games on these two APDL 

Earth & Space CDs 

Mike Cook casts a critical eye over 
two informative CDs (he gets 
everywhere doesn't he?) 

Hands on 

'I'l MIDI controllers 

^ ^ Michael Cowgill follows on from his 
MIDI series in Archimedes World 

43 Wimp C 

Steve Mumford looks at calling 
functions by pointer 

49 *INFO 

^ Dave and Dave amuse themselves 
with a game of zoom-about-low-fatty- 
net-whack - marvellous journalism 

Run the Rise 

Mike Cook makes a drone generator 
from some sticky-backed plastic and 
a toilet roll - what a guy 

l ZlZ Rambles through 
Acorn Wood 

Magic Mike gives out some more 
helpful advice 

Play your own "Destiny" special offer Page 34 
EasyFont Pro special offer Page 42 

Advertisers Index Page 68 

Back issues Page 56 June 1 999 V 

Curriculum Training Associates 
Dept. AU06, 168 Elliott St. 


O. See us at Acorn Wakefield Show 99 stands 3 & 4 Gtr. Manchester 

M29 8DS 


■ • 




EMAIL: Tel - 01942 797777 Fax - 01942 797711 

Finance Deals 

* 0% Buy now, pay 6 months 


* Can convert into standard 
finance package, no penalty 
(still yet 6 months intrest 

* Low Cost Finance Option 
@ 1.5% per month (19.9% 

APR) u p to 5 years to pay. 

* No early settlement 


* Can make additional 
purchases up to your credit 
limit without re-application. 

* * Ring For full details 


( Please ring for latest prices )Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 
Canon BJC 250 colour A4 £84.00 £98.70 
Canon BJC 2000 colour #A4 £100.00 £117.50 
Canon BJC 2000 Scan ! #A4 £169.00 £198.58 
Canon BJC 4650 colour# A3 £228.00 £267.90 
Canon BJC 4650 Scan ! #A3 £275.00 £323.13 
Canon BJC 7000 colour #A4 £169.00 £198.58 
Epson Stylus 440 colour A4 £99.00 £1 16.33 
Epson Stylus 640 Colour A4 £124.00 £145.70 
Epson Stylus 850 Colour A4 £213.00 £250.28 
Epson Stylus 1 520 Col A3 £350.00 £4 1 1 .25 
Epson Styl Photo 700 # A4 £139.00 £163.33 
Epson Styl Photo EX # A3 £290.00 £340.75 
HP420C A4 £74.00 £86.95 

HP 695C Colour A4 £104.00 £122.20 

HP 895CXI Colour A4 £200.00 £235.00 
HP LASERJET 1 1 00 £249.00 £292.58 

HP LASERJET 2 1 00 £454.00 £533.45 

Photo drivers for # £58.72 £69.00 

Scanner drivers for ! £29.79 £35.00 

*** FREE Acorn driver by request**** 

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

on all new systems, & FREE Internet connection 


) 56k x2/V90 3Com USR 

£118.30 £129.00 

56k Flex/V90 (Rockwell) 



ISDN modem (external) 

£169.36 £169.00 

High speed serial erds frm 



Internet & Modem Software 

Ant Internet Suite 

£94.05 £110.51 




IBrowse CD 



IJarva CD 



ArcFAX Fax software 




Ex. VAT 

Inc. VAT 

14" SVGA 0.28 (3yr on-site) 



14" SVGA 0.28 Multi-Media 



| 15" SVGA 0.28 (3yr on-site) 



■ 15" SVGA 0.28 Multimedia 



15" Iiyama Vison Master 350 



1 17" SVGA 0.28 (lyrRTB) 



17" SVGA 0.28 (3yr on-site) 



17" SVGA 0.25 (3yr on-site) 



17" Iiyama Vison Master 702 



i 17" Iiyama Pro 400 



19" SVGA 0.26 (lyrRTB) 



19" SVGA 0.26 (3yr on-site) 



19" Iiyama Pro 450 



! 21" SVGA 0.25 (3yr on-site) 



2 1 " Iiyama Pro Diamondtron 



38" SVGA (lyr on-site) 



AKF18 Multisync (14") 



AKF53 Multisync (14") 



AKF50 Multisync (14") 



AKF12 PAL (14" refurb)* 



* 2nd user mon’s available with 90 days WTY 

| Multisync A300/3000 cable 



233Mhz SA RiscPC Offers 

e.g. RPC SA 
CSS 40x CD & 17" 
jg. irr monitor for only 

£1125 + VAT <>i 
£34.00/month via 
L.C.F. * RPC SA bases from £850 inc 
VAT or £22.00/month via L.C.F. * 
AM) we will match or heat your best 

SAJ233 Web Wizard 

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

Coming soon 
RiscStation R7500 

e.g. R7500 +16M / 4.3G / 40x 
CD /1 4" mon & Stereo Spk for 
only £649 exc vat (£762.58) 

FREE Software Bundle 
Due in July 1999 

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. 

.ri”' 4 1 

Please ask for other combinations 

A7000 + Peak Performer 

8M / 2. 1 G / 32x CD /14" mon / Stereo 
Spk & FREE Software Bundle for 
only £749 + VAT (£808 + vat for both 


PC s/w only £170.00 exc 
vat (£199.75) 
Acorn & PC s/w 
£255.00 (£299.63) 

Qvlla/Qvl00s/wkit £96 


A3000/A3010 A3020 

Ex. VAT Inc. VAT Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 

170 Mb £ 95 £111.63 ! £55 £64.63 

340 Mb £112 £131.60 ! £69 £81.08 

512 Mb £127 £149.23 1 £85 £99.88 

810 Mb £139 £163.33 !# £119 £139.83 

1Gb £149 £175.08 !# £124 £145.70 

2 Gb £159 £186.83 !# £134 £158.63 

3 Gb £169 £198.58 !# £144 £169.20 

4 Gb £189 £222.08 !# £164 £192.70 

A3000 version includes CD ROM i/f which can be used in 
A3020 or A4000 For external A3000 add £20.00 +VAT 
# includes partitioning software 


Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 

210refurb £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) 

RFC /A7000 


2 10 refurb £30 
512M £59 
















£90 £105.75 
£100 £117.50 
£110 £129.25 
£198 £232.65 

# limited supply 


£29.79 + VAT 



40x £45.00 (£52.88) 32x 

32x £39.00 (£45.83) 16x 

24x £35.00 (£41.13) 12x 

8x £30.00 (£35.25) 8x 

For EXTERNAL IDE or SCSI 1 add £50.00 + VAT (inc. cable) 
(3.5 IDE driver £15 + vat) IDE int. fitting kit £5 inc. 

For external SCSI II add £55.00 + Vat. (inc. cable) 
Internal SCSI fitting kits from £10 + vat 


£70.00 (£82.25) 
£40.00 (£47.00) 
£35.00 (£41.13) 
£30.00 (£35.25) 


540M (limited Stock) £60.00 (£70.50) 
1.0Gb £70.00 (£82.25) 

2Gb (7200rpm) # £110.00 (£129.25) 

4.3Gb (5400 or 7200rpni)£ 140.00 (£164.50) 
9.1Gb (7200rpm) £235.00 (£276.13) 

18.6Gb 7,200rpm £425.00 (£499.38) 

For EXT. SCSI 1 case £50.00 + VAT (inc. cable) 
For EXT. SCSI II case £55.00 + VAT (inc. cable) 


j Prices Start 


‘L. 1 

£170.00 + 

2x2x6x RcWrt 

£170.00 (£199.75) 

4x4x1 6xReWrt £235.00 (£276.13) 


£49.00 £57.58 


£49.00 £57.58 

SCSI 8x 

£85.00 + vat 

IDE Removable Drives 

Zip 100 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 £110.00 £129.25 
Jaz 1G Parallel £239.00 £280.83 
Jaz 2G Parallel £315.00 £370.13 
* P’llel drives inc. Acorn Software 

SCSI Removable 

PD650/CD £139.00 
Nomai 750 £165.00 
Jaz 1G int £189.00 
Jaz 1G ext £199.00 
Syjet 1.5Gi £199.00 
Syjet 1.5Ge £199.00 
Jaz 2G int £265.00 
Jaz 2G ext £265.00 










Removable Drive Media 

Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 

Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 

lOOmb Zip 



1Gb Jazz 



Zip 5 pack 



1.5Gb Syquest 



1 20mb LS 1 20 



135 Syqucst 






230 Syquest 



CDR 10 pack 



270 Syquest 



CDR 25 pack 



650Mb PD 






750Mb Nomai £38.00 


CDR/W 10 pack 



6 Drive CD-ROM SCSI Towers 

8x £299 exc. 

4x 8x £699 exc. 32x £499 exc. 

Interface Adapters 

Storm SCSI 8 bit (A30x0 int) 



Storm SCSI 16 bit (podule) 



Storm SCSI 32 bit (podule) 



Powcrtcc SCSI3 32 bit (Pod) 



Simtec 8 bit ( A3000/A30 1 0) 



Simtec 16 bit (AX00/A5000/RPC) 



APDL (ICS)16 bit DMA 






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

3 yr Warranty on ALL Acorn MEMORY why Pay More?? 



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

1 * rework for A 3000/5000/25 mhz £25 £29.38 
£25 £29.38 
£45 £52.88 
£55 £64.63 
£40 £47.00 
£45 £52.88 
£20 £23.50 
£45 £52.88 
£55 £64.63 
£23 £27.03 
£50 £58.75 
£25 £29.38 
£19 £22.33 
£45 £52.88 
£97 £113.98 

I A3010 1-2 MB Upgrade 
I A3010 2-4 MB Upgrade (exch) 
I A3010 1-4 MB Upgrade 
A3020/4000 2-4 MB Upgrade 
I A5000 2-4 MB Upgrade 
A3000 1-2 MB Non-Upgrade 
I A3000 2-4 upgrade (exchange) 
I A3000 1-4 MB Upgrade 
I A3000 Serial Port Upgrade 
I A3 10 4Mb Upgrade 
1 A400/1 1 Mb Upgrade per meg 
I Rise OS Carrier Board (A3 10) 

I MEMC 1 A upg (short supply) 
**NEW** A540 4Mb 


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 £115.00 inc 

with FPA 10 fitted(25Mhz) £165.00 inc 


Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 
I A3000 int 10base2 or T , Access+ £89.00 £104.58 
I A400 / A5000 10basc2 or T Acc+ £89.00 £104.58 
I A400 / A5000 10base2 & T Acc+ £99.00 £116.33 
A3020 10basc2 Access+/ext MAU £99.00 £1 16.33 
A3020 lObaseT Access+/cxt MAU £99.00 £1 16.33 
I RiscPC/A7000 10basc2 orT Acc+ £89.00 £104.58 
RiscPC/A7000 10base2 & T Acc+ £99.00 £1 16.33 
I Ant Acccss+ ROM upgrade £ 1 0.00 £ 1 1 .75 

Network Hubs 

exc Vat inc Vat 
I lObT 16+2(18) port £75.00 (£88.13) 
100/10 Auto 16 port £249.00 (£29.58) 

















Stale 10basc2 

or lObaseT 

any size made to 

We supply and / or install 
all network components 
please ring for your 

RiscOS 3.11 Rom upgrades 
£25.00 exc Vat (£29.38) 

High Quality 
Acorn ERGO 
Mouse £12.00 

Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 
I Acorn Trackball/Mouse *NEW* £29.79 £35.00 

I Acorn Original Mouse £25.00 £29.38 

I Acorn ERGO Mouse *NEW* £12.00 £14.10 

A7000 replacem'l Mouse *NF\VU!2.00 £14.10 

Ergo (std) RiscPC Keyboard £21.28 £25.00 

I Ergo curved RiscPC K/board £29.79 £35.00 

I A400/A5000 replacement k/brd £59.00 £69.33 

A400/A5000 Ergo keybroard £69.00 £8 1 .08 


Replacement Floppys Drives 

A3000/400/500 £29.00+vat (£34.08) 
A30X0/4000/5000 floppy allows cross 
-formatting of HD and DD discs 
£29.00+vat (£34.08) 

RiscOS 4 £99.00 +vat 

(£116.33) place your order now 

Fitting & data transfer, if required, £25 inc vat 
(£15 with new HD). 


All scanners inc. Acorn SW 

P'llel Mustek 600dpi £99.00 (£1 16.33) 
Mustek A4 600 dpi £ 1 1 9.00 (£ 1 39.83) 
Mustek A4 1200 dpi £149.00 (£175.08) 
Epson GT7000 £199.00 (£233.83) 

| Epson GT7000P £249.00 (£292.58) 

Imagemaster & Twain available 


Ex. VAT Inc. VAT 
60 watts with PSU £16.98 £19.95 

240 watts with PSU £24.68 £29.00 

Subwoofer system £42.00 £49.35 

Character Mouse Mats 
Southpark Kenny £5.99 

Southpark Cartman £5.99 

Disney Mickey, Pooh, Donald etc. £5.99 
X-filcs (four types) £5.99 

Garfield or novelty £4.99 

Std. mat £1.00 / Econ. 0.65 p 

Switch Boxes 

2-1 with cable £15.00 £17.63 

2-1 Auto with cable £15.00 £17.63 

4-1 with cable £19.00 £22.33 

2-1 Monitor /K'board £29.79 £35.00 

R-Comp CD-ROM Software 





DOOM+ Trilogy (£32.50 with book) 


Heroes of Might and Magic 2 


Quake (due soon) 


Syndicate + 


Towers of Darkness (Hexen triple) 



Premier Quality Ink Refills 

Single refills 
Twin refills 
Triple refills 
Tri- Colour 
125 ml 
1 litre 

(1x22 ml) 

( 2x22ml ) 

(CM* Y) 


£6.00 inc 
£10.00 inc 
£14.00 inc 
£15.00 inc 
£20.00 inc 
£21.00 inc 
£38.00 inc 
£50.00 inc 
£70.00 inc 

All sizes available in C,M,Y,K 


Ex. VAT Inc.VAT 
DD Re-label Acorn frnt 10 £2.00 £2.35 

DD Re-label Acorn fmt 100 £17.02 £20.00 
HD bulk Acorn or PC 10 £2.00 £2.35 

HD bulk Acorn or PC 1 00 £ 1 7.02 £20.00 

HD Branded 10 pack £3.50 £4.1 1 

20 cap Disk Box £1.69 £2.00 

40 cap Disk Box £2.54 £2.98 

100 cap Disk Box £2.98 £3.50 

3.5” Floppy head cleaners £2.50 £2.94 

CD-ROM cleaner £4.25 £4.99 

Printer Ribbons, Inkjet 

New/Recycled Laser Toner Carts 

Prices available on request 


Acorn networking for PCs 

£29.95 exc Vat £35.19 inc Vat 

see network section for Cards etc. 

StrongARM Special Offer 

£259.00 inc VAT 
(with any Hard Drive / Memory 

RiscPC PC Cards 

DX2-66 £145.00 inc VAT 

DX4-100 £195.00 inc VAT 

586-100 (Acorn) £290.00 inc VAT 

586-133 (CJE 512) £300.00 inc VAT 

We can repair/upgrade your 
machine(s) and monitors at 
competitive prices please ask 
All Acorn's , BBCs & PCs 


CTA Direct are recruiting new 
sales, technical and Modern 
Apprentices. Please send CV to 
Main Address marked 

(All Prices below include VAT) 


Acorn Software Bin 

I A30 10 Joystick Controller Software £15.00 

I Acom Pocket Book..Schedulc £10.00 

I Alone in the Dark £29.00 

Arm Tech Labeller £9.00 

I Arm Tech ClipArt (various per pack) £8.00 

Birds of War £20.00 

I Boxing Manager £8.00 

I ColourSep (Colour Separation Software) £8.00 
I Creator 2 £25.00 

I D'File Font Pack (Academy) £10.00 

I D'File Font Pack (Balmoral) £10.00 

I D'File Font Pack (FrecStyle Script) £10.00 

I D'File Font Pack (Manhattan) £10.00 

I D'File Font Pack (Mastercard) £10.00 

D'File Font Pack (Old Townc 536) £12.00 

I Diary + £9.00 

I Drifter £30.00 

FIRE and ICE £15.00 

I Frak (for RPC) £13.00 

I Galactic Dan £10.00 

Game ON (for RPC) £15.00 

I Global Effect £25.00 

I Guile £10.00 

I HERO QUEST £15.00 

I Imagery An Package £25.00 

I Jahangir Khan Squash £8.00 

I KV ( Platform Game) £8.00 

My World Support Disc Ancient Egypt £ 1 2.00 

I My World Support Disc Ancient Greece £ 1 3.00 

I Nuclides II and Elements II (save £5.00) £25.00 


Revelation 2 






TURBO DRIVER - Epson Stylus 


Visual Backup 




World Class Lcaderboard (GOLF) 


Zool (on HD) 


Acorn CD-ROM Software 

Crystal Maze 


D'File PDCD 3 or 4 


D’File PDCD 5 


Hutchinson Encyclopedia 


Robert Duncan Cartoon KIT 


Topic-Art CD 


Tots TV ABC 


YITM Electricity and magnetism 


YITM Elements 


YITM Materials 


YITM (all three titles) 


CD General Resource Titles 

35,000 Clip Art (WMF) 


50,000 Clipart 


75,000 Clip Art (WMF)& imagcs£25.00 

Internet Clipart (new) 




Werewolf Software 

Shuggy was £25.95 now £14.95 

T A.N.K.S. was £25.95 £16.95 

RAMplify was £19.95 £17.95 

C lildPtny ( desktop) £14.95 

1/2 price (or less) Book Bargains 

Dabhand Guide "Budget DTP" £3.00 
Dabhand Guide "C" ver 3 £8.50 

Dabhand Guide "C" ver 2 £3.00 

Dabhand "Graphics on the ARM £7.50 
Dabhand Guide "Impression” £7.50 
Internet info server £20.00 

SQL £17.50 

Various Hardware bargains 

A3000 2Mb bases from 
A3010 2Mb bases from 
A3020 2Mb bases from 
A4000 2Mb bases from 
A5000 4Mb bases from 
A4 Portables (6 months wty) 
RPC bases from 
SVGA Monitors Various from 
Pioneer SCSI 4x 6x stack 
new items 12 months wty *2nd 

£65 £76.38* 
£85 £99.88* 
£125 £146.88* 
£150 £176.25* 
£250 £293.75* 
£600 £705.00 
£468 £549.90* 
£45 £52.88* 
£139 £163.33 
user 90 days wty 

We have a large collection of 
Budget PC software suitable for 
RPC Pc Emulators and PC clones 
inc, Education, Home, games an 
utilities please ring for list 

Alternative PC Bases 

i.e. Sicilians Nixorf Pentium 
200 MMX from ONLY £249.00 + 
ring for latest prices. 


BY MAIL or PHONE: Cheques or P.O.s should be 
made payable to 'CTA DIRECT. 

CREDIT CARD / SWITCH please give name, 
address, tel. no, curd no, expiry date, issue no. 

Carriage charges inc. ins. & packaging charged at cost 

Small items (under 2Kg) no more than £6 + vat 

One box of items totalling upto 25kg...£6.50 + vat 

Computer systems £13 + vat 

All prices are correct going to press. E&OE 

All goods arc fullyguarantced but not supplied on 


Artistic Licence 

Acorn Computer Group PLC has transferred its 24.42% stake in ARM 
Holdings PLC to its Applied Rise Technologies Ltd subsidiary. ART was 
originally the Acorn Group company which was set up to generate 
consultancy and 3rd party design work after the Online Media division 
was closed. 

Acorn's ARM holding, which is worth around £200 million on paper, 
has been transferred in ordered to tidy up the Acorn Group's balance 
sheet. Element 14, the re-named Acorn Computers Limited company, is 

now the focus of most of Acorn's activity in the bid to become 
established as an innovative supplier of digital TV technology. ART is 
still serving old customers, but E14 is Acorn's real future. 

Speculation that Acorn was, after all, going to sell its ARM holding, 
sent both Acorn's and ARM's shares markedly higher. However, unless 
Acorn's accountants have discovered a crafty way of minimising the 
massive tax burden posed by disposing the holding, you shouldn't hold 
your breath. 

Another new RISC OS 
hardware venture 

Since last month's news that the future of RISC OS is assured, along 
with its availability to third party licensees, the list of manufacturers 
developing RISC OS-based computers has grown. 

Besides CTL, which is manufacturing selected lines from Acorn's 
old product range. Millipede Electronic Graphics, which is 
developing a new high performance motherboard to fit the Rise PC, 
and the Interconnex 'Peanut' notebook, last month we reported 
news from Germany about the planned Galileo family of RISC OS 

This month we can add RiscStation Ltd, which is a new company 
created from the Acorn dealer, CI A Direct. RiscStation's first 
product, the RiscStation 7500, appears to be a more flexible and 
feature-enhanced alternative to the original Acorn A7000+. It has the 
same ARM7500FE integrated chip-set, but is clocked slightly faster 
at 56MHz. Instead of the A7000's compact proprietary case, the 
RiscStation is to be offered with a standard PC-style desktop or 
mini-tower case, and the RiscStation 7500 motherboard conforms to 
the micro ATX installation standard. 

Compared to the A7000+, the RiscStation is supplied with more 
RAM as standard (16Mb compared with 8Mb) 
and a larger harddisc (4.3Gb compared with 
2Gb). It also has a 40X CD-ROM drive. 

RiscStation also mentions 'ISA-style' 
expansion ports in its specification sheet, 
optional infra-red communications and an 
optional USB (universal serial bus) interface. 

There is even mention of an AppleTalk port, 
built in SCSI and 56K modems. 

Preliminary prices are: £575 for the base 
unit; £649 with a Min monitor; £675 with a 
15in monitor; and £749 with a 17in monitor. 

All come with a software bundle, and all 
prices are exclusive of VAT. 

We only received details of RiscStation's 
plans just prior to going to press, so our 
information is fairly sketchy. We are promised 
that final product will be shipped not long 
after the Wakefield Show. The good news is 
that CTA Direct and RiscStations Ltd will be 
exhibiting at the Wakefield Show (15- 16th 
May) and we'll all have an opportunity to find 
out more about their plans then. 

The contact person at CTA Direct and 
RiscStations Ltd is Roy Heslop, e-mail:, tel: 01942 797777. 

June 1999 

StrongARM in 

With the FreePen covered elsewhere in the News this month, the 
pen theme continues with news of a StrongARM processor powering 
another Scandinavian pen-device, the C Pen, from the Swedish 
company C Technologies AB. The C Pen was officially launched into the 
European market at the recent CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany. 

Actually, describing the C Pen as a 'pen' is stretching the definition 
somewhat - it doesn't write and it's practically as big as a small mobile 
phone, but it is held and operated in the hand like a pen. The C Pen is 

a pen 

actually a compact image scanner which can scan graphics and text, 
converting the latter to text files using OCR. It incorporates a four line 
LCD screen and communicates with a host computer via infra-red. 

8Mb of flash memory is built in and there are no moving parts - even 
for the optical scanner head in the tip of the pen. The StrongARM is 
clocked at 100MHz and the whole device weighs just 100 grams. More 
information on the C Pen is available from C Technologies Web site at 
http: / / 

A pen-shaped 
challenge to the 
humble mouse 

Take a computer mouse, shrink its ball - if you'll pardon the expression, cut off its tail and 
stretch it into a pen shape and you have the gist of the new FreePen cordless computer pointer. 
The Danish design, from Kanitech A/S, is a neat cigar-shaped and sized device which can be 
used in much the same way as a stylus and a digitiser pad, except there is no pad and, unlike 
some pad-based systems, there is no wire connecting the device to the computer. 

Communication between the pen and the computer is via a radio receiver which plugs into 
either the serial port or a standard PS/2-style mouse port. In theory, any Acorn which can use a 
PS/2 mouse should be able to work with the FreePen. Three buttons on the 'pen' represent 
usual mouse button functions and you can also 'click' the mouse by tapping the ball-tip of the 

The FreePen should start shipping this summer, though as-yet we don't know the price. For 
more about the FreePen, check out: http:/ / Alas, the last time we looked - it 
was still all in Danish, but at least there are some nice pictures of the product. 



Orcgan Networks Ltd have several full-time job 
vacancies for experienced RISC OS software 
engineers. The positions will involve working on- 
site at the Oregan Networks offices in 
Leicestershire. Oregan say the work centres 
around 'a number of exciting Set Top Box related 

Applicants need the following skills: 
proficiency in C and the Acorn or ARMTools 
compilers, an ability to integrate optimised ARM 
code where required, experience of developing 
RISC OS based WIMP applications, and an 
understanding of Web based and Internet 

Contact Oregan Networks Ltd at tel: 01530 56 
33 11, Web: http:/ / 

When is a DVD-ROM drive more 
than a DVD-ROM drive? 

Answer: when it supports DVD-RAM read-capability. A not so 
well-known fact is that most DVD-ROM drives which have 
been sold to date are unable to read DVD-RAM 
(write/ erasable) discs. DVD-ROM drives, which look set to 
replace CD-ROM drives in the next year or so, are now in 
plentiful supply, and many PC makers are fitting them as 
standard already. 

DVD-RAM, the official standard for re-writeable DVD, has 
been available in the form of Panasonic and Hitachi drives since 
last Autumn. DVD-RAM discs can store as much as 9.4Gb of 
data on a double-sided disc. The discs inside DVD-RAM 
caddies, which are the same physical size as a compact disc, can 
be removed and placed into the conventional 'bare' tray of a 
DVD-ROM drive, but the disc encoding is not compatible with first generation DVD-ROM 

Panasonic, which has been pushing DVD-RAM vigorously, is one of the first manufacturers 
to ship a DVD-ROM drive which can read DVD-RAM discs. The Panasonic SR-8583, which has a 
suggested price of £89.99+VAT, is a 5X mechanism, equivalent to 32X when reading CD-ROMs. 
It's also backwards compatible with most popular CD formats, including CD-R and CD-RW. 

The message is simple, when the time comes to choosing a DVD-ROM drive - check to make 
sure it's DVD-RAM compatible. Panasonic, tel: 0800 444 220. June 1999 V 

Really free Internet 

A couple of months ago, we brought news of 
ClaraCall, an Internet service which was 
cheaper than so-called 'free' services like 
Dixons FreeServe. ClaraCall can save money 
on the dial-up costs of surfing the Net, but a 
new service called '' actually 
offers no-cost dial-up to their free Internet 
sendee during off-peak hours - after 6pm 
weekdays and throughout the weekend. Even 
during peak hours, after 8am in the morning 
weekdays, you're guaranteed a 10 percent 
reduction in the dial up cost. 

So, what's the catch? Localtel, the company 
behind would argue that there 
isn't a catch, and from what we've been told, it 
looks pretty kosher. First of all, you need to 

have an ordinary domestic BT phone line, so 
cable and, we guess, Hull Telecom, customers 
can move on to the next news story at this 
point. ISDN and Home Highway customers 
are being promised the service later in the 

What you have to do in order to access the 
free Internet sendee is sign up 
to Localtel's phone service. This isn't as 
worrying as it sounds as there is no physical 
change to your phone line and it will continue 
to be maintained by BT. What does happen is 
that billing and customer support services are 
taken over by Localtel. 

However, all calls, except those to 
mobile phones, are discounted by ten 


percent compared to BT and the company 
promises to maintain BT's Friends and 
Family-style discounts, 1471 and call waiting 

For more information, check or visit your local 
Tempo electrical store, where you will be able 
to collect a free Microsoft Windows CD-ROM. The CD will both 
register you with Localtel and the Internet service. 

So you will need Windows compatibility at 
first, but once your Internet parameters have 
been established, it ought to be possible to 
migrate them to your favoured RISC OS 
Internet suite. 

ISDN with extended features 

Modems can do practically anything these days - they can connect you to the 
Internet, send and receive faxes, take voice messages and some can take 
messages even when your computer is switched off. But manufacturers of 
ISDN terminal adapters (TAs), the all-digital equivalent of a modem, have 
been far less adventurous with their designs. Now, however, with BT's 
introduction of more affordable Highway ISDN-compatible services, ISDN 
TAs are getting a makeover. 

The new Pace ISDN Professional TA comes from the same company which 
produced the Solo modem, which even announces an incoming caller's phone 
number to you. The Pace ISDN Pro isn't quite as clever as the solo, but it is the 
first ISDN TA we know of which incorporates fax, voice messaging and 
calling line identification (CLI). The latter feature means you can plug in a 
standard CLI box or phone which will then display the number of an 
incoming caller. 

RISC OS software from suppliers like David Pilling has been adapted to 
work on various popular voice modems, so it shouldn't be difficult to produce 
voice and fax support for the ISDN Pro. The price is £199 including VAT. For 
more information, contact PMC Electronics Ltd, tel: 0990 561001, Web:, e-mail: 

Ex-pat Acorns 

We've been contacted by Dr. Andy Cartlidge 
in Florida, who writes: 'Yes, there are a few 
Acorn users here in the USA'. Andy operates a 
specialist business with his father, who lives in 
Stoke-on Trent, creating art work for bone 
china tankards bearing the military insignia of 
various regiments in the British military 

Their main customer is the British military, 
so accuracy and quality is paramount. Even in 
far away Florida, ArtWorks and Acorns are the 
tools of choice for the job. Andy explains: 
'Essentially, as old regiments are being 
disbanded, or amalgamated and 'rationalised', 
we are commissioned to draw the Regimental 
badges - sometimes from ancient woodcuts. 

June 1999 

'On numerous occasions we've ended up 
making the definitive artwork for the 
regiment, as the old stuff was in error! We 
then have them transferred to bone-china 
tankards, among other things - cups, mugs 
and trinket boxes are quite popular’. 

Andy's father started the business using 
associates who produced the art work by 
hand, but the quality wasn't good enough. It 
was then, a few years back, that the Florida- 
based Acorns came to the rescue, according to 
Andy: 'At the time my wife was not working, 
so we volunteered the use of her time, our 
A310 and ArlWorks. We've now progressed 
though an A5000 and are currently using 2 SA 
Rise PCs. Typically, my father gets the orders, 

finds the (sometimes almost illegible) artwork 
copy, and mails it to us. 

'We draw it from scratch (scans are useful 
for comparison), send a completed drawing 
back to the UK where its checked, and then 
we perform spot-colour separation. The 
separations go to a transfer-maker, they're 
then transferred to the china tankards, the 
tankard is fired and we sell it. Easy, really!' 

Naturally, it's not that easy after all — 
especially authenticating various details in the 
original designs. But the trans-Atlantic 
teamwork has paid off, and 50 regiments later, 
the business is doing very well. If you'd like to 
find out more about British Militaria, e-mail: 

Icon Technology 

Version 5 of EasiWriter and TechWriter now available 

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• Powerful, fully featured, multi-column word processor. 

• Reads and writes MS Word 6, 7 & 8 (Office 97/98). 

• Reads and writes HTML. 

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• Creates Hypertext documents. 

• Built in Table Editor. 

• Automatic bulleted and numbered lists. 

• Mail merge. 

• Automatic numbering of Lists, Sections etc. 

• Pamphlet printing. 

• Drag & Drop and Cut, Copy & Paste. 

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made me grin with delight as I discover new features as 
much as TechWriter has . ” Archive 

• All the features of EasiWriter professional plus a 
powerful easy to use equation editor. 

• Writes TeX. 

• Saves equations as GIF’s (using InterGif) when writ- 
ing HTML. 

• Used by the Mathematical Association to produce the 
Mathematical Gazette. 


Offer prices 
Normal price Offer 


EasiWriter professional £129.00 £96.00 £116.32 

TechWriter professional £199.00 £149.00 £178.59 

Great deals for students - check our Web site, email or ring for details. 

Upgrades from earlier versions to version 5 from £15.00 to £50.00 depending on your current version. 

Check Web site, email or ring for details. 

New in version 5 

Now reads Impression 

Text files saved with styles from Impression are imported complete 
with all formatting. 

Style Editor 

Rename, delete and search for styles. Change keyboard shortcut. 

Improved HTML 

Splits large documents into smaller documents when saving as 
HTML with automatic forward/backward links and contents page. 

Upgrade your SlartWrite or 
TalkWrilc to EasiWriter professional 
for just £60.00 inclusive. 

Icon Technology Limited 

Church House • Carlby • Stamford • Lines • PE9 4NB 
Phone and Fax 01778 590563 


PhotoReal drivers 

Dorset-based Spacetech has upgraded its 
PhotoReal and plain paper drivers for BJC 
7000-series colour ink-jet printers. A separate 
extended printer control application has been 
added to provide more choices regarding 
quality vs. printing speed. This application 
also provides the necessary tools for 
maintaining the printer. 

The extended printer control application 
also allows you to choose between colour or 
black & white printing and provides a choice 
of two types of reproduction; graphic or 

photographic. This last choice refers to two 
alternative ink sets, calibrated for printing the 
two different image types. For example, this 
allows the photo cartridge to be used when 
printing text or line-art material, or can be 
used to improve the appearance of 
photographs printed with the ordinary colour 

Support for automatic and manual (flat 
path) media feed has been added, as well as 
support for a wide range of media type, 
including plain paper, coated paper, 

transparency, back print film, fabric sheet, 
glossy paper, high gloss film, high resolution 
paper, envelope, postcard and full-bleed 

The speed and grade of printing may 
be defined through 5 steps from draft 
(ink saving) to fine (slow). Smoothing 
may also be enabled or disabled. 

Existing users will receive a free 
upgrade. Spacetech are at:, tel:: 01305 

DIY meteorological 
station gets Y2K update 

Weather Reporter, the weather data logging station, which is a popular and familiar resource in 
many schools around the country, has had an upgrade to ensure it is Year 2000 compliant. The 
hardware measures most aspects of the weather, including wind speed, direction, temperature, 
sunshine, daylight, rainfall and, optionally, pressure and humidity. 

Data is stored in the Weather Reporter unit and for a maximum interval of 60 hours. 

Within that time, teachers or students connect the host computer to download the data 
which can then be analysed using a spreadsheet or a database, using standard file formats, like 
CSV files. 

The basic outfit is priced £395 + VAT. The pressure and humidity recording module is priced 
£150 + VAT as an option. The complete package, including extra software is priced £550 + VAT. 
The Weather Reporter is supplied by the Advisory Unit, Computers in Education, tel: 01707 266 
714, email: 

i-cubed cards return 

Although i-cubed officially quit the Acorn market a few months ago, it's 
popular range of Ethernet cards has been given a new lease of life by 
Design IT in South Staffordshire, i-cubed EtherLan Ethernet cards will, 
subject to the availability of components, continue to be manufactured by 
the same electronic production company i-cubed have used for many 
years, so the products should remain virtually identical. 

Design IT takes over the customer support for new and existing 
users of i-cubed cards. However, Design IT concede that their level of 
support won't be as comprehensive as originally offered by i-cubed. From 

1st May, Design IT take responsibility for handling all enquiries, 
except those which relate to certain returns and repairs of their older 

Curiously, Design IT has included a disclaimer that they have no plans 
to provide additional support for the use of EtherLan cards on versions of 
RISC OS later than 3.7. RISC OS 4 could be with us by the time you read 
this story, though nobody expects there to be problems in any case. 

Design IT, tel: 01902 894775, fax: 01902 894775, e-mail:, Web: http: / / 

Friends of Fortran 

Fortran, if you didn't already know, is a relatively old programming 
language which used to be very popular with mathematicians and 
physicists for performing complex calculations. It was also the language 
out of which Basic was spawned. Fortran is a language which you either 
love or hate. 

Personally, I'm of the latter opinion, but Fortran still has many 
supporters - even in the Acorn world. Fortran Friends is one such 
example, and they have just announced an improvement to their Web site 
at http:/ / users/ fortran/ 

Fortran Friends run a self-help group for Fortran programmers on RISC 

OS machines and write complete applications for mathematical and 
scientific problems. Demos of their popular 'polyhedra' display programs 
Poh/Draw, Poli/Net (reviewed in Acorn User in June 1998) and Stellate 
(reviewed in Acorn User September 1998) can be downloaded from the 
Web site, as can the shareware LazyPrint which uses HPCL and PCL to 
print text and drawfiles quickly to any Hewlett-Packard printer without 
using '.Printers. 

The Fortran utility libraries enabling Fortran programmers to call RISC 
OS system functions are also available for downloading from the site. To 
contact Fortran Friends, e-mail: 

June 1999 

Size is everything when it comes to computer 
monitors. Viewsonic's latest state-of-the-art 
LCD monitor has an 18.1 in visible diagonal 
measurement, which makes it equivalent to a 
21 in conventional monitor. The VPD180 
View Panel monitor has a 140 degree viewing 
angle, 1280x1024 pixel resolution, 16.7 million 
colour display capability and only consumes 45 
watts of power. 

It also supports the emerging all-digital 
MDR standard for connecting to next- 
generation display controllers, which means 
there is no analogue degradation of the picture 
quality. Size may be everything, but so is the 
price, and at £2,595 + VAT, the VPD180 remains 
an expensive luxury. But we're getting there! 

RISC OS devotion 

ArcSite is an Internet Web site devoted to all things 
Acorn/ RISC OS. The new site, which is based in 
Germany, could be described as a mini Internet 
portal specialising in Acorn-related information. On 
offer are free homepages, a Web based discussion 
area, more than 700 Internet links, and a search 
engine called ArcArchie. 

Carlos Michael Santillan is the person behind all 
this - so check out ArcSite at [I've been using 
this to search the ftp servers for a while now, and it's 
very useful — Ed]. 

A NotePad for 

your Series 5 

Purple Software, the Psion software specialists, have 
released NotePad - which is described as an 
intelligent note taker for integrating information on 
the Psion Series 5. NotePad can link notes to word 
processor files, spreadsheets, databases, voice notes 
and even Web addresses. 

Purple suggest you can use NotePad as a contact 
manager by linking notes to contacts in their 
PowerBase database application, or even the basic 
database built into the Series 5. A key attraction of 

NotePad promises to be its search function - a feature 
missing from the basic Series 5. Notepads can be 
created and linked in a hierarchical order, making 
them useful for keeping track of projects using dates 
and alarms too. NotePad was originally developed by 
Pelican Software and earlier versions have proven 
popular in the US. 

Purple are marketing Version 3 in the UK 
and the rest of Europe. Purple Software, tel: 0171 387 
7777, Web: http:/ / 

Acorn training in your sights? 

Cambridge training company, Insight Training, is offering a pair of two-day training courses in June and 
July aimed at anyone wanting to become proficient at Acorn software, hardware, systems maintenance 
and upgrading. Course dates include 7-8th June and 5-6th July. For more information, contact Insight at 
tel: 01223 812927. Their Web site is at http: / / insight/ or e-mail 

New DrawWorks 
for Wakefield 

iSV is aiming to release a new version of 
its popular DrawWorks package at this 
year's Wakefield show, which takes place 
on 1 5th-1 6th May - a few days after this 
issue of Acorn User comes out. Aaron 
Timbrell of iSV was keeping his cards 
close to his chest prior to the show: 'I 
cannot go into to much detail at this 
stage as some features have not been 
finalised, however I don't think it would 
be unreasonable to describe it as a £200 
package for well under £100/ 

That sounds like a shot across the 
bows of Cerilica, who will also be 
officially launching their ambitious 
Vantage drawing package at Wakefield. 
Aaron can be contacted via e-mail: 

Newsgroups for kids 

Richard Stevenson, Head of Tech and ICT 
at Ballard School in Hampshire, has 
announced the setting up of 2 Internet 
newsgroups specially for children aged 7- 
11 and 11-14. The newsgroups are 
moderated using Rise PCs. For more 
information, contact Richard via e-mail 

Ink-jet cartridges 
for charity 

BIBIC, the British Institute for Brain 
Injured Children, has extended its appeal 
for the collection of spent ink-jet printer 
cartridges. BIBIC is expanding its ink-jet 
recycling project which has been running 
successfully for the last year. Now, BIBIC 
is distributing plastic bulk collection bags 
for offices and other organizations where 
several ink-jet printers are used. 

The bags can be hung on a wall and 
filled conveniently over time with spent 
cartridges. There is also a separate 
scheme for re-cycling laser printer 
cartridges. If you would like to 
participate in the scheme, call Erica on 
01278 684060. 

Last minute news 

Just a quick mention of Microdigital's 
new machine, also set to be launched at 
Wakefield. The machine, targeted at 
home and school users, should come 
complete with an ARM7500FE, 16Mb 
RAM (expandable to 256Mb) and - if a 
licence is secured - RISC OS 4 in 5Mb of 
flash memory. 

They have also catered for those 
users who wish to add to their machine; 
two USB ports, two serial ports, a 
parallel printer port, a MIDI port, audio 
in, 16-bit audio out and a microphone 
socket are all provided. 

Look out for more information in the 
Wakefield round-up in July's issue June 1999 

Six New 


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 

To: Archive Publications, 18 Mile End Road, Non/vich, NR4 7QY 
Phone: 01603-441777 Fax: 460736 Email : 

Please send me the next two issues of Archive FREE OF CHARGE on the 
understanding that (a) I have not subscribed to Archive before, (b) I have not 
taken advantage of any other such free trial offer, and (c) if I do decide to take 
out a subscription (£25 in UK, £30 Europe, £38 elsewhere), these two 
magazines will be the first of the twelve issues for which I will be paying. 



Send no money - just 
send your address. 

Or email your address to: Paul Beverley ; 



We were expecting only one major graphics release 
at the Wakefield show this year, however iSV are 
doubling the fun with the launch of a vastly 
updated DrawWorks Designer - renamed 
DrawWorks Millennium. DrawWorks Designer was 
certainly in the old-school mould of a 'vector 
package' but producers iSV are now calling the 
latest incarnation a full on 'design package', 
theoretically pitting their software against Vantage. 
There's no doubt that both packages overlap, 

although iSV are targeting the home user who 
perhaps doesn't require some of the more complex 
print features of Vantage. Por us, the users, this is 
great news. Competition in this fast growing area 
can only fuel the development process. 

For Cerilica and iSV it may be a little more 
tricky. While many home users might possibly be 
looking for something simpler in feature range 
than Vantage, there's always a big portion of the 
traditional Acorn market who want every possible 
technical and professional 
feature at their finger tips. And 
on top of that, Vantage has been 
designed very carefully with an 
intuitive and easy to use 
interface; it's certainly no 
monster for novice users. 

These new releases which 
both rely heavily on Draw, 
albeit in different ways, are at 
least partially in competition, 
and it's going to be very 
interesting to chart their 
progress over the coming 
months. I'll be looking more at 
DrawWorks Millennium next 
issue. Contact iSV on 01344 

Pic of the month 

This month's reader's picture comes from sixteen 
year old technical artist, Andrew Callicott. As 
Andrew describes 'The pictures are all based on 
model trains which I own. 1 began with the Class 
90 in March 1997 at the age of 14 and completed 
the latest, the Class 2800, in January just gone. 
'Some of the details are not quite as you would see 

on the real McCoy as the models are limited in that 
respect. Each drawing took about 10 hours to 
complete using a non-upgraded Rise PC 600.' 

Many thanks to Andrew for this unusual entry. 
Keep the pictures coming in and watch out for 
some news on an update of the usual monthly 
prize soon. 

Art or national 

In response to suggestions from their 
educational user base, AVP has produced 
an improved and updated version of the 
popular Art in the National Curriculum 
CD. Billed by the company as '...a 
systematic introduction to topics and 
artists, concentrating on images needed 
to understand and appreciate the 
richness of our diverse cultural heritage', 
the CD has now been enhanced with 
more pictures, greater detail and even 
some video snippets. 

It is a very large subject base to 
tackle with one CD, hut the more 
classical elements are certainly very 
worthy of additional coverage in our 
schools. Of particular note are the 
English landscapes and human face 
sections which include a very wide range 
of depictions throughout the history of 
art. For further information, check out 
the Web site at or 
contact AVP on 01291 625439. 

The show 

Two shows should be down in the 
budding RISC OS artist's calendar for this 
year, beginning with the now infamous 
Wakefield outing this month. With both 
Vantage and DrawWorks Millennium 
debuting at the Yorkshire show', this 
cannot be missed. 

On a slightly different tack is the 
Royal College of Art's 'The Show', 
running from 26th of May to the 4th of 
July in London. The Rector of the Royal 
College of Art, Professor Christopher 
Frayling says 'The show' this year 
demonstrates that the College will 
continue to enrich all our lives in the 
next century....with over 6000 pieces on 
display, visitors will be glimpsing their 
tomorrow's today.' 

Despite the inevitable Millennium 
hype that seems to be bombarding us 
from all directions, this collection of such 
a wide range of art from around the 
world, including features on computer 
related design, should provide something 
for everyone. More information on the 
College Web site at 
uk/ or by telephone on 0171 590 4444. 



• Low cost per unit 

• Low maintenance 

•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. 

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. 

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. 



Other Remote Networks 
ie. schools, branch offices 

RiscOS & PC 
Kj Network Computers 

Citrix 1 



Superb w jd 


Lasers Jr~ 

Phaser 740L £1175 

A4 16ppm Mono Parallel/1 OBaseT 
Network Laser Printer. 

Colour upgradeable. 

Phaser 740N £1645 

A4 16ppm 1200dpi Mono, 5ppm 
600dpi Colour Parallel/1 OBaseT 
Network Laser Printer. 

Phaser 740P £2400 

yS Server 

RiscOS, PC Windows 
Apple & Unix 
Desktop Computers 



Wireless Terminals and 
PDA’s etc. 


Robust, Reliable 


& Flexible 

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

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 lay[ 
the number of users supported. EQ 
LinServer supports over 10,000 
users, the limit being only storage 
capacity and RAM. 

It is possible to have 
a Server with ALL 
these attributes! 

It supports PC's, Network & 
43B£> 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. 


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. 

A4 16ppm 1200dpi Mono, 5ppm 
600dpi Colour Parallel/1 OBaseT 
Network Laser Printer. 

Phaser 780N £4200 

A3 8ppm 1200dpi Mono, 2ppm 600dpi 
Colour Parallel/l OBaseT Laser Printer. 

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. 

Suitable for ALL RiscOS Computers 

£5 Inc VAT 

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

All prices Include VAT. Carriage not included. E&OE. 230499 - email: 
Unit 2A Heapriding Business Park, Ford Street, STOCKPORT, Cheshire. SK3 OBT 

n the script? 

Is it i 

JavaScript Fresco© has finally arrived, but a 
vocal section of ANT customers have the feeling 
that the flagship Web browser for Acorncomputers 
might be renamed Fiasco. Most ANT Internet Suite 
owners have been waiting months for the 
promised JavaScript and Secure Sockets Layer 
upgrades that should make Fresco almost as usable 
as the Windows alternatives. 

Recently there's been a lamentable lack of 
communication by both ANT Ltd and latterly- 
appointed sales and support agents, Argo 
Interactive. There's been no sign of the SSL upgrade 
and many of ANT's beta-testers haven't even had 
the chance to try the JavaScript version of Fresco 
prior to its release. However it's now shipping, and 
users are finding out what works and what doesn't. 

Fresco actually implements ECMAScript, a 
standards-based clone of Netscape Corporation's 
JavaScript 1.1 client-side scripting language. This 
should mean that any script which works correctly 
with Netscape 3 will work with Fresco. In practice, 
you're just as likely to get a script error from the 
new Fresco as you are from Internet Exploder. It's a 

case of "whose standard it it anyway"? 

While R-Comp's Javascript WebsterXL can 
measure up the Modem Speed test pages at, 
ECMAScript Fresco does not respond. Still, many 
of the demonstration scripts available from do work, and there 
are more useful working script resources at 

The page at 
does work well, and it allows you to choose 
Netscape text and background colours for Web 
pages by pointing to the dot of the desired colour 
and reading off the values displayed. These values 
change as you move the pointer over the colour 
swatch. You then cut-and-paste the code segment 
into your page - an action regrettably not yet 
supported by Fresco. 

The ANT Internet Suite JavaScript upgrade is 
available to existing owners for £22.95 excl. VAT. 

Argo Interactive 
Tel: 01243 815 815 

Beyond the desktop 

If you've set up a few Internet accounts with the 
free ISPs, you may be wondering how to fill up all 
that free Web space. A user with two Freeserve 
accounts and two FreellK accounts could have 
about 80Mb of server 
space waiting to be filled. 

One idea is to use this Net- 
distributed disc-space as a 
security backup area for 
your precious harddisc 

You could create 
archive files of your 
important documents and 
directories, and upload 
them by FTP to your 
various Web spaces. There 
are simple measures you 
can take so that no-one but you will be able to list 
the directories and their contents, and you'll still 
have plenty of room for your Web site as well if 
you cross-link all the pages and Web spaces with 
complete URLs. 

Most Web servers are set by default to send out 
an index file in preference to a directory listing 

when no file is specified at the end of the URL, so 
placing a simple index.html file in a directory 
effectively hides the other contents from prying 
eyes. Only you who have FTP access to the site 

will know what files are in 

The docSpace company 
has expanded this idea and 
offers file storage space 
and a browser-based filer 
interface, complete with 
secure transfer protocol 
for uploading and 
downloading files to your 
free virtual 50Mb docSpace 
Drive. Acorn users with 
SSL-enabled Browse can set 
all this up and retrieve 
their files, but unfortunately Browse cannot upload 
files as it does not support file upload from HTML 
forms. Ironically, this is a feature of the new 
ECMAScript Fresco, but it still doesn't have SSL! 

The docSPACE Company Inc. 

Home free with 
Clares ISDN 

Following their successful Rise PC 
Internet offer featuring an internal 
modem and a Freeserve Internet 
account, Clares Micro Supplies have 
introduced an ISDN alternative. The 
£199 (inc. VAT) package includes an 
external ZyXel ISDN Terminal adapter, 
all the required software, pre-registration 
to Freeserve, and free installation of BT 
Home Highway (normally £99+VAT) or 
ISDN2e (normally £199+VAT - but see 

R-Comp's JavaScript-capable 
WebsterXL browser is included along 
w ith the best of Acorn freeware for 
Internet access, plus Clares' ow n easy 
configuration system. 

Clares Micro Supplies 
Tel: 01606 833999 

Ahoy there! 

Daniel Garrod's Jolly Roger Bulletin 
Board is back, ready to be plundered 
by the next generation of comms 
enthusiasts, jolly Roger BBS is located 
in Harlton, Cambridgeshire, heart of 
Silicon Fen. Dan and his co-sysops 
Nigel Callcutt and Gareth Griffiths are 
sailing ahead with the re-launched 
ArmBBS system, uploading files, 
games and features. Available booty 
includes Psion Series 3m downloads 
from CD-ROM, with other cargo for all 
makes of computer, ranging from 
Acorn to Linux. Free e-mail and 
access from the Internet are on the 

lolly Roger BBS 
Modem: 01223-264347 

Highway low way 

British Telecom has announced a 
range of special offers on second lines 
and digital connections from April 
1st until June 30th. Second analogue 
line installation drops to half price at 
£49.50 inc. VAT, and there's £50 
excl. VAT connection or conversion 
charges for digital services BT Highway 
and ISDN2. BT is obviously worried 
that its over-priced legacy convert-to- 
digital vision will be eclipsed by 
the cable companies' high-speed 
"always-on" Internet services, 
using new cable modem and DSL 

BT Web site: 
Tel: 0800 222444 June 1999 

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 



250 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 



18.8 Gb 

5'/4" £249 


'Plus i/ face’ price includes an 
APDL fast IDE interface. 
Part-exchange available if 
you need a bigger drive . 
Please phone for prices. 

2.5" IDE Hard Discs 



30 Mb 



60 Mb 



80 Mb 



120 Mb 



170 Mb 



210 Mb 



250 Mb 



330 Mb 



420 Mb 



512 Mb 



1.4 Gb 



2.1 Gb 



A30 10/3000 includes APDL IDE 
interface , A3020 includes fitting kit 

SCSI Hard Discs 

210 Mb 


420 Mb 



540 Mb 


1 Gb 


4.2 Gb 



4.2 Gb 


8.7 Gb 



'h/h ’ indicates half-height approx 
V /2 inches high , others are I " 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 CI) to a 
pre - RISC-PC machine. 

36x £151 

40x £153 

CD ROM driver software 
Works with most ATAPI CDs eg.. Pioneer 
Goldstar, Panasonic, Lite-on, Mitsumi, 
Sony, Hitachi, NEC, Toshiba, Sanyo, etc. 
Includes CDFS for use with RO 3.5. 
Intended for 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 

Emotions (RPC only) 


Flying High (RPC only) 


Fire and Ice (not S/Ann) 


Hero Quest (not S/Arm) 


Quest for Gold 


Starfighter 3000 


Association of 



The PO Library 



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

This is only a fraction of what wc have available. We 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. 

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

Phone: 0181 778 2659 Fax: 0181 488 0487 'mSm 






APDL Public Domain, Clip Art and other CDs 


only £12.50 

only £17.50 

The best PD CD from the best PD library. Over 1,800 programs and utilities, 

more than 100 novels, etc. No games, clip art, music, or other non-serious stuff. . o/>n 

PQO Around 700 games and novelties, over 250 games cheats and over 200 demos, Both fOT jUSt £22 
plus over 2,000 music files and more than 550 digitised sound samples. only £1 2 50 

and DTP-2 E “ ch have oyer 500Mb of clip art file* allready to use in Acorn on | y £9.90 each 

Draw, Sprite or Artworks format. Ideal for use in education. wi ny cav ' 1 1 

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. 

CD 2 Our Games Collection No. 1 CD was so popular we've done it again, 
vaai I ICO vU a Another twenty of the best best games at a real budget price. 

QLi illcrtft r'/'kllA/'tinn ^ 8 rea l l )U( 4i ct priced games CD from APDL. Full versions of 
OKUIIoUl I OOlieCIIOn three popular games from Skullsoft, !Arya, IXenocide and IPlig 

Qnft Rnrlf Pnllontirm S‘ x c * ass ‘ c 8 ames from Soft Rock Software, plus a new version of 
OUI I nLH/A ooneciion iTrellis, the adventure game creator/interpreter with two adventures 


Games CD 1 

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 
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, and lots more. 

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. Simple menu-based interface. Including !Earthmap 
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, 

tpCK&MZOW/ LsC&CCfrts Last Cybermoch, Sea Trek, Caves of Confusion, Robocatch, and two 

collection new additions, Gold Run and Jewels of Jezabar. Also available on disc. 

Earth in Space 
Earth Data 
Wizard Apprentice 

only £19.50 
only £7.90 
only £7.90 
only £9.90 
only £9.90 

only £7.90 

Ten for just £79 

only £9.90 

only £9.90 

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 IDF 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 for the A3000, A4000, A3010 or A3020 is available with all the 
above features. Supports two internal and two external devices - £67 

APDL Paralell Port Syquest drive 

The 1Gb SparQ drive is the ideal solution for hacking up larger hard drives 

where old technology like a Zip drive just isn't realistic. Big enough to hold lots! 
“ " RISC-C 

of data, and w ith our software you aren't restricted to just RISC-OS 3.6+ but I 
can use it on any machine with a bi-directional printer port including the ] 
A5000, A3010 etc. as well. With Acorn and DOS driver software, just £199 

Ancestry + 

We've promised it before, but it's available at last! The long awaited successor 
to Graham Crow's highly popular genealogy program Ancestry, previously sold) 
by Minerva. Upgrades from Ancestry 1 and Ancestry 2 are available. Can use 
Ancestry 1 files and we're working on a converter for Ancestry 2. Only £59 

ACE 586 PC cards 

Faster PC - £20 The alternative XT Pel 
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% ol 
database users w ill ever need. 

MenuBar - £15 The very best pull-down| 
menu system. An absolute essential for an; 
hard disc user. You can switch between up tol 
30 different menu bars. Incredibly easy to set 
up, add items to menus, move them, etc. 

Tiger - £15 Lets you use very long! 
descriptive filenames. Unlike some products 
this is very robust as it works in parallel with 
the filer so can't corrupt discs. 

WorkTop - £15 Switch between up to 30] 
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, 
essential productivity tool. 

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

Available with 128K cache from just £199 or 51 2K cache from £299. We can] 
offer a trade in against your old card, which makes it even cheaper. GoodH 
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 

® o § 




Data O SAFE 

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 £104 or with a 3.2Gb drive from just £199 


With the desktop of the average user being filled 
with an array of utilities and mini-applications that 
clutter up your iconbar before you've even 
touched the mouse, it can be rather useful to know 
exactly how efficient these programs are. Sloppy 
programming behind the scenes can leave an 
innocent and professional-looking program to soak 
up needless Wimp polls and put a real drag on 
desktop speed. 

To identify the usual suspects, programmer 
Martin Avison has created a pretty comprehensive 
Task Usage application. As Martin describes The 
idea grew from a theory that some tasks seemed to 
take more processing 
power than they should, 
either permanently or 
intermittently, making 
the desktop sluggish. 

The main causes seem 
to be simple 
programming mistakes, 
or programmers being 
lazy, and ignoring the 
exhortation in the 
Reference manual, page 

You can disable some of the event codes: they are 
neither checked for nor returned, and need not have any 
handlers provided. You must do this for as many codes 
as possible, especially the Null_Reason_Code, if your 
task is to run efficiently under the Wimp/ 

Wise words, but occasionally not heeded by the 
novice programmer. Using the application and 
finding out who the culprits are is a relatively 
simple process. Task Usage provides a realtime 
barchart that estimates the processor usage of each 

application and module task running on 
the machine. This has been done before by 
Acorn's rather simple Usage application and 
Ran Mokady's program of the same name. 

Martin's application takes the principle 
much further with a Task Reason Code 
usage window, providing information as to 
what kind of work each task is doing. You 
can click on any application in the processor 
usage window and the Task Reason Code 
window provides a break down of the work 
done by that task. 

While typing away to write this article 1 can see 
that despite not 
even having a 
window open, 
Connector is taking 
quite a nasty chunk of 
processor time, and 
that it's actually 
polling the Wimp 
about 600 times a 

It has to be 
said that analysis 
of this kind is 
never particularly 
accurate. However, Task Usage docs seem 
remarkably good at spotting the inefficient 
programs on the desktop. 

Hopefully Task Usage will provide us with a 
valuable tool to improve the quality of our 
software, rather than starting a Wimp Poll witch- 
hunt. Still, it'll certainly be interesting to see the 
reaction of certain developers when they see their 
apps running alongside Task Usage. Download it 

Acorn Arcade news 

Acorn Arcade have done much in their 14 
month long support of the PD games scene, 
and they're continuing this drive for low cost 
games with a new voting system. As A A Editor 
fountain describes 'Basically we're hoping 
to get people to tell us their 10 favourite PD 
games, we can then compile a league of games, 
and give 'awards' to the top ones.' Interested 
readers can e-mail a list of their top games 
to or browse to the 
Web page voting form at http://www. 
Also new on Acorn Arcade is 'The Coding 
Vault', described by the team as 'basically a joint 
venture with VOTI to try and get coders to finish 
off abandoned games to which we have the 
sources.' It's a great idea to try an revive stalling 
games projects, but it is unfortunate that it's had to 
come to this. If you want to check out the 
development possibilities available, or even add to 
the vault, you can browse to http:/ /www. features/ codevault/ 


Post-Evolution, the (lento scene has 
been typically quiet while the 
demo teams catch up with the rest 
of their work and begin to consider 
new projects. Alain Brobecker's 
CodeCraft competition is already 
getting things going again with a great 
deal of success, and it's great to see 
the competition mentality taking 
hold of the RISC OS community. 

At the time of writing Paul 
Thompson, Augustin Vidovic, Pervect, 
Dennis Ranke, Stanislas Renan, 

David Schalig, David Gamble and 
of course a coder who surely must be 
a favourite for this kind of competition, 
Frederic Elisei, are all getting 
involved. An impressive list of coders 
at this stage - I can't wait to see the 
entries for the competition. For more 
information you'll need to browse over 
to http://www.cybercab!e. 

Check out my analysis of 
the competition and entries next 
month. Respect to Alain and all 
the guys involved in the project 
for keeping things moving on the 
scene. Watch out for the Evolution 
competition results in next 
months magazine. 

Emulating us 

Among all the discussion over the 
future of our platform little has been 
said (unless I'm much mistaken) about 
the emulation of our OS on other 
platforms. It's hardly a secure future, 
but it's certainly a very interesting area 
which deserves a bit more attention 
from the user base. 

Various projects are in the pipeline 
including Archie at http://www. 
7/ a system in progress at http://w\vw. 
6/marchi.hlm and an emulator for Linux 

I'll hopefully be covering the 
developments in more detail soon and I'd 
also love to hear your views on this area 
of work. 

Elite again 

Plans are afoot to produce a 
Freeware follow up to Elite. Taking 
into account legal problems, and the 
obvious difficulty of producing a game 
that could meet the quality criteria for 
such an ambitious project, it's not going 
to he an easy ride. For more information 
you can point your browser to the 
project site at http://www.jades. 
org/tep/default.htm June 1999 


Following my comments on the future of RISC 
OS several people have been in touch to add 
to the discussion. Among them, author of the 
excellent IClear module, Martyn Fox. As 
Martyn states 'I have always maintained that 
the job of IClear could be done much better by 
the RISC OS kernel than by a module. IClear 
works by intercepting mouse clicks and key- 
presses and by sending messages to 
applications which are themselves intercepted 
by a filter. I've been pleased by the fact that 
this works for nearly all applications, but there 
is always the possibility of encountering an 
program that doesn't like it, or of it interacting 

adversely with another piece of software. 

'IClear is also limited to inverting an 
entire icon and replacing all the text in it. 

The RISC OS kernel handles caret movement, 
and text entering and deletion in writable 
icons. If the kernel did the job of IClear, 
it could invert and replace a single word, 
the entire text or a section selected by 
dragging the mouse or by using the select and 
adjust buttons - a feature that could also be 
made available to applications such as text 

'As I've said many times, I made IClear 
freely available in the hope that it would be 

widely used and that consequently Acorn 
would take note and incorporate it as 
described above. I was a trifle disappointed at 
last year's Acorn South East show to be told 
by Chris Cox that this had not happened with 
RISC OS 4.' 

An all too familiar story from Acorn I'm 
afraid, but we've yet to see whether RISCOS 
Ltd will learn from the mistakes of the past. 
Please get in touch with your views on the 
future of RISC OS. What should be 
incorporated into our OS? What important 
changes need to be made to keep the RISC OS 
scene alive? 


I I PsiFS Documentation IVersion 1 .CO (27-Mar-99» | 

PsiFS: Internal s Documents 


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Address book 

File ’Address book’ 

Alexander Thoukydides has just released another 
useful freeware utility that helps to integrate 
other operating systems with RISC OS. This time it 
is the turn of Psion's EPOC16 and EPOC32, which 
are used in the Acorn Pocketbook and Psion 
Series 5. 

PsiFS is a filing system that provides full access 
to the drives of an EPOC device connected via a 
serial link. It provides similar functionality to 
Interconnex's PsiRisc, but with the vital difference 
that it is completely free. PsiFS does not contain 
any file converters, but it does implement an 
intelligent read-ahead cacheing of directories that 

makes it significantly faster than PsiRisc in use, it 
also allows changes made to files on the EPOC 
device to be automatically refreshed in any filer 

When a link has been successfully established, 
an icon is added to the left-hand side of the 
iconbar for each accessible drive. These behave like 
any other drive icon; a single click opens a normal 
filer window that allows files to be copied by drag- 
and-drop, or loaded into a RISC OS editor by 
simply double-clicking. It could hardly be simpler. 
Download it from http://homepages.tcp. 






Veralcm 1.00 <27.Mar-99) 


PillS .1 filing tysicrn llut p*ovnJu» via a 
link to lha fife* tiowJ on in £P0C computet. Ihe link Pn>ti*nl (PLP) f* utcd; ihow it no 
ovtrj wxtvL.ttt- in inujll ik run on the rmvxc matbirv. 

| l | «l - W 

2 1 :0 Bonnie :0 Apps RomDrive Internal 

June 1999 

Holiday '98 Holiday '99 Voice notes 

□ so 

Notes Extra My Settings 


Robot Wars 

otWars Free 728K Bytes | 
Used SMBytes M 

Type' PsiData (15b] 
Size | 20850 

Access WRWr 

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Date j 18:17 26 07 Apr 1999 

file transfer is easy 


Matthew Wilson has just released a new 
PD game described by himself as 'an 
obstacle course/shoot-the-aliens/puzrie 
game, with 40 levels.' The game can be 
downloaded from the Web at 
If anyone would like to comment on, 
review, host or distribute the game, 
Matthew can be contacted at 


Free ISPs - there are loads of 
them available, so how many have 
you got? Two, three, four? If you 
reguarly use more than one provider 
you'll find Multi-ISP by Richie 
Whincup an invaluable application. 

It allows easy changing between up 
to four ISPs using the ANT Suite, 
and works by copying the contents 
of the Files Directory into Multi-ISP 
and replacing them with the 
selected Provider information. 

It can be iounri on the cover 

Contacting Me J 

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 

V The names you can trust for all 

CUMANA your computer requirements. 

The best name in memory 


Visit us at the Wakefield Show on Stand 19 

'Peak Performer' A7000+ computer with 8Mb RAM, 2Gb HD, 
32 speed CD ROM, 14" (High definition) monitor, 12 month on-site warranty and 

either 'Foundation' or 'Extreme' software pack. 

£880.08 inc vat 

'Web Wizard' StrongArm RiscPC computer with 34Mb RAM, 1.7Gb Hard Disc, 

24 speed CD ROM, 56K modem, ANT Internet Suite & Web browsing software, 
upgraded with 15" monitor. 

[Please note : you will need a phone point & Internet Service Provider for internet use of this system 

£1380.08 inc vat 

15" (High definition) stereo monitor upgrade to 14" and 15" systems £82.25 inc vat 
17" (High definition) monitor upgrade to 14" and 15" systems £141.00 inc vat 

Place your orders now for RISCOS 4 with us. 

£ 99.00 -»- vat (£116.33 inc.) 

Fitting and installation service available, please call for details. 

We have been specialists in the Acorn Educational market for 15 years. 

Call us now for all your educational needs & integration of networks. 

Whatever your needs or budget we can help with Leasing / Educational accounts / Cheques or Credit & Debit cards. 

rpm® ss | 




See a demo on Stand 19 at 
the Wakefield show 

Thin Client Technology - and Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) 

This is a new system to provide cross-platform software compatibility with low client station capital and running 
costs, whilst providing higher levels of reliability. To explain, you need a network infrastructure, an NT server and 
any number of Thin Client computers, or Network Computers (NCs). All the Thin Clients are controlled from a 
central NT server (or servers), which hold user configurations that are centrally administered and thus client 
systems cannot be re-configured locally; this minimises client station problems. As NCs have no floppy disc drive 
it is impossible to introduce viruses or indeed pirate software from these client stations. Other standard desktop 
computers can also be added to the system if required and these can comprise a mix of Acorns, AppleMacs and 
PCs. Thin Clients is a cost effective way of extending the useful life of your existing Acorn computers, many of 
which will probably be mechanically sound for a good few years yet. Any schools or individuals who are interested 
in receiving our "ICT Planning Document" please contact us on the below numbers and we will post a copy to you. 

The Acorn NC (Network Computer) 

'Sprinter' - NC (Network Computer), client station 
with 16Mb RAM, QWERTY Keyboard, Mouse & 14"monitor 
(suitable for Acorn RiscOS, Windows, Internet & Web browsing applications) 

£379.00 + VAT (£445.33 inc.) 

[Please note : NCs require connection and configuration to host server, locally or remotely] 

'ICDBIaze' CD-R Software 

E69.99+VAT £82.23 inc vat 

**New* ** for Wakefield Show, 

IDE CDR and CDRW Support now with ICDBIaze. 
See Stand 1 9 for details. 

Plus new drivers to allow CDR and CDRW 
to be read under Acorn CDFS. 

See our Web page for CDR/W drive prices. 

< M Magi color 2 DeskLaser Plus 600x600 DPI, 
24Mb ram colour laser with cable and Acorn driver. 
£1195.00 + VAT (£1404.13 inc.) 


Trade & Educational 
customers are welcome. CITRIX 

Please call for separate prices on 
both Acorn and Cumana equipment. 

Call us now on Tel +44 (0)1279-730800/730900 Fax +44(0)1279-730809., 
Cumana is a trading name of : Cannon Computing, Whitegate, Dunmow Road, Hatfield Heath, 

Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM22 7ED. Partners: Nigel D. & Sara L. Cannon. AU/June '99. Without Prejudice. 

All Registered Trademarks acknowledged. All prices are UK £ sterling &, unless otherwise stated, include VAT, exclude delivery. E&OE. 

Business and Utilities 

Ant Internet Suite II 110.51 
ArcFax 35.00 

ArcFS2 29.37 

ARCshare 49.95 

Artworks 104.69 

CD Burn 58.75 

Complete Animator 94.05 
DataPower 1 110.00 

DataPower 2 1 66.32 

DaVinci 90 81 .08 

Digital Symphony 56.95 

Disc Doctor 28.45 

Disc Rescue 45.00 

Draw Works Designer 31 .50 
Easy C++ 116.32 

EasyFont Pro 59.95 

Eureka 3 110.51 

FastSpool+ 17.62 

Fireworkz Pro 166.31 

Font Directory Pro 65.00 

FontFX6 29.95 

Game On! 2 15.00 

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 3 179.77 

Rhapsody 4 94.95 

Schema 2 121.50 

Sibelius 6 116.00 

Sibelius 7 699.00 

Sibelius 7 Student 345.00 

Sleuth 3 116.32 

SparkFS 25.00 

StrongGuard 25.00 

Studio Sound 113.95 

Tablemate Designer 60.00 
TopModel2 145.11 

Turbodrivers (Can/HP/Eps) 54.69 
WebSpider 40.00 

WebTool for ANT Suite 2 29.38 

WIMP Basic 44.99 

Win95FS 41.12 

XStitch 2 35.00 


Animated Alphabet, Talk 33.43 | 
Arc Venture (various) 39.01 
Aztecs, Age 7-11 50.17 1 

Calabash Pirates 25.98 

Crystal Rain Forest 50.17 
DataSweet 3 69.33 | 

Dazzle + 83.71 

Dinosaurs (1 0/1 0) 1 3.49 I 

Doodle 32.37 

English (10/10) 13.49 

Essential Maths (10/10) 13.49 

Essential Science 13.49 

Expl with Flossy the Frog 28.79 
First Logo 38.95 

Freddy Teddy's Adventure 23.50 
French (10/10) 13.49 

Fun School 3/4 (various) 24.99 
Geography (1 0/1 0) 1 3.49 | 

German (10/10) 

13.49 ■ 

Granny's Garden 

28.79 1 

James Pond Run. Water 

27.00 I 

Maths (Geometry) (10/10) 

13.49 1 

Maths (Number) (10/10) 

13.49 1 

Mega Maths 

24.99 1 

Micro Maths 

24.99 I 

My World 2 + 2 

54.70 1 

Naughty Stories Vols 1-6 

44.65 I 

New Teddy Bear’s Picnic 

36.78 1 

Nursery Rhyme Time 

33.43 I 

Oxford Reading Tree 3 

44.65 1 

Pendown DTP 

65.85 1 

Playdays age 3-8 

23.40 1 

Playground (Freddy teddy) 23.50 ■ 

1 Smudge the Spaniel 

25.98 ■ 

Spelling & Punctuation 

13.49 1 

Splosh+ (1-5 users) 

51 .70 1 

Table Aliens 

27.85 1 


29.37 I 

Tizzy’s Toybox 

47.94 ■ 

Watch Magic Grandad 

30.13 ■) 


Alone in the Dark 

34.99 I 

Anagram Genius 

20.00 1 

BHP Brutal Horse Power 

28.49 I 

Birds of War t 

30.00 1 

Black Angel 

30.00 1 

Carnage Inc. 

22.50 1 

Chocks Away Compend. 

25.00 1 

Cobalt Seed 

23.74 1 

Crystal Maze, age 7+ 

28.45 I 

Cyber Chess 

31.50 1 


20.70 1 

Demon's Lair 

20.00 1 

Drifter (DD/HD) 

31.50 1 

Dune II (CD -£31.50) 

26.60 1 

Dungeon f 

27.00 1 

E-Type 2 f 

30.00 1 

Eclipse Collection 

22.49 1 

Enter the Realm 

25.00 ■ 


25.00 1 

Fire and Ice 

23.39 ■ 

Global Effect 

27.00 1 


12.00 I 

Haunted House 

25.00 I 

Holed Out Compendium 

20.00 ■ 

James Pond 2+ 

16.20 1 

Logic Mania 

27.00 1 


25.00 I 

Pandora’s Box 

25.00 I 

Patience Addict 

19.95 1 

Play It Again Sam 3 

24.95 1 

Play It Again Sam 4 

35.00 1 

Pushy (Shovy) 

12.00 1 

Real McCoy 2/3/4 (each) 

35.00 B 

Real McCoy 5 

31.50 1 

Rick Dangerous 

15.26 1 

Saloon Cars Deluxe 

31.50 1 


26.59 1 


25.95 1 

Silver Ball 

12.00 1 

Simon the Sorcerer 

27.00 I 

Small t 

21.20 1 

Spobbleoid Fantasy 

30.00 I 


22.50 I 

Stuntracer 2000 t 

35.00 I 


25.00 I 

The Time Machine 

25.00 1 

Virtual Golf 

31 .50 1 

CD Business & Utils 

Arm Club PD CD 1 

19.00 1 

Arm Club PD CD 2 

15.00 1 

Artworks ClipArt 1 or 2 

20.08 1 

Bitfolio 7 

42.74 1 

Font Emporium 

29.95 1 

PDCD4 (Datafile) 

1 5.00 I 

PDCD5 (Datafile) 

15.00 1 

ProArtisan 2 

98.93 1 

Rise Disc Vol.1 


Rise Disc Vol.2 


Rise Disc Vol.3 


Rob Duncan Cartoon Kit 


Task Force ClipArt 


Tekkie Disc (PRM's etc) 


CDROM Education 

Ancient Egyptians 


Ancient Lands 


Anim Talking Alphabe 


British Isles from the Air 




Crystal Rain Forest 2 


Dangerous Creatures 




Era of the 2nd WW 


Garden Wildlife 


s Guardians of Greenwood 


! Hutchinson's Encyclopedia 52.82 

Illustrated Shakespeare 


John Cabot & Merchant V. 


Kingfisher Micropedia 


King Arthur 


Kiyeko with Acorn reader 


Map Detectives 


Musical Instruments 


My 1st Incrd. Amaz. Diet. 


Number Time 2 


Oxf. Talking Infant Atlas 


PB Bears Birthday Party 


Perspectives Francais 




Science Explorer 


Seashore Life 


Science In Action 




Space Exploration 


Survival: Mysteries of Nat. 


The Way Things Work 


The World's Weather 


Tizzy's Toolbox 




Ultimate Human Body 


Understanding the Body 




World of Robert Burns 







Crystal Maze 


Doom Trilogy 


Dune II 


Heroes of Might & Magic II 35.00 1 

Simon the Sorcerer 




Wizards Apprentice 


1500 titles Available!! 

Some dealers may not stock all 

Minimum delivery £ 2 

Credit Cards and Official 
Orders welcome. E&OE 

All Prices Include 
VAT @ 17.5% 

Special Offers on 
Longman software 
Up to 50% off! 

Eureka 3 

Powerful yet easy to use 
spreadsheet package 
RRP £116 
Offer Price £55 


Exciting and interactive 
music notation for children. 
MIDI compatible. 

RRP £73 
Offer Price £35 

The easy to use word 
processor. Talking, DTP & 
French versions available 
RRP £45 - Offer £35 

The Big Picture 
RRP £85 
Offer price £35 

Advantage, FirstLogo, Magpie 
& Rainbow also on offer 

Key : 

NRPC Not for RPC 
t Separate RPC version 
Many titles abbreviated for advert 

Order from a participating dealer 

The Data Store 

Tel 01 81 460 8991 Fax 01 81 31 3 0400 

CJE Micro's / NCS 

Tel 01 903 523666 Fax 01 903 523679 

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Tel 01 924 254800 Fax 01 924 254036 

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Tel 01 592 592265 Fax 01 592 5961 02 

CTA Direct 

Tel 01 942 797777 Fax 01 942 79771 1 


Tel 01 222 464020 Fax 01 222 440071 

More power to 
your PC card 

Those of us who prefer to stick with our trusty 
Acorns inevitably find it hard living in a PC- 
dominated world, where few recognise the value 
of Apples let alone our chosen platform. More fool 
them really, but we still have to cope. Nowhere is 
that more of a problem than at work. Now as work 
becomes ever more intrusive the chances are you 
may have to take it home with you. Well here's 
how your Acorn, with your PC card, can help. Not 
only can you run business software, you can also 
run your office computer. 

Laplink is a software package for linking PCs 
together. It's now an impressive buy: Laplink Pro 
offers hook-ups via RS232 cable, parallel cables, 
USB, wireless, direct dial and Internet. Clearly not 
all of those will be of interest to Acorn users. But 
some will. 

Installing the software has to be done at both 
ends of course, then you have to go through a host 
of set-up screens which 
allow you to define 
how your computer 
connects, what the 
protocols are, what 
facilities are to be 
allowed (from read 
only to a full take-over) 
plus, as you'd expect, a 
comprehensive security 
system that will 
demand a password 
when you log in. 

Naturally you have to input any numbers for 
dialling, network addresses and so on. There's a 
lot to do - but it's fairly well laid out and you can 
manage without the informative instruction book 
if you're the type to try first and read later. 

I've tried several hook-up methods using my 
hardware. In all cases the aim has been to take 
over a PC with the Rise PC, and though I have no 
doubt the reverse would also work, I don't have 
the need: I work at the Rise PC by choice - the 
other is a slave! Direct dial connection was simple 
and effective, but as you might expect it was a bit 
slow. It would certainly benefit from ISDN, but 
remember that would have to be available at both 
ends. Direct connection with the RS232 port sadly 
failed. I don't as yet know why, but I got nowhere 
with it as the port simply locked up. Using my 
newly installed network (more of which later I 

hope) does work and is considerably faster as 
might be expected. 

Speed is inevitably the biggest problem. Direct 
dial is very slow, even when using configure to 
strip out unnecessary details like full colour, non- 
crucial graphics effects and so on. Direct cable 
connections ought to be considerably better and 
network connections are the best choice if that's an 

So is it effective? Well yes it is - superbly so. I 
could well imagine that if I had an office machine I 
needed to work on without being there I could do 
so with minimum fuss. Laplink is an excellent 
utility that has no problems on the PC card. In fact, 
given that the link via a modem is bound to be 
slow, my guess is that the card won't introduce 
any extra delays. And yet you get access to the 
facilities, and to some extent the speed, of the 
remote system. After all, any processor-hungry 
tasks will happen at the 
remote end under full 
power, even if your screen 
update is very sedate. 
Naturally you do have the 
option of working locally 
and then uploading the file 
directly if that works better. 

There is also a chat 
option which opens up 
screens at both ends where 
you can type and read 
messages - your own 
private, instant e-mail. A regular phone 
conversation might be better but on the other hand 
you can use messaging while also sending data or 
even controlling the remote machine - potentially 
useful if you need to explain what you are up to. 

I mentioned earlier that the remote machine 
can, if you so wish, be well and truly enslaved. I 
must confess it is somewhat satisfying to have 
another computer appearing in a window on your 
machine. With the hardware connected over a 
network as mine now is, operating a remote 
machine without moving a leg muscle is easy. 

Now I'll have to invest in one of those automatic 
body toners because I won't even have to get up. 

Laplink isn't cheap (over a hundred pounds) 
but if you have need of operating office hardware 
from your Acorn + PC card - you can. Just make 
sure the office pays your phone bills. 

Future support 

Now that RISCOS Ltd is up and 
running and there is a more certain 
future for RISC OS development, 
what of the PC card? First off, I'm told 
RISC OS 4, which as I write may 
make its debut in limited quantities 
at Wakefield, will not only 
support your PC card, but also 
offer something like a 20% speed 

In the longer run, the question 
'what next?' hits the rumour mill rather 
than concrete fact. Any replacement 
Rise PC board will probably support 
existing cards as the PCI option isn't 
realistic. But that's speculation at 
present. Having said that, a PCI capable 
machine may have surfaced by the 
time you read this, in which case PCI 
PC cards may be firmly back in 
contention. What's true, what's fantasy? 
Watch this space. 

Meanwhile I note that Alephl 
now' have some more PC cards 
available. So if you've been 
dithering, wondering about the 
future, you now know a new card 
looks like a decent investment. Also I 
note from RComp's Website that to 
go along with PCPro3, they 
have updated and improved 
PCSoundProfessional. PCSoundPro 
provides much improved 
sound support (PCPro omits support 
for MIDI for example) and gives 
you access to the kinds of game 
sounds and MIDI software that PC 
users now take for granted. 

Hopefully I'll be looking at the 
new PCSoundPro in more 
detail soon 

Product details J 


Laplink Pro 




Laplink Remote 
Desklink (no ftp) 





PC World, etc 

Contacting me J 

You can contact me, 

Mike Buckingham, by post at: 

Acorn User, Media House, 
Adlington Park, Macclesfield 
SK10 4NP or by dropping me an 
e-mail at: June 1999 V, 

Notice Board 


See NoticeBoard Professional in 
action at the Wakefield Acorn 
Show and at the South East Show 

Special Introductory Offers 

NoticeBoard Professional - a completely new 
program, not an upgrade, and listed at £29.95 
will be available at an introductory price of £20 
at the Wakefield and South East Acorn Shows. 

The most sophisticated presentation program 
yet designed for use with RISC OS computers 
NoticeBoard Professional provides a vast array 
of options for the creation of stand-alone 
rolling displays and slide show-type presen- 
tations that can be run forwards or backwards 
under the users complete control. 

Display slides can be created using Drawfile, 
Artworks or Spritefiles. JPEG files contained in a 
Drawfile can also be displayed. Sound If you can 
create sound samples you can add sounds or a 
commentary to liven up a presentation. 
NoticeBoard Professional will work with any 
version of RISC OS from 3.10 to 4.0. It will not 
run on RISC OS 2.0 

Current users of the original Notice Board program who 
present a labelled copy of the old Notice Board disc at 
the Show will pay just £15 for the new program. Users 
of Notice Board unable to attend either Show should 
send the disk and a cheque for £16.50 direct to RGSC. 
Old discs will be returned with the new program. 

A program supplied with NoticeBoard Professional 
converts old Notice Board slides to the NB Pro format. 

The Really Good Software Company 

39 Carisbroke Road, Harpenden, Herts UK AL5 5QS 
Tel/Fax: 01582 761 395 E-mail: 
No VAT. Post & packing for UK and Europe add £1.50 
Other countries £5.00 

See it all at Wakefield! 

STAND No. 8 

r/ 1 C D Fasti 

Now Available 

Significantly improved 
CD-ROM cacheing utility 

CDFast3 £29 (incl. VAT) 
Upgrade £ 1 1-75 (incl. vat) 


New Software with 
serial card support _ 

A5 Tablet only £21 7 

(Including VAT. Carriage £1 1 .75 extra) 


CD Re-writers for 

From £192 (IDE, Incl. VAT) 

T here are four main features on this 
month's cover disc: the movie 
trailers, the usual programs, 
some quick submissions from Mike 
Cook, and what was hoped to be a compre- 
hensive section from ECS. However, 
all did not work out as planned, as you will 

First off there's the replacement IRunlmage 
file I promised you last month for Peter 
Kingsbury's BjtndJN application. This should 
sort out the problem it had handling 
complicated files. 

Then we have a couple of submissions 
from C W Seager, one of which will let users 
with older machine use Paul F Johnson's 
programs by providing 256 colour sprites for 

The other offering is PD program called 
DeskFonts written by Rob Davison. This 
enables the use of outline fonts on early 
machines. It allows the system font to be 
replaced in the desktop, and in this case 
improves the appearance of the windows. 

Richie Whincup has put forward Multi- 
ISP, a wee application that lets you swap 
between providers without having to have 
multiple copies of the ANT Suite on your 
harddisc - this idea is a must when you start 
experimenting with the huge number of free 

ISP's that are out there. 

There's also the normal batch of Run the 
Rise and ‘Info programs - Dave and Dave tell 
me these aren't coming in at the usual rate, so 
come on you programming johnnies, let's see 
what you've got. 

manuals. The latest version of StrongHelp itself 
is also on the CD. 

If you want to see what the presentation 
slides would look like (if only Presenter ran) 
then you will have to load the AvantG font 
which is used in the drawfiles that Presenter 

Please ensure that you copy the files to 
your harddrivc first as all of them work better 
that way - LadyBay and NeioSaver won't run at 
all unless you do as they write to disc. 
Presenter needs to have seen a Presenter 



The applications and files from 
ECS on this CD-ROM are not 
quite in their intended form. For 
a start over half of them never 
made it through the Internet. 

ECS PresVr is a viewer for presentations 
made with ECS presenter. This is all explained 
in the help file which comes with the Wakefield 
demo...only that doesn't run now it's got as far 
as the CD-ROM. This could be due to any 
number of reasons, and in the short time we 
had left we were unable to track the problem 

To get the help files which are in 
StrongHelp format, you need to dig around a 
bit. Open the Wakefield app (by shift double- 
clicking on it). Then open Slides, then 
Resources, then HelpFiles, and inside are 

directory before it will run correctly, they 
show multiple pencil icon sprites - derived 
from Draw. 

The StrongHelp manuals show the products 
which will be shown at Wakefield. ECS Utils 
and ECS Presenter are not ready for sale as yet, 
but should make it shortly. NeioSaver, LadyBay 
and Puzzler are available now. 

I hope you can get them running after all. 
Acorn User discs may carry working copies at 
a later date if there is space. 

You can keep an eye on the ECS Website 
for updates on prices and availability at: Tel: 0115 
979 9684 Fax: 0115 9799685 or e-mail on 

Sorry if this frustrates a lot of people, I was 
most annoyed to find that the files had 
become corrupted, but as I say, time was short 
and there was nothing we could do. I hope it 
at least allows some idea of what ECS have 

Mike Cook's stuff 

Mike provided a huge selection of files - 
mainly NASA material - most of it based 
around space and the planets in our system. )une 1999 

Notting Hill 

Unfortunately the largest 
directory exceeded the limits of 
CDFS both in depth and file 
name size, so at the last minute 
that too had to be cut. Still, there should be a lot of 
useful information left. 

Apologies if both this and the ECS offering look a 
bit half-baked. They were last minute additions in 
order to give you something extra, and didn't work out 
as we had hoped. 


So, on to the film trailers. There are ten on this CD, 
kindly donated by Buena Vista/ Walt Disney, 20th 
Century Fox, Entertainment Film Distributors, 
Polygram Filmed Entertainment, and UIP. All should 
be fairly current by the time you get this, although I do 
notice that The Waterboy is already advertising on TV. 

If you're wondering why I didn't get Star Wars or 
The Matrix - well, I did try. But unsurprisingly they're 
a little reluctant to release such films willy nilly. It 
probably would have taken months of over-the-table 
talks with George to get Star Wars, and I think we're 
both too busy for that. 


Starring Kenneth Branagh , Indy Davis , Leonardo Dicaprio , 

Melanie Griffith, joe Mantegna, Winona Ryder 

The film follows a 'mild mannered reporter' (Kenneth 

Branagh) who covers the celebrity beat and gets 
somewhat caught up in their world. Lucky chap. 


Starring Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ving Rhames 
A story of a police entrapment. Master thief Sean 
Connery is lured into the trap by cop-temptress 
Catherine Zeta-Jones. They plan to pull off the greatest 
robbery the world has ever seen (don't they always) 
but has Miss Zeta-Jones fallen for our Sean - it's one of 
those 'will she betray him in the end?' films. Looks 

First Sight 

Starring Val Kilmer, Mira Soroino 
A simple story line this one, a man and woman fall in 
love, but the guy's blind. She wants him to get his sight 
back, he undergoes an operation and bingo, everyone's 
happy. Next! 

Playing by heart 

Starring Gillian Anderson, Sean Connery, Anthony 
Edwards, Ryan Phillipe, Dennis Quaid, Gena Rowlands, 
Madeleine Stowe 

I'm a sucker for these ones. Lots of people try to fall in 
love, will they, won't they? Oh! Quelle surprise, they all 
did. Some cracking actors in this one, and a chance for 
all you X-file fans to see Miss Anderson looking a little 
more relaxed. Nice. 

When someone says 'You have unleashed the creature 
we have feared for more than 3000 years, he is the 
bringer of death, he will never stop!' then you know 

Playing By Henri 

June 1 999 

The Waterboy 

- — 

The Mummy 

Varsity Blues 

you've gone and boobed somewhere along the 
line. This looks a good film, full of nice effects, 
and much better than I had anticipated when I 
heard the title. 

Notting Hill 

Starring julia Roberts , Hugh Grant , Rhys Ifans, 
Emma Chambers 

If you like Hugh Grant then you'll love this. 
It's produced by Richard Curtis and seems to 
have a similar feel to you-know-what. It's a 
story of an ordinary boy and the world's most 
famous actress falling in love (happens all the 
time). It also stars the dizzy one from the Vicar 
of Dibley and a funny half-naked Welshman. 
Good stuff. 

Office Space 

Starring Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, 

Stephen Root amt Gan / Cole 
Nothing to rival Spartacus here, but it looks 
fun, and is something we can probably all 
relate to. It tells the story of a bunch of people 
who hate their jobs, try to get fired, fail, 
then decide to rip off their company as 
pay-back. Angry employees, see this film 
inspiration (I've made extensive notes). 

A Simple Plan 

Starring Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, Bridget 

Three friends stumble across a crashed 
airplane stuffed full of cash. Naturally 
they decide to keep it and tell no-one. 
However, the pressure soon starts to tell, and 
the addition of a dodgy FBI agent doesn't 
improve matters. 

Varsity Blues 

Starring the chap from Dawson's Creek, this is 
a film which looks at American Society, 
specifically the way in which it's sporting stars 

live and behave. It's based around a college 
football team, its coach and star player. 'We 
have the rest of our lives to be mediocre, but 
now we have the opportunity to play like 
gods. Let's be heroes'. A good one for 
rednecks and Dawson fans. 

The Waterboy 

Starring Kathy Bates, Fairuza Balk, Jerry 
Reed, and Henry Winkler and Adam 

Excellent. Sports, goofy guys, 
lovely ladies, the Fonz, and lots of 
laughs. No doubt it'll be a big hit 
when it opens. 

A Simple Plan June 1999 

incl VAT & delivery 

for ordering details 

D igSigGm is a perfect example of the 
power and flexibility of our favourite 
computer being put to a very 
specialised use. Basically this 
application generates digital audio files of test 
tones for transferring onto an audio CD. These 
tones can then be used to test audio circuits to 
CD quality standards. Granted this is not an 
application that will find a favourite place in 
everybody's software collection, but if you 
need test tones tailored to your own 
specification then this is not to be missed. 

It can also be used by people taking a course 
in signal processing, or electronics in general, 
as it is a most comprehensive synthesis 
/analyses tool for waveforms. The specialist 
nature of the software means we can forgive it 
for not corresponding to the normal desktop 
standard. Instead it requires the computer to 
run in 16 colours, with a resolution of 

When the application is run it occupies the 
whole of the screen. All the controls are 
arranged along the bottom of the screen and 
can be incremented or decremented by a click 
of the mouse; no other controls, parameters or 
menus are used. The rest of the screen is 
devoted to three windows; probability density 
function, Fourier analyses, and a dual 
window /waveform window. In this last one 

However, there are also a number of random 
waveforms. A random waveform basically 
sounds like hissing and consists of a mixture 
of frequencies that are not harmonically 
related. As such there is no pitch with a 
random waveform, but the spread of 
frequencies affects how it sounds. 

This is where the probability density 
function window comes in, it shows you what 
spread of frequencies are present in the 
waveform. For example a 'Flat Random' 
waveform has an equal probability of any 
frequency at any instant. Therefore it comes as 
no surprise that a 'Gauss Random' waveform 
has a Gaussian shape to it. Pink noise has a 
greater probability of lower frequencies, while 
red noise has even more. Remember that this 
is still noise and will still sound like a hiss, but 
the hiss will have different audio 

A specialist waveform is the Sin+Cos, 
this outputs a Sine wave on the left channel 
and a Cosine wave on the right one. If you 
view this on an oscilloscope, with one 
channel driving the X deflection and the 
other driving the Y, then in a perfect 
system you will see a circle. Any distortion 
or difference between the two channels 
will result in the circle being distorted. 

Finally there is an intermodulation test 

we really have a 
window (computer 
screen area) showing 
the window function 
(filtering of the signal), 
it's just unfortunate 
that the same word is 
used for different 

The window 
function also serves as 
an envelope for tone 
bursts, as well as 
giving you a simple 
look at the waveform 
in the time domain, or 
how it would look on 
an oscilloscope. This is 
less than perfect as at 
higher frequencies the display just looks like a 
collection of random dots or lines on the 
screen. This is due to sampling rates and 
scaling of the display, and as this is not the 
prime purpose of the package failure to rescale 
the display can be forgiven. 

As the purpose of the package is to 
generate tones let's look at what can be 
defined. Well first of all you can choose the 
wave shape, this of course will determine the 
mix of frequencies that will be produced. For 
example a sine wave 
contains just one spot 
frequency, or the 
fundamental. All other 
wave shapes are made 
from a number of sine 
and cosine waves. 

These are added 
together at frequencies 
that are an integer 
multiple of the 
fundamental, or to put 
it in the jargon, 

DigSigGcn allows 
you to choose from the 
standard wave shapes; 
sine, square, triangle 
and sawtooth. June 1999 'v. 

waveform, this is in fact two tones of 
different frequencies and amplitudes. 

Having selected the waveform you 
can then select the frequency, and like 
all the other parameters you need to 
click through the preset values. 

The length of the tone can be set, 
here it is done by the rather oddly 
named Pre-Decay time. This is the 
length of time before the tone starts to 
decay, but it is not the most obvious of 
names to define the tone length. When 
writing to CDs you can't record a 
track shorter than ten seconds, so if 
you only want a short tone then you 
can add some silence of 'Pre-Quiet' to 
the tone. 

Next you will want to set the 
volume or level, again predefined but 
here usefully in terms of decibels. The 
full amplitude waveform is defined at OdBs but there 
are some higher values for deliberately producing 
clipped waveforms. You can also define the number of 
bits per sample and sample frequency. Finally you can 
select some effects to modulate the basic tone, these are 
a frequency sweep, tone burst and reverberation. 

With all the choices made, clicking the Go 
button actually generates the waveform, which in 
due course is drawn and the Fourier analyses 
displayed. At this point the waveform is also saved 
in a fixed name file inside the application. If you 
have a 16-bit sound system you have an opportunity 
to hear your creation by clicking the 'play last' box. 

If it is to your liking you can save the file, although 
this is really just a rename function to stop the file 
being overwritten. 

If you want to save the screen (very useful 
for reviews) pressing the * key on the numeric 
pad saves the screen inside the application in a 
series of prenamed files. The numbering sequence 
starts up every time you open the application so 
don't be caught out thinking the earlier screen 
saves are preserved. The program should really 
read what files are present, and then start numbering 
them from there. 

That is really all there is to it, but what you need to 
know is what waveform you want and how you are 
going to use it. The manual quite rightly makes no 
mention of this as really this needs a text book on 
audio amplifiers to do the subject justice. While you 

can listen to the tone on the computer this will not be 
at the highest possible quality. To get the best results 
you really need to assemble these tones onto a CD. 

Traditionally these test CDs have cost much more 
than the price of this package and usually they don't 
have all the waveforms you want. However, if you 
don't have your own CD burner then Atomic Software 
can supply you with a test CD of their own. Naturally 
it is made using DigSigGen and very reasonable priced 
at £8.99. If purchased with DigSigGen then there is a 
discount of £5 on the combined price. 

As I was finishing this review an updated version 
arrived on my desk. This has added to the types of 
waveforms that can be generated by implementing a 
dithering function, in effect adding noise to an 
otherwise pure sound. I have not had time to fully 
check this out. 

So who would want to use this? Well audiophiles 
can test their CD player or computer sound card 
and see if the performance is really what it is claimed 
to be. Service engineers can use this to check up on an 
audio repair, and sound engineers can check 
equipment. By encoding these tones in MPEG format 
manufacturers of digital TV equipment can check out 
the sound quality given by different chip sets. It could 
also be used by software writers to compare MPEG 
decoding strategies. 

Like computers in the early days, this is not for 
everyone, but if it is for you then you will know about 
it. In short this is a unique and highly technical piece of 
software set at such a low price you are in danger of 
dismissing it. On another platform you could easily 
move the decimal point in the price by at least 
one place to the right. 

Product details 

Product: DigSigGen 
Price: £27.95 

Supplier: Atomic Software 1 Fells 

Grove, Worsley, Manchester, 
M28 7JN 

Type: Precision audio signal 


Strong ARM Rise PC, 1Mb 
VRAM, 16 Mb RAM, monitor 
capable of 1280x1024 graphics. 
30Mb + Harddisc space free, 

16 bit sound system. 

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Prices include VAT and UK carriage & packing, unless stated otherwise. E&OE 

David Watkins 
reviews APDL's 
latest games CD's 


P ublic domain libraries are the life blood of 
the user base. They form a valuable link 
between amateur programmers and 
enthusiastic users, and we'd be in a much 
sorrier state without them. 

Five years ago there were about six major PD 
libraries, but around half of 
those have now closed - 
DataStream (1994), Arch 
Angel (1996) and the 
Datafile (1998). Thankfully 
their contents have not 
been lost as APDL 
(Archimedes Public 
Domain Library) has 
merged them with its own. 

APDL Games Collection No.l 

From it’s vast and valuable software resource, which 
includes thousands of PD games, APDL has selected 20 
of the best PD and freeware titles and put them on a 
CD-ROM - they run on all machines from a 2Mb A3000 
to a StrongARM Rise PC. The games can be played 
directly from the CD while still allowing High Score 
tables to be maintained, and all at a cost of £7.90. Not 
bad, eh? 

the sphere, hanging pendulum-like from your ship in 
the labyrinth. It's been in my Games directory since I 
found it on the author's Website, last October. 
Lemmings also needs StrongGuard on a StrongARM 
Rise PC. Slight differences in the effects it employs 
(compared with the original) and 30 new levels to play, 
make this one addictive. 

Willy is the ZX Spectrum game Jet 
Set Willy. It's a platform game with 
99 objects to collect from named 
rooms. This is a game for nostalgia 
freaks - read the History file for a 
real feel of the early eighties, 

XOR is a brilliant clone of the 
superb BBC B maze game. The 
puzzles are still as challenging as ever, and the objects, 
which include sliding chickens, falling fish, bombs and 
dolls are just wonderful. 

Castle Blackheart is a maze game. Your sword- 
throwing hero collects boxes of treasure, scrolls, keys, 
and food, while battling with the resident heavies in a 
quest to save his fiance. 

Blobby2, Goop and Splodge are platform games with 
similar themes - you control an amorphous lump that 
can squeeze through narrow gaps to avoid the baddies. 
They are great fun to play, and the action is fast and 

PD games software can range in quality from 
unfinished experiments to clone-like versions of 
commercial products. I'll try to say something about 
each of the games, but don't expect 20 separate 
reviews, there's not enough room. 

ArchieMan is a traditional PacMmi clone. It's a nice 
and smooth rendition with most of 
the features I remember from the 
original, including ghosts, power 
pills, fruit, and lots and lots of dots 
to eat. 

CTetris runs in a 256-colour mode. 

It uses colours instead of shapes and 
it's a must for Tetris aficionados. 
Invaders also needs a 256-colour 
mode. It's a shoot-em-up of the 
Galaxian genre, with superb action 
and fantastic graphics. It needs the 
ARM Club's StrongGuard on a 
StrongARM Rise PC. 

Minesweep is a reasonably faithful version of the 
Windows desktop game. Both the grid size and the 
number of mines are configurable. 

Thrust is not a complete game - there are only five 
screens to complete. Nevertheless it is an excellent 
version of one of the best games ever. It's the one with 

furious - so fast in fact that they need StrongGuard 
on a StrongARM Rise PC. 

Bombz and Firebolt are maze games. In Bombz you 
collect detonators to explode the bombs, while in 
Firebolt you just drop the bombs and run away. Firebolt 
is for 1-4 players and includes joystick support. Both 
games come with their own level designers, and are 
highly addictive. 

Mosquito is a flight simulation created using the Simis 
Flight Simulator Toolkit. The mission is set in the 
islands off the coast of Scotland and the mosquito is up 

}J June 1999 

APDL Games 

against BV141B light bombers and ME110D 
escort fighters. The aircraft, mosquito controls, 
and the mission are fully documented - and 
there are even bridges to fly under. 

Cyberwar and Swarm are shoot-em-up robot 
wars. Cyberxvar has proximity mines, heat- 
seeking missiles, plasma cannons and missile 
cannons, and there's also a two-player option. 
Swarm is an epic in its own right, with 
stunning graphics, excellent gameplay and 
smooth action. 

Bouncy is a game which uses a simple idea to 
great effect. Platforms change colour when 
you roll a bouncy ball on them. There are 50 
levels and they're not that easy, believe me. 
Powerball is a Breakout clone. It has 20 levels 
and can be configured to run at different 
speeds to cater for older processors. 

Tanks is a shoot-em-up. You can choose 
different perspective views, and can 
interact with the scenery as you 
manoeuvrer your tank between 
buildings, around trees, behind hills 
and along roads, either avoiding or 
attacking the enemy tanks. 

There's something on this CD- 
ROM for every type of Acorn 
games player and, at under 40p 
per game, this collection of PD and 
freeware games represents excellent 

APDL Games 
Collection No.2 

This CD release includes a useful utility, 
SlowMotion, which is provided for games that 
run too fast on a StrongARM machine. This 
utility has also been added retrospectively to 
the Best Games Collection No.l CD-ROM. 
Kick-Off is a football manager game whose 
value more than covers the cost of the whole 
collection. There are 88 clubs in four divisions, 
and a season (which takes a good hour to 
complete if you're doing it properly) involves 
each team playing every other team in its 
division both Home and Away. You start in 
Division 4 and have 50 seasons ahead of you. 
What is more, it's a multi-player game and up 
to four managers can compete against each 

RailPro is a simulation of the traffic-control 
room in a railway station, where you direct 
trains to their correct destinations by 

controlling signals and points. It comes with a 
map designer and 12 ready-made maps. This 
is a game for anyone who has ever played 
with toy trains. 

Hangman is the traditional game where 
you guess the letters or build the gallows. 

It comes with a list of 200+ words which 
you can replace to enable Hangman 
games to be tailored for specific 
individuals, and for different levels of 

Grey Thunder is a good example of an 
iconbar game - one that is played on the 
iconbar, rather than on the desktop. It's a 


w %; n 


horizontal-scrolling, shoot-em-up involving 
nasty bouncing balls, nasty cones and nasty 
green monsters. 

Also horizontally scrolling, Bunny Race is 
a platform game. As Elvis the bunny you 
bounce your car between platforms to reach 
the finishing post at the end of the level. You 
do have a carrot-canon, but watch out for 
those turnip bombs... 

There are three more platform games on the 
disc, all excellent in their own ways: Manic 
Miner is the original and definitive platform 
game for nostalgia freaks; Botkiller (currently 
my favourite from this collection) is a strategic 
shoot-em-up with really nice effects and 30 

levels of lovely puzzles to solve; while 
Son of Gyrinus has you collecting 
crystals while avoiding the baddies. 

Other games for nostalgia freaks 
include Frogger, that road-crossing 
amphibian, and an Invaders clone 
called Blitzer, both of which were 
written using Andy Southgate's 
Amnesia Game Suite. Tetris aficionados 
will love Hatris - it has falling hats 
and sports 50 levels of increasing 

The maze games in this collection 
display a variety of styles and special 
effects. In DStar you collect items 

using either of two controllable objects - a ball 
(the collector) and a block (a moveable 
barrier). Once pushed, the object keeps 
moving until it hits something. You have to 
position the block so that the ball can be lined 
up with the collectables - not as easy as it 
sounds. There are 25 levels and there's a level 
designer, too. 

In Polltax you are trapped in the 
catacombs under Hackney Town Hall where 
there are 60 levels of block-pushing and cash 
collection to work through. 

If you prefer to blast your obstacles out of 
existence then there's Bomba Man. You have 
to be nimble though, to avoid being hoisted by 
your own petard. 

Originally written for the IBM XT, 

Digger is a version of Boulders (Mr Do or Mr 
Ee, depending on your formative game- 
playing years). This one features an 
earthmover which resembles a 
mechanical pair of scissors, and the 

two types of green meanie. There 
are 36 level files and a wealth 
of command line options to 
play with. 

A maze game of a different type is 
Kryten. It's a text adventure based 
on the Red Dwarf television series 
and books. Smeggin' brilliant! 

There are two patience games - 
Taipei and SPatience. In Taipei you 
remove matching pairs from a stack of 144 
Mah Jong tiles, while SPatience offers a 
selection of the traditional one-player card 
games. It uses a script language, allowing 
different types of patience game to be created, 
and comes with nine ready-made scripts. 

The remaining two games are both two- 
player and work well in an educational setting. 
Sim involves joining dots together without 
making a triangle, and Fall Through has 
players alternately typing letters on the 
keyboard to cause balls to fall down the screen. 

All the games on these CD-ROMs 
are public domain and freeware. They 
are examples of the best games produced 
by enthusiastic and dedicated amateurs, 
and have been selected to represent a wide 
range of game styles. You're sure to find 
half a dozen games that you'll come back to 
again and again. The CD-ROMs represent 
an easy and convenient way to collect these 
forty games, and buying it supports our PD 
libraries. At £7.90 you're certain to get 
value for money. 

Product details j 

Product: APDL Games Collection No.l 

Price: £7.90 

Product: APDL Games Collection No.2 

Price: £7.90 

Supplier: APDL, 39 Knighton Park 
Road, Sydenham, London 
SE26 5RN 

Tel: 0181 778 2659 

Web: June 1999 

^ Ploxmie ; 

Easy to use drag & drop 
Controller maps (e.g. 
tampp and velocity) 
easily alterable by 
drawing with the mouso 
Patterns can be linked to 
reflect changes made to 
other patterns 

' . Handles System Exclusives 
" .. Multitasking playback 
Support any MIDI 
interface, including 
parallel and serial 
Up to 192 MIDI channels 
and no track limit 
Free demo disc available 
Now available -£129.00 

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/grccn/white discs - £2.49) 

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

We supply a range of CCD MM 
and laser bar code scanners Mm 
and Include with these our 
IBarReador driver software 
which allows bar codes to control 
most desktop software. 

Further information is available. 

Compioto systems from £193.88 

PC cards 

Our bar coding 
software produces 
sSipr Draw files of tho 

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

Further information is available. 

IBarCoder- £69.33 

Computer Systems 

These prices do not Include monitors, 
unless specified. 
RISC PC 4+OMb 1.7Gb HD - £911.00 
"Web Wizard" - as J233, speakers, Easiwriter 
Pro, 33.6K modem, ANT Suite - £1 265.00 
"Peak Performer" - A7000+, 8Mb, 32x CD, 14- 
monitor & software pack - £875.00 
"Peak Performer Internet" - A7000+, 24Mb, 32x 
CD, 14” monitor, modem, ANT Suite- £979.00 
Sprinter" NC system - lObasoT, 16Mb, 
14” monitor, keyboard & mouse - £445.30 
RiscStatlon R7500 - £Call 

5x86-133, 51 2K cache, PC Pro2 - £360.00 
PC Pro 2- £38.95 
PC Pro 3- £70.50 
PC Sound Pro 2- £39.95 
Win95FS - £39.95 
Windows 98 CD -£100.00 

Psion Series 5 

8Mb, with PC connection kit - £395.00 
8Mb, SPECIAL EDITION - £445.00 


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



(Either bought with computer or separately): 

ilyama 350 (15")- £159.00 
liyama S702GT (17") - £289.00 
iiyama 400 (17")- £323.00 
Ilyama Pro 400 (17")- £339.00 
liyama Pro 410 (17")- £375.00 
Ilyama 450 (19")- £499.00 
Ilyama Pro 450 (19")- £539.00 
Ilyama 502 (21”)- £770.00 
Ilyama Pro 502 (21") - £770.00 
iiyama Pro 510 (22")- £875.00 
liyama Pro-Lite 36a 14.1" LCD - £687.00 
Ilyama Pro-Lite 38a 15" LCD - £910.00 
ilyama Pro-Lite 38b 15" LCD- £945.00 
ilyama Pro-Lite 38c 15" LCD - £1032.00 
Ilyama Pro-Lite 39a 15" LCD - £1599.00 
Ilyama Pro-Lite 46a 18" LCD - £2469.00 
Touchscreens- CCall 

Parallel link- £34.95 
PsiRIsc link- CCall 

Memory Upgrades 

Plcaso call to check current prices. 

Other 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 
A30O, 400, 5000 4-8 Mb - £128.00 
Rise PC/A7000 SIMMs: 
Call for EDO SIMM prices 
16Mb- £33.95 
32Mb (not original RPCs) - £73.50 
32Mb (high clearance) - £73.50 
64Mb- £122.00 
128Mb- £Call 
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 ixlxl- £92.75 
Parallel Port 1x1x1- £89.20 
Synth 8 or Basic Synth - £46.95 
Synth Plus- £58.65 
Music & Sound Prog. Guide - £1 8.95 
Other hardware: 
FatarSL 760 -£450.00 
Fatar SL 880 - £600.00 
Fatar SL 1100 -£800.00 
FatarSL 2001 -£1050.00 
Irlam sound sampler -£118.00 
Digital-upgraded Irlam sampler- £177.00 
MIDI upgrade for Irlam sampler - £CaII 

Sound Byte Recorder - £57.50 
Yamaha YST-M8 speakers - £41.50 
YST-M20 DSP speakers - £59.00 

YST-MS28 speakers & subw.- £79.00 
YST-M100 speakers - £99.95 
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 also available 
Optical Manuscript - £259.00 
Sound module serial driver - £37.95 
Studlosound - £1 1 6.95 

Other Hardware 

Dual fast serial card - £104.50 1 
Ethernet card (Combi NIC slot) -£104.50 ! 

Hard drives & kits - £Call 
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 
EasiWriter 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 

RISC OS 3 PRM- £104.00 
The Tekkie CD - £45.00 


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Michael Cowgill 
continues his series 
on MIDI controllers 


I t is now some months since you read my 
last music page in Archimedes World, 
when, if you remember, I covered Pitch 
Bend and Modulation controllers. Steve 
Turnbull has kindly allowed me to complete 
unfinished business in this magazine, so 
this is the first of a few articles dedicated to 
explaining the remaining MIDI controllers. 
This month I am going to talk about Volume, 
Expression, Pan, and the three switch 
controllers: Sustain, Sostenuto and Soft 

First of all let's discuss Volume and 
Expression controllers. Both these 
occur in GM, GS and XG 
specifications, although earlier 
systems do not recognise the 
Expression controller. They are 
assigned to controllers 7 and 11 
respectively, and both affect sound 
levels. This raises the question: why 
should anyone want two controllers which 
do exactly the same thing? 

The sum of the parts 

The answer to this also explains why systems 
earlier than GM do not have an Expression 
controller; early MIDI compatible systems 
tended to be monotimbral, that is, they could 
only play one sound at once. By the end of the 
1980s however, MIDI sound-generation gear 
started to be capable of playing more than one 
sound at once. 

This was partly the result of the invention 
of the Sample & Synthesis method of sound 
generation at the turn of the decade. This, 
combined with the steady fall in RAM prices 
during the 90's, meant we were able to store 
far more sounds in a Wavetable MIDI Sound 
Module than was possible, practical, or 
economic before. 

The General MIDI specification, drawn 
up in 1991, states that a GM compatible 
device must be 16 part multitimbral, 
that is, able to play 16 independent parts 
at once. Suddenly there emerged a need 
to be able to balance all these sounds so 
that one is not overpowering the others in 
the "mix". This is now the designated role 

of the Volume controller. 
This then raises 
a dilemma. If the 
Volume control is 
already in use, how do 
you control the dynamic 
range of parts such as 
brass, organs and strings 
when using velocity for 
this purpose is not 

Enter the Expression 
controller - this can 
provide a dynamic 
level between 0 
and 127 within 
the volume set 
for that part. 
Of course you 
can still use 
the Volume 
controller for this 
purpose if you want to, 
however it is now 
considered good 
MIDI practice to 
adopt the 
procedure I have 
outlined. In fact 
this saves you from 
having to trawl through 
the event list, altering all Volume controller 
events when you decide that the French Horn 
is too loud right through the mix. 

Panning out right 

Now to the Pan controller. This is the 
controller that defines the stereo position 
of a part, and is assigned to controller 
number 10. At first sight the use of this 
controller seems obvious, but there are 
pitfalls into which the unwary may step 
if they are not careful. 

Firstly, be careful how wide you set 
the stereo sound-stage. Panning parts full 
left or right is fine if you know that your 
MIDI creation will be played back (in a 
decent stereo system, but you may find 
that your masterpiece sounds like a 

jumble of instruments when played back in 

If there is a possibility that your music will 
be played back on a mono system, make sure 
that you don't use pan settings which are 
much more than 10 positions left or right of 
centre, but if you do (and do this anyway) 
make sure you play back the result on a mono 
system before you commit it to permanent 
media. That way you will know whether it 
sounds OK or not. Secondly, obey these (very) 
general rules: 

• Always pan drums to the centre; 

• Panning bass parts anywhere but centre 
is a waste of time as the human ear 
finds it difficult to perceive the direction 
of bass parts; 

• It is advisable to use a stereo sound-stage of 
no more than 45° either side of centre 
unless you are aiming for a wacky effect. 

Pedal power 

This just leaves the three switch controllers; 
Sustain, Sostenuto and Soft Pedal. Of 
these, GM and GS specifications only 
recognise the first, but DM I card owners 
with the DB50XG fitted will have the 
luxury of the other two. They are assigned 
to controllers 64, 66 and 67 respectively, 
and their use will be immediately recognised 
by pianists. 

For those of you who are not ivory 
ticklers; Sustain, when on, will leave a 
note (or notes) playing until it is put in 
the off state; Sostenuto sustains the last 
note struck, and Soft Pedal reduces the 
velocity level at which the note is "strucjc". 
The "Off" state of these last three is usually 
defined as a value less than 63, and 
the "On" state as greater than 64. 

Contacting Me j 

You can contact me by writing 
to Michael Cowgill, The Score 
Machine, 22, Nelson Street, Retford, 
Notts, DN22 6LP or e-mail: June 1999 ^ 

YES! Please send me copies of Destiny @ £30 each 

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June 1999 


Earth and Space 


Mike Cook puts two 
earth and space CD's 
through their paces 


E arth Data consists of two major 
applications, Earth Data and Earth 
Map. Earth Map is a piece of freeware 
by John Kortink and it uses a huge 
database consisting of 5,719,617 line segments, 
describing coordinates and shape of a number 
of natural, and man-made features on Earth. 

Its only function is to plot these line 
segments as a map, and it is debatable how 
well it does this. If you choose the option of 
cacheing all the files then scrolling round the 
globe is not too bad, but that will only work if 
you have 14Mb of free memory. If not then 
there is the option to cache sections of the 

The images can be exported as drawfiles, 
where you can pull segments apart, or create 
worksheets for pupils. The scrollbars do not 
work properly, and although the scroll arrows 
do work, the movement is wrong. Longitude 
wraps around which is fine, but so does 
latitude, and that makes the north pole 
adjacent to the south pole. This is admitted in 
the instructions but is really not good enough. 

Furthermore I suspect that the map 
coordinates are in latitude and longitude, and 
these are simply plotted in terms of screen X 
and Y coordinates. The result is the distortion 
of coast lines and the enlargement of areas 
close to the poles. As freeware it is value for 
money, but only just. 

I had a bit of trouble getting Earth Data to 
load, sometimes it would, and sometimes it 

complained that a library module had failed to 
load. When it did get going the application is 
an exercise in large menu structures, full of 
those facts about countries that are as dull as 
ditch water and which passed for education 
sometime in the 1930s. I also think some of the 
data is made up. For example 
literacy rates in all developed 
countries are shown as 99%, 
which I don't believe. 

Still, there are nice flags on the 
icon for each country, and some of 
the facts, like religious beliefs, can 
be plotted out as a graph of 
various sorts. There are a number 
of maps scaled to show the 
country's general and/or precise 
location, and there is the ability to 
produce a 'report' on a country. 

The application also allows 
you to combine section filters, so 
that refined reports or cross- 
correlated statistics can be produced. Finally, 
data can be output in the form of CSV files, 
these are stored in a file ready for importing 
into a spreadsheet or other applications. 

Earth in Space is now into version 4 and 
claims to have "all the astronomy related 
material anyone is ever likely to need, and 
more", a statement I do not agree with. Sad to 
say this is a very sparse collection indeed, 
what is worse, the quality of the images is 
appalling. There are two ways of viewing 

some of these files, the first is 
an HTML-based system using 
Webite, and the second uses 
an unregistered copy of the 
shareware product Powerbase , 
which the start-up screen says 
you are obliged to register. 

The HTML is simply a list 
of subjects leading to a single 
picture. The database 
navigation is not much better, 
but does lead to some 
explanatory texts. 
Unfortunately not all the 
images are referenced this 
way, and if you were only to 

use these forms of presentation you would be 
missing out. 

The presentation on manned missions 
simply scrolls through the name, short 
description, number of orbits and launch date, 
while displaying the same image of an Apollo 

Lunar Module in orbit around the Moon. 
However even this data is not consistent. 

The entries stop in 1990 and the Russian 
flights between 1983 and 1986 are missing 
altogether. The unmanned section is even 
worse. Several important probes like Viking 2 
are missed out, and it ends in 1977 with 
Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 sharing the same 
launch date, when in fact there were 16 days 
between them. The more I delved into this 
resource the less happy I was. 

It is worth pointing out that these products 
are possibly the lowest priced CDs availiable 
on the Acorn market, and are popular with 
many users. However, from my own 
standpoint, this is one package I 
can't recommend. 

Product details 


Earth in Space V4.0 & Earth 
Data CD-ROMs 


£9.90 each 


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0181 488 0487 

Web: June 1999 V 




Alasdair Bailey 
speaks to RISC 
OS's three 
most eligible 

Technical Director Andrew Rmvnsley 

T he release of the RISC OS 4 upgrade 
signals a very important change in the 
way our operating system is developed. 
Although Acorn did most of the 
groundwork on the upgrade, it was the team at 
RISCOS Ltd who transformed an operating system 
which had little more than the bare essentials, into 
a major upgrade for existing hardware. 

RISCOS Ltd is the result of a plan hatched just 
days after the initial Acorn shock on 'Black 
Thursday'. It is primarily funded by the 
shareholdings of existing Acorn dealers and 
developers, all of whom have a vested interest in 
seeing the development of RISC OS continue. The 
company we see today resulted from the so-called 
Steering Group, which failed to secure a deal to 
put the planned Phoebe Rise PC II into production, 
but did make excellent headway with Acorn /E-14. 

Before Christmas, the thinking was that RISC 
OS 4 was almost finished. However, things turned 
out a bit differently, and a fair amount of work was 
needed before the upgrade could be sold to 
existing users. A deal was done with Acorn over 
Christmas whereby RISCOS Ltd would be formed 
with a one fifth of shares held by Acorn (or 
Element 14 as they are now known). The rest of the 
capital came from the Acorn dealers who were 
already involved with the project. It is worth 

pointing out that the Element 14 stake in the 
company is primarily a profit earning one as 
opposed to a controlling stake. If RISCOS Ltd do 
well out of what is, essentially, ex-Acom 
technology, they'll want to still have their fingers 
in the pie. 

The rather vague announcement which was 
posted at the Acorn Midlands show just before 
Christmas referred to this deal, but its statement 
that the upgrade would arrive in January was 
clearly too hopeful. The programming work on 
RISC OS got underway at RISCOS Ltd's Midlands 
office during February this year. 

I could not possibly try to write an article about 
the production of the upgrade without actually 
going to the RISCOS Ltd HQ and seeing their 
work first hand. The management are very keen 
on keeping the location of the programming work 
a secret. At first this may sound like bad PR, but 
when you think about it, it does make sense. This 
way the programmers can carry on without every 
Tom, Dick and Harry turning up at the door. 

The visit took place on the Monday before 
Easter Sunday, about two months before the 
upgrade was scheduled for release. I was issued 
with instructions to arrive at a Midlands rail 
station at 10:30am and told that my onward travel 
arrangements would be taken care of. 

As I leave the train, I am greeted by two 
hooded men. 'You from Acorn User?' they grunt. 
Before I can answer, I'm bundled into the back of a 
white van and driven away. I tty to remember 
details of the route we're taking but the van is 
travelling too fast. 

After what felt like hours, the van stopped and 
I was dragged into the reception area of a small 
industrial unit. I sat there for a while, dazed and 


Server: a Linux machine with 3 x 9Gb LVD Ultra- 

Wide SCSI drives in a hot swappable RAID 
array with 128Mb of RAM and P2 400s. 

Development Machines: 

32Mb to 64Mb StrongARM Rise PCs with 2- 
4Gb hard drives. All have 19' monitors, 
stretching the VIDC20 to its limits running 
1280x1024 at 75 or 80hz. 

Backup: CDR(RVV), Syquest and Zip. 

Internet: ISDN LAN router. 

Printing: via a 1200dpi postscript LAN printer. 

|une 1999 

Justin Flectcher - mild mannered computer programmer 

confused until Andrew Rawnsley, technical 
director of RISCOS Ltd came and greeted me. 
He explained how it's very difficult to get 
good taxi drivers in the Midlands and we 
move on. 

The RISCOS Ltd office is a large room with 
white walls and two windows, both with their 
blinds very firmly closed. Only the 
programming takes place here, explains 
Andrew, the sales and marketing is all taken 
care of at the Cardiff office. 

I am introduced to two of the senior 
programmers - Justin Fletcher and Matthew 
Bullock - who both work full-time for RISCOS 
Ltd. Most of you will have seen examples of 
Justin and Matthew's previous work, but I'll 
come to that later. 

The simple office contains three 
fairly orderly desks, plus several test 
benches and work surfaces. At one end lie 
the two programmers' desks, with Andrew's 
situated at the opposite end of the room. 
Andrew has taken on a managerial role 
within the team because of his experience as 
project manager for many R-Comp and 
R-Comp Interactive (RCI) releases, hence the 
separate desk. 

Before proceedings got underway, I was 
treated to a quick game of Doom+ over the 
office network against Justin and Matthew. My 
regular readers will be pleased to hear that I 
showed them a few tricks and was first to five 
twice in three games. 

Each desk is equipped with similar 
hardware. As you might expect, each has a 
high-powered Rise PC with 19" monitor and 
those lovely cushioned mouse mats (see box 
for full machine specs). The presence of a 
rather meaty PC box was also noted on each 
desk, although except for the backup machine, 
these were all turned off. The Rise PCs are 

essentially just clients used for typing and 
compiling the code, the code changes are 
logged by a system known in the trade as 
CVS, this prevents either coder working on an 
out of date copy of the source. However, the 
actual ROM build will take place on a Rise PC. 
All the Rise PCs run the latest RISC OS 4 
builds for real-world testing. 

All the usual small office peripherals are 
present, including a laser printer, scanner and 
fax machine. Andrew took great pride in 
showing off the 'infeasibly large server' which 
takes care of the office LAN. The team also 
seemed quite chuffed with the office phone 
which, as if by magic, was able to transfer a 
call to the other side of the room at the press 
of a button. 

The people 

The upgrade has been put together by a team 
of three working full-time, plus several part- 
timers and freelancers, at the secret HQ. Each 
member came from a different part of the 
country, so it was decided that they should all 
come together at a central location. 

A Midlands site was chosen, primarily 
because of the availability of cheap office 
space at an Acorn-friendly company, and 
secondly to signal a move away from the 

traditional Acorn Cambridge 
way of doing things. 

Andrew, Justin and Matthew 
had previously worked together 
on games for R-Comp 
Interactive. However, they've 
never worked under the same 
roof as their work can usually be 
completed and submitted to 
Andrew by e-mail. 

All three now share a house 
about ten miles from the office 
and commute to work daily. 
Apparently, the team had great 
difficulty in persuading the 
estate agent they weren't 
students when it came to renting 
the house, despite the suits, 
business cards and other 
trimmings of young executives. 

Sharing a house with work- 
mates might not seem like a very 
appealing idea at first sight, you 
end up seeing the same two 
people all day every day. 
Fortunately, the three RISC OS 
bachelors still seem to be getting 
along very well with each other, 
even though they have been together for 
around two months now. 

On the subject of the team's evening 
activities, Andrew uttered: 'It's pretty jovial, 
there's usually an MP3 track playing in the 
background. Most rvenings, a game of network 
Doom is played. So yes, it's generally a very 
relaxed atmosphere' . 

The MP3 (a popular compressed sound-file 
format) thing doesn't just stop there either. 

The office server has many free tracks stored 
on it, and additional music comes courtesy of 
the team's CD collection. The music was 
generally of a high standard, Meat Loaf [high 
standard? - Ed] and Beautiful South [Yes!] 
albums were noted, along with offerings from 
other less mainstream groups. Some people 
will be pleased to hear that the team have 
acquired a rather speedy MP3 player module 
which might just be included with the final 
release of the operating system. 

While on the subject of music, Andrew 
drew my attention to the following: T he official 
music of the RISC OS 4 source was Tubular Bells 
2. It was playing all the way back from Cambridge 
at Upm at night in blinding snow when the deal 
was finally done after 6-7 hours of negotiating' 

At the time of the interview, each team 
member was working from about 9am until 7- 



RISC OS 3.7 

RISC OS 4.0 



ArmSI speed index*} 



+ 27% 

Tests processor performance 

Doom+($maller the better) 



+ 34% 

Single tasking game, not 
regarded as OS dependant! 

Web page render 



+ 49% 

Internal server home page 

Desktop responsiveness 

Although not quantifiable, desktop appears around 40% smoother 

Please note that in tests, ARM 6 10/710 users observed much larger improvements, especially compared to RISC OS 3.5 or 3.6. June 1999 

Tiw of the senior 
programmers; Mathew 
(left) and Justin (right) 

8pm with slight variations from day to day. The 
three share lunch in the local Tesco store and 
discuss progress as well as social matters. These 
hours will probably increase as the deadline 
approaches but hopefully the team will remain 
sane throughout. 

Andrew also commented: 'For fun, we like to 
catch Red Dwarf, and I personally watch the good 
movies on Channel 5 and of course enjoy the odd bit of 
gaming if I have five minutes, but that hasn't happened 
a lot lately.' 

Andrew's comments are echoed by the other 
members of the team who paint a similar picture 
of a RISC OS bachelor life. They are all keen to 
stress that work is generally kept to the office and 
other projects including those outstanding for RCI 
are taken care of at home in the evenings. 

Justin Fletcher is a lively character, and from 
what he tells me I understand he's fulfilling a 
dream by working on RISC OS. He had wanted to 
work for Acorn themselves but now, perhaps, he's 
doing the next best thing. He told me all about 
how it is possible to judge a programmer's skill by 
the number of comments they use. Initially, they 
tended to fill every other line with comments but 
then it tends to level out at an acceptable quantity. 
However, Sophie Wilson of Acorn, who did a lot of 
work on ARM BASIC, felt she was so good there 
was no need to even leave spaces in her code. For 
this reason - and this reason only, you understand 
- Sophie is Justin's idol. 

Matthew Bullock is also talkative, but is the 
quieter of the three, at least while I was there. He 
wrote the freeware 3D Patch utility, and converted 
the PC game Heroes of Might and Magic ll for RCI. 
Matthew is mostly working on the Filer, FileCore 
and also the Window Manager due to his past 
programming experience. 

So, it would appear that the working 

conditions are rather ordinary, the people are also 
fairly normal, and their habits are those that would 
be expected from any group of programmers in 
their situation. Well then, 'why the article?' I hear 
you ask. Well, now I'll tell you a little about the 
upgrade itself. 

The upgrade 

It would be fair to say that RISC OS 4 is the most 
radical upgrade to our operating system since 
version 2 appeared way back in the late 80s. It 
signals an important change in direction for the 
whole platform. 

Not only will RISC OS 4 give large speed 
increases on existing hardware, but a lot of 
thought has gone into its development. Rather 
than isolating themselves from the outside world, 
RISCOS Ltd have been taking note of people's 
suggestions and have incorporated many minor 
features which users requested. Of course, it's also 
the first primary operating system for Acorn 
machines not entirely written by Acorn 
themselves, and this is perhaps the most 
significant achievement. 

It may surprise some that the source code for 
RISC OS is about 250Mb raw, but fills several 
gigabytes when all the code changes are logged 
using CVS. The operating system is largely written 
in assembler, with some of the more recent stuff in 
C. There's also a bit of BASIC in there too for good 

As with all versions of RISC OS, Andrew and 
the team will be leaving a little bit of themselves in 
the code. In v3.5 and above, clicking 'menu' four 
times over the author field in the task manager's 
info box will reveal a hidden scroll text. Andrew 
wouldn't let on what this team's little 'feature' 
would be but apparently, it has to do with the cult 
TV show, Buffi/ The Vampire Slayer. Major changes 

June 1999 

include: Massive performance increases. On 
average RISC OS 4 is 30-50% faster than RISC 
OS 3.7. New filer and filecore support long 
filenames and as many files per directory as 
reasonably necessary. LFAU (large file 
allocation unit) is implemented, meaning that 
up to 30% more free space can be created on 
large hard drives with lots of small files. The 
popular 3D window patch by Matthew 
Bullock has been incorporated into the 
operating system. Screensaver support has 
been increased phenomenally, with support 
even planned for some third-party saver 

More applications will be bundled with 
the operating system. These will 
hopefully include a basic word processor 
with ability to read/write Microsoft 
Word 6/7 files. CDFS will be updated 
to include DOS file extension mapping 

by default in a similar way to current 
ADFS drives. 

Time was spent trying to secure PhotoReal 
printer drivers for the release, but due to the 
small size of the market, it was deemed 
unfeasible to produce a new set for the 
operating system. However, a minimal 
Internet connectivity suite will be included, 
along the lines of that seen in Windows ' 95 and 

The so-called CDFS 3 which Acorn were 
well on the way towards completing has 
unfortunately been abandoned in this release 
due to compatibility problems with existing 
drives. Instead, the existing CDFS has been 
improved to tide us over until the next 

Many other smaller changes are planned, 
Andrew has very firm beliefs on how the final 
product should come together: ' RISC OS 1ms 

always tended to be lacking in the niceties , it's 
always had very good guts and a very good core of 
an operating system, but Acorn only ever seemed 
to go 90% of the way and never bother to polish it 
off In Windows, they tend to do all the polishing 
but don't actually write an operating system to go 
under it' 

Andrew also points out that when an 
operating system is a company's key product, 
it is important that it has a nice appearance 
and lots of nice features, because people won't 
have meaty hardware to sway their buying 

The future 

RISCOS Ltd are keen to stress that their 
work will not stop with the release of RISC 
OS 4. Provided they make enough money 
to stay afloat from sales of the upgrade 
and also memberships to the RISC OS 
Foundation 'fan club', further improvements 
to RISC OS 4 will be released. Hopefully, 
a fully 32-bit version of the operating system 
will be released sometime next year. This will 
cater for new hardware which will not 
necessarily rely upon the standard Acorn 
VI DC display chip and other proprietary 
hardware, and will also work with the newest 
ARM processors. 

RISC OS 4 will include support for 
intermediate upgrades supplied on disc 
and soft-loaded in a similar fashion to 
current development versions of the OS. 

This means that once a user has the version 
4.0 ROMs fitted, upgrades will be possible 
at a far lower cost than that of full set of 
new ROMs. The whole core operating 
system will be remaining on ROM chips 
for some time to come, primarily for ease 
of use. A machine which has a ROM 
based operating system does not, 
in theory, need any sort of disc at all 
to start up. 

The People 

Andrew Rawnsley 

Date of birth: 13th October, 1977 

Hometown: Knutsford, near Manchester 

Programming languages: 

Primarily C. I started out writing in BASIC, hut soon realised that if I wanted to achieve anything fancy, I'd need 
to be using C. I've also done a hit in Java and Pascal, although not much. Recent involvements have led to a fair 
knowledge of JavaScript. I've also done work in several scripting languages, and of course, my HTML isn't too 
had either. 

Past programming experience: 

HTMLEdit vl - 4+, Web Designers Toolkit, several other RCI utilities. I've never really been much of a PD coder 
- 1 always felt that if I was going to write a program, I wanted to do it to the best of my ability, and that meant 
spending months working on it, and I kind of like a little recompense for that. 

Matthew Bullock 

Date of birth: 3rd September 1976 

Hometown: Bedford 

Programming languages: 

C, C++, various assemblers (ARM, x86, Z80, 6502, ZB and some other rather obscure ones) BASIC, Visual Basic, 
QBASIC, COBOL, Lisp, Forth, Fortran, Pascal and a few other odd ones. 

Past programming experiences: 

Lots of dodgy patches for RISC OS including 3DPatch, Pinboard ROM patch, windowdragfix and a bunch of 
other ones. Quite a bit of stuff for R-Comp including PNG and JPEG image converters, Syndicate, HoMM2 and 
some stuff on Abuse for the NC. 

Justin Fletcher 

Date of birth: 17th September, 1976 

Programming languages: 

Procedural: BBC Basic, QBASIC, GWBasic, BywaterBASIC, C++, Pascal, Prolog, Perl, Logo, 

Td/Tk, Lisp, Java, CLIPS 
Functional: Miranda, SML 

Assembler: ARM (ObjAsni/JFPatch), 6502 (BBC) 

Shells/scripts: esh, bash, mnita 

Silly: Reptol, WVV+, Zap 

Past programming experience: 

Commercial: Doom+, Heretic and Hexen. 


• Ports: Pine/Pico (partial - pico works fine); CLIPS (programming language); HTMLTidy (David Raggett's Tidy 

• Re-implementations: IRServer (the only RISC OS IRC server); DravvPlug (the first freely available RISC OS 
plugin outside Acorn); MimeMap (freeware implementation of ANTs module); GMail (most powerful RISC OS 
CLI mailer); Forecast (updating JPEG fetcher); LPRd (configurable line printer daemon); SysLog (remote 
logging system); EDict (generic RISC OS Diet server); DNServer (the only RISC OS DNS server); TelnetD 
(simple telnet server) 

• Original: 

Programming: JFShared (BASIC programming library); FormEdExt (extensively improved version of FormEd); 
ESockets (simple internet socket interface); IServices (simple internet services database) 

Internet: JFinger (cool finger client); JFTerm (generic line-based ANSI-colour terminal/talker/IRC client); 
IFProxy (generic proxy); MyRC (simple 1 day desktop IRC client); TalkerD (simple talker); NetOXO (o's and 
x's over the internet); NetC4 (connect 4 over the internet); WimpCTCP protocol and apps (generic IRC 
extensions); Imagen (the first RISC OS image map editor) 

Utilities: ExitOut (easy way to prevent shutdown); DDA (Dynamic Areas for pre-RISC PCs); RecErrors (Wimp 
error message recorder); SquigglyPipes (unix style CLI piping); ReformC (reformats C code for publication); 
MP3Encode (front end for CMPA); MP3ID3 (desktop ID3 editor) 

Colaboration: RealAudio (from free source, with Kira et al); MakeARPC (fantasy RPC, with David Thomas) 

To conclude 

Prior to my visit to RISCOS Ltd, I was 
somewhat sceptical as to how efficient 
the programming effort would be. However, 
the things I saw and heard on that day 
assured me that RISC OS does indeed 
have some sort of viable future as a home, 
business and educational platform, and 
that future is bright and in more than 
capable hands. 

New hardware will be needed soon 
though, but you will hear more about that in 
the coming months. If you're reading this at 
the Wakefield show, there may well be a few 
hardware-related surprises dotted about the 
show for you to enjoy. 


Big thanks go out to all at RISCOS Ltd for 
their cooperation, namely Andrew Rawnsley, 
Justin Fletcher and Matthew Bullock. I'd also 
like to thank Richard Goodwin for his help 
with the interview questions, and finally my 
good friend James who lent me his 
Psion Series 3c. I =4 I ■!> 

http;// June 1999 V, 

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Now available for Acorn computers! 


The popular Iomega Parallel Zip drive is now 
available in a 250MB (YES! 250MB) version... 
and we have the technology! 

The latest PowerZip driver now supports 
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RISC OS 4 upgrades will be 
available at the end of June. 

We are able to offer a full 
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when upgrading, including a full reformatting/ 
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A supply of 28. 8K Internal 
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The advantage of an internal 
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W e can't all be great at drawing and 
designing. Some of us just want to 
knock together an image or poster 
in a short space of time, or add 
visual spice to a text laden report or 
dissertation without too much effort. 

In answer to this need, companies have 
produced clip art discs containing hundreds, 
perhaps even thousands of bitmap and vector 
images, suitable for third party use and free of 
copyright. Two recent additions to the RISC 
OS market are PublishArt 98 from SmartDTP, 
and APDL's Clip Art CD 4. 

PublishArt is Windows compatible, 
whereas Clip Art CD 4 is specific to our 

Clip art is divided between DTP based work 
and Internet specific bitmaps. The images 
range from symbols to newsletter templates, 
icons to figures, backdrops to stencils. The 
collection is very design oriented. APDL's 
offering, on the other hand, offers a range of 
more situation-based graphics, as well as 
design and illustration artwork. 

The APDL disc is a well-structured affair, 
offering the user three ways of browsing 
through its content. By far the 
best way is the supplied CDView software. 
This acts as a Filer, allowing the user to 
double-click on folders, until the required file 
is found. Double-clicking on any file 

Touch of 

Stephen Scott compares two recent 
clip-art compilations to help you 
add extra polish to your work... 

platform. PublishArt 98 is the latest in a yearly 
line of clip art discs from Smart DTP. Discs 
such as these, containing so many files 
(around 6500), need to be clearly categorised 
and easy to navigate. PublishArt uses an 
HTML interface to give you a general 
overview of the disc's content. 

Part of this interface is a help and hints 
guide, explaining how the clip art can be used. 

APDL's interface 

displays a simple thumbnail in a window. The 
viewer can show sprites, drawfiles and 
Artworks files with no trouble. This is 
altogether a less time-consuming affair than 
having many programs loaded up for 
uncompressing and displaying a file, only to 
discover it's not the one you want. 

Alternatively you can look through the 
large text file which details every image on the 
disc. Using the search facility 
common to every text-editor, 
the user can quickly browse 
for the kind of image that 
they want - the files are 
quite sensibly named. 

The range of images is 
very extensive, and has been 
collated from a wide range 
of sources. Food, drink, 
transport, medical diagrams, 
sport, buildings, and many 
more categories are there for 
the taking. The quality 
though, is varied. But 
delving deeper yields rich 
rewards, such as various 
Artworks files by 
Christopher Jarman, 










£3 GOYA 


SmarlDTP's main menu 

colourful and intricate in their detail. Some of 
Jarman's work is also on the PublishArt CD, 
so you can't go wrong on either disc if you are 
a fan of his work. 

Most bitmap images were black and white 
only. Some had the distinct 8-bit, bulletin 
board feel to them - rather pixellated, 
restricting their use to screen-based work. 

So, are the discs really worth their asking 
price? It is difficult to critique the overall 
quality of these products, as discs of this kind 
will offer something for everyone. The 
question is whether such resources can be 
relied upon time and time again. Ease of use is 
also part of this equation, and the APDL 
offering has by far the best approach. 

If you're looking for an image bank, 
APDL's product may be for you, while Publish 
Art98 caters more for those with design in 
mind. You may find you end up buying both. 

For schools sharing PCs and Acorns, 
PublishArt is the better solution as it is 
Windows compatible, and offers a free site 
licence. APDL also offer a site licence in return 
for a modest fee. But in conclusion, the APDL 

disc has the edge in quality, usability 

and value for money. 

Product details 

Product: Clip Art CD 4 
Price: £19.50 

Supplier: APDL 

Address: 39 Knighton Park Road, 

Sydenham, London, SE26 5RN 
Tel: 0181 778 2659 

Fax: 0181 488 0487 


Product: Publish Art98 
Price: £19.95 - Launch price 

Supplier: SmartDTP 
Address: 36 Park Road, Duffield, 
Belper, DE56 4GR 
Tel: 01332 842 803 

Fax: 01332 842 803 



users/ parry group/ 



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E asy Font Professional is 
probably the best Font 
management software on 
Acorn machines. This 
superb piece of software 
provides an easy to-use, yet 
powerful interface. 

Easy Font Pro allows you 
to add fonts easily and 
quickly, as well as allowing 
the fonts to be viewed for 
simple selection. 

Other features of Easy Font 
Professional include: 

• The ability to allow you 
to group fonts. 

• Up to 40% compression 
• Fonts which load only when a 
particular application is loaded 
• Fonts can be accessed on other 
media, eg. CDs 

Easy Font Professional comes on two DD 
floppy discs. One contains the application, 
while the other contains several styles of 
font. It also comes with a printed manual 
which contains instructions on how to use 
Easy Font Professional to its full ability. As 
well as this a quick reference guide is 
included which shows each button and its 
function, plus the keyboard shortcuts. 

Please send me: 
Easy Font Pro 

□ lJK-£40 

I I Europe - £43 

□ World- £45 

Font Pack 

□ UK -£10 
I I Europe - £12 

□ World- £14 

□ hd or □ DD 

Prices include postage and packaging and VAT 
I wish to pay by: 

I I Cheque/postal order (payable to Tau Press Ltd) 

I | Credit Card (Visa /Barclaycard/ Mastercard /Access) 



E-mail . 

Credit Card No: 
Expiry Date: 



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I I Please tick here if you do not wish to receive promotional information from other companies aiwos 

Send your order to: Easy font pro, Tau Press, Media House, Adlington Park, Macclesfield SK10 4NP 

Font Pack 

Want some more fonts to use 
with Easy Font professional? Or 
maybe you just want to increase 
your range of fonts? If so, then 
the Font Pack is for you. It 
features over 50 different styles of 
font giving you a wide choice of 
type-faces to choose from. 

For Easy Font Professional you will 
need a minimurii of RISC OS 3.1 or 
greater with 2Mb of RAM and a 

y June 1 999 

wimp C 

Calling functions 

by point 

T his month I'll be investigating pointers to 

functions, and explaining some of the reasons 
why they can be particularly useful, especially 
when developing the shell of an application. 
Obviously, whenever pointers are mentioned we know 
we'll be referring to blocks of memory. At this stage we 
should be comfortable with the notion that if, for 
example, an array a[20] has been created, the value of a 
on its own gives the starting position of the array in 

We've been using that feature to pass the addresses 
of memory buffers to the OS when making SWI calls, 
but given this start address, it's also possible to access 
array elements by memory offset. 

Functions can also be thought of as blocks of 
memory and, although their contents aren't editable, 
it's still possible to call the function concerned if you 
know its starting location. By using a pointer to store 
the starting address of a function, we can call that 
function without needing to know its name. In this 
way, we can create a link to a procedure that can be 
changed as many times as we want during the 
execution of the application. 

In order to determine the start address of a 
function, we use its name without any brackets or 
arguments, in exactly the same way that we find the 
address of an array block. However, we 
still need to create a pointer &Q9M 

variable to hold this 
information, and that's not 
quite so straightforward. 

The syntax might look a 
little confusing, but it does 
make sense once you 
understand where the 
components come from. 

In fact, it's very similar to the 
format we use when we're prototyping functions at the 
beginning of a program - here's an example. For the 
function shown below: 

int func(int x, int y) { 
return x + y; 


the function pointer declaration would look like this: 

int (*funcptr) (int, int); 

The brackets around *funcptr are required to stop the 
C compiler from working itself into a frenzy. Other 
than that, you can see that it is indeed very similar to 
the actual function prototype, shown below: 

int func(int, int); 

Once you've declared the function pointer in this way, 
you're free to use it as you see fit. Here's how we'd call 

func using the above function pointer: 

funcptr = func; 

result = (*funcptr) (1, 2); 

It's even possible to make use of these pointers as formal 
parameters within a function definition, meaning you 
can write a procedure that accepts the name of a function 
along with its other arguments. 

So why are function pointers useful? You could be 
forgiven for thinking that they add an unnecessary 
complication to the whole process of writing a program. 
It's true that pointers always add an extra layer of 
complexity, but very often the controlled inclusion of 
pointers can give you more freedom in just how you 
structure your code. 

Up until now, functions have always been static 
objects - we can decide whether or not to call them by 
using standard C decision statements, but that's about the 
limit. By accessing our functions with pointers, we can 
start using them in many different ways - for instance, 
you can bring shades of C++ programming to your code 
by associating particular functions with data objects. 

In our case we have a particular problem to solve - 
we've started writing a library of routines designed to 
make the programmer's life a little bit easier. However, 
these routines can't be included automatically, and it's 
up to the programmer to build them into his or her code 
- as appropriate. In this situation, the programmer 
still ends up doing a lot of work from scratch, 
k and it would be nice if this workload could 
B& be minimised. 

1 One method might be to include a pre- 
written core program containing all of the 
basic features of the WIMP, which coders 
. could then add to and modify. Using existing 
*8*^ techniques, there has been no easy way of adding 
functionality to an older application, short of 
modifying the existing source code. 

Now that we can use pointers to functions, the 
situation has changed somewhat. We can use these 
pointers as placeholders, referring to a generic function 
that performs a simple version of the task until the 
programmer replaces it with a more complete routine. 
For instance, the application kernel could contain basic 
window redrawing routines that capture the appropriate 
WIMP messages and deal with the moving, opening and 
closing of a window. 

These would suffice until more intricate graphics 
were required, and at this stage a new redrawing 
function would be registered to take the place of the 
existing one. Without pointers, this would have required 
a change in the source code; with pointers it could be 
done on the fly. There are quite a few more applications 
for function pointers; I hope you find them 
useful. See you next time. UkU# 


Mum ford 
looks at 
the details June 1999 

* BEYOlin 


Rise PC £35.00 
version inc. V/ 

"HTMLEdit is the 

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Acorn User 

" The only HTML editor 
worth considering " 


Next Generation 

WWW Authoring For RiscOS 

Acorn Publisher 

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The press agree with us when we say that our RiscOS Web 
Authoring solutions set new standards in power and ease of use. 
Now, in our quest to produce an even more integrated and 
powerful solution, we've put together a single pack containing: 

HTMLEdit 4+: Java support, sound and music, link and image 

checking, syndax colouring and OLE.... £53 

Enhanced Web Toolkit: Visual frames, tables, animations, 

maps, palette control, drawfile conversion.., £30 
WebSpell: A complete HTML-aware spelling checker £15 

Webster XL: The latest version of our hot new browser with 

frames, tables, forms, sound and JavaScript. £25 

Also, check out our new SiteMaster for absolute control over your whole site! £25 
R-Comp, 22 Robert Moffat, High Legh, Knutsford, Cheshire WA16 6PS 

"Using the program 
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Locksmith £15 
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Grab your 
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Tel: 01925 755043 Fax: 01925 757377 



Alasdair Bailey 
gives the low-down 
on the latest and forth- 
coming games releases 

T his month's Game Show is a bit of a mixed bag, 
there's updates on a number of exciting 
projects along with news of what's at the 
Wakefield show for gamers, plus a final look at 
BotKiller 2. 

Show news 

By the time you read this you'll probably either be at 
the Wakefield show or back at home wondering why 

in action yet, it's sure to add many more hours of fun to 
an already addictive game. Heroes of Might and Magic 
2 was reviewed by Steve Mumford in the january issue, 
but this new add-on should create a whole new 
experience. The pack contains four new campaigns, 
each containing many new buildings, items and heroes, 
along with features to allow for more structured 
gameplay. The add-on should retail for around the £20 
mark and, although it sounds like a lot for some extra 

levels, it should be well worth it. 

Although R-Comp have nothing radically new at the 
^ show, there is still more in the pipeline. 

Andrew Rawnsley, R-Comp's front man and 
ft business partner is currently looking into 

■ converting a PC real-time strategy game 
which I can't tell you about just yet. Suffice 
to say, this title was very popular on the PC 
i— >r- r 5 r, so it should be yet another fine conversion 

”1 = i. when we see it on the Acorn side. R-Comp 
: 1 £ are also working on converting not one, but 
-. vlffil 1 1 three flight simulations. More details will be 
| - | available in coming months, but it's good to 
sims are on the way when 

you missed it. I won't go into the particulars of the 
show itself because I'm the games writer, someone else 

■"■"■g* see some 

gS the last one we saw was Star Fighter 3000. 
19 E3 Ar,ex Software will be travelling all the way 

'Y from Germany to be present at the show. 
Copies of Exodus, Ankh and the recently 
released BotKiller 2 will be available, along 
with team members who will be willing to 
chat about Artex's work on the Acorn 
platform. Their new real-time strategy game, TEK, was 
initially due for release at the show but it's unclear at 
this stage as to whether it will be or not. It is possible 

has to tell you about shows. I'll just tell you about all 
things gaming-related at the show. 

Sadly, R-Comp have no new game conversions to 
launch, but they will be present selling all their titles 
along with a couple of upgrades if we're lucky. The 
long-overdue Doom+ bi-linear filtering upgrade should 
be available to existing users, as should the new 
expansion pack for their excellent Heroes of Might and 
Magic 2 conversion. Bi-linear filtering was present in R- 
Comp's Hexen and Heretic releases which were 
reviewed last issue. But in case you were terribly ill and 
unable to buy a copy, bi-linear filtering is a method of 
smoothing wall and floor textures, along with anything 
else you might fancy, in order to eradicate that horrid 
pixellation which occurs when close up. 

The new Heroes of Might and Magic expansion 
pack, The Price of Loyalty , will also be available at the 
show, and although I haven't seen the enhanced game 

Bi-linear Filtering 

Notice the smoother overall appearance of the wall detail when the filtering is turned on. 

With filtering 

Without filtering 

M )une 1999 


June 1999 

that Artcx will be taking 
advance orders for the game at 
the show hut I doubt it will be 
ready for you to take home. 

Whatever happens; Jan Klose 
has promised not to let us 
down, and there'll be a couple 
of machines present to 
demonstrate TEK's current 
state of development. 

Tau Press will be present at 
the show, selling copies of the 
new CD version of Destiny. 

The game, originally released 
back in the summer of 1998, 
was fraught with bugs, and the 
initial Internet reviews weren't 
too pleased with it at all. 

However, since then, Robert 
Templeman has found time to 

tidy the game up and improve ^ mock-up of the ( hi MR hnrdwnrc 

the graphics in time for a CD 

marketplace as we now know it. For example, Harry 
Decker of Nottingham writes: 

"With the cancellation of Phoebe , do you think the 
Acorn gaming scene has a future ? What new hardware 
is there on the horizon to take Phoebe's place?" 

Sadly, I don't think that the gaming scene can have 
any viable future unless new hardware appears soon. 
Having said that, we have yet to see any native title 
take the StrongARM to its true limits. Perhaps Iron 
Dignity will show us what this platform capable of 
but it doesn't look like that will go on sale before the 
end of the year. There are a couple of other home- 
grown games on the way, all will be revealed in the 
coming months. 

The next major hardware development may well be 
the Rise PC motherboard upgrade from 
Millipede. If done properly, this could 
effectively give us a Phoebe in a Rise PC's 
box. Sadly, the ChiOS project to put a 
variant of RISC OS and a StrongARM 
processor inside an off the shelf PC has been 
shelved after a major beneficiary was forced 
to withdraw from the project. It's early days 
yet, we're just going to have to wait and see 
what materialises. 

Another query a couple of people have 
sent me concerns the original version of 
Doom. James Dean from my home town of 
Leicester survived the car accident to write: 
"When I load DOOM , it occasionally quits 
while looking at the WAD file with the error 
'Template magnifier not found ' what am I 
doing wrong?" 

Well done, you've discovered one of the 
little quirks present in Doom which was 
fixed by the Doom+ upgrade. It happens 
when another program starts up or plots 
some windows while Doom is initialising. 
You can quite simply work around it by not 
using the computer while Doom starts up. 

If you have any questions, no matter how 
trivial, don't hesitate to get in touch with me 
at or by snail mail via 

release. I won't be reviewing the game here for obvious 
reasons, but if you'd like to read a review before 
buying, check out either of the main Internet gaming 
sites; there's a full review on Acorn Arcade at or alternatively take a 
look at Gareth Moore's Acorn Gaming site at 

APDL will be launching a number of new CD-based 
game compilations at the show. Keep an eye on this 
column for more news and reviews of all the Wakefield 


A number of readers have been sending me questions 
lately with regard to the future of the games 

Product: BotKiller 2 
Price: £15 (including VAT and P&P) 

Supplier: WAG Software, 5 Queens 
Close, East Markham, Nr 
Newark, Notts, NG22 OQY 
E-mail: richard@wilsontigger. 

WWW: http:// www. wilsontigger. 

the usual editorial address. Although I will endeavour to 
reply to all questions, I can't promise to publish 
everything you send. 

BotKiller 2 Revisited 

After my review of a slightly pre-release version of 
Artex's new platformer in the April issue, the team have 
been hard at work and an even better version has just 
landed on my desk. The game was due for release way 
back in February, but unfortunately the person 
employed to do the sound effects was involved in a car 
accident which delayed proceedings somewhat. 

Anyway, the game is now finished and it's looking quite 
a bit better than before. 

Level design has been greatly improved, and a 
very nice difficulty curve now exists, along with some 
later levels which will tax even the most skilled 
games player. The very prominent puzzle-solving angle 
still exists, something which brings a very welcome 
break from slaying robots. No new in-game elements 
have been added, but those that were present before 
have been utilised rather nicely. End of level baddies 
are now present in the release version and, as with 
all titles, they add a nice twist to the game. More 
scenery has been added, giving levels a much nicer 
look and feel. 

The in-game shop has also been improved. Details 
of your current armoury are displayed, so there is no 
need to flick back into the game to decide what to buy. 
A shop is also available on almost every level now, 

~°1 1 ^ v) ~ 

L e v el Infer m a t i 6 n 

This is the last level. 

You Mill be confronted with the 
descend any deeper*. 

r r 

V 'm> 

•\ ft'wl brief in g 

something I recommended to the team after seeing the 
initial version. 

Character animations have been improved, but 
unfortunately my criticism of the slow speed of 
movement still stands. A nice dying animation, along 
with improved menu and title screens have also been 
added and everything comes together very nicely now. 
BotKiller 2 should be in every platformer addict's 
collection, and at a price of £15, non- 
believers can't go far wrong either. 

Product details 

hU|)://«rnuser.tom June 1 999 


• SA RPC 600, 203Mb HD, 5+2Mb 
RAM, 17irt colour monitor, Turbo 
Driver, MIDI interface, 

Impression , 100 "look" fonts. £700 
ono. Tel: 01691 780 452 
(Shropshire) Lesley Applebee 

• Inherited A3010, VDU, printer, 
mouse - need manual. Tel: 01386 
861 306 (Pershore, Worcs) A C 

• Acorn Electron, disk drive, tape 
drive, printer, ROM drive, 
software, manuals, cables, 
monitor, magazines. £100 ono. 
Tel: 07788 968 224 (Herts) 7pm - 
10pm. Peter Mayne 

• A3000, RISC OS 3.1, 2Mb RAM, 
colour monitor, VGC. £110. Tel: 
01372 815 184 (Surrey) D 

• RPC700, 17Mb RAM, 450Mb HD, 
17 inch monitor, PC card, CD- 
ROM, lots of software, excellent 
condition. £700. Tel: 01652 654 

• Urgently required: serial port 
upgrade kit and anything econet, 
both for my faithful old A3000. 
Also in search of a HD. Any 
donations gratefully received as I 
am a poor student with a passion 
for Acorns. Please Tel: 01722 326 
731 (Wilts) Richard Godwin 

• RPC600, 20+2Mb RAM, 540Mb 
HD, CD-ROM, scanlight 256, 
speakers, lots of software and 
games including OvationPro , 
Artworks, Personal Accounts4, 
SimCity 2000, Exedos, StarFighter 
3000. £700. Tel: 01923 779 141 
(Watford) Andrew Dickinson 

• A3010, 2Mb RAM, AKF52 
monitor, Epson LQ100 printer - 
original boxes and manuals, 
software, excellent condition. 

£200 ono. Tel: 01299 270 746 
(Shropshire) Ross 

• Software for sale: TurboDriver 
for Cannon BJC800 including 
fonts disc, cable, etc, £20; 

Genesis +, £10; CableNews 
presentation package, £15; Tabs 
3D net design package, £15. Tel: 
01953 681 684 (Suffolk) Mike 

• A3010 learning curve, 80Mb HD, 
monitor, plenty of software 
(games + utilities). £125. Tel: 

01395 514 069 (Sidmouth, Devon) 
David Pilkington 

• Acorn hardware and software, 
both 8-bit and 32-bit range: 
games, utils, business, DTP. 
Plenty of BBC's with DFS, 
A3000's and upgrades available. 
Tel: 0151 637 0993 (Wirral) K 

• Please help me I am a student 
with a keen underlying interest 
in Acorn computers, but I have 
no money. I am down on my 
hands and knees begging for any 
software or hardware that you 
want to donate. Please Tel: 01722 
326 731 (Wilts) Richard Godwin 

• SA RPC 233, 37Mb RAM, 1.7Gb 
HD, 24xCD-ROM, x586 PC card 
(software+DOS7). £750 ono. Tel: 
0151 928 8207 (Liverpool) Alan 

• A3000s and A3020s for sale. All 
with 4Mb RAM, RISC OS 3, 
monitors, SCSI cards and in 
perfect condition. A3000, £100. 
A3020, £150. Also A3020 bits: 
4Mb RAM, £20; keyboards, £20; 
disc drivers, £15. Tel: 01953 681 
684 (Suffolk) Mike Bailey 

• A3000 RISC OS 3.11, 4Mb RAM, 
80Mb HD, manuals, software 
including DTP and clip art, 
monitor, printer. £150 ono. Tel: 
01425 279 7474 (Dorset) Mr 

• SA RPC, 20+3Mb RAM, 2Gb HD, 
8xCD-ROM, DX4-100 PC card + 
Win95, PM ISO MIDI, AKF60 
monitor, Artworks CD, Ovation, 
Midiworks, Rhapsody3, games, 
£700 ono. Tel: 01487 843 637 
(Cambridgeshire) in evenings. C 

• Wanted: Lemming Tribe software 
for use on A3000, can anyone 
help please. Tel: 01934 521 886 
(Somerset) after 18:00hrs. G 

• ISV Tenulator' graphic pen, 
complete Acorn /PC software, 
hardly used, original box. £18. 

Tel: 0181 579 2652 (daytime), Tel: 
01494 875 492 (evenings) G 
Greenfield (Bucks) 

• RPC600, 16Mb RAM, 420Mb HD, 
2xCD-ROM, 2nd slice, no 
monitor. £300. A5000, 4MB RAM, 
HD, monitor, etc. £175. Epson 
stylus 800 mono printer + turbo 
driver. £55. Tel: 01268 734 215. 

• A3010, 4Mb RAM, 256Mb HD, 
CD-ROM, monitor, complete set 
of 3.5 inch cover discs, Acorn 
mags from 1980's to present day. 
£400. Tel: 0191 565 4024 
(Sunderland) Robert 

• A5000, 4Mb RAM, 428Mb HD, 
Floating-Point Accelerator chip, 
RISC OS 3.11, manuals, boxed, 
some software, used at home. 
£190. Tel: 01276 65 512 
(Camberley, Surrey) M Hodgson 

• RPC, SA upgrade, 5Mb RAM, 
Sibelius7, Melidi sequencer, other 
software, keyboard, mouse, 
monitor. £Offers. Tel: 01460 63030 
(Chard, Somerset) G Harper 

• Simcity 2000 £10, Turbodriver £10, 
Impression Style £20, Easy C £20, 
Hearsay £10, Pipedream £10, Stunt 
Racer £10, 500DD discs £25. E- 
mail: or Tel: 
01628 631072. Ashley Cox 

• RPC600 with 700 CPU, 48Mb 
DRAM, 1.2Gb HD, 8xCDRom, 
586 133MHz PC card, Windows 
95/98 very good condition £600, 
also MIDI max card £20, RPC600 
CPU card £50, plus lots of 
software. E-mail: or Tel: 01703 

• A5000 80Mb hard drive 4Mb 
RAM. Mitsubishi BW scanner 
with motor drive. 14 inch AFK18 
monitor. £350. E-mail: or Tel: 
01423 884466 (Harrogate) Kieron 

• RPC 600 2-slice 24+1 Mb RAM, 
400Mb HD, CD-ROM, AKF60 
Monitor, MIDI Card, 486DX PC 
Card, lots of software including 
Impression Publisher, Artworks, MS 
Office Pro plus game pad and 
Simon The Sorcerer. £650 ono. E- 
mail: or Tel: 
01223 276170 (Cambridge) Tim 

• Going fast! Only Birds of War, 
Virtual Golf (and Augusta), Stunt 
Racer (and tracks) and Break 147 
left! Just £10 each. Tel: 0958 
746440. Steven Spooner. 

• User port/MIDI £20, network 
cards £40, external CD-ROM 
drives £50, RAM 2-4MB: £20, 
StrongARM upgrade £100, PC 
cards, £25. Tel: 0116 2741633 after 

• RPC700, 18Mb, RISC OS 3.6, 
812Mb HD, 4XCD, 586 PC Card, 
14" Monitor, Ultimate Doom, 
£500 o.n.o. will pay delivery. Tel: 
01224 571894 (evenings). 
Campbell (Aberdeen) 

copy of Acorn's Toolbox for 
freeware student programer. All 
offers please - E-mail or Tel: 
01743 23 12 48 (Shrewsbury) 
Peter Price 

• RPC 700, 26+2Mb RAM, 850Mb 
HD, CJE-133 Card, AFK-60 
Monitor, £600. E-mail: or Tel: 
01782 245204. Andy 

• Giving away or throwing away 
Acorn User, Micro User & Acorn 
Computing magazines. Late 80's 
& 90's. Tel: 0118 973 0587 or E- 
mail gordon@soundmasters 

• Acorn A3010, 4Mb, 120Mb HD, 
14" SVGA monitor, Easiword, 
variousgames and new Acorn 
boot sequence. 195 ono. Contact 
Damian on 01225318464 or 

• A3000 RISC OS 3.11, 120Mb HD 
(with spare), 4Mb RAM, 14" 
monitor, boxed with manuals, 
software and printer. £175 o.n.o. 
buyer collects. Tel: 01480 476371 
(St Neots, Cambs) A Hynes 

• A4000 with monitor, keyboard, 
mouse, trackerball and 
powerpad with the game Burn 
Out. £200 o.n.o. Tel: 016973 43518 
(Wigton, Cumbria) Alan 

• 2 RPC PC Cards 586 133Mhz 
(CJE) £150 each. 15" Monitor 
with on-screen menu £50. Tel: 
01223 812080 evenings 
(Cambridge) Peter Rank 

• RPC 600, 20+1 Mb, 210HD, 

AKF60 monitor, 2nd slice, 2xCD- 
ROM, Publisher, Artworks, 

Webster XL, Scan Light 256, Canon 
BJ-lOsx printer & more. £750 ono. 
Tel: 01744 893392 (St. 

• A310 RISC OS 3.1, ARM3, 4Mb 
Pipedream3, Acorn DTP, Leading 
Edge joystick adapter, games, 
discs, books, manuals, etc. £200. 
Tel: 01508 578189 (Norwich) 

June 1999 

Dave Acton 
and Dave 
see how 
much they 
can get 
away with 

A bit of a bender Author: Mark Adcock 

Just when you thought an idea was dead, it's amazing 
what you can do to bring it back to life. Mark Adcock 
has revamped his Parallax demo from the March issue, 
sprinkled some magic pixie dust on it (now, now, 

Mark, go easy on that dust), appended the mystical 
rune '2' onto the end of the name, and knock me down 
with a greasy spatula if it isn't a whole new 

'This is a variation on the old spin-a-sprite-around- 
and-zoom-in-and-out theme. It has all the necessary 
features for a *info classic - it's a sequel, it has a silly 
name and, more importantly, it got to it's current state 
by a mix of vaguely clever coding, a few went-wrong- 
isms and some experimenting. It also moves around 
the screen violently in a very squelchy kind of way, 
making you feel ill without any resort to colour 


speed% - between 10 and 20, but you can go higher if 
you want. 

high% - If high=l the plotting routine will use 1x2 
blocks (slow Rise PC users might want to take the 

Inner tube 

Author: Mark Adcock 

WAIT out) If high=0 2x2 blocks will be used 
(Recommended for pre-Risc PC machines) 
ds% - If low, the routine will only plot non zero 
pixels. These leave some interesting trails behind. 

This started out as a fairly normal, non-zooming, 
sprite spinning effect. To make it as quick as possible, I 
interpolated the x and y positions in the source texture 
across the screen. The 
zooming was added 
by mistake when I used the 
wrong offset in my sine 
table to get a cosine value 
for an angle. I'm sure you 
can spot it. To add the 
warping effect, I increased 
the source texture y 
coordinate by fractions of 
itself, the y source 
coordinate, and a constant. 

What fraction of each you 
add on depends on a few 
sine waves in the mainloop.' 

Mark Adcock has obviously been busy staring down 
some slimy tubes recently, although quite why that 
would inspire Plastun is anyone's guess. Plastun is a 

real-time plasma-mapped tunnel. The program works 
by mapping a 64x64 plasma field onto a 256x256 
portion of the screen in 2 by 2 blocks. 

The program generates a table beforehand which 
maps every 2x2 block to a source pixel in the plasma 
field. Onto this, x and y offsets are added, these change 
at the rate determined by the mouse position: Moving 
the mouse left and right adjusts the rate of spin, 
moving it vertically changes the speed and direction of 
progress down the tunnel. 

To darken the plasma towards the center of the 
screen, the intensity of the plasma is multiplied by the 
distance from the center of the screen. The distances are 
stored in the mapping table. 

A Rise PC-only, 256 fully definable palette mode is 
used to make the 2x2 blocks less obvious. The effect 
looks even better if you stand back from the screen... 

http ://w vvw. a co r n use r. co m 

June 1999 

Boom bandit 

Author: Mark Adcock 

At 10km above sea level, sound travels at 300m /s. An object travelling at 
this speed is at mach 1, one going 150m/ s is at mach 0.5 and so on. For a 
stationary object (mach 0), the waves of sound that it emits can be shown 
by drawing a set of concentric circles centred around the object gradually 
getting larger. The circles usually represent the peaks of the waves, so for 
a constant frequency they should be equally spaced. For a moving object, 
the circles bunch up at the front because after the object has emitted one 
wave, it moves a little bit, then emits the second. 

So, rather than the circles having the same centre, they have 
different centres, causing them to bunch up in front of the object and 
spread out behind it. If the object is moving at the same speed that the 
waves spread out at (mach 1) , then the circles all bunch on top of 
each other, causing turbulence and a loud sonic boom, because all 
the amplitudes of the waves are added together to create a huge 
pressure. At speeds beyond mach 1 the object overtakes it's own sound 
waves so it will pass an observer before the noise reaches 

This program also shows the doppler effect. 

Because the wave peaks are closer together at the front, 
the pitch is higher, and at the back it is lower. The noise 
is higher as the object approaches you, and then becomes 
lower soon after it has passed you. You can hear this 
when an ambulance passes you on the street. The 
doppler effect occurs with other waves, not just 
sound. Doppler shifting in the case of light and other 
EM radiation is the main way we can work out how 
fast other stars are moving away from us, leading 

to the conclusion that the universe started with a big bang and is still 

Doppler shifting of a star's light is known as ’red shift* because the 
wavelengths of light get longer and move towards the red end of the 

In the program, The object moving remains fixed in the centre of 
the screen and the ground moves right to left along with the 
wavefronts. Move the mouse left and right to change the speed 
of the object. 


























SR7I Blackbird 





All in a lava 

Author: Alex Waugh 

As promised last month we have Alex 
Waugh's LavaLwnp. In terms of realism it 
scores very highly. In terms of speed it, 
unfortunately, scores very poorly, and those 
are Alex's words! It requires 2Mb of VRAM to 
achieve its 24-bit gooiness and, unless you 
have a StrongARM, will barely creep along. 
Run the program and choose what colours to 
use, green blobs on a red background is 
particularly blobby. 

It works by moving the blobs around, with 
a slight random influence, and then for each 
pixel calculates and sums the intensity from 
each blob as if it were a light 
source, using the inverse square 
law. It then uses this to set the 
colour of the pixel. Only one of 
the red, green or blue 
components of the pixel is 
altered, so the background is left 
unchanged unless the 
background is the same colour as 
the blobs. 

Alex said he tried using a 
lookup table to speed up the 
intensity calculations, but 
this only seemed to slow it down 
(he cannot work out why). We 
can't really work it out either - 
surely a single table lookup 
should be quicker than a division 
for each of the points for each of 
the pixels on the screen. But as to 
exactly how the ins and outs of 

the SA cache work who can say. If anyone 
knows and would like to modify the source (C 
supplied) please let us know. 

In the meantime, we have performed a 
modicum of open heart surgery and produced 
hwalwnpl this is identical in every respect 
apart from the fact it only does a quarter of 
the resolution and doubles up all the pixels! 
Blocky maybe but still quite blobby. 

.V June 1999 http://www.acornuser.corn 


Cubic blues (and reds, and greens) Author: Jack Peacock 


If you thought the most colourful cubical 
experience to be had was on a rainy afternoon 
in Hounslow Bus Station toilets with three 
Croatian seamen, think again. For altogether 
more wholesome, yet vibrantly colourful 
entertainment, peruse these files from Jack 

Jack is clearly a well-read student of hue, 
and supplies a set of drawfiles that will quite 
literally take your understanding of colour 
into the third dimensions. ColorCubeA and 
ColorCubcB together form the two halves of 
an RGB colour cube. 

You will need the obligatory pair of Blue 
Peter round-ended scissors, non-toxic glue 
and quite probably some sticky backed plastic 
as well. Oh, and a colour printer of course, of 
which these files will provide a mean test (and 
be sure to get those flaps nice and sticky or 
your final erection may well come adrift 
in your hand). 'Each of the six faces has 256 
colour mixes which gives, discounting the 

repetitions along the twelve edges, the 
equivalent of 1352 colour blocks showing on 
the net surface of the cube. The remaining 
2744 less pure mixes are of course concealed in 
the imaginary blocks within the cube, passing 
through mid greys in the centre. 

'In order to see the cube at 
all - let alone print it - you 
must have the font Selwyu 
immediately available to your 
System. Even so, you will not 
see the true colours on screen 
unless you have a Colour Card 
or have a machine with a 
minimum 32 thousand colours 
available. This is due to the use of 
255 values in Text Areas rather 
than Red + Green + Blue 
percentages in Draw. The reason 
for this choice is memory - the 
same two drawfiles created in 
RGB ' % would raise the cost from 

32K uncompressed to 200K 

'Note, although the cube faces may appear 
strangely limited in colour on earlier 
machines, they should still be handled fairly 
well by your printer. The exception to this is in 
interpreting the lightest values where colours 

Th* “S' fop mute be &uec under- 
neam ine lA^genvs - Bkx s*de test, 
before me asse/r.&y mstmcuon 2 

The RGB-CMY Colour Cube 

PREPARATION After printing, tin- nsoA-f sfucts should be glued to light weight 
card - or even engineer quality cartridge would do. Thi » is prvhabtv best done with a 
spray mount type of due Before accurate ly cutting ■ mt the pieces, all dotted Baa should 
lx- scored with a stilus or the reverse (wrong! edge if a scalpel blade The pieces 
should next be cut along all solid lines using a sharp knife and metal rule, and should 
then be fdded along the scored lines and flattened out again before starting the 

assembly ASSEMBLY 1) Using a tton- 
irnjkici glue <a Prist or Tipp-lix or similar glue 
stick is adequate!, attach the mo extra flaps as 
directed in ColorCubcB 
1) Apply glue to flap " A" aid carefully join 
the two unions of the cut *• together along 
the Rod - Magenta edge It is important 
that this join is accurate 3) Aftply due to 
flaps **B" and **C*\ and join tfu Blue to 
Magenta edges together and the Red to 
Yellow alecs toother 4) Sliding tfu 
assembly in er the corner ef a taNc *» ill case 
the application of glue to flaps **1)“ ami 
“E". and the cube can Ire folded *md joint'd 
appropriate! \ This leas es the sixth flapless 
side to be joined to the three remaining fkqrs 
“F*\ * 4 <r and •*H*\ 5) Complete triangle 

**T' as dirtcteil in ColorCubcB 
61 Again the comer ef a table aids the 
implication if glue to the last three flaps. 

7) Btfore joining the last side, drop the 
triangle inside the cube, allow ing the thread 
to exit our the White comer K) Do not 
fold the flaps eonpletely inwards, but allow 
the pressure from the last side to d*r this for 
you as you fold and join it 

The cube can now' be properly suspended 
w ith sehitc at the top and block lit the bottom 


■■■■■■■■■■■a mum*i ■ m m m «■■■■■■■ 

■■■■■■■■■■HHfSS §11 : $■■■■■ 

• ■ itinmnni 

■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ ■■EKHOHHH 

Glue the ~A " flap from ColorCubeB 
under the Red - Magenta edge . 


approach white. The values have therefore 
been doctored slightly to give smoother 
gradation in print, particularly noticeable 
in the increased amount of yellow in 
order to compensate for this 
pigment's notorious weakness in 
paint or ink mixes. 

'If you wish, the 255 combination values 
can be extracted from the files by highlighting 
each of the six faces individually, and saving 
each as a Text Area. To convert the 255 values 
to RGBs you can use in Draw, divide them by 
255 and multiply by 100. For instance '203 0 
187' is 79.6' ’> Red, O' < Green, and 73.3% Blue, 
which makes a fair purple.' 

Jack has supplied a lot more information 
on matters of colour and hue in the form of 
three more drawfiles which you will find on 
the cover disc. In particular, Jack explores the 
subject from the perspective of the Art and 
Design scholar, rather than that of the 
physicist, and argues the case for those who 
wish to dispel the ’myth’ of the Three Primary 
Pigment Theory. 

Jack explores the history of 'primary' 
pigments, from the initial ideas of Titian, 
through Le Blon's three colour lithographic 
separations, and onto nineteenth and 
twentieth century theories where colour 
models based on five and even six 'base' 
colours emerged. All invaluable material for 
those who know their anilines from their 
elbows. June 1999 





Sha/e keyboard, mouse etc 
between RiscPC and PC 
Complete with all cables, adaptors etc. Add PS2Mouso 
to use a switched PS/2 mouse with an Acorn machine 
Keyboard (AT or PS/2). PS/2 mouse and Serial £39.95 
(Ideal if your monitor has 2 inputs available) 

Keyboard + Monitor (twisted pair VDU cables) £39.95 
Keyboard. Monitor, Serial (eg serial mouso) £49.95 
Keyboard. Monitor. PS/2 mouse £49.95 

15HDto5xBNC cablo for 2-input monitors £19 95 
15HD m-m tw pair (as supplied with switches) £14.95 
Many other switches, cables and adaptors avallablel 




An ergonomic trackball 
which plugs directly into 
your Acornl 

Features ergonomic shape with 3 buttons. 
Heavy ball may be easily removed for 
cleaning. Switch allows reconfiguration of 
Select / Menu position. 

Trackball £34.95 


/ v "A pleasure to use" 

/ Neal Philips, AU, Xmas 1998 

Use directly on A7000. or via PS2Mouse/ 
PS2Mouse+ on other machines £34.95 
or purchased with PS2Mouse/t £29.95 


... allows you to use any PS/2 

device wifh your Acorn only £24.95 

PS2Mouse+ with a port for Acorn mouse 
Ideal for touchpad or trackballs £39.95 

<«J x >jm 

Not quite everything we do is new! 

These are just some examples of our wide 
range of Game, Interface and SEN Access 

If you would like further information, please 
see our website, telephone or write to ask 
for our full product information flyer. 

Please note ourJJUJJJ telephone 

PO Box 183, OLDHAM OL2 8FB 

www: http i/Twww.stdevel 
Tel: 01 706 848 600 (9am - 9pm) 

Orange: 0976 255 256 dFAX 0870 1 64 1 604 
Ail pnces include P&P. Ail trademarks acknowleged E&OE. 
Acce ss/Vi sa' De I ta ; Mas t e rcard accepted. 

PC Cards Again! rci 

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 
DirectX/VESA support does not generally benefit from 
more than 128Kb cache anyway. 

Aieph One Limited 

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


Iiyama 15" 350 
Iiyama 17" (S702GT) ,28dot 
Iiyama 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 vvarrty) 
Many other models available 







Switch Boxes 

Parallel 2 way (25w 'D' skts) £ 1 6.99 

Parallel 4 way (25w 'D' skts) £ 1 9.99 

Serial 2 way (9w 'D' skts) £ 19.99 
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 Sty lus Colour 440 £ 1 25.00 

Epson Stylus Colour 640 £ 1 59.00 

Epson Stylus Colour 850 £279.00 

HP Laserjet 1 100 (laser mono) £289.00 



Pineapples Virus Protection 
Scheme has been running for 
over six years and is stilf 
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 

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 

Pineapple Software 

352 Green Lane, ILFORD 
Essex IG3 9JS 

Tel 0181 599 1476 Fax 0181 598 2343 

Terms:- All prices include 

17.5% 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. 


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

f y Now just ★ £99.00 ★ 

%/S/ v Users note FREE update v2. 16 is now available. 

As if your fun was not complete, here is a veritable compendium of games 

in a single, modest Basic program. Matthew Wilson is the programmer behind PingPong 

not so much a bat-and-ball game as, well, 27 bat-and-ball games. 

'PingPong is a small Basic file with a graphically prehistoric, but surprisingly addictive 
2 player ball game. No, not the 'keep the ball from going off the screen' Pong type thing. 
It's more like tennis, in as much as tennis can be played by floaty triangles - basically 
keep the ball(s) off your side by walloping them with your bat onto the other side. There 
are loads of game parameters that can be tweaked, and a menu of 'pre-tweaked' games 
to choose from too/ 

It is these pre-tweaked variants that provided us with much delight in the *info office - 
they have wonderfully descriptive names. Who could resist a quick session of zooni- 
about-low-net fatty-whack? 

Headache , on the other hand, is a 'colour cycling zooming diverging random mess'. It is 
well named and probably fortunate that there is only one of them. 

Rays your glasses Author: Jack Peacock 

...and toast what will surely be the last 
Basic ray-tracing program to grace these 
hallowed pages. Tom Thorne is the 
force behind it and he supplies two 
versions - a plain phong shaded one 
(three snooker balls in a coal shed) and 
a bump mapped one (three golf balls in 
a coal shed, assorted colours). 

As we look back over the last 100 *infos, 

Ivor bold one 
(and a medium one) 

Author: Ivor Clarke 

If you enjoyed Ivor Clarke's fonts on the January' 
1999 cover disc, you will be appreciative of this 
update. Ivor has been gently tweaking with his 
earlier creation and has also added the dreaded 
Euro symbol too. (As it happens, we at the *info 
office have just acquired new machines complete 
with Euros on the 4 key and I still regularly 
mistake these tor ants.) 

Add Ivor's fonts to your regular '.Fonts 
directory as per the instructions in the January' 
issue. Both the eponymous Ivor (which comes in 
bold, medium and light flavours) and Technical 
have received a makeover. 

it staggers us to think of what a load of 
balls (of one sort or another) have been 
on show - some merely static, illuminated 
by some hazy, virtual light - others 
bouncing around like there's no 
tomorrow. Tom's are some of the finest 
yet seen though, and he gives us some 
information on how to get the most out 
of them. 

'Altering xres and yres changes the 
resolution of the image produced. The 
raytracer works by giving the viewers eye 
and the screen coordinates in 3D space. 

For each pixel to be coloured on the screen, 
the program tests to see if a ray fired 
from the viewers eye through the 
corresponding point on the virtual 
screen would intersect with a sphere. If so 
then the phong illumination model is 
used to see how close to a light source 
another ray reflected from the surface 
would be, to choose an appropriate colour 
for the sphere. 

'The distance to intersection is calculated 
using the vector of the ray, the coordinates of 
the sphere and the coordinates of the eye, 
solving a quadratic equation (too big to write 
down). If the ray does not intersect the 
equation will be unsolvable, otherwise it will 
give two distances along the ray (hitting the 
front and back of the sphere). 

'The quadratic equation can be found as 
follows. When a point in 3D space (x,y,z) is on 
the surface of a sphere at (a,b,c) of radius r, 

(x-a) *2+(y-b) A 2+(z-c) A 2=r A 2 

'A point (x,y,z) of distance t along a ray of 
vector (vx,vy,vz) from an origin (ex,ey,ez) is: 




'Substituting these into the equation for a 
point on the surface of a sphere allows you 

create a quadratic equation which can be 
solved to find t, the distance along the ray 
where x,y and z will be on the surface of a 


Press SPr.CE or click nouse to continue 

Water way to go 

Author: Mark Adcock 

Move the mouse left and right to change wind 
direction, up and down to change number of rain 
drops (to suit the speed of your machine). Mark 
Adcock originally sent Rain ages ago and it was 
scheduled for the September 1997 issue, hut 
somehow it never made it into the magazine. 
Anywho, here it is 21 months late. June 1999 

David Barrow way back in the August 1994 
Acorn User , you'll be in Norway disappointed 
with this desktop Euroversion. 

'Spotlight on Europe is a quiz testing the 
user's knowledge of countries and 
geographical features of the continent of 
Europe. Features are highlighted on a map of 
Europe and the user 
must identify them, 
selecting an answer 
from a choice of six. 

'Any combination of 
the eight categories can 
be attempted together: 
countries, capitals, 
cities, rivers, islands. 

peaks, inland features and sea/ coastal 
features. The aim is to give as many correct 
answers as possible in two minutes [not 
wanting to Russia or anything]. 

'To begin a new game, either click Select 
on the iconbar icon or choose the 'New 
game...' option from the iconbar menu. The 
computer will choose a random category out 
of the ones selected in this window for each 

'Click on the button at the bottom of the 
window to start the game. You will see the 
first geographical feature to be identified 
highlighted on the map of Europe, and a list of 
six answers to choose from. Click an answer 
or type in it's number. 

'You must select the 
correct answer before 
you can continue with the 
next question. When your 
two minutes are up, 
you will be told your score 
and asked to enter your name 
for the score table [if you 
have done well enough not 

If you are Hungary 
for more, Jonathan has 
many plans for future 
enhancements, including 
extending the map 
eastwards to encompass 
Elbrus, Europe's highest 
mountain. (And watch out 
for next month's issue 
when we shall seamlessly 
weave Dnepropetrovsk 
into a cunning 

If you fancy czeching out your knowledge of 
things European, Denmark this page in your 
favourite magazine. Here you will find details 
of the splendid Euroquiz SLoEurope {'Spotlight 
on Europe') from the equally splendid 
Jonathan Rawle. If you remember the original 
program Spotlight on Britain (or SLOB!) by J 

Test your bwioledge of Europe 

Damp quids 

Author: David Llewellyn-Jones 

DeskDmnp is a tiny tiny tiny program from 
David Llewellyn-Jones. It unleashes a 
fountain of dampness (if such a thing is 
possible) onto the unsuspecting desktop. The 
flow starts from the top, in the centre of the 
screen, and descends downwards until it hits a 
window or other object, at which point it will 
attempt to flow around it. By arranging the 
windows appropriately before you run the 
program (it isn't multi-tasking) it becomes 
possible to produce a pleasant 'mountain 
cascade' effect. 

As far as I know the program will only 
work in 256 colour modes on a Rise PC, 
but it shouldn't matter what size/ resolution 
the screen is set at. 

The program works by using a simple 
particle algorithm: each droplet will move 
downwards until it hits something, at 

which point it will attempt to move either left 
or right (choosing randomly if both are 
possible). If it cannot do any of these it will 
then attempt to move upwards. The program 
doesn't do this quite properly in order toallow 
it to fit into 256 bytes, but it's effective enough. 

Windows are detected using simple colour 
testing: if it's darker than the standard 
backdrop (colour 48) then it's considered to be 
a foreground object. If therefore you find that 
your windows are too clumsy to create the 
precise effect you want, it's possible to draw a 
landscape on a sprite and place this on your 

An example backdrop is included which 
produces quite a pleasing effect. Unfortunately 
neither SLO Europe nor DeskDmnp are on this 
cover disc. They will however be on next 
months along with more *info programs. 

*Quit J 

All submissions bendy 
or shaky welcome. 

*INFO, Acorn User, Tan 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. 

LV |une 1999 

Trackerball 60mm Heavy ball, Acorn or PC versions, half price! £ 75 

56K (V90) Modem £ 80 
32 Speed IDE CD ROM Drive with DAX £ 60 
CD ReWriter IDE with S/W from £ 275 
CD ReWriter SCSI Yamaha 4416 with S/W (needs SCSI interface) £ 345 
Acorn C++ HALF PRICE £ 125 
RiscOS PRM's Voll-4 HALF PRICE £ 55 
Acorn SCSI Interface for A3 10, A5000 etc Ideal for CD or Scanner £ 80 
CD ROM Drive Unit for A310/A5000 etc (Acorn MEU) needs scsi interface £ 115 
CD ROM Drive unit as above with Acorn SCSI Card £ 175 
Spacetech PDSView less than half price (Site Licence 66% off!) Single user £ 47 
Olympus 420L 2mb, 640x480 & Acorn software £ 305 
Olympus 1400XL4mb, 1280x1024, power zoom & Acorn software £ 850 
VTI Sound Sampler £ 47 / Acorn RiscPC 16 bit sound card £ 52 
NEW Product 250MB Zip Drive SCSI Ext. £ 195, Printer Port version with S/W £ 225 
RiscPC backplane £5 off, now £ 30 / A7000 Backplane £10 off, now £ 30 
8.4GB IDE IBM/Quantum Fireball Hard Disc £ 200 
Acorn Access+ interfaces A5000 l0b2&T, A3000 i0b2&T, A3020/4000 10b2 or RiscPC i0b2&T£ 105 

Epson Film Scan 200 with S/W new 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 

New RiscPC Systems Some still in stock as at 21.4.99 phone for price & specification 
DRAM simms for RiscPC’s 32MB £ 60, 64MB £ 105 & 128MB £ 250 
Acorn Advance Wordprocessor, Spreadsheet, Database & Graphs £ 58 

Second Hand RiscPC's 

Phone for spec. & Pricing! 

A7000+'s Now From Stock 
Internet, Foundation & Extreme Options 



Now available again. 


RiscOS 4 £ 120 

Fitting Service 

£25 or £15 with New Hard Drive 
Courier collection & return also available. 

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

All prices INCLUDE VAT @1 7.5% 

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

CJE4DV27 Tel 01 903 523222 Fax 01903 523679 

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 
BN11 2EN 
Tel: 01903 213361 
Fax: 01 903 523679 

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

Issue 206 - April 1999 

• !OHP uncovered 

• Acorn Confidence Part 1 

• ISleuth 3 Review 

• Java and !Impact-3 continued 

Issue 205 - March 1999 

• Web Wizard 

• Using Impact-3 

• Ovation Pro Tutorial 

• Java Programming 

Issue 204 - February 1999 

• Evolution demo CD 

• Evolution Competition 

• Site Seer review 

• Using Ovation Pro macros 

Issue 207 - May 1999 

• !ProCAD+ 

• Heretic & Hexen 

• Acorn Confidence Part II 

• Fishy Disk 

Missed out on one of our previous issues? 
Now's your opportunity to bring your collection 
up to date. But hurry - stocks are limited 

Issue 203 - January 1999 

• Rhapsody 4 

• AddressIT 

• Speakers reviewed 

• Film Trailer CD 

Issue 202 - Christmas. 1998 

• Writiflgjaw — 

# ^ 

• ^5^5^ rrRTng^ 

• Wimpvvorks vs Wimpbasic 

Issue 201 - Decenilier 1998 

• T^DianftF7Xccoiints 4 

• Sunburst review 

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Issue 207, May 1999 
Issue 206, April 1999 
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Send your order to: Subscriptions Dept, Visions Magazine, 
Tau Press, Media House, Adlington Park, Macclesfield SK10 4NP. 

Visions is packed with exciting and useful articles covering: 

• Role-playing ideas 

• Game source material 

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• Plus all the latest news in the RPG world 

Every high quality article is written by experienced role- 
players and personalities from the RPG world „ - / 

providing broad and creative support for your 
favourite games helping to make them even more M-Js 
fun by providing more plot ideas than you can 
finish. Plus regular features on figures. 


Name on card: 

S imon Anthony has come up with a 
useful little program which could 
prove a real boon for those who use 
the My World suite of programs. Called 
NeivSnver, this lets you save your work from 
any application and on any RISC OS machine. 
But in particular it adds new saving facilities 
to MyWorld providing a new, simpler, intuitive 
and familiar way of saving. 

NewSnver has two main modes of 
operation. The first mode can also be used in 
two ways - either via a large window (which 
looks like a normal MyWorld popup window) 
or via a much smaller window which holds 
the user's name. This second mode uses the 

single application directory called All Work 
for easy access and is automatically created 
the first time NewSnver is run. A neat and 
time-saving program. To find out more contact 
ECS on 0115 9799684. 

Suite vs standalone 

We've been contacted by a fourth year 
teaching student from Bishop Grosseteste 
Teacher Training College. Claire is researching 
the use of 1CT in classrooms especially 
focusing on the use of computers within 
english and music. What she needs is teachers' 
opinions on the use of computer suites versus 
one computer per classroom. If you have 

Saving the 

Pam Turnbull 
shows us who's 

normal saving menu from any MyWorld 2 
screen. Both modes can be used together. 

Files are then stored in directories named 
after the people who use them, or after the 
general nature of the items stored inside. This 
named directory, the 'Current User' directory, 
is accessible at all times and can be used on a 
standalone hard disc, floppy or network 

Each newly created directory has three 
sections within it which are not normally 
visible to the user all at once; a Work Done 
section for finished work, a To Finish section 
for work in progress and a To Print section 
which is best suited for use with MyWorld!. 
Each save directory application is stored in a 

experience you'd like to share with Claire then 
please drop her a line via Acorn User and we'll 
pass your comments on. 


Reporting on BE IT earlier in the year I 
mentioned Galaxy Kids which has just gone 
live in the UK on Freeserve. The producers of 
Galaxy Kids, Sunshine Multimedia (UK) Ltd, 
today launched a subscription magazine 
which uses the Internet to deliver a complete 
learning package for children aged 3 to 7 
directly into UK homes. 

Promising the equivalent of a 52 week 
part-work, Galaxy Kids allows children to 
play with the specially written interactive 
material live on the Internet, and also 
download a 'living book' and activity sheets to 
keep. Each weekly instalment includes over 
three hours of fun learning activities featuring 
animation, voice-overs, sound, stories, music 
and other activities which parents and 
children can enjoy whenever they want. The 
activities are designed to develop early 
literacy and numeracy skills using stories, 
interactive activities, an animated alphabet, 
phonics sections and printable activity sheets, 
as well as parents' guidance notes. The 

programme has been designed to meet the 
specific needs of the UK market, in line with 
current educational initiatives, such as 
Literacy Hour and school/parent 

Galaxy Kids is set aboard an alien space 
station in orbit around the Earth. Children 
follow two characters, Zolar and Zina, who 
have been sent on a homework mission to 
learn all about planet Earth. The home page 
displays three parts of the 'space station' - the 
Story Room, the Club Room and the Parents' 

Visitors to the Story Room will discover 
52 interesting and enjoyable stories that 
increase gently in difficulty month by month. 
The Club Room offers a wide range of 
frequently updated learning activities, 
including nursery rhymes and extended help 
with learning the alphabet. Here children will 
also find the writing section which is designed 
to help them understand how stories are 
written, how stories should be read, and offers 
help with selecting words to create new 

Meanwhile, the Parents' Room explains 
how to get the most out of Galaxy Kids, it 
includes a questions and answer service on 
early reading, links to other useful Websites 
for parents and a place where parents can 
download stories and activities 

University of Exeter's Professor Ted Wragg 
commented: 'Many parents want to know 
how they can best help their children at home, 
without cutting across what the school is 
trying to achieve, so Galaxy Kids could be an 
easily available and regular source of useful 

If you want to know more there is a free 
tour available on - just 
click on the Early Learning sections, or go 
directly to If you 
decide to commit, the charges work out at 
about £2 a week and you can 
subscribe monthly or annually. 


If you ever despair about teaching Science to 
under 14s, then here are some real quotes from 
some recent Science exams: 

• 'Water is composed of two gins, Oxygin and 
Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin 
and water/ 

• 'When you breathe, you inspire. When you do 
not breathe, you expire/ 

• 'H20 is hot water, and C02 is cold water/ To 
collect fumes of sulphur, hold down a deacon 
over a flame in a test tube' 

• 'Three kinds of blood vessels are arteries, 
vanes, and caterpillars/ 

If these made you smile you can get the full list by 
sending me a quick e-mail to June 1999 ^ 



takes a trip 
back in 
time to see 
just what 
we've done 
with this 


^Choose a Topic 

2K fever has not hit us with its full force yet - 
but it will. First to cross the finishing line in 
the education race is Sherston with This Week 
in History. Quite simply this is an historical 
CD-ROM full of images, text and clip art covering 
events over the last one thousand years. 

The program opens to reveal a three-tabbed 
presentation providing information by Topic, Calendar 
or Index. There are nine topics on offer: Health and 
medicine, Battles and warfare, People and society, 
Royalty and government, Flight and rockets, 
Exploration, Science and technology, Surface transport, 
and Communications and media. All tie in nicely to 
History at Key Stage 2 and 3 but fall down on the 
general interest. 

You can choose a topic which fits with your theme, 
or browse at random. Whichever option, the topic 
headings open to reveal a chronology of people and 
events. For instance, Science and technology starts with 
Copernicus in 1473 and ends with the Thames Barrier 
in 1984, while Exploration begins with Columbus in 
1492 and stops at 1911 with the South Pole. I was 
somewhat disappointed not to see Cabot in this list 
though. This is not a definitive list of every famous 
person or event, rather a taster which should send 

children off on more in-depth 

The lists are also 
eurocentric, which is to be 
expected considering how 
we're counting the 
millennium, other cultures 
having passed their second 
millennium some time ago! 

So what are the resources 
on offer? Should we decide to 
look at the Battle of Hastings 
in 1066 in the Battles and warfare section, we'll find 
where this event sits on the timeline, a plan of the 
battle, maps, information on weapons and images from 
the Bayeux Tapestry and some introductory text. This 
text is scrollable and gives the bare bones of the events 
leading up to the incident as well as the event itself. 

Another two tabbed sections have also appeared: 
Clip art and Events. The latter takes you back to the list 
of Topic chapters, while the clip art consists of the 
images and text in the main section ready to be saved 
out as draw and textfiles. 

The earliest event is 1066, with William I and the 
Battle of Hastings getting two entries, while the latest 
takes us to 15 October 1997 and the Thrust SSC 

breaking the sound barrier. I found the health and 
medicine section stopping in 1929 with the discovery of 
Penicillin a little odd, but the problem with this sort of 
package is choosing what to put in, and you're never 
going to please everyone. Even so there's not a mention 
of DNA. 

Click on the Calendar tab and you find yourself in 
the What happened this week? section. This 
automatically opens on the current week with 
notification of an event and the date. So, the first week 
in July shows you that the 1 July in 1916 was the First 
day of the Somme, while on 3 July in 1938 the land 
speed record was broken. 

As you'd expect, clicking on these entries takes you 
to the event file with its associated text, images and 
timeline. You can change the month and week 

hat happened this week? 

m Twig 


» • * * * * * • 

1 2 3 


5 6 7 8 9 10 


12 13 14 15 16 17 


19 20 21 22 23 24 
26 27 28 29 30 31 


i — -j 

1 I 

Vfflxn.m* Mr* f4 Ifc* War 

♦01/17.1*1* Sprrrf m-nrH hr.4,o 

whenever you want, and there are between 1 and 4 
events recorded for each week in the year - October 
being a particularly busy month. Some are of world 
renown while others are somewhat smaller in 
importance, but have still impacted on our daily lives 
perhaps more than we'd like to think. 

If you're looking for something specific your best 
port of call is the Index. Arranged into nine 
alphabetical groups you can jump straight to a part of 
the alphabet or scroll through an entry at a time. Click 
on something that intrigues you and again you find 
yourself at the relevant topic page which can be 
printed out. 

There is no search option, but you can manage 
without one. However, 1 would have liked the facility 
to add your own events and dates to the calendar. 
Rather than a red blob denoting further information 
and a link to the Topic section, a blue square could 
easily have told people it was an event added by users. 
A nice idea but unfortunately the potential has 
not been fully realised. 

Product details 







This Week in History 



Sherston Software 
016666 843 200 

June 1999 


Science at 

your fingertips 

Pam Turnbull 
looks at the first 
in the long- 
awaited Explorer 


T he Explorer series, developed by ILP 
for YITM, has been a long time 
coming. Time has passed and though 
the PC version has been out for three 
years, the Acorn version has only just made it 
to the shelves. The company itself is now part 
of Granada Learning; and with the news that 
Granada (comprising SEMERC and YITM) is 
steering away from their total commitment to 
the RISC OS platform was it worth the wait? 

Taking the concept of a museum, Science 
Explorer presents you with five subject-specific 
galleries: Living Things; The Human Being; 
The Material World; Electricity, Light and 
Sound; Forces and Motion; and Space. As you 
manoeuvre around each gallery you'll come 
across displays, clicking on which reveal 
information and activities. 

There are exhibits in each gallery from 
What species is that? to The Moon. Some of 
these are categorised as Fact Points with 
snippets of information, while clicking others 
such as a bicycle or hunting eagle open up to 
give Learn About screens which are written 
and narrated slideshows, well illustrated by 
drawings and photographs. If you want more 
information than this brief overview, there's 
the Tell Me More button at the bottom of the 

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Learn About screen. This reveals more 
information and graphics putting more meat 
on to the skeletal concepts. 

Alternatively you can click on Experiment, 
of which there are 25 in total. Each one is 
nicely presented and explained as you access 
it, though I did find that children didn't 
always find these totally intuitive to use. 
Finally there is the option to Test Yourself, 
which provides five multiple choice questions 
(at two levels of 
difficulty) to see if 
you've been paying 

Now you could 
start your virtual 
tour in the material 
world gallery and 
click on an 
attractive display of 
snowflakes. This 
opens to present 
you with information on how important water 
is in words, pictures and text in its Learn 
About section. Unusual or scientific words are 
highlighted and can be clicked on for further 
explanation - water is usually a liquid, for 

A click on the Tell me More button 
provides information on cloud formation, 
while the associated experiment is all to do 
with filling a bath by controlling the flow from 
the tap and the effect of the plug. 

You can stroll around at random, but you 
can also access the index which lets you 
specify your interest and decide if you want 
pure information, or do-it-yourself 
experiments. 1 also like the way that you can 
create your own notebook folder of pictures, 
text, and your own notes 
including sound. This could be a 
useful aide for project work or be 
used as a presentation device - 
although it isn't ideal for that 
purpose. A sixth gallery contains a 
quiz that can be set up for 
children to play on their own or 
against others. 

The experiments are interesting 
and mostly well chosen, however 
some do tend towards the pretty 
interactive illustration variety. In 
the Earth section you can play 
with Newton's Orbit. However, 

i Page 2 of 3 Hfr* 

who Newton was, what else he did, and the 
impact he had on the scientific and 
mathematical communities and society in 
general is left to the teacher. Instead children 
have to type in a number for the launch speed 
of a satellite leaving Earth. There is no 
guidance whatsoever on the speeds required, 
or why speed is important and so on. The 
children loved it, but as an experiment it 
makes a better reinforcement or consolidation 
exercise. The subjects 
covered mirror the 
requirements of Key 
Stage 2 - although when 
I was using it with a 
Year 6 class on Space it 
didn't quite give the 
level of detail some of 
my Level 5 children 

You'll either love or 
hate the virtual gallery 
idea. I found that teachers had more problems 
than children when it came to the navigation - 
nothing new there! Navigation becomes easier 
with practice, but personally I'd avoid the 
virtual tour interface - at times it’s slow and 
you find yourself going around in circles even 
if you're used to this style of navigation - and 
stick to the catalogue. Information can be 
accessed much more quickly and succinctly 
via the catalogue. Additional help is also 
provided by the Log Book which records 
where children have been (and their test 
scores), built-in guidebook and map for quick 
access to a gallery. 

Children react well to Science Explorer, the 
graphics are varied from the fun to the 
informative, there is never too much text on 
screen and the information is relevant to what 
children are expected to know at this Key 
Stage. It does lack depth in places, but this is 
not a virtual teacher only a teaching tool. 
Despite a few niggles, it's a must 
have CD-ROM. 

Product details J 

Product: Science Explorer 
Price: £34.99 

Ages: 8-12 

Supplier: Granada Learning 
Tel: 0161-827 2927 


http ://www.acomuser. com June 1999 



Dedicated to serving the Acorn community 


\ h 


From Data Store 



New control panel with 
many improvements 
including 'compass' knobs 


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User>definable shadow length and direction 


toolbox controls 


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Adventure Playground Storm £15.00 

Amazing Maths CSH £20.00 

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Being a Scientist (CD) Anglia £30.00 

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DataWord Triple R £ 5.00 

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Five Things to Find (CD) SIR £1 0.00 

German 10 out of 10 £10.00 

Global English SIR £25.00 

Granny's Garden (CD) 4Mation . . . £27.00 
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Kiyeko/Lost Night (CD) UbiSoft £20.00 

Linkword German Minerva £27.00 

Look Hear! Sherston £40.00 

Maths - Algebra/Geometry/Stats 10/10 . . £10.00 

Mega Maths LCL £18.00 

Micro EnglisIVFrencIVGermnrVSpanish LCL £1 8.00 

Money Matters Triple R £10.00 

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Oxford Reading Tree (CD) Sherston . . £25.00 

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Puncman 5/6/7 Chalksoft £12.00 

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Sellardore Tales Sherston £15.00 

Six French Games AVP £25.00 

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The Complete Wordsearch AVP .... £15.00 

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T his all started some time ago when 
Alec brought an electric organ home 
from school. They don't want it' he 
said, 'can we use it for parts?' Now 
modern keyboards are reasonably sized, but 
this one resembled a small sideboard. What 
he really wanted was the bass pedals, he 
wanted some sort of drone generator to 
accompany his electric guitar playing. The 
idea was that by pressing a pedal he could 
produce a note that would last until he 
started another one. 

Well that concept had to be refined a bit 
as you could then never turn anything off, so 
we came up with the idea that pressing the 
same pedal as the sounding note would 
turn it off. Finally, as what was being 
constructed here is really a musical 
instrument, I had to devise something to 
change the timbre of the note. The idea is that 
these pedals can output MIDI data, and a 
sound module or computer could actually 
generate the sound. 

This is an ideal project to implement with 
a PIC chip, in fact you might struggle making 
it any other way. 

Well, the bass pedals were removed from 
the old instrument, and one or two other bits 
and pieces saved for a rainy day, the rest was 
sent to the scrap heap. If you haven't got 
access to scrap like this then bass pedals can 
be purchased separately. The pedals activated 
simple spring switches and there were 
thirteen all together, covering just over one 
octave. Now the main problem with the 
16C84 is getting all those switches into the 
chip, there are not enough inputs to wire 
them straight in so I had to resort to some 
additional logic. 

The circuit is shown in figure I and uses 
two shift registers as input expanders, with 
the PIC controlling the load and clock lines. 



Steptoe and Son (Mike Cook and 
Alec) produce a drone generator 
for an electrical guitar. 

One of the I / O pins is used to generate the 
MIDI output data stream, and the large drive 
capacity of the B Port is used to directly drive 
a seven segment display. The idea was that 
the display could show you the note being 
played, with the dot on the display indicating 
if that note was a sharp. With a bit of 
imagination, and judicious use of lower case 
letters, you could get it to display all the 

There is also an extra program switch but 
that is not necessary for the basic circuit, only 
if you want to expand the system. There are 

13 switches on bass pedal so they fit onto the 
first 13 inputs of the shift register, this left 
three inputs free. I wired one of them up 
to a separate non-latching foot switch to 
allow the voice to be changed, and the other 
two are spares, see later for ideas on using 

I built the whole thing in a wooden box, 
along with a 5 volt regulator so that it could 
be run off the supply Alec uses for his other 
effects pedals. The seven segment display I 
used was reasonably large having 8mm long 
segments, you could even use a bigger one if June 1 999 


Fig 1: Boss Peddle Circuit 

you want as the PIC will supply up to 25mA on each 
Port B pin. Now I wanted to paint it black in true rock 
and role style but Alec preferred the wood finish, 'it's 
cooP he said. 

So, armed with the hardware I set about 
designing the PIC software. The MIDI output is 
similar to the serial output routines I have used in the 
past, but the timing is a little different this time 
because I have used an 8MHz crystal (I happened to 
have one handy). If you want to use a normal 10MHz 
one then you will have to tweak the delay loops a 

The main program is relatively simple, it waits in a 
loop, continuously scanning in the shift register until 
it detects a key press. It then looks to see if it is a 
spare input pin and if not converts the input number 
into a MIDI note value. This is done by simply adding 
24. Then, if a note is already playing it is turned off 
and the new note turned on, but only if it is different 
from the last note. 

There is an option in the voice setup data to 
hold a note on in a drone or just let it sound for the 
duration of the key press. The routine that turns the 
note on also displays the note on the seven segment 
display, this is achieved by using a look up table to 
convert the note number into the bit pattern to drive 
the display. 

Now if the 13th key is pressed this indicates that 
we want to change the voice or sound. The display 
then shows a small letter c (for change) but to 
differentiate it from the note C it is displayed on the 
top half of the display and underlined. Then pressing 
a normal key will set the instrument to a new voice. 
There are 13 voices pre-programmed into the 
instrument and held in the EPROM data section of the 

This is a section of the PIC that I haven't used 
before in any of my projects and it needs a bit of 
messing about to access it, you are best looking at the 
code to see what it does. There are two data entries 
for each voice, a program number followed by a bank 
number. This is for the MIDI XG system which 
allows more than the normal number of voices, the 
bank number should be ignored by normal General 
MIDI. Alec chose those voices that he thought best 
suited a droning bass line. Also the most significant 
bit of the bank number is set if you want the drone 
function to be on. 

This is done by adding a constant H set to a value 
of 128. In this way you can clearly see the bank 
number and your choice of drone. The data is at the 
end of the program and from the 'OR' address it will 
be placed in the data area. 

Well that's all there is to it, apart from the usual 
extension ideas that you can use to make the project 
your own. There are two extra shift register switches 
and an extra direct input. I thought you could use one 
of those switches to indicate you want to change the 
effects added to the note. The XG module allows you 
to add in sound processing for both notes and audio 
inputs, the effects include echo, reverberation and 
pitch shifting. Finally you could use the optional 
program push button to initiate a voice programming 
sequence. This could allow you to enter the voice data 
parameters and store it in EPROM data memory to 
enable you to conveniently change the range of 
sounds it makes. 

Well there you have it, a novel instrument made 
from a simple handful of chips and a bit of scrap. 
Having made it, I did see one for sale second 
hand in a music shop, they wanted £160 for it. 

+5 V~ 


To shift register 

A Foot Switch 


June 1999 

Fig II: Put pull up resistors on nil inputs 

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

A Rambles through 


Mike Cook solves 
some antipodean 



have been neglecting my Web site 
recently, so this month I added all the 
1997 Run the RISC articles which include 
such delights as a weather satellite 
receiver and the PIC micro controller stuff. 
Speaking of which, hot on the heels of last 
months upgrade to version 1.1 comes version 
1.2. This adds an optional window that 
displays the extra memory in the 16F84 
versions of the chip, it's on the cover disc. 

As I have said many times before, 
feedback on previous columns is always 
welcome, it's a big world out there and I don't 
pretend to know all the answers. What makes 
the Acorn community great is their 
willingness to help out, something you won't 
find on other platforms. Therefore I was quite 
pleased to see this from John Crane of 

'I was reading the February column 
and thought I would pass on some of my 
experience regarding the StrongARM 
Rise PC. I had similar problems with my 
computer, when I purchased it new last 
year. Basically my 586 PC card kep 
t locking up and crashing. Sometimes on 
start up and other times just when you'd 
nicely got involved in some intricate PC 
software. In the end it was sorted out under 

'Apparently some StrongARM processors 
need retiming slightly, although this should 
only be the case for early versions. Mine was 
tweaked and it made not the slightest 
difference. My PC card still crashed. After 

John Wilson wants an upgrade. 

7 work in a secondary school which owns several 
Acorn :1010s and the question that I have been asked 
is, 'Is it possible to add a harddrive to a A3010 and 
still keep the MIDI board that's in the expansion slot, 
or will I need to recommend getting an external 
harddrive, and is this possible?' or is the A3010 not 
worth upgrading 1' 

There is limited space inside an A30J0, you might 
be better going for an internal harddrive and 
replacing the MIDI with an external unit, EPS do one 
of these. Alternatively talk to SimTech or indeed any 
Acorn dealer about fitting an external drive. 

I had a conversation with Philip Mellor over the 
internet it went something like this: 

'Is there an easy way to convert a program 
written for the Acorn desktop to Microsoft Visual 
Basic? If not, is there a difficult way, or indeed any 
way, that doesn't involve rewriting the program in its 
entirety in VB? ' 

Sorry, no. They are totally incompatible in 
virtually every way. 

'Oh well, that serves the school right for changing 
the majority of lessons over to Windows then. On a 
totally unrelated subject, I've noticed that on the Rise 


being thoroughly checked out the fault was 
found to lie with a Memory SIMM. One chip 
on one bank of 32Mb was running slightly 
low and bringing the PC card down with it. 

A completely new 32Mb SIMM was installed 
and it's been fine ever since. Try swapping 
the SIMMs from the alternative machine 
and also the VRAM (if fitted) and see if that 

'On the BBC to RISC OS topic, this is just 
up my street, as I like to carry on using my 
old favourites for as long as possible. 

'Option 1: 1 have an old Electron with 
DFS and ADFS and a 3.5 and 5.25 drive. 

What I do is DFS format some 3.5 DD discs. 
Copy the 5.25 software onto these and I can 
then run them on my Rise PC or A3010 with 
6502em by WSS combined with either 
ArcDFS (IDFS) by Richard Averill or 
ImageDFS by WSS. ArcDFS can even format 
DFS discs on your RISC OS machine. If 
Richard Fearn, or anyone else for that matter, 
wants to write to me about it I can go into 
more detail. 

'Option 2: In the February issue of Acorn 
User on page 66 there is an advert for Multi 
Link. This is a serial transfer utility complete 

PCs we still have at school you can turn directories 
into applications using a hard space (ASCII 160) 
instead of a T. Is this a feature of RISC OS 3.5 +, or is 
it just a system patch that's been included in the boot 
sequence that I don't know about? (I have an A3010 
at home and it doesn't work on that.)' 

I have RISC OS 3.7 and it doesn't work on that so 
I would go with the patch theory, does any reader 
know which one it is? 

'Also, on my A3010 1 have recently bought a 
parallel Zip drive with the Argo driver software. It 
works well, but when I try to run many games from a 
Zip disc the screen flickers horribly . I have tried all the 
usual solutions, such as increasing the screen memory 
in the task manager or changing mode before running, 
but this doesn't help. The flicker only occurs when I 
have the Zip software loaded, so I assume this must be 
the cause. Do you have any ideas why this happens, or 
can you provide a solution (other than copying the 
games to harddisc and resetting the machine)?' 

Have you asked Argo about this? It sounds to me 
like the software is running continuously under 
interrupts looking for something like a disc eject. 

There is really no need to do this but there is no cure 
I know of other than to get back to Argo. 

with serial cable priced £29.95 from The 
Really Good Software Company. I've not 
tried this method myself so I can't comment 
on it's suitability.' 

Thanks, if any readers want to contact John I 
will pass on your letters. Stuart Pigneguy from 
New Zealand, who describes himself as an ex- 
Acorn A4000 user, is perhaps seeing the folly 
of his ways. 

'I just love the thought of using Acorn 
computers. I used to own an A4000 with 2Mb 
RAM, to me they were the best computers in 
the world, nothing could compare. Until my 
friend's got IBMs and they asked me to 
create a network and play IBM compatible, 
games. I decided to sell the A4000 and buy a 
new monitor for that 486 that I was getting 
used to. Call me crazy (I do - Mike) but it 
had to be done. I remember there was a 
software programme called PC emulator 
that ran an early version of PC DOS. 

Now I am wondering if there is such a 
thing as an Acorn emulator for my 
IBM? I think that if there is no such 
thing, somebody should do something 
about it. Out of all the things I like about 
Acorns, they cost so much! Where does all 
the money go? Into flawless software and 

I think you've answered your own 
question there, the money went into a 
machine that is still running and viable but 
cost more. It seems that the majority of 
English and U.S. society want the lowest price, 
irrespective of quality. This doesn't apply to 
all nations, which explains why Acorns and 
Apples are quite popular in places like 
Scotland, Holland and German. As I have said 
before - people like rubbish, look at the best 
selling newspapers or highest rating TV 

As to the hoped for lifeboat in the form 
of an emulator, sorry there isn't one and 
there is not likely to ever be. The problem 
is that you will have to emulate the operating 
system and that is copyright Acorn (now 
licensed to RISCOS Ltd). So the only chance 
of a third party emulator is to reverse 

June 1999 

Mike Buckingham (yes the one who writes the PC column) had the sort of problem I like: 

'/ was hoping you might he able to solve a RISC OS problem I have had for a long time. It's not terminal, just 
annoying. Basically when pulling open some windows, the shadow effect at the edge does not get overwritten 
properly with the background - so it leaves these lines across the backdrop. As I write I've just noticed a major 
clue: it happens on the V oyager mail box screen but not on Voyager's compose mail window. 

' The difference would appear to be the 3D effect on the former - absent on the latter. What I don't 
know/can't remember is what applies this effect, whether it be an official bit of RISC OS ora patch that has crept 
in and remained. I don't use NewerLook, but I have a feeling there is a 3D effect in there somewhere that might 
have been added when I have played with such things. I shall go hunting: maybe I've just solved my own 
question, but maybe not - so if you know the answer....' 

However before I could put fingers to keyboard back came the second part of his message: 

'Hmm - an object lesson in the idea that formulating the problem clearly enough for someone else to 
understand often solves it. If that's not an axiom maybe I'll claim it. It was indeed 3DRomPatch. Without it life is 
flatter but has fewer black lines.' 

engineer it. Considering that will take tens 
of man years, no one will want to put in 
that effort. You could probably buy up all 
the remaining Acorn stock with that sort 
of resource. 

Chris James knows what those mysterious 
files are on the Sony Photo discs. 

can shed some light on the queries 
regarding the Sony Mavica digital cameras. 
First, the JPEG files produced by the current 
cameras (FD51, -71, -81 and -91) are all 
standard JPEGs, and open into any 
compatible RISC OS application. It was only 
the first generation cameras (FD5, FD7) that 
had problems, and that was solved by 
passing the image files through JPEGtrans. 
The promo disc you received was a Director 
presentation and it w r asn't very exciting. 

'The hidden files are 411 YUV-encoded 
files 64x48 pixels in size that the camera uses 
as its own thumbnails. For all intents and 
purposes, once the diskette has been 
removed from the camera, they are useless. 

As for the disk system, it is remarkably 
convenient. Taking images using the FD81 
takes only a few seconds to compress and 
record - the Sony 2x drives are excellent. For 
my work, we use these cameras a lot, and 
swapping discs is no less easy than 
swapping memory cards. 

'If, like me, you need to record over 
200Mb of images over the course of four 
days, then I can't recommend this range of 
cameras highly enough. The battery that 
comes with the FD81 lasts for about 2 hours 
of continuous use, which equates to 
approximately 250 images on 10 discs at 
640x480 resolution. Since we use them all 
day, we have two spare higher-capacity 
batteries, each capable of running the camera 
for up to 3 hours. The camera has a natty 
little display showing how much time is left 
on each battery, and experience indicates 
thatt it is very reliable. Well worth having.' 

Next, Allan & Michael Curtis from down 
under have not been getting much joy: 

'We assembled your Joystick interface in 
the June 1996 issue of Acorn User for a Dick 
Smith (a Australian electronics retailer) PC 
joystick. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. We 
have made three (minor) changes to the 
interface -a "pass-through" parallel port 
which is quite simply wired in parallel with 
the input, a switch with an LED so we can 
tell if it is on or not, a 9 volt battery with a 
voltage regulating transistor wired in 
accordance with the data sheets. 

'We notice that on your Sound Sampler 
project that you have included some extra 

circuitry besides the battery and transistor 
for battery operation. Should we put this in 
our own circuit? We know some of it works, 
because the software recognises we are 
pressing buttons, but not the movement. The 
parallel port wiring must be reasonably OK 
because the pass-through port works - that 
is, we can print with the printer connected 
through it/ 

Sorry to hear you are having problems, 

I am sure it is your wiring. The fact that 
you get print through and sense button 
pushing does not test much really, you 
need access to an oscilloscope to see what 
is going wrong. You should see pulses on 
pins 2 and 10 of the 74LS123 when the 
software is trying to access the joystick. 

Try removing the joystick and connecting 
the input resistors to 5 volts. The joystick 
test program should give you the 
minimum value. 

Check that you are getting pulses on 
pins 13 and 5 of the monostable. If that is 
the case then make sure that these pulses 
are being mixed together and are appearing 
on the collectors of the transistors. Check 
that the transistor's emitters are earthed 
along with pin 8 of the 123. Some people 
don't know what that symbol means, pin 8 
(of 123) and both emitters and pin 4 of the 
joystick should all be wired together. As 
to the supply usually you put a 2uF 
capacitor each side of the regulator 
and a 4K7 load resistor on the regulated 

A R Triggs from Cullompton has a 
question that is perhaps more worrying 
than he knows: 

'How do we get rid of the irritating 
little bugs that seem to grow with the 
passage of time? Before my harddrive's 
electronics gave up eighteen months 
ago, my Rise PC started to give error 
messages prior to shutdown, such 
as 'buffer overflow', 'disc drive empty', 
and so on. It also required up to six 
attempts to drag the RAM disc facility. 

These problems all cleared up with 

the replacement of the harddrive. Since then 
it all ran normally until six months ago when 
the errors began again. 

'The latest problem was having to do a 
reset, using the reset button when trying to 
run the PC card. The symptoms being a 
black screen with a blue pointer, which did 
move with the mouse, this being the only 
control that worked. Having changed it's 
start up to the icon bar, it will sometimes 
run, but usually fails with error messages 
such as, 'PC card failure type = S'. What does 
it all mean, and how can it be fixed? 

'In this part of the world it requires a 
hundred mile round trip, or a courier, to visit 
a suitable centre of knowledge/repair. I 
would imagine that other users must have 
had similar problems, and have fixed 
them. Any ideas, other than the drastic clean 
up the harddisc, and reload all software 

Reloading all the software is a PC 
solution not really applicable to an Acorn 
machine. You see, PC software is so bad 
that you get all sorts of software conflicts 
and periodically just clearing it out will 
sort some things out. However in the 
Acorn world things are a lot better and 
there is less opportunity for software to 
screw up in this way. Now this means that 
you have some bad news, your computer 
has a serious fault. 

It sounds to me like this fault caused 
your last harddrive to crash, and so you 
replaced it but didn't actually cure the 
problem. The fact that it went away for a 
time could point to your problem being an 
intermittent connection on the logic board or 
in the memory SIMM sockets, see Johm 
Crane's contribution. 

These are always the worst types of faults 
to track down because usually you don't 
know when they are fixed. What is worse, the 
disturbance of taking or posting it to a dealer 
could even cure the fault and the dealer will 
find nothing wrong with it. Nevertheless I 
think getting it to a qualified service centre is 
your only realistic option before your 
harddrive is trashed again June 1999 



Alsystems 40 

Aleph One 52 

APDL 16 

Archive 12 

Argonet 29 

Cannon 19 

Castle Technology 1FC, 69 

CJE 20, 55, 69 

CTA 4, 5, 68 

Datastore 62, 69 

Desktop Projects 14, 69 

Eesox 22 

Electronic Font Foundry 40 

Expo 73 

Icon Technology 9 

Irlam OBC 

Jaffa 32 

Liquid Silicon 32 

Pinapple Software 52, 69 

R-comp 44 

RGS 22 

RISCOS Ltd 26 

Southeast Show 73 

Spacetech 1BC 

STD 52 

Contacting us 



Advertising enquiries: 

Web master: 


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168 Elliott St. 
Gtr. Manchester 
M29 8DS 

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Acorn Spares and Repairs 
All Acorn Machines available on 0% finance 

Installation. Networking _ _ , . . , 

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% Doom 


# Heretic a}** 


June 1 999 


The world's number 


You already know what a great magazine Acorn 
User is. It is the only Acorn magazine with up- 
to-the-minute Acorn news, in-depth hardware 
and software reviews, and without doubt the 
best cover discs available. 

What you might not know is that by taking 
out a subscription today, not only are you 
guaranteed never to miss an issue of the 
biggest and best Acorn magazine in the 
world, but you can also claim an excellent 
free gift or special offer, available 
exclusively to all new Acorn User 

The most flexible, 
straightforward and 
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make letters, invitations, 
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fact any kind of text and 
graphics. It is designed to be 
ideal for children and 
is invaluable for \ \ 4 
older children /. 

and adults. 


Your chance to experience 
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Prepare to be astounded! 
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The Crash of the Bank of England? 
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what difficulties will the Year 2000 
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The "On the brink..." video is a non- 
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Exclusive to Acorn 
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hold up to 1 3 issues 
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Ploase also send a copy of your letter to us. June 1999 V. 


Write to 


Take my money 

In his Clares Report, Number 11, Dave Clare 
writes 'I sincerely hope that RISCOS Ltd 
succeed... but I will not be investing any of 
MY money in the company - they still require 
funding if anyone wants to invest a minimum 
of £3000... we will give every assistance we 

I wonder if RISCOS Ltd is going the right 
way about ensuring financial backing if they 
are only prepared to accept capital from 
investors who are affluent enough to cough up 
a minimum of £3000. It is all very well and, 
indeed, logical for Element 14 to invest in 
RISCOS Ltd (to the tune of 19.9% of available 
shares, I believe) but I believe the latter are 
missing a great opportunity to secure its 
future if it excludes Acorn fans who are not 
quite so well-off. 

I believe that there are many of us, like 
Dave Clare, who want RISC OS to succeed in 
its aims. It has occurred to me that many of 
your readers may wish, like me, to be able to 
assist in supporting the company by investing 
in smaller amounts than £3000 but on a 

An odd one 

regular basis. Couldn't the company operate a 
share purchase scheme in which people can 
subscribe smaller amounts of money on a 
regular basis by Standing Order, say, £364 
annually or £182 half-yearly or £91 quarterly 
or £30 monthly or £7 weekly? 

The point is that, rather like the principle 
of unit trusts, capital could be acquired 
through many people investing small amounts 
of money individually which collectively add 
up to a very large amount. 

It would seem to me that RISC OS Ltd is in 
a very similar position to ARM in its infancy. 

If anyone is unaware of the significance of 
this comment then a look at the share price of 
ARM (or even Acorn) in the Electronic section 
of Stock Market published in the Financial 
Times or the Daily Telegraph should be highly 

David H. Foss 

Paul Middleton , RISCOS Ltd MD, replies: 
Unfortunately for us, the stock exchange is a lot 
more tightly controlled nowadays, and the 

Financial Services Act makes it illegal to simply 
advertise Shares in a new company without going 
through a lot of expensive procedures. 

The rules are there to protect investors from all 
sorts of scams that could otherwise he used to seek 
investment in companies that never have any 
intention of trading, hut were to he used solely to 
take money from unwitting investors. 

As a Private Company Limited by shares as 
opposed to a PLC, RISCOS Ltd can only have a 
maximum of 50 new investors in any 12 month 
period. Moreover, the investors must have some 
reason, other than just expecting a profit from their 
investment, for taking up shares in RISCOS Ltd. 

In general this means that Investors should seek to 
profit by the success of other businesses that rely 
on the products to he produced by RISCOS Ltd. 

It would have been nice to be able to advertise 
for hundreds of small investors, but legally we 
cannot do that. 

If the release of RISC OS 4 is as successful as 
we hope, then we may be able to afford to change to 
a company that can be invested in by the general 
public, but the costs and timescales involved didn't 
make that an initial option. 

Paul Middleton, RISCOS Ltd 

WorraCAD help 

Has anyone any idea of how to get WorraCAD 
(v.1.21) working on a Rise PC 600 (RISC OS 
3.5). When I try to run it I get an error 
message: Fatal internal error: (SIGSEGV). I 
have tried to get in touch with the original 
authors but have had no success. I also have 
a copy of Apollonius PDT (v.1.09) which locks 
up my computer at frequent, irregular 

Any thoughts on this would be much 
appreciated, once again I have tried to get in 
touch with the authors but haven't been able 

Much as I would like to buy a copy of the 
very impressive ProCAD+, I cannot really 
justify spending £225 (with the Acorn User 
discount) plus VAT, of my schools very limited 
capitation on a 'new' programme. 

Any help would be much appreciated. 

Nick Tinker uk 

New audio format 

I wrote to 'Rambles in Acorn Wood' asking for 
a conversion of WinAMP, and lo and behold 
one did appear (although it's not been 
released yet!). The pre-release info is at: 

However, I've now got a new challenge - a 
new audio format called TwinVQ has 
appeared, anyone fancy trying to persuade 
them to do a conversion? The company in 
question has a site at http://www.vqf. com/ 


I don't know what happens, you move house, your subscription gets mixed up - next thing I 
know I'm not even sure if there is an Acorn Computers anymore! And to top it off, strange things 
have started to happen, and I don't know where to get any answers. All of a sudden I feel like an 
angst ridden teenager (minus the spots - well, those kind of spots anyway). 

The first mystery surrounds a disc I have been using, in a perfectly normal fashion, to store 
text documents. It has been housed properly, handled carefully and used moderately. Why-oh- 
why then can it suddenly be unformatted, and my data lostW I'm tearing my hair out - I'll be bald 
within a week. 

Worse than this, in an effort to keep up with the Joneses, Evanses and Grifithifthsses 1 bought 
myself the HP890c GT1 16v twin turbo'd mega printer. Heaven help me ever getting a printer 
driver suited to it so that it prints like a GTI as opposed to a Lada Borsi special. 

In the post RISC PC II RIP scenario is there any hope that the support will appear in 
areas like this allowing Acorns dedicated users (15 years in a darkened bedroom and proud 
of it) the opportunity to utilise the most modem hardware, or are we frozen in time along with 

If anyone there can help with any of my problems it would make me feel less alone in 
computing terms. And with any luck I'll have my subscription back on track soon and can find 
out what on earth is going on. Keep up the good work. 

Simon Morgan 

Um....anyone? - Ed 

June 1999 

The Dutch Acorn Computer Users 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 

i LUB !? es «v 

P - Parking 
• - Station 

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 

Supporting RISC OS 

in SE England 

Theatre programme: 1 1 am - Beyond the Rise PC 

12am - Acorn product scene 
2pm - Future of RISC OS 
3pm - TBA 

FREE floppy + software 

» Latest products » Software to be won! 

» Hobbyist / Games area » Special show discounts 

Adults £3.00 / ARM Club or Foundation £2.00 
Children under 16 FREE (accompanied by an adult) 

[Pay at door] 

Tel : (01707) 390 410 

Fax : (01707) 390 410 

E-mail : 

http : //www . argonet . co . uk/ acorns how 

To Watford 
Junction A 



I began 
to think I 
wanted to 
something in 
return for 
what others 
had provided 

I t s aDout tne nrst sunny any tms year, and I m in a 
park in Welwyn Garden City on one side of a 
stream. On the other side, suffering for the cause of 
photography, is John Stonier, perched in a tree 
with his fiancee Helen. 

'If there's a good photo of Helen and me can you 
use that?' requests John. 'It would be nice; we are a 
partnership. What you should do is set up a Web site 
with a few photos from each shoot which you didn't 
use - now that would be interesting/ 

A lot of people will remember John as the sysop of 
the Digital Databank BBS, but for the past two years he 
has been organising regional Acorn shows - his next is 
the Acorn South East show at St Albans in July. He's a 
long-time Acorn user, going back to the days of the 

'It was in 1985 when I first got involved with 
comms. I bought a state-of-the-art 1275 modem and 
was logging on to Prestel for e-mail. A lot of people 
think that the Internet is new and that comms is new, 
but it is not; it has been going for a long time. 

'I used Arcade, and began to think I wanted to 
provide something in return for what others had 
provided me. I had always wanted run a bulletin 
board, so I got ArcBBS , plucked up enough courage 
and got two phone lines. 1 even took out a small ad in 
Acorn User. I managed to get in to comms purely by 
mistake and I really caught the bug.' 

It was a good thing that John was into 
comms because it was through the Internet on a 
Christian singles Web site that he met Helen. 'It was 
quite funny,' interjects Helen. 'I had just got e-mail 
and was looking for people to e-mail me. We got 
on so well that the first time John phoned me the call 

lasted two hours.' John is working 
on getting Helen involved in Acom 

'The last show was OK,' admits 
Helen 'because I found something to 
do. In the same venue as the show 
was a Conservative women's 
conference but there were no 
signposts, so I had to direct people 
and guess who was there for which 
event at the same time.' 

By 1996 John faced an awkward 
decision. The BBS was becoming a 
hard slog, and less rewarding. 
Although he'd initially had to get 
more phone lines, he was now 
seeing numbers drop off as the 
Internet became more popular. What 
was he going to do to support the 
Acorn community in the future if he 
closed the BBS? 

'The ARM Club used to organise 
one-day shows. I was a 
representative of Welwyn and 
Hatfield Computer Club and we, as 
a group, used have our own little 
stand. I got involved in the ARM 
Club committee and with Ralph who 
did tne snows, out who didn't really have time to 
organise them. 

'My first show was in July 1997 at Welwyn Garden 
City. It was hard work convincing companies to take 
part, but they did and it was full up. On the day people 
were pouring in through the door. Straight away I 
knew it was a success. It gave me a real buzz being 
able to turn up at a show that I had organised and see 
the Acorn community, which I try to support as much 
as possible, getting something out of it. I thought this is 
it, the new area I want to move into: organising Acorn 

Show organising is now always on John's mind. 
Even at the Ideal Home Exhibition this year he was 
more interested in how the show was run than the 
exhibitors. He'd like to organise shows for a living 
but there is not quite the market for it in Acorn 
community. He'd also have to give up his day job as a 
landscape gardener. He's enthusiastic about both, 
probably because his job and his 'hobby' are so 

'When you turn up for a show you do not know if 
any one else will turn up, and believe me it does lead 
to a lot of pressures beforehand. Then there are always 
problems - I think what gets me through at the end of 
the day is my own strong faith in God. That is a real 
encouragement to me. I always believe that it is God 
who has entrusted me with these opportunities so I 
have always given 100 per cent. My drive has been my 

John still has to put on one of his biggest shows of 
his life, his wedding: 'It would be a lot easier if it were 
a cyber- wed ding'. 

Jill Regan 

June 1999 


See us at Wakefield for Fantastic Show Offers 
All Olympus Cameras Down in Price 
Fully fu nctional BJC7000 and BJC7100 PhotoReal Driver 

PHOTODESK 3 is the iL&ytLSL'Q' package which defines studio quality 

image editing and artwork on RISC OS machines. It is easy to use but has many powerful 
features, including LAYERS and a sophisticated colour management system (CMS) for 
the full-time graphics professional. £299.50 PHOTODESK2 is still available, 

^retaining the CMS but not layers, HOW Only £1 99-00) 

HOTODESK LIGHT, an economic alternative to PHOTODESK3 retains most of its 
:reative features apart from the Colour Management System, Layers and some features 
to the professional user. £134.75 Plug-in Effects Packs are available for all 
packages. Each pack contains 10 special effects: £19.95 

Purchasers of Photodesk 3 or Photodesk Light will receive a 
complimentary CD-ROM of useful resources, utilities and 
Tutorials. This CD is available to existing users for £24.95. 

A NEW CD-ROM M An Introduction to Digital Art" 
featuring bitmap and vector graphics tutorials by the well- 
known artist, David Cowell, is also available for £24.95 


A New Version of TopModel2 V.2.14 is now available for £152.75. Existing 
may upgrade for £29.95. or buy the NEW CD-ROM packed with 
the new plug in Top3DFonts! and a free 2.14 upgrade for only 

SINCRONIA will be with us at Wakefield, with the renowned GIANCARLO 
demonstrating new Plug-ins 

P A presentation package on CD -ROM from Spacetech 

Makes your slide shows quick and easy to create! 

• Start building your presentation 5 minutes before the lesson? - No Problem 

• Use your existing work in a presentation? - No Problem, just drag 'n drop it in! 

Only £29.95 

camoras PhOtoLink is an Acorn multi-driver for the most popular makes of digital camera. Cameras 
currently supported include the new Olympus range including the fantastic C900 ZOOM, the 
theC830L a new replacement for the 840L and the C1400XL SLR Zoom. Superb hard copy can be 
obtained via Epson or Canon PhotoReal. PhotoLink is available on its own at £69.00 or bundled 
FREE with a camera. 

New Prices! C1400XI_ £749.99 (was £999.99) C830L £399.99! (was £549) 
C900ZOOM Zoom megapixel compact with Optical AND Digital zoom £549-99 (was £649.99) 

PhotoReal is the Acorn driver extension for the Canon BJC4300, BJC4650, BJC7000, BJC 
7100 Epson Photo, Photo700 and PhotoEX printers with photo-realistic capability. PhotoReal 
makes use of the same advanced techniques for producing high-quality four colour separations as 
Photodesk and comes ready calibrated for the special dye-based inks used for photo-realistic printing. 
A calibration application is also supplied to allow you to tailor the results to your own specification 
Driver only £69.00 Inc.VAT. or FREE if purchased with printer! examples: Stylus 
Photo700 £249.50. Canon BJC4300 £149.95 BJC4650 A3 £299.99. BJC7000 £245, 
BJC7100 £299.00, Epson PhotoEX A3 £454.73 (all prices include PhotoReal Driver) 

ATI Prices Include VAT 

Spacetech Ltd 

Courtyard, Southwell Business Park, Portland, Dorset, DT5 2NQ, U.K. 
Telephone: +44 (0)1305 822753 Fax: +44 (0)1305 860483 
Email: Web : 

Videoclesk 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. 

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! 

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. 

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 811401 Email: sak.' 
Visit our website: